Journal Music Blog

Finishing Mustang Sally

Hoping to do some final mixes on “Mustang Sally” today. I worked on it all day yesterday and got it pretty close to what I wanted. Right now it just needs some final tweaking. Vocals are too loud, rhythm guitar is too low, and the lead guitar needs to be a hair louder. But all in all, I’m very, very happy with the mix that I got.

As with nearly every song I mix down, I’ve learned some new tricks while mixing the songs Catdaddy Pirates recorded. Most important of them is a new way I’m mixing effects. I’m essentially creating two tracks for everything that I want to use effects on; one the dry track and the other a stereo track which contains just the effects. That makes it fairly simple to bring in as much of the effects as I want on a particular track simply by adjusting the volume of the effects track. And, of course, the dry track remains clean and punchy. I know studios used this technique back in the old days. The reason I have to use it is that my computer doesn’t have the memory or processing power to load up a bunch of effects. By using this technique, I free up my processor from having the render the effects. All I’m doing is playing back an audio file. So it’s a lot less stress on the system.

I was floored by the clarity and spaciousness of the mix on “Mustang Sally”. It was a whole hell of a lot of work to render all those effects tracks, and I wouldn’t know whether the approach would pay off until I was finished with all of them. But after hearing the preliminary mix, I’m just thrilled. These techniques open up a whole new world of possibilities, and definitely put me into the ballpark where achieving professional mixes is concerned. I’m not quite to the point where I can say that I’m ready to master a CD for commercial sale, but I’m getting damn close.

Hopefully I’ll be able to upload “Mustang Sally” by this evening. The mix only needs some minor tweaking. I’m excited about these new techniques and how well they work. Maybe they’re not news to someone who’s worked in studios or been trained professionally, but it was a Eureka! moment for me. The only problem now is that I feel like I have to re-mix all of the old stuff again. Hell, I just did a decent mix for “The Sky Is Crying” for Catdaddy Pirates, and this makes me want to do it all over again. But more than anything, what I’ve got my sights set on right now is “This Old Dawg”. With new drum tracks and vocal tracks, and a brand new mix, that song could finally get its due. And while I’m at it, I might as well take another run at “If You Listen”.

Man… the possibilities…

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