It’s always wonderful doing these FAQ Fridays I love doing them.
There are some great questions, they make me think twice about many different things because they are for common problems for things we come across every day.
What is great about this community is everybody helps each other so feel free to discuss more about these question in the comments below I love reading what you all have to say.
Before we get started, Remember Kali Audio? If you don’t, you can check out our demo & review of their Kali LP-6 speakers here. I very proudly use the LP-6’s and I believe we were the first people to review them and we absolutely love them!
The pair of LP-6 powered speakers retail for $300, which is an insanely good value for money.
They have blown the doors open on that price range and got so many people making music at an incredibly good price. – Thank you for that Kali!
So.. Why am I bringing them up again?
Well, It’s because they just sent us a pair of white LP-6’s for a giveaway!
I know we have already given away some Kali LP-6‘s but, in their infinite wisdom they have decided to come up with 400 LP-6’s that were white! -There were only 400 made!
So you’re going to get a pair of the limited run white LP-6’s!
They are beautiful in white and I don’t want to give it back! – Sorry Kali! (Scroll up to enter)
Now, let’s get into Today’s featured question! “Sometimes I find myself using too many plugins on a track. Do you have any advice on what to think about before one starts adding plugins?”
There is an interview we did with Howard Willing, Howard is an incredibly talented engineer who used to live in LA but is now living and working in Nashville. He’s done some incredible records, he did that Neil Diamond record a few years ago which is phenomenal.- The guy is insanely talented.
He said he gets a lot of stuff to mix and he said something that really resonated with me because I’ve had the same experience. He gets sent stuff with 9,10,11,12 plugins on it – just maxed out plugins.
Often the first thing he does is remove all the plugins re-balance the mix and then find that he doesn’t have to do as much. – So I understand, I relate to you it makes sense.
We’ve all done it, we’ve all used 9 plugins on an instrument, but it’s important to note, that isn’t necessarily always a problem. It depends on whether the results are good, is your mix becoming muddy?
Are you adding a plugin to try and solve a problem? It may solve a problem and introduce another problem, so you then add another plugin to solve that freshly introduced problem and before you know it, it’s a spiraling effect of one thing causing more issues, solving causing and so on.
We have all been there, so when do you abandon it and go back to scratch? It’s not after you finish the mix, It’s during the process of working on an instrument. What I always do on a mix and you’ve seen me do this during live streams.
I open up the song, everything is at 0, I press play on the spacebar and I start panning things around. I start volume riding it and before you know it I’ve got a rough mix of how I want it to sound. Frankly, in the 3 and a half to 4 minutes, beginning of the song to end I probably got a rough balance and I’ve got the panning where I want it to be.
If I haven’t got the panning or the balance quite there yet, there are most likely some complex sections with intertwining guitars, vocals, keys or whatever it is, and I might go to that section and loop it a second, play with the panning and see if I can make things make sense.
Bring things up and down, solo two guitars together to see if they’re playing complementary parts or not. – Start listening to things the reality is the more of that I do the better my mix will be.
This is a big deal, spend as much time as you can listen to it as a whole and not just one track. What the question is pointing to I’ve done and gone through this and so have many of us. 9 plugins on a song are because we’re concentrating on one part for too long.
Get out of the solo, listen to the track as a whole that will solve it, and most importantly take breaks! You can fall in love with something if you spend half an hour EQing and compressing one instrument you will fall in love with that sound and will have no perspective.
Take breaks, listen as a whole, take it out of the solo, put it into the track, with the first adjustment is it better? No?… Then maybe take that setting off and try something else rather than compounding the error and building on it.
Taking breaks listening as a whole, not spending too much time in solo. Don’t get me wrong you do have to solo, I’ve talked about this a lot but you do have to solo and focus on things. I know there are these genius’ and experts in the world who never solo, I’ve been in a room with all the biggest mixers and they all hit the solo button.
I’ve never been in a room with a mixer who has not soloed I don’t care if it’s Chris Lord-Alge, Andy Wallace, Michael Brauer, Mark Endert, Spike Stent, they’re all amazing and they all hit the solo button to check something out.
The problem is when you hit the solo and sit there for 10 minutes working on it only in solo. Solo it solve a problem and bring it into the track if you haven’t solved the problem what did you do? Undo it and try something else.
It’s about moving quickly making decisions quickly and listening as a whole.
Thank you Kali for providing us with these beautiful LP-6’s away to our community!
Don’t forget to enter to win the giveaway above!
We cover the following questions during this episode of FAQ Friday!
• I track and mix in the same room if I track drums with outboard EQ on the toms what would be the best method to dial in the EQ before pressing record? (3:02)
• Sometimes I find myself using too many plugins on a track. Do you have any advice on what to think about before one starts adding plugins? (7:06)
• What would be the steps to get the drums all aligned? Should I Align the kicks with the kicks, Snares with the snares or should I just pick up one sample and align everything to that? (12:15)
• How much time should I put into recording mixing and engineering a week to get to a higher tier of production skill? (17:07)