8 more cre­ative rout­ing ideas

Computer Music - - Make Music Now | 2018 Studio Workout -


Add the per­cep­tion of at­tack to your drums with­out mak­ing the ac­tual drum kit sound spiky by plac­ing your drum re­verb on a send and adding an at­tack boost af­ter the re­verb us­ing a tran­sient shaper. This’ll give the over­all sound more bite and sheen with­out mak­ing your hats and rides sound too sharp.


Pretty much the old­est rock mix­ing trick in the book is to group the kick and bass to­gether to a bus be­fore strap­ping a com­pres­sor over it. Aim for 2dB or so gain re­duc­tion when the kick hits. This’ll glue to­gether the kick and bass by pulling up the level of the bass in be­tween the kick hit­ting, giv­ing a more solid low end than leav­ing the two el­e­ments pro­cessed sep­a­rately. Although this one’s a rock mixer’s sta­ple, it can also work amaz­ingly well with other styles of mu­sic – give it a go!


Next time you’re mix­ing, try bussing all the rel­e­vant parts to­gether straight away (drums, bass, synths etc) be­fore start­ing to shape the mix by fo­cus­ing on pro­cess­ing your buses. This can be a lib­er­at­ing tech­nique as, if your ba­sic lev­els are al­ready good, it’ll speed up the mix­ing process with­out you get­ting too bogged down in what each in­di­vid­ual chan­nel is do­ing.


One of the most leg­endary uses of send-based pro­cess­ing in mu­sic is the gated re­verb snare ef­fect beloved of artists such as Phil Collins. To ape this sound in your own pro­duc­tions, first place a big re­verb on a send with a sidechain-en­abled gate af­ter it. Then, send your dry snare sig­nal to the re­verb re­turn, and also send it to the gate’s key in­put, so that the gate is ac­ti­vated by the dry sig­nal rather than the re­verb-soaked one. Also try re­plac­ing the re­verb with de­lay!


Make a quick stereo vo­cal harmoniser by set­ting up two aux sends with a pitchshift­ing plugin placed on each. Pitch one plugin up by 7 semi­tones and the other down by 5 semi­tones, then pan the sends apart by op­pos­ing amounts. Af­ter this, bus the sends to­gether and ap­ply a lit­tle cho­rus or phas­ing to com­plete the ef­fect. You can use this to add huge width to a mono vo­cal, or au­to­mate the send amount to pick out cer­tain words – great for hip-hop tracks or spo­ken-word sam­ples.


Happy with the over­all sound of your su­per-com­pressed drums but wish you could make the snare crack through more? A bit of reverse par­al­lel com­pres­sion will do the trick. Cre­ate a new re­turn, then send your un­pro­cessed snare drum to it be­fore mix­ing a lit­tle of the dry snare send in to taste – even a small amount of the dry snare in the mix will give the over-com­pressed snare more snap.


A neat trick for em­bel­lish­ing the room sound of a mul­ti­track drum record­ing is to place a 5-10ms de­lay on a re­turn, with a lit­tle feed­back and a 100% wet mix. Af­ter send­ing a bit of the room mic to it, the re­sult­ing de­lay will sound just like the room the kit was tracked in, giv­ing the over­all sound a more con­sis­tent tone and re­al­is­tic feel than us­ing a drum re­verb for the same job.


Some­times, adding se­ri­ous power to a clin­i­cal synth part us­ing some dis­tor­tion or sat­u­ra­tion mixed in on a re­turn is a must. How­ever, sat­u­ra­tion or dis­tor­tion can mask other im­por­tant parts of the mix when you’ve got it at a sat­is­fac­tory vol­ume level. A great work­around is to use a sidechain com­pres­sor to duck the re­turn’s vol­ume – bril­liant for giv­ing the kick some room when heav­ily sat­u­rat­ing bass, or mak­ing your snare pop out more. Best of all, as you’re duck­ing the re­turn rather than the dry sig­nal, you’ll avoid an ob­vi­ously side-chained sound, re­tain­ing more so­lid­ity in the mix.

Tran­sient shap­ing on re­verb can give a whole ex­tra di­men­sion of con­trol over am­bi­ence dy­nam­ics

Vo­cal harmoniser plu­g­ins are great – but why shell out for one when you can roll your own?

Make mix­ing easy by bussing all your track el­e­ments

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