“Mixing Acoustic Pop”, from David Glenn, Reviewed

David Glenn is one heck of an amazing producer and an even better mixing engineer. I simply have learned a ton from him, weather it be from our interview or from watching his great, in depth, training videos.

I watched, and recently reviewed, “Mixing vocals” from David Glenn, and it gave me back more than I ever thought possible. I learned so much about mixing things like vocals, with parallel bus compression, EQ techniques, and awesome multi-band compression. David is a great mixer, and an amazing teacher. I am so happy that I was able to watch “Mixing vocals” and to learn as much as I have from him.

Mixing Acoustic Pop” can be purchased in a few different “product packages”. Within the different “product packages”, David offers a song critique, an hour of private coaching, and other amazing offers. The links that I use in this post (“Mixing Acoustic Pop“) are to the basic package. However, if you are the sort of mixer that likes every advantage they can get, then the other two packages are “The Elite Bundle” and “The Plus Bundle“. Each has specific merits that might just be what you are looking for. Please use the links provided so that you can see for yourself which is best suited for you.

Perhaps one thing that separates “Mixing Acoustic Pop” and “Mixing vocals” is that you are able to download the multi-track session files. That means you can actually mix along with David, just to better drive home the professional lessons he is laying on us. That, alone, is worth the price of the whole series, if you were to ask me. That just puts these training videos over the top, and worlds apart from all of the others. David does not just throw fish at the viewer, nope, he teaches the viewer “how to fish”.

Once you select the download bundle that is right for you, and download “Mixing Acoustic Pop“, the learning fun begins. The bundle that I opted for contains 14 training videos. The first video is titled, “Introduction”. This is a quick video that gives David a chance to thank the viewer, and explain what is about to happen in the following videos.

Please know that I have the option to download the “Mix template series”, too, plus a whole lot more. David really over delivers here, and that is just his style.

There is an introduction video that details what the viewer can expect to come.

Video two, “Session setup”

Video two is all about getting things better organized. David gives a great explanation of what he refers too as the 80/20 rule, and why being organized is so important to him. David opens his amazing, and well thought out template (he gives you his ProTools template), imports the session files, and then gets to work.

He takes the viewer through his template, and explains things very well as he moves along. He then places each track of the session where it needs to go. He admits that this kind of stuff is not sexy, but it is important to learn and know. Time is money and being organized means speed. Do the math.

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David explains a few things as he works the session into the template. The stuff he is talking about is the stuff that will pay off for folks that want that inside look at how professionals make money in a timely fashion. He puts the tracks where he wants them, in his custom template, and details the routing of the template and a few choice plugins. He quickly highlights why he likes a few of his plugins, but he hold back from getting too deep into any strong tips. That stuff is on the way.

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David has a very unique way of using bus sends to make a mix come together. He uses buses with names like “All drums”, “High end”, and “Low end” just to name a few. This is a cool way to think of a mix, as a whole. David represents the newest class of mixers coming up through the ranks. His perspective is refreshing and very “new” feeling, and his talents are amazing. It is awesome to see a new face, a new voice, with new ideas, and skills to back everything up.

Video three, “Rough mix”

David begins with some last minute template checking. He digs right in with some great tips, too. These types of things are the best parts about training videos. You feel as if you are sitting down beside David Glenn, and he is walking you through his mixing process. You need not ask a single question because David will explain everything in great detail. Awesome!

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David Glenn begins the rough mix. He finds a looping point that contains as much of the tracks as he can get, and starts brining in the tracks, one by one. We watch as he brings each track in, one by one. I love watching others work. Mixing is an art form that I love anyway, no matter who is mixing. David talks as he works, so you are always sure of his direction.

Things move along nicely, for the most part. But when they don’t, David details what is happening.  We all make mistakes, no matter the size. I learn the most from my mistakes. The learning has started already.

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David continues working along, adjusting levels, panning, and explaining each move he makes. Track by track, we start to get the overall idea. This is one great song. This is the exact type of song that I need to learn about. Think about multiple acoustic guitars, pianos, organ, vocals, and even finger snaps. This song is great and that will just make the video series so much better.

David also gives the “short cut key commands” that he uses to do things, as he moves through the mix. Not only is this the sign of a pro mixer, but a way to make the most money as a mixing engineer. Knowing how to quickly do routing tasks means speed. Speed is a great thing to have on your side. These routing tasks add up, one after another, and rob time from you. David really is giving the viewer everything he has.

If you have yet to layer guitars, the guitar solo is going to blow your mind. David explains how it was done, and perhaps more importantly, why it was done in the way that it was. I just learned a cool new way to obtain crystal clear, singing, lead guitar solos. How much is that worth? Next, David works that cool solo idea into the mix, explaining things as he moves along.

David quickly hints at the gold that is to come. He quickly explains how he intends to make this song grow in width as it goes from verse to chorus, from start to end. This is the stuff that I could stand to learn about. I can’t wait to get into that stuff, as it can really make or break a great mix.

David works in each track and then takes a moment to listen back. He tells the viewer that he is listening for “Road map ideas”, or a direction to take the song, as a whole, into. Again, this is the secret sauce that I need to learn. Wow, I am already learning more than I assumed I would. “Mixing Acoustic Pop” is already paying off.

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As you can see from the image above, David imports a good reference track that matches our session and gives us a target to aim for. David explains what he envisions as a finished track, sonically and three dimensionally. The road map is complete.

Video four, “Kick drum”.

David opens video four with the two reasons he will use samples in order to replace kicks sent to him in a session. This is the sort of thing that I was pondering. When is it ok to replace drums, and when is it just necessary to replace drums?

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He next opens up Slate Digitals’ replacement software, “Trigger” and begins the process of drum replacement. He loves to use trigger for a very good reason. I don’t want to give too much away, so let me tell you that he gets absolute control of the kicks properties from Trigger.

David explains exactly what he is shooting for in a kick drum sound. Then, he takes the viewer on an in depth journey into the world of kick drum replacement. He obtains an amazing tight kick drum, and I was surprised at how easy that whole process can be.

David has ears that really know how to listen close. He hears details that most will not hear. That is the stuff that will make or break a pro mixer. He tells us exactly what hew is listening for, as he plays each sample back. David points out what to listen to, and he performs “before and after” listening’s. Knowing this stuff is about half of the battle. If you want to get better and better mixes, then learning these things is paramount.

