Old 11-10-2010, 11:28 AM   #1
Chris_P_Critter
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Default The Metal & Hard Rock Production Thread

Welcome to the Mixing Metal & Hard Rock thread.

I thought it might be useful to some to get a "metal / hard rock specific" thread started since there seems to be an increased number of metal and rock mixes posted here lately. I love sharing techniques as it relates to metal / hard rock production and love insight into others' production styles. And, since Reaper tends to be attractive to those just starting (non-crippled demo period, it's intuitive to beginners, welcoming userbase on the forum, Llama's, etc.) - hopefully this will be helpful to some of you, and this thread can become the epicenter of all that is awesome. In fact, you are cooler than you were just a few seconds ago just by merely opening the thread.

That said, here are a few disclaimers: I can and will show you how I do things, but please note that I am in no way, shape or form a professional mix engineer. And honestly, the only band I've mixed in the past few years has been my own. I am still very much a student when it comes to the art of mixing but; I have been plugging away at this for a few years, and have accumulated a bit of knowledge that I'd like to share for those new to mixing these genre's. You'll also note that the title of this thread is not specific to recording. There are two reasons for that.

1.) I recorded my old band once in a real live studio. A real live one. Once. A decade ago. When I listen to that recording now, I want to stab an ice pick into my ears, while simultaneously stubbing my toe on a refrigerator.

2.) I don't have a fraction of the experience you would need to create a solid "analog" recording (i.e. non-sampled instruments / mic choices / placement, preamps, etc., etc.), since all of my productions are done with software. As for my posts in this thread, I am speaking only my opinions and work-flow regarding mixing - not the actual recording process. If you're interested in that sort of thing, there are many, many resources for the actual recording process strewn out across the Internet (my suggestion for these genre's would be to stop by the Andy Sneap forum and read all that you can [especially the sticky's]. That forum is an absolute treasure trove of information on modern metal / rock production).

With that out of the way, let's kick-off this discussion by talking a little bit about genre. The past several years have spawned many, many different styles of hard rock and metal. Everything from Brutal Death Metal, not to be confused with Technical Death Metal, to Old School Thrash, to Pop Rock, to Stoner Rock, to Power Metal, to Hardcore, to Diarrhea Core (just kidding – I made that last one up), there are literally dozens upon dozens of styles out there at this point. Now, I fully realize that there are many out there that will say, "Heavy music is heavy music - it all sounds the same to me!". But the reality is; it's not all the same and the style of the band you're mixing actually does make a difference in terms of the approach you take with your production.

For example, listen to a track by Whitechapel then decide if the same production techniques and "sound" could be applied to the newest Accept CD.

Whitechapel vs. Accept

Or, take Nickelback, and decide if the same approach or "sound" could be applied to Green Day.

Nickelback vs. Green Day

I think my answer to these questions is, "there's not a donuts chance in a police station". And, while you may tend to disagree with me based on the "commercial" references I cite above, what I am trying to illustrate here is - let the music decide what approach you need to take, not the genre. Also, you should never listen to Green Day, because they're stupid.

To close out the opening post, I do not want anyone to feel afraid to ask questions or post their ideas here. If there's one thing that keeps me coming back here, it's the helpfulness of the community, and we definitely want to keep encouraging that. I am definitely looking forward to seeing others' posts on this topic, so - don't be shy and post anything related.

Topic 1 from me will be called "It is what it is" (coming soon}.
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Old 11-10-2010, 12:25 PM   #2
Totoro75
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Thanks for starting this thread. I'm about to embark on tracking and mixing my first record, so expect I'll be learning a lot in the process. If I discover anything I think the community could benefit from, I'll share it here!

Also, I appreciate the distinction you are making between different styles under the "Heavy" umbrella. There are definitely differences.
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Old 11-10-2010, 12:36 PM   #3
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Neat. We are about to embark on a mixing journey for ourselves. We have a lot of literature on mixing with Reaper, but right now we're still stabbing in the dark somewhat. I'd definitely be interested in following this thread.

Also, say what you want about Nickelback (they are the worst band), but their sound is extremely well-polished and still fairly heavy. I believe Devin Townsend even took some pointers from the last Nickelback record for Addicted
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Old 11-10-2010, 01:21 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Totoro75 View Post
Thanks for starting this thread. I'm about to embark on tracking and mixing my first record, so expect I'll be learning a lot in the process. If I discover anything I think the community could benefit from, I'll share it here!

Also, I appreciate the distinction you are making between different styles under the "Heavy" umbrella. There are definitely differences.
Excellent man! Please, feel free to share anything you can - that's whayt this thread is all about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWineDarkSea View Post
Neat. We are about to embark on a mixing journey for ourselves. We have a lot of literature on mixing with Reaper, but right now we're still stabbing in the dark somewhat. I'd definitely be interested in following this thread.

Also, say what you want about Nickelback (they are the worst band), but their sound is extremely well-polished and still fairly heavy. I believe Devin Townsend even took some pointers from the last Nickelback record for Addicted
Cool!! Devin is one of my alltime favorite musicians and producers. And, while I definitely think Nickelback is terrible, you have to admit that the production is top notch - then again, why wouldn't it be when you have that kind of budget for an album!

Going to get my next post ready over the next few days - in the meantime, feel free to post questions, comments, etc. !!
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Old 11-10-2010, 06:09 PM   #5
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Tip #1: The bass guitar will make or break your song.
Tip #2: The kick drum will make or break your bass guitar.
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Old 11-10-2010, 06:47 PM   #6
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Tip #1: The bass guitar will make or break your song.
Tip #2: The kick drum will make or break your bass guitar.
Very true and thanks for commenting dude!

To expand on your tips: There should never be any guitar coming through your mix below 60-80hz (maybe even higher depending on the material). That's why you put a bass in your mix - it's supposed to be within that range. That's it's home. If you don't let it live there, it gets mad, and takes a dump all over your mix. It can also get touchy with a bass drum, since that's where the Bass drum lives too. They have to get along, so careful / mindful EQ sculpting is your friend when dealing with these two instruments - you can't have clarity if you have muddiness in the low end of your mix.
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