“The Art of Balancing a Mix”, from Matt Butler (reviewed)

MattButler

 “The Art of Balancing a Mix” is the nine video, download-able series. This is the series that I have been searching for. Songs need to be musical. What do I mean by “musical”? A song needs to bounce, be dynamic, and breathe. Great mixing engineers can direct the listeners attention to particular instruments, certain parts or passages, or away from certain parts. This is the stuff that comes with time, and the stuff the pros keep up their sleeve.

Clever plugin marketing will tell you that their plugins will bring your song to life, add dynamics, and add breath to a track, but they all fall short of reaching their promises. I mean, we all have a collection of expensive, “must have plugins”, third party plugins, right? Yet our mixes are still lifeless and flat.

Maybe you have caught one or two YouTube clips that show some popular mixing engineer demonstrating to us that “one special thing” they like to do to make a track more dynamic, more musical, as a whole. The problem is that they most often show us only one or two, and they do not go into much detail at all. Matt Butler shows us everything he can think of, nine videos worth, to bring his mixes to life!

Ultimate offer

OK, hold on. Since you are reading through this review that tells me that you are looking to improve your mixing skills, so let me “sweeten the pot” a tad. Let me toss in one great big special bonus offer, just for you.

 As my way of saying thank you for using any of these links to make your purchase, I will give you some very special, very detailed gifts, aimed right at you, the person that is willing to learn more about recording, mixing, and mastering.

Let me tell you about the new Home Recording WeeklyUltimate Bonus Offer” that is all set to go and just waiting for you. Inside the Home Recording Weekly “Ultimate Bonus Offer” you will find not one, but two amazingly helpful video training products that will transform how you approach recording, mixing, and mastering in your home studio. They are titled, “The Pro Mixers Playbook”, “DIY Mastering”.

Each one of these two video training products contains lots and lots of “How to” style videos that are made up of “screen capture” style videos, shot right inside my very own home studio, like you are sitting down with me. Each training product inside the Home Recording Weekly “Ultimate Bonus Offer” has been recorded, edited, and mixed down with a few main things in mind…

First, I know that “Content is king”. Each video contains quality, unique content that I, personally, just could not find anywhere else.

Next, the quality of the audio and the quality of the picture is the best I have ever produced. I worked very hard to create video training that is helpful in nature, unique in content, and killer in features like audio and subject. These are the best mixing and mastering tips and techniques that I have learned, that have taken my music over the top, and rocketed my skill sets to the best they have ever been.

Let me break down, quickly, what is covered in each training series:

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The Pro Mixers Playbook

Learning how to mix like the pros can be the most rewarding thing we ever do. It can also be the most frustrating thing we ever do. Why does learning how to mix have to be so difficult?

The truth is there is a lot of information out there, broken up into quick little video chunks, some over here, and some over there, and, well, in a lot of different places. Learning just one brand new mixing technique can take you to many different places that all seem to have somewhat competing information.

For this very reason, I have been hard at work, putting something rather special together that I call “The Pro Mixers Playbook”. I have made over 4.5 hours of training videos together, in one easy to download PDF file. I have listed, and then made corresponding videos for the most powerful, the most “mix-shaping” 15 Pro mixing plays that have had the most impact (hands down) with my own mixes. This is a mixing foundation just waiting to happen. There is something new and rewarding, for new mixers and pros alike, inside in “The Pro Mixers Playbook”.

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DIY Mastering

Learning how to master can be confusing too. Figuring out how to get our stereo tracks to sound clean, wide, big, phat, and massive is a struggle. There are a lot of conflicting videos online that all help to confuse the viewer and help wreck your music. There is nothing else online quite like “DIY Mastering”, I guarantee it.

Included in “DIY Mastering” are training style videos that explain some of the most helpful, most impactful mastering techniques that have all come together to make my masters sound clear, clean, and huge. Video after video we go deeper and deeper into the strategies that really matter when it comes to getting great sounding masters.

The entire Home Recording Weekly “Ultimate Bonus Offer” is just my way of saying “THANK YOU”, for using any one of my links to purchase any one of the training videos that I have reviewed for you, right here, on Home Recording Weekly.

If you are interested in learning the best of the best of the best techniques, the best techniques that have taken me years and years to learn and master, the best techniques for creating the best mixes and masters, all in “over the shoulder” training video form, then get your own copy of Home Recording Weekly “Ultimate Bonus Offer” today. Make that purchase.

Here is how:

When you use any of the links that I have provided for you in this review post to purchase, I will allow you a download code for the Home Recording Weekly “Ultimate Bonus Offer“.

As a matter of fact, before you purchase any studio training videos or memberships, come to Home Recording Weekly and use any of the links that I have provided in any of my reviews. That way I can view the sale and send you your free “Ultimate Bonus Offer“.

All you need to do is send me an email (kern@homerecordingweekly.com) with the words “Ultimate Bonus Offer” in the subject line. Tell me the product that you have purchased, using my link, and I will send you your free copy.