David plays the reference track, plays his track, and then explains the difference. Then David Glenn tells the viewer how he will get his kick drum to sound like the reference track. Awesome stuff!

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Next we learn about how David likes to EQ his kicks. Well, this particular kick sample, set up in the unique way it is. David has “choked” the kick, as we learned in this video. Now it is time to sweeten it up with some choice EQ. David walks us through exactly how he EQ’d the drum hit, but more importantly, he explains why. He uses some excellent “before and after” examples as he details the whole affair as well.

David really is teaching the viewer in “Mixing Acoustic Pop“. I am learning a ton about such intricate details. I never would have learned so much about these techniques in any other training video, period. BTW, some of these intricate details will require a critical listening, so be warned. Either use a nice pair of monitors or a choice pair of headphones. I want you to get the best out of this series.

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David has become in such demand as a mixer because he knows how to get a great mix. His techniques are among some of the best due to the way he uses his mind so creatively. David puts a High cut/low pass filter across the reference track and listens intently to the low end. This is how he gets his low end to match. Give me the exact same tools and mix, I would have not ever thought of this trick in a million years. This is why I watch David Glenn’s’ training videos. This guy is amazing! Please check out David’s “Mixing Vocals” training video, also, as it is just as excellent as “Mixing Acoustic Pop” is turning out to be.

This step makes the low end so tight and clean. This is demonstrated by David, in yet another amazing “before and after” listening, and it is just startling! That is how the professionals get amazing mixes. Purchase “Mixing Acoustic Pop” and you will learn exactly what I am talking about.

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Just as a bonus, David explains how he sometimes uses a transient tool to get some attack on a kick drum. This is a cool trick for sure, and David makes sure to explain it out well. Attack, or “click” will make your kick cut through in a mix. However, in this type of song we just don’t need the kick to snap. David adds click with attack, and then removes it as the song plays. He then explains why he is not going to use the attack in the kick. Thanks to David for the knowledge, and the cool demonstration!

 Video five, “Snare drum”.

David Glenn plays the reference track and points out attention to the snare. Then, he gets to work getting his snare to match. He explains the way he got his snare top sample into the mix, using Slate Trigger. Again, he tells the viewer some great insider information that he used to get his sample to sound like the pros sample. He demonstrated how he got his snare to match, by “chocking” the snare hits. Once you learn what David Glenn is talking about, here, it makes great sense. This is something that I have been doing completely wrong in my mixing. I am learning and I am growing. “Mixing Acoustic Pop” is so worth the money!

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Next, he walks the viewer through the EQ set up. He wastes no time moving into his use of a transient designer. Quickly moving, he gets into the snare bottom. The snare bottom is actually the original snare hit, but processed. David explains why he uses the original snare as a “bottom snare”, and how he applies EQ to get it to bring a realism that he could not get in any other way. This is the good stuff!

If you have watched David Glenn’s’ “Mixing Vocals” then you know that David is a total mixing ninja. He uses bus tracks in ways that I had not ever heard of, let alone ever thought of before. He applies bus multiband compression, bus compression, bus (you name it) like no one I have met before. In “Mixing Vocals” he totally blew my head wide open with his use of clever and creative bus tracks. It appears that it will be no different in “Mixing Acoustic Pop“. David has begun to get into ninja mode, right here in video 5, with a bus track on the snares. “Oh here we go”……

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David applies some bus compression to the snare top. I actually liked checking out his settings, and seeing a long “release”. I have always parallel compressed my drums, as a mix, and had not ever used a parallel bus compressor on a snare all by itself. I will now because it makes such a big difference! This is how the big guys get that “splashy drum hit” sound. Wow, this is killer information! I can’t recommend “Mixing Acoustic Pop” enough, and we are only into video 5!

Then the snares, with the snare parallel compressed track, all get bussed to a new bus track. Remember, David Glenn is a mix ninja. This bus supplies even more attack sweetening with a few cool plugins. Then he did something that I thought only I did. Wow, am I silly.

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David uses Ozone5 to pull a stereo plugin back into mono. I do this when mastering to make sure my low end is in mono. That just makes me tickled as punch, to learn a pro mixer uses one of the things I came up with as audio insurance. Just saying…..

Even though David chooses to not use reverb for the snare, he quickly explains how he might apply reverb to a snare. These sorts of things just make a training video over the top. David does not have to detail all of these extras, but he does. He shares some quick, but great advice here. He even shows how he likes to EQ the snare reverb, even though he is not going to apply it to the song. Thanks for the cool tips David!

Video six, “Toms”.

David plays the original tom tracks first. Then he plays the edited tom tracks for the session. David made sure to edit out microphone bleed and then he applies some low pass filtering to the toms. David begins to demonstrate how he got the toms edited, and processed.

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Then David puts way more value into what is an already paying back, by ten fold, video series. David shows one of the coolest tricks that I have ever learned in order to remove cymbal bleed from tom tracks. Like so many of us “mixer wannabees”, David uses room mics and overhead mics to control cymbal crashes. So how do we rid the cymbals from the toms? “Mixing Acoustic Pop” just paid for itself again. He quickly and easily rids the toms of all the cymbal hits. This cleans up the toms, and allows him to use the overheads for all of the high frequencies. Brilliant!

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Look, if you want to obtain way better mixes, and a ton of new mixing tools for your tool chest, “Mixing Acoustic Pop” is the bomb!

The “Mixing ninja” that is David Glenn rears its’ head again, as David shows us his parallel bus tracks for the tom drums.

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Davis uses multiband compression, much like an EQ, to tame resonance in the lows. He can boost the lows in weak tom hits yet control the harder hits, with one plugin. This is why David holds the pay grade that he holds. I would not have ever thought of this trick. With one step he re-assures his low end does not get too muddy, not too weak. Amazing trick! I can’t wait to start using this idea on my mixes.

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Next, David shows yet another amazing tip. He uses multi band transient design to bring out or remove attack and sustain from the toms. If you think about this, he is simplifying the process. This trick would usually take several tracks with several EQ’s with several transient designers. This is such an amazing idea, to bring more breath or more life to toms in such a cool fashion. David both explains the idea and he plays the toms with a “soloed before and after”. Amazing! He walks the viewer through his settings, explaining why he sets things up in the way that it is. Next he seasons with some tape saturation. He details his settings for the tape saturation, which adds some character. Well done!

Video seven, “Hats and overheads”.

