More Mixing Tips (with Audio Examples) in Cubase | Will Edwards | Skillshare

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More Mixing Tips (with Audio Examples) in Cubase

teacher avatar Will Edwards, Artist. Creative Problem Solver. Musician

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

15 Lessons (53m)
    • 1. Course Introduction

    • 2. Instructor Introduction

    • 3. Master Channel Limiting

    • 4. Drum Mixing Overview

    • 5. Gating a Kick Drum

    • 6. Kick Compression

    • 7. Mixing Snare

    • 8. Mixing High Hat

    • 9. Send FX, Reverb and Delay

    • 10. Mixing with Faders

    • 11. Placing Instruments in Stereo

    • 12. My Mixing Philosophy

    • 13. Mixing in Mono

    • 14. Pre-Master Considerations

    • 15. Exporting Options Explained

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About This Class

Cubase users can get overwhelmed with the depth of the DAW. This course, along with my other Cubase courses, helps students use Cubase to effectively mix their music AND understand the program’s power.  This course extends my original course: Cubase Mixing with EQ and Compression.  I’ll cover additional features like:

  • Master channel limiting
  • Review of Mixing a Drum Kit
  • Mixing in mono¬†

I’ll also explain mixing workflows for: 

  • Panning
  • Pre-Master Level

Jump in, complete the course project and quickly develop a richer, deeper understanding of both Cubase and the mixing process.

Meet Your Teacher

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Will Edwards

Artist. Creative Problem Solver. Musician


I am a full-time professional musician who has broad teaching experience with guitar & bass students in rock, blues, jazz and many other genres. I perform live on bass, guitar and keyboards.  In addition, I perform live electronic music improvisation.  I've devoted over 26 years to my own well-rounded musical education, focusing on a mastery of all aspects of modern music - from music theory to ear training; from live performance to composition and practice routines.

I specialize in bridging the gap between music and technology, focusing on using modern tools to demonstrate all aspects of music.  I compose and perform with Ableton and Push 2 and I have experience with Cubase, ProTools and Logic.  I'm extremely comfortable using web-based to... See full profile

