Ben Lindell is a NYC-based producer/mixer who has worked with artists such as 50 Cent, Amanda Brown, MGMT, and Wale, among others. In his latest tutorial from Puremix.net, Lindell shows how he uses the power of UAD plugins to bring a mix to life with 2-bus processing.
Processing the mix bus — or 2-bus — can be a touchy subject as it rides the ﬁne line between the mixing and mastering process. Every mix engineer has their own preference, and to each their own, but my personal preference is to use 2-bus processing to help me bring my mix as close to a ﬁnal product as possible.
An added beneﬁt of 2-bus processing is it allows me to do less processing on the individual tracks, leaving more room for dynamics, while simultaneously gluing together my mixes in a pleasant way. I ﬁnd that this 2-bus focused approach speeds up my workﬂow and allows me to achieve the sound I'm looking for faster, giving me more time to focus on the creative elements of my mixes.
Here is the song “I Know U Know” by Tatiana Owens, produced by EMW Music Group for our charity album Shufﬂe. Below is a breakdown of the UAD Powered Plug-Ins I used on the 2-bus to shape the track.
This is the first EQ on my mix bus. I refer to it as my "clean up" EQ and I use it mostly to tighten up the low-end. I use the Cambridge EQ first is for its ability to choose between 17 different slopes and of high-pass ﬁlters — invaluable for contouring and controlling bass frequencies. All 17 sound different, and every song has different needs down in those regions, so I generally take the time to audition several shapes and frequencies whilst A/B-ing with my reference mixes to get the low-end energy just right before adding 2-bus compression.
Compressors can just as easily ruin a mix as they can make it great, so picking the correct one to enhance your mix is essential. UAD has the best variety of stereo compressors, and it's important to learn both the sounds and the capabilities of each one so you know which plug-in to reach for first to achieve the sound your looking for.
The Fatso Jr. works great on this track and adds the perfect amount of punch and glue to the mix. The Fatso in general does a great job of adding a little edge and life to mixes without having to set it to “stun.”
I've been using this plug-in on virtually every mix I’ve done for the last couple years. It makes identifying and controlling crowded areas of the mix easy — and I'm addicted to the powerful Stereo Width control! This feature is easy to get hooked on, but it's important to resist the urge to go nuts with it. Some mixers and producers crank it way past 125% — making their mixes sound crazy on headphones and studio monitors — but then rendering elements of the mix inaudible and/or distant in more common listening environments. I generally end up with the width between 98%-115%, I love being able to push things slightly to the wide side but I always check myself to make sure I'm not in fact pulling apart my mix and that it sounds better without additional width.
Dialing in just a touch of the Shape control is often the icing on the cake that a mix needs. I usually tweak the Precison Maximizer over the loudest section of a song ensuring that I'm not destroying the dynamic range. I’ll turn the Shape control until it’s just a little too much, and then dial it back a touch, keeping it right on the edge of good taste. The additional perceived loudness is easy to get addicted to, and if you’re not careful the track can end cup sounding over-hyped.
The Pultec Pro EQ adds the perfect hint of a final “smile” to my mixes which again helps me accomplish a "ﬁnished" sounding mix more efﬁciently. Just adding a touch of top and bottom with a Pultec often gives it that last 2% that helps blow my clients away with how good their song sounds mixed. In fact, my goal is to always blow my clients away with how good their song sounds mixed. Whatever it takes to get it there is my responsibility and by paying attention and carefully working my 2-bus processing, I can consistently get that reaction from my clients.
To watch all of Ben's tutorials visit puremix.net.
To download this song and help support VH1 Save the Music Foundation visit emwshuffle.org.
For more information about Ben visit his site and blog at benlindell.com.