I had the privilege to take part in an online mixing/production course with one of my all time favourite record producers, Victor Rice. He’s from the ska/dub world which - to my knowledge - doesn’t overlap much with this one… but this is one of my favourite music communities online so I decided to share a few insights anyway! We are all music producers after all
Various quotes below which I wrote down and underlined during the course:
Understanding the overtone (harmonic) series is the key to great music.
Vary velocity when programming drumbeats.
(I do this on the OP1 drumkits… in the sampler, map 3 keys to the same slice and turn down the amplitude progressively.)
Instead of picking the take that’s most in tune, choose the take with the most emotion and the best performance. You can fix the tuning in software but you can’t add emotion later on.
If you want to be found, stop moving so much.
Compressors respond much more to bass than to high. Make sure you’re not feeding it with inaudible sub frequencies.
If you’re recording to tape, roll off below 80Hz to avoid saturating it with lows and sacrificing the rest of the signal.
You don’t need to record to tape to sound great. But it’s a handy shortcut.
In the 1960s, sound systems were rubbish. Bands would double bass sound on the guitar because otherwise nobody would hear it. Here we are in the 21st century, sound systems got brilliant and then we started listening on laptops and phones and now we have the same problem. Take a leaf out of the Jamaican textbook and double your bass with another part.
Mix at the volume of conversation. If it sounds good at -60dB then it sounds even better played loud. Plus you don’t have to acoustically treat your mix room so much.
Leave drums loud and effects low at mix time. Mastering will usually boost everything, particularly the effects and it’ll leave the drums as-is.
If you’ve got more production wisdom to share, the Reply button is right there