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online mixing and mastering

ONLINE MIXING AND MASTERING

ONLINE MIXING

At Upaya Sound I offer online mixing for artists of any genres loosely related to rock, indie and folk music. I aim to achieve a punchy, clear and transparent sound for your recordings, with warmth and depth, giving each instrument room to breathe. In my recording studio in Hamburg, I can offer mixing and mastering online, as well as tracking, editing and production services.

recording studios hamburg

Name Your Influences

Before we begin the online mixing and mastering process, I like to get an idea of what sound an artist is aiming to achieve with their recording. Usually a band will name 2-3 artists they are inspired by whose sound they are looking to emulate. It’s not about looking to copy a particular sound, but rather find common ground between your record and a particular band or album.

The magic happens when artists name several influences from different genres. Blending the sounds from one particular record with another and combining that with the client’s own music is what creates an entirely new and exciting result in the recording and mixing process.

File Delivery and Feedback

Once the audio files are delivered for online mixing, I will listen to them and get back to you with any comments or suggestions. If there is anything that can be improved before mixing, it should be attended to. There is nothing worse than swapping out files after a mix has been completed.

Drum & Instrument Editing, Vocal Tuning

It could be that the tracks could benefit from editing before the mixing stage. I offer drum editing, instrument editing and vocal tuning, but only when the track really needs it. I prefer to keep a recording as natural as possible – despite all the technology we have available, the human element is the most important!

The Most Important Track First

Once everything is in order, I will get to work on the mix. In the case of an album, I usually work with the most important track first and get that finished to your satisfaction before proceeding with the rest. The first mix then acts as a guide for the rest of the album. 2-3 revisions usually suffice before we can call a mix finished on any track.


ONLINE MASTERING

Once all tracks are mixed to your satisfaction we can move on to mastering. I work with several partner mastering studios who I trust to deliver high quality results from the mixes I send them. I offer mastering as part of my full service packages so that you can focus on the music while I ensure the highest quality sound for your record.

Mastering Music

BEFORE AND AFTER MIXING

So, what do my mixes sound like? In order to give you an idea of what I can do for you with my online mixing and mastering service, I have put together some before and after clips of tracks I have worked on. As you will see, the difference between the raw recordings and the final product is immense. Have a listen for yourself!

Ahab – Kaimar

Raw Tracks
Mixed and Mastered

Excommunication – Vandemonian

Raw Tracks
Mixed and Mastered

Einkreisung – Lazar

Raw Tracks
Mixed and Mastered

THE MIXING PROCESS

The very first step in the mixing process is time alignment. In the recording stage, any microphones picking up the same source will have some delay between each other, resulting in phase cancellation. This leads to an undefined sound as frequencies cancel each other out.

The remedy to this is quite simple, yet painstaking. A mixing engineer must line up each sound source to the others in order to create a clear and defined sound for each instrument.

For example, a drum kit is usually captured with 10, 12, maybe even 20 microphones. Without time aligning, the multitude of sound sources will cause the drum mix to sound lifeless and flat. Phase cancellation causes a drop in bass frequencies and unnatural sounding mid-highs.

So it is imperative, that a mixing engineer lines up each close-miked drum with the overheads. Once this is done, the drum sound is much clearer. Flipping the phase of each signal could also improve the definition substantially. So an audio engineer will always check the phase and flip it back again if the original sound was fuller and more defined.

Adjusting the volume levels of each individual track is both the start and end point of the mixing process. A mixing engineer won’t spend too much time on this at the beginning, but it helps to make a rough mix just using the faders before moving on to compression, EQ and effects. Having the right balance is imperative before applying any further processing.

Compression is a tool that when applied properly, with taste and a keen ear, can substantially improve the balance between instruments in a mix. It is the process of reducing the dynamics of a sound. By lowering the loudest peaks and lifting up the body of an instrument, the sound becomes tighter and more defined. Compression tames instruments that would otherwise fight with each other for room in the breadth and depth of a track.

It is a nuanced process; too much compression and you can suck the life out of a sound. Too little and the peaks leap out at the listener. Compression can also be added as an effect to achieve a certain flavour. Just listen to the drum sound of any Tom Waits track. But it all depends on the taste of the mixing engineer and the specifications of the artist.

Next to compression, equalisation forms the backbone of the mixing process. But instead of processing the volume of a signal, we are focusing on the frequencies. Equalisation is the process of enhancing the sound of individual instruments by cutting and boosting certain frequencies. A mixing engineer will also use EQ to make room for instruments to sit next to each other, rather than fight for a place on the frequency spectrum.

Once again, too much EQ on an instrument can cause a mix to sound unnatural, but too little and the sound isn’t enhanced enough. Equalisation must therefore be applied subtly and with taste.

Reverb

Instruments for pop and rock recordings are often recorded in acoustically treated studios with mostly direct sound and without the reflections from large rooms or halls. As humans, we are used to hearing sounds in a room, so dry recordings sound unnatural to us.

Adding reverb to instruments gives them a natural sound and to add depth and intrigue. An instrument with lots of reverb and reduced highs will sound further away, whereas a dry, direct instrument with presence will stay up front and in your face. As with any effect, too much reverb can be detrimental to a mix, causing it to sound undefined and washy.

Delay

Delay can be applied similarly to reverb or as an effect to create a new vibe in a mix. Applied subtly to vocals, delay can produce a thicker, smoother sound without causing the singer to be pushed back in the mix. If added generously to guitar, delay can create a soaring effect. Delay generally makes everything sound bigger.

Other Effects

You can really get creative with flangers, phasers and other spectral and temporal effects. They might be applied subtly to enhance an instrument or added with broad strokes to force the mix to take on a whole new vibe.

Bus compression gives the mix the final shine before mastering. Feeding all instruments together into a compressor set with a light ratio can form the stereo master into a coherent mix. Bus compression should be applied very subtly, but can make a huge difference, taming the transients and lifting up the foundation of a mix. The stereo track becomes tighter and more defined.

ONLINE MIXING AND MASTERING PRICES

It doesn’t matter how high you set your goals for the best production perfect mix and for your record, the price is always an important factor. I try to keep my prices competitive while offering a high quality service. I do offer discounts for larger projects, so get in touch and we can see what we can do together.

RECORDING

  • Pre-production
  • Tracking at Upaya Sound
  • Mobile & On-Location Recording
  • Use of drumkit, guitars, amps, pedals & other instruments

MIXING

  • Drum & instrument editing
  • Analogue & digital processing
  • Innovative, creative, left-field mixing
  • Unlimited revisions until you are satisfied

MASTERING

  • Mastering offered through partner studios
  • I take care of all communication with the mastering engineer
  • Complete project support from start to finish

CONTACT

Let me know about your music!

Tell me about your new album. The more details, the better!

By the way, if you just want to drop me a quick message, you can of course email me instead.

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