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1. Course Introduction: Hi, My name is Will Edwards and I've worked for years as an audio engineer. I ran my own recording studio for about five years, and my main software choice was Q Base. I have training in other platforms, like logic and GarageBand and pro tools, but Q base was always my favorite, and in this course I'm gonna kind of give you some MAWR mixing tips. There's a great compliment, this course to my original course, which is all about mixing with e que and compression. In this course, I'm going to talk about some other features of to base that you can add into your mix to just bring up your game a little bit and make your mixes sound a little bit better. Give you a little more control over the final product. This course is somewhat philosophical. There are a number of lessons where I present my ideas, my perspectives, my recommendations in terms of how to think about your projects and how to think about mixing. I think that's really helpful. And then I've also created a project outline that accompanies this course, and my recommendation is that you go through that project if you have any questions by all means. Share them here in the course, or you can ask me directly through messaging. But by completing the course, you're going to ensure that you have a chance to become fluent with the topics in this course. So it's really important that you do pay attention to what's in the project. You can also see that there are downloads that you can use to kind of help you through this course. If you have any questions, any time, please reach out to me. I'm always available. Let's get started. 2. Instructor Introduction: I've worked professionally in music for about two decades, and in that time I've done a ton of gigging. I've done song writing, have recorded my own albums, but for several years I actually ran my own recording studio. I did a lot of production for pop rock. I did some production for country blues and electronic music. Nowadays, I use my skills primarily for my own advantage. But I wanted to make this course to illuminate some of the tricks and tips that I learned throughout my experience about how to mix a great too. 3. Master Channel Limiting: Welcome back. Our recent discussions were focused on the studio e que e que plugging that is built in the Q base. And, of course, the compressor plug in both of these RVs t three plug ins. They're both compatible with the Q base platform because they're developed by Steinberg, Studio e que and compressor are by far the most common plug ins that I use, and I think you could do 90%. You work with them. One more plug in that I would bring to your attention is a limiter, and a limiter is essentially a very, very, very strong compressor. It's typically where compressor will allow a signal to go over a threshold. A limiter does not. So, typically, a limiter is designed for a much more aggressive, possibly even abusive, effect on your audio, where it just stops it dead in its tracks. A limiter generally wouldn't be used in a per track basis. In other words, right now we've got studio Q and compressor set up as plug ins on our track one, but we would typically use a limiter on the master track. Let's take a moment and look at how you could add a limiter or specific plug ins to either a channel or a master channel and talk a little bit about why you'd want to do one of the other. So I'm gonna hit F three, which is gonna bring up the mixer view. I'm gonna close these windows here. Now we see we've got three channels here. The 1st 1 is our stereo in which right now is just picking up my voice. Track One is the track that we created and that has thes inserts in a studio Cute compressor. We can see that the stereo input has no inserts. That's literally like catching the audio before it comes into my recorded channel. We're not gonna do anything with that right now. And then we've got our stereo out, which we could regard as the Master Channel. So here I might wanna add a limiter, and we're gonna go to dynamics, and then we're gonna choose limiter, and we can see that it is a V S t three again. Now a limiter essentially is going to be like a compressor, but it just stops the audio level in its tracks. Limiters make a lot of sense in the Master Channel because a limiters main purpose is to prevent peak or distortion. We don't ever want our audio level to go over what's known as zero D B F s, which stands for decibels full scale. And that is a measurement in additional domain, where you're dealing with digital audio, any kind of d A W and zero db fs is the point at which the audio signal will get clipped digitally. In other words, there's no capacity for the computer to know what happens to the audio data after the level zero db fs, which means generally it becomes terribly distorted. So we want to make sure that under absolutely no circumstances, no matter what we're mixing back here with kicks and snares or synthesizers, guitars, bass, whatever we want to make sure, absolutely sure that what comes out of our stereo track or master check is always going to be at the very maximum zero d BFs. And typically, what I'll actually do is make sure that we set this just a little bit south of that, like minus 00.3 d BFs. That means absolutely do not permit any sound to come out that has a level that's greater than 0.3 decibels below zero, right, So that just gives me a little bit of a margin there, and you're not gonna notice any big problem there as far as things sounding quiet at all. 0.3 D B is almost nothing, but it really does protect the output from distorting badly. So you really want to run limiters only in the master track there, maybe a few exceptions that, but generally that's the purpose of a limiters out here on the master track. You may want to use studio Q and compressor on the master track as well, but generally you would not use a limiter on an individual track. All right, then, the next lecture. Let's talk about organizing track structure. 4. Drum Mixing Overview: mixing drums can be a pretty complicated affair, but it's really important to focus on each individual element of the kit. Even if you're working in electronica music, where you really dealing with one drum machine? You want to think about each element because they have really different characteristics. In the following lessons, I'm gonna actually show you how to focus specifically on the kick. Then we're gonna spoke a specifically on the snare, then the high hat. Now, between those three, the kick the snare in the high hat. You really are getting the main brunt of what beat is doing what the group is doing. That way, we'll have the whole kit mixed up and you'll understand the important elements that go into each element of Kate. So let's get started. 