After a super fast “before and after”, David digs in and starts to unravel how he got the brass to sound the way that it does. He gets into the over all aim for the song, and what each piece of the kit is doing in order to get to that end goal. Let me just tell you that the overheads and the hi hat sound fantastic with the rest of the kit.

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As you might suspect, David is going to explain each step of the process. Great, that is what we like, right? David begins with detailing how he applied some EQ to the brass. I love how he gives nice discussions on EQ, and how he likes to yield such plugins. David makes sure to play “before and after” examples as he moves along. He likes to move along, but nothing is rushed in “Mixing Acoustic Pop“.

Next David shows us how he likes to compress the overheads and the hi hat (brass as I like to call them). A nice gentle, yet high ratio compression here, and some of the dry signal is brought back. Then, pure to form, David shows a cool way to bring attack back in with a transient designer. He shows how a subtle amount of boost in the attack and a bit of release can really bring the hat forward in the mix. This is a very cool way to quickly bring the listener to hear what you want them to. David details a couple more cool ideas that can help your hi hats pop in your music. How cool is that?

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Let the bus ninja madness begin………

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Yep, “the brass” gets a bus track, and it is full of clever ideas. David knows what plugins he likes, and he shares them with the viewer. He is not giving the viewer plug in commercials, but instead, he is showing how he uses them to achieve great things. David adds space with the Ocean Way Studios plugin. All throughout “Mixing Acoustic Pop” David seems to share his favorite plugins, presets, and cool tips on using them. He just has so many cool ideas that he just can’t help himself. Thank goodness for that!

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Next, a touch more EQ, as you can see in the image above, and we have some great sounding brass! David uses two EQ’s to accomplish this task, but I only have one represented in the above image. Please know he talks about each step of the process, in great detail, as he does throughout the series. Davis then takes us through a way to get amazing room mic sounds. Again, even though he is not using this way of doing things in this mix, he gives us a look at this trick. This continues to happen in the “Mixing Acoustic Pop” series, and that is just so unlike any of the other training videos that I have reviewed. David simply wants the viewer to learn all of his mixing tricks and ideas.

Video 8, “Percussion”

David has a way of doing things. He routes all of the percussion to a bus track, just to keep things easier to grasp. I am onboard with that. Plus, did I mention that you ProTools fans out there can download his exact template? You can download it and make it your own, if you think that sounds like something you might like to do. You also can download the session files and mix along if you want the full “The Elite Bundle“.

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 David continues to share his amazing hearing skills with the viewer. He points little things that I miss. He then gets to work fixing these little things that he explains. Once he points these things out, they really do make sense. I can also hear these tiny things, and they do begin to bother me, as a music listener. Go David!

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David explains what he hears in the percussion tracks, and then he details where he wants them to go. One by one he attacks the tracks with plugins, detailing exactly what he is doing, step by step, and with soloed before and afters the whole way.

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I love how David continues to give quick little lessons the whole way through the series. He details things like sustain and limiting, and how thy will act upon each other. This is simply one of the many, many, many little micro lessons that he gives the viewer as he mixes along.

He next shows us a cool hand clap trick that will blow your mind. He spends little time on this cool idea, but it is amazing none the less. Who thinks about music on this level? Mixing ninjas, that’s who. Track by track, he shares how he edited and mixed things like snaps, claps, tambourines, and shakers. Things seem to move a lot faster here, and it is true. Keep in mind that we have learned a lot of techniques already, and a fair amount of this video is a repeat of those techniques. However, if you pat attention, you will learn a lot about stacking compressors, stacking limiters, and stacking other, like effects.

Video 9, “Bass Guitar”.

David uses some mixing ninja magic on the bass. He has a bass DI track, like most of us use, and he makes it sound amazing. I will not give it away, but let me tell you that he gets a killer bass tone, with this cool way of doing things. He does like to add dimension using amp room software, and you can see that in the image.

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It is really nice to hear how David handles bass tracks. He gives a great talk about how he pulls certain frequencies from each of the bass tracks that he will create. Certain bass tracks will deliver certain parts of the whole spectrum. My bass mixing just improved greatly, since I will be doing these things from now on.

  Now that the viewer understands how David gets  killer bass tones, he takes us through the processing. He explained his thinking, as a whole, and now he is taking the viewer through the steps that he takes to get there. Compression is first, and he explains his approach well. I am loving how David points out what he hears, or what we should listen for in our bass tracks. David is an amazing teacher.

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Multiband compression comes next, along with a good explanation, and a “before and after”, as David likes to do. He explains that this is a new step in his process, so it is cool that he is sharing it with us all. He explains his goal, and then shares how he gets to that goal. This sort of teaching really drives the techniques home. I struggle with getting a great bass sound, but I think those days are now about over.

David continues to blow my mind. He uses some very cool tricks, with some very cool plugins, and he brings the bass tracks to higher and higher standards. Anyone can do these steps, so please do not think that only professionals can do this stuff. He explains what he is doing, and the viewer can accomplish these things with any number of plugins.

David next turns his attention to a very important part of mixing a song. The bass and the kick relationship. These two instruments must live in the same “center space”, and they must live there in total harmony. This mixing maneuver is what can separate the mixing amateurs from the mixing pros, and David Glenn is a mixing pro. My mixes have failed in this one critical area, and therefore I have “gone down”, or sank,  with the ship of amateur mixers, to the bottom of the mixing sea.

But do not worry, David Glenn offers his helping hand out to all of us, as if to bring the amateurs a way to the life raft of the professionals, so that we don’t drown with the newbies. The “Mixing Acoustic Pop” series is chock full of top of the line tips, with the breakdowns to back them up. David seems to be constantly explaining a professional mixing concept to the viewer, and then giving the viewer a couple of audio examples, with a “before and after”, before moving on. It just does not matter who you are, or what level mixer you are, you can learn tons from watching the “Mixing Acoustic Pop” series.

Back to the bass and the kick drums. David is getting the viewer into side chaining. This is a great way to make sure the bass and the kick drum live in total happiness. He explains the whole process, so that even I could grasp what he is setting up.

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The idea is to send a copy of the kicks to a compressor so that this compressor pushes the level of the bass down each time the kick sends a signal. This is a great way for the kick and the bass to share some common frequencies, without getting on top of each other. David goes into some great detail, here, and explains everything very well. He details how he likes to set up the attack and release of the side chain compressor, and why he does things this way. He uses audio examples, too, just to drive the points home.  If you were to ask me, I would say that this is worth the price of admission all by itself. I have a very good understanding of side chain compression now, how to set up the attack and the release, and I will apply that to get way tighter mixes.

