Angela Makepeace – ‘GP Cars’ Animation

I’ve just finished an explainer video for Angela Makepeace. I composed the music specifically for the video along with being responsible for the sound design and final mix.

For anyone interested in prestige cars, don’t forget to click through to the GP Cars website!

Phonoma – Bangin Choon



A recent mix I completed for Phonoma. I worked on the mix of this track with friend and fellow engineer Oisín O’Regan.

Recorded by: Oisín O’Regan
Mixed by: Stephen Kelly & Oisín O’Regan
Produced by: Phonoma
Additional Production: Stephen Kelly


Phonoma


Vocals & Synths: Gavin O’Brien
Drums & Drum Programming: Jeff Higgins
Vocals: Rachel Clark
Guitars: Oisín O’Regan
Bass Guitar: Brendan Stanfield

Brain Freeze for CBBC (2014)

Brain Freeze hits CBBC!

Brand new 13 part comedy science series airing on CBBC from Wednesday Jan 22nd at 17:55.

I’m delighted to have recorded all the voices and provided all the sound design and mixing work as one of my final projects at Gorilla Post Production.

Made in Dublin by Kite Entertainment, Brain Freeze uses a unique blend of puppets and animation to create a world where science facts meet big laughs. Each episode sees our heroes, Dr. Sorcha Knowles and Prof. Mike McCork, answer the days BIG QUESTION and explain the science behind their BIG ANSWER. It¹s all done under the ever-stressed and panic-stricken eye of Colin, the show’s guinea pig floor manager.

Brain Freeze is produced for Kite Entertainment by Colm Tobin who also wrote the series with Aidan O’ Donovan. The director is Ian Benjamin Kenny with Paul Madden taking care of pipeline and compositing. The cast consists of Maura Foley, Aidan O’ Donovan and John Colleary. Steve Lynch of Stellarsound composed all the music for the series.

The full 13 episodes will run every Wednesday and Thursday at 17:55 from Jan 22nd on CBBC. Brain Freeze is distributed internationally by Aardman Rights who have already sold it successfully to Discovery Asia and broadcasters in Norway and Israel.

Mix My Track – The Winners! – Part 1

In December, I offered 3 of my mailing list readers the chance to have a track mixed by me for free as a thank you for subscribing and reading in 2012.

I ended up picking 4 tracks, but out of the 4 picked, only 2 artists got the necessary materials to me within the time frame I set out. As well as offering the mixes as a form of thanks, I wanted to share the music of my readers to the rest of the list and offer a good chance for artists to promote themselves. I find it strange that people don’t act more definitely on these opportunities, but that’s a topic for another day! I’m really happy with the mixes I did receive and I’m sure you’ll enjoy the music.

The first track mixed as part of the promotion is ‘San Francisco’ by Selfish Lovers, a UK-based band with a pure pop sound and a wide variety of influences. On first listening to the song, I planned to emphasize the clarity of the vocals/harmonies, the driving power of the rhythm section, wide layered guitars and bright synth sounds. I had a lot of fun with this track and I’m delighted with how it turned out. Here’s what the band had to say about the track themselves:

“The main thing that we agree on about your mix is that it brings real clarity and separation to the instruments, allowing there to be space for them to stand out individually, whilst helping them to gel collectively. You’ve made judicious use of EQs, much more than on the original, which contributes to the finished sound being crystal clear. We’ve played it on numerous systems, lo and hi-fi, and there’s a consistency that is one of the most difficult things to achieve.

Overall, 10/10!”

Have a listen to the rough mix and my finished mix (unmastered) yourselves and let me know what you think in the comments below.


Finally, here’s the mastered version:

The next track to be featured as part of the promotion is ‘Circle’ by Thomas Orsi!

Pensado’s Place Mixing Competition – EDM

If you have any interest in the music industry and don’t watch Pensado’s Place, I strongly encourage you to check it out!

The weekly show is the number one place to get insider mixing information from industry professionals at the top of their game. Pensado’s Place and Indaba Music have teamed up on a number of occasions to offer opportunities to mixers around the world. The latest competition involved taking the stems for the song “Blades (Feat. Daenine)” from Indaba Music member The Maniac Agenda and creating the best mix possible.

If you’ve entered a mix in the competition, let me hear it! Leave a comment below.

Don’t forget to check out Pensado’s Place

The Mario Rosenstock Show

The Mario Rosenstock show consists of a series of sketches caricaturing celebrities and Irish peculiarities.

The series is written by Ian Dempsey and Mario Rosenstock with Damian Farrell of Caboom as the series director.

Nice to be involved in this project and get involved in some comedic music production!

The Mario Rosenstock Show, Monday nights, RTÉ 2 at 9.30pm.

Jazz Mixing With Waves

Following on from the recent Mixing Jazz with Waves webinar, I’d like to share how I recently approached a jazz mix and the various Waves plugins I used to mix the track.

First of all, Wicked Knee are Steven Bernstein on trumpets, Curtis Fowlkes on trombone, Marcus Rojas on tuba, and Billy Martin from Medeski Martin & Wood on drums and percussion. You can take a listen to the track and then I’ll explain what I did.

As this was a jazz mix, I wanted to stay away from compression and extensive effects and focus on volume automation, equalization and use of the stereo field to shape my sound.

