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Create an Amazing Mix With Only 5 Plug-ins
Discover How To Use EQ, Compression, Reverb, Delay and Saturation To Create Incredible Sounding Mixes
Let me ask you this:
- Do you have a hard time making all your instrument fit together in a busy mix?
- Do you struggle with EQ'ing each instrument to sit in their frequency range without cluttering up everything else?
- Do you struggle with finding the right compression settings for each track?
- Do you want to use reverb to give each element of the mix a nice space to sit in without adding muddiness?
- Do you find it hard to use delay and reverb without cluttering up your mix?
- Are you confused by saturation and how to use it to get a warmer sounding mix?
If you answered yes to more than one of those questions then read on...
What if I told you that you only need 5 plug-ins to get a great mix?
And the best part about it is that you already have those plug-ins:
Engineers have been using these 5 processors for ages to make incredible sounding records. Ask any mixing engineer what they use most often and their answers will be a variation of those five.
But unfortunately, it's difficult to master all of them. You need to use them to make a mix that's balanced and punchy, with a clear mid-range and full and rich vocals. Not to mention having each instrument easily heard on any speaker system.
That's probably not the only thing you worry about when you're mixing...
Other problems you run into might include making sure you're getting a warm and full mix without muddiness. Or figuring out how to mix using group processing for things like EQ and compression to glue every aspect of the mix together.
Even if you've grown fairly skilled at mixing in general you might also waste a lot of time tweaking the final mix instead of deciding that it's good enough.
It's time for you to change all that and learn a workflow that uses only 5 different processors to get you a great sounding mix.
You don't need to read boring manuals, waste time browsing internet forums or buy more gear to make that next mix sound fantastic.
I already told you what you need to make your next mix leap out of the speaker:
But like Eric Clapton sang so famously: "It's in the way that you use it" and that's what you're going to learn in the next five weeks.
Introducing Mixing With 5 Plug-ins
Mixing With 5 Plug-ins is a 5-week course on mastering the plug-ins you need for a great sounding mix.
In the next 5 weeks we will be taking a simple song with drums, bass, acoustic and electric guitars, keyboards, lead and backup vocals from a rough recording to a finished mix using only the most basic and common plug-ins that anyone has in their audio software.
You won't need expensive plug-ins.
Any EQ will do. Any compressors is fine. Whatever reverb or delay comes with your DAW works perfectly well and I'll show you exactly where to find free saturation plug-ins.
You won't need fancy processing and complex routing.
20% of the work you do in a mix will give you 80% of the results. Mastering only these 5 plug-ins will get you there and beyond.
How Does It Work?
You'll receive the introductory video immeditately as well as the multitracks to the song we'll be working on.
From there you'll gain access to the Facebook community where you can say hi to the other students in the course.
Then, every week you'll get a new tutorial video tackling the plug-in of the week as we move through each part of the course. Click the link below to get started.
Week 1 - Mixing With No Plug-ins
As soon as you sign up we get started with one of the most basic (but overlooked) lessons in mixing:
Critical listening and knowing where you're taking the song before you ever start mixing it.
The first week is all about setting up and prepping your tracks for mixing.
- Setting up a session for faster workflow. If you want to use processing like bus compression effectively this is the prep work you need to follow.
- Critical listening and pre-mixing session. Before even slapping on a plug-in, it's good to be familiar with all the little things you'll find in every performance. Bring those out first before you do anything else.
- You'll learn to get a great balance to make a rough mix without using ANY plug-ins, in only 7 minutes.
- Learn to use busses and groups to make your mixing easier (and faster) in the long run
I learned to simplify; up until now, when I would organize and setup a session in my DAW, I would create FX busses for every individual track, and separate sub-mixes for each group on top of the busses. So, for a drum kit, each piece would have it's own FX buss, all feeding to a buss for the entire kit (or most of it) that would then feed a single Drum kit submix; at the end I'd use these various submixes for mixing into my Master Buss. With this, I kept it simple, and followed the pattern from the video - combining more instruments to fewer busses in total. I think I still ended up with one or two more than the video, but that's a vast difference for me!
Week 2 - Mixing With EQ
After our initial balancing work we'll get into using EQ to make all the instruments fit together.
