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Mix Rescue: St.Vitus | Media

Audio files to accompany the article.
Published November 2008

We get to grips with a mix in which big, up-front vocals are crucial to the impact of the song, and dispense plenty of tips along the way...

The vocal recording for the first verse was carefully processed in Melodyne for the remix -- you can hear the results of this in this audio example, without any other processing.

The first-verse vocal with it's EQ, compression, and automation active. Boosts of 7dB at 14kHz and 3dB at 3.5kHz brought the sound further forward in the mix, while a high-pass filter at 55Hz avoided unwanted low frequencies reaching the compressors, Jeroen Breebaart's PC2 and URS's Console Strip Pro (emulating the vintage Urei 1176LN) in series. Mixer automation was used to manually de-ess the brightened vocal sound and finally some intensive level riding was used to maximise audibility in the mix from moment to moment.

The first-verse vocal's effects were fairly subtle, just to add a bit of stereo width: a combination of a Harmonizer-style pitch-shift-delay patch and a very short ambience reverb.

The vocal in the first chorus used similar compression and EQ processing as the verses, but with a little low-end cut.

The chorus vocal sound with its contrasting effects sound, an important part of what differentiates the song sections. The two main treatments are a three-sixteenths ping-pong delay and a long dark plate reverb, although a little of the widener and ambience effects from the verses is also still in the mix.

The guitar part from the song's first prechorus. The sound was made up from a combination of mic and DI signals, each independently EQ'd. The two tracks were phase-aligned with Betabugs' Phasebug phase-rotation plug-in, and then combined to a common bus channel. The buss channel was then levelled with a low-ratio compressor before being treated with parallel compression to enhance the instrument's sustain.

To demonstrate the effect of the parallel compression processing on the acoustic guitar part, here's a version of AcGtrProcessed with this processing bypassed.

With the parallel compression in action, the high frequencies of the acoustic guitar part were conflicting with those of the more important lead vocal part, so I cut 6dB of high end out of the parallel compressed signal to reduce this problem. In this audio example I've bypassed the processing to show what the guitar sounded like before that EQ cut. (In isolation I actually prefer it, but it doesn't work as well in the mix!)

The Phasebug phase-rotation plug-in had a considerable effect on the combined sound of the acoustic guitar mic and DI signals. For this example file, I've bounced down a version of AcGtrProcessed with the Phasebug plug-in bypassed so that you can compare the extent of the change.

To give a bit more stereo interest to the second verse and prechorus, I added in a number of subtle little special effects from Heavyocity's Evolve, a Kontakt Instrument-based sample library. This audio file shows what they sounded like in isolation. You can also hear the additional background-noise sample that I used throughout the track to help add a sense of 'air' and cohesion.

Here you can hear the second verse and prechorus without the added Evolve or background-noise effects.

The same section of the song with the Evolve and background-noise effects mixed in.

Phil's mix of his song 'Word Gets Around'.

My remix of the same song, working from Phil's raw multitrack files.

Published November 2008