Video 10, “Acoustic guitars”.

If you are like me, you love a jangly acoustic guitar. Clean, dynamic, and big are words that pop into my mind when it comes to the acoustic guitar of my mixing dreams. David nails all of these words, and he gets a killer acoustic guitar sound, in “Mixing Acoustic Pop“. I love the ideas and the techniques that I have picked up from David in this video series. Here is my lengthy breakdown…

David mixes about six acoustic guitar tracks down to a single bus. These are all “picked guitar tracks”. David explains how it is broken down, in tracks, and then he starts explaining the way he mixed the tracks. David processes things on the bus track. This makes sense and saves CPU power. No surprises there, just some good ole’ mixing.

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David applies the usual suspects here. He takes us through his EQ settings, and then he gets into a “tape machine” plugin. He explains that it gives a little bit of natural compression. Then Davis opens up Izotopes Alloy plugin for some more EQ. He uses Alloy a lot, all through out this mixing series, and for many tasks. This EQ adds some top sparkle, and he explains that setting a little bit, and then he details the exciter that is also on Alloy. Next it is the dynamic section of Alloy as he adds two layers of gentle compression.

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Once more, David brings in a multi band compressor. He explains how he heard some low frequency build up while referencing the mix through some other monitors. Big credit to David for practicing what he preaches about monitoring with many types of systems. So, he heard some buildup and he is going to share with us how he got rid of it using multi band compression. I can only hope that I can learn this type of thing and use it when I need it. David found this buildup on account of his constant attention to detail, and his monitoring ethics. This is the gold here, and  “Mixing Acoustic Pop” continues to pay.

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The next part is the strummed acoustic guitars. Since there is a lot in common here, David goes rather quickly as he goes through the plugins. The guitars should sound like they are the same player, so he sticks to most of the same. There are some different EQ settings, of course, and David shows the viewer these minute changes, in detail.

Remember these strums are going on top of a picked acoustic and vocals too. David makes sure to explain how these things are building up, and how we need to make some sonic space”, or some room for each track to set well. Bring in some more tape emulation and some LA2A compression for color, and the tracks are sitting just right!

Video 11, “Electric guitars”.

We start this video with some clean electric guitar parts. This is awesome because I know clean electric parts are dynamic. I can’t wait to see what David does here. I am positive that it will be sonic gold, just like everything else David has touched up to this point. If you are still reading this review, and wondering if you should purchase this series, please let me help to make up your mind. Use this link right here, “Mixing Acoustic Pop“, and then you can send me a “thank you so much” email after you watch the videos that make up this awesome series.

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David first gets rid of the stuff that he does not need with a high pass filter. He also gives a quick explanation of how we should be using high pass filters in our mixes. Good information, for sure. Next he uses his favorite LA2A for color. Follow that with, you guessed it, his favorite plugin, Alloy from Izotope. He adds some very gentle EQ, dynamics, and exciter, all with the single plugin.

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David is constantly giving great advice. Here, he does this again, dealing with how he likes to go back into a mix and alter his settings as he mixes. He says that he never sets a plug in and leaves it alone. He says this to drive home the tip that it is ok to second guess what we have done, and to experiment with our settings.

He brings in a few more plugins that add some dirt, some warmth, and some sizzle to the clean electric guitars.  Then he adds some reverb via a cool spring reverb. He actually has a few reverbs going on the clean electrics. He pans one hard left and the other hard right. This, as he explains, adds fullness and some space for the guitars. It sounds absolutely fantastic.

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Video 12, “Keys”.

David has quite a few “key tracks” to mix down. The video starts off with a quick edit, and then we are off to mixing. David Glenn wants you to have the same exact session files that he is working on, so he details this small edit. Having the same exact files that David has is awesome! This is a great feature for “Mixing Acoustic Pop“, and I hope the idea continues for future releases.

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He uses all of the usual suspects to get the piano to sit well, even on top of the guitars and with the vocal still to come. He adds some gentle EQ, sustain, and uses a limiter to bring it up a tad. David continues to teach, but how many times can I tell you, the reader, about how amazing this series is? If you want to learn how to mix, watch training videos! This series is so close to what it must be like to sit down with a professional mixing engineer, and go all the way through his mix, start to finish. Add some crazy tips and a ton of amazing techniques, and you have  “Mixing Acoustic Pop“. If you are into making pop-like music, you owe it to yourself to check out how it is made. David Glenn represents the newest breed of hip, cool, and fresh sounding profesional mixing engineers. I am loving learning all he has to offer, and I am cherishing this video series. Plus, please know that it is possible to obtain the actual session files that David is mixing. He assures the viewer that they can use their mix as a résumé or to show others how well you can mix.

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David quickly explains how he likes to use some common but cool modulation bassed plugins to bring an organ sound to life. This is cool, and “ear popping” stuff. I like how David is constantly giving some ways to do the same effect with plugins that most of us might already own. That shows how much David really cares about your mixes.

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David yields mid/side EQ just as well as he yields any EQ plugin. He gives a great explanation of the concept at hand, mid/side processing, and then he gets to work. He uses a mid/side EQ to bring an organ to life. Mid/side processing can add depth and some life to a mix. The creative ideas are almost endless, once you grasp what is happening with mid/side. David does a cool “before and after”, just to drive the point and the technique home.

David sprinkles in a lot of insider advice. He answers a lot of those questions that we all come up with, as we come up through the ranks. He talks about things like EQ cuts and EQ boosts, what the pros do, and how we should all look at this kind of thing. There is a lot of poor information out there, and it is nice and re-assuring to hear this solid information from a real pro. Bonus after bonus. “Mixing Acoustic Pop” is an investment for sure!

Video 13, “Vocals”.

Vocals are the most important part of most songs. This is true for pop music, if you were not sure. Vocals are the focus, the emotion. I can get scared right before I start mixing vocals, so I am excited to watch how David tackles his vocal tracks.

Let me state that David has a killer training video out, titled, “Mixing vocals” and it is just as amazing as “Mixing Acoustic Pop” is proving to be. I learned a metric ton about processing vocals by watching David’s’ “Mixing vocals” video. He uses some extremely clever techniques, like using bus tracks for a “fine tuning EQ’ing effect”, multi-band compression on parallel tracks for tuning a vocalists tone, and so on and so forth. Believe me, the stuff that I learned from watching “Mixing vocals” not only blew my mind, but it stuck with me, and helped me to obtain way better mixes.

