Start to Finish: Snarky Puppy & Nic Hard - Stereo Mixing w/ Michael League

Pro Video

06h 03min


Since its inception in the heart of Dallas, Texas, Snarky Puppy has ignited the music world with their genre-defying creativity and masterful musicianship, garnering a list of awards that could fill a book.

In early 2022, four-time Award-Winning artists Snarky Puppy returned to the city where it all began to record the masterpiece "Empire Central." Since the band started releasing singles from the eight days of live performances recorded at Deep Elm Art Company in front of a live audience, the comments sections continue to flood with praise for the quality of the recordings and mixes.

At the helm of the production is Snarky Puppy veteran engineer, Nic Hard, assisted by Snarky Puppy's touring engineers, tasked with recording the nineteen-plus musicians in the one-room music venue with little to no isolation.

We joined the group to document the entire process, from load-in at the venue to the intimate live performances, the stereo mix, and finally, the Dolby Atmos mix with Fab Dupont.

In this exclusive, you'll join Snarky Puppy, Nic Hard, and his team of audio ninjas as they record the performances, travel to Spain for the stereo mixing sessions, and New York City for the Dolby Atmos mixing sessions.

In part two of this series, watch as Nic Hard:

  • Explains how mixing music that will be married with video can change the approach to the mix
  • Cleans up the audio from the 50 microphones on the floor to minimize bleed
  • Calibrates his mixing room by listening to references and using Sonarworks Sound ID
  • Goes through each of the drum tracks cleaning up extraneous noise, checking polarity, and EQing each mic to speak better in the overall picture of the drum kits
  • Reamps the bass DI through an Ampeg B15 amp
  • Reamps Maz's solo for a different tonal option and adds room mics to the live room for more ambiance
  • Shapes the tone of the Rhodes using Gullfoss
  • Chooses between multiple mic options on the horns and resolves resonances using Soothe 2
  • Sets up his mix bus using the BAX EQ, SSL Bus Compressor, Slate Virtual Tape Machine, Gullfoss EQ, and Fab Filter Pro-L2 Limiter and explains his thought process behind each plugin
  • Automates elements of the mix to add unique moments and differentiate the sections of the song
  • Reviews the mix with band leader, Michael League, and makes the final tweaks to the stereo mix of "Coney Bear"

This is your chance to see how Nic Hard captured the iconic record "Empire Central" and how the team accomplished a true feat of mastery in audio production from Start to Finish.

Exercise files
Equipment & Software


  • Ampeg B15 Amplifier
  • API 512C Preamp
  • Avid S1
  • Neumann U47
  • Roland Space Echo


  • Addictive Trigger
  • Altiverb 7
  • Arturia Chorus Dimension-D
  • Arturia Comp DIODE-609
  • Arturia Comp FET-76
  • Arturia EQ Sitral-295
  • Arturia Reverb Plate-140
  • Arturia Rev SPRING-636
  • Avid BBD Delay
  • Avid Gray Compressor
  • Avid D-Verb
  • EC 300 Delay
  • Empirical Labs Arousor
  • Eventide Blackhole
  • FabFilter Pro L2
  • FabFilter Pro Q3
  • Gullfoss
  • izotope RX 8
  • Mod Delay III
  • Native Instruments KONTAKT
  • Plugin Alliance Black Box Analog Designs HG-2
  • Plugin Alliance bx_townhouse buss compressor
  • Plugin Alliance Dangerous BAX EQ
  • Plugin Alliance SPL Transient Designer Plus
  • Reel Tape Delay
  • Schoeps Mono Upmix
  • Slate Digital Verb Suite Classics
  • Slate Digital Virtual Tape Machine
  • SonarWorks Sound ID Reference
  • Soothe2
  • SoundToys Decapitator
  • SoundToys EchoBoy
  • SoundToys Little Plate
  • SoundToys Little Radiator
  • SSL Native Bus Compressor v6
  • SSL Native Drumstrip v6
  • Steven Slate Trigger 2
  • UAD API 550A
  • UAD Cooper Time Cube
  • UAD Empirical Labs Distressor
  • UAD EMT 140
  • UAD EMT 250
  • UAD Fender 55 Tweed Deluxe
  • UAD Neve 31102SE
  • UAD Teletronix LA-2A Silver
  • UAD Teletronix LA-3A
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Nic Hard

Nic Hard's career in music began in the mid 90's while DJ'ing in clubs and house parties throughout Philadelphia and later, London. On his return to the States, his resume began to take shape as he shifted gears focusing on studio recording and mixing. He quickly earned the position of head engineer at RPM Studios in New York City, a "Noah's Ark" of gear. In 2002 Nic went freelance when given the opportunity to record and co-produce The Church's Forget Yourself album in Sydney Australia.


The Bravery

Aberdeen City

The Kin

The Ropes

Ghost Beach

The Perfects

What do you have to say?
Leave a comment
2022 Nov 18
Amazing to see Nik's workflow, speed, intention... Great session, of course the quality of musicians helped, but I mean... whoa...!! Thanks guys.
2022 Nov 18
Amazing to see Mik's workflow, speed, intention... Great session, of course the quality of musicians helped, but I mean... whoa...!! Thanks guys.
2022 Nov 16
Awesome this series! However, It seems to be that the exercise files are already proccess to an extend, some of us enjoy too cleaning and organising our tracks and it'd be awesome if they were included raw. Thanks for this amazing series!
2022 Oct 31
This is amazing. Nic Hard is a legend! Love being able to see the process behind some of my favorite music.
2022 Oct 28
Never dreamed in a million years I could be present (i.e. a fly on the wall), in a room like this, watching and actually HEARING this as it develops. Amazing. Thank you! (we have tickets for April show in Cleveland...excited+)