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thehitman last won the day on September 19 2015

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About thehitman

  • Birthday 05/23/1975

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    The Hitman
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    in all genres, there's good music and bad music in every style. i draw my influence from the moment of the music when the performance becomes much more than just the things happening. that moment when music takes on a life of it's own.

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  1. very cool stuff. i could definitely give you some ideas that you can try. sounds like you have an echo on the kick. it sounds nice. if i were mixing this, i think i would try panning the echoes. not the kick sound itself, but the repeats. either with a ping pong style echo or an auto panner. make sure you are using sends and returns instead of putting the delay on the track itself, then u can independently eq and pan the delay without affecting the kick sound. there's a good amount of open space to work with here, but i wouldn't pan the echoes very hard since it's the kick, and if the echoes are panned too much, it will become a distraction from the track. if the echoes are panned slightly, it will also help the definition of the actual kick and provide some rhythmic movement in the track. nothing wider than 10 & 2 o'clock. since the echoes will be more distinct also, u can use an eq on the delay to either hide them a bit or make them stand out more. i'd probably lean toward hiding them a bit by rolling off some highs and make them feel more like a heart beat that is more felt than heard. you might also want to consider ducking the echoes so that the kick itself always remains at the forefront and the echoes are only heard when the kick isn't actually hitting. that would help keep things less cluttered. on the high piano melody part i'd do a mono ducked delay (send/return) set to a quarter note with a small amount of feedback (maybe 1.5 echoes). then put an eq before the delay and filter out the highs and lows. i'd then put a short delay after the ducking compressor set to 0 ms on one side, and maybe 15 ms on the other to change the mono delay to a stereo delay. you can also flip the phase of one of the sides of the short delay to widen the stereo image. so, by using the ducker, filter, and short stereo delay (to spread it out wide), you can really hide the echo nicely so that it gives the piano a ghostly aura that won't take away from the beautiful tone of the melody and it won't be so obvious that it has delay on it. you don't want to clutter things up with fx, but a sprinkle of fx can go a long way to making it sound dreamy. the synth sound that comes in at @:32 can be panned left to right or vice versa with automation. u can also try the delay fx i just mentioned for the high melody piano on this sound. the bass sound that comes in right after that sounds like it's being pushed too hard. if you have any effects on it, take everything off it and find the level you think you want it at in the mix. then you might only want a very light compressor on it, not to make it louder, but to shape the attack and sustain. the tone is prob good without any eq. but if you feel like it's interrupting the dreaminess of the other sounds, you can try to filter the highs to make the sound a little rounder rather than sharper. i'd strongly recommend not boosting the bottom unless there is a really good reason to. work the volume to get the level in the mix. boosting the low eq to make it sound bigger in the mix will just make it take up more room and therefore the other sounds will sound smaller. don't be afraid to leave it completely dry with no eq or compression at all. sometimes it's best to not try to fix something that doesn't need fixing. i like where you have the 2 piano parts panned. they balance out well when the bass isn't playing, the problem is that when the big bass sound comes in, the lower piano basically disappears. that's probably from the bass sound triggering the main stereo bus compressor or limiter. so like i said before, find the volume with the bass. don't try to make it sound "big" in the mix with compression and eq because what is happening is that because it's the biggest sound and the sound putting out the most energy, whenever it hits the threshold on the stereo bus compressor or limiter, everything else is being pushed down beneath it. the loudest most high energy sound will always do that to the stereo bus compressor limiter. a way to reduce that from being a major problem would be to use multiband compression, but even then, you are only changing the way it reacts to the frequency ranges independently, so with the multiband compressor, you will still be pushing down the lows on all the sounds in those frequency ranges. so the multiband can help the higher frequencies come through, but they might sound thinner without the lower frequencies that were pushed down when the bass is playing. so you kinda need to leave yourself some headroom on the stereo bus before the compressor starts knocking things down, that's the only way to really avoid the problem altogether. dynamics are a great thing. especially for this type of music. once you reach a certain volume level, the more you try to push the volume to be louder, the smaller and less dynamic it will sound. the claps sound small and weak. you might want to think about layering in another clap sample from another drumkit patch. the other thing is you can use that short delay like i mentioned in my previous post to thicken it up and make it sound bigger. you can also bring up the volume of the sound and maybe a small amount of eq and compression to give it more impact. it also seems a touch dry. try some more reverb as well, or maybe using a second reverb to get different qualities. use sends and returns for the reverbs, do not put them on the actual track if you are not sure what i'm talking about with the ducked delays, i posted another thread about using dynamics sidechains for practical applications. it's described there. i made these suggestions, but i wouldn't say you are doing anything wrong, my suggestions are for you to do things a little differently. you might hate all of my suggestions. but maybe it can lead you in the direction you want just by trying them. good luck
