No, I’m not talking about making your chorus into a Pop song – I’m talking about getting your chorus to explode from the speakers in a way that tells the listener “THIS is what you’ve been waiting for.”
Distorted electric guitars and lead vocals often take up energy in the same frequency spectrum. This poses a problem. We still want the guitars to sound crunchy and present, but the vocal must sit on top of the mix and maintain its clarity. The solution? Using side-chained multiband compression.
Mix buss processing must be done tastefully and subtly since any plug-in placed on your master fader is essentially touching every track in your mix. However, it is also where the magic happens in terms of glue and cohesiveness. I’m always tweaking my mix buss chain and of course tailor the chain for the track’s needs, but this is my starting point.
Mastering compressors are the elite bunch of compressors that have the task of transparently and musically taming dynamics of an entire mix, while sometimes being sought after for a specific character. The UAD Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor excellently steps up to the task with its two stage (opto and solid state) compression and transformer switch. Here’s an overview of the plug-in and some audio examples of the magic it adds.
Processing of acoustic guitars (as with any instrument) will depend on its role in a song. Whether you’re after a ‘ticky’ strummed sound, or a natural, open round sound. With the help of some new, innovative plug-ins, I’ll show you how I process a decently recorded acoustic guitar and turn it into a an exquisite tone.
I recently made a video comparing six different LA-2A compressor modelled plug-ins to demonstrate the strengths and weakenesses of each and to hear more distinctly each plug-in’s unique compression characteristics. You can view the video below: