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Mix Rescue: Dave Gerard | Media

Mixing & Recording Advice By Mike Senior
Published June 2010

These audio files accompany the Mix Rescue article for June 2010 (/sos/jun10/articles/mixrescue_0610.htm).

Download all Hi-Res WAVs | 192 MB

Ch Backing Full

Here's the final chorus section from Dave Gerard's song 'Never Stop' as it appears in my final remix, but without the lead and backing vocals. This makes it easier to hear the effects of the various arrangement layers that I added to fill out the overall sound.

Ch Backing No Gtr

This is the same mix as you can hear in ChBackingFull, but without the two additional guitar parts that I added using Nine Volt Audio's excellent REX loop library Pop Rock Guitars. Compare this with ChBackingFull to hear how the parts thicken and widen Dave's original guitar parts without being particularly audible in their own right.

Ch Backing Gtr

These are the two guitar parts that I muted for ChBackingNoGtr. The first is a simple double-tracked eighth-note part in open fifths which I've arranged to follow the song's chords, and it's been treated with EQ (high-pass filter at 65Hz, 4dB peaking cut at 4.5kHz, and low-pass filter at 5.5kHz) and a small amount of stereo tempo-sync'ed delay. The second part is a higher monophonic line which I again edited to match the song's chords, but which didn't require any processing at all in the mix.

Ch Backing No Gtr Pad

Now I've stripped away the synth pad from ChBackingNoGtr so that you can hear what effect that had. Unlike typical synth pads which are designed to warm up the sound, I chose this one to make the upper frequencies of the guitar texture more chordal and musical, and de-emphasising the guitar distortion a little. The difference it quite a subtle one, so you'll hear it best if you switch between this file and ChBackingNoGtr in your sequencer.

Ch Backing Pad

Here I've isolated the pad sound that I muted for ChBackingNoGtrPad. The raw synth sound is from the rich sawtooth-wave oscillators of Mikko Hyyrylainen's virtual analogue Satyr 8 freeware synth, which I passed through Reaper's built-in ReaEQ equaliser, gently rolling off the low end below about 1kHz and cutting 4dB with a one-octave peaking filter centred at 4kHz. Schwa's Oligarc Phaser plug-in provided some stereo movement, and although you don't normally need to add anything to pad sounds to get them to blend, the brighter sound I used here benefited from a little added reverb and tempo-sync'ed delay to move the sound slightly further into the background.

Ch Backing No Gtr Pad Pno

For this example I've removed my added electric piano part from the ChBackingNoGtrPad file. The impetus for putting in this instrument actually came in response to my arrangement concerns in the verses, but it turned out that the same sound was able to add something useful in the choruses too — a simple open-fifths part that increased the textural fullness and rhythmic drive a fraction. Again, the effect is quite subtle, so A/B this example directly with ChBackingNoGtrPad to hear it best.

Ch Backing Pno

The piano part which I took out of the mix to create ChBackingNoGtrPadPno can be heard in this audio example. It's from Mda's no-frills freeware Epiano virtual instrument, in which I applied some overdrive and auto-panning to the basic sound. Mix treatments consisted of some of Reaper's ReaEQ (high- and low-pass filters at 145Hz and 9.8kHz respectively, plus an additional peaking cut at around 2.9kHz), tempo-sync'ed delay, a short patch for blend, and some long plate reverb.

Ch Backing No Gtr Pad Pno Cym

The cymbals in Dave's original mix left something to be desired in terms of sound, so I supplemented them with some samples from my collection. For this example I've taken these cymbal parts out of ChBackingNoGtrPadPno to demonstrate how much they contribute to the accents and air of my final sound.

Ch Backing Cym

Here I've soloed out the four different cymbal parts that I muted for the ChBackingNoGtrPadPnoCym audio example. The hi-hats are built from some of the loops in Mads Michelson's Groovemasters Drums sample library, while the four different crash cymbals and two different rides were all provided by Spectrasonics' Back Beat collection. Finally, the cymbal mallet rolls hail from Soundlabel's lesser-known Xtreme Whooshes WAV set, although you can find similar sounds quite easily in most orchestral percussion libraries.