  2. thank you mahesh. i'm happy to share this stuff because it's been a very useful tool for me. it's one of those things that is incorporated into the design of equipment and plugins that doesn't get much explanation and is easily forgotten about if you don't know when it can be useful. it can also seem more complicated that it really is. the fx ducking (& volume level priority ducking) makes life so much easier when working on something like rap music. rappers love echo on their vocals (and so do i). two important things to take into account when adding echo to rap vocals is: 1> how the vocal moves rhythmically with the music, & 2> can the words be heard and understood clearly. adding an echo adds another rhythmic element to the vocal performance, and depending on the delay time, can add more "voice traffic". typically a non-ducked delay on a lead vocal just ends up cluttering up both the rhythm and the clarity of the words because the echo remains at a static volume unless you automate the fx sends. (that is assuming we are using sends and returns and not putting the fx directly on the track) a rapper will often say: "hey, can put that jaunt on just the ends of my words." (to paraphrase). that can be easily done with automation and writing the automation in real time is pretty easy by just muting and unmuting the fx send. that would be best if it's just 1 track. but often times it's on a hook or an ad lib or a double as well, and the performances may be completely different on the different tracks. you could write automation individually, but when you are just giving them a rough mix of the song they just recorded, they don't always want to wait for you to spend time doing that when they might just want to go to the next song. whether it's for a rough mix or final mix, ducking the fx using prefader sends from all the tracks you don't want the echos running all over will keep the words clear. it also eliminates potential rhythmic conflicts, while at the same time allowing for the echoes to still be loud and clear in the parts where there are no other vocals. so you can easily achieve the "putting that jaunt just on the ends of words" without having to automate. i'm using rap vocals as the example but really it's effective on any style and any instrument. anything from fast guitar solos to drum loops. i don't have any video examples of this stuff. it would be pretty easy for me to come up with some audio samples. i could take a small section of audio and give you versions with the ducking and without so that it will be pretty easy to hear the difference. volume level priority ducking is the same idea as fx ducking, just instead of ducking the fx, u are ducking other tracks. in those instances, you would want to be mindful of the threshold as you do not want to make the other tracks disappear entirely. just enough to keep the main focus in front. i'll make some audio samples
  3. Hi, I started to discuss the topic of using dynamic side chains in a thread about vocal production tips. There’s many great practical uses for them. I apologize if I am repeating information that has already been presented on this site. I’m new, but I think this is something worth sharing to those who aren’t familiar with what they do, and what uses they can have. Firstly, let me first try to explain what a side chain is. Basic dynamics processing is based around adjusting the amplitude (volume) of a sound in a certain manner (up or down) by a certain amount once the amplitude reaches a certain level (threshold). Most dynamics processors allow for an external signal to be used as the trigger (to reach threshold). So in other words, you can use any sound you want to trigger when the dynamics processor changes the level. Since it’s only for triggering, the processing is not done to the signal being sent to the side chain. In fact we don’t actually hear the signal going to the side chain at all. It’s the signal that is going into the main input of the *FX that is adjusted in volume. Simple analogy: the guy behind you in line is pushing you into me, but I only see you bumping into me when he pushes you. (*Anywhere I use the term FX, I'm talking the reverb or delay) So how is this useful? I’m glad you kept reading because it’s very useful in a lot of ways. A. Ducking FX: This is the subject I wrote about in the other thread. We don’t want our FX to clutter the mix. Delays can run over everything. Reverb can crowd a part and make it sound far away. But we like FX, and we want FX. We can always automate them to respond in just the parts we want them. But another easy solution is by ducking the FX. What this means is, when the sound that is being sent to the fx is actually happening, the fx are lowered in level. When the sound stops happening, the level returns to normal and therefore is heard in the spaces between the parts. This can prevent FX from obscuring the performance. You don’t want a sea of FX ruining your good performance, but you do want FX. assuming we are using our FX on an aux return, add a compressor AFTER the FX on the aux fader (not your vocal track). use a prefader send (set to unity is fine) to the key input of the compressor from the vocal track and a post fader send to feed the input of the FX to adjust the amount that’s on the vocal when it’s not happening. So the vocal is triggering the compressor to turn down (duck) the FX when it’s happening and letting the FX trail off naturally at the ends of words when there is space that the vocal isn’t happening. It’s important to use a prefader send going to the key input so that you can ride the main vocal fader without affecting the ducking of the FX. This isn’t as complicated as it sounds, and it’s worth trying. you’ll probably fall in love with it. B. Tightening Parts Together: Lets say you have 10 singers. You record them all on separate tracks. 