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Toontrack presents: Studio Pass

Lesson 24 of 26

Mixing Blazing Star with EQ

Ulrich Wild, Brendon Small

Toontrack presents: Studio Pass

Ulrich Wild, Brendon Small

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Lesson Info

24. Mixing Blazing Star with EQ


  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

Mixing Blazing Star with EQ

Let's have a look at this whisper track right here and we'll see what that thing does for us. Where are we in the song? Uh, next section over, I think. Yeah, this section right here wait example of the whisper track right there. Pushed it up a little bit. Wasn't that that thing? So you can tell what that does a quick look at that, how we're treating it um, way don't listen to the whole thing in silence. Funny sauce on there. Yeah, you boosted the high end a bunch in the midst of a bit to really bring out those whisper frequencies compressed the heck out of it. I'm quite certain of it. And then we have that same spread around the again, uh, river and a flanders and the flames were phasing see it's a it's a flandreau. So just to give it a little extra, you know, a little extra something to bring it out a little bit more. Well, what that does is I mean, the whispered track gives when people really go in and you hear some tracks where people really line up their whisper tracks with the voc...

al tracks what's really completely, totally on sometimes minor off, but it really sounds like you get a better sounding pronunciation of all the words there's ah more of a syllable vibe that you get that kind of makes things on fatter and or in this case it can sound like a gang vocal or lots of pps salads or just bigger in general and just ah just changed a timber of it just ever so much to like make it pop out a little differently to uh this is part of the hook will bring it on now um and you're just emphasizing that exactly you can see it on the uh the session that it's kennedy used sparingly in studio from he says the whole thing I think two times yeah. So that's the second time we hear that stabbed that stop time section and that's where you hear the orchestra really come through for the first time yeah and I was let's talk about the orchestra a little bit um what I got let's just two solo these suckers yeah, and see what that's all about um so that's that sounds amazing because that's really instruments playing something it sounds like the beginning of the jerry a lot of blows and through the boughs you hear the hear the sometimes you hear the breaths in the room before the taking anything you can hear all that stuff and you know you hear the tapping of the boats sometimes on the on the kelly you khun yeah, it sounds cool and it's big and uh it sounds really cool alone but we have to find a way on day it's really sad when we faded out way haven't well, you know here's what here's something that I end up doing off in this I say I don't care how much money has been in an orchestra there's gotta be a guitar lead solo partly that's gotta be really that's where that happy yeah, what is look att what what we what we did how we treated these things because when they came in they sounded amore orchestra like and more polite uh you know, they they are used to uh you know, they're used to like the tv world on dh like there's a politeness lushness that you can afford when that you know when you know but not up against distorted guitars you know when when you have ah so we we had to boost it and because of the levels they brought were very conservative levels like you saying they were very much um not metal levels yeah. And so let's see what we have these are all the same because this is an orchestrated is treat that the same um but like all these stems were mixed as a whole and then just parsed out so when I cued them on dh compressed them I pretty much do the same thing to all of them kind of combined to keep that their balances intact at least initially until we decide that no, you know, we really shouldn't have more strings here learning to bring out the brass and this actually do whatever on dh that's when you start to change but initially it gets treated almost asshole here we are boosting there's a different accused of brain works er stereo equalizer, just boosting, like five t b s from from five k on up. So we're just and a lot of a lot of high end to it, uh, and the this navy cue from the from universal audio uh, very, very nice stuff again, losing some more high ends and and some some warmth and at the bottom, uh, nothing nothing extraordinary. You know, this stuff sounds good. This is an orchestra that these people could get thirty thousand dollars to make and create that's not up to me to go ruin and completely well, yeah, but but still they're natural frequency. Uh, you know, we haven't we have a mid, rangy kind of frequency that we have to kind of punch through and make sure exactly, exactly. But this is what I'm trying to say is like this stuff sounds good there's nothing for me to fix right out of me, and so I don't have to go in and like uh it was like what do you guys do I gotto like reverse like your bad decisions like these these air like very much professionals that like send you an amazing thing yeah so it's up for he ends up from to me to ruin it yeah I think it's up to us to make it sound worse and so you know just a cute and compressing a little bit but the point is I let the low end be where where where it is and I have the high end poke through more because that's generally what would be knowing that all these attacks on the kicks and the the crunch and the guitars the symbols of the theater back in the base and the vocal distortion and lead guitars and all that stuff that's what