Show 192 – Hard Rock Mixing Autopsy and more!

This week Jon cuts into a hard rock mix he did for Lucid. Be sure to listen to the end to hear the full mix.

Download Show #192

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Like our Facebook Page
Buy anything on amazon and support the show!
Jon on Twitter
Ryan on Twitter

37 thoughts on “Show 192 – Hard Rock Mixing Autopsy and more!

  1. Hey guys, I have an off topic question, I recently bought Studio One 2 professional and had a full install on disk 1 with my mini mac with the external superdrive, then was prompted to insert disk 2. I tried ejecting but it would not eject and prompted me to install disk 2, what probably happened was it thought I inserted disk 2 when disk 1 was still in the drive. I did have a full install on disk 1 but I had to force quit in order to eject disk 1. When I went to go install disk 2 Studio One would start up and would just stop and I couldn’t install any more of the disks. My question is where should I go look for the files to delete? So I can do a complete re-install. I think if i can delete them I could start all over.


    • Brandon
      Refer my response below!
      Sorry I d should have done it as a direct reply to your question rather than a basic comment..

      Ride the Rooster..


  2. Wow that was a superior mix John! Love the vocals, they remember me of Tool. Very inspiring work! Hope you continue doing this kind of segments they are really useful! Cheers guys! (Ryan should do it too!) Ride the chicken but with swing!

  3. So I must say first, The ginger spelled backwards Band is seriously good music!!! I personally think (I stress, This is my “own Opinion”) that the original mix wasn’t as horrible as jon made it out to be. but!!! Jon was also the one sitting in front of the monitors able to solo every track. So I’m sure his prospective is more accurate. So to the ginger spelled backwards I want to give props to him on a job well done for a recording done at home. And to Jon id like to say GREAT JOB on bringing out the details!!!

  4. SHITTTTTTTT..Jon..I will hire you for some mixing for sure! That song went from boring to bad ass in 2 seconds….It sucks that took a weeks worth of work to get it that good…but it has a gnarly factor to it now! I would buy Lucid’s record(hope that’s how you spell it) if it was mixed like that! guys spend your money on Jon…

  5. Amazing once again, day and night difference is an understatement. Jon, I would love to see you walk thru a mix with a singer/songwriter kind of vibe, solo vocal, acoustic guitar, maybe drums and/or strings. Even better if it was from source material that is really far from optimal (like anything I would provide, but not my stuff). I think this could be even more dramatic since I think less would make it harder to hide anything in the mix. Just a thought!

  6. So when I heard the first track I thought the vocals aren’t quite present enough, the sample was a bit too loud, and the jump from intro to full song was a little rough but overall it was completely listenable and I definitely didn’t hear anything “bad”. Then John’s mix sounded like a completely different song. I was absolutely rocking out to that thing at the end of the show. I want that band to have an entire EP or album mixed by John and I will buy it. Seriously, I’ve been into hard rock and post grunge for a good while now and that was EXACTLY what I want to hear more of.

    Once again, great mix autopsy, I’m sure I’ll be listening back several times and dissecting what you did every step along the way. However, while listening I did come back to a long time question about vocal tracking. The raw vocal tracks really weren’t working for me and even after all that work it took till the chorus for the vocals to come to life. What’s the secret sauce to tracking a stronger more present vocal recording? Because that’s one thing you really can’t fix in the mix.

    For my own stuff I’ve gone back to working a beta 58 since I know how to “work” it when singing and know how to mix it from my time as a live sound guy, but I know a good condenser is actually a better tool for the job. The problem is when I switch to one it’s like all the awesome gets stuck in the pop-filter and only the boring makes it in to the recording.

  7. Well, plenty of people are already gushing over Jon’s mix; so this is nothing profound. But, great mix Jon.

    I actually wanted to comment about using the Studio Live in the context of mixing. I’ve had a little experience with that console, and I think Ryan’s conclusion is right on. It seems like an expensive investment; but when you think about buying eq, compression, and de-essing for 24 channels, the Studio Live is actually a crazy bargain.