5. Gating a Kick Drum: So let's talk about using a gate and I'm gonna start with Kick Channel here, and I'm gonna go ahead and open up my gate plug in, and I'm just gonna solo this channel. Now we can see the audio of being processed by our gate plugging. So on the left hand side is the input zero here represents the zero dvf s or decibels. Full scale that we discussed in the introduction. That is the point at which of the volume exceeds that. Essentially, it exceeds the computer's ability to process the signal, which usually winds up, meaning you get terrible distortion and you do not want any kind of distortion in the digital realm you just avoided at all costs. Generally, you want to be looking at roughly minus 12. Let's say, as being the zone between minus nine and minus 12 should be a good level. So this is even a little hot at minus 8.2. But I'm gonna let it ride. Since this is the This is the original file. It's basically fine. I know. I mean, I want my kid to be pretty loud Anyway, next in the middle, we've got a threshold ill. And we can actually move that, like so. And what the green and yellow light here is showing us is whether or not our gate is open or closed. Okay, so when it's set to minus 60 basically the gate is gonna close. If this level here drops below minus 60 which we see, it never does. It hardly ever even drops below minus 20. So right now it's open all the time, the gates not functioning. If we bring this up, let's say Tu minus 16. Well, just actually, maybe type that in now. When we play it, you can see that just as this input goes over minus 16 our gate opens just a little bit. What that means is that when the light is yellow, it's essentially muted. And if there was anything in here besides kick, then it would be taken out. And that's excellent. If you're recording and mixing a real drum kit where the kick mic, for example, might have some bleep from high up something like that, you just want to figure out where is the kick hit with snare hit happening, and then you want to set your threshold for around that level. I've said it to minus 60. Now let's look at compression in the next lesson 6. Kick Compression: in this lesson. We're gonna talk about compression. And there was a couple of different schools of thought on compression as far as where it should be in the chain. Generally speaking, you want to have the compressor before your EQ you because you don't want your e que boosts to create more volume and thereby drive your compressor harder. So what we might want to do in some situations is actually have the compressor first and then the eq you a second, but with the drums were not really going to be doing a lot of e que boosting. We're only gonna be doing he cute cutting. And so that's not is gonna be is important to have the compressor first. Let's take a look at how the compressor sounds currently, Right now, what we've got is an input meter and showing us what level the input signals coming in G. R stands for gain reduction and this is an inverted meet or so is showing us roughly minus four to minus six. That's a maybe minus four. DV is what is coming up registering here. This number here represents the maximum gain reduction is currently happening with these settings. So if I go ahead and I double click that number, it resets it to zero. See, if you double click any one of these numbers, it resets it. It's always showing the highest value that happened. As I bring this threshold down, you're going to see that this gain reduction number goes up and the meter shows that's getting more and more gain reduction right now. What happens here when we have a lot of gain reduction is that actually the sound of the drum is lost. So if we're listening to this again, it doesn't really even sound like a drum. We're just getting this very faint, so clicking sound at the beginning. As we open up the compressor, we actually get more on the sound. Robert K. And this is the first important lesson of using a compressor. The compressor changes the it's hammer of the instrument, and the Tambor is exactly detail that are here, listens to to try to figure out what we're hearing. What makes a violin sound different from a flute is called Tambor, and when you use a compressor on any instrument, whether it's a drum or a vocal or a flute. It does, in exaggerated forms, change the tambor of the instrument, which could be really an undesirable effect in some kinds of electronic music and e g. M. It's actually desired. You really using the compressor to create new Tambor's. But generally you want to use the compressor in a manner that doesn't change the tambor of the instrument. That's the first main lesson the compressor is got all these technical details like ratio and threshold, but at the fundamental core of using a compressor, we're not just thinking about attacks, and releases and ratios were really thinking about how to preserve the Tambor and at the same time make the instrument sound close to the listener. And they realize the second man topic to understand about a compressor. The more that you compare us an audio signal, the more it seems to be close to the listener here job. So if you want to bring something close to the listener, you want to use a compressor, and that's why it's used on lead vocals so extensively, because we want to make it sound like the singer is right up front in the mix. As we listen to this kick and I bring the compressor. You could hear how it sounds a little bit closer to our years now. Then it did here just a little bit. It's subtle. We don't want to lose the wolfing sound that's in there because that's part of the 808 kick . I like the way that sounds, but I actually want to open it up a little longer. That's gonna be the release value here. Now, you get a little bit of that wolf back. I've got my attacks that super fast gonna happen almost immediately. There's gonna be a compressor on it. I'm actually gonna set a compressor ratio to be a little more aggressive. I'm gonna go for 6 to 1. I'm gonna back this off just a little bit. Looking for about 3.5 TV of gain reduction. That's fine. This is about where I wanna be. I've got my makeup gain sent, auto makeup. You can hear how if I turn that off, there's actually a little bit quieter. Then when it's turned on. So generally for the mixing that I'm gonna do in this course, you're gonna want to leave the auto makeup game on. We're also gonna go ahead and make sure that this dry, wet knob has the dry mix completely excluded. Essentially, that means that over here we're listening to pure compressor output. Over here, we are listening to the dry signal that would exist if the compressor was never placed in the signal change. 7. Mixing Snare: in the last lesson, we set up our gate e que and compressor for the kick that we're gonna do the same thing for the snare. So I'm going to solo the snare. We can hear that playing right there. I'm gonna go ahead and set my threshold about like so again. The use of a gate on electric drums is not as important because generally there isn't bleeding between the drums. But this is really valuable in any situation where you've got a track that's been recorded and you want to make sure you're only getting that specific instrument sound. Now let's look at our cue and we can see our frequency spectrum again. And what we see here is that a snare naturally has this high end, the kind of bulge and this other bulge that we can see is roughly around 180 hertz. Okay, so the first thing I'm gonna do is I'm going to cut off the low end here where the kick really resigns. So I got my first band activated, and I'm gonna go ahead and I'm gonna get low shelf. I'm gonna bring the game down like that, bring the frequency up a little bit. Makes my scenario little snappier. As you can hear, that's before and that's after it's