Inside The Mix | Music Production and Mixing Tips for Music Producers and Artists

#56: What Makes a Mix Sound Professional | Dom Morley

December 06, 2022 Dom Morley Season 2 Episode 33
#56: What Makes a Mix Sound Professional | Dom Morley
Inside The Mix | Music Production and Mixing Tips for Music Producers and Artists
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Inside The Mix | Music Production and Mixing Tips for Music Producers and Artists
#56: What Makes a Mix Sound Professional | Dom Morley
Dec 06, 2022 Season 2 Episode 33
Dom Morley

Over 25 years of studio experience.  Multiple gold and platinum records. One Grammy. As well as his studio work, Dom is the founder of The Mix Consultancy, a Professor of Music Production at Leeds Conservatoire, and a keen coffee drinker.

To follow Dom Morley, click here: https://www.dommorley.com/

Want to join a community of artists and music enthusiasts and gain access to exclusive Inside The Mix Podcast content? Join the podcast Facebook community group here: Inside The Mix Podcast Community

Are you thinking about starting a podcast or need help growing your audience? Check out the Podcast Business School: https://www.podcastingbusiness.school/a/2147490930/Hw6eEPeg

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Over 25 years of studio experience.  Multiple gold and platinum records. One Grammy. As well as his studio work, Dom is the founder of The Mix Consultancy, a Professor of Music Production at Leeds Conservatoire, and a keen coffee drinker.

To follow Dom Morley, click here: https://www.dommorley.com/

Want to join a community of artists and music enthusiasts and gain access to exclusive Inside The Mix Podcast content? Join the podcast Facebook community group here: Inside The Mix Podcast Community

Are you thinking about starting a podcast or need help growing your audience? Check out the Podcast Business School: https://www.podcastingbusiness.school/a/2147490930/Hw6eEPeg

Start recording your own podcast today using Riverside FM here: Riverside FM

Send me a Message

Support the Show.


► ► ► WAYS TO CONNECT ► ► ►

Grab your FREE Test Master at Synth Music Mastering TODAY!
✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸
Are you READY to enhance your music with my steadfast dedication to quality and personal touch?
Bag your FREE Test Master at Synth Music Mastering: https://www.synthmusicmastering.com/mastering

Buy me a COFFEE
✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸
If you like what I do, buy me a coffee so I can create more amazing content for you: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/marcjmatthews

Send a DM through IG @insidethemicpodcast
Email me at marc@synthmusicmastering.com

Thanks for listening & happy producing!

Marc Matthews:

You're listening to the Inside The Mix podcast with your host, Mark Matthews. Hello and welcome to the Inside the Mix podcast. I'm Mark Matthews, your host, musician, producer, and mix and mastering engineer. You've come to the right place if you wanna know more about your favorite SY music artist, music, engineering and production, songwriting and the music industry. I've been writing, producing, mixing, and mastering music for over 15 years, and I wanna share what I. With you. Hey folks, and welcome back to the Inside The Mix podcast. And in this episode I'm very excited to welcome our guests today. Uh, we've got a Grammy award winning multi-platinum producer and mix engineer of Dom Moley. Now Dom is the founder of the Mix Consultancy, which we'll to touch on a bit later in the podcast. And he's also a tutor at, uh, the music production of music production rather at LEED College of Music. Now Dom has worked with artists such as Adele, um, Amy Winehouse, Jeff Beck, mark Ronson, underworld, and Sting to name. But a few Sting really stood to me cause I've been on a bit of a sting binge lately. So, um, fantastic stuff. Dom. Thanks for joining me today. And how are you?

