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Top 10 Plugins for Mixing and Mastering in 2020

mastering mixing plugins Mar 28, 2020

So many plugins, so little time!

Which ones are best for mixing and mastering in 2020?

Check out my top 10 plugin picks for this year to help you decide.

In this video, I’m recommending my top 10 plugin choices to you to use along with your stock plugins to expand your plugin collection to give you a few more options to create some unique and awesome sounds in your mixes.

 

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Gullfoss EQ Plugin - Do Automatic EQ Plugins Really Work?

eq mastering mixing Mar 20, 2020

 Automatic equalization sounds like a time saving no brainer but can the intelligent equalizer called Gullfoss really do as good a job as our ears? 

 

Learning how to use an equalizer well is time-consuming, so when a plugin comes along that claims to intelligently EQ signals in an easy to use way, no matter if you are a DIY musician, mixing engineer or mastering engineer then I’m curious to give it a try.

 

EQ masking is a common problem when mixing music and this is what the Gullfoss plugin is all about.

 

In this video, I give Gullfoss a try at tackling a dull, muffled sounding acoustic guitar and then a complete mix.

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Compression In music? (Compression explained)

Beginners to mixing music often ask, what is compression in music?

 

It can be a hard concept to grasp when you’re first starting out so, in this video, I wanted to explain what compressors do in music by taking a step back and explaining the concept of compression and why we use it and then show a few basic examples on vocals, snare and kick drum.

 

This video is not so much about compressor settings but more about the mindset and concept of compression explained.

 

It’s a tricky technique to grasp and can take a long time to master but by understanding what a compressor does to music, how it controls the dynamics and changes the tone, then we can apply it with more understanding and creativity.

 

Explaining compression is easy on the face of it, it’s a simple piece of equipment but understanding how we can use it in a musical way takes a little more practice.

 

If you're looking for my FREE download for vocal compression...

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Using Reference Tracks For Mixing (So your mixes sound great everywhere!)

mixing reference tracks Feb 28, 2020

 Using reference tracks can be an incredibly useful way of checking your mix for mistakes before you call it done.

 

Nothing is worse than after spending hours on a mix, pondering over every move and finally having it sound great in your studio, to then hear it on a different system and it sounds horrible.

 

We’ve all been there and felt the frustration that goes along with it, so how can we ensure our mixes will sound great, everywhere?

 

Far from using references to “copy” ideas or constrain our creativity, references are used to check a few basic areas of a mix for consistency and prevent making simple mistakes.

 

It’s true to say that with experience there will come a time when needing to check reference tracks becomes less and less necessary, particularly as your experience and confidence grows and I see no harm - no matter what mixing level you’re at - taking a couple of minutes at the end of a mix to carry out a quick...

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Mix With Headphones (How To Get The Best Results)

gear headphones mixing Feb 21, 2020

Do you mix with headphones? Should you mix with headphones?

To be honest, I avoid mixing in headphones, I just prefer to mix on studio monitors but I know that some people have no choice but to mix with headphones. 

I use headphones as another “mix checker” and as a way to hear the finer details of a mix or any clicks or hums that I need to sort out before I can call a mix finished.

I would hazard a guess and say that headphones are probably how most people listen to music today, so it makes sense to check how your mix sounds on a typical “consumer” pair of headphones and a good set of studio headphones.

Mix checks aside, what about when you have to do the whole mix with headphones?

Well, it can be done, and done very well once you know the pitfalls and how to get around them.

In this video, I go over the different types of studio headphones and which type is best for mixing, then, I give you my best tips for getting the best results possible when...

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How To Download Free Multitracks (For Mixing Practice)

mixing Feb 14, 2020

 To get better at mixing it makes sense to practice. 

Building in time for intentional practice will see our mixing skills come on in leaps and bounds.

Even just 15 mins of “intentional” practice can help take us from average to great quicker than just aimlessly noodling around for a couple of hours.

So what do I mean when I say “intentional practice”?

Well, by recognising and committing to practising in our weakest areas, we are focused on exactly where we need to improve and can target those areas by repeatedly going over and over our chosen weak spot until we get the result we are after.

Practising at the peak of our ability and then adding a new task that is just outside our skill level and repeating it is the best way to structure your intentional practice sessions. By doing this, that 15 or 30 min practise session really accelerates our skillset as a mixer or musician.

So YAY! for practice, now, you just need some multitrack files to practice...

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Mixing Mistakes To Avoid - The 5 Top Mistakes

beginners effects eq mixing Feb 07, 2020

I get asked regularly to critique peoples mixes and I love doing so because it gives me an excuse to listen to more music and talk to other people with a similar interest and, I hope, actually help them.

What it has also given me is a little insight as to some of the more common mixing mistakes home studio musicians and music producers make when they mix music at home.

Aside from the acoustic issues created by our small home studio mixing spaces, there tend to be some other mixing problems that are down to lack of experience or knowledge, where great gains can be made by some simple, small changes in workflow or approach.

In this video, I go over the common problems that I see over and over again and I offer advice that will help fix these issues and have you mixing faster and with more confidence.

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How To Use An Equalizer

beginner eq mixing Dec 29, 2019

Learning how to use an equalizer is a fundamental part of learning how to mix.

EQ (short for equalization) is one of the main tools you will use on a daily basis to craft sounds and fix sonic problems within the frequency spectrum in order to produce a mix that has a balanced frequency response and sounds like the records you hear on the radio or streaming platforms.

The good news is that despite all the geeky terminology around EQ, they are easy to use and to learn and in this blog post, I want to give you the very basics of an EQ plugin, describe the parameters that you’ll see on almost every EQ plugin and then the basic way to use EQ, so you can start using one and start crafting better mixes today.

Frequency Spectrum

Every sound sits within the frequency range of human hearing which is between 20Hz and 20kHz.

Every instrument has a fundamental frequency but also has higher overtones and harmonics that give its character or timbre.

Using EQ, we can change this character...

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