just a little snappier. Now I'm gonna bring the band five, and I'm gonna kind of essentially what's happening here. Now I'm gonna bring band six. I'm gonna actually bring that up to around 2.2 kilohertz and I'm just gonna give it a little boost. Have about three TV. This is before and after. Okay, now, since I've done a fair amount of cutting here, I'm gonna actually boost my overall signal because essentially the use of these bands to do this big cut in the base and this big cutting amends has actually reduced the overall volume of my signals. So what I'm gonna do, actually is just kind of gauge how loud it is with a features bypassed how much more quiet it is that I'm gonna actually boosted up. It's a little hot. Bring it down a little bit. There we go. So now, whether it's active or inactive, the level is about the same. So I'm just changing the sonic characteristics and actually changing the level the volume. Next thing we want to do is set the compressor. So I'm gonna come in here and again. I'm looking at the gain reduction in putting output, but for the snare, I really want a little bit more off a decay phase in the envelope. So there's the attack, which we want to be very fast. Except the ratio to 6 to 1, which I've always found, is generally pretty good. It's not too heavy handed with drums, but drums, Aaron aggressive instrument with aggressive transients. And a higher ratio at this tends to get the results I like may have the attack be very fast . No hold. And the release for right now is okay. I want to set this to peak. No harm s OK, and I'm gonna leave auto makeup gain on. What you can see is this very sharp image representing our ratio. So as soon as the level hits that, it is immediately being cut off very dramatically. And that's why we see so much gain reduction. Now, I'm gonna use the threshold to modify that by year so that I don't lose Tambor. What changes the tambor of drinking too much? I'm looking for the drum to get close without Timbul change, and that's about where we're at. So again I'm getting ah average of about minus 2.5 to 3 D v gain reduction on my snap. Let's listen to these two together. You can actually use this button here to disable all of the inserts of that channel. So, in essence, we can. Here is what the kick and snare sounded like. Originally, this is what it sounds like. Now it's a little more crisp, and that's what you wanted. 8. Mixing High Hat: So let's look at the I have I'll solar the channel and play it. Now I notice I'm not getting any sound. The reason why is that our default gate value is actually muting at the whole time. If we disable this, we hear that open. So another way of talking about that is that our threshold here is set to aggressively some in that back it off like that. I'm gonna go to the que and in this case with my high hat, I actually want runs the eq you after the compressor, and it's nice and easy in Q base. You can actually just drag these elements around without changing their individual value. So let's set the compressor first. Since that's the next in the order and I'm gonna go ahead and set this at a slightly less aggressive ratio. No one leave my make up on my neck slowly down. I'm gonna be looking here at arm s completely because when I really want to get from the high hat is kind of this long tail, I want it almost sound like a noise from noise oscillator. Just kind of a sound. I want a little bit more of that. I'm gonna bring down my threshold. Not too aggressively. You can see that when I use the peak value, I get this more sort of bouncing sound. Where's when I use the arm at it? Sort of Hold it down. Is it tamped down on it and hold it down the same time. Now what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna release this a little bit to bring him sit more of the tamarins, thistles, the foreign after. It's a subtle difference. But what I've done is basically made the open. I had moved forward towards the listener a little bit more. Let's go ahead and look at the EQ. You we'll see in our frequency spectrum monitoring here that we're getting a lot of high end. I actually want to kind of move this back a little bit. Something actually boosts a little closer to about five K, and I don't want to do a big boost. I just want to do about two db roughly like that before and after just a little more brittle. And that's what I want for this particular piece. Since it's kind of electronic sound, I want my drums, Teoh have less mid range and mawr, extreme highs and more extreme lows. Let's listen to how the open high hat and the kick in the snare sound together. Now each of the drums is much more independent in the listeners here. You can really separate them a lot more. Let's listen again and hear how each individual drum now occupies its own space in the frequency spectrum. Likewise, each of these elements is fulfilling its own personality the compression and EQ you engaging that I've done it didn't change the tambor of them so that you can still tell that the kick is supposed to be a kick in. The snare is supposed to be a snare in the high out, supposed to be a high at they're all working together. They're just more articulate. They have a more refined space. So we got one more thing here, the closed I have I'm just going to copy this gate and this compressor and frequency to my clothes high at the way I'm gonna do that is in the mixer console. So I'm gonna go ahead and hit F three and what I can do from here is I can see which channel I'm looking at here is my closed. I am open. I am going to go ahead and, um, and delete these, which were the originals from our chain precept. And I'm gonna hold the option key. I mean a makham and hold the option. And I'm gonna drag each one of these. And this is essentially creating a copy with exactly the same values deceased. You know, when I look at this compressor, it actually has the same ratio in the same settings as what I had said on the open hat. So it's like I just took all of the plug ins and inserts from this channel and a copy them over here. Now, I'm gonna go ahead and close that. I'm just gonna make a couple of small modifications here. I'm gonna want to just solo my clothes tap, modify the gate. Nice. So go ahead and modify my compressor so that I'm just getting something a little more subtle. And I want a little more release on there. Open it up a little bit more, then I'm gonna go to my frequency. Eq you and I can see that eyes inherited this little teak here I'm gonna want to keep that peak because, after all, closed High hat tenant open I have are supposed to be the same instrument on an 808 drum machine course. It's different channels, but in the real world, High has a high out, and whether it's closer open, it should have more or less the same Tamra quality. But I do want to boost a little bit more in the high end. That's gonna make this particular closed sound stand out a bit against the open sound. So let's listen to how those drums all sound together, all right, but sounding really articulate. There's a lot of boom in the bass. The snare is really clear. That loud crack there's open hats are really obvious. That's a sound I like. Back in the introduction section, I talked about using folder tracks, and this is a great example of when I like to use full detracts. All of these air drums, they're all done. They were basically ready, but I want to keep them organized, and I'm gonna right click and create a folder track, and I'm gonna call this folder track drums, and I'm gonna drag this group in here now. I could just have one track there if I solo it. It's solos, all the drums. If I mute it, commutes all the drums. That's what I want. So I've got this one full detract that represents all my drums, even though I can always go in and make individual tweaks to the presets or inserts for those individual elements. 