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I actually helped to produce, record, and then mixed an acoustic pop tune with a local group. They are amazing as a group, so it was up to me to deliver a killer mix. Thank goodness I was lucky enough to learn some of the great things David teaches in “Mixing vocals“. For example, he uses a multi-band compressor to help “bring in a singers tone”. Do not freak out, this stuff is easy to do once David explains the processes involved to you. Long story short, I mixed the demo with confidence, and I have gotten some great feedback and some very good critiques from that song. You can too!

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David starts mixing the dynamic vocals with some easy limiting. You guessed it, next comes an EQ for High pass filtering and some other gentle sort of cuts. David then gives some examples of what he likes to sometimes do with EQ cuts, in some vocal tracks, and then we move on. David next explains why he pulls out the multi-band compressor, and then does another great before and after audio pass. Wow, what a difference, and what a cool, fast way to get rid of proxy effect in a vocal take!

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Let me save us all some time and tell you that you will learn each step of the vocal effect chain and the entire vocal mixing process. David has a lot to teach us about mixing vocals. He is simply one of the best when it comes to this task. His ideas will blow you away. You will ask yourself why you had not thought of this stuff before. Believe me, there is some ninja mixing in here for sure.

David does not take you in as deep as he does in “Mixing vocals“, but he has a lot to cover with the song at hand in “Mixing Acoustic Pop“. David details everything he does to the vocals, but the pace is much faster. Just know he does not skim over anything, but he can’t go into the detail that he uses in other training videos dealing only with vocals.

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David does things in ways that I would not ever imagine. He brings in effects in certain ways, too. His ideas are solid gold. Your mixes cant help but gain professional sounding tracks after watching David mix. He just approaches things like no one that I have ever watched. I love everything he has to say, everything he adds to a mix, and every idea he implements. You just can’t help but get excited about mixing as you learn these cool tips and tricks. I know that I can’t wait to open up my next mix ’cause I am going to kill it!

David goes on to show how he brings back ground vocals to life. I am still blown away from what he did to the lead vocals, so it is hard to concentrate. David’s ideas are simply that darn good. David will help you transform your mixing, your routine, your approach, your way of doing things, till it mirrors what the pros do.

The back ground vocals will make you do a double take too. He does some very interesting things to the harmonies, and he tells the viewer how he did what he did to get these sounds. Not only does he get crazy sounds, they sound awesome in the mix! David has not lost any steam, yet, but the mixing ninja is still giving ideas and tips.

Video 14, “All buses and 2Bus”.

I am sad that the end is near. I want to watch ten more of these videos because I am gaining so much from watching them. My tool chest is filling up and so is my confidence. You just cant put a price on confidence, but I do know that it is worth more than I paid for “Mixing Acoustic Pop“. I am so ahead of the game.

 David brings us home and starts to wrap up this mix. He details what sorts of things he has on his major bus tracks, before it goes out to the main stereo pair. He explains what each plug in is doing, on each of his main bus tracks. He shows the viewer a cool trick for using a bus compressor on the drum bus, just to keep stacking value on top of value.

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David likes to show you a couple of ways to do most of the things he shows us. I learn so much from his way of teaching, and I am thankful that he does all of this stuff. This is “bang for the buck” indeed.

David continue through his tracks, making sure to deliver content that matters. David spends a good amount of his time explaining important things such as mono versus stereo. He shows how he likes to make sure that his low end is in mono, and the wider parts are in stereo. This is just so important and I am very happy to learn how he does this. Thanks so much!

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David refuses to stop. He continues on, detailing his “Sub master bus” techniques and plugins, and then his “Master bus” routine. Let me tell you that this is like getting a complete second training series of sorts. This is a new type of topic altogether, and on heck of a bonus! “Mixing Acoustic Pop” continues to teach, continues to pay back, and continues to give the viewer confidence. David has some clever ideas and cool uses for his plugins. David applies smart track routing and he gets and out of this world mixes.

It does not matter weather you want to grow as a mixer, or just get a look behind the “pro mixing curtain”,  I highly recommend “Mixing Acoustic Pop“. You can’t help but learn cool and exciting new ideas and ways of doing things. David does not follow the heard. David is the hottest new thing in mixing right now, and he is killing it! Maybe you should ask yourself, “What do you have to loose by checking this video series out?”. I know the answer, and it is “nothing at all”. Do yourself the favor, and use this link to purchase, “Mixing Acoustic Pop“.

Episode 49 Guitar Mania

It is so true. I love recording, and I love the guitar. What can I say, I am a man with many passions.

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Here is the 1980′s era Fender “Lead 2″ guitar that I love. I have placed “stacked” Vintage Noiseless pickups into the guitar, and I just had a brand new (total) fret job done. I recently sanded the goop off of the back of the neck, and here is a post to that whole process. Lastly, I did replace a bent tuner. I like to say it is a true 50/50 mix of Strat and Tele. Sure cuts and sounds like a Tele but it has a killer thin neck with compound radius fret board.

Here is my flavor, or my audio spice rack.

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Here are a couple of recent demo videos for pedals that I love, love, and love some more.

 

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Here is a link to the Graham Cochrane, Recording Revolution “Re-think Mixing” video review.

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Here is a link over to the “Mix Coach Pro” free “E-bundle” (eBook and videos) that I am offering to you for free. Read down the entire post, and send that email!

Sanding the coating off the back of a maple neck.

Some time ago I asked all of you for some advice about removing the poly coating from the neck on my much loved Fender guitar. I was surprised at what I learned. Keep in mind, I left the fingerboard/fretboard alone! I simply wanted to remove the speed regulating, sticky-like residue from the back of the guitars maple neck.

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Before

I thought I had an idea about what I wanted to do. Well, I did have an idea, but it was not the right idea. You see, I wanted to remove the troublesome finish from the back of my guitars’ neck. It simply felt as if it was gumming up on me. My hand would get hot, and it would get stuck from the finish. Why it is on there in the first place baffles me. There probably is a reason (looks most likely) for it, but I don’t like this coating. Plus, some of this poly-like coating was starting to feel gooey, from the guitars’ age I suspect. What ever the reasons, I wanted to get this finish off of the back of the neck.