We'll cover subjects such as:
- How to use filters effectively
- Using bus EQ to save time and resources
- Using EQ to bring out the best of the drums, bass, guitars, keyboards and vocals
- Cutting muddiness, reducing boominess and adding presence to the mix
- Using low-pass filters to tighten up guitars while still making them cut through
- Using those unused middle frequencies to bring out the character of keyboards without masking other aspects of the mix
- EQ'ing a dense vocal track so that the backup vocals don't overpower the lead vocals
- Proper rebalancing after EQ'ing to keep each instrument in its place
- Keeping the mid-range in check so you don't get boxy kick drums, honky guitars, muddy bass or nasally vocals. Take the guesswork out of EQ and follow along as I tell you exactly why I'm cutting and boosting each instrument.
Having fun with this! I tend to make things complicated quickly, so I appreciate being forced to keep it simple. Thanks!
Week 3 - Mixing With Compression
After EQ'ing we'll put a compressor on every track and find the best setting for each instrument.
You'll learn tricks like:
- Knowing how each button on your compressor affects your instruments
- How the ratio can affect the punchiness of your drums
- The importance of tweaking the attack and release to shape your sounds
- Knowing when and why to use compression
- Using presets to speed up your mixing (while still tweaking them for the best results)
- Using serial compression when you need two different compressors to tackle different aspects of the vocal
- Using different compressor styles for different sounds and character
- Using parallel compression in your insert chain for faster processing
- Rebalancing your EQ after compression to keep everything going smoothly. Compression alters the volume and loudness of each track so careful rebalancing is key to keeping your song consistent every time you add a new processor to the mix.
Definitely a different approach with the bus compression than I'm used to, but I like how much faster it went. One thing that was tough was balancing the compression between verse and chorus passages, so for my mixes, I may take a hybrid approach with multing the tracks into sections and bus compressing each section differently there.
Week 4 - Mixing With Reverb and Delay
If you only use EQ and compression you'll end up with a flat mix. Using reverb and delay is the key to giving your mixes depth without overpowering and cluttering up your mix.
- Explanation of all the settings on your reverb and delay
- How room modes can affect the feel of your mix
- The easy way to add an all-around reverb to instantly create space in your mix
- What you should leave dry in the mix
- How to use short and weird reverb settings to make bigger snares
- The importance of correctly routing your drums for a more interesting drum sound
- Using sends to place your instruments in the mix according to how much impact you want them to have
- Separating acoustic and electric guitars with different reverbs based on what they're playing
- Using modulated stereo delays to add depth to keyboards
- Placing backup vocals behind the lead using reverb and delay
- The incredibly important aspect of how and why to EQ your reverbs for a cleaner mix
- Using separate reverbs for multiple instruments.
- When to use mono instead of stereo delays
Mix is up - and this one was really a lot of fun. After rewatching parts of the video, I decided to take a simpler approach to avoid automation - just to see how it worked. I think the results sound huge. Overall, I mostly used the EMT Plate by UA; however, I did add a TAL Smooth Plate on the lead vox, and a beat synced delay (Metric Halo Dirty Delay) timed to 1/64 on the left, and 1/8 on the right, with some added drive for more gain. Seemed to thicken up. Hope you like it.
Mixing Engineer/Bass Player
Week 5 - Mixing With Saturation and Translation Tweaks
In the final week we'll add some saturation to certain things to spice them up.
- Using tape saturation to make your mixes smoother
- My step-by-step approach to deciding whether to use saturation on a track
- How to saturate your kick drum to give your low-end more thickness and weight
- Using multi-band saturation to give your snare drum more bite
- Using parallel saturation to create subtle thickness and warmth
- Adding tape emulation on acoustic guitars to bring them out in the mix
- Using saturation for dirty up your keyboard patch to make it more interesting
- Using multiple saturation plug-ins to find which one makes your tracks sound the best
In addition, we'll rebalance the whole mix, check our mix on multiple speakers and add some automation so that everything plays nicely together.
- The importance of slight automation tweaks to bring out the best in each track
- How to check your mixes on multiple systems and what to look out for so that they translate everywhere. I walk you through my process of checking the final mix on three different monitoring systems and the notes I take to make my mix sound the same on each one.
