Monday, May 17, 2010
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
I sometimes receive questions about mixing, music, and audio; I do the best I can to answer these questions and help out other engineers and students. Jaebets Honore (pictured at bottom) is a young engineer in Montreal, Canada. He and I have been emailing sporadically. This blog posting is our stream of emails.
Jaebets works for IBM during the day, but at night, this multi-instrumentalist is working hard to make it in the music industry. He plays, records, and mixes gospel music, and studies at Musitechnic in Montreal. Like many from Montreal, his primary language is French, and his English is a little choppy, but his questions are very valid. This is an ongoing conversation: Remember.. read with French Accent!
I’m a young musician and mixer from Montreal, somewhere in Canada, and
a fan of your work and want to learn from the best.
I listen a lot of your mixing and would like to know what is your
approach or how you dealing to mix a gospel song that you have to mix
from any one, other words, like the tye tribbett live album, or the
Israel one, did you take all the tracks from the live show or a lot of
the tracks are remake on studio...
and if you want to give something to encouragement me to never give
up... im here to learn...
The answer to the live recordings you are talking about is this:
They are usually a mixture of live tracks from the original recording and complimentary studio tracks that are recorded either before the live show or after.
For instance on Tye.. the drums, bass, many of the keys, guitars, lead vocals, and background vocals are from live.. But additional background vocals are rerecorded and blended with originals and certain lead vocals are repaired in the studio.. They also may have added more keyboard parts and guitars... There is no formula.. Just whatever needs to be bigger is made larger than life..
As far as encouragement ... If you love music there is no better way to enjoy it then by working in a studio.. So mix on my friend and have fun with it. Don't ever be too serious and miss the joy in the music!... And.. remember to take time to be with your family!
Ya, i do read all your stuff, it wonderful!!! U a lucky guy to have
that chance to mix all those tracks and albums.
For my concern, the work on a good studio it so hard, or all the
studios are full of assistants, now i try to run some gospel and r&b
projects but the money running low and the quality of the singers are
poor in my entourage, they do not like to push themselves. but i know
God helps me.
How ever, more technical, I like the idea to blend the live with
studio, but after, that's mean you could finish with 40 tracks for the
vocals... WOW! but what are your favorite tools to make a good gospel live
sound, you use a neve console, api, plug ins and hardware?.... and the
ALSO, the presence of the PIANO!!!YES, WHY THE PIANOS ON ALL THE
GOSPEL TRACKS ARE THAT FAR IN THE MIX, AND I FEEL LIKE YO DO SOME
AUTOMATION TO LISTEN SOME MELODY NOTES...
AND FOR THE BRASS SECTION, EXAMPLE ON THE CLARK SISTER PROJECT, THE
BRASS SOUND COMPRESS TO THE MAX... AND ALL THE GOSPEL CD SOUND THE
SAME ON THAT POINT, IT IS THE CLIENT WHO ASK YOU TO MAKE IT SOUND LIKE
THAT... FOR A GOOD EXaMPLE : LIFT HIM UP FROM HEZEKIAH WALKER...
Didn't mix the Clark sisters cd.. just tracked it.. Not my work
How do the horns sound on Kirk Franklin? Or Check out the horns on the latest Ken Reynolds cd " One World/one God" (Integrity). You might like..
But yes sometimes the producers do want things overly compressed and sometimes there can be problems with mastering after it leaves me.
About the track count....after you record the vocals bounce them in stereo pairs .. Tenor, alto, soprano to make them more manageable ..
Anytime you can make decisions like that ...the easier it is to mix..
Nice Drum mix on the Ken Reynolds project; compress to the max ...
like that... and brass sound a little bit more musical... like that...
but you didn't answered about the gear that you like to use to mix
vocals or instruments for gospel... and the piano have to be always on
the back ...
Gear is not that important.. I use what's available.. As far as pianos.. In today's gospel there are way too many elements competing for each other.. I love the piano to be up front but can't always have it.. If there is just b3, piano and guitar then of course the piano will be prominent ..if people would go back to the roots then piano would be paramount again.. You should start a new trend and go back to minimalist gospel.. And as far as horns and strings are concerned they should be used minimally on a CD 1 maybe 2 songs ... Go listen to "Oh Happy Day".. That's minimalism at it's best.. Your comments have nothing to do with mixing ..no disrespect .. What I mean is that the things that bother you about gospel mixes are the arrangements .. If one is going to use all those instruments there must be a sense of arrangement.. A good example of how to use all those instruments if one chooses to do so is by listening to any Sinatra tune.. Listen to how everything falls into place.. There are moments when instruments are featured.. And when the vocalist sings.. Nothing competes.. If you want a great mix find a way to blend a great Gospel song with a great arrangement and the mix will mix itself.
wow this was good, u right... sorry for my misunderstanding, i forget
the arrangement part. like jazz big bands...