9. Send FX, Reverb and Delay: All right. Welcome back in this lesson, I'm gonna create a couple off send effects, and the way I'm going to do that is using Q base is built in effects channel. So I'm gonna go ahead, add effects channel. I'm going to start the 1st 1 is just gonna be a delay. I'm gonna use this stereo delay. Leave it as stereo could, of course, is a stereo delay. And that's gonna actually add on effects channel here. And the effects channel can be used as a send. I want to add one more. I'm gonna add river as well. Really want to thicken up these vocal harmonies? So I'm gonna go ahead and select reverb. Let me use room works. ESI, which is basically room works, but it uses a lot less. CBS didn't have that track. Now, in order to hear these channels with just solo channels actually have to solo the FX channels as well. Now I want to go ahead and send the output from root third and fifth. So I want to send that to these different values and I want to be able to set different fades and sends for each one so Let's start with route and I'm gonna go to send. And now if I go to the first sand slot, I'll see that I have each of my new effects set up. I'm gonna go ahead and do that and enable them I have a default value of zero. Basically, meaning, you know that I've sent the full signal to the cents. I'm also going to go ahead and do that same thing on the thirds and fits. Finally, I want to load some plug in presets. So I'm gonna load ambience for my delay. And for the reverb. I'm gonna load something called Background Choir. Let's listen to these three parts together. Um oh, you want to increase the amount of river being used, so I'm gonna go down to my room works SC and I can actually come to the insert section, Open up my room works S e and I can change the values at any point in time. And then this will be effectively the river that's being used by all three of these channels. So anything that I change here will affect all three of the same time. Do you? A little bit of clipping currently happening, but that will get resolved when I do mix down in the next section. 10. Mixing with Faders: Now we're gonna look at mixing with Vader's so we're gonna want to use our mix console, and there's a few ways that we can reach the mix. Consul. First of all, we can go to the studio Manu, and we can select mix console. We can actually create three different mix consuls if you want, but for this project, we really only need one. Now we can either select it here from the studio menu. What? We can use the F three keys that opens up the console. We used this earlier in the course when we were adding inserts. He's essentially give us a view of all of the failures whether things are so loaded with a fader czar on his given instruments. Uh, I'm gonna go ahead and I'm gonna zoom out my project. I'm gonna just basically set up a loop by using option P on the Mac. After selecting a clip like this option, people set a loop and start playing it. I'm not hearing anything right now because some items are soloed and some are muted. We can change that from within our mix console as well, by loading that up and we can actually a mute things. We can also use the master Deactivate all solos, Theo. Now what we're hearing is our project being played wherever the cursor is right. So we're just about to get to the part Where are vocal harmony from the last section comes in. The idea is to use the failures basically set general levels. In this lesson, we're only doing manual fader changes, and we're really looking for a kind of set it and forget it. Levels for each instrument on the left hand side here under the visibility tap. There's a check mark next to each item that appears in the main mix console so we can customize this pretty dramatically. I want to take the effects channels out completely, so I'm gonna go ahead. And as you can see, that removed two tracks from the end of our mix console. I also want to get rid of the stereo in because we're not gonna be using that and also get rid of our input output channels. That's basically our stereo mix. We're gonna be leaving that, as is for now. Now I'm going toe extend this window out so that we don't really need to have any kind of scrolling going on. So now we're looking at all the favors for all of the instruments, and what I want to do is basically set up a mix again following our fundamental principles . We want everything to be heard. Clearly, we want everything to be articulate and have its place. We don't want anything to be to hidden, and we don't want anything to be to laugh. So let's just listen to the blend right now. And I'm gonna want to change these three harmony channels that route the third and 5th 1 Watch and change those all at once. So what I'm gonna do is length. Um, I'm going to select the channels. I'm gonna hold the shift key, and I'm in a right click and I'm going to select link selected channels Now. What that means is that you can link any of these items. I'm gonna just leave everything the way it is. And now when I move one fader, it moves them all. So let's listen. One of my favorite techniques for mixing levels is to commute everything or bring the favors down on everything. Figure out what the main feature of the pieces. Start without it zero and then bring all the other instruments in louder until basically, they're kind of being heard. What I'm gonna do is I'm gonna bring down everything except for two things. There's an electronic piece of music so I'm gonna definitely want the kick and the snare to be upfront. I'm gonna bring it back. Everything else, Okay? I'm also gonna bring down my clothes tie hand rather now I'm gonna set the levels for just the kick and snare. Sounds good to me. Now I'm gonna bring in each additional instrument in order of importance. So the next most important thing after this, I think is gonna be the roads. That's what I think the level should be. Next thing I do is bring in the hope lead and let's go back earlier section where the old lead is actually getting blade. So I'm gonna have to close this window, set my cursor at the beginning of that section that has the lead part. Go back to F three and I'm gonna bring that instrument in slowly. Wait for the new lead, the proper regularly becoming to make sure these air, roughly the same level. All right, That sounds good to me. I want to bring. Next thing I want to do is I want to bring in the piano track that we added, using the instrument channel under harmony. We created this Halle on Sonic Channel, and I want to go ahead and bring that in as well. Back to F three. The Hallion Sonic electric piano requires two favors because we have the Sonic instrument channel and the Sonic Man's. So I'm gonna go ahead and take this instrument and I'm going to set its volume 20 And