We were approached recently by Oslo based band Mirramaze to see if we could mix a track for them.
They had just finished recording at Sono in the Czech Republic and had perfectly captured the sound for their “modern vintage concept” as Peter from the band said. The task was finding the correct audio engineer to deliver the mix sympathetically to the bands aesthetic.
Mirramaze got in touch with mixing Audio Pros searching for audio mixing on the web. They saw our range of independent, freelance audio engineers and got in touch to see if Paul ’Win’ Winstanley could mix for them.
The first thing to do was to have a chat on the phone between the band in Oslo and mixing Audio Pros in London in order to get the artists idea and vision for the music.
The band explained their concerns about the audio engineer not letting the music breathe and stamping their own sound all over the mix. They wanted a less is more approach of keeping it simple and achieving an extra punch without compromising the vintage sound they had painstakingly created during the recording stage.
Paul has a solid background in delivery ‘punchy’ mixes and proves very popular with bands looking for a heavier rock sound. He is also a very humble audio engineer who listens carefully to what the band are trying to create and has no problem leaving his ego at the door when it comes to a mix like this.
We sent Win a rough mix of the track to check out and he could immediately hear the potential and completely understood the bands vision.
“With this mix, as with most I receive, I began by trying to create the best basic balanced mix of the raw files I can. This gives me some time to get to know what I have to work with and what may need some “help” to work within the mix. I then began to solo the tracks and engage software EQ’s (usually Pro Tools own) and go about cutting problem frequencies from them. I rarely boost as I find it better to create some space first. With the tracks un-soloed I then begin to patch in some of my outboard EQ’s/Filters (API 560b/ Neve 8803/ HeliosType 69), engage my Amek Angela desk EQ’s and apply some of my favourite software EQ’s (UAD Neve/ SSL/ Helios/ Pultec) in order to begin some more creative cuts and now boosts to the tracks to enhance the mix. I use Waves Q-Clone quite often to sample the EQ characteristics of my favourite outboard EQ’s in order to free them for other duties in the mix. At this point I also begin to automate volume controls and panning with Pro Tools to accommodate my EQ moves“.
After this preparation Win had a basic shape and could press on with fine tuning the mix.
“It is only once I feel that I have a fairly well balanced mix using EQ, panning and Volume automation that I will begin to add dynamic processing. I have personally found that waiting to add Compressor/Limiters until this stage will make me use them as tools of enhancement rather than repair. I am a big fan of parallel compression. I will use a combination of Software and hardware compressors within a mix framework. The UAD LA-3A is a particular favourite for my drum buss parallel. I prefer to use software on this as I like to automate within the DAW from section to section the amount that is applied”.
Once the dynamics processing had been added the mix required a bit of re-balancing. Win then applied a stereo buss compressor to the master buss to “glue” the mix.
“I tend to add ambient processing such as reverbs and delays at the late stage of a mix, using them to subtly fill spaces and connect parts and sections of the song. I am fortunate to have a Lexicon 224XL which I love to use for drums as well as vocals. I record the drum reverbs to the DAW to free it up for vocal duties. I will use mostly software reverbs such as Altiverb 7, Waves H-Delay, Valhalla and the UAD compliment for the more creative roles (such as adding dimension and depth) within the mix for their automative capabilities’.
He then looked at each section of the song to find the strengths and balance accordingly. Once that was done he looked look at the song with a broader view, making sure that the mix developed well, and built, dropped, widened and retracted when it needed to.
“If it is possible, as was the case on this mix, I like to print a copy of the mix to take home to listen on a trusted setup, make some adjustment notes, before returning to “tweak” and commit to the final mix print”.
The results were a very impressive mix that really highlighted the vintage sound the band were looking for and all involved were suitably happy with the mix.
So how did they find using an online mixing service?
“We have not tried working with online mixers before and we found the process with mixing Audio Pros a lot easier than expected. Our initial email was answered straight away and all the communication was prompt, in fact probably more efficient than with somebody in our own city!” – said the band.
“We found everybody very positive and helpful. The mix we received was really cool, top class work. I would really recommend m.A.P. to bands because it opens up a whole new world of opportunities for your mixes”…..- Mirramaze