Mixing: The Brakes by Royal Artillery

Over the course of the past week I have mixed The Brakes by Royal Artillery. This song is a 6 minute and 39 second alt/rock song with guitar tones similar to that of the Black Keys.

I started by organising the instruments into groups to make it easier for me to work with the session as a whole, and also by colour coordinating each group of instruments. These are the groups I used: Screen Shot 2017-04-10 at 10.59.09 AM

Since the guitars are the main focus of the mix, I began mixing those first. On these I used EQ3 7 Band and Dyn3 Compressor/Limiter. First I made a high-pass filter at 70Hz to take out any unnecessary frequencies. I then used different EQ settings on each of the guitar cabs, relating to their respective frequencies. I felt that the bottom guitar cab was also making the mix a bit muddy, so I turned down the lower frequencies more than the mid and top cab:

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Lastly, they were compressed to try to make the distortion a little less harsh:

Screen Shot 2017-04-10 at 11.04.52 AM

When I listened to the Ribbom L and R tracks, I noticed that they are quieter when played together and louder when only one of them is soloed. I thought this might be some sort of phasing issue, however it didn’t sound anything like comb filtering. In any case, I didn’t feel that these tracks were detrimental to the mix anyway, because the whole thing was already so loud, therefore I took both tracks out.

Moving on to the drums: with the EQ3 7-Band I made a high-pass filter at 50Hz for the Kick In so as not to take out the punch but also to remove unnecessary frequencies, however with the Kick Out I boosted the low end so as to make the punch more prominent. On both of them I made a low pass filter around 3.3kHz to try to cut some of the bleed from the rest of the drum kit and the snare had a bit of a buzz that I tried to minimise by cutting the frequency at 5.5kHz:

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Screen Shot 2017-04-10 at 11.18.42 AM
Snare EQ

For the rest of the drums I made a HPF at approximately 100Hz and EQed each respectively. The kick and snare were also both gated with the Dyn3 Expander/Gate to cut the bleed out:

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I had the most difficulty with the vocals. I think this is partly because I’m not used to having vocals that aren’t the main focus of the mix, but also because when the vocalist is singing you can hear that half way through some of the phrases he moves away from the mic. Furthermore, it was hard to make them prominent with all of the bleed from the other instruments. For this reason, I duplicated the vocals and cut out all the sections of the duplicate line that wasn’t vocals, so next to each other they looked like this:

Screen Shot 2017-04-10 at 11.21.31 AM.png For both of the lines I again used the EQ3 7-Band and Dyn3 Compressor/Limiter:

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However, for the duplicate track I put on some hardcore reverb and delay using D-Verb and ModDelay III, so that I could have complete control over the volume of the effects. Both were used to thicken I then put hardcore reverb and a delay on the duplicated line, so that I had complete control over the volume of the effects. Both effects were used to thicken and give some room to the vocals:

I found it a bit difficult to find a nice volume for the vocals to sit in the mix, because of the vocalist moving away from the mic during some of the phrases, however I decided to not mess around with it too much, as it adds to the feel of the mix.

Overall I found it a pretty interesting experience to mix this song, as I was quite unsure about how to go about it because of the recording style. In the end though it was really fun and I can’t wait to get feedback on it to improve it even more. I absolutely adore the guitar sound and it was interesting to mix something that has been recorded all at once as well, which I have never done before. For a listen to the song, please see “Grace Rowe_Royal Artillery_Song 2” here.

Thanks for reading!




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