then I'm also going to go ahead and actually take that out of our view. Now, I've really just got one fader for the instrument. I just want this instrument. That sounds good. Now, the next thing I'm gonna do is bring in our subtracted base. I'm gonna want to get more volume out of this base. I'm gonna set up compressor, and I'm going to set some settings here such that I could bring up the overall volume of this base considerably. Let's give that a listen to try and get about 16 b of a production may come on essentially giving. Next thing I'm gonna do is bring in. The thing I want to do is bring in the percussion. But the percussion only happens over that hole lead. So we got to kind of go back and make sure we're listening to this part right here, Theo. Now let's bring in the vocals over the same part. I just want to bring them up enough that you can hear them during that break down section. All right? Just to give it a little more texture way, way In the next lesson, I'm gonna show you how to use panning to set some of these instruments into the stereo feel . And then after that, we're also gonna buy a little bit of automation so that there could be some growth and development during the peace. 11. Placing Instruments in Stereo: All right. Welcome back. Now we're gonna work on some panting. So we've got our mix all set with the failures. And if you have any questions about this, go back and watch the last lesson here. I'm gonna use panning to basically do it different instruments in the left or the right, and ah, lot of them. I'm just gonna leave kind of dead center. I'm gonna work on each track from left to right and explain what I'm doing. Starting with the closed high out, typically in a drum kit. If you got a right handed drummer which is more common than a left handed drummer, the right handed drummer is gonna have their high hat to your right. So you're the audience listening to the band, so I'm actually put the high hat a little bit in the right. Let's go ahead and listen to how that sounds When I panic, that's all the way to the right. That's all the way to the left. I just want to create a little bit of a stereo field. I don't want to pan it hard, right? Just a little bit. I'm gonna do the same thing with my open half, so they occupy the things face to kick. I'm gonna leave that way, basically just a little bit to the left. Not so much because I need to, but because I know the other instruments don't really make much sense in the left. And I want to have a little bit of stereo balance, Right. So I want to have some things that kind of occupy the left side. I'm gonna do that with the Congas on the way. Also going to go ahead and take the Halle on sonic piano as well as the lead. And I'm gonna pan them a little bit to the left. So let's go back and listen to that section with my three vocal harmonies The route The third, the fifth. What I'm gonna do is a minute. Leave the route Dead center. And I'm going to make the thirds B on the left and the fits be on the right. Basically hardpan in here. More special. So in summary, I left the kick and the snare dead center. That's typical. I did nothing with the base. That's also typical since the keys and the roads are so much of crucial part of the personality of this tune. I left him dead center, almost like it's the main vocal. There is this pad, the synth pad, and I really want them to fill up the whole space. I don't want that to be coming from one direction to the other. So I decided to leave that center and then likewise the lead sawtooth. I left that center as well. That's it for panning. In the next lesson, I'm gonna do a little bit of automation, show you how that works in Q base, and that will add a little bit of motion and growth to this composition. 12. My Mixing Philosophy: good mix comes down to one simple concept. Balance. I like to think of each of the instruments or each of the tracks in my mix as members in a conversation. You want to make sure that every member of the conversation is heard. You want to think about what that voice really is trying to contribute to the conversation , and you want to make sure that that force winds up being applied properly. Whether it's appropriate, that's the sound of a good mix. It's balanced, and it allows everybody to speak. When we listen to this mix way, hear every voice very clearly. In summary, a great mix features each voice in your mix. Think of it as a conversation. Make sure everybody gets heard. Make sure nobody's too loud. Nobody's too quiet and they're all articulate. The main tools for doing that are compression. EQ. You and your fader levels when their unique circumstances like we face to the end of the track where we wanted to have that kind of bouncy echo altro. Then we used automation, and we used a delay as well as reverb on the vocal harmonies. But generally you could do all of this work with compression e que and fader levels. In the final two lessons of this section, we're gonna use him side chaining to make the base and kick gel a little better. We're also going to talk about mixing in Montana rather than stereo. 13. Mixing in Mono: Now let's talk about mixing and Monta, and it's in order to talk about mixing and mono. You need to understand something called phase cancellation based cancellation has to do with the phase of an audio waves so audio waves move in. Positive amplitude is too negative. Amplitude is in The simplest way to envision this is to think of a sine wave just going up and down like a hill in the Valley. And when it's a positive amplitude, it then crosses over the zero volume mark into negative amplitude. If you have a positive amplitude coming through your left speaker and a negative amplitude coming out of your right speaker and there's amplitude Czar positive and negative by the same amount, they actually will add up to zero and get what's called phase cancellation. This bizarre effect can actually mean that you have sound coming out of both speakers, but you don't hear it when we use panning to pan, say Ah, high out to the left and a guitar to the right frequency is that the high hat and guitar might have in common can actually cancel each other out and cause thinning effect. Sometimes an instrument can disappear altogether. But most commonly what happens is that an instrument loses its power or it winds up sounding very thin or brittle. One of the quickest and simplest ways to recognize whether or not you're makes contains the potential for major phase cancellation is to listen to it in mono. And I'm gonna show you how to do that with a plug in built into Cuba. I mean, the stereo channel. And I'm looking at it in the mixer view here. But of course, we use F three and we go over here to the mix console. We can also add a plug in here. I'm going to add the plug in under spatial and pan er and it is called Monitor Stereo. Very simple name. Now, if we listen to the whole mix and I engage them on a button, we're actually gonna hear it as a monitor signal. So let's listen to that Theo. So immediately we notice everything becomes a little more stark because we're dealing with the stereo signal. Sounds a lot more compelling, But our main goal here is to just make sure that if we do run this track in mono that it basically sounds the same. If things really changed dramatically or an