i'm doing a mixing workflow tutorial start to finish as you might have guessed from the title there's more information about the song i'm using the software and tools that i'm using as well all in the description so check that out but let's waste no time and just get right into the video i will be showing lots of mixing techniques in this video but the main purpose is to give you a sort of workflow or overall idea of how to approach mixing a track with a lot of stems like this it doesn't really matter which software you use or what plugins you have all of this stuff works in any dawn with any softwares the song i'm mixing today is called you by the workday release it's a really beautiful song and the only thing i've done to prepare is dragging all the stems in and taken a quick listen whilst naming them and also sent them to the mixer but besides that i haven't done any extra preparation for this so you're going to see how i might approach this and remember that this works with any genre and no matter what sort of song you're working with you can still apply this sort of general road map to get it into a good sounding position so i've heard these stems in solo so i'm going to let you hear them as well let's just start with the instruments and then i'll add some stuff in [Music] so there's lots of nice atmospheres and pads like this there's of course piano and guitar that you were hearing and there's also this really nice vocal that sits on the top [Music] but the song also does pick up a bit of momentum later on there's drums and some bass but all of this needs a good balance [Music] it's a little bit all over the place so the first thing i'm going to do is think about the big picture now i've wasted so many hours i mean i truly mean hours in mixes in the past where i focus in on just trying to get a good vocal tone to start off with or just get the bass and drums working this just leads me sort of chasing my tail i get a good tone then i add in more of the song and it doesn't fit anymore so i have a bigger picture approach it's called top down mixing it's not something i invented it's a very common technique but the way it works is to try and deal with the song as a whole before you dive into individual tracks so what i've done on the mixer is you'll see these different colored groups now usually i don't worry actually too much about coloring the project but for the sake of the tutorial it really helps you see what i'm looking at as well so i've got all the vocals for instance in blue and all of those individual tracks go to a vocal bus same with the atmospheres and pads here same with the instruments over here like the guitar the piano the synths they're all going to an instrument bus if i go back to the start of the song it means that i can select all of these channels with a control left click and drag i can pull all the channels down and then at any point in the song you shouldn't hear any any volume at all and this means that i'm going to introduce these groups of instruments and vocals together and get the overall volume right without having to dive into any single track so i'm going to do this with my speakers and also my headphones let's take a listen let's pull those instruments in first it feels like sanity until my lungs remind me my time is up time is up and already

i can hear that the background vocals were way too loud when they came in here far too loud so i'm just going to pull those down here on this time is channel time is up so let's pull in those atmospheres now i wandered out again last night into the ocean [Music] let's go to an area that has that bass and drums and we'll pull those back [Music] out in last night into a river allowed the current to decide where i should go it felt like freedom until i knew i was [Music] so there's a lot of things i can hear in individual tracks which i really want to change right now but i'm just trying to think about the overall bigger picture so let's take another listen i wandered out again [Music] to decide where i should go while i've set the overall balance there's still lots of small channels that i want to push up and down so i'm going to go do that now some of them that i identified were that this keys pad here i feel is louder than the other atmosphere so i'm just going to start by pulling this one down and when i got to this section here there was this beautiful rhythm guitar which just sounded a little a little bit too loud if i play it with everything else so that's a little bit better but now i want to start adding some some effects to blend things in this is a sort of static mix that's what a lot of people would call it i know that i have to add some effects mainly reverb to these vocals to get them to sit with the rest of the instruments so let's do that if i go to my vocal uh bus here i've got my main vocals and the background vocals and i also have a vocal reverb and vocal delay send here now i have a specific tutorial showing how to set this up in parallel processing but also a vocal mixing tutorial and it's basically an exact copy of that but i just send from the main vocal channel to the reverbs and then i send those all back to the vocal channel i'm going to add a little bit of this reverb and delay and then i'll show you actually what's happening on these tracks [Music] i wandered out again last night into the [Music] [Music] i know that the artist wants this song to sound very spacious but i also know he doesn't like a ton of reverb and delay on his vocal so i've got to really respect that as well i'll solo these just so you can hear it so i don't tend to solo much while mixing so on the reverb channel i just have a standard fruity reverb too you can see the settings here all wet no dry and then i have this compressor here called the molotok and the reason i'm using this is that