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New blog post and music released
Old 24th July 2020
  #1
New blog post and music released

I'm excited that this is finally released. I mentioned in my Q&A that I was working on an EP for Morgan Saint. It is released!

I had a lot of fun mixing this because the artist let me get very creative in the mix process. A lot of times, the artist wants the mixer to hew closely to the rough mix. This one let me loose and it is really fun when that happens.

https://www.morgansaint.com

The second installment of my blog on Jaxsta has also been published. I talk a bit more about my history and the rise of "bedroom producers".

https://jaxsta.com/news-article/45181
Old 24th July 2020
  #2
TLS
Gear Maniac
 

Very creative mixes! Great work John

Are you using anything in the way of MaxxBass for your low end on either kick or bass? The mixes have a nice low end hum to them which translates well between different systems.

Last edited by TLS; 25th July 2020 at 01:05 AM..
Old 24th July 2020
  #3
Gear Nut
 

has a very strong texture yet super clear at the same time, sounds great!
Old 27th July 2020
  #4
The use of distortion is so...TASTEFUL! Incredible job, John! Would you mind sharing what distortions you turned to? The growl on the 808s is incredible!
Old 27th July 2020
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjcatalyst View Post
The use of distortion is so...TASTEFUL! Incredible job, John! Would you mind sharing what distortions you turned to? The growl on the 808s is incredible!
Thanks! that is really what our intention was to do, I'm glad it translated. I let things go into distortion intentionally of several things by not caring if they clipped plugins.

Many things going on, so any other specific songs or parts, let me know.

in "Dont Be Scared of the Dark" a lot of the bass is actually a reverse piano pad that we applied One Knob Filter to; it really drives it like a bass instrument. At the end I split the 808 sample into 3 different bands using Gaffel and then applied Trash 2, broken bits, to the low band, Trash 2, radio contact, to the low and low middle band, and left the high band, about 750Hz and up alone.

on "Switch" I duplicated the 808 track again, this time just using a regular duplicate track and EQ. One track is full band, just some compression. The other has a high pass at about 1.5kHz and then I put on Kilohearts Distortion, hard clip. At the end of the song, I put the whole main mix buss through an additional Waves Berzerk plugin to really create a huge ending, as well as some Kilohearts Formant Filter to get "that" sound.

on "Keep On Hanging On" I just let the deep low keys sound naturally interplay resonances with the 808 and bass pad, and let the big distorted kick do its thing.
Old 27th July 2020
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by coldvodka View Post
has a very strong texture yet super clear at the same time, sounds great!
Thanks, that is what we were going for!
Old 27th July 2020
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by TLS View Post
Very creative mixes! Great work John

Are you using anything in the way of MaxxBass for your low end on either kick or bass? The mixes have a nice low end hum to them which translates well between different systems.
Thanks!

Not using MaxxBass on these ones. I used more clipping and distortion techniques to get that higher frequency content to come through.
Old 27th July 2020
  #8
Gear Nut
 

as serban has said from the recording academy video stream recently,
when people say "we don't care about the rough mix, just do your thing"
most of the times they don't really mean it and would ask you to make it similar to the rough mix.
but in this case, they actually did mean it.
is there any way that you could tell if the clients actually want some big changes?
Old 28th July 2020
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by coldvodka View Post
as serban has said from the recording academy video stream recently,
when people say "we don't care about the rough mix, just do your thing"
most of the times they don't really mean it and would ask you to make it similar to the rough mix.
but in this case, they actually did mean it.
is there any way that you could tell if the clients actually want some big changes?
It’s not a first pass decision. First pass I stayed close to the rough generally. When the artist then says then said “sounds great but can we make the post chorus harder and more dramatic” I started being more experimental. When that worked on the first song And she loved it I got more freedom And trust to keep going.
Old 28th July 2020
  #10
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHanes View Post
It’s not a first pass decision. First pass I stayed close to the rough generally. When the artist then says then said “sounds great but can we make the post chorus harder and more dramatic” I started being more experimental. When that worked on the first song And she loved it I got more freedom And trust to keep going.
got it. that makes total sense, thank you for your answer.
Old 29th July 2020
  #11
Thank you so much for the in depth answer! If you don't mind my asking another question I'd love to know your approach to sidechaining the kick and 808 so they both still punch as hard as you got them? You guys are masters at this.
Old 30th July 2020
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjcatalyst View Post
Thank you so much for the in depth answer! If you don't mind my asking another question I'd love to know your approach to sidechaining the kick and 808 so they both still punch as hard as you got them? You guys are masters at this.
I’m not doing any sidechain here And typically not a tool we reach for in the mix. Just using all the other tools available.
Old 4th August 2020
  #13
Here for the gear
 

Hi John! The EP sounds incredible! I’m blown away by how much clarity each element has yet still gluing to the song.

I’m fairly new to mixing and have read so much conflicting information on using EQ. What does your EQ approach/philosophy look like? Specifically, I struggle with knowing when to be surgical or tonal.

Quick example: I often find myself cutting 2.5khz of female vocals only to lose them in the mix...or remove upper-mids of a synth bass (so it doesn’t mask the vocal) only for it to become dull and boomy.