Dom Morley:

Uh, very good, thanks. Yeah, it's, it's Friday evening, so all is good as we're recording this. Sorry, have I ruined, I've broken something by saying it's Friday, this is not live. Sorry,. Marc Matthews: No, no, no. Not at all. Not at all. To be fair, it probably will be quite good for me sometimes to give uh, the audience a bit of an indication of when these things happen, but No, no, no. It is Friday evening. So we are in the UK so I know I do have a rather, the podcasters have a quite an international audience, but it is Friday evening in the UK and I dunno about where you are, but it is the classic UK weather of wet and windy down where I am in the southwest. Yeah, yeah. But there you go. That's what we've come to expect in the uk. So Dom, I thought what would be great is just to start, cause we're gonna move on to actual mix engineering a bit further down the line. It's just mm-hmm. a bit of your story. How did you get to the stage where, or sta status, whether you are now of be being a mix mix engineer? Where did it all begin? Um, it began probably like most people, um, like I was in a band, um, as a teenager and then. Wanted to record my band. I bought a few bits of, you know, recording gear and this was back in the mid nineties, early nineties. Um, so, so the, the cutting edge studio gear for a home studio was a like porter studio. The cassette things, which bizarrely seemed to be making a comeback. I have no idea why. I mean, I mean, yeah, weird. Anyway, uh, so it was before computer audios. I, I had one of those, uh, and then bought an eight track, bought a few mics and just got, you know, stuff like that. And, and really enjoyed that bit. I didn't really like being, well, I liked being a band cause I, with my mates didn't like performing. That didn't interest me. Um, but I really liked recording and getting things to sound good. So that sort of led eventually to me looking for a job in the studio. Um, and I went all around London with, with the killer line. I'll work for nothing and make good tea., um, figuring I could probably sign on or something, I'd find a way. Um, got nowhere, three days of knocking on doors of studios. Got nowhere. So they went to Birmingham, tried the same line and somebody said, yeah, right. So you Monday. So, um, I started work experience at a place, um, and did manage to sign on. Uh, so I got a little bit of whatever it was called, job sequence allowance or something back in those days. Mm-hmm. that got me through enough weeks to make a few contacts and somebody who was the chief engineer of the studio also in Birmingham that was owned by the band UV 40, uh, was looking for, uh, a brand new assistant. So, uh, I got that gig based on recommendation from the people that I'd been kind of helping out for free at the, uh, at the place I was doing work experience. So then, um, I was there for a couple of years and it was good place. It was a, actually, I'm still friends with people that I work with there. Um, really good little studio. It was two rooms. Um, kind of a, a good out of London studio cuz at the time, particularly the nineties, it was incredibly London centric. Um, and uh, and then, uh, after, I think it's two and a half years there, moved down to London and I did a bit of freelance assisting around and then managed to get a job at Metropolis, which is a big studio in Ches. Um, the biggest independent in Europe at the time, and probably still is actually to be fair. Um, five studios, all sorts of different desks, all sorts of different bits of gear, um, mastering rooms, just everything. So that was, that was a real, that was the one I wanted that gig. Um, uh, and it, it was actually, because it might be an interesting sort of angle for your listeners, but the reason why I wanted Metropolis is cuz I'd worked at, at this, uh, studio and we had in, in Birmingham, we had an SSL desk upstairs and something, uh, called an Amec Angela downstairs. Now what would happen occasionally is you get an engineer who'd been booked into the wrong room and he was in the Amec, Angela, and he was expecting an SSL. And he basically couldn't work. And it happened a couple times where it was like, if I haven't got an ssl, can't do anything, and I didn't want to be tied to any one bit of gear ever unless I could afford to buy it and then I could take it with me. But I so Metropolis at the time had three different SSL and E-series, G series and J series A focus right desk, which is very rare, and a Neve vr. So at that point I thought if I trained there, I'd just know to use desks and then I could walk into any studio and be perfectly happy with whatever's in front of me because I just now to use gear, you know, rather than being tied to any specific bit of equipment. So that's, that's kind of a principle I've always held really ever since that. Um, I've obviously got a reason around the gear myself anyway. Um, and that's great. But I can sort of go anywhere. I might take a couple of bits with me, but that'll be it. You know, I'd be happy wherever I work. So, um, yeah, that was that idea. And then, so I was there for a bit. Um, Working up from the very bottom, you know, newest assistant gets all the 24 hour sessions, all that sort of stuff. Um, after about seven years there, I was in-house engineer, went freelance. I was getting enough sort of work to go freelance. And then, um, yeah, I've been, I've been freelance for 12 years, something like that. Um, had a little studio in Metropolis for a while. I shared it with a friend of mine called Chris Potter. Uh, the two of us just rented a room at Metropolis, but then I moved out of London to where I am. About seven years ago got this studio in Oxford, well, this building in Oxfordshire, which I turned into a studio. Um, and so yeah, I've been here ever since. That's, that's the potted history of quarter of a Century of me working. There you go.. Marc Matthews: Fantastic. Yeah, it's, it's like, it's kind of like that classic story of like the, the, I don't wanna say the, the tea runner, but I guess it is in a way you sort of like, you start at the bottom there. Um, and I, I love the idea of the variety being the key to success, and I think that's a great, I think it's a great man mentality to have in, in probably most creative aspects is having a bit of variety. So you'd be able to take yourself into other studios and other situations. Yeah, just carry on working in,

