Music Producer / Mix Engineer
11441 Barger Rd
Tuscaloosa, AL 35406
A Bit About Me
I'm a producer, musician, sound engineer, graphic designer, artist, father, son, husband, builder, contractor, and gamer. I work, take care of the family, build houses, record, mix and master music for other artist, and play video games. I have my day job, and then I have my dream job. Making music is where it's at. I'm always working on releasing new material but soon I'll be ready to perform live. I'm getting my stage equipment together as we speak. I will be booking shows locally at first, but then I'm gonna go big. I will be getting more into that later, but for now, I'm gonna mix for you.
Want to A Bit About How I Record and Mix Vocals? It's Easier Than You Think
How I Record and Mix Vocals
Setting up the Daw
First things first. I spend a lot of money on equipment and plugins, watch a lot of tutorials, and read a lot of articles and instructions. I've gone through many trials and errors to find what works for me and actually sounds better on other people. It can take a lot of time so I want to share a little about the process and give you a little insight about what you can expect from my services.
Before my clients arrive, I like to set up the project in my daw to automatically save all the recordings to a specific folder for that artist and project. I also like to set the tempo to the bpm of the song, listen to the beat, and tab it out by labeling where I think the verses, hooks, and bridges go. It just helps things go smoother. When recording, I don't want to have a bunch of stems or tracks. I like to record on a simple beat that takes up one track because I want to conserve CPU. I set the buffer low to the point I don't get any pops or cracks and have as little latency as possible. Adding effects during recording can cause problems so I keep them at a minimum and never print them on the recording because I may decide later that I want to use different effects. That's done by routing the vocal track that I'm recording on to a different track with effects or using Edison and placing the effects after that. I use colors to label tracks for visuals to quickly locate elements when processing.
I record vocals using one of my tube microphones and send it straight into the Avalon or Neve preamp. I put a low-cut filter on it and next to no compression. Most of the time, no compression at all because I can do that in post-production. I like to keep it clean and crisp going in with a good volume. I coach everyone to stay at a consistent distance from the mic and not move around too much, drink plenty of water to keep mouth noise down and have fun. We can record all the way through or set a loop and just sing/rap that loop over and over again till you get it right. Or maybe you want to sing that section multiple times and have me comp it or use the extra recordings for highlights. I leave that up to you. I record the way you are most comfortable with or how you are use to doing it.
Noise Reduction Treatment
Pitch and Time Correction
Basic Mix on Vocals
Quick Mix on Vocals
Once we have the track that we want to use, I like to clean them up and remove all the unwanted sounds we don't want anyone to hear. Things like: dead space where no one is singing, mouth noises, smacks, clicks, pops, plosives, thumps, hums, rumbling and buzzes. Sometimes we want to keep certain sounds but reduce the volume--things like breaths, heavy breathing, and sibilance. Some of these sounds are not that prominent at first but once you start processing and adding effects, these sounds can get loud, obnoxious, and ear piercing. It's best to do these treatments before mixing so nothing is in the way of making your mix sound the best it can be.
After I clean up the vocals, I like to do pitch and time correcting. Singing in key or rapping on point is a pretty big deal. There's a lot of pitch and time correcting software out there and right now I have the best. Not everyone wants to go with the T-Pain effect and throw auto-tunes on every track but if you do, I got it. Some people want it to sound naturally on key and on point. I use the most advanced software out right now for that and it's called Melodyne. It has the capabilities to change the pitch or length of a word without creating a lot of robotic sounding artifacts. Whatever you're looking for, we have a solution to meet your needs and make you sound professional.
Finally, we can start mixing. We got all the prep work out of the way and we can start adding eq's, compression, DeEssers, saturation, and things like that. This is what I call a basic mix. A basic mix is a manual mix. I throw in an EQ to cut out all the inaudible frequencies that may have been missed in the noise reduction treatment and make little dips to cut out boomy, boxy, or nasally sounds. I make a few boosts in areas that sound rich or bright or add clarity. I like to switch around and use different compressors, maybe 2 or 3 to start out with to give a nice texture or sound. I may throw in a Butch Vig with a Teletronix or a 1176 and just play around with the knobs until I like what I here. Then throw in a Waves rack and do a little polishing with effects like Flanger, Doubler, Modulator, chorus, and tilts. Every song and voice are different so I can't give an exact example of what I would do. But, after I get the processing sounding good, I route the vocals to another track and start adding Delays and Reverbs, do some panning and eq, and maybe some pitch shifts. You get the drift. It's Mixing.
Special Processing / Productions
Special Processing / Productions. This is probably my favorite part of mixing because this is where I can really be creative. Adding animations like slowly bringing up the volume or bringing in a low pass filter can create movement in a song. We wanna keep the listener intrigued so I like to add what I call ear candy. I may create some reverse reverb effects, do some turntable scratches or put it in gross-beat. I may add some extended or ping-pong delays in parts. Some songs call for different things and may benefit with more or less of these types of effects but if you wanna rock out with a little distortion on a few parts or go electronic and put a vocoder or ovox on a phrase or 2, you definitely found the right producer. There're all types of different ways to be creative with a song. I could even make it sound like it's being played on an old crappie radio or vinyl record player at the beginning. Whatever it is that you think your song needs to stand out and be different, I have the tools and experience to make it happen. I'm Zizzer, baby.
Last but not least. This is the final part of the production where I make the final touches. All the tracks are routed to the master track, and I can eq and compress everything together at the same time on 1 track for the very last time. This is where I make sure the volume is hitting right where it needs to hit to match up with other songs out there. More than likely, you are gonna want to distribute this to multiple streaming platforms like Spotify and itunes and will want a mastered version targeting an integrated -14 LUFS with a true peak of -2db. At least that is what streaming platforms like Spotify recommend the target should be at this time and we're striving for the best results on everything at the same time right? Right! But, if you are looking for something different, let me know and we'll work toward what suits your needs.
Let's make you sound Excellent.
Once the recording is done, I like to pick out the best takes or best parts of each take and only use the best. That's what comping is. Sing a song the same way 3 different times but maybe you like the way you said the the verse on the first one the hook on the third. We can toss the parts that don't sound as good or use them as highlights to accent a specific word or phrase. Leave the lead in the center but use the other 2 parts for a stereo effect. For example, pan one to the left and the other to the right. This is a good technique to use in the hook and make the music sound fuller all of a sudden.
I also can do a quick mix. A Quick Mix is not my favorite way of mixing vocals, but its what I can do quick for an affordable rate. I run vocals through an assistant mixing software made by Izotope and it does a decent job and clients have been surprisingly happy with the results. However, I still do it better when I do it manually but that takes longer and costs a little more.