    I like Yamaha boards (eg LS-9, M7CL), and I’ve had precious little experience with the Allen Heath digital consoles (iLive?). They’re more capable than the Presonus; but the Studio Live is SO quick in a live situation as far as reaching for the eq (very ellaborate, btw) or compressor. I don’t mean to get too Zen here, but the 24.4.2 really felt good beneath my fingers. That’s what she sa….

    It doesn’t have motorized faders, so I don’t think it would be the best choice for purely studio work, though.

    On a different note, it always makes me a little happy when the number of your show matches up with the number of “iconic” gear. I’ll make you a deal, when you two publish show 1176, I’ll buy one for each of you.

    Oh, best line of the show (from #191) “Lightning will be ridden!”



  8. GSAA

    As a musician its kind of rare that i have been able to be a consumer of my own music. It has only happened on a few of the tracks that we have previously released. you play your part in the songs so often its hard to separate your self from the song but occasionally you get a mix that allows you to do that. Its kinda like seeing a mirror for the first time, Its a real pleasure. Great job on the mix! I will be poring over this episode for some time. Keep the autopsies coming.

    I think my biggest take away aside from the stuff covered in the podcast was really defining the split in the process between mixing and production/tracking. As the quintessential newb there are lot of buttons, knobs and settings to play with so its easy to lose sight of the process and skip or gloss over key pieces of the puzzle. What would be the ideal track composition for a four piece rock band (or any band really but 4 piece for the sake of conversation). That is, what is it that you guys would like to see when you open the can of raw tracks.

    Also do you guys have any way you ‘exercise’ your ears to be able to make some of the subtle distinctions necessary to know what it is that a track needs. I often hear one should use reference tracks for similar music in the same genre or feel but i imagine one would develop a sense of treatments you will use or at least a good idea of a starting point eventually. Have y’all come across a way to focus in on and train your ears in that direction. Doing parametric sweeps to find the bad stuff is easy enough, but i still have yet to quite figure out how to intentionally shape a sound to improve the mix with the plugin tool set. I can monkey around with it an can eventually get somewhere, but its quite a process. Knowing what it is that you applied on the tracks is a great spring board to learning this but it will not be a set and forget kinda of thing and I’m sure im going to do something much more sacralicious next time i track so these trick may not apply.

    Oh and before i forget.. to all the other newbs out there track to accentuated metronome! the single beep shit gets you in trouble… Like naked in a barn trouble… It doesn’t mater if you just spilled gasoline all over your self and had to get out of your clothes to wash it off… When they inevitably tell the story later you will have been found naked and hanging out with the livestock.


  9. kickass mix John.

    I found it very impressive how much layering and distortion you were able to do while still keeping the mix super clean and punchy – especially given the track count. The drum tracks in particular were night and day from the demo mix.

    Arrangement of the song also helped the mix out IMO. It was composed in a way that really allowed you to do some cool tricks that brought out the contrast in the sections – and you took full advantage. Kudos for sticking it out through the frustrating times, lots of people hit walls and just stop (especially when they’re working for free). what you did with that song was certainly worth the effort.

    nice work as always.

  10. It’s funny how one can form impressions that Are Not always correct…

    For some reason or other, I’d always pictured “The Ginger Spelt backwards” as a late Teenaged “Opie” Living in his moms basement…… Based Only on the nickname… I should add…

    That said, After hearing that song, the original and the remix, I have a newfound respect for him as a songwriter, musician and a recordist!

    Sure, no doubt… The remix was night and day better… Great job and a great show…(as always) but, while raw and in need of tweaking, I also enjoyed the original version as well… I could definitely hear the quality songwriting and its potential.

    So, Whether or not he lives in his moms basement or not, I could care less about that… bottom line, that tune was F—ing Cool! Before AND After!

    Good job and Rock On buddy! Kudos! And please accept my apologies for my false first impression.

  11. Hello HRS
    I’v been following you show for the past year from Denmark and have learned a ton.
    Thank you for sharing your audio knowledge in the course for better music recordings.
    John, Really nice work on the mix. Just for the quest/fun, it could be cool to hear you mix a song with just the originally plugins/inserts of f.ex. Reaper. If you dare……….
    Greetings from Anders

    Ps. havn’t yet found out the hole deal about the chicken:-) but have downloaded the first 100 episodes that i lack hearing, and hope to get my most eager question answered. “whats up with the chicken?”:-)

  12. Hi guys GSAA.

    I agree with all the other comments, spectacular mix and whilst the original sounded like something I might produce the final mix sounded a dimension more professional. As it should!