i can side chain it to the main vocals so while david is singing this reverb is being ducked down and compressed and then it very quickly releases in between his phrases and swells the reverb up let's take a listen to that hide into the ocean dove deep until a new no longer up from down it's just a little bit it just cuts it down by four or five db whilst he sings i could do a lot more and then the same thing is happening with the delay so i have fruity delay three hide into the ocean it's also going into a little bit of reverb as well but again the molotov compressor is cutting it down hide into the ocean and this means that it doesn't really overtake the main vocals too much but it still gives us a really spacious feel so let's just solo this slide into the ocean dove deep until a new no longer up from down and the reason i don't like soloing is because you end up again chasing your tail this sounds like far too much reverb and delay i mean on its own you saw me pull that down it's just far too much it's overtaking the vocals but if i play it with everything else i wandered out again last night into the ocean deep until i knew no longer [Music] i mean it's still a little bit too much probably because i should maybe cut a bit of the low end out of it but it's not completely overwhelming it just sounds a little bit spacious so we'll take them back a little bit i may add more later i tend to overdo it with reverb and delay so i'm going to be a little bit cautious with that now i'm hearing on the instruments that the guitar and the piano are both occupying the low mids quite a lot and i don't want to use the word muddy because it's so overused but there's a little bit of competition in between about 100 and 300 hertz between the guitar and the piano let's take a listen [Music] and if i can be honest i'd like the piano to fill most of that low mid area so i'm going to take the guitar and this is just experimenting with stuff you know seeing what's going to work i'm just going to grab any old eq and just do a little bit of a cut there and again i'll play it with the piano maybe i'll boost a bit of the top let's hear that with everything out else last night into the ocean delve deep until and i like that a lot more if i turn it off i wandered out again last night it's just there's a lot of boominess in that guitar i wandered out again last night into the ocean and the piano is fairly wide because it's actually made up of a few different stems here which i want to quickly show you when we recorded we had a pair of stereo mics on top of the sound board we also had a room microphone and a microphone right above david's head just as a bit of an experiment and we sort of blended the three of those to create this tone here [Music] which has a bit of stereo information but it's not too wide but i'm worried that this guitar is a little bit thin even with that reverb so i'm gonna try to do a little bit of stereo imaging on it now i just use the ozone 9 imager but they also have a free imager i just haven't actually registered it yet so i'm not going to use it i'm going to take everything above let's say 200 hertz and just make it a little bit wider [Music] there's no point listening to this on its own so i'm gonna take all the instruments again i think that sounds much better let's listen to that with the [Music] knew no vocals up from down it feels like sanity until my lungs remind me the time is up time is up let's add some uh effects to the background vocals because they're quite dry at the minute they just sound like this [Music] they definitely need some reverb so i'm just going to start by adding a splash of reverb to them again there's not a whole lot of point doing this in solo so let's push it really far and then see what it sounds like you pull me back when i'm out of breath swimming deep and black you pull me back when i'm sinking down down into the dives you pull me back let's pull their volume down a bit cause they're overtaking the main vocals there you pull me back when i'm out of breath swimming deep black you pull me back when i'm sinking down down into the desk you know i might actually do a little bit more stereo imaging on those uh on those harmonies as well now please don't don't just copy what i'm doing because i'm i'm just experimenting at this point and i tend to not actually do a whole lot of stereo imaging but i'm quite liking it at the moment so you pull me back when i'm out of breath you pull me back i quite like that that moves the harmonies out of the way but i might undo this later let's just see how the song pans out i'm now going to add some more effects to the main vocal because besides those that reverb and delay it doesn't have any extra eq or compression on it and there's probably a little bit i can do to make it fit in the mix a little bit better so let's just load some plugins and take a listen i wandered out again last night into the ocean delve deep until i knew no longer up from down it feels like sanity until my lungs remind me the time is up time is up you pull me back when i'm out of hell my lungs remind me my time is up time is up you pull me back when i'm out of breath swimming deep and black you pull me back when i'm sinking down down into the dives you pull me back and without you i know for sure i drown but you pull [Music] so i'm going to pull the vocals down a little bit because i added a little bit too much gain with that compression and i'm going to listen in my monitors now just to make a change from the headphones [Music] swimming deep and black you pull me back when i'm sinking down down into the dives you pull me back and without you i know for sure i drown but you pulled me back you pulled me back the bass and drums clearly need a lot of work but i want to ask myself first what are the what are the drums trying