MIXING WITH JASON SUECOF.

Although not a teacher, he says, here are some of the go-to techniques that Jason applies to his mixing workflow.

You’re not a teacher, you say! But we figured, having mixed countless awesome albums – you’ve got to have some invaluable tips and tricks that you’ll back on?
I don’t think I’m qualified to teach mixing or even give advice on mixing… I say this because I don’t always do it the same way and I often don’t know exactly how got where I was planning to go and it’s chaos – all of this advice is given assuming you’re familiar with how to gain stage, use EQ, compression and effects etc.

Well, let’s give it a try anyway!
OK, here goes…

Drums
I always start with drums and it’s my favorite part of mixing/recording/producing in general because I believe it’s the most important part. If your drums are not there, then everything else is falls through, in may opinion. First of all, I’m not a huge fan of tons and tons of compression, so I usually keep it pretty simple. I’ll use an SSL E-channel on almost all my drums and I’ll only compress snare/rooms. On snares, I’ll sometimes use Kclip and then hit a hardware SPL to bring back some transients. I’ll boost 7k on snare and low end depending on the snare. Anywhere from 150-350, maybe? On toms I’ll scoop 450, I believe, and boost 7-8k, maybe. Kick I’ll boost 8k and 60. These numbers are all subject to change depending on the circumstances.   Anyway I like to use lots of rooms and often use them more than overheads because it makes cymbals sound nice and smooth. Also, I’ll always try to use rooms rather than reverb, simply because I hate reverb on drums. I’ll use it if necessary, though. That’s enough of drums!

Bass
I spend the most time trying to get the bass drum and bass guitar to be best friends. Everything else comes together pretty easily for me after that. I always use Sans Amp PSA-1 plugin because I love it. I like to cut everything above 3-5k most of the time as I don’t need it. I’ll do some scooping depending on where the kick is. It’s never really the same. I don’t ever make it super distorted with the Sans Amp – just a bit gritty to add some love. I really love hearing the bass guitar in the mix. It’s important to me even more so than guitars – it doesn’t have to be louder, but it should be there and sound sick.

Guitar
Let’s just pretend we’re dealing w a 5150 type situation… I usually wind up EQing guitars too dark after I check it against a real world thing, so I just play around with the EQ until I get the high end right and I’ll use a Massenburg MDW EQ5 UA to suck out the noises I don’t like. You’ll have to fish around till you find the spots you dislike. I have one at 3.3k that I hate – and it hates me!

Solos/melodies
I always import my “solo sauce” settings which are usually just some reverb and delay. Often, it’s a different amp than the rhythms, which is good. As always, I use a MDW to suck out the stuff I don’t like and an SSL E-channel strip for regular EQ.

Vocals
Sometimes it takes a second to fit the vocals in, which can make you adjust the whole mix you just worked forever on. But that’s ok because you have no choice but to power through! Assuming the vocals were tracked properly and compressed a bit, my vocal chain usually consists of one or two 1176s. I’ll use the Purified Audio or the CLA and almost always a Decapitator, sometimes with an EQ before and after. At the end, a de-esser. Then, depending on the project, I’ll either leave it bone dry and do all my delay/reverb FX on actual tracks – or I’ll make duplicates of the vocal tracks, but they’ll have an effect I want at 100% rather than an AUX. I feel it’s faster and easier just to drag down the vocal part you want the delays on etc.

Keys/bass drops
I run everything I have through a summing mixer from Capi called the CAPI SumBus mumming mixer. it’s 24 channels and it has two stereo busses. On the first bus, I have everything except keys and bass drops. That all goes to my Alan Smart SSL bus-style compressor at 2:1 (attack all the way up, release all the way down).That’s hitting GR at around 2dB. Every once in a while 4dB, maybe. The second bus, I have saved with zero bus compression so I can easily fly in keys and bass drops without ruining my whole mix (because that’s what keys and bass drops do to my mixes!). So, that second stereo bus is essential to making my life easier when it comes to projects with heavy keys and bass drops.

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