    What it made me think is it would be great if you could cover more on aspects of production and arrangement to complement the engineering stuff. For example I’m working on more of a goth rock song than my usual folk/country vibe – so how to arrange big beefy riffs to drive the song? Just a thort.


    Cheers from England!

  13. >>> Brandon..
    To uninstall Studio One v2 completely on a MAC follow the below.

    1. In your applications folder, locate the Studio One application and place it in the trash.
    2. Go to “Mac HD>{your user name}.” Then go to” /Library/Application Support/Presonus Software/Studio One 2″ (pressing the “Option” key and doing Goto in the finder menu will show “Library” if it is not appearing anywhere)
    Locate the “user.license” file. Place this file somewhere on your desktop.(note if you havent registered it and activated it yet or completed the install this file might not exist)
    3. Delete the contents only of the”Studio One 2″ folder & empty your trash.
    4. Restart your computer
    5. After restart, go to Presonus website, at Login to your account, and download the latest Studio One installer. After the download, install Studio One.
    (if you already have the latest or are happy to use a DVD then use what you have)
    6. After the install completes, (if you saved teh licence file in step 2 above go to your Mac HD>select your user name. Then go to “/Library/Application Support/Presonus Software/Studio One 2”. Place the “user.license” file that is on your desktop into the “Studio One” folder.
    7. Studio One should now start and all should be fine..

  14. Forgot to say great job Jon..
    Not that I would expect anything else but kewl episode..

    Keep up the Mix SOS segments.. Excellent!!
    Try a different style next time.. Maybe it is Ryans turn.. ;-).

    And as LonelyLampRecords said – “F* the chicken, ride the faders!”


  15. Really looking forward to the budgeting show. In 2013 (hopefully) I will be building a studio from the ground up, so this topic hits home for me. Keep up the great work!

  16. Hey Guys,

    I have been listening to the podcast for a while now and I have loved every episode, especially the recent autopsy ones. Great job on the podcast and kudos to Jon on the great mixes!

    I have a question for Jon about Reaper’s pan law. Honestly, I don’t really understand how pan law works and after reading about it on the various forums, I ended up getting more confused than ever.

    In Reaper, what should be the correct pan mode and pan law? Also, does this need to be changed if I am mixing in mono (i.e. pressing the mono button on the master fader with both speakers on)? Finally, when mixing in mono, do you recommend just using the mono button or do you prefer to sum the tracks through a single speaker/monitor?

    Thanks for your reply and congrats again on having the best recording/mixing podcast on the web.


  17. I have to disagree on this one. I liked Ginger Spelled Backwards mix better. The new mix is muddier, has a pronounced midrange honk due to over boosting, the vocals are now almost unintelligible, and the added bass distortion ends up sounding like the guitars which adds to the over boosted midrange. This is just my opinion. But I think you did way to much production Jon, and ended up altering the feel and the mood of the song to where it was something it isn’t. I’m not saying it is a “bad” mix necessarily, just I don’t think it fit the song and went way beyond what the initial mix actually needed. You made it too “metal” when it really wasn’t a “metal” song. I would suggest the fact you spent a week and it was “so much work” tells me you didn’t know when to quit.
    I find it odd I am making these comments because I agree with your initial assessment that the weird bass sample in the beginning was bad, and the bass was getting lost in the mix. But you went way beyond addressing those issues. Don’t take it personally, but while I liked what you did with the last one, I think you got lost in the “not knowing when to say when” syndrome on this one. So Ginger Spelled Backwards, I give my vote to your original mix.

    • I think this is just further proof that it was a great song to start with…

      As for Mixing / Production Direction thereafter: Season to taste…

      I personally liked them both…

      And can imagine even more “variations” of potential mixes…

      Insert “How do you get 100 Audio Engineers to agree on a mix” Joke here…

  18. Hey guys, regarding AVID and Pro Tools: I would add that not only is the future of Pro Tools in doubt, they have yet to release their 64bit version and perhaps won’t. And as to whether Pro Tools is going to lose it’s status as “default” studio standard, they have been losing that for a few years now. And Apple better watch out also. Here is a video of what Windows 8 is really all about. Jordan Rudess bring a huge amount of credibility to Windows music efforts, and please note those two 27″ “touch screens” he is using. You cannot do that with a Mac or IOS. And Windows 8 basically lets you run their mobile OS on Windows 7.