3 of the singers didn’t rehearse enough and they had poor timing with the others. Sometimes they came in too early, sometimes they ended too late. These things can be adjusted manually by shifting parts, and that would be the best way to line them up, however, lets say the client doesn’t have the money or the time to sit there while you shift around the beginnings and ends of some of the vocals. Besides that, the song is 15 minutes long. Well, it’s not the ideal fix, but by putting an expander or gate on the suspect vocal tracks and using a (prefader) send from a vocal track that has all the timings right to trigger the gate on the external side chain can remove all the early entrances, and cut short late endings in real time. It’s a quick fix, maybe not the best fix, but you might not even be doing final vocals, you might be doing reference vocals and there’s no reason to spend so much time on something that is just going to get redone later. So this can be a helpful way to tighten things up. C. Accenting The Groove: Ahh yes, bass and drums. You always want them to be tight together. Maybe you want to emphasize their tightness to make the groove come out a little more. Well, by putting an expander on the bass and triggering it from a kick and snare via the external side chain can elevate the hits where they hit together. so even if the performance is spot on, you can enhance it even more. D. Volume Level Priority Of A Sound In The Mix: Ok, so you got a really big sound on the vocals in the chorus of your song. It’s stacked with 16 vocals (4 different notes x 4 tracks). Wonderful, but for the verses you only have a single lead or a lead and 1 or 2 backgrounds. The verses overlap with the chorus in the beginning and end of the verses and the huge sound of the chorus just overwhelms the verse vocal to the point you can barely hear the words. There’s a limited amount of headroom in the mix, and you are very happy with the overall level of both the chorus and verse, so you don’t want to turn down the chorus and turning up the verse in those parts might not sound consistent with the rest of the verse. Well, (Captain Hindsight..Errr, I mean) side chain to the rescue! Just output all the chorus vocals to a stereo aux fader and put a compressor on it. Then use a prefader send to send the verse vocal to the external key input of the side chain so that the compressor only affects the chorus vocals when the verse overlaps the chorus. This will allow the verse vocal to still be in front of the chorus vocal without turning up the verse and without having to turn down the chorus vocals during the overlap. Problem solved and nobody got hurt. E. Auto Talkback: This is my personal favorite. It’s so elegant and easy and slick. Are you sick of having to hit the talkback switch every time you want to talk to the artist in the booth? Let’s make it easy with side chains! Before you start recording, set up an aux fader in the session and input your control room talkback microphone to that fader. (Any microphone in the control room will do). Put a limiter on the talkback channel and pull the threshold all the way down so that it turns the sound down all the way (when it’s triggered). Now, you can use 1 of either of these things. You can use a prefader send from the tracks you already have or make a new track and put a small audio clip of a sine wave or noise (from the signal generator) that outputs ONLY to the key input of the limiter. If you use an audio clip, (which will work best) make sure the audio clip runs the entire length of the song. (Loop it) If you use the backing tracks, then the only thing that could be a problem is in spots where the background tracks aren’t happening. Once everything is set up the result being, whenever you press play, the limiter mutes the talkback. Whenever you are not playing, the talkback mic is wide open and you no longer have to push the talkback button. Cool, huh? F. Cleaner Snare/Kick/Toms Gate Triggering: When we use gates on drums, there’s sometimes just enough bleed from other drums to trigger the gate. This can be a real annoying problem. You can use the side chain path through filters or an EQ to get more accurate triggering, but let me also give you another way. Duplicate the snare track. Output the duplicate track directly to the side chain key input on the gate. Then proceed to cut apart the duplicate snare track to remove the noise. Strip Silence in Pro Tools is a quick way to do this. Now, normally that would sound awful because of the track stopping and starting abruptly, but we don’t actually hear that track. We hear the track that wasn’t cut up. The gate is triggered by the cut up track where you removed the bleed. Its also good to nudge the duplicate a millisecond earlier in the song so that it triggers the gate just before the snare transient. That way you don’t lose any of the attack on the snare when the gate opens. So, the bleed doesn’t trigger the gate and the gate can be set to open and close at a speed that feels natural. G. Fattening Up A Weak Kick: This is a weapon of last resort. The kick drum that you are working with doesn’t have any bottom to it. You can’t boost the bottom on something that doesn’t exist. So, we have to add low frequency to the kick. Here’s a method how you can do that. Create an aux track and put a signal generator or oscillator on the track. Set it to sine wave and choose a low frequency like 50-60 hz. The sine wave is continuous so you need it to only happen during the kick hits. Put a gate after the signal generator and use a prefader send from the kick track to trigger the opening and closing of the gate. You will have to adjust the attack and release controls to get it to blend in more naturally, but it is possible to get it right on point with the kick. So, now you have added low frequency that is “in” the kick. See how useful dynamic side chains can be? There’s also so much more that can be done. I hope these ideas help people in developing their own uses and inspire creativity. Thanks for reading. I’m happy to answer questions and provide visual and audio examples of these things in usage.
  4. thehitman


