Listening to the whole chain and then breaking it down is one of the best ways to learn what goes behind producing an organically-sounding mix. Using a delay and then applying a reverb is one of Nahuel’s go-to tricks. In this case, it’s the REV PLATE-140 that does its magic on the electric guitar in the chorus. Then, Nahuel uses EQ SITRAL-295, a plugin with a ‘very cool top end’ to ‘open the sides’. He’s got a soft spot for EQs:
I can never have enough or too many EQs with different top shelves. Each top shelf has an identity on its own, and this one is really subtle in how it does things - or it can be aggressive if you push it.
In this track, it opens up the ‘dreaminess’ of the guitars.
With DELAY TAPE-201, the producer turns to the LFO’s expanded feature again. He changes the speed of the delay of the repetition - and with a different delay speed, pitch changes, which is a desired effect in this case. Sometimes, attacking fire with fire works in music production - instruments out of tune will sound right with intentional detuning around.
Serving beats on a Plate
Making sure the Plate is not as wide as the Delay causes the Delay to be on the sides. It then goes up into the Plate, with the Plate being narrower, creating something that Nahuel describes as a ‘centered tunnel of cloudiness’. The EQ then opens up the sides on the top, with the ‘shimmery’ layer becoming expansive.
A vocal stance
Time to expose the magic behind processing the double vocals. In the verse, the background vocals sounded ‘a bit too present’. To blend them into the mix more, DELAY ETERNITY did the job smoothly:
This sounds like it could be in the same room, right? It brings the vocals further back in the mix, and it makes it a little more hazy. And it’s just the right amount, so the subtle vocals stand out, but you still get the thickening of the doubles.
With Nahuel playing the bass line and his friend McKay Garner on drums, the drums are receiving some serious Bus processing. The COMP DIODE-609, a plugin that emulates the legendary Neve® 33609 Diode Compressor and Limiter, is the tool that finetunes the drums:
I’m doing very subtle stuff with it, but of course, you can really push your drums more if you want it, for a different context.
A good mix will sound spatially natural. Listening to the kick, the transient of the beater of the kick, and the snare separately without the plugin points to a clear harshness, as if the layers were almost cancelling each other out.
I have quite a bit of the close mics ups - they start to poke and feel a little bit out of context. And as soon as I turn this on, everything feels like it’s in the same space somehow.
Making use of the Advanced panel is another way to make a mix sound pristine and polished. It’s a nifty set of tools -
especially having the high pass on the side chain, so they’re very deep low end of the kick, it’s not really making the whole compressor act out. I’m also emphasizing some of the mid range, the top upper mid range.
That means that when the brighter part of the snare hits, it’s brought down slightly.
Utilizing a tool that makes all the difference while making the end result sound seamless is a sign of great mixing:
It’s cool because the COMP DIODE-609 keeps unity gain, so you can just play with how much you wanna push it. But it’s still subtle, you can see I’m not compressing too much.