The Recording Revolution: Mixing with Stock Plugins
Do you want to make your mixes sound professional and polished, but you don't have the budget or the time to buy and learn expensive third-party plugins If so, you're not alone. Many home studio owners and aspiring engineers face the same challenge. But what if I told you that you can achieve great results with the stock plugins that come with your DAW
That's right, you don't need to spend a dime on fancy plugins to mix your music. In fact, some of the most successful and respected engineers in the industry use stock plugins on a regular basis. Why Because they know how to use them effectively and creatively. They know how to get the most out of the tools they have, and they don't let their gear limit their vision.
In this article, I'm going to show you how you can do the same. I'm going to share with you some of the tips and tricks that I learned from Graham Cochrane, the founder of The Recording Revolution, a popular online platform that teaches people how to record and mix music at home. Graham is a big advocate of mixing with stock plugins, and he has created hundreds of videos and tutorials on how to do it.
So, without further ado, let's dive into some of the key principles and techniques that Graham teaches for mixing with stock plugins.
1. Use EQ and compression wisely
EQ and compression are two of the most essential and powerful tools in your mixing arsenal. They can make or break your mix, so you need to use them wisely. Here are some of the main guidelines that Graham follows when using EQ and compression:
Use EQ to cut before you boost. Cutting unwanted frequencies can help you create more clarity, separation, and balance in your mix. Boosting can add more character and presence, but it can also introduce harshness and mudiness if overdone. So, always start by cutting what you don't need, and then boost sparingly if needed.
Use compression to control dynamics and glue tracks together. Compression can help you tame loud peaks and bring up quiet parts, creating more consistency and punch in your mix. It can also help you blend tracks together by making them sound more cohesive and unified. However, too much compression can also kill the natural dynamics and energy of your music, so be careful not to overcompress.
Use EQ and compression in context. Don't solo tracks when applying EQ and compression, unless you're fixing a specific problem. Always listen to how your adjustments affect the whole mix, not just the individual track. Remember that mixing is about creating a balanced and harmonious whole, not a collection of isolated parts.
2. Use reverb and delay creatively
Reverb and delay are two of the most common and versatile effects that you can use in your mix. They can help you create depth, width, space, movement, and emotion in your music. However, they can also clutter your mix and make it sound muddy and unfocused if used incorrectly. Here are some of the main tips that Graham shares for using reverb and delay creatively:
Use reverb to create a sense of space and ambience. Reverb can help you simulate different acoustic environments for your tracks, such as rooms, halls, plates, springs, etc. It can also help you add some air and dimension to your mix, making it sound more natural and realistic. However, too much reverb can also make your mix sound distant and washed out, so be careful not to overdo it.
Use delay to create a sense of movement and rhythm. Delay can help you create echoes and repetitions for your tracks, adding some interest and excitement to your mix. It can also help you fill in gaps and create transitions between sections or phrases. However, too much delay can also make your mix sound busy and chaotic, so be careful not to overuse it.
Use reverb and delay in parallel. Instead of applying reverb and delay directly to your tracks, try using send/return channels or aux buses instead. This way, you can blend the dry signal with the wet signal more easily and precisely, using faders or knobs. You can also apply EQ or other effects to the wet signal only, giving you more control over the tone and shape of your reverb and delay. aa16f39245