Just to clarify, the arranger is with you when you do the mix, right.
Sorry but i taught that we have to do the in and out of every
instrument that we want to be hear at a specific moment, like
I will do some good mix with the material that i have and tried to
push me more and listen more music ( i already listen on repeat
tracks). but my mix for now will never sound like yours... i have to
practice more and try to fine a good studio to accept me has an
I like the example that you give me to pay attention; could you give
me some more... to learn...
I did a arrangement for next week and i use the same approach that you
told me, and it's good, for it's so hard to influence people to be
that professional, but it's a good start for them.
Just like that, i read something about the LA-2A; that machine could
boost you sound about 40 DB!!! My question is : Did you use a lot of
compression on your mix?
Did you like hardware compression module or Computer like the Waves
plug ins? (I know that you told me you use what's available, but be
And give a example of somehing that you compress a lot and something
that you don't have a lot, and your point of view.
Bravo on trying to make the arrangement better..
About the LA - 2A. I doubt that it would boost your mix 40 db ... But it is a great compressor/ limiter.. Used mostly on vocals and bass.. There's a switch on the back that goes from compression to limiting.. I use it mostly on compression for tracking vocals.. It is very smooth.. Have never used two on the two mix, though..
As far as mixing in the box I use McDsp compressors and Mcdsp Filterbank eq's and some waves stuff including the SSL strips and two-mix compressor.
I also use some plug-ins from a company called PSP audio;
Vintage Warmer, and some of their other eq's and compressors
For efx... I use all the stuff from Sound toys.. Echboy, tremolator, filterfreak, etc...
Verbs... I rely on TLspace and Waves Rverb..
Hope this helps..
this will help...
This week end i will rec a church service with the 003 plus and
externable device to have 16 inputs, I am limited but i told my self if
in the past people were able to record with a 4 tracks... i could do
it ... and i will do my best to make this sound good...
What that i learn from you, it's that's you trying stuff, you not
stuck to one plug ins, but you use everything that you could have in
For now i will buy a APA32 from waves to run the RTAS from them and
also I have a UAD-1 from UA. And I like the sound of the Pultec on
drums and some instrument.
But the Best Plug ins made for me it's the Waves Plug ins, With the
Vintage and the SSL ( but I never tried the API but people said they
And also Im trying to Buy a TC Electronics M-One XL for the RVB and
Delay, for my live sound and Studio...
I think with all i got now i could do a good Job, and practice.
BY THE WAY, WHEN YOU LISTEN SOME THING BEFORE YOU MIX WHAT DO YOU PAY
ATTENTION OF... THE CHEMISTRY AND WHAT ELSE...
AND I READ FOR THE BASS AND THE KICK, WE HAVE TO PUT A GATE ... HOW
WILL YOU DO IT?
THANKS FOR THE ATTENTION YOU GIVE ME.
I pay attention to the song and the vocal performance to see where it leads me.. Once I understand the structure I tear down the structure and build it back up.. Most times that means starting with drums and bass and making that foundation solid.... Then add the rest of the instruments.. But you have to put the vocal in soon after to make sure there is space for it..
Not a fan of gating bass.. Kik sometimes.. Depends on what you are going for.. You could use the SSL plugs for gating if you wanted to experiment.
Now I’m working on a mix, and never satisfy with the sound but i have
waves plug ins ( V comp, SSL... ) I trying to make it sound good. My
how many hours you could put on a mix... To be satisfy, and when you
feel like you finish to mix that song.
As far as your question about how long to spend on a song..
To start it is best to try to do the initial mix as quickly as possible. I generally am able to get the basics of the mix together in 3 to 4 hours or faster.. Then I take a break and rest my ears and then dig into the details.. Usually my first mix instincts are the best and the rest is just "icing in the cake." if I spend too much time in the first part of the mix I could miss the whole point of the song..
The whole process should take 8 to 12 hours spread out over a day and a half.. But you have to know when to stop.. Sometimes it may only take a few hours..