Ch Backing No Gtr Pad Pno Cym Noiz

One of the reasons digital recordings can be quite difficult to blend at mixdown is that there's no sense of common background noise, so I added some artificially for this mix So that you can hear what effect the noise has, I've muted it for this example, so you can compare it side-by-side with ChBackingNoGtrPadPnoCym — listen in particular to the way the upper percussion sounds change when the noise is added.

Ch Backing Noiz

This audio example contains just the background noise that I cut from the ChBackingNoGtrPadPnoCym file to make ChBackingNoGtrPadPnoCymNoiz. It was created using a couple of Retrosampling's Audio Impurities plug-ins: with the Vintage Edition I selected some buzz and hiss from the Universal Audio 1176 compressor, and then I blended that with some of the VST Edition's Noisefloor setting. This combined signal was then high-pass filtered at 78Hz to keep the low end of the bass and kick clear and defined. Notice also that the noise level fades out as the chorus begins to fade away — you can get away with a much higher level of noise when the arrangement texture is full than when things get sparser.

Ch Backing No Gtr Pad Pno Cym Noiz FX

Dave had used a lot of send effects to try to round out the sound of his original mix, but the downsides of this approach can be clearly head in the OriginalMix file: a washy and distant production, lacking clarity and instrument definition. I chose to enhance the sound with additional arrangement layers instead, as I've been demonstrating in the ChBacking audio examples so far, which meant that my effect use could afford to be much more subtle, as you can hear if you compare ChBackingNoGtrPadPnoCymNoiz file to this audio example, where I've switched off all my send effects.

Ch Backing FX

So that you can hear more clearly which effects I removed for ChBackingNoGtrPadPnoCymNoizFX, I've soloed them all for this file. The line-up includes two tempo-sync'ed eight-note delays (from Reaper's general-purpose ReaDelay plug-in), one with its left and right channels swapped over for more stereo interest; two short reverbs, comprising a dull ambience from Universal Audio's Dream Verb for blending purposes, and a bright, wide enhancement patch from an Lexicon 960L impulse response running in Christian Knufinke's SIR2; a long plate reverb from Universal Audio's Plate 140 plug-in; and a vintage chorus effect from Schwa's Oligarc Chorus.

Vox Notched

This is the processed vocal used in the final remix, but without any automation or send effects active. In order to get the vocal tone to sit properly in the mix I had to do four careful 8db EQ cuts with narrow peaking filters in Reaper's ReaEQ plug-in to remove unattractive resonances present in the original recording — almost certainly a result of the untreated room used for recording. The other channel processing includes dynamics from Universal Audio's LA3A emulation and Flux's Pure Limiter II, and there's also some high-pass filtering and 100-200Hz lift from 112dB's Redline Equaliser plug-in. Digital Fishphones' freeware Spitfish de-esser brought sibilance back into after the compression processing.

Vox Unnotched

This file shows how the vocal in VoxNotched sound without the ReaEQ processing. The effect is particularly evident in the second half of the file.

Original Mix

Here's the original mix of this month's track 'Never Stop', as sent in to Mix Rescue by its writer and producer Dave Gerard.


This is my final remix based on Dave's original multitrack files, although in the process or remixing I also added samples courtesy of Nine Volt Audio Pop Rock Guitars, Spectrasonics Back Beat, Soundlabel Xtreme Whooshes, and Sonic Couture's Abstrakt Breaks. Extra electric-piano and synth pad parts came from two freeware VST instruments: Mda's Epiano and Mikko Hyyrylainen's Satyr 8.

Remix No Multiband

Here's a version of the remix without the three-band mastering-style processing from Flux's Alchemist plug-in. This processing involved upward compression in the low band, gentle low-ratio compression in the midband, and faster peak-reducing compression in the high band — a more detailed description of the settings and the rationale behind them can be found in the main article.