If you are thinking about purchasing any of the training video products that I have reviewed, than now is the time to make that purchase! Get you own Home Recording Weekly “Ultimate Bonus Offer” today!

OK, back to the review at hand…..

Please, let me break down the videos, into detail, and tell you what you may expect to learn.

V1title

Video one, of the nine videos downloaded in Matt Butlers’ “The Art of Balancing a Mix“, is all about what is to come in the series. Matt explains the reasons he needed to put this video series together in the first place. Here is what he has to say, in my own words of course: “In a world of fast paced technology, things have become miss-ordered. For example, things like volume, pan, and emotion have taken a back seat to, “Hey, what plugin did you use on that track?”. It does seem that the art of mixing is becoming “the science of plugins”, as technology moves along. Our tracks might be technically accurate but they are flat and lifeless.”

Matt aims to bring art back to the art of “dynamic mixing”. Matt can make a track sound dynamic, and more “alive” with using only stock plugins. Better yet, he shares with us how he does it! This is the stuff that comes with a lifetime of being in the music business, and learning a cool trick here and another cool concept there. Matts collection can now be yours! Click the link provided, “The Art of Balancing a Mix“, to learn more!

V2

Video two begins with some great advice dealing with session organization. Templates are a great time saver, and a great way to get started mixing sooner. Matt shares one of his most used templates with us, and he walks us through the template process. Next, we take a listen to the whole session with open ears. All faders are set to zero and the song plays. Matt then details, off the top of his head, what he will be aiming for, as he begins to mix this track. He also shares what sorts of things we should listen for, in a new, un-mixed track, to make a focal point of a mix.

As I watch the videos that make up “The Art of Balancing a Mix“, some things start to come into focus. Matt speaks with a nice mellow flow, or speed, and he speaks with “an air of confidence”. This “air of confidence” comes from a lifetime spent in the professional audio world. Matt was lucky to be born into a musical, business orientated family. Matt not only understands how to properly record and mix music, but he also knows all about mixing with speed and accuracy. Time is money after all, but cutting corners is not allowed. Matt understands that making things easy on yourself, right from the start,  is what it is all about. These tips only come from years and years of doing things wrong, and then learning to do these things the right way. Matt is someone that You can learn a ton from. Matt shares this stuff in these videos, which is gold!

V3

Video three starts with session preparation. Let just say that Matt starts sharing some spectacular tips right here. As Matt works he details the way that he works, and as a pro mixing engineer, that is fast! Matt shares the shortcuts that he uses along with the methods that he is employing. He “works out loud” so that we know exactly what he is thinking as he works along. This is like being beside a mentor.

Matt shows us how to clean up unwanted parts of a mix, with speed and accuracy. He also shares more great tips with us, tips that only a seasoned mix engineer would know. Things like what the clients often will want, or come back and ask for later.  Matt has probably just saved me some big headaches, and with only these little nuggets of wisdom. These little  nuggets are sprinkled all throughout the nine videos found in “The Art of Balancing a Mix“. Matt continues on with a lot of great, time saving and tone saving tips. He details seemingly minute subjects. One example is the types of fades we can use. But once he shows you these fades in action, and how the different fades can sound, it becomes a much bigger deal. Good stuff.

V4

Video four, of “The Art of Balancing a Mix“, puts a spotlight on the topic of panning. Frequencies come into play here, as does our minds’ conception of panning and frequency, and Matt guides us through it all. Matt takes the whole “L.C.R.” (left, center, right) panning approach and then he adds his own technique to it. His approach is easy enough to understand, and it might just be the approach that you have been looking for. Matt uses this cool approach to his mixes and gets great results. He explains the science behind the whole “frequency and panning as heard via the mind” thing better than anyone else I have ever heard attempt to tackle it.

Next, Matt starts to rough in the mix, starting with the drums. Track by track, Matt auditions the material, and then places it in a good spot in the mix, using volume and pan. Bass comes next, followed by the rest of the band, still track by track. This is a quick static mix, using Matts approach on mixing, and let me just tell you, it makes sense.

V5

 Video five deals with a very important practice. Mixing in mono. Matt discusses this idea, and how we use it to address phase and balance issues in a mixing session. I can’t tell you how important knowing this information is, but Matt can. Matt not only explains what mixing in mono means, but he takes us along as he does this very practice. He addresses phase and balance issues, too, and he talks out loud the entire time, so that we get to understand his every thought! “The Art of Balancing a Mix” is full of critical, must know information that will serve you time and time again in your career.

I learned a lot from Matt in video five as well. He explains that there are two separate issues that deal with phase. He goes into length about this, and he shows us a couple of examples. I was not “in the know” when it came to early reflections causing “fake” time alignment problems. These are my words to what Matt explains in video five, but you get the idea, right? Matt teaches and we learn.

V6

The next video, video six, in the “The Art of Balancing a Mix” series is titled “Balancing with EQ and Compression”. Matt does a lot of the “conventional mixing” here in video six. A lot happens here, and it comes at you rather quickly. I made sure to pause and digest as it moved along. Matt will address all of the drums, the bass, all of the guitars, piano, organ, back ground vocals, and lead vocal too.

