Mixing Contest: Immigrant Hands


Mixer Picture
Immigrant Hands
Will Knox
Fab's mix. (unmastered)

In July 2009 we recorded 'The Matador & The Acrobat' at Flux Studios, NYC. It took 5 days to track, some of which got caught on a camera I left lying around the studio...

This song is on Will Knox's 'The Matador And The Acrobat' CD which I produced and also mixed a few songs on as well as mastered it. (Meredith Mc Candless mixed the rest of the songs).

This particular track is dear to me because it came out exactly as I intended with little to no compromise. I still use it as a reference when I check speaker I don't know or rooms that feel funny. It tells me right away what is going on.

We tracked the whole record 100% live at Flux. We had made completely makeshift separations in the live room as we had not built the booth yet. We used whatever sheets, and blankets we could find and used our gobos the best we could. It looked like a shanti town, kinda which was fun and surprisingly efficient, not perfect but efficient.

I also had decided to record the whole thing exclusively with ribbons (We later backed away a little and used a condenser on the lead vocal). I called my friend at Royer Labs and he hooked us up with a whole bunch of fun mess to experiment with. The mics gave the record a beautiful color and very special tone. We tracked the whole thing over 5 days and I mixed my half of the record a few weeks later in a couple of days.

I mixed everything through my Dangerous 2Bus with minimal hardware: a touch of Chandler LTD1 on the vocal for the transformer tone, and my 70s Neumann EQ + the originally BAX EQ prototype on the whole mix, that's it. The rest is mostly Sonnox with a tad of Avid Real Tape for transient control. I also used the tiled room preset on my PCM70 for the vocal and guitar. It's subtle but I love that space. The mix was printed through a Crane Song HEDD with a  little of the tape emulation nd a little of the triode emulation. I always listen to both the UA 2192 and the Crane Song to see which color is best for the record, in this case the Crane Song was best. Meredith printed most her mixes through the Lynx Auroras in the other room at FLUX.

The session you have here is the actual session from the record with all the plugins and notes. (You'll need the free Massey Tools plug in to be able to read the notes) The challenge on this record was to get a great vocal song AND a great guitar sound since he played both at the same time. The rest is pretty easy. The key is to do as little as possible, I actually did not use the snare mic at mix down. I disabled it. I felt the drums works best without that presence.

The resonant kick track is a low tom laid on its side next to the bass drum. Every time Timur hits the bass drum, the tom resonates and add bottom. Neat. It goes boom nicely.

If you don't have Protools just get the audio files from the 'audio files' folder and drag them in you DAW, they'll line up perfectly.


Congrats to Halldor who one a Flux:: Elemental Pack

Congrats to Lordandladyliz who won a free Flux:: plugin. Courtesy of Flux:: who decided that such labor could not be left unpunished.