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3. Mixing a track using Audified effects
1 Following our overview of Audified’s inValve 2 bundle, we’ll now put these three effects – and a few other Audified plugins – through their paces in a mixing scenario. We’re starting with this 110bpm funk-style track, created using sounds and loops taken from 244’s Sampled Funk & Soul sample pack. Ableton Live 9 is our DAW, but you can follow along using any adequate host. 2 The dynamic range (ie, the difference between the loudest and quietest points) of the track’s tambourine loop is too broad – we’re losing the ‘in between’ hits in the mix. To remedy this, we’ve used an instance of InValve Compressor to squash the highest peaks down, then the Gain Make-up knob is used to match the overall level with the dry signal’s level. 3 The compression we applied in the previous step has emphasised the tambourine’s high-frequency harshness, so we’ve loaded an inValve Equaliser next in the chain. Pulling the HF Cut-off knob back to around 13kHz rounds of that harshness, and we’re also dialling in Valve Saturation for subtle analogue flavour. 4 The drums in our track comprise six channels. To process them as one, we’ll group these together to a single bus. For character and ‘squish’, we apply extreme compression via inValve Compressor, using max Ratio and fastest Attack and Release times. This is then set up in parallel using Live’s Audio Effect Rack – but you can use an aux return if you’re using another DAW. 5 Our main music loop is a ‘call and answer’ bass and guitar riff. For more mix control, we’ve chopped the ‘call’ and ‘answer’ elements out, and placed them on separate channels, so each can be processed independently. This means we can experiment with different treatments and settings, and automate things in a more dynamic way. 6 For the bass section of the riff, we’ve used inValve Equaliser to push out particular frequency areas. You should usually re-level your processed signal with the unprocessed signal, for easier comparison – but sometimes it’s easier to dial in additive EQ with more of a creative agenda, like we have here. Plus, our EQ boosts are pushing into the plugin’s Valve Saturation stage for extra flavour. 7 Over the second half of the riff (a guitar chop), we’ve used an instance of inValve Compressor simply as a gain device – by automating its Gain Make-up knob over quieter sections, we even out the part’s level in the mix. After that, we’ve used a preset from TNT Voice Executor to compress and limit this guitar. Yes, we know it’s a vocal processor, but it does the job we need it to! 8 To give our chorused wah-wah guitar part some dynamic variation through the arrangement, we use automation to switch on another instance of TNT Voice Executor when the quieter bridge section drops in. This compresses the sound, and adds vibey delay that changes the feel of the overall track. 9 Finally, let’s apply a tickle of master bus processing to gel and refine the mix as a whole. First, for a duller funk timbre, we use inValve Equaliser’s HF and LF Cut-Off dials to apply subtle filtering. Next, inValve Compressor is again used in parallel to thicken out the mix’s dynamics. And to finish, we use Audified’s MixChecker to virtually play back our mix through different playback systems.