I would love your thoughts on range allocation/when to reach for an eq; seeing how this EP sounds sonically perfect. Thank you!
Old 7th August 2020
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by alibeats1 View Post
Hi John! The EP sounds incredible! I’m blown away by how much clarity each element has yet still gluing to the song.

I’m fairly new to mixing and have read so much conflicting information on using EQ. What does your EQ approach/philosophy look like? Specifically, I struggle with knowing when to be surgical or tonal.

Quick example: I often find myself cutting 2.5khz of female vocals only to lose them in the mix...or remove upper-mids of a synth bass (so it doesn’t mask the vocal) only for it to become dull and boomy.

I would love your thoughts on range allocation/when to reach for an eq; seeing how this EP sounds sonically perfect. Thank you!
I tend to not use a lot of "tricks" on the instruments trying to create room or frequency range for vocals to sit in. I do mix almost always with the vocals on, so I'm not creating an instrumental mix and then trying to fit the vocals into it. I'll more often create a good vocal sound and then fit the music to that.

I spend a lot of time listening at various volumes from very soft to loud to make sure the vocals are sitting right. At low volume, I want to be able to hear the words. Is it understandable. At loud volume, I want to not have the vocal be harsh.

I'm doing a bunch of compression and EQ on the vocals. Level it down a bit with a compressor, then boost the high mid to get intelligibility, boost the high to get airiness, then compression again to smooth, and finally a strong but finely tuned de-esser.

Different parts of the vocals might get different treatments on compression, EQ, etc, to overcome or complement instrumentation changes from verse to hook to bridge.

Particularly difficult parts might get some multi band compression in that 2.5kHz range that you identified.

So it is a broad palate of tonal and surgical to achieve a pleasing vocal, but mostly mixing overall with a vocal priority.
Old 7th August 2020
  #15
TLS
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHanes View Post
I'm doing a bunch of compression and EQ on the vocals. Level it down a bit with a compressor, then boost the high mid to get intelligibility, boost the high to get airiness, then compression again to smooth, and finally a strong but finely tuned de-esser.
Hi John,

Are you typically going Comp -> EQ -> Comp -> De-Esser or Comp -> Comp -> EQ - DeEsser?

Is the second stage EQ/Comp via ChannelStrip or do you use another dedicated compressor for that?
Old 7th August 2020
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by TLS View Post
Hi John,

Are you typically going Comp -> EQ -> Comp -> De-Esser or Comp -> Comp -> EQ - DeEsser?

Is the second stage EQ/Comp via ChannelStrip or do you use another dedicated compressor for that?
it is typically 1176 comp, MH Channelstrip Comp (pre-eq), then EQ, then de-esser.
Old 7th August 2020
  #17
TLS
Gear Maniac
 

Thank you so much! Really appreciate it.
Old 8th August 2020
  #18
Gear Maniac
 

Hi John, congrats on the EP, it sounds amazing! Thanks also for sharing how you approached its mixing, it's very interesting.

Sorry if i’m being off-topic but I was wondering how you deal with drum transients - either real drums & percussions or raw analog drum machines such as 808s - when you’re not purposely clipping them as an effect. I always find myself struggling with these when trying to achieve “clean” loudness and yet retain punch and dynamics so that the track plays as well on radio as in clubs. I find that using compressors with a fast attack eats up the transients and punch while a slow attack accentuates them, thus killing loudness. How do you manage to get both if you don’t mind my asking?
Old 2nd September 2020
  #19
TLS
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHanes View Post
it is typically 1176 comp, MH Channelstrip Comp (pre-eq), then EQ, then de-esser.
Hi John,

Just a follow up - curious how much gain reduction you're typically hitting on the MH Channelstrip comp?

Congrats on all the new releases lately - the new Katy Perry album sounds incredible!
Old 8th September 2020
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by TLS View Post
Hi John,

Just a follow up - curious how much gain reduction you're typically hitting on the MH Channelstrip comp?

Congrats on all the new releases lately - the new Katy Perry album sounds incredible!
Sorry for the long delay. I usually don't have the MH Channelstrip compressor doing much on vocals. The heavy lifting is done in another plugin compressor before it. So just touching 1 or 2db probably. Just a little smoothing. If vocals are still to loud after initial compression, I'll do volume automation rides to taste rather than try to use more compression.

Thanks! Katy was a fun one to work on.
Old 8th September 2020
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beaucoup d’amour View Post
Hi John, congrats on the EP, it sounds amazing! Thanks also for sharing how you approached its mixing, it's very interesting.

Sorry if i’m being off-topic but I was wondering how you deal with drum transients - either real drums & percussions or raw analog drum machines such as 808s - when you’re not purposely clipping them as an effect. I always find myself struggling with these when trying to achieve “clean” loudness and yet retain punch and dynamics so that the track plays as well on radio as in clubs. I find that using compressors with a fast attack eats up the transients and punch while a slow attack accentuates them, thus killing loudness. How do you manage to get both if you don’t mind my asking?
Thanks.

This is a tough one I think because there probably isn't one solution.

