Mixing Pop Music is a video series course that contains 24 videos spanned across 5 hours that encompasses all the processes required to mix and produce a commercial friendly pop mix.
The course is not aimed at any specific level of experience and is perfect for both beginners and advanced users alike. The aim is to provide a solid grounding in all the required technical processes and these are put into practice through countless before and after audio exercises. From preparing the project template to structuring the mast bus dynamics, from cleaning troublesome audio stems to sculpting epic effects this course leaves no stone unturned. Just about every eventuality is addressed with detailed explanations for all the processes used and because each process invariably involves the use of a plugin ‘how to use the plugin’ is explored in each video.
The best way to explain how to mix a pop song is to actually mix a pop song, from start to finish! Process specific video tutorials are great but not tremendously helpful when it comes to explaining how to mix a specific genre from the viewpoint of the producer. This is better covered by a start to finish process with the tutor providing little bits of wisdom here and there, explaining correct workflow practices, pitfalls to avoid, and so on. The personal mix approach of the producer provides a useful insight into how professional producers approach a mix project and this is the icing on the technical cake so to speak. I have made sure to explain not only the processes covered within the course but also my thinking and approach to mixing for a complex genre. The delivery approach I have taken is to present the course as if we are friends and chatting in private as opposed to a ‘listen to me I’m your tutor’ mantra. With this in mind, I am hoping you will enjoy this course as much as learning from it.
The video course kicks off with detailed information about how to configure the mix project’s settings, from selecting the appropriate sample rate and bit depth to adopting the correct the Pan Law. It’s one thing knowing which setting to use but quite another in understanding ‘why’, and I have made sure to cover each subject in detail.
Next up comes the critical ‘metering’ and for that LUFS reigns supreme. I have made sure to explain in detail what LUFS is, how to use it, and how best to mix to a target that is dictated by the streaming standards.
Once the project’s settings are decided on and the LUFS meter configured it is time to bite into the meat that is ‘workflow optimisation’. Mixing is not an arbitrary process. It entails constructing a plan and a structure to adhere to to make the mix process both fast and intuitive. I have made sure to not only advise you on good solid working practices but to share with you my approach I have hones over the past 30 years as a producer.
Top Down Mixing comes next with emphasis on structuring the Master Bus Dynamics – a huge subject in its own right and one that I have dedicated an entire book to MixBus Strategies. In the course, I explain not only the processes used at the MixBus but the order in which they should be used. All the plugins used are explained in detail with recommendations of specific settings to use.
The first port of call for all mix engineers in days gone by was to perform what we in the industry referred to as ‘the level and pan mix’. This entailed the mix engineer preparing the mix for the Jedi producer by gain staging and panning specific sounds. I still use this technique because it allows me to hear all the sounds within a basic mix context and that helps to decide what needs addressing. You can only make critical mix decisions AFTER hearing a basic mix of the song and nothing achieves a quicker level mix than mixing to a Pink Noise reference. I have written articles on this subject, most notably for Sound On Sound magazine – Mixing to a Pink Noise Reference and created a number of ‘how to’ videos here at Samplecraze explaining the process in detail.
The next few videos cover the subject of ‘cleaning’. You cannot truthfully mix a song if the stems have not been cleaned and optimised. Removing background noise, plosives and sibilance from vocals are absolutely critical in prepping audio stems for a clean mix. I explain each and every process using a variety of plugins.
The next few videos cover instrument/sound specific processing: from pianos to sub basses, synth lines to efx hits, drums to backing vocals, all processes are explained using a variety of dynamic plugins. I have made sure to provide sound design processes to help you to create your own signature sound, and for that, I have used all manner of harmonic distortion and harmonic generating plugins, from exciters to minimum phase equalisers, from tube and tape saturation plugins to overdriving signals, in fact, anything that can maul a sound has been covered. Additionally, all manner of modulated driven processes has also been covered examples encompassing wild LFO pans and fluctuating gains.
Next up, the sidechain is explored. The sidechain trigger feature is a commonly used feature for both corrective and colouring processes. In the course, I explain what the sidechain is and how to use it to add dynamic motion to certain sounds within the mix. In pop music swelling and pumping certain elements to a timed trigger can make or break a track. Nothing adds motion like a well times sidechain trigger.
Once all the stems have been cleaned and optimised the gain values will have changed simply due to the gain dependent dynamic processes we apply. The mix now has to be gain staged again but this time using a process called ‘Relative Gain Staging’. I show you how to achieve this both quickly and efficiently and explain what frequency summing, masking, and clashing is.
Some DAWs can be CPU hogs when it comes to running multiple instances of effects and dynamics and one feature that can help is ‘render in place’, also referred to as ‘freezing’. This process imprints the effects/dynamics directly onto the stem and frees up CPU resources. I explain how to use this feature and what settings etc to use for optimum results.
Once the rendering stages are complete the gains will have, yet again, changes and another stage of gain staging is required. I show you how to approach this final stage of gain staging with the aim of achieving the LUFS target and optimising the mix to the desired streaming target.
The next set of videos covers the setting up of effects. Which effects to use and why certain topologies are used are covered in detail. Effects can then used both as inserts or running off auxiliaries and pros and cons for each are explained in detail. Picking the right reverb for a specific sound might sound dauntingly complex but if you follow the guides I set out in this course it can be quite easy to conquer.
The series ends with videos on final tweaks and instrument specific colouring processes. It is only when you achieve a pretty decent mix that you realise that certain sounds might need a little ‘more’ to make them shine through the mix. It is here where I go all deep into sound design!
By the time you have completed the course I am certain you will be able to knock out a radio friendly commercial pop mix. I have made sure to create this course with ‘fun’ in mind and I truly hope this translates across in the videos.
- Project Settings
- LUFS Metering Setup
- Workflow Optimisation
- The Master Bus Dynamics
- Structuring Effects and Dynamics
- Gain Staging with Pink Noise
- Cleaning Vocals using Declicker and Gate
- Lead and Chrous De Essing and Comping
- Processing and Tuning Lead Vocals
- Processing all Vocals
- Processing Piano Underlay
- Processing Grand Piano
- Processing Bass Hit Morph and Orch Bass
- Processing Plinky Bass Layers
- Processing Sub Bass Hit
- Processing Rev Bass, Synth Lead, Pipe Hit
- Processing Drums
- Processing Sweeps, Arp Build, Toy Soldier
- The Sidechain
- Setting Up and Configuring Effects
- Send Effects
- Render in Place
- Post Render Gain Staging
- Colouring and Tweaking
Contents: 24 Videos totaling 5 hours
Download Size: 899MB (compressed), 1.2GB (extracted)
Delivery: Download instantly after purchase
Author: Eddie Bazil
Although a vast array of plugins are used in this video series the main DAW is:
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