Sunday, 25 August 2013
25th Song - I'm A Slave For Mixing (237th Song)
Some time ago it fell in my hands all the tracks of I'm Slave 4 U by Britney Spears. 47 tracks that I kept in my hard drive and didn't touch it until now that I have minimum knowledge of mixing. I wanted to feel what a professional mixer feels when they receive all this rough tracks and they have to figure out how the final product will be. My mission today is mix a massive song with great production.
Thoughts: When I loaded all the tracks up to logic I just hadn't idea of what would be the next step, everything looked messy and all those sounds sounding at the same time were overwhelming me. I decided first to organize everything in sections (drums, percussion, basses, voices, ...) which took some time. Then I assign them colors, something that I had seen before but I never tried. Even doing this everything looked messy. So I grab all the things that were supposed to sound together immovably like the kick drums (there were so many), basses, backing vocals; and I send them to auxiliary tracks and put the primary tracks apart. Now I had less tracks. 47 tracks are a lot. I could hear what was sounding in each of them and it's amazing how many elements it had, you have to be very creative and have a clear idea of what you want to record all that stuff. Some of the sounds were very bad, but in the end they do their function.
After the organization it was the turn of the mix itself. I put all the levels down and started to turn them up one by one in the order that I got them, first drums, then bass and so on. I did some panning firstly a little bit randomly but after soon I was feeling where the things felt better and I did cool things, like spread the backing vocals in a wide spectrum and sounded really good. Then I felt how some things no matter the volume they had sounded really weak, so I started to EQ stuff, no many things though. I improved the sound of them a little bit, but still things were weak.
Now everything was sounding pretty good. The quality of the recording was amazing, no noises anywhere, the sound was extremely neat and just to listen the voice of Britney singing without any effect through my headphones just directly to my ears was great. She is amazing! In one backing vocal track I could hear her singing to herself the tone of what she was up to sing 2 seconds later, that was not supposed to be in the recording, but was funny to hear it. I put a little tiny bit of reverb, is the only thing that I could think to do. Everything without any effect was sounding a thousand times better than the best of my recordings.
When I finished I was very proud and I dared to listen to the original song and man, I SUCK! The original mix it's just incredible, the sound is so bright and shinny, they are changing things all the time too, the drums explodes right in your face and the space is so bigger. Mine is like a room with old concrete walls and a bulb in the ceiling with the cables peeled. And this one was like those design living rooms in the cover of decoration magazines. It's a long way for me to get something cool I guess but at least I can finish a mix this big. I'm proud to be able to do that and I'll do it better and better over the time.