this thing is competing against and in some instances you know you really just have to turn things off to make something else heard like you know, if you if you want to hear the orchestra loud you can't have the same part being played by a lead guitar really loud right? You know I mean it's one or the other you can have them both the same and then it's a mix or one over the other being dominant to whichever very um but those are the mixing decisions you make of you of your preference and what you had decided was you wanted to build build a man introduced the orchestra let's focus would take over and then combined. And so that's what we ended up doing? Yeah, thinking about operating way had to make room for a lead guitar and we have set at the end of the end of the that this section right here, right? That zoe you're talking about. So how do we get from there from that into the lead guitar? It is simply by just turning it down and off to make space for the lead which happens around here. That point there just was no room for finishing the orchestra. It was like, but we've taken your attention away with this other piece because something's taken over and that I think that's that's what goes on through the out the entire song there's like that one thing that has your main attention, like the lead vocal, the lead guitar, the orchestra and it's always like the thing you latch onto that keeps the song on forward keeps it interesting. Um all the other stuff around it is obviously necessary and if that were to disappear, he turned to kicks off all of a sudden or changed at all this thinking like what the hell happened right and so that you rely on that to be there, but you have you need the other things to keep that red thread through whatever it is you're going through and those air the theory ancient choices way make for this sort of thing sure s o what would you normally do that I mean basically my whole goal is make sure the lead guitars loud make sure it's hurt unless I suck at it and turn that part down um you know it's the here's the lead guitar let's see how we treated it to make this thing heard it's um and I have some extra thing in there actually delays are doing the phaser that we're using in something this and for well guess we gotta face around their way s o we have you can see we have to delay automation things going on I guess we didn't want to have uh as much delay on the initial run into the solo we didn't wantto okay um as much delay on this solo as well I guess it doesn't matter yes we were just playing around with automating it but ended up with that last for all right I'll ask evolved from a lead guitar part is um to warm it up again to make a cute curve listenable on warmer and then um loud with that warm thing harmon loud yeah let's not to like um and we achieved that you know you need to bite through need to cut through its on some of this high end this is looks like some boosting it eight k and some some or like mid range by to that that takes over the vocal frequency a little bit because at this point you're like the vocal stopped on dh, the lead guitarist taken over so there's a little bit of ah of ah room to fill right? So there is that space because you're not going up against the vocal at that point s o he can use that and the same thing that this one is there's a little bit of warmth added a little bit of low end and, uh, a lot of a lot of rides on this to make sure we hear the various runs of the guitar and you can't know it's ever have a quick look at this? Is these are these air, your vocal and your guitar levels? You're doing all right, so here we come into it and you can see how it just, uh, rides around last hands and I'll do that often, you know, find a place to it's like old seventies kind of style of guitar playing stuff that I like or you harmonize just a section like brian may would do it or like again, going back to ten cc or doing like or even stuff like not too long ago like old jellyfish stuff for whatever they would do cool kind of melodic solos that have cool catchy little moments and stuff. And so you see, underneath that guitar, I think there may be a dumbbell through there's a harmony right here for right there that we probably treated very, uh uh, similarly, biggest there they're in there. And then you could see that we had level changes going on for that to accommodate them coming in and not having too much lead guitar afterwards. So all of a sudden that lead could targets will client or to make room for the harmony guitars in there, right? Yes, yes, usto you have a high and a low harmony that come in there and something about that and then our like section, unless you have something else you wanna know, but that's pretty much it that's, that's the nature of a guitar solo and that's kind of the trajectory that it takes on any given song. And so, yes, you are writing maybe delay level in some places, and sometimes you're writing obviously lead the liver heart has to be up and again lyrics philosophy is that there's got to be something taking your attention he's time? Yeah. Phil is it a sedating it's nice tohave like your candy where the little things that you don't necessarily here the first time you're listening to a song or maybe not even to the tenth time that you're going I didn't never really noticed there was a whatever you know that is not him but those are not things that like hit you in the head with a hammer kind of things you know they're they're just like maybe it's just like a the tiniest little synth part in the second verse to just give it a little it it's just so it's a little different from the first first did you get a little ex that kind of stuff's all over the galactic on record to air a lot? We did a lot of work and