to do in this song because there's a million directions i could take this in i could make them really punchy i could compress them and hide them under the track what's what's the purpose here and when i'm listening to the song what is that david the artist what is he actually singing and at the start there's all these sort of spacious vocals all those pads and atmospheres and a very sort of lonely and haunting sounding guitar and piano and that just matches the song all alone all alone as he's singing i think in this song the the rhythmic guitar and the percussion is really there to provide foundation and rhythm so that's the direction i'm going to go with this let's just take a listen to those drums on their own because i think they need a lot more movement i think we can do a lot with potentially reverbs or delays to sort of smooth them out and sort of tuck them in with the rest of the track and i should say these drums were all provided as one stem i don't have a kick and a snare and a hi-hat i've got to work with it all together so let's listen to them together i think they're a little bit too dry so what i'm gonna do is try adding um surprisingly some reverb but i also do want to pull that snare up i know i said a minute ago i don't want it to cut through the mix but i feel it's a little bit dark so what i'm going to do is add i could add another sort of parametric eq but what i'm going to do is just pull open the mix rack just use whatever you have i sometimes like using these sorts of plugins where you can't really see you know exactly what's going on with a slope i find you just pull a plugin in you know i put it around 2 or 4k and you just push up until it sounds right you don't get put off by seeing a slope on an eq so let's see how that goes [Music] you can really hear a lot more about snare i like that that's sounding better already but i'm also going to add some reverb now i'm just using fruity reverb too if it's just a built-in reverb but again use whatever you have there's so many good free plugins out there that's going to help tuck it under the track and in there again i'm also going to use the kotelnikov i think that the kick is just a bit too huge and i'd like to reduce the kick pull up the snare a little bit and make sure that nothing is too punchy usually i'd actually be doing the opposite i'd want the drums to be as dynamic as possible but i don't want them to overtake the track so let's do a little bit of compression let's make that really fast nice and i played that with everything [Music] else [Music] the shakers were sounding a little bit loud so i'm going to reduce that top end a little bit i might use a normal eq to do some of this but overall it's amazing how much adding that reverb has just brought so much sort of tone and texture to those drums overall they're not any louder the peak value is almost the same but you can just hear them so much better [Music] so i'm also hearing that the rhythm guitar is again still a little bit too loud it's setting it sounds amazing this one here [Music] it's just overtaking a bit and i think it's also because it has a little bit too much low frequency information just something like that might help let's play everything together [Music] so all of a sudden this distorted guitar pad just kicked in and it sounds great but it's a bit too loud so i'm just going to pull that down [Music] so the vocals are getting sort of swallowed up a little bit in the chorus and i'm not so happy with how that sounds i feel there's a little bit too much low mid weight in this song even though i do want it to sound warm i felt that in the verses the vocals felt loud enough i wandered out again last night into the ocean sounds pretty good over here [Music] maybe those drums are just a little bit too loud let's pull the bass and drums down i wandered out again last night into a river allowed the current to decide where i should go [Music] so what i think we need to do is pull all the vocals up in the chorus so what i'm going to do is go to that vocal bus here i'm going to add a simple gain plug-in what you're looking for is some sort of gain or utility plug-in in your daw this one's called fruity balance in fl i'm going to create an automation clip for this so where is it create automation clip and then in the chorus i'm just going to increase the level of the vocals just a little bit and see if that works you pull me back [Music] that seemed to work great now into the verse i'm going to take them down again or i should say the bridge is not the verse and then into the final chorus i'm just gonna raise them just to give them a little bit of a lift there we go [Music] you pull me back i'm actually really liking where that's sitting i mean there's lots of things i want to do to fine-tune a few things which we'll do in just a moment but overall you can see that even though i've had to take time to talk through what i'm doing this process of splitting things into channels getting the bigger picture sorted it really speeds up this process whereas if you just start by tweaking a guitar tone until it's perfect you can end up just going around in circles because you need to change it later and adjust it but what i would say is this is mixing now if you're producing a song it's great you can spend hours fine-tuning a synth sound or a vocal tone and when recording you want to spend a lot of time sorting these things out but with mixing you really have to move quickly otherwise you lose uh you lose sort of freshness on the song and you start just not knowing what's right so i'm probably going to take a little bit of a break and then i'll come back to it and try to finish this off right so let's take another listen to this and then we'll fine tune some uh some specific tracks i feel we could pull a little bit more brightness out