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Toontrack presents: Studio Pass

Lesson 18 of 26

Mix Prep

Ulrich Wild, Brendon Small

Toontrack presents: Studio Pass

Ulrich Wild, Brendon Small

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Lesson Info

18. Mix Prep


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Class Introduction Duration:06:20
4 Songwriting Q&A Duration:26:32
5 Tracking and Comping Drums Duration:27:24
6 Editing Drums Duration:16:25
7 Drums Q&A Duration:31:15
8 Micing an Amplifier Duration:25:09
9 Rhythm Guitar Tones Duration:18:52
10 Tracking Rhythm Guitars Duration:34:13
11 Tracking Bass Guitar Duration:23:34
12 Bass Q&A Duration:21:45
13 General Q&A Duration:16:30
  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Tracking Vocals Duration:18:27
3 Vocal Mixing on Galaktikon Duration:24:37
4 Vocals Q&A Duration:17:50
5 Mix Prep Duration:34:45
6 Mixing in Logic Pro Duration:42:03
7 Mixing Blazing Star Part I Duration:27:14
10 Mixing Blazing Star Part 2 Duration:19:34
11 Mixing Blazing Star with EQ Duration:30:09
12 Final Q&A Duration:24:12
13 Closing Thoughts Duration:11:22

Lesson Info

Mix Prep

We're in the part of the process where again let's recap what we've done so far we started out with me recording an idea the idea gets ah you know I would say like that's the demo of the demo gets um arranged and fleshed out and then we record the guitars we might camps were you upset with the drums? Guitars, drums, trump's first tonight the main rhythm guitars and bay and the rhythm section gets done it comes to me after I get after everything is edited um all the drums were edited the guitar the rhythm guitars are finished thank god the basis tracked and we have some idea of a rhythm section for a song at that point I don't necessarily know what the melodies they're going to be I don't know what the guitar solo is going to be I'm not even sure if I like this form of the song and so I'm gonna play with all that stuff and I usually take a few days with each song and listen to it three hundred times once I have put in all my guitar solos, my my musical interludes, my passages, my counte...