the mixing side to just put in those little easter eggs kind of everywhere where one parts phase one part does this one part is because that's the cool stuff they did in the seventies you know that was fun your candy stuff? Um yeah, go ahead. So at this point it's funny because the song if you're looking at the song as this is something that I learned early on and I didn't really care about song form song form is the a be a media but it's like, you know verse bridge first bridge chorus verse double chorus you're out is kind of ah thing that that happens and when in doubt, that seems toe work, but oftentimes I don't care, you know, I just want to make something worth listening to that's interesting and if apart, doesn't repeat and or it's through composed that's ok with me, too, because I think that sometimes pizza interest in its anti the normal thing. So in this case, that and the analysis, the song analysis is, um, the stop time part that's going to keep developing as we as we continue into verse and then, eh, bridge that we never hear again into the chorus and then a guitar solo over the verse, I guess. And then when the bridge part we never hear again and then we're into this long odyssey into the into the great unknown, the big cowboy riding off in the sunset moment of the whole piece. So let's, let's, check that out, see if there's some cool stuff to listen to because after this solo, we're going to start hearing the orchestra come back and they come in with a big, huge stab at the top of this section. So that section I'd like to hear the guitar overdubs and the orchestra together just to show kind of what's happening because there's a lot of stuff underneath there that's I record a lot of stuff and it's it's present it shows up a little bit but there's a lot for the ear to listen to and you'll see that the underneath that you know we've crammed it full of information it's like I used to describe death clock songs like you're packing a month's worth of clothing for a two week a two day vacation and you're sitting on the suitcase trying to make it close and that's pretty much what we have here it's not always like conservative and sparse it is everything keep going it's very excessive I think we have ah uh this long just in case yeah, you can see like when I say my favorite band is queen you could tell I I rip off the three part harmonies that the more of the voice let harmonies that brian may does and then we have that with an orchestra and you know it's there and you've got the timpani and you've got drama and you've got something big happening is a very big moment and I could hear the fate and you can hear the thirteen times in the guitars or something. I think it's you know and mohr higher actives are fading in as we get closer to the peak point on bears another guitar faded moment really if that happens at the end of the course is ok much of them there but that that tends to happen when you try to close that suitcase yeah there's a lot of stuff going on and the overall feeling is big drama here sweeping epic gigantic as bigas you can possibly get and sometimes the trick and mixing is that like you don't necessarily need to hear everything perfectly in a pristine way because it needs to work together and they need to tracks need to complement each other like you khun we could try to separate this stuff out mohr but all of a sudden the song the sounds that the sonics of it would suffer the sounds would get thinner and he would like you to really would carve out like really like narrow santa guitars to like a narrow sounding orchestra and it wouldn't sound good anyone is trying to sound separate and disjointed on dso this stuff overlapping uh is what makes it work together and sound like like like it like a unit like a full on like thing that actually plays together even though it was completely separate and different I know it's crazy it's it's there's only so much you can put into the thing and before it turns into a blob of white noise you know but so so that's an idea it's part of it so let's let's play the rest of that out from that point and and let you hear uh kind of with the orchestra's doing and if there are any extra guitar overdubs element, I think there are some of the ends of the orchestra and overdubs. Well, now you tell me now a lot of guitars finish there's there's harmonize guitars had to be there's a lot of mixing it's going on with those higher harmonize guitars, the very end because I know what the last which is part of the we're quoting directly from the ending of the actual, um rock opera where their two twin guitarists standing and out, you know, basically images projected in outer space playing that part together, you know, so there's that's important to have that sound be very loud and cross state with the orchestra assume so we have a lot of orchestra up to that point. Yes. Now, so it's time for the guitarist's guitar as a kind of say goodbye. Yeah, so that's a lot of stuff, you know, um, I think the orchestra's doing a lot of its own work and through bears really great arranging and all those tricks and this close on news in this counter abilities that you hear that's just stuff that he added to make this, I think even cooler and that found, but but but I'm but like all that cool stuff is really need, um and it's all there so if you listen to the track again you will hear all those parts poke out through vocals through rhythm guitar is through base and all that stuff so it's all present and and ends up being a very cool combination of all that stuff absolutely there's one thing I want to touch on about like making the whole thing sounds a cz a unit yeah um I know a lot on a lot of people like to put a plug ins onto individual tracks but like you you