Once I had roughly balanced all the levels in the mix and panned the various tracks the way I liked them, I then listened back to see if there were any problematic or uneven sections and attenuated those further with automation. Why did I focus so much on volume automation at this stage?

  • I was only using gentle compression on the drums and none at all on the individual instrument tracks.
  • With this approach, there is much less work for compressors to do.

With that part of the mixing process complete, I started mixing the drums. When the drums sounded nicely balanced, I moved on to adding the tuba, trombone and trumpet. From there, I worked to create a polished sound with final EQ, buss EFX sends and automation on the individual tracks.

Once finished at a micro level, these tracks fed their relative busses (Music, Drums, Bass, EFX) and finally the stereo buss. As there were not an extensive amount of tracks in the session, I chose to leave everything unmuted and not solo any elements. I think that was a fundamental step in creating an accurate representation of a jazz sound.

The main plugins I used on the mix were the Waves Renaissance Equalizer and Renaissance Compressor.

REQ and RCompressor are part of the Waves Renaissance Maxx Bundle


 
Next, I’ll outline how I used the plugins in the track:


Renaissance Equalizer

Settings do not reflect those used in the track


Kick Drum
I used corrective EQ to cut frequencies before compression with the REQ 4:

  • High-pass filter at 30Hz
  • 8dB cut at around 700Hz
  • 3dB cut at 2kHz
  • 4dB high shelf cut at 10kHz

Post-compression I used the REQ 2 to add a little 50Hz and remove some 80Hz.
 
 
Snare

  • High pass filter at 100Hz.
  • Cut 2-3dB at 950Hz.

I then added in some 5kHz post-compression with the REQ 2.
 
 
Toms

  • 6dB boost at 250Hz
  • 9dB cut at 900Hz
  • 4dB boost at 6kHz


Floor Tom

  • Low shelf at 80Hz
  • 2.5dB boost at 240Hz
  • 8db cut at 650Hz
  • 3.5dB boost at 4.7kHz


Overhead and Side
Ther Overhead and Side mics were high passed at between 1-2kHz respectively and had the required frequencies boosted in the high frequencies using the REQ. I used no compression on either of these mics.


Front
The Front mic was very heavily EQ’d with REQ and there was a high shelf boost added for some top end.


Tuba

  • Low shelf roll off at 34Hz
  • 5dB boost at 90Hz
  • Narrow cut of 4db at 640Hz
  • High shelf roll off of 3db at 4kHz


Trombone

  • Low shelf roll off at 80Hz
  • 6dB boost at 180Hz
  • 5dB cut at 660Hz
  • 5dB high shelf roll off at 6kHz

During the final stages of the mix, I also added a separate REQ 2 to add 3dB at 295Hz and 2.5dB at 6.5kHz.


Trumpet

  • 8dB low shelf roll off at 144Hz
  • High shelf 5dB roll off at 10kHz

Again during the final stages of the mix, I added another REQ 2 and boosted 1.3kHz by 5dB and 11kHz by 3dB.

The delay track was affected in the same way but without the separate EQ boosting additional frequencies.


Renaissance Compressor

Settings do not reflect those used in the track


Kick Drum
4:1 ratio taking off at most 3dB at peak.
 
Snare
2:1 ratio to attenuate an absolute maximum of 2-3dB at peak.
 
Front
I used the CLA 76 Bluey to decrease the influence of the kick on this element.



Buss Effects

 
Snare Reverb

Settings do not reflect those used in the track


Renassance Reverb with a medium room setting. I didn’t send a huge amount of the signal to this buss, just enough for my taste!


Parallel Compression

Settings do not reflect those used in the track


The CLA-76 and Puigtec EQP-1A were used as my chains on 2 separate busses for kick and snare parallel compression.
 

Settings do not reflect those used in the track


Kick settings:

  • CLA 76 Blacky – ratio of 6:1 attenuating 1dB sparingly in places.
  • Puigtec EQP-1A added a small amount of 60hZ.

Snare settings:

  • CLA 76 Blacky – ratio of 4:1 attenuating 3dB.
  • Puigtec EQP-1A adding a small boost at 100Hz.


Music Buss

Settings do not reflect those used in the track


The music buss had an instance of Waves Center on it to help emphasize the low frequencies of the drums and tuba in the center and move some of the low frequencies of the trombone and trumpet to the sides. The high frequencies were also slightly boosted at the sides, which further adds to the “clearing out the middle” effect.

I also used the CLA-76 Bluey compressor to just lightly affect the Music with a 4:1 ratio, slow attack and release. This compressor attenuated 1-2dB at only a few points in the mix.


Drum Buss
On the drum buss, I cut 6dB at 67Hz with the REQ and 7dB at 14.5kHz. I used a narrow Q for both these cuts. The CLA-76 Bluey compressor with a 4:1 ratio was then used to attenuate a maximum of 3dB.


Stereo Buss

Settings do not reflect those used in the track


The L2 Ultramaximizer is my “go to” plugin on the stereo buss. For this track, I set the threshold so that it just touches the mix – taking off at the very most 3dB at the loudest parts of the track.
 
So, that’s it… that’s how approached this particular jazz mix. If you like what you hear, please let me know about it!
 
What way do you approach a mix? Do you have a set formula or workflow, or do things change with every mix?
 
What plugins do you use when mixing jazz?
 
Leave a reply below and add your voice to the conversation!