r melodies, whatever it is that I feel like I overdo it, I write too much stuff, I don't label anything I make a mess of things um again a lot about huge sections of songs and uh then I contact pour all rick and I make him listen to what I've got and he doesn't know what he's listening tio because the mix at that point is just crazy and I say make this sound good or I'll hurt you and he takes the he takes the files home probably has a good cry and then gets into them and this is what you do because I know I'm going to get hurt yeah yeah um yes a tw this point I get like a whole slew of files um that you know look spit like this and as you can see there's the song really is here like that long and there's extra stuff in the bag and yes, you know, that's right out of an active tracks there's a couple of missing ones that some someone haywire what it's no big deal it's nothing today because they will be on a subsequent session. Um so now I get to make sense of this and basically I just have to diligently uh go through it with the dooms directly I'm one thing that I didn't have to deal with wass tracing edited arrangements yes because we were now in the session that ullrich has opened right now is a song called blazing star, which is a single fromthe one hour long rock opera special called the do mr requiem, which is metal lock lips. But of rock opera version with a fifty piece orchestra and there's, no spoken parts. Everything is set to music. It was a fun experiment that I really wanted to try. I really enjoy doing it. And within this experiment I was locked into. Ah, I think of forty four and a half minute time. Four men with commercials and everything. I had to make it. Maybe there's. A little bit of play, maybe fifteen seconds. Maybe I could buy thirty seconds from the network. Whatever it was that I tried to get, I I started out with the fifty two minute demo, one whole track of a song that it's the whole thing with, you know, brass parts. In the beginning, all this different stuff. There was another thing that happened between me making the a working myself recording, re recording the guitars were tracking jean hoagland uh, doing the base and doing all the vocal because we had a whole bunch of different focus coming in, including mark hamel, jack black, malcolm mcdowell, ray yarbrough of a grand uh uh bear mccrary. His wife is an amazing singer who saying bear mccreary, who is the you know him as the guy who's won an emmy for different things he's a tv composer who is very accustomed writing for and conducting a ninety piece orchestra and he has done that on tv before and he and I are friends and he's done battle circle activity is currently doing the walking did very talented guy with a great sense of melody and great sense of harmony and and there's some stuff that we were both kind of kind of interlocking musically in certain spaces and I said, you know, before I do this project I'd like to get I would like to see how much it's going to cost if I could possibly get a fifty people whatever amount of orchestra I've got, how much would it cost to do x, y and z and basically what I found out is that to cost, like, what, thirty six thousand dollars to get fifteen minutes of fifty piece orchestra? So how do I parse that out over? How do I use that certain spaces and really accentuated in some places and don't use here and just use banned and use orchestra use banned the news orchestra and then and all that stuff, so so he sat down, he took my my melodies and my harmony, and he uh he I made sure everything was in the right the right keys for the right instruments because I use the contact orchestra or thing, what is it called? You notice it's contact it's the the garrett and personal orchestra that's what it is okay now that's got some really good sounding brass and I really like the french horns and I use that often on the tv show on and I'll use the samples so I wanted a lot of brass on wagner aryan brass at the top of this whole thing which I thought would end up being the main theme in the single is well and we went to a secret location where we could record cheaper and and no one would get in trouble and we recorded all this the brass the strings and bear took my stuff any added counter melodies and he added bliss, sandoz and all these amazing things and he took my stuff and made it sound very, very, very cool and I mean it's not a good eye in my defense I have a feet now have really strong melodies himself, but he has a look a little techniques that I don't have took it over that took it over the top and he, like I said earlier what I want out of a person that I'm working with his take my idea and please beat it and make it cooler and he did that and then some so um so uh in in this whole doom star record we had recorded this stuff bears whole team had taken the fifty piece orchestra and done a sub mix like a stereo set mix of the breath and hysteria said mix with strings and then I think there was tuned percussion you will look at that in a minute there looking all that's done that's the stuff that's missing under this session it's in the other session right but yeah that's that's part of what sports coming together what had happened with the doomsday record basically my studio well my session was like the hub and we have drums in there we had the voice over acting uh was on there yeah uh and basically we started compiling things like bear the orchestra stuff would show up at my house and we put it in there I would send you stuff and you would have it to to work with but like the central health this was the rings with home this is where everybody came and and then your stuff would show up and so this was the session had everything in there and we just kept