There are some great secrets that have been used by engineers over the years. Dialing in your reverb with the mix has always been a challenge for many young and aspiring producers. Here are some tips from the engineers at Abbey Road studios on how to get a tighter and balanced reverb level into your mixes.
Every mix has one special element that likes to show off its plume of feathers. I call this element, "The Peacock" of the mix. Sometimes it is the vocals and sometimes it is the guitar. I'm never quite sure until I get in front of the mix. It just takes some time to listen and figure out what needs the most attention; How you should build the mix around the peacock is dictated by the array of colors present in the mix. If you display the peacock properly in the mix, it will draw attention to itself and listeners will be seduced by its beauty. The only thing you need to focus on is making sure the complimenting tracks don't get overlooked and the peacock will do the rest of the work.
Mixing can be an overwhelming task. Don't let it get too complex. When you start a mix, start simple. Do a rough mix in a short amount of time. Take the mix and listen to it for a few days. Get an idea for what you want to achieve with your mix. This will be the best approach to getting a final mix that you're very happy to put out publicly. If you really want to try and get a decent mix in a short amount of time, set a timer for 10 minutes. Mix as much as you can and when the timer goes off you stop. Repeat this as many times as you want and then take the mixes with you for a day or two. Listen to them and hear what works and what needs to change. This will train and sharpen your mixing skills to expedite your workflow and lower your stress.
We had a discussion last night about the struggles of finding the right sound for a particular song being tracked at the studio. The discussion led us down a path of thought that started to get us thinking more outside the box. The studio drummer, CRISPy CRUIZeR, was brainstorming a new plan to use microphones of all different types. What if the guitar amp was tracked with a mic designed for the kick drum? Would a D112 give us the bottom end that we're seeking? This got us thinking even more about using some of the gear in different ways. Maybe it's time to dust off the MiniDisc recorder and the DAT machine. What if the compression ratios of these digital machines gives us that little extra punch that the drums need to sit bigger in the mix? These are questions that get us intrigued and in this business, strange and unusual is typically the most fascinating.