7 Day 7 Mix Challenge. Day 2: Ill Fate

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Mix 2 of this 7 Day 7 Mix challenge is another track by the band Hollow Ground.

Multitrack can be found at: http://www.cambridge-mt.com/ms-mtk.htm#HollowGround_IllFate

Day 2 was interesting. Started mixing at 4am. Yep, 4am. Finished engineering a session at 3am for an artist, and thought, might as well mix. What else am I gonna do? Sleep? Fuck that.  

I did realize, however, that I had not prepped for mix 2, coz I still wasn’t sure if I’d actually do this 7 day 7 song thing. So I didn’t have kick and snare samples bounced and ready to fan out. I thought, you know what, fuck it. Might as well try it. My initial reaction was “maybe I’ll mix it more naturally” you know, without any sample reinforcement. Then I decided, might as well just browse through the Trigger samples and just see if theres anything at all that might fit. After about 15 minutes, I found a great kick and snare sample, custom ones, not Slate ones. 


After about 5 more minutes of tinkering, I decided that the snare enhancement was enough. The kick sounded good enough on its own. Truth be told, the recorded kick provided sounded pretty awesome. 


So here we hare, samples were in, track ready to mix, and fanned out onto the console. Everything was setup and rocking. I hit spacebar, and my initial reaction “I’m not perceiving the sound like it did yesterday, doing the Day 1 mix. Interesting.” 


Even after loading up my reference track (for this mix, once again, Paranoia by A Day to Remember - Mixed by Andy Wallace) and listening to it a few times, I noticed the way I perceived the sound from the speakers just wasn’t the same as it was last night. Am I crazy? Does it happen to anyone else? Please let me know! 


So I turned up the volume a bit, to match yesterdays level, and there was a point where I felt my perception vaguely matched how I heard the track yesterday, but I didn’t want to stay at the same volume level today. Maybe it was coz I had just finished engineering a long rap session, or perhaps its because I just didn’t want to mix loud again today. Who knows. Who cares. Nobody. 

So I started putting up levels, the track wasn’t gonna mix itself. Immediately, after hearing the kick, I knew that I did’t particularly want this to sound like yesterday’s mix. The kick just seem to ask me to approach the song a bit differently, a bit more in line with my aesthetic.. slightly clicky-er, a bit edgier, more aggressive. The kick just had that nice top end on it. Anyways on I went with mixing. 


Spacebar again. This time things just didn’t seem quite there yet. I turned around, and well, of course, the C2 wasn’t patched in. Plugged it in, and immediately it was there. Of course the mix still needed cleaning up and sweetening, but the what I was looking for, texturally, was there. Anyways, then I got a bit lazy and just went with the same setup as yesterdays. DBX160 on the Kick; distressors on the snares (both real and sample). LA2A on bass, 1176 on vocals. Although this time, no 610 on rooms. No specific reason, just didn’t feel like it. This time around, I did try something different, just for fun. Drums grouped into a bus, going into the Hairball Bluey, coming back on a channel as a parallel. Initially, everything was going to the bus- Kick, Snare, Toms, Hats, OVH, Room, everything. But I felt it just got to… splashy. So off go the OVH, hat and room. 

Initial reaction… Wow! That’s pretty badass as a parallel. Just adds weight to the shells. NICE. Needless to say, it stayed. I can’t believe I actually did yesterdays mix without any parallel compression on the drums what so ever. Interesting. 


Anyways after about the hour and a half mark, I just didn’t know what else to do on the track. Everything was there. So I went onto to pro tools and was about to delete the extra unused FX busses I had created, 3 extra delays and a reverb, but then I got an idea. Why not send the guitars to the 1/8 delay. Ok. send GTR to 1/8, turn send up to unity. Hmm… not bad, that sounds kinda cool. Leveled it out a bit, and you know what… not bad at all. Sounded pretty cool. I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve used a delay like that on heavy rhythm guitars. Sounds kinda cool! 

After getting that to sit in, I thought, hey.. I got another delay send still… lets send the room mic to it. So I did. Tweaked the delay till I heard something I liked, settled on a 1/8T. Interesting. I like it. Got that to sit in with the track. And then I sent both those delays to the same reverb bus the ST Delay from the vocals were sending into, and so was the snare I believe. I wanted that live band playing vibe, and I guess this was a way to enhance that. Anyways, tried something super cool. I like this whole guitars and drums to FX thing. Gives the song a bit more depth, also guitars sound a little bit more rich. 