can save a lot of processing power but having parallel uh uh effects are you sending him off ascend as opposed to put him in as an insert and, uh, there's two advantages to that one of miss you safe processing power and in the computer and the other one is you can actually, uh, tie things together if you have, like, the snare used the same river bust the vocal that gives it like, like, like the two things aaron in the same space the same thing with using that same weidner for the guitar and vocals for instance it it just starts glowing things together because you actually are using the same effect on frankly it's it's it's to me that's better um specials and says how we used to do things we didn't have fourteen re verbs to put when we ever travelling at one or two of our motown yeah and you have to use that everything had to be sent down to have the chamber yeah and the same thing like with d s is for instance you had ford yes sirs and eight tracts of vocals decision making time yeah you know I mean what are you going to do on dso like in some ways we're fortunate to be able to use plug ins and use used eight yesterday if we need him on the other hand we're less creative because of that because we don't have like limitations anymore so making these dishes with decisions and giving yourself some limitations and uh like moving on with that you're actually more creative and you come up with a more unique thing like like if you have like fewer plug ins to yeah you're you're not like searching through all the plug things to find like the perfect one right you know it will take time and yeah well I mean you can if you don't find what you're looking for then you have to go explore and that that's also when like presets come in when you have uh you know like you're kind of stuck with sound you don't know how to fit it in or like you're looking it's just like a versus not right in some kind of ivan the vocals or something just go like use a plug in and sail through some presets and to see if something like that jars your imagination and just like, oh yeah, you know, maybe the needs of flander and then either use that preset and tweak it or build your own thing to it or whatever. So, you know any anything to again get the creativity going if if you need to instead of working yourself into a corner? Yeah, well, teo, I was saying something similar earlier, which is that it's better to have limitations than they have options if we have every option that everything we're not going to, we're going to become complacent and confused and just look at this floor for a while like I don't know what to do there's too many options it's, it's really important like like I was saying, the large one chair dark dogma ninety five you only like you only are allowed to use this reverb, this e q and and the compression that's in that u k e q and you have to make a record probably squeeze it, squeeze everything out of it and make everything sound is great as he possibly could, as opposed to using bits and pieces from things you're not very familiar with and taken seven years to make a record it would take for you to end up with chinese democracy yeah, right but but yeah you limitations are really important and you know what else isn't really important deadline and that's what we had teo and budget constraints and all that stuff but I don't see much stuff is too much stuff and I think that's an interesting philosophy that using different instruments and throw them into the same scent and using the same river for something we'll somehow they will influence that river both of those different sounds will influence it and it will sound like it's coming from the same a place where here isn't here is a thing where everybody was in a different room and it's not and I was in a different one playing guitar than I was in when I was singing and that is a different place and the orchestra was in a different place and you know everything in gene was in a different place but you have to make it all sound like they were in the same place playing together and that's actually part of why I chose to not use and if you notice that the orchestra does not have my favorite go to plug in on it it's it's I actually purposely made like approach that differently because I wanted it to uh I didn't wanted to obviously sound like it's from a different place but somehow or another I figured that if I use different plug ins for it I'll have a different tonality to it that works uh that doesn't give me the same build up a z other ast the other section is there's the middle portion of the program all right, I'll be able to get fit in like like it'll just poke through in a different way all right? Because I'm using different plug ins on it. Yeah, so that's a whole bunch of stuff I mean, I don't know there's anything else in there that we mean, you see those those kind of simple cross fades of those guitars that slowly it's what I usually do is I take the fade like a thing and I just dragging across the entire wave now and it will slowly just get louder and slowly build and you don't know that it's happening about listen it's influencing the song and an extra kind of the stakes were raising a little bit musically and some things happen when I have a six park it's harder on me slowly, you know, building it's a pool buzzy sound that happens on the kind of exteriors of the song well, brass and stuff is really doing this you get this blaise e guitar frequencies slowly getting bigger and closer to you so that's part of arranging tool that I will kind of premix and give to ullrich and then he will what you'll do a sub mix of the guitar orchestra by itself often times and you'll hear how things blend in

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