I have been giving guitar playing, and this guitar a lot of my attention. I have been learning how to play lead guitar (scales, modes, time). Like my mind, I have been tuning up the instrument too. I have installed new (Fender Noiseless) pickups in the Fender Lead2, soldered up crackling pot connections, and recently I had a full fret job done. It came out better than I had hoped it would. It plays better than ever, now, except for the goo.

Why had I not taken this crap off before the fret job? There was a big reason.

I was scared of messing up a good thing. I didn’t want to ruin the way this ole guitar felt and played. Hitting the necks’ back side with sandpaper and other abrasives would certainly cause marks, right? What does removing the finish actually do to the longevity of the neck? Will it absorb moisture now, and swell up? Will it feel even worse than it did with the goo on the neck?

I asked for help, and I got what I asked for.

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First of all, do not use any sandpaper at all. That is simply too much abrasion for such a job. I was told to use some “000″ steel wool, instead, and it was perfect for the job. You see, you do not need to remove all of the coating, but instead, remove most of it. This does a few things. First, it still has a slight coating on it, so stains will wipe away with water. Steel wool takes so little of the coating off at a time that you can remove as much goo, or as little goo as you want. Plus, leaving some of the coating on will not allow it to absorb any access moisture, if any at all. Keep in mind, I left the fingerboard/fretboard alone!

I was instructed to use long back and forth motion as I sanded away. If I used short back and forth motions, parts of the neck would have more coating and some parts would have less coating left behind. OK, that makes great sense. I want a nice and even feeling finish.

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Wrap it up!

I was instructed to wrap up my guitars’ body. This struck me as odd. Why would I want to do such a thing? Well, as it turns out, the process creates a ton of metal dust. This is from the steel wool breaking down. Your guitar has magnets in the pickups, and the dust will stick to the pickups. This will just be a pain in your but to get rid of. So, wrap that rascal!

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After

I am so very happy that I did this easy modification to my guitar. I was scared that I would damage my instrument in the name of speed. However, it came out better than I expected it to. The neck feels smooth and free from goo. There looks to be a super thin layer of coating left, but hardly enough to cause buildup of any kind. My hand glides, now, where it used to jump.

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After

I would urge others to read this post before attempting to sand off your necks’ finish. Be careful, and ask questions. Follow the steps that I have listed and you should have no problems at all. Please note that the neck I sanded was maple with a maple fretboard/fingerboard. I have not attempted altering any other type of necks. Please use caution when doing any type of modifications to your gear.

Episode 48, Winner number three!

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Congratulations to Chris Cauthen. Chris and his friends entered the third winning song, for this years songwriting contest, titled “With a thread”. What a great song, and such a cool thing to write a song about, eh? Great stuff!

Each and every single one of you that entered a song is a winner in my book. Please continue to work hard and come back next time bigger and better.

Here is a link to the 2014 Home Recording Weekly Songwriting Contest, and a complete list of prizes.

I must thank the following for contributing such amazing prizes:

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 Rock Solid Guitar Stands, gave away three “Classic 4“, four space instrument stands, in a sexy honey finish. Rock Solid Guitar Stands are furniture grade guitar/bass stands for your home studio, the stage, or where ever you need to have four instruments at hands reach. I always try to keep instruments, at an arms reach, just incase the bug strikes. When inspiration hits, I don’t want to go upstairs, under the bed, and pull out my guitar case, open up the case, tune up the guitar, and then play it. That is way too many steps. Keep your instruments close, in tune, and ready to play. Rock Solid Guitar Stands do the job of keeping your inspiration well fed and well pleased.

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 PreSonus donated three of their USB interfaces and three copies of Studio One pro. PreSonus makes one of the easiest to use, yet most powerful DAWs I have ever come across. I use their DAW, “Studio one pro” every day. I love hoe it is laid out, and the powerful tools that it ships with. I also use a PreSonus interface, and love how it simply works with every other tool in my studio flawlessly. If you were to ask me, I would say that PreSonus is the way to make music!

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From Kevin Ward, A.K.A. The Mix Coach, awesome mixing training in the form of three copies of “Guide to Rock Mixing“. Kevin Ward is a professional recording/mixing engineer in Nashville, and he knows how to mix rock music. This is one of the best training videos that deals with common issues and problems that we will all need to clean up as mixing engineers. Kevin gives some amazing information inside of  “Guide to Rock Mixing“, and I can’t recommend it enough!

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From Groove3 Training, a 365 day “All Access Pass” to their training videos. If you wish to learn something in audio, Groove3 has a selection of training videos for you to choose from. I have personally reviewed some of their great videos, which continue to impress me greatly. I have learned a ton about so many unique yet relevant topics from Groove3 Training. This is a powerful prize right here!

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My friend, and pro mixing engineer, David Glenn gave three copies of his amazingly powerful, “Mixing Vocals” away this year, to three lucky winners. This is simply the most informative series of mixing training on all sorts of topics, but most importantly, vocals. I learned an incredible amount from this training series. I also interviewed David Glenn, and here is a link over to that interview.

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Chemistry Design Werks, allowed me to give away three  “Standard” HoleyBoard guitar/bass/keyboard effect pedal boards, in natural coloring. I love the system that  Chemistry Design Werks has come up with for keeping your pedals on the HoleyBoard. Zip ties are easy, fast, and so strong. Adding and/or removing pedals to your board is just so easy and so quick. Add to this the great idea of having two levels, a place for larger pedals like a volume or a wah pedal, and you have what I feel is the best pedalboard on the market. I love my HoleyBoard and I asked them for these, as prizes, so you too can learn how amazing they really are.

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Steven Slate Digital gave me three copies of their Steven Slate Drums Platinum Edition to award to three winners. I have used all of the popular virtual/midi drum packs, and Steven Slate Drums Platinum Edition is at the very top. It is not a drain on your machine, it is very intuitive, and super easy to use. Most importantly, it sounds very, very, very good. Plus, your copy ships with tons of drum loops and a complete mixer section built right in. For great sounding recordings, the pros turn to Steven Slate Drums Platinum Edition so why shouldn’t you? You will need to purchase an ILOK USB to store your license for this product.

