19 de mayo de 2011

Tips de Mezcla con Andy Wallace

Andy Wallace, ingeniero extraordinario revela algunos trucos de mezcla en la revista MIX:
Sobre efectos y compresores:
You use very little outboard gear: A few digital chambers, a symphonic effect more or less on the bass, a couple of delays, but, by and large, you stay with the compression and gating on the SSL. Is this for ease of recall or because you prefer the SSL sound as compared with older equipment like Pultec or UREI?
It's a little of both. The primary concern is not so much ease of recall, although that's definitely a good benefit, but I like the way the SSL compressors sound and, for the most part, I'm happy with the gates. I have been known to patch in Drawmer gates from time to time, just because I can fine-tune them better and they have nice ducking abilities and that sort of thing. But for the most part, I'm happy with the onboard compressors. I don't really know if I would say that I prefer them to the old gear, but I guess I don't prefer the old gear enough to warrant fiddling around with it.
Sobre la mezcla ajustandose a la dinámica de la canción:
I listen to the song and try to get a feel for it. If it's a rock song that has a section that's really rockin', I'll sometimes go to that first and just work on that section, getting the band to really kick ass. I'll do that just to kind of make sure that that's my level. Then I'll work it down and build up from there, but that's the place that's really got to be rockin'. And that's usually where I find out how hard I want to hit the quad compressor.
Sobre mezclar con el compresor:
I've noticed you consistently set at 4:1 on automatic release.
Pretty much.

And you usually leave the makeup gain at unity?
To my ears, the gain makeup sounds like a noisy amplifier. I suppose it's paranoia, but I figure I can achieve the same end by how hard I hit the compressor. As long as I can get a reasonable output, which I can, I'll usually only use seven groups to put everything on and then I assign all those groups to group number eight, which serves as kind of a universal pre/quad compressor trim. So I can adjust how hard I can hit the compressor by moving that without having to adjust the makeup gain.

From watching you in past years up at Bearsville, I was under the impression that you ran your compression between -2.5 and -4 at 4:1. I was surprised to see it running between -4 and -6 on the 3 Doors Down Seventeen Days album. That's pretty slammed in there. How would you advise a young kid mixing today to handle stereo compression without ending up with a tiny mix? It's a trick.
Yeah, it is. I don't really know. I mix through the compressor right from the beginning — maybe not the very beginning, but while I'm still working on that loud section.
Sobre ajustar la dinámica de la mezcla en las diferentes partes de la canción:
I noticed that you ride the overhead tracks of the drum kit up in the choruses. Having seen it, I've listened for it and can hear it in other albums that you've done, so it's obviously a dynamic thing that you bring to all your mixes. When did you start doing that? I mean, did you just find that you were burying the cymbals with guitars?
Well, first of all, I ride them a lot of times because sometimes a cymbal won't be as loud as another cymbal or something. So there's that. But also, in a greater sense — and I think that this is what you're referring to — every cymbal crash will be ridden up maybe 5 or more dB.

Sometimes I will feel that I'm hearing more ambient stuff in the overheads than I want to hear in the mix. So when I get that loud section rocking the way I want, I'll end up with the overheads balanced where I want to hear the ambience and sometimes the cymbals simply won't be loud enough to have the impact that I want.
Sobre aumentar el ambiente con samples:
I use the samples more to drive reverbs. If you killed the reverb, you'd still hear the sample. And the thing I like is that I can EQ them so that I can really tune the ambience and where it sits in the whole frequency response.

Again, more so than I can with the overheads because I usually EQ those so that the cymbals sound the way I want them to sound. Not always, but often, when the cymbals are sitting where I want them to sit, I'll hear more ambience from that. I'd rather keep that down and be able to shade with a little more control using my ambient sample.
Sobre efectos para mezcla estéreo:
You pan your delay on the vocal slightly off to one side and then make up the difference on the other side with reverb return. Then you crack the pan on the vocal just off detent to open up the middle of the record.
Yeah. I do a lot of little things like that where I don't put things down the middle. Just moving them a little bit sometimes seems to open [the mix] up, which is one of the reasons I like to use the symphonic [effect]. Not so much as, “Dig the flange on that bass,” because I kind of prefer that nobody even knows it's there. Sometimes it gives it a growl, which is kind of cool. But a lot of times, I use that just to open things up a little bit so that everything is not kick, snare, bass right down the middle. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but sometimes it feels sonically a little more interesting to me.
Sobre compresión para la radio:
Primarily, I mix so that the thing sounds good to me, which I guess translates to how the CD sounds. But I grew up with radio and I guess I kind of like the way mixes sound on the radio with that compression, which is why I probably have gotten a little more aggressive with it over the years. Years ago — 10 years ago — I probably rarely drove the SSL compressor beyond that -4 mark. But I found that occasionally I'd get things hitting harder without even realizing it. I'd say, “Oh gee, I'm getting 8 dB of compression here,” and I'd say, “I better back this thing down.” But when I backed it down, I didn't like it as much. It was rockin' that way.

A long time ago, I learned that the great amount of compression in radio broadcasts was seriously changing how the low end [of my mixes] sounded and the balance: how much low end was there, how much of the bass I could hear and other things. That's when I really started experimenting with a substantial amount of stereo compression. And I found that if I had something compressed ahead of time and was happy with the sound of it, the additional compression from the radio station had less effect. So I sort of felt that I was doing damage control, as well as the fact that I liked the sound.

I found that I was automatically compensating by bringing up the bass in my balance, and I don't know if this bears out in reality, but it seemed it was true that the mixes I compressed more aggressively and then compensated for in the process of doing the mix held up better with additional radio compression.