instrument disappears, we know we have some major phase cancellation problems that we need to result. Let's go back to the beginning of this track and listen to it in mono through the breakdown . Things do sound. Theo way still sounds pretty rich. His riches would still sounds pretty good time. This breakdown section is over. We'll have heard the vast majority of expectation. Everything sounds pretty good, and I don't want to make you listen to the whole track. I do want to look at a couple spots where I had automation panning theme on. Of course, I want to listen to the very end way. Of course, all of this sounds a lot better when it's not in Montana. But I'm only doing this as a diagnostic to make sure that I don't have any serious phase cancellation and stereo image problems. Now I'm going to disable this plug because I don't want it on my final mix. You could even remove it if you want it. That concludes this section in the next section. We're actually going to do our final mix 14. Pre-Master Considerations: Let's talk about what you want in a good pre mastered final mix. First of all, you do want your levels to be loud, but you don't want to take the responsibility of making them as loud as they could be. You don't want to be using Maximize er's on a pre master. That may be clear about what a pre master is and is not. A pre master is not a final mastered product. A pre master is a file that you're gonna be sending to a mastering engineer, and a good mastering engineer is going to expect that they have some dynamic range to work with. They need to have some volume that they can in Greece. They need to be able to work with e que and compression. And if your product is already over compressed, it's already completely maximized. There's really very little that a good mastering engineer, even with the best tools can do so you don't want to be maximizing your final product unless you know that this is the last state you're not sending it to a mastering engineer. What a pre master is is the best possible representation of your final mix so that the mastering engineer can be very clear on what your intentions are and that they can then make it a little larger than life. They can make it louder. They can work with the Q. And for that they need to have dynamics. They need to have some range. They need to have some volume headroom toe work with, and they need to be able to hear clearly what your intentions are. So if you're mix is good, then you only want the volume to be normal. One more thing that comes up a lot with home engineers and home studios is the question of dithering. Typically, dithering would also be something that the mastering engineer would be responsible for. Dithering is essentially removing data from the audio file. You want to give your mastering engineer the maximum amount of data. So we started this project with 96 kilohertz sampling rate and 24 bit bit rate, and we want to make sure that we get all of that data out to the mastering engineer. So I'm gonna be sending my mastering engineer at 96 K 24 bit wave file. Let's talk some numbers. I want the final product to peek out around minus 12 decibels. Okay, that's minus 12 relative to zero D BFS, which is the zero in all of our failures here in key base minus 12 to minus six, is the range that I'm looking for. I don't want to get anywhere near zero. I certainly want avoid any kind of distortion or peeking in any of my channels. And I want to make sure that my stereo field has a little bit of texture. Let's look at our mixed console using F three, and I want to look at how the Master Channel is rendering the final volume way very, very close to zero. That's a little too hot. So I want to back the levels off. So I'm talking about minus 12 to minus six decibels is where this final range winds up being and again, this is for a pre master. The mix I have right now might be great if this was gonna be my final product and I was going to spit it out and uploaded to Soundcloud or something like that. But if I'm going to send it to a mastering engineer, I want to give them a lot more dynamic range than that. The other thing I want to do is I want to double check all of these channels to make sure none of them are peaking or clipping. I can see that none of my instruments here are really coming close to peaking. So something's happening here in my mid channel, and something else is happening here in my master channel to boost up the volume so much. What I'm gonna do is I'm going to start disabling thes plug ins one by one. I want to figure out what is causing the volume to go up so high here in that kind of reduces zero e. I definitely don't want that clipping, so I'm gonna need my limiter in place again. But before I engage it, I want to figure out why my mid channel is coming in so hot. If I disable most of these, I see that signal is pretty. I really wanted in that I'm looking for minus 12. There's a very simple way for me to handle this right now. And that's basically just bring this mid side channel down such that my final Master channel has some kind of peeking ranged between minus 12 and minus six. So that's the simplest way to do this. It shouldn't have any two. It shouldn't have any serious repercussions for my overall mix. And it does have the big advantage of providing my mastering engineer with much more dynamic range to work with. So I'm gonna go ahead and make that call. So I'm gonna start playing bring and I'm gonna check again. All right? About minus nine. That's great. That's giving my mastering engineer all the dynamic range that they really need toe work comprehensively with e que and compression to get a better result than me. Now, here's an interesting thing to consider With mastering engineers, they generally have far, far, far superior hardware and equipment toe what you as a home studio engineer will have, you know, the first time I had a piece of music process by mastering engineer, I sat in on the session and they had an eight band e que There that was probably 40 $50,000 piece of equipment that was just there. A band eq you. So I'm never gonna have that equipment in my house in my personal studio, but they've got in there. It's a fantastic piece of equipment. They've got fantastic years, way better monitors. So again, if you're going to a master engineer, trust them that they've got better equipment than you. Make sure they have better equipment than you and then give them the range that they can use to adequately increase the quality of your mix. I'm gonna play this back, listen to it and re engage the inserts on my master channel, making sure that nothing here is There's a huge difference now with my multiple compressor . So I'm gonna take this volume down by whatever the differences here. So when I when I re engage this I go from, say, a peak of C minus 9.9 todo three points. So that's a difference of almost 60 b. I'm gonna shave that off here. I'm gonna just make this three instead of nine. So, in other words, I subtracted this output gaining. I subtracted the difference between the two peaks, and that basically allows me to reinstate the multi band compressor, but also be maintaining that nice range of minus 12 to minus six. So I should be able t back. Yeah, back in the same range, minus 9.7 reengaged. My cue, which had a tiny high shelf on it. I don't actually need to re engage this. Plug him. I was using this. Just basically view Syria Field 3.5. Satisfied all of the requirements for my pre master. The stereo field looks good. Check My volume is allowing some good dynamic range from mastering engineer to work with by staying within minus 12 to minus 60 be peaks. And there's been no distortion from my other channels at all. So I'm not seeing any red. I'm not seeing any distortion of my individual channels have satisfied all the required My pre mastering this is gonna make a great pre master file. Now we're ready to bounce out the file. 15. Exporting Options Explained: Now we're ready to bounce this out. Bounce process is basically taking our whole set of channels here and mixing it down to one final file. So I want to try and keep my project specs the same. The 96 kilohertz sampling. Great. 