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IK Multimedia was totally onboard, and they tossed in three copies of T-Racks Grande mixing and mastering software. This is massive guys. T-Racks Grande is perhaps the best of the best in sound, flexibility, and in realism. T-Racks Grande has the potential to take your mixes and your masters from good to AMAZING. You will get the best in vintage and modern models as plugins, including compressors, EQ’s, Limiters, Multi-Band Compressors, and so much more. T-Racks Grande units all handle L/R and M/S processing, and have the best metering suite that I have ever come across. Dynamic range, true loudness, RMS metering, true frequency readings, and stereo field/phase metering is all included.

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From Matt Weiss, and all of my friends over at The Pro Audio Files, how about three copies of “Mixing Hip Hop Vocals“, and “Mixing with Compression“.

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I learned a lot about todays mixing, and a lot about  Matt Weiss when I interviewed him on the Home Recording Weekly podcast. If you want to learn more about this cool cat, please use this link over to episode 34 of the podcast I made with Matt Weiss.

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 Audiofile Engineering, supplied three copies of Quiztones. Quiztones is the fun way to get your ears into shape. As you play along with the Quiztones app, you are asked to “name that frequency range”. You can also use audio that you upload into Quiztones, and continue to play along. I can’t believe how quickly I got my ears into shape, all thanks to Quiztones. Plus, since it is an app I can always get a quick tune up before each mixing or mastering session. Please check out the other apps that Audiofile Engineering has for you to take advantage of, by following the link provided.

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From Nashville recording artist, mixer magician, and all around nice guy, Matt Butler, three copies of “The Art of Balancing a Mix“. This training video series was not only an eye opening video, but it was somewhat shocking. Matt takes a mix from rough to ready for the radio with just a few choice stock plugins! He explains what is really critical and what is important when mixing a song. I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but it isn’t fancy plugins!

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 Pedal Labels, a great product idea, gave me three packs of their “oh so clever” Pedal Labels. These are so smart and so handy, I think every musician that owns their own gear (amps, rack mounted gear, pedals, etc.) should have multiple sets of Pedal Labels. As a stay at home Dad, I need a set for the clothes dryer, the oven, and the dishwasher too. These things opened up my eyes, and really stood out as a cool idea that really helps us out!

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You know that Joe Gilder is a friend of ours, and he wants to encourage us all to become better recording/mixing/mastering nuts. I know this because he wants to double the prizes that he gave away last year.

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Yep, he had me give away three copies of “Understanding EQ“, and three copies of “Understanding Compression“. What more can I tell you about Joe Gilder that I haven’t yet told you? He is crazy good at all things recording, mixing, and mastering. He is crazy generous. You can check out his interviews on the Home Recording Weekly podcast here and here.

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Graham Cochrane, of The Recording Revolution, said he would supply three of you with his mind blowing, game changing “Re-Think Mixing” training video series. Re-Think Mixing could very well be the “holy grail of training videos”, because it is “that good”. I have watched this gem over and over, many time over. You will learn a ton from watching Graham mix a song, from start to finish, in Re-Think Mixing.

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 From my new friends over at (the amazing) Softube, three instances of their TSAR-1 Reverb plugin. I have fallen in love with this plugin. It allows me to get a great sounding verb, fast! You owe it to yourself to check out the great assortment of plugins over at  Softube. They make some of the best emulations of some of the most used and most sought after tools in the industry. Plus they make some cool plugins that help folks reach “mixing Nirvana”, like the  “Amp Room” series. You will need to purchase an ILOK USB to store your license for this product.TSAR-1

Luther Drive overdrive pedal from “Gear Man Dude”.

“GearManDude” is legend. “GearManDude” is guitar effect royalty. The great “GearManDude” has made over 1000 videos for YouTube, each one is a helping hand for the confusing world of guitar pedals, amps, and gear.

“GearManDude” is a secret identity, of sorts, like Spiderman is to Peter Parker. Who is “GearManDude”? Who knows?

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 What I do know is that the great tone man himself, “GearManDude”, knows a thing or two about effect pedals, and he knows the good from the bad. So when I learned that the king of effect pedal videos was making an overdrive pedal, my interest peaked.

This cat knows tone, and if he makes a pedal, well, I want it.

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Here is my thinking…..GMD has tried out hundreds and hundreds of overdrive effect pedals, so he ought to know what he likes and what does not like by now. He has done the foot work (pun intended), and he has taken the good stuff from all of the overdrive pedals that he liked. Then he threw away the stuff he did not like from hundreds of overdrive pedals. He then went on and altered this “awesome dream overdrive circuit” to his tastes. After a couple of tries, presto, a killer overdrive is born. Everybody, please say hello to my little friend, “Luther”.

Here are the sorts of things that GearManDude says about the Luther drive pedal…. The Luther Drive started life out as the Hugely popular Ibanez TS808 Tube Screamer circuit. But that circuit is just not “there” enough yet.

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I say this sort of thing about the Luther drive pedal….. The TS808 circuit is as close to “that overdrive breakup bliss” that most guitar players talk about, but have never really been to before. Most cats say the TS808 is “close enough” to that tone they hear in their head. However, what if the tone knob worked as it should, the whole way through? What if the low end didn’t either get squishy, or go away, when the pedal is switched on? This is the stuff GearManDude tackled with when he designed the Luther drive. GearManDude hit a home run. Thanks goodness “close enough” is not what GearManDude wanted!

I made room on my pedal board for the Luther drive. That shows how much I love this pedal. It delivers that over the top breakup that a mildly driven amp wants and needs. It sounds better to my ears than all of the stock TS pedals that I have ever tried out. This pedal is just perfect for me, and I could not be happier. You owe it to yourself to try one of these puppies out. If you currently own an overdrive pedal, then you should think about upgrading to the Luther drive.

 The quality of the Luther drive, as far as I can tell, is top notch. They are made from top quality components, housed in a metal housing, and hand made by the GearManDude himself. He offers a great guarantee/warrantee too, but I will let one of the GearManDudes’ videos do the talking….. How is this for a Gear Man Dude warrantee?

Bluebird Fuzz and Green Zapper auto filter pedals from Henretta Engineering.

When it comes to effect pedals, there are many types and styles to select from. Believe me, it can seem endless. Henretta Engineering has taken a fresh approach to building some great, but small, pedals. This unique build is just what I was trying to find the whole time. Let me tell you why I love all of the Henretta Engineering pedals.

Let me just start off by telling you what I love about the Bluebird Fuzz and the Green Zapper auto filter, both from Henretta Engineering. They just sound amazing! They are made of high quality components, after all, so why wouldn’t they? Kevin Henretta has taken some of the most popular circuits (for effect pedals of the past) and brought them up to date. Then he places them in a small box, so you can stuff them in your front pocket if you need to.

