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EQ Matching with Voxengo Curve EQ

Arguably, EQ is the most powerful tool at your disposal when it comes to mixing, but there are times when you just can’t quite match what you’re hearing to what you want to hear. The Curve EQ plugin from Voxengo has the ability to compare your mix with a reference track and then to generate the EQ curve required to match them up.  Whilst you could do this with an individual sound in your mix, it’s probably more useful when you’re mastering a set of songs.  In this video, I look at how to match the EQ between reference material from Deep Purple, Taylor Swift and Toto against a mix of my own, using Curve EQ.

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Video – Introducing Replika

A little after the event, but it just shows how it pays to keep an eye on the different manufacturer’s websites for offers.  Every year, Native Instruments have offered a “freebie” at Christmas time and 2014 was no exception.  Last year, they gave away Supercharger, a tube compressor that you can now buy for £44, (also available in your own currency, I’m sure).  This year, it was Replika, a fully-featured digital delay with extra modulation capabilities.  Like Cinderella’s coach on the stroke of midnight, it’s vanished from their website – for now – but in the video below, I have a look at what you could have had.  And, if last year’s anything to go by, you still might be able to at a point in the future…

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Getting a balanced stereo image when mixing on headphones

There are times when you have to listen to your music on headphones. It’s not a problem when recording, (it’s often highly desirable), but when mixing it can give you a false sense of perspective, it can make your mix seem wider than it really is, (unless you’re listening on earbuds).  When listening on speakers, the sound you hear is a blend of both channels, with any separation diminishing the further away you are from the source.  What we need is a way of allowing some controlled blurring of the left and right channels to let us hear the mix as if on speakers when the rest of the household doesn’t want to hear it at all!

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Tuning Your Monitors To Your Room

After all we’ve done to ensure that our mix doesn’t overload our stereo buss and to ensure that we’re listening at the right levels, no matter what we listen on, you might think we’ve done all we can to give ourselves the best chance of turning out a creditable mix.  Sadly, that’s not the case.  There’s one huge issue we have to overcome – the acoustic imperfections of our listening environment.  We want to be sure that we’re listening to a true, uncoloured representation of our mix from out flat-response monitor speakers, yet the room we are working in has its own character that will flatter the bass and suck out the treble, meaning the killer mix we are hearing sounds thin and tinny on earbuds or car speakers, or sounds thuddy and dull.  In this video, I look at how I’ve tackled that in my small home studio, using the first of two separate plug-ins from different manufacturers, this time focused on correcting my monitors for the room I’m listening in.

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Gain Staging: Plugin Creep

Plug-ins have become a de-facto part of modern mixing, regardless of whether they’re VST, RTAS, AAX or one of the less common flavours.  Watch any mixing video and I guarantee you’ll see someone using plug-ins, either the stock plug-ins that come with their DAW of choice or a selection from the bewildering array of third party items. (As an aside, is Cubase the only DAW you can mix in without plug-ins, due to its inbuilt Channel Strip – or is that just a mega plug-in?). However, plug-ins can have an unwanted impact on your mixes, as they can introduce extra level into the signal path and, if you’re not careful, you find that the plug-ins didn’t make your mix sound better, they just made it sound louder.

 

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Moving your Kontakt Libraries

Having struggled with moving the EZDrummer2 libraries to my SSD audio drive, I was prepared for an equal struggle with Kontakt.  However, as you don’t have to force Kontakt into an error to move the libraries, (unlike EZDrummer2), the task was less fraught, although it still didn’t quite work the way I expected…

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Moving your EZDrummer2 Library

Having written previously about installing an SSD, (Solid State Drive) as an audio drive on my laptop, the first thing to do was to move my existing Cubase projects and sample libraries to the empty drive, once I’d formatted it.  Moving the Cubase projects folder was a simple click-and-drag operation, (although you do have to confirm the new location of the project the first time you open it in Cubase – hardly a hardship).  However, moving the EZdrummer2 core library and the samples for the various EZDrummer expansion kits was not as simple as the Toontrack website made out…