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Mixing Metal | Audio Examples

From Mixing Metal December 2009 By Mark Mynett
Published December 2009

Here is a selection of audio files to accompany this month's Mixing Metal (/sos/dec09/articles/metalII.htm)

To illustrate the principles of mixing modern metal, I have taken screen shots and audio examples from two productions of mine, for the bands For Untold Reasons and Godsized. These bands showcase two very different faces of modern metal. For Untold Reasons come more from the death-metal side of the genre, while Godsized, although down-tuned with a really heavy overall sound, have more of a melodic focus.

The final mixed and mastered tracks: For Untold Reasons' 'Of the Skies' and Godsized's 'Walking Away'.

This example, taken from the Godsized track, demonstrates the 'wrong kind of low end' for kick drums. Bars one and two, although having the weight and attack of the double miked kick-drum combined, also has an excess of muddy 40-65 Hz frequencies, and boxy low-mids around 225-350 Hz, both of which could cause domestic hi-fi speakers to distort, and become a 'mix wrecker' when overall mastering compression hits. Additionally, the 225-350 Hz range will tend to mask the bass guitar.

Bars three and four present an aggressive EQ applied to these spot mics to accentuate the more essential low-end frequencies and more effective high-end click. A sample of has been added for additional weight, but only to around 30 percent of the volume of the spot mics. Both of these sections are then repeated.

This example from For Untold Reasons demonstrates the depth, clarity and note definition that can be gained when combining a DI, bass cab and emulator (in this case a Sansamp PSA1).

A separate channel of bass distortion recorded with a Peavey Bandit 112 combo. As you will hear, there are some muddy lows and abrasive highs present.

The same distorted bass, but with high- and low-pass filters used to remove these unwanted frequencies: the low end and note clarity will be provided by the other three bass sources.

The three bass sources combines as in example 4, but with the distorted source heard in example 6 added. You can see screen shots of the settings used in the article.

The stereo rhythm guitar bus from the For Untold Reasons song, EQed as heard on the final mix.

With the corrective EQ removed from the equation, you will hear that there is an immediate loss of note clarity and overall definition.

This is the same guitar mix with neither corrective nor creative EQ used, demonstrating a further loss of heaviness and intelligibility to the tone.

This audio example from Godsized demonstrates the mirrored EQ principle. Here, to gain the necessary vocal clarity when being set against huge, down-tuned rhythm guitar tones, mirrored EQ has been used, so the pleasing vocal characteristics around 3.79kHz have been accentuated, while the same region has been attenuated on the rhythm guitar group.

This example contains the same vocal phrase twice: first with Digidesign's Lo-Fi plug-in used to slightly drive the vocal, which helps provide a slightly more aggressive edge and will assist in getting it to sit within the context of the mix, and secondly without.  

Published December 2009