getting build up and build up right up so no other place in this whole historically do we really actually at the very end the very, very last piece of music like the rescue sir because the chase sequence on dh the did I I knew that I was going to take part of that and I was going to make a single out of some of that music I was taking intro theme the what I think is the doom star theme make that the chorus take a bunch of rift and then add new sections into it and then have jean play to that whole thing. So we've got a full band, which takes up what if this is the stereo, this spectrum of sound? We're pretty much at the hilt, and then we're going to somehow squash that and add another whole spectrum of sound, which is in a fifty piece orchestra, so? So I don't luckily, I don't have to deal that I could go home and take a nap at this point, and this is where, all right? Because this is what I what I do, basically, I go through all these tracks that I get from brendan on dh later on the orchestra, steph the orchestra stuff is relatively easy because they're just stems that span the whole song, and then there's not much editing involved because they take care of that in the house, and and frankly, we couldn't have done any of it ourselves. O r I'm very sad that I didn't get to go witness the meaning of that, but in all reality they spent what a good three or four weeks preparing, then another, a couple of days recording, and then another two weeks of some mixing well it was one day of recording yeah they ended up doing some pretty interesting stuff they because I was there in the room was a gigantic recording place and it just sounded amazing and I got to stand in the room when there are like twelve french horns blasting out at full double forte these themes that I wrote and it was really cool um and they had a copyist they're making sure that all everything was in key you know and to make sure and then there was conducting and all this great stuff and it sounded really cool and they're playing to track and they're playing to our tempo so they all had their if they had klicks I think I think conductor had click track so he could conduct and keep everybody in time and their time was great and you know uh but it was down meat is at nine o'clock click down be first song go and we had like from nine o'clock until three o'clock with a break and we had to get everything going to get everything we wanted to get and there were some things like hey we may not get this far so do you want to do this or do you want to do that? This is the amount of time we paid for we can't go over you know these people will go home or they get overtime and I can't afford that there is I'm actually financing this stuff. This is the first time I've ever done that. But I thought, how often am I going to get a chance to work with an orchestra, be able to put a song out and do this whole thing? This is it. Probably. So. So that was that thing. And then they spent some time prepping and doing their own sub mixes of this of the hysteria stuff and then bouncing down to stereos of serious crimes. There is damage of each section, right? And then we had some stuff. We had some, uh, we had one guy. We didn't have any wins. And we had one guy who did all the winds by himself and would multi track his own winds in his own studio so he would do his flutes is, uh, he would do his ah, piccolo stuff, and I think he may have done some clarinets and some other kind of redid instruments. Um, and they do show up on on some of the songs mayerson redid stuff. And then I think we use samples for maybe something's takata stuff from, like, the the violence. And I think we may be used a couple samples for block and she feels and stuff like that was pretty good, and you get away with it, you don't know that yeah, and if there's one thing that's not real and mixed in middle of the other stuff that's really you can kind of you can really sweet tracked by having some real stuff I'm not real stuff but for the most part all the stuff there's orchestral was very much a real orchestra thing played by amazing players and conducted by a great conductor who just knows his way around this thing. So so that's how that happened that was the part that you missed why didn't you come? You should have come. I was busy editing tracks. Yeah, um but so basically I get to sit here and go through all of all of brennan's edits we've we've touched on that a little bit and it's very tedious because you know this track audio to I get to go find out what that uh ok, it is a vocal so that will be a local and thie cross the editing probably should have been over here I'll get to d'oh a cross fade and you know, like here's, this is meticulously go through everything not only um uh do I do that? But I will also start making sense of some of these things because sometimes vocal may end up accidentally on lead guitar track as well and then when I start mixing that's not really going to fly and so they start separating things out and impairing guitars left and writes in ways that start to make sense to me and it's a it's a pretty tedious process but it works andi it has to be done and really it's something that that you should do no matter what you have to like when record you've got to go through and the security prostates able lately make sure you cross fades are ok and as you don't have any clicks and pops on dh you don't just make sense of the whole thing it's it's one thing if you're recording in yourself um and you're mixing in yourself you kind of know where everything is that but if you're sending it out to somebody else it's nice to to send out something organized and we'll get into like consolidating regions in a minute um but yeah that's ah