Marc Matthews:

yeah, yeah, yeah. Exactly. Yeah. Do you think the, because the, the way you sort of entered the industry, does that sort of avenue still exist? Is it still possible to do that if you wanted to get experience in a studio?

Dom Morley:

Um, it does, but the opportunities are far fewer than they were in the nineties. Um, it's kind of flipped because. Back then, um, there were hardly any courses that you could do on, on engineering. You couldn't really, there were, as far as I knew, there was SAE Alchemy to Meister and I think one other were all the ones that I knew that did like music production or sound engineering. Um, and, and so it was hard to get on those courses cause you know, cuz they were so few. So, so you'd get a job in a studio and I actually sort of, my plan was initially, um, if I didn't have a job after four months, I'd probably have run out of all my money. Um, and they sort of started to get a bit edgy about you signing on for too long. Mm-hmm.. So then I'd try and go start a course and, and try and start full-time education. Um, so that was, uh, that was the sort of way it was around there. You try and get a job in the studio. If you couldn't, you maybe go into education and then you'd meet some people that way and then start working. So, so this now it's sort of flipped in that you, you. There were a lot of courses and a lot of good courses and oh, I'm actually at LEED conservator, by the way. It's not LEED College of Music. It used to be called Le College of Music. But see, so let you off. It's changed, it's leads conservative. Um, so, so now there's loads of those. Um, and there's not many studios. So actually I think the route these days is, is more to, to study and, and this is the crucial bit, is to meet people there and start working. Cuz that's really what you want to do wherever you are. Whether you're working in a studio or you're working in, in, uh, or you are a college, the point is you, you learn on the job or in the, on the course and you meet people and you start working and that's how you get a career. And, and so that's, you know, that's what I did. Fortunately, the diff the difference being, fortunately, if you get a job in a studio, you are paid to do that. Whereas if you are obviously doing a course, you have to pay to do that. But, but the, the principle is the same is that you are there to learn how to do it and to network in order to meet people and start working.

Marc Matthews:

Yeah, so with, with the courses like the leads Conservatoire, which I, uh, my due diligence there, let me down in the run up to the podcast interview . Um, with, with that there and with your students, are you actively telling them, so sort of, sort of from day dot, like you, you are here to study, but also at the same time you should be out there networking and you should be out there meeting artists, hundred percent recording, performing whichever avenue they want to go down from Day

Dom Morley:

Die. Yep. Yeah, so I teach the, I actually teach the Masters, I'm a tutor for the Masters in music production. So it's only a year course, um, like a full 12 month one. Um, and when in the first or second session I'll start the conversation with, right, so in a year's time, what you're gonna do to make money out of what you've learnt this year and, and, and then keep having that conversation again and again and again to push them, to make plans, to have things that they start. Cause the other, the other thing is everything always takes a long time to actually, between having the idea or being asked to do a job. And getting paid. And, and you, the idea is that I want them to start getting the ball rolling on that and, and, and having things that they've got in the, in the pipe work and ideas they've starting to put into place so that when they leave they can focus on it more, but also money's starting to come in already. So yeah, I definitely, definitely say that.