of the vocals i'm going to use a plugin called slick eq this is a free one really like it on vocals so i think around 2k i'm just going to add a little bit i wandered out again last night into the ocean just delve deep until i knew no longer up from down it feels like sanity until my lungs remind me my time is up time is up sounds so good you pulled me back when i'm out of breath swimming deep in black this pad here [Music] just too much resonance it's uh i love the sound of it i just don't like how yeah it's this just too much of that i think [Music] it sounds amazing it just needs a lot of work to get it mixed in again you can really use any plugins analog style eqs you could run this into hardware and back in [Music] i just think that's gonna fit better [Music] cool let's take a listen i wandered out again [Music] there's a bit of low end there that i don't need as well [Music] yeah i just don't need it so i'm going to go into a high pass where are we there we go i'm going to make a little bit steeper more steep yeah that's good now i can push the volume of this up it feels like sanity until my lungs remind me my time is up time is up wonderful let's go into that sort of pre-chorus [Music] those drums have a weird hollowness to the kick i'm going to take a better listen [Music] yeah it's just on those little bits there so i might do a little bit of side chaining between the the base and the drums so i'm gonna send side chain the base to the the drums to the base i'll add the fruity limiter plug in just because it makes the side chaining really simple let's see how we can do this because it's all one stem so the snare is going to be quite loud it will be triggering this as well let's let's try this [Music] okay [Music] right that should be doing it a little bit of a quicker release [Music] cool let's go to the final chorus [Music] [Music] you [Music] something i think i'll do in the chorus is take all of these instrument stems and do a little bit of a high pass so i'm going to take a high pass filter something like this in the chorus [Music] but then i can push the overall volume up and that's because i really want the base and the kick to be providing the low end especially in this final chorus and then this so this is sort of a wet dry blend for this eq what i'm going to do is go to the instruments and i'm going to automate this on and off so i'll keep it off until the final chorus and then i'll see whether that works so basically this just means in the chorus the final chorus there will be a lot less low end in these instrument tracks let's take a [Music] listen [Music] [Music] know for sure i really like that i think that helps um and i might do this for more of the tracks as well there's this distorted guitar pad and occasionally there's these really nice notes that ring out and i might just take those little notes and increase them in volume a little bit [Music] [Applause] the next thing i'm going to quickly do is some global eq or that's what i call at least i don't know if that's the right term again just a simple eq and it's it's common for people to mix through eq and compression on their master channel but i tend to avoid it because i like leaving things as open as possible for the mastering but what this eq is for is to help me imagine the song in a different way i've given it a certain balance but i want to hear what it sounds like if overall there's a lot less low end or there's more top end so let's just take a out listen last night into the ocean delve deep until i knew no longer up from down it feels like sanity until my lungs remind me the time is up time is up and to be honest the only one there that sounded better i think is removing a little bit of this low mids so i might want to go back and see what's contributing to that maybe the piano has a little bit too much low mids but i like doing this because if i adjust it and i hear that it sounds better then i know i should probably go and find that but if i adjust it and everything i do makes it sound worse then it's probably a good idea that you've got the mix balance to where it should be and remember that a mix doesn't have to have a perfect balance of low mid and high it just has to be the right balance for that song but that's everything sitting in a really good place for now the next step is to send it away to the artist david and ask for his feedback you shouldn't be worried about mixed revisions or view them as failures or anything like that this is the artist's song you want them to be involved i love hearing back and and saying okay you know you've pushed the piano a lot in this song but really i was i was really viewing it as a guitar driven song could you could you change that when someone trusts you to work with their music their art it's really good that they also feel that they can approach you to ask for those sorts of changes as you've seen here i put my my own spin on those drums i added the vocal effects the way i thought they should be and overall i've given it a balance that i think works for this song but it just might not be what they intended and often you have to sort of step or put your own sort of ego aside and what you want for the song and really just open up and be open to that criticism from the artist because they're not really criticizing your ability they're just trying to help you understand where they want the song to go and often words can be really it can be difficult to describe what you want with audio by using words so it can take a lot of communication to get there but in time it makes both of you better it helps the artist get better at expressing themselves it helps you get better at mixing so that's everything for today let me know if you have any comments or questions in the comment section down below and i'll see in the next one bye for now