The More You Know…

okay, it’s been almost a month since i’ve posted anything. it’s really not because i haven’t been doing anything, it’s more like i didn’t really know what to talk about. quick update:

the pro-tools adventure is coming along swimmingly. while it’s still taking me a bit more time than audition, i think i made the right move in at least having a pt system somewhere. still haven’t gotten into the sequencing/composition part of this little endeavor yet, but it will happen soon.

so here’s the skinny on the latest:

3 weeks ago, my station Alice 105.9 had our tiny acoustic performance called AuNaturAlice. it’s an awesome show, only about 300 people get in and it’s always at this place called the soiled dove underground. now the soiled dove is great because the have a pro-tools HD system running so we can record the night and put some of the songs online and on-air.

okay, so normally what happens is that we’ll do the show, and i’ll wait for the engineers to mixdown the night for me (which takes forever cuz it’s in REAL TIME! c’mon pt…get on this!). but this year, i figured, i’ll just ask the guys for the session and mix it on my own on my rig at home. at least that way, it’s we can do more with it than just have a rough mix on the air. now i’ve dabbled in mixing and mastering a little from my days in a hs band, a cappella groups, and artists coming into our sessions studio, but i was never really at the helm…just more of a bystander adding his two cents. so this would have been my first go.

like anything you do for the first time on your own, you’re never really comfortable with the choices you’re making. is this too much? is that too quiet? should i eq that a bit? these are always gonna be questions that enter your mind. what makes matters worse is that these are going on air, so you really don’t want to screw it up your first go around. the important thing is that you trust yourself and you trust your ear. the nice thing about mastering a live performance is that generally, the mix is pretty good already thanks to the sound guy. so all you have to do is maybe add a bit of reverb, some eq, compress a bit and master it. done! just remember that in situations like this, less is always more.

another great thing is that it allowed me to mess with a lot of aux inputs and things like that. on my normal imaging template, i have 1 aux input that has my reverb and compression on it for my VO, but for this, i got to mess with keys, vocals, guitars and even a cajon. so for this session, i had my guitars running through one aux with a little compression and a little brightness in the middle, the vox going through another with my eq, compression, and a little reverb on it and then had everything going through a master aux with pt’s “maxim” plug in going through it.

overall, i’m really happy with the final mix. it’s basically what you’ll hear live just beefed up a little bit. the vocals are mixed a little better and you still get the feeling of a live performance, complete with ambient crowd noise (thanks to some well placed room mics).

so really what was the point of this post? i’ve never done any kind of post prod like this before and i figured, that this was my chance to jump into the pool. i always tell my interns to learn as much about your craft as possible. the more you understand one part, the better you’ll be at the other. the more knowledgable you are about music, the more musical you’re imaging will become. the more you learn about mixing music and live music, you’ll notice how much better and how much more fluid your mixes will become. you’ll have a better understanding of things fit and how they work together.

don’t just challenge yourself to be a better radio producer, challenge yourself to be a better producer. cuz the more you know, the more dangerous and the more valuable you will be. (insert twinkly “the more you know” music here)

i’ll try and get a sample of something once this is all mixed. soundcloud can be a bit of a pain with this stuff…