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What Can the Nobel Banquet Hall Teach You About Saturation?

Did you know that the Blue Hall of Stockholm’s City Hall is really red?!?

This might not be interesting information except for the fact that this hall is where the annual Nobel Prize Banquet is held, one of the most prestigious events in Sweden, and possibly the world.

And not only is the Blue Hall actually decorated with red brick, but the bricks are even chiseled down to make them look imperfect!

That’s what I found out when I went to Sweden last month. The first stop on our tour through City Hall was this very red Blue Hall where they hold the banquet.

As our tour guide told us, which is corroborated by Wikipedia:

“The hall was originally supposed to have been plastered and painted blue, a color scheme that would have resembled the water of the bay. But Östberg [the architect] changed his mind during the construction of the hall after he saw the red brick. Though Östberg abandoned his blue design in favour of the unfinished red brick, the name “Blue Hall” was already in general use and stuck.” -Wikipedia, (brackets mine).

Identity Crises of architects aside, what astounded me more was what the tour guide told us next.

When the brick was put in, it looked too new for the feel of the room. So, in order to make everything old and regal, the workers were commissioned to chisel the bricks down to get a weathered old look to them.

And because of how my brain works, this instantly reminded me of how we use saturation to make pristine tracks sound grittier. When we’re mixing, not everything should be clean and pristine. If we’re going for grittiness, saturation helps us get the feel we’re going for.

We might have a perfectly recorded vocal sound that’s clean and bright, but for some reason that type of sound doesn’t fit the genre of the music.

So, we add some tape saturation and dirty up the low-mids and smooth out the high-end transients, making it grittier while fitting into the mix better.

So the next time you need to replace your beautiful blue track with some raunchy reds, slap that saturation plug-in on and see if you can’t get the grit you’re going for.

And don’t forget, if saturation is something you’re looking to improve in your mixes, I cover that in detail inside my Mixing With 5 Plug-ins course that’s on sale this week. Get 30% off when you use the coupon code NAMM50 when you check out.

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About me

About Björgvin Benediktsson

I’m Björgvin Benediktsson. I’m a musician, audio engineer and best-selling author. I help musicians and producers make a greater impact with their music by teaching them how to produce and engineer themselves. I’ve taught thousands of up and coming home studio producers such as yourself how to make an impact with their music through Audio Issues since 2011.

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