These mixing tips are ones that I have talked about in previous videos, but they are all kind of fun, and they are ones that I use a lot more often than you might think!
1. Ducking Busy Lead Guitar Under Lead Vocal.
This is something that is useful when you are working with a band that has a dynamic of a lead guitar and lead vocal that sort of duel with each other, like a Zeppelin or Aerosmith type of sound. I started using this when I started working with classic rock bands.
I found that I would have sections of songs, particularly outros, where there is a wailing guitar solo and a singer adlibbing, and I would have to try all kinds of things to get them to sit together. And then I thought, “Why don’t I just duck the lead guitar when the singer is singing, using sidechain compression?” This brings the guitar in just enough that it does not take over the vocal, but you do not lose the “duelling” feeling between the singer and the guitarist.
2. Using a DI to Trigger Effects.
This one is a favorite of mine, and I use it quite a lot. What you can do it take the amp track, but take the DI that you recorded at the same time, and use it to trigger a reverb. This trick is similar to the one where we take the snare sample and use that to trigger the reverb, while still letting the natural snare breathe. Just like the sample is that trick, in this one, the DI is not being used directly, it is just being used to trigger the reverb.
3. Ducking the Snare in the Overheads.
This is something you may want to do if the snare is too loud or the tonality of the snare is being affected. When I do this, I grab a compressor – the RCOMP, for example, which has a great default attack and release setting. Doing this allows just enough attack to go through. I do this not only to duck the snare, but to actually exaggerate the attack of the snare.
4. Ducking the Kick out of the Snare Mic.
This is essentially the same technique as the tip above, but ducking the kick drum out of the snare track. For example, on one particular recording, I really liked the sound of the snare shell, but there was a ton of kick in it. So what we did, is we ran a compressor on the snare shell, then we sidechained it to the kick. This really helps to give a bit more air to the kick drum and removes the kick out of the snare. This makes that mic totally usable, and gives me a much better snare as a result.
5. Decreasing the Attack Time with a Duplicated Track.
This is actually something I remember doing with tape, by offsetting. To do this, I am going to take the snare top, and duplicate it, and then move that duplicated track forward just a few milliseconds. Then I grab a compressor, and sidechain it to the snare, on another available bus. What I like about this is not it is triggering it even earlier, even with the attack at its fastest time. This is a really great technique to add body to the snare!
Watch the video below to learn more about these mixing tips!