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Video: Post Rock / Progressive Rock Mix Rundown

In this video I show you how I mixed “Excommunication” a post-rock/progressive rock track by my own band Vandemonian, highlighting the techniques I used for elements such as guitars, drums, vocals, and effects.

Key insights:
🎸 The guitar intro features a wide sound with a feedback loop effect.
🥁 The drums are compressed and sculpted to enhance clarity and punch.
🎹 The piano is heavily edited and sculpted to cut through the mix.
🎤 The vocals are EQ’d and compressed to stand out in the busy mix.
🎛️ Various effects, such as delays and reverbs, are used to create depth and space.
🎚️ The stereo bus and multiband compressor are used to sculpt the overall sound.
💻 The mix includes a combination of clean and distorted guitars for texture and impact.

Mastering Post-Rock Mixing: My Journey to a Dynamic Sound

Mixing post-rock and progressive rock tracks can be an exhilarating challenge. I’ve spent countless hours fine-tuning my techniques to bring out the best in each element of a mix. In this post, I’ll share some of the expert methods I’ve discovered to create a polished and impactful track, focusing on guitars, drums, vocals, and effects. Let’s dive in!

Guitar Feedback Loops and Wide Soundscapes

Guitar intros are one of my favorite parts of a mix. There’s something magical about creating a wide sound with a feedback loop effect. This technique helps build a dreamy atmosphere and adds a spacious feel to the track. I like to use stereo widening plugins and carefully adjust the feedback loop to avoid overwhelming the mix. It’s all about finding that sweet spot where the guitar sounds expansive but still controlled.

Enhancing Drum Clarity and Punch

Drums are the heartbeat of any track. In post-rock, they need to be both clear and punchy. I’ve learned that compressing and sculpting the drum tracks with EQ can really enhance their presence. Parallel compression has been a game-changer for me—it adds depth and impact, making the drums pop without overpowering the other elements.

Sculpting Piano Tracks for Prominence

The piano often needs to cut through dense layers of sound in a post-rock mix. I’ve found that boosting high mid frequencies and removing low frequencies creates a prominent and defined sound. Heavy editing and precise sculpting ensure the piano maintains clarity and stands out in the mix. It’s all about giving the piano its own space to shine.

Vocal Mixing Mastery

Vocals are where the emotion comes through, and they need to be crystal clear. I rely on EQ and compression to make vocals stand out. Boosting high mid frequencies enhances clarity and presence, ensuring the vocals remain impactful and intelligible even in a busy mix. It’s incredibly rewarding to hear the vocals come alive and convey the track’s emotion.

Creating Depth with Delays and Reverbs

Using effects like delays and reverbs is essential for adding depth and space to a mix. These effects create texture and ambiance, helping the different elements blend seamlessly. It’s important to use these tools judiciously to avoid a muddy mix. I always aim to create a cohesive soundscape that draws the listener in.

Stereo Bus and Multiband Compression Strategies

The stereo bus and multiband compressor are crucial in sculpting the overall sound of the mix. These tools help boost clarity in the top end and add depth to the bass frequencies. This results in a polished and balanced track. Using these compressors feels like putting the final pieces of a puzzle together to achieve a professional finish.

Balancing Clean and Distorted Guitars

Combining clean and distorted guitars can provide a wonderful contrast in texture and impact. This blending contributes to the dynamic and atmospheric feel of the track. It’s a balancing act to ensure these elements complement each other without one overpowering the other. When done right, it adds an incredible depth to the music.

Building a Dreamy Atmosphere

Creating a wide sound with a feedback loop effect on the guitar intro sets a dreamy and spacious atmosphere. This technique adds an ethereal quality to the track, drawing the listener in and setting the mood from the outset. It’s one of those moments in mixing that feels almost magical.

Parallel Compression for Drums

Parallel compression has become one of my go-to techniques for drum tracks. By blending a heavily compressed version of the drum track with the original, I can achieve a powerful and punchy sound while retaining the natural dynamics and feel of the drums. It’s all about adding depth and impact without losing the essence of the drums.

Boosting High Mid Frequencies in Piano

To ensure the piano cuts through the mix, I boost the high mid frequencies. This technique helps the piano stand out without competing with the lower frequencies occupied by other instruments. It’s a delicate balance, but when achieved, it results in a beautifully clear and prominent piano sound.

Achieving Vocal Presence

To make vocals prominent, I use EQ to boost high mid frequencies and compression to maintain consistent levels. This approach ensures that vocals remain clear and present, even in a busy mix. There’s nothing quite like hearing the vocals sit perfectly in the mix, conveying the track’s emotion powerfully.

Advanced Effects Usage

Delays and reverbs add texture and ambiance to the mix, creating a sense of space and depth. These effects make the track sound more immersive and engaging. It’s about creating an audio environment that enhances the music without overshadowing it.

Overall Mix Sculpting

Using the stereo bus and multiband compressor to sculpt the overall sound of the mix is like putting the final polish on a piece of art. Boosting clarity in the top end and adding depth to the bass results in a cohesive and polished final product. It’s incredibly satisfying to hear everything come together seamlessly.

Dynamic Mixing with Guitars

Blending clean and distorted guitars provides a dynamic range and textural contrast, enhancing the overall feel of the track. This technique adds both clarity and impact, making the music more engaging and dynamic. It’s all about finding the right balance to create a compelling listening experience.

Wrapping up…

Mastering the art of mixing post-rock and progressive rock tracks has been a journey of learning and experimentation. By applying these expert techniques, you can achieve a dynamic and polished sound that stands out. Focus on enhancing each element, from guitars and drums to vocals and effects, to create a mix that is both powerful and immersive. Happy mixing!

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