24 bit. I want to send all the data. Don't want any dithering. I'm just making sure I don't have any dithering plug ins on my master output before we do the mix down. We want to make sure that these loop markers up here are set at the very beginning of our track. There's also the end of the track here where we have that slight echo that comes on. So we want to kind of listen to that echo and make sure that that winds up in our track. Right? So I'm gonna go ahead and export it like so whatever you set these markers to hear that is going to dictate to the export engine. Which part of the audio to export. So if you have this loop just set on this little shown cute wind up just having an audio file of this chunk Now, I'm gonna go to the file menu export and audio mix down. Let's talk a little bit about what some of your options are here. In the left hand panel, you can use channel batch export, and this is a really nice feature where you can check off different channels that you wanna output. Now you can do batch channel, which basically allows you to select multiple items. And then I would wind up getting in this case, three individual audiophiles, one that was just my percussion Congas, one that was just my open high out and so on. I don't really want to do that for this purpose, because I don't want to confuse my mastering engineer with a bunch of files and just want to stereo output. But this is a great feature if you wanted to output your multi track either because you wanted to move it into pro tools that say we're able to or maybe you wanted to send it to a friend or a colleague to remix up here, you can name your mixed out. I'm just gonna leave it as mixed down, and I'm going to select my desktop as the path for delivering my final product and then always ask you just leave that there. You can select different file formats. I'm gonna leave this on wave file for right now. I want to maintain the sampling rate and bit depth of my project. So all of the original files that I imported in the same stems of that I made available through this course, all the students, those are 96 kilohertz and 24 bid depth. So I want to keep that the same. That's going to give us the best chance of getting the highest quality product out to our mastering engineer. They will do any dithering. They'll do any bit and sampling rate reduction and conversion on their end. Okay, then I'm going to leave everything here in the import into project area unchecked. If I were to check pool, what that would do is basically ad the mix down file to my media pool. If I were to do the audio track, it would actually create a new audio track inside this Cube Ace project, and it would place my bounced or exported mixed down track in that track. So that might be something you want to do if you want to do further editing or you're just bouncing down a group of trucks into one like I wanted to maybe take the route third and fifth tracks the vocal harmonies we created back in a previous section, and I wanted to export those as one sort of vocal track. I might want to do that, export it and then added, as an audio track, I don't want to create any new project. Leave that unchecked. Beating down here is fine, and just check those window after export. That way, I know it's done, and a nice thing about exporting in Q base over say pro tools is that you don't have to wait. Do in real time in pro tools. You actually have to listen to the whole track in the actually to play the whole track in real time. So if you got a three minute track, it takes three minutes to bounce down the export in Q base. You don't lose any of the quality at all. It's it's still a pristine quality file, but I'm gonna be exporting this in more like 30 seconds. All right, so now we're done, and I'm gonna go ahead and check my desktop folder and there's my mix down right here. I'm gonna just sample it, make sure that it plays correctly. Sounds good. I know the sampling rate is correct here. If you're using Windows. Obviously there's a different environment. You want to go to the properties window if you want to check the sampling. Great, but I just want to make sure that it sounds right. There's one last thing I always like to do, and that's use my dynamic range meters. I would highly recommend downloading this off the Internet. T T D are offline meter okay, and this is just a great product. What it allows you to do is load in wave file, and it kind of gives you a dynamic range number and this number I use often times to figure out if something's loud enough or ready for pre mastering a minute click load and I'm gonna locate the way file that I just created. It is a great tool. It's going to give me a number 12 so that's good. That basically means that this track has a dynamic range of roughly 12 db, and that's exactly what I wanted. If you remember when we were talking previously about how to set up a good pre master file . We wanna have that range of minus 12 to minus six, so this is on the most dynamic range end. I know that my mastering engineer is going to be happy to see that, and they're gonna have plenty to work with. So this is a great tool. I suggest downloading a T T dynamic range meter and downloaded on the Internet, and the offline version is the one that I use most often. I just want to use it as a quick check. Make sure that my dynamic range is great. Now, if my dynamic range was more like nine, I might think it's a bit hot if it was six. I know it's very, very, very hot. Eso somewhere around 10 and nine is usually what I shoot for for my own final products. But a great mastering engineer can certainly reduce the dynamic range dramatically without compromising the overall quality of my mix. That's it for this section or the final mix. I hope that you have learned a ton about how to do a good mix down using mid side and so on if you have any questions at all, please just reach out to me. Of course, I'm always looking to get great feedback from students. I'm very much concerned that my students have a great learning experience and come away from each of my courses feeling like they learned exactly what they wanted to learn. And there have been valuable insights and use their career in their music forward. But if for any reason there's a question or there's a topic you wish that I had covered in more depth Please just reach out to me. If you're really happy with the course, please provide feedback on the course really helps me out.