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I love the simple little boxes with an obvious lack of knobs, and the ease of which a killer tone is achieved. You quickly get a feel for the pedal, and what it is that it can do, without turning a bunch of knobs. The lack of knobs means I will not have to worry about setting them up each time I use them. I will not step on the knobs as I turn them on and off, either.

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Plus, for the upmost in pedal tweaking geekery, there are an “internal trimmer” pots and/or switches that help to obtain the tone and levels you are looking for. I can alter the sound of these pedals by opening them up and turning the trim pots to my taste. This is a great option, and just one of the many cool things going on with these pedals.

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Add to the selling points of the Bluebird Fuzz and the Green Zapper auto filter, the fact that they are “true bypass”. That is if you like true bypass pedals. I can go either way on that debate, but lets get back to these pedals, ok?

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There is not enough room inside the small Henretta Engineering pedals for a battery, but I like that too. I use power supplies for clean power, and I am willing to give up DC power for the small footprint. I love the fact that I can easily fit a lot of these on even the smallest of pedalboards.

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So, add up all of the positive selling points, and you have a bunch of great sounding, small foot print sized pedals. The bad points, not a single one if you were to ask me, are a “must exist” in order for the small size boxes to work. Henretta Engineering has a bunch of great sounding, small sized effect boxes, and that is the bottom line here. I love the Bluebird Fuzz and the Green Zapper auto filter pedals.

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The FET Compressor from Softube, and parallel compression tracks.

I love to use parallel compression, or bus compression, when I mix. This technique can bring a lot of excitement and breath to an instrument. I am now in love with the FET Compressor from Softube. This is like an “1176 style compressor”, but with much better options.

I love to absolutely smash the parallel bus compression track. This is how I do it because you only need a little bit of a parallel bus compression track to bring in the realism.

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Check out the video that I put together that explains all of this and gives you some audio examples too. Check out Softube, and all of the amazing plugins they offer. I am in love with the FET Compressor.

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Cerwin Vega XD5 and Cerwin Vega XD8S subwoofer

Cerwin Vega XD5 monitors and the Cerwin Vega XD8s subwoofer.

The ideas that I have are to obtain a pair of “casual listening” monitor speakers. If you are like me, than you spend a great amount of time on your computer watching “How to record/mix/master audio” tutorials, editing videos for YouTube, listening to concert footage, music videos, movies, ITunes, and other related audio content.

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I have studio grade monitors, and studio grade headphones, but they are not the best way to go. My monitor speakers are routed into my recording/mixing gear. I could employ my nice studio grade audio monitors for watching Phish concert footage on YouTube. But, to free up my studio grade monitors, for casual use, I would need to get into better shape and purchase a bunch of adaptors too. I would need to get on my knees, under my desk, and swim among the never ending sea of audio and power cables, and sort out each insert and output plug.

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When I need to do a task that needs my attention, or a close listening, I have been swapping over to my studio grade headphones. This is a lot easier than unhooking my monitors and re-hooking them up each time I need them. However, this solution comes with a problem, too. My studio grade headphones completely cover my ears ears. My ears begin to sweat after thirty minutes of listening. Training videos can run for hours. This is a strange things to complain about, I know, but it does happen. It just bugs the crap out of me. It makes learning new things a “not so fun” thing to do.

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I needed to find a solution. I want a pair of desktop speakers that can put out some wattage, cleanly, and with bass too. I need to look to the best speaker maker that I can think of. That title belongs to Cerwin Vega.

Cerwin Vega had to prove themselves and they were up to a very difficult task. I needed a pair of desktop monitors that can allow me to hear very minute details.  The YouTube videos that I watch (on a daily basis) show “before and after” edits in audio that involve very minor EQ moves, compressor settings, and related ideas. You need to be paying full attention to these videos, listen very close, and have equipment that can demonstrate what is being performed.

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The proof came rather quickly. Just after I hooked up the Cerwin Vega XD5 monitors and the Cerwin Vega XD8s subwoofer, I watched a quick video from Matt Weiss and The Pro Audio Files. Matt was working with a filter in the 11,000 frequency range. In the past, just to be able to hear such a move, I would need to put on my studio grade headphones and then turn the volume way up. The 11k range is a place that most speakers have a difficult job of detailing.

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The Cerwin Vega XD5 monitors and the Cerwin Vega XD8s subwoofer were awesome. I heard, in great detail, everything that Matt was doing, as he worked through the video. This was the big pay off. Since that test, I have enjoyed many weeks of jaw dropping sound as I enjoyed “Hulu” and “NetFlix” movies, sitcom episodes, music videos, and loads of detailed training videos. My headphones have been put back on the shelf. My ears are not sweat filled. I am completely thrilled with the Cerwin Vega XD5 monitors and the Cerwin Vega XD8s subwoofer, and I highly recommend that you go now to try a pair out for yourself.

Don’t believe what I am telling you?

Want to compare your current desktop speakers against what it is that I am talking about?

Here is a link over to that exact video, just so that you can see if your speakers pick up “11k frequency info” as good as my Cerwin Vega XD5 monitors and the Cerwin Vega XD8s subwoofer do, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmrgR4Zv19k

The geek speak, for the Cerwin Vega XD5 monitors and the Cerwin Vega XD8s subwoofer, goes like this…..

The audio (in my case) goes straight into the Cerwin Vega XD8s subwoofer. Their is a cross over built into the subwoofer, which has four positions to choose from (80HZ, 100HZ, 120HZ, and bypass). There is also a polarity switch, and a volume knob.

Also found on the sub is four RCA (stereo pair of “ins and outs”) and the same (stereo pair of “ins and outs”) with 1/4 inch mono jacks. There is a power switch and a led light that tells you when the unit is “on”.

From there the sound travels out the jacks (RCA or 1/4 inch mono) to the Cerwin Vega XD5 monitors, which will accept either input option. The whole affair works better than one might imagine, and simply sounds better than I had expected. There are headphone outputs on the monitors and a 1/8th inch stereo input for what ever you wish to plug into the monitors. You can also use the RCA inputs and the 1/4 inch inputs too, for a well rounded out assortment of ins and outs. I am in love with the included (all metal cased) remote control, too, which came as a surprise to me. I assumed I would not ever use it, but I was way wrong about that.

I could not be happier. Thanks Cerwin Vega!!!