  19. Definitely a show I will keep on my pc to get back to on future projects. And definitely a band I will keep my eyes on new releases…great song, Mr. Ginger!

    I find it really hard to hold those two mixes up against each other for that I quite feel them to be two different songs. In the first mix the vocals sound a bit thin to me and lack of presence. In Jons mix the sound of the guitars are a bit too “rock ´n roll” (too bright, too much presence) sounding to me. For this song I would have chosen a darker sound for the guitar. But both things just refer to my taste…or maybe worse: to what I´m used to and expecting to hear.

    e.scarab brought up a good point: Where do you see the line between production and mixing? Something to talk about. 🙂

    Last but not least: Will there be the annual podcasters roundtable this year?

    yours diploma level HRS addicted

  20. I love these mix podcasts! Not only is it educational, but incredibly inspiring. I used to learn new mixing tips and tricks but I would never use them in a mix. Now I like to take these mini lessons and spread them throughout my own mixes.

    I know you guys most likely talked about this before, but what headphones do you use for tracking/mix checking? I’m looking at Sennheiser HD280 pros, but if there is something better out there for about the same price I would definitely take the advice. I know Jon mentioned a cheap brand that works well, but I forget what they are. Basically I just want something that sounds good and won’t slip off my head like my ATH-M20s do when I’m playing guitar.

    I just invested in a Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 now that I’m starting to get my name out and recording more bands. My old interface (Tascam US-800. God, I hated that thing…) has a digital out. Does that mean I can connect the Tascam to the Focusrite to get 2 more preamps? If so, is it just an RCA connection, or do I need a special cord?

    Thank again as always!

  21. Oh, forgot to mention this. What is the best website you’ve found to get bulk cable/Neutrik connectors for a standard XLR cable. Redco audio looks pretty good but I was wondering if you use another site that has cheaper prices. I’m itching to break the soldering iron out and I could use new cables.

  22. GSAA.

    I also would love to see how you’d each spend a fixed cost ($5K, $15K, etc.) on a new studio. But don’t use a spreadsheet!

    If you login to Amazon you can create multiple Wishlists, each set to private or public. Add all your gear & sundries to the Wishlist. You can even add items from elsewhere on the web (for the few items Amazon doesn’t stock). Then post the link to each of your Wishlists in the show notes.

    Some of your listeners might take the time to share their own Wishlists as well.

    p.s. Your affiliate code may work on a Wishlist URL, like this:

    Not sure – you’d have to click through and buy something to see if it actually works…

  23. BSY ;-)>
    Long time listener, infrequent commenter…just wanted to say that the mix autopsy in #192 was probably the single most helpful “lesson” I`ve ever heard – and what a cracking song! Keep up the good work – more of the same please :-)>

  24. Hi Jon,

    your mixing autopsy was incredibly useful and scary at the same time. It’s always good to listen to the original recordings, which often don’t sound any better than my own ones. It’s cool to hear, how much the sound can be improved and be made professional sounding with the right expertise and tools.
    I will definitely get back to the details you mentioned and try some of your steps while mixing my next song. It’s a bit scary, because you used so many different techniques and tools I would’ve never thought of. This for sure is the result of spending much time on mixing, trying out stuff, reading, listening and sharing knowledge with other professionals. When people are asking how to become capable of doing what you did, I think this is the “secret”, right?
    One question about what you said in terms of editing: could you please explain, what the typical editing tasks are before mixing? I could imagine things like removing noisy passages, removing noise in general. But what is it that helps you most and what would you recommend others to do more carefully before starting to mix or before handing tracks over to a mixing engineer? Would be great to know.

    Thanx for taking the time to doing this autopsy and keep doing them from time to time. It’s so much more tangible than just talking about the effect of certain mixing steps. 🙂

    Take care


  25. Pingback: 50 Must-Read Pro Audio Articles from 2012

Leave a Reply