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Mix Rescue: Signe Jakobsen | Media

Mixing & Recording Advice
Published July 2011

The audio files on this page accompany the Mix Rescue article in SOS July 2011.

The audio files that accomany this month's Mix Rescue can be downloaded here.


Here's Signe's original mix of the song, as submitted for Mix Rescue. Compared with the demo version (the OriginalDemo audio file), the additional live drum, bass, and guitar overdubs have added a lot of life, although some of the additional vocal layers from the middle section (1:56) until the end of the song felt a bit confusing. The arrangement also still presented difficulties because of harmonic disagreements between the parts, most notably during the choruses (for example at 1:39, 1:44, and 1:54 in the second chorus), the mid-section (especially 2:10-2:16), the link before the second verse (1:07-1:13), and the intro (especially 0:09-0:11).


An unidentified problem during the recording process had left the kick-drum close-mic recording in a bad way, as you readily judge for yourself by listening to this audio example. Not only is there lots of spill from other instruments, but the kick-drum hits themselves are mostly breaking up nastily, as if from some kind of overload or equipment malfunction. My decision: to replace it with a sample of an unglitched kick-drum — such as the second and third hits in this very file.


By slicing out an unglitched hit from the original close-mic kick-drum recording (as heard in the KickGlitch file), importing it into Cockos Reaper's ReaSamplOmatic5000 sample player, and triggering it from an instance of Cockos ReaGate fed from the original track, I was able to replace the original part, as demonstrated in this audio example. (I've also EQ'd it with Cockos ReaEQ, with a 3dB boost 40Hz, 2dB cut at 100Hz, 4dB cut at 2.7kHz, and a very gentle low-pass filter rolling off from around 1kHz.)


I used SPL's DrumXchanger to trigger an additional drum sample underneath the existing snare close-mic signal to give it a tone, breadth, and weight that was missing from the close-mic signal. Sometimes snare spill in the overheads does this job for you, but here the overheads were dominated by the cymbals, so there was no joy to had there.


This is a section of my final drums submix, showing the kick-drum and snare sample in context. Compare this with the DrumsSnareSampleOut to get an idea of the contribution of the snare sample heard in the SnareSPLSolo file.


This is what the final drums submix would have sounded like without the sample I triggered alongside using SPL's DrumXchanger plug-in. Compare this with the DrumsSnareSampleIn file, or hear the sample on its own in SnareSPLSolo.


In order to try to sort out some of the harmony problems I had identified in the Signe's original mix (the OriginalMix audio file) I weeded out all the conflicting parts to create a solid backbone upon which to rebuild a more effective arrangement. This involved removing a number of the guitar parts, most crucially the main high melodic line in the intro, pre-verse-two link, and choruses. The original piano, string-synth, and organ parts were also muted for similar reasons. The hi-hat pattern at the start of this file was simply to provide an introductory click-track for subsequent overdubs by Studio Pros.


This is one of Signe's guitar overdubs as processed for the final remix, except that I've bypassed the Melda MEqualizer plug-ins that I used to dip out the clashing minor third in the chords at 0:04 and 0:09. Compare this with GtrMinorNotchIn.


Compared with the GtrMinorNotchOut file, this example has been processed with Melda's MEqualizer plug-in to remove a rogue minor third in the chords at 0:04 and 0:09. The settings comprised a peaking-filter cut of 24dB at 372Hz with a Q value of 20, with similar automatically generated peaking-filter cuts applied one, two, and three octaves above that. The way MEqualizer can do multiple octave-related cuts like this is very useful facility for this kind of application.


This is the first draft of the overdubs sent back to me by Studio Pros (mixed over the StudioProsGuideMix file I sent them for guide purposes). Although there was a lot of great material in there, I still wasn't convinced by the direction taken in the introduction, or the specific high guitar line during the choruses, so requested a couple of revisions to push these more in the desired direction.


This was the guide keyboard part I provided to StudioPros along with my revision requests, so that the guitarist would know more clearly what I had in mind for the melodic chorus riff in particular. This file is designed to be heard alongside the StudioProsGuideMix example, so the best thing is to import them both into your DAW so that they start at the same time, and then listen to them in that context.


The revised overdubs rough mix from Studio Pros, with the much improved high melodic line. Although there were also some nice acoustic-guitar ideas in there, I decided against using them in the end, as they didn't seem to fit in with the way the production was sounding as a whole.


In this file you can hear the updated additional middle-section parts isolated from the final remix. The tremolo string synth was edited to fit the harmonies better; the programming of the original MIDI piano part was refined to make it a little less wooden-sounding, and was then rerecorded using 4Front's TruePianos virtual instrument; and the organ part was replaced using GSI's excellent VB3 hammond-organ plug-in.


Here's the drums submix for the final chorus of my remix so that you can hear the internal effects and processing details. Line it up against FinalChorusFiller and FinalChorusVocals in your DAW to get a better idea of how the full mix fits together.


This file contains a submix of the bass and guitars for the final chorus section of my remix, including the additional parts supplied by Studio Pros. Line it up against FinalChorusDrums and FinalChorusVocals in your DAW to get a better idea of how the full mix fits together.


The vocals and backing vocals can be heard, with all their final remix effects, in this audio example. Line it up against FinalChorusDrums and FinalChorusVocals in your DAW to get a better idea of how the full mix fits together — notice how much less audible the effects returns are within the context of the full mix, in particular.


The complete final remix of Signe Jakobsen's 'What Have You Done To Me', carried out it Cockos Reaper. Although I worked from the same multitracks as Signe did when she created her original mix (the OriginalMix file), I also added some drum samples and incorporated a few supplementary guitar overdubs courtesy of the on-line Studio Pros session-musician service.