it's not all that exciting to do all right, you have to do it. Um so what happens is uh don't uh I'll open this guy up to really show you what's going on this is that the ruling? Yeah, here we got ah, these are some of the bear orchestra files they're sitting in here now we have a dry brass we have ah dry percussion on you have strings, I think tuned percussion what else we get woodwinds, brass on dh then we had everything wet. We have a wet percussion. What? Strings on dh, right? They say they gave us a preferred river, but they like to you? Yes, I gave all right. One decision that we were I have to make very early on was to on lee go for the dry because there just wasn't enough room and space to have the white noise, the fever to head over. You have to have the and to have the space to teo here, the river being. And so, uh, even though I ended up probably putting on some of the later, but it will crack that one open in the next segment for the mix um s oh, this is, uh especially, uh, for the orchestra stuff in this song. This was orchestra reused because this was from the intro of the off the whole rock opera. Yeah, way flew that I think we flew it from the very end of the rock up or two, because I think I think it was that and I think we did some we did some we flew that in from the from a different part, and then we also had some stuff that was very much the intro of this thing I think was specifically recorded for the single, yeah, where we had that data that that that's big gene so you can see it it's compiled there's a there are a couple of set a couple of missing regions because of something happened during the transfer but this is not going to affect us when we dive into the mix because it's in the logic sessions for the purpose of what we're doing now uh can see that I started cleaning all this up because they're probably rhythm guitar is up there uh there's lot of rhythms and you know, the stuff has been cleared out in the back here uh I don't have kept the middie stuff around just in case um there is I think you can see there aren't any muted regions anymore because we at this point we don't need them anymore like you kept him around this team I want to keep that idea alive go but we'll revisit or whatever but at this point there's only on lee this guy left and for some reason of state uh at this point it's ah important too make sure there really aren't any missed cross fades anymore and I think at this point we also labeled everything to make sure everybody has its his proper name, so you know what anyone's was audio one or vocal just vocal one is now low lead are you know they just start getting some more appropriate names um what I do before I go on export this thing because I don't actually mixed in pro tools anymore I makes in logic and I'm a little bit of the odd man out I think to me it's just the workflow thing uh pro tools makes me stop all the time and the sign things and it kind of you know you kind of just takes the flow away right logic is easier it just kind of just do things and I was you know I started out mixing on ss cells and things like that and there's a certain flow to that and I found that that that flow is more more logic oriented than proto granted but really it doesn't matter which which uh software you use they all kind of do the same thing somehow or another but you find that there's a little bit of a different sound between pro tools there is a little bit of a different sound I think that the algorithms they used to crunch numbers for e queuing stuff uh it's just a little bit well it's a little bit smoother and logic and you can kind of tell legal you know they both have a certain sound just like like nieves and fbi's and esa cells have a certain sound and you just kind of pick the one that you like the rest of the one that works for you are the one you're stuck with sometimes I'm sure that that can happen to um but since we do have the option for the most part once you're in logic you're you're using a lot of their plug ins yes, some quite quite a few and do you do you ever go to any outboard stuff these days? No, I never do outboard equipment for mixing them it's are all in the box yeah, but we'll touch on that in the next segment we're just prepping now to get to that um so I and I just ah select this whole mess because I've gone through and I've crossed rated everything but maybe I did miss something and I don't want to have any pops going on, so I just select the whole lot of it and I there's this this all function appear on by triple clicking it I don't know four, five, six times on it it selects the whole mess of tracks and now because of the unused regions down there um I'd probably have to go do something quick to make this happen, which is unfortunate but it's what it is all of bear in those all right when we're back to that um we're selecting the whole mess of it and I'm cross waiting all of it with my trusty command f gets me into this and sometimes but I'm going to do just one here of like maybe ten milliseconds uh and it says the engine just existing fades and I'm going to do a big fat no to that because some, you know, have longer prospects for vocals, certain stanley's neurons or whatever or like intro and an outro fades that you had done for your guitar fading and things don't want to just that so I do not adjust iq system fates but we'll create new fade ends and, uh fade outs and you know this way anything that didn't have a cross fade now has a prostate and I won't have any pops um the other thing that I like to receive in the mail and find make somebody else's track or in this instance taken it over to to logic is I do a recorded click it's not pleasant and this will be a different click sound from uh you