- Problem solving a mix translation issue of guitars sounding like they have a blanket over them
- Bringing the snare back into the mix when it sounds glued on top
- Taking muddiness out of vocals with shelving EQ
- Eliminating honkiness from an electric keyboard and making it sound smoother in the context of the mix
- Making the mix sound exciting without excessive tweaks.
- Facing the fear of perfection and deciding when to call it a day.
Listen to These Results
Jimmy Robarge went through the course and made amazing progress every week.
Listen to the changes made to his mix after using EQ, compression, reverb, delay and saturation to really make each element of the mix stand out.
Here is his first week's mix using only levels and panning:
And here is his final mix after going through each of the videos, getting feedback from the community and applying the techniques taught in the course (with some added creativity of his own of course):
Plus - An Exclusive Community Where We Discuss Each Week's Mix
In the exclusive Facebook community I want to really get to hear your progress.
So every week I want you to post your mix as you progress along with the multi-tracks. Each week the community will give each other feedback related to that week's topic.
This community is where we care about the mix. Your friends, significant other and general music lovers can't give you the feedback you need for your mixes. They simply don't know or care enough about the technical aspects of mixing to give you anything valuable. In our Facebook community you only have people that love every aspect of the technical mixing process.
Instead of diving in and throwing plug-ins all over the place we'll discuss each aspect of the mix in-depth week to week as we all progress through each plug-in, from simple balancing to smooth-sounding saturation.
It's a great opportunity for everyone to compare mixes and notes on what they did.
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I found this course to be detailed, relevant, and very practical - and quite a bit of fun. The interactions within our FB group made it a truly worthwhile endeavor. Specifically, I found each of the feedback videos comprehensive and balanced, each of the tutorial videos were engaging and detailed, yet it was not "preachy" as is "this is the only way to employ..." or "do it like this and you'll be successful." I learned the difference between EQing for balance and cohesion and EQing for color and dimension. The visual component of seeing the specific instrument's frequency range really helps nail problem areas more efficiently. Also, this course has changed (and simplified) the way I set up a session. The idea is great. 1 course/exercise a week is awesome. You explain a little bit of why you use the plugin and what the overall goal is. Then you do it "live" then you explain what you have done. I realized that all you need is basically only these 5 plugins.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Do I Have to Do This in the Next 5 Weeks? No. As soon as you join you get access to the first week's video and the multi-tracks. Every Tuesday after that new content will be sent to you. You can choose to follow along with the course as the videos become available but if you get busy the videos will always be available for you.
- How Do I Access The Course? Once you sign up you'll get content every week via email, as well as updates and feedback from other members inside the Facebook Group.
- Do I need any specific plug-ins? Not at all. You can use any EQ, compressor, reverb, delay and saturation plug-ins you have available. I use a combination of a few plug-ins but none of them are crucial for success in this course or to get a great sounding mix.
- Can't I just figure all this stuff out on my own? Sure, but it'll take much longer working on your own with trial and error instead of getting step by step instruction on using each of these plug-ins in a practical way, using actual tracks that you can practice with on your own.
- I Don't Have Time for ANOTHER Course! That's understandable. You have a lot going on. However, if you can spare an hour or two every week to watch the videos and do a few mixing tweaks you'll get through it pretty quickly without feeling overwhelmed. I've designed it so it improves your mixing skills without getting in the way of your life!
- Why is Iceland Green and Greenland Ice? Because we wanted to throw people off that we didn't want hanging around with us.
What's Included in the Plus Package?
The Plus package comes with a few extra goodies
Mix Feedback Videos
Every week, along with that week's tutorial video you'll get a pre-recorded feedback video where I critique 3-5 other mixes and give them pointers on improving. Chances are your mixes will sound similar to some of these mixes so you'll get valuable feedback you can use in your mix.
In addition I'll mention some tips and troubleshooting tricks I don't mention in the weekly tutorial videos you can use for specific problems.