Matt begins with a mind blowing trick that I have never heard about, fundamentals, and tuning the kick drum. It makes complete sense, now that I know about it, and this might be worth the price of the whole series, all by itself. The mix just jumps out after performing a simple EQ trick. Wow, this is cool! Next, Matt shows us how he likes to compress a kick drum, and all the time using stock plugins.

Next we remove an annoying ring from the snare. Fundamentals return, to the snare here in this case, and what is left of my blown mind is blown out of my head. Why had I not heard of this amazing sounding trick? Matt gets the kick and snare sounding very good, speaking out loud and explaining the entire time, and with just stock EQ and compression, panning, and volume level. Next, Matt EQ’s and/or compresses the toms, the overheads, and then comes the room microphones.

Matt has said that he is looking for “larger than life drums”, and the room microphone is where a lot of that sound comes from. Matt shows us a cool way to get a massive, larger than life itself sound out of room mics, using a compressor. Matt also shows how he rids the “complete cymbal wash syndrome” out of over-compressed room mics, quickly and easily. The drums are sounding huge! “The Art of Balancing a Mix” is just amazing!

Bass guitar gets a “tone lift” via a stock compressor EQ and some lo-fi magic. Hey, it is no secret that rock music likes some grit on the bass, just to help it to cut through the guitars. The guitars get cut with EQ’s and sculpted with EQ’s. Let me just save the time and tell you Matt works his way through the band and the singers, track by track, stock plugin by stock plugin, and talking with us and teaching us the whole way through.

V7

Video seven, in “The Art of Balancing a Mix” series deals with depth with reverb, delay, and other processing. After a quick explanation of how Matt likes to employ a reverb to drums, and all the while keeping the attack of the drums in place, we get started. Matt opens up stock effects, sets up sends and returns,  and then makes the drums sound amazing. He also shows us some simple techniques that he uses to allow the verb to sound so much better in his reverb sends and returns. He continues on, track by track, creating a live feeling sound, using a stock reverbs.

With reverbs on vocals, comes sibilance and then comes some “de-essing”. Matt cleans up any sibilance with stock “de-essers”. Matt shows a very clever way to quickly and easily lower the sibilance in vocal tracks, too, but then goes ahead with the de-esser. One theme that runs throughout the videos are Matt likes to show a couple different ways to accomplish the same task. I like that. Matt also shows a cool effect that is neither reverb nor delay, for widening back ground vocals. This trick is very cool, too, and I will be trying that out on my mixes very soon!

V8

Video eight, of “The Art of Balancing a Mix“, is titled “Balancing with automation”. I am starting to not believe just how much powerful and over the top information is packed inside this video series. I mean to say that the useful information that we are granted access to just keeps on coming. I feel like I am at the mixing desk with Matt, mixing a song together. This is a lot of information for just 67 dollars, a “way lot” of information. Plus, we all own stock plugins don’t we? Why not learn to use them to their fullest potential? You owe it to yourself to get this amazing video series. Get it, watch it, and watch it often.

Matt opens with a cool tip that makes perfect sense once you hear it for yourself. I had not ever heard it before, and now my automation will be a lot smoother, and my tracks will benefit from it. Matt then begins automating the instrumentation. This section is all about taking the listener on a ride, and point out to them what we want them to hear. Matt uses gentle and easy volume automations to accomplish a lot. He gets the mix to breathe, to feel more balanced, and to be more musical as a whole. Matt is a wonderful mixing engineer, and I feel blessed to be watching him work along.

The backup vocals are next to get the “automation treatment”. The attack principle comes into play here, and it is cool how well that tricks the mind. If you have not watched this trick in execution, then you are missing out. Matt boosts just where he needs to, and presto, the whole part comes to life!

Matt ends the automation portion of “The Art of Balancing a Mix” series with the lead vocal. He rides the whole vocal, take after take, and then explains what he has done. He brought up things that need to be brought up, and he lowered things that were not needed as much. In the end he came up with a breathing song, and all of that was done with stock plugins!

V9

The last video in the series, video nine, in “The Art of Balancing a Mix” series, is titled “Printing the final mix and referencing”. This video is about listening to several mixes of the same song, each saved at different times throughout the mixing process. There is also a finished, reference mix for us to listen to here. This is great for our ears to train with. Matt has a home run here. I will take a lot of great ideas and techniques from “The Art of Balancing a Mix” series. I will be a much better mixer now, and pay closer attention to the balance of a mix as a whole. I have been guilty of telling myself tape saturation plugins are more important than a nice lively mix.

Point is that this series had to be made. We are slowly drifting away from getting a track to breathe, using techniques that we all have access to. We need to think more about what the song needs, not what the plugin makers tell us we need. The best part about the whole series is that Matt kicked my ass, mixed a kicking track using only a few stock plugins. He has skill, and thank goodness he shares with us!

Here is a link over to “The Art of Balancing a Mix” from Matt Butler. Learn how to get a more musical mix today.

 

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