know, it doesn't matter what it is really have jeanne like the cow bell so this is what this is is boring as it gets um but what that those for me it gives me the tempo uh and a cz you can see it called blazing one sixty which is to be pm of it is actually in the name of the clicks I don't even have to go use a beat counter or anything like that when I imported the next session so that's very, very anything tohave especially especially if there are temple changes right? Because logic you can actually make a beat map that follows tempo changes on dh er you don't have to go re program and go tediously go in and write bars and stuff down anyway so I have, uh click track and have all the other tracks so you print that click track just as a guideline that there's a guy just in case because that's you know uh my my tempo for the song on then I you can see that the drums have already been consolidated up here you don't see any of those edits anymore and that's what we want to have happen for the rest of it because there really is no there's two reasons to do this the number one there's no riel easy way to transfer files or import logic sessions into pro tools approach wasn't illogic session and or any other these software things. So what we do is we just have every file starting at the very beginning of the song and going either to the end of wary plays or to all of them to the very same end depending on the this after logic only goes like renders it only to the last place that played pro tools you can select how long you want to have him um that's that's one reason is transferred into into aa into my mixing software the other reason is how often do you upgrade this stuff? How long is this version of the softer going to be around if I deliver this to a record label um to ten, twenty years from now, we're not going to be able to open the sessions anymore, right? So even though we've changed, you know, like main guitar left has, I don't know ten little audio regions in it and they or useless if they're not sitting and somewhere on the timeline, and so having all these consolidated audiophiles allows us to import them into any att, any time later on in the future, into into another software. Um so at this point, we'll just go in and we consolidate all these reasons and it's going to take a while that's not that much anymore these days because, uh, consolidate clip uh, it's always good to have two short, short cuts for him, but I'll show it to you here and because I have a phaser also ahead, like iran, while you're doing that, I'll give a little tip tio recording guitarists and bass players out there is the tip that brian beller taught me I don't really use it, but he says, you know, when he was getting that same philosophy from last section where he said the recording is you at your best, it's kind of is it's a fantasy of what you would play like if you were at your absolute best when he said another trick you want to do when you're handing off um your takes you know you're you're stems to somebody else for like maybe somebody else's recording session is consolidate your files so it looks like you did it in one take so there you go you can trick people it's a lie it's a good tip consolidate that four hundred sixty two takes to get this guitar solo I didn't want one take absolutely and so I found that culprit there was just one of those missing audio files and we're going to consolidate this clip we have to make sure that we from the very beginning of the session too the very end of it a little little more than the end just to make sure that we really catching everybody the idea is basically to have a beginning to end from the start of the whole session to the very end of the whole song of stereo or mono stems so they could be stacked upon one another and remastered riggs what really makes you have them if you if you want that they're just there yeah because I mean really almost physically there nearly nearly almost there it's almost like back in the old tape days when do you never put on a real of two engine and it told you audio eleven not found because it was everything was there if it wasn't theirs because you erased it yeah, I think we're on purpose. Do you? You've got a story about a guy accidentally erasing the ah tape there's there's many story everybody has that story some people were luckier than others I have been very names but I think there was a record yeah there's a story you told me tell everyone here is there's ah funny it's a funny and a horrible, horrible way in the tragic I love the guy is a good friend of mine and I have spoken with him in a while but, uh I learned a lot of my assisting stuff from him he uh he went in and he aligned to take machines and what that entails is you you have some tone for those for those who are not old school, you have to some tones you play back and adjust the tape machine to the tones. But then you have to do the record portion of the program and you take a piece of tape because you're lying to tae machine to the tape that you that you're using and seriously you would have I mean, this is an interesting thing is I think a lot of people don't know about tape may never are going to get their hands on one is that you would have a main tape machine right and then you have slave tape machines right? Yeah, that is a bit of this isn't that that's just a line at the tape the story tio this's the story where somebody blows it well I I'll do this one because I don't have to know how it works just way have the need to the recording portion of the alignment which means you have a blank piece of tape that you're going to use and you record those tones on there from an oscar later you know, just a tape machine and very often you erase