Knowing When to Keep Your Mix Simple

Hey guys, Matthew Weiss here:, We continue our haunted tutorial escapades as I still have
not changed the lightbulb in the studio. That’s okay, so it’s going to be a spooky tutorial. Anyway, today’s tutorial is sort of a conceptual
one. I’m gonna play a record and go over the general idea of the overall record. [instrumental beat] Okay, so the record is called Chariot Music.
It’s from a producer named The Symphony called Omnia Vincit Musica. Here’s a the
link. It’s awesome. Particularly if you’re a hip-hop producer, you need to check it out.
Also if you’re interested in doing film licensing for an independent film or something
like that you really need to check it. It’s just awesome, as you can clearly hear. Alright so this tutorial is going to be about
the practice of acknowledging what you need and doing strictly that. The idea here is
if you look over at the insert chains. This record was mixed completely in the box. I
didn’t use any outboard at all, and if you look at the insert chains I’ve got his 808
here where I’m using parallel EQ. One EQ, nothing else. I’ve got a kick her where
I’m using an EQ and a transient designer. I’ve got another kick here where I’m using
just a transient designer. Snare, just a transient designer. Snare, just a transient designer.
Snare, just a transient designer. Nothing else on it. Then I have 4 effects right here, and the
only thing on there is an echo. That’s it. Nothing else. Then I’ve got cymbals and
there’s nothing on the cymbals except reverb. That’s it. Nothing else. I’ve got a couple
of grunt kind of sounds, that sound like this. Those do not have anything besides simple
EQ on them either. Then I’ve got the claps I have a little bit more processing going
on. I’ve got some haas effect on one of them and some more complicated EQ going on.
But then going down further we’ve got some crash cymbals and such, and there’s nothing
except for EQ on only one of them. Everything else, no inserts at all. Some effects where I’ve got an EQ on one
but no processing on the effects. I’m going through this list to show you that not everything
needs to be the most complicated thing in the world. Sometimes it’s best to just acknowledge
the fact that the producer got the sounds perfect on the way in, and you don’t need
to do anything except the most rudimentary EQ or some slight compression or whatever
and it goes down further where there’s maybe some mild bit-crushing effects or thing like
that, but ultimately, the most complicated sound here, is this dirty lead. [dirty lead synth] And the only thing that’s complicated about
that is I’m using the FabFilter Timeless, and this is just the default effect, which
I actually really like and use all the time, but that just has that default Timeless effect
on it, and otherwise it’s just some basic EQ. The EQ is pretty important, I’m rolling
off some of the top top-end of the dirty lead, and I’ll show you the different real quick. [synth with high-shelf EQ] And I’m gonna take off that effect and you’ll
hear how it starts to immediately jump out in a weird way. [synth without high-shelf EQ] It just becomes like way too apparent in an
upper register. It kind of sounds cool that way but it doesn’t really fit and blend
correctly. So, I mean, ultimately the idea here is I’m
making decisions based on what needs to be done, I’m not doing tons of processing.
A lot of these tracks get no processing at all. Some of them get slightly more complex
processing like the dirty lead, but that’s really it. And that’s the point of this
tutorial: that you don’t always have to do a lot.


  1. aSpeaker2BlocksAway

    March 28, 2014 at 12:26 am

    When do you use H-EQ and when do you decide to use Pro-Q or even Q1-10.
    They are all in the same ballpark right?

    Thanks for all the information Matt.

  2. F.L. Freeman

    March 28, 2014 at 12:47 am


  3. Patrick Pleau

    March 28, 2014 at 2:30 am

    Good one. sounds good. the tracks with no inserts did you check for a need of at least a HPF to filter out low end or they were pretty filtered out already?

  4. Pro Audio Files

    March 28, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    New video from @Matthew Weiss.

  5. Francis Bélanger

    April 1, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    Aaaa! got your attention there! But really, this short "tutorial" reminds us that most of the time, we're adding tons of processing by simple automatisms …which probably comes from often working with the same tools in similar projects.
    Apparently, we can work out a lot of things by simple moves. You gotta ask yourself : is this serving the mix, the song, what I'm doing?

  6. Spencer Baird Mixing Tutorials

    August 14, 2014 at 9:36 am

    Do you use a summings box when you mix to get separation? And do you recommend getting one? Because I want to step my quality up as far as mixing goes. I don't have any outboard gear at the moment. Just mixing ITB.

  7. Beat Blvrd

    June 16, 2017 at 12:41 am

    How come when I'm mixing my instruments with my 808s, the tail end of the 808 will raise in volume when i increase the decibal levels of the instrument? If i lower the instrument, the tail end of the 808 will no longer raise in volume but the instrument is too low for the mix. What are the possible solutions to this? Do i need to pan more, compress, eq better. etc. THNX IN ADVANCE

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