Anyways. Bounced the track about 15 minutes after that. I’ve gone on too long about this mix. Is anyone even reading this anymore? Im off till tomorrow. Lets see if I can actually get the 3rd mix done. Its 8:43am right now. I have to go take care of things today till 5/6. Still haven’t slept from yesterday. Will I make it to the studio tonight for the 3rd mix? I think I should prepare samples for the session now. 


7 Day 7 Mix Challenge. Day 1: Left Blind

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The first mix to start of this 7 Day 7 Mix thing is a track by the band Hollow Ground.

Multitrack can be found at: http://www.cambridge-mt.com/ms-mtk.htm#HollowGround_LeftBlind

Day 1 Mix 1

I actually thought of starting this logging process on Day 2. So I have nothing much to day about Day 1. Although, I will explain what exactly it is that I’m doing. 

So. I thought, I’d challenge myself a bit. A 7 day, 7 song challenge. Where I source 7 different songs, and mix a song a day. The idea is to completely finish the mix and just put it up somewhere. Anywhere. Everywhere. Here. 

What am I aiming to get out of this? An extra 5-10 pounds of body fat and some studio pictures for instagram. Oh wait, forgot I’m posting this on social media.. I mean… I’m aiming for the stars #GoalsAF *fire emoji* *100 emoji* *insert cool new attention grabbing emoji* 

1 new song (mix) every day. No recalls, just when I’m done, I’m done. 

I started with day 1, loaded up a simpler mix which had a lower track count, so I can get things rolling. Initially decided to go full analog with the mix, but as I got into the flow, a hybrid approach just developed, where I did some filtering and EQ’ing in the box before I hit the console. Most of the processing was done on the console/outboard. I did very basic automation for this track. I should probably get a bit more involved with automation for track 3, would be cool. 

11pm, got into the studio, luckily I had the session prepped from before. The guitars needed re-amping, which I took care of a day or two before - for this track and any other track that needed it. Had samples laid out for the track beforehand as well. Came into the studio, fanned out the tracks onto the console. Trident 80B. Got everything balanced, then cranked up the reference - Paranoia by A Day To Remember - Mixed by Andy Wallace! 

Everything was up and playing. Checked the reference track. Balanced my mix… levels were basically there. EQ’ed the tracks. Back to the reference. Seems like my mix needed some killer SSL compression, like the reference. Well first things first, C2 insert on the stereo bus. Done. Nice, theres some snap and glue. Kick was still not in place. Well, I have no more SSL style compressors to choose from, so the DBX160a will do. Love that thing on kicks. Used it mostly as parallel, but might as well use it as an insert. Why the hell not. To be honest, I feel the dbx is very similar to the SSL compressor, just a little more “pumpy.” So instead of smashing it as usual for a parallel, I just backed off a bit. Boom. There’s the snap. Kick is in place. Next up, snare. Good ol’ distressors come in handy here. Just needed a nit more attack from the snares. Patched some cables, move some knobs, and there it is. 

Ok. Moving on. Toms… no compression, onboard EQ will suffice. OVH, already had a limiter in the box — L1, the snare killer! So no more compression. Onboard EQ will suffice. Hats. Seriously? just level it— Its a fucking hi-hat— dont kill the low end— I usually do, CLA tip was to leave it in… so I did. Moving on. Room. hmm. Spectra Sonics 610.. because why not.  That was it for drums. Even if it wasn’t, thats all I remember, so that will be it for drums.  

Bass. LA2A. done. Distorted bass. No compression, just EQ. Leave it slightly dynamic and blend it in so when the bassist digs in, the distorted track pops up a bit more. If I can remember correctly, that was a Val Garay tip, which he did with Bass DI and Amped Bass. Compress the amp, no compression on DI. Same concept. Guitars… Little bit of notching in the box and bit of console EQ. Vocals.. 1176. BG Vox.. onboard EQ. Thats it. 

Didn’t have any parallel compression on drums! Didn’t feel the need for it at the time. Looking back maybe I could have used a touch.

Oh right, FX on vocals, were Altiverb, ReaVibe and H-Delay in the box. PCM 70 and H3000 outboard. PCM70 was also on snare, and lead guitars. 

Track was a hardcore track, so I wanted it to sound slightly small, not to hi-fi and big sounding. Wanted to maintain a band playing together feel. What do you think? How’d it come out? Let me know!

 I guess I did have a fair amount to say after all. 

Should I have gone with some PC for the drums? Will I get enough instagram content? Should I have done more automation? Will I even actually end up doing 7 mixes in 7 days?  Let me know in the comments. Also, if you wanna see the sick studio pics, swing by at @the.metal.sound.guy