    thank u. it was a music playground.
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    TheHitman's Studios

    i've set up a number of studios over the years. i did some really fun stuff that made my studios different than what you would find in a normal studio.
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    Control Room

    by the way, that really is my cat on top of the left studio monitor. she is awesome. all studios need to have a studio cat.
  7. there's a multitude of things you can try. there's different things you can do depending on the style of music and the vibe of the song. also, the role each instrument has in the music can dictate what kind of sound you want and where it should sit in the mix. there's no reason for you not to experiment to find the sounds that you want to hear. anything and everything is fair game. doing the most illogical thing might turn out to be perfect for the song. i'll make a few (of the more logical) suggestions. if it's sample based music, you will probably want your snares and claps to have some size and impact. adding too much reverb will make them sound small and far away. an easy way to make snares and claps sound bigger and more 3 dimensional is to set up a short delay effect on an aux fader. a simple stock delay is just fine. it doesn't need to be anything fancy. mono to stereo delays are a good choice here. most delays like that allow you to set a different delay time for the left and right side. so set the delay time to a very short amount like 15 ms on one side and 25 ms on the other. the feedback should be set to zero. so then u just send some signal from the claps and/or snare to the fx. keeping the snare panned center and having the delays panned out wide will then make it sound much wider, fuller and 3 dimensional. you can adjust the amount of the fx by the amount of signal you send to them. this can really make the snare and claps sound bigger without sounding farther away like with reverb. compression on snare and claps can also help bring the sounds forward in the mix and make them really hit. but u can't use too much compression because it will lose impact once it gets to a certain level because you are taking away the dynamics and limiting the amount of headroom available. also, boosting the low frequencies with a low shelf eq can really fatten the sound up. don't be afraid to let the snare sit loud in the mix if its hip hop, r & b, or techno/edm. depending on the style u can try things with hats that will give them character. a plain hi hat sound can easily get lost in a mix if there's a lot going on. boosting frequencies might only make them sound thin. sometimes a little overdrive or distortion can help a hi hat cut through. assuming we are talking about plugins that is. i like nomad factory valvedriver for hi hats. it dirties them up nicely. if dirt is not what you are wanting, auto panners can be useful or even a flanger effect to put some sweep into the sound so that it doesn't sound too plain and boring. reverb isn't great for hats, but sometimes can work. reverb is better on shakers and percussion than it is on hats. if you really want to try some interesting sounds, there's some envelope filters that u can try that react dynamically to the drum sounds. even a wah pedal sound might work in certain situations to color the sound differently. putting tap tempo delays like 8th notes or dotted 8ths or 1/4 notes, etc, on hats and panning them away from the hats can be interesting. here's another suggestion, send the outputs of all your drum sounds to a stereo aux track and put some eq and compression on the blend of the sounds. that can help make it move and sound more together. this is in addition to having eqs and compression, etc on the tracks themselves. try to think of the tracks as 1 thing and not just a bunch of separate things. i suggest if you don't know what an effect is or what it does, take a few seconds to apply it to some drums sounds and start turning the controls to see what it can do. like i said, there's really not limit and no rules so be creative.
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