Well, the holidays are over, and our deadline is approaching; 2014. The last week has been hard to find time to work on the masters, let alone, the original mixes. I spent an evening going over the EQ bands that Anthony had setup, and the overall compression of the master tracks, and found a few tweaks that I was happy with, but ultimately there was one thing in the mix that really keeps eluding me. The Snare.
Every mix down I do, I'm pretty happy with the result, but the snare drum still seems to slip back into the mix and get "stepped on". In metal, the kick / snare relationship are one of the most important things. They have to work together, much like any relationship, not be dysfunctional. Though in this case, I don't think it was the kick drum that was interfering. I used the track, Enticing the Tyrant as my test, mostly because it is under a minute thirty seconds. Once I have the settings down in this song, I can apply them globally.
I really spent time adjusting the EQ and transients of snare track. I used some subtractive EQ around 700Hz, and a narrow dip around 200Hz to get rid of some overtone, then a small High EQ shelf around 3KHz. Next was to add some saturation using the Steven Slate Virtual Console (VCC). This kind of rounds out the attack of the snare a bit, so to get that bite back, I used the UAD powered, SPL transient designer. This is a great tool that can add punch and sustain without over compression or clipping the track. After all of that, I made the decision to buss the snare to the same reverb as the toms instead of using one in the insert chain. I think this made the snare sound a bit more cohesive with the rest of the drums.
While I was in the mood of adjusting things. I also spent some time on the guitars. As with the snare, I really tried to find what frequencies were important, and what I needed to sculpt to make room for other instruments. The result was adjusting EQ and saturation on the individual tracks. Lastly, I made some minor adjustments to the EQ crossovers in the master track to accommodate the changes made to the snare and guitars. I present to you, the result. Still dialing it in.
After walking away for a bit, then taking a listen myself, I hear a few areas I still need to "clean up". One area is the low-mid. There is still some room for improvement and clarity to be gained. That is the goal for tomorrow - EQ cleanup.