those tones afterwards because you don't want to hear them accidentally because they're really loud and annoying if they come out come out you out of nowhere so this is fella he recorded that you started racing this this pad this record pad and when got his coffee uh thinking that that record pad was very often is at the end of the rial so it would once the real runs out it's it's all done and nothing bad happens he had his coffee and about you know, a very short while into having this coffee he realized that that record panel is actually the beginning of the real and he raced down to find a minute of a song erased of a violin player who had since died is that the one yeah that was not a happy day for anyone you know and that I have erasing stories but mine were much more benign and I really just yeah you know but the action afterwards once he realized what he did I think the part that I remember you telling me was that he just went to the head of the company and said I quit you know resigned yeah respect with shiny and that his destiny lab which is he fell into his sword and that is what one must do in a major screw up and when that and that is that is a crazy thing that doesn't necessarily happen nowadays news this is not the same way you know it's it's a volatile tile living strange magnetized piece of real thing that's actually recording stuff there we don't get to experience that you know, all the stuff I've erased has have been ah have been things that they didn't like you wanted to replace anyways so I I was lucky to have that experience of being like jolted the half a jolt of oh my god I screwed up so bad that I will never work in this town again and and having that feeling of going to tell them that dude, I'm so sorry and they'll go that's ok because we are not going to use that anyway just don't do that again and then just having that shock in his system makes you be like that much more careful you know there has be countless stories of people blowing it yeah in monumental situations especially back into the people used to do so many drugs well recording there you go that's that's probably a lot of we've got to raise nobody knew about it you are anyway so that doesn't happen here we're consolidating we have consolidated look at this consolidated and there are some empty ones in there we don't worry about that at all. So that's the point where I go thank you very much uh and I I uh clean out any kind of ah unused play list because I do not need them anymore they cleaned them all out and I then clean out all the files we don't want any more it's like unused I don't erase them I just remove them. I'm sure uh other people have shown me all this stuff and there they are that's a lot of clips there still some of them around uh unfortunately well, I just, uh if they're still here and that means that they're stuck somewhere in a clipboard and you just have to quit the session and open it back up again. Um in theory you would only have these left afterwards I'm gonna go through the pain of closing and opening back up again, but if we clear mall out and then you save a copy of where I save a copy of this and uh uh you know, choose I always do forty eight twenty four that's my thing I want to copy the audio files and then I, uh bring a make a version of this somewhere and put it right there copy of blazing star bring it on and it will do that um and those will be the tracks does we'll be ready for me to import into logic and well over that thing up in the second uh not going to finish that because that's boring by the way, they just a small thing that I think when when making a record you don't necessarily know that the titles of your songs says that when we're playing the galactic on thing, I think we had a nickname for that song for that song that was called, uh, beast blade or something I don't remember the final names of this size, but but it was initially called to fairy yes, I just thought that was the which is the name of I think they call that there it is we're looking at it is to bury the tooth fairy two to three which is like the name of the serial killer in red dragon was that well, yeah ana that rock movie yeah to ferry out because he used to bite people his teeth so that's the first the frequent tio silence of the lambs

Class Description

Adult Swim's Metalocalypse is a cheeky parody of metal culture — featuring the shenanigans of a cartoon band called Dethklok. In Toontrack Presents: Studio Pass, you'll get a closer look at the creative process behind this mesmerizing metal powerhouse-turned-TV-series.

Brendon Small is the creator and primary musician driving Dethklok’s music, including its four full-length albums. In this installment of Studio Pass, Brendon and producer Ulrich Wild (Pantera, White Zombie, Slipknot, Deftones) will show how they compose, engineer, and mix the music of Metalocalypse – explaining the recording techniques used for Dethklok’s drums, bass, guitars, vocals and effects.

The music behind the hilarious spectacle that is Metalocalypse is no joke. Join Brendon and Ulrich for Studio Pass and learn about the unique creative process behind the music of Dethklok.


John Thaxton

I love Brendon. He has always treated fans super well. There's so much wisdom to be gained from listening to him about workflow and music in general. Great class!

Aaron Thurtell

Being someone new and looking into recording songs, I found this class very informative and in a way essential, the idea of recording seemed over whelming and I had no idea where to start, being a fan of Brendon small and Ulrich Wilds work on Dethklok and Galaktikon I found it very enjoyable and must for any fans of Brendon small looking into how he goes about making a record