Some things will get some "transient designer" type manipulations, others just volume rides. Get the attack right where you like it is the key, then you can use volume to manipulate the rest of the sound.

I really don't pay attention specifically to radio and club sound. I try to make it sound good for where I'm at and hope that it translates well.
Old 8th September 2020
  #22
TLS
Gear Maniac
 

Thanks John - I can only imagine how busy you are with the volume of work! I greatly appreciate you taking the time to reply.
Old 12th September 2020
  #23
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHanes View Post
Thanks.

This is a tough one I think because there probably isn't one solution.

Some things will get some "transient designer" type manipulations, others just volume rides. Get the attack right where you like it is the key, then you can use volume to manipulate the rest of the sound.
Thanks John, i really appreciate you taking the time to answer this. I get the transient designer part but i'm not sure what you mean by volume rides. Are you talking about the volume enveloppe of each drum hit or something else?

The thing with the attack is: If i get it where i like it, it generally eats up a lot of headroom since i like snappy attacks and punchy drums. It's fine when i play the track loud because it's very dynamic but it's detrimental to loudness and my bus compressor and limiter end up working way too much when i'm trying to achieve, say, -9 dB LUFS. So i'm wondering how i can improve the punch and density of the drums before hitting the mix bus so that they don't eat up too much headroom but still have a great impact while staying on the clean side of things. Thanks again for your help!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #24
Here for the gear
 
panamawedding's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHanes View Post
Sorry for the long delay. I usually don't have the MH Channelstrip compressor doing much on vocals. The heavy lifting is done in another plugin compressor before it. So just touching 1 or 2db probably. Just a little smoothing. If vocals are still to loud after initial compression, I'll do volume automation rides to taste rather than try to use more compression.

Thanks! Katy was a fun one to work on.
Hey John, I've been listening a lot to the Morgain Saint EP. The mixes sounds amazing. Thank you for sharing with the community.

On the topic of vocals, are you using the 'MIO' mode on MH Channelstrip for lead vox?

Also - I know this has been asked many times before in various ways, but did you use any binaural/HRTF processing for specific elements in these Morgan Saint mixes? Some parts sound like they're being processed with spacial effects similar to how the Hughes SRS & Roland RSS-10 boxes worked back in the day.

I'd respectfully understand if you wouldn't want to get specific here about the plugins/tools/settings you use, but it would be helpful to know if you employ any of these techniques.

Thanks again for all the helpful information you've provided here.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by panamawedding View Post
Hey John, I've been listening a lot to the Morgain Saint EP. The mixes sounds amazing. Thank you for sharing with the community.

On the topic of vocals, are you using the 'MIO' mode on MH Channelstrip for lead vox?

Also - I know this has been asked many times before in various ways, but did you use any binaural/HRTF processing for specific elements in these Morgan Saint mixes? Some parts sound like they're being processed with spacial effects similar to how the Hughes SRS & Roland RSS-10 boxes worked back in the day.

I'd respectfully understand if you wouldn't want to get specific here about the plugins/tools/settings you use, but it would be helpful to know if you employ any of these techniques.

Thanks again for all the helpful information you've provided here.
Thanks for listening!

Almost always using MIO mode on MH Channelstrip.

I didn't use anything like the SRS and Roland RSS-10 (I wish I had one! we had one to play with back when I worked with Teddy Riley and it was a lot of fun to experiment with).

I do like to try to get a nice wide and spacious sound if possible, so I do a variety of things to try to get there. I like the Haas plugin by Kilohearts, Center by Waves, Izotope Imager on some sounds.

I try to find places for Soundtoys Crystalizer and / or Valhalla Shimmer to add some space to some sounds.

I'll often have an aux channel with a panner and another with a flanger on them. I'll send a little bit of some sounds to one or the other.

I also like to pan BGV's full L&R width and mostly use stereo delays on vocals.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #26
Here for the gear
 
panamawedding's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHanes View Post
Thanks for listening!

Almost always using MIO mode on MH Channelstrip.

I didn't use anything like the SRS and Roland RSS-10 (I wish I had one! we had one to play with back when I worked with Teddy Riley and it was a lot of fun to experiment with).

I do like to try to get a nice wide and spacious sound if possible, so I do a variety of things to try to get there. I like the Haas plugin by Kilohearts, Center by Waves, Izotope Imager on some sounds.

I try to find places for Soundtoys Crystalizer and / or Valhalla Shimmer to add some space to some sounds.

I'll often have an aux channel with a panner and another with a flanger on them. I'll send a little bit of some sounds to one or the other.

I also like to pan BGV's full L&R width and mostly use stereo delays on vocals.
Thanks so much, John! Really appreciate it! <3
Old 1 day ago
  #27
Here for the gear
 

Midrange/Stereo Field

Hi John! I always struggle with midrange instruments and where they sit in the stereo field. Do you have any advice on placement of pads/keys/mid-range synths to be super wide? (ex. panning vs. haas effect vs. doublers...or maybe a combo of these)

I understand every song is different and it depends on the producer as well but was wondering what you find most common/preferable because this EP is just amazing. Thank you!!!!
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