- Motivation and "tough love" to get you on track with your mixes
- Why everybody is scared of putting out their mix but that should NEVER be your excuse
- Multiple approaches to re-amping DI'd electric guitars
- Tips and tricks on balancing a mix without using plug-ins
- Whether you should use automation first or leave it for last
- Using the 1-dB rule to get the perfect balance
- Frequency adjustments to get the kick to cut through in busier parts of the mix
- How to fix honkiness in a vocal (hint: it can be a combination of two very annoying frequency areas)
- Simple separation tip for two lead vocals
- Additional tips on making the vocals sit with the instruments
- A great way to trouble-shoot low-mid buildup
- How to hear when you're adding too much of those harsh high-mids in your mix
- Tips on using master-bus compression and why it's hard to do it in the middle of your mix
Advanced Mixing With 5 Plug-ins
At the end of the course you'll get a a 2-part video series where I go over some advanced techniques I don't cover in the main course:
- Using mid/side EQ for clear up the center of the mix and carve out a space for your vocals
- Using specific EQ boosts in multiple guitar tracks to separate them and give them frequency space in the mix
- Using an analyzer to EQ two clashing instruments better together in the mix
- Parallel compression and drum thickening techniques using EQ and compression
- When and why to use parallel saturation
- Using multi-band compression on drum groups for tightening up the lows without squashing the highs
- Using multiple order harmonics to get instruments to cut through the mix
- The Three-Reverb trick for simple spaces in your mix
- Advanced Automation theory to create interest throughout your mix
- Using short delays and EQ to get stereo imaging without stereo widening plug-ins
Though I had already listened to the other mixes after uploading mine, it was confidence building for me to be able to write a note down about someone else's mix (good or bad) and then hear my note reflected in your feedback following each track; made me feel like "hey, I'm hearing this as well." On a more selfish level, it's really awesome to get positive feedback along the way. Often times, you get so hyper-focused on your own work that it's difficult to separate yourself from it to hear it objectively.
365 Day, 100% MONEY BACK GUARANTEE
As always, everything I put out is backed by my 100% Money-Back-Guarantee.
If you are not satisfied with your purchase, let me know and I will happily refund your money, no questions asked. You can even keep the course for a full year while you decide.
If you’re not happy, I’m not happy.
Who are you and why should I trust you?
Hi. I’m Björgvin Benediktsson. I’m an audio engineer, musician and writer. I’m an Alumni from the SAE Institute and have worked in the audio industry since 2006.
Since then, I’ve been involved with projects in the field of live sound as well as playing, recording and mixing a wide variety of music. I’ve written countless tutorials on audio production on numerous blogs and websites, as well as at my personal website, Audio Issues.
Additionally, I’ve taught classes on music production and audio engineering, teaching the technical side of recording and mixing in addition to hosting workshops on live sound.
Currently, I produce, record and mix music in my home studio in Tucson, Arizona.
Let me tell you, I had no clue what I was doing when I first started doing audio and music production.
I used to move the mic around aimlessly because I had no idea what I was looking for. And whenever I hit record I always ended up with a terrible sound. Whether I was recording a musician or a full band I was never secure with the best way to approach the recording session.
What’s more, I had no idea how all my equipment worked. I didn’t understand my audio interface or whether I was recording loud enough. I’ll tell you, even my DAW terrified me with all those different plug-ins and processors I needed to figure out.
It gets even worse.
Even when I tried to mix I had a hard time. I thought mixing was supposed to be fun and cool but I was just intimidated. All I was doing was randomly inserting plug-ins and processors on every track, shrugging my shoulders because I couldn’t really figure out how anything worked.
No matter what I did I couldn’t make it sound better. I mean, the songs changed, but I didn’t really know where I was going with the mix. There was no balance to the instruments and the vocals sounded glued on and fake.
It just screamed “amateur.”
The reason why was simple. I had no plan of action, and no concrete steps to make my mixes sound like I wanted.
Years later, after countless hours of recording and mixing, I know what I am doing. I know exactly where to point the mic. I get the most out of my equipment, and my DAW does everything I want it to.
And what’s even more important:
Mixing Became Fun!
Using simple EQ and compression tricks, I got punchy drums and full and balanced instruments. I started using reverb and delay to create space and depth for that professional feel. Besides that, my vocals sounded better than ever as I started to recognize and eliminate problematic frequencies.
All these things I've learned along the way have helped me develop practical and easy mixing techniques that are guarantee to help you with your mixes.