Equipped to handle
with FX Collection 2
Equipped to handle
with FX Collection 2
For LA-based mix engineer and trap aficionado Bainz (Young Thug, Future, Gunna), the art of mixing extends far beyond the conventional application of compression and EQ. To really bring out the emotion of a performance and the energy of a composition, Bainz has perfected his own cocktail of audio enhancements to a tee. He invited us to sit in on a session to show how FX Collection 2 handles his unique sonic recipes...
New Delhi to LA
For over a decade, Bainz has risen through the ranks of hip hop and trap to become a well-established and highly-qualified master of his trade. Originally from New Delhi, India, he graduated Valedictorian from Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida, before cutting his teeth in studios across the States.
Now based in LA, his lengthy list of mixing and production credits includes the likes of Travis Scott, Nipsey Hussle, Sia, Jay Sean, and countless others. In parallel, he’s known for his long-term collaboration with Young Thug, working as part of the YSL Records team. According to Bainz, the success of global hits like ‘Ski’ and ‘Go Crazy’ was due, in part, to the tight-knit family atmosphere cultivated at YSL.
I’ve essentially been with Thug every day for about 3 or 4 years. We’re just a creative family, we’re locked in together. When the artists are all in one studio together it’s like a big performance every day.
Big 808s, clear vocals
The studio time that Bainz has clocked up over the years hasn’t just equipped him with the necessary skills to sculpt a fat mix - it’s also allowed him to hone in on his own sound. By emphasizing certain aspects of a track using select tools, he delivers consistent results.
A key to my sound is making things sound warm and analog. Not boomy, but loud. Big 808s, clear vocals.
He also notes that while EQ and compression are the de facto production weapons of choice, he makes extensive use of saturation to give warmth and depth to his projects. Bus FORCE’s multi-faceted processing power has become a staple.
Saturation is a big part of what I mix. The saturation on Bus FORCE is really cool. When you saturate stuff, you wanna EQ either before or after, you kinda want to mold it into your mix - having everything in one spot is really cool.
While having virtual access to the sounds of familiar studio hardware streamlines his process, Bainz notes that it’s the addition of advanced modern features that makes FX Collection 2’s plugins really stand out - especially when it comes to handling his hard-hitting style.
The advanced features - the side-chain filters specifically - make these plugins a little more usable. 808s can destroy certain things, not everything is equipped to handle a wheezy 808!
Bainz on FX Collection 2
We sat down with Bainz to break down his mix of Unfoonk’s ‘Temperature’ and highlight the FX Collection 2 tools he deployed.
Bus FORCE on drum & mix buses
First up, he opts for a subtle touch of saturation and EQ to bring out detail and impact of claps, hats, and other percussive elements, ensuring it cuts through the mix but doesn’t overload. In addition, he adds an instance of Bus FORCE to the mix bus to glue it all together. Saturation, side-chain compression on the high end, and a low cut to avoid unwanted side-chain interference.
I’m not looking to do much with my mix bus, just giving everything that little bit of glue. The money is in the saturation section, I really really like that.
Pre V76 is his first port of call when it comes to pushing the main vocal. This boosts overall presence, ultimately helping to bring out the emotion of the performance.
That voice, it’s got a lot of pain in it. I wanted to highlight that.
To both tame and complement Pre V76, Comp TUBE-STA introduces a small amount of compression, an EQ boost, and a healthy dose of make-up gain, elevating the vocal to the front of the mix.
I don’t usually do a lot with each individual plugin but I’m getting a lot of my make-up gain from here. It’s not compressing a lot, but the gain comes from there. I have an actual STA that I use really often, that’s why I gravitated towards this. I really like this.
EQ SITRAL-295 on sample track
To bring out an instrumental layer in the mix, Bainz opted for the broad strokes of EQ SITRAL-295. By boosting the midrange, it breathes life into an otherwise delicate-sounding chord sequence.
Getting out some of that midrange presence, boosting around 5K, in the mix it just helps it pop out a little bit.
Tomorrow ‘Til Infinity
It’s evident that Bainz didn’t get to where he is now by staying still. His journey, starting in India, working his way across the States, and ultimately setting up camp in LA, demonstrates his willingness to embrace change and seek out new challenges. The same could be said for his creative process and his use of tools like FX Collection 2; here’s an artist who’s open to trying new methods and finding outside-the-box ways to use them.