Marc Matthews:

Fantastic. It kind of, it kind of segues ish nicely into the next part then, which is kind of, we've got the educational side of things and building that experience. So what I'd like to move on to now really is, is the actual, the mixing side of things. So this podcast episode in particular is gonna sort of center around that, that, that mix engineering specifically for those who are, who are learning. Um, and obviously they're gonna be bits and pieces in there for the, for the, for the experts and the intermediates as well. So, I mean, the first question really, I think is quite a good one and it kind of links to, I listened to the podcast, uh, podcast, the production expert podcast that you did yourself with Mike Exeter as well. Okay. Yeah.

Dom Morley:

He's the guy that gave me my first job. Mike Ester was working at u was he your mentor studio? Yeah. Well, he was working at UB 40 Studio. He was the chief engineer there. So when I got that first job outta work experience, it was him that gave it to me.

Marc Matthews:

How amazing. And he's, uh, he's worked with some big bands, Sabbath priest, being a metalhead. That immediately I was like, okay.

Dom Morley:

Oh, really? Yeah. Well that was the first session I did there. The very first session was Tony Naomi recording some, uh, some demos with Glen Hughes, um, singing and Don Airy on Keys. And, and Mike engineered it as the in-house engineer. And basically Mike's work with Tony s Tony, Amy since then, he's been his engineer since then. That came out as the That's amazing. Yeah. Yeah.

Marc Matthews:

It's quite, yeah, that's what, that's one ahead of a session for your first session to sit.

Dom Morley:

He really was, yeah. It was quite mad.

Marc Matthews:

Yeah. That is . Yeah. I, yeah, I, I'd be, I, I would struggle not to be in awe just watching him play guitar and not taking everything else around in, um, with regards to the engineering and everything else that's going on. It

Dom Morley:

was quite surreal. Fantastic. But also fair play to Mike for putting a brand new kid on, on a session. That was pretty, yeah, yeah. Important, you know, but yeah, he did. So, yeah, I was obviously a lucky charm though, as he's still working with him.

Marc Matthews:

Yeah.. Um, so yeah, this kind of leads off from that ex that, um, that episode in particular of the production expert podcast. Um, so it's kind of like the question beings, if you could tell our audience a bit about the difference between sort of a radio friendly sort of professional mix and a novice mix. Now you run the mix consultancy, which we'll touch on in a bit, but when you receive those mixes in, cuz I'm assuming they, they're they're various degrees of quality. What generally separates that sort of entry level mix to that professional mix?

Dom Morley:

Um, there's two things I think that are key really, which, which take a while to learn. Um, and, and one of them I think people know, and the other one people don't. And the one that I think people know is, um, about EQing things. So they sit together. and there's space in the mix and there's clarity around the different instruments that are there. Um, and that allows the dynamic of the track to come through as well. So not only helps the individual sounds, but also allows the dynamic of the song to come through. Because once you've got instruments sitting toge together nicely, you can start pushing them up and down doing what you want with them because they're not fighting with each other for a certain amount of space. Um, and, and that's the big thing I think I find a lot with people in mixed consultancy that I help them with is, is to hear that, that that clash where those problems are happening. Cuz that's, that's I think, the thing that takes so long to learn when you are just sat there on your own learning how to mix. And the reason why I came up with the idea, with the mixing something in fact was after one particularly revelatory experience that I had where um, I was an assistant on a session. It was, there was a very big band, I don't think I'm allowed to say who it was, but it was a very big band with decades worth of recordings. And we were going through everything and digitizing it cuz it was all on tape, just putting into pros. And Gary and, and a rough mix of each one cuz it was a band that sort of did a lot of jamming as well as writing. So they, you know, there were a lot of jams that might turn into songs. They just wanted to know what they had recorded, you know, that in case there was anything useful that they wanted to revisit for the next record. So there were three rooms running, three engineers, three assistants of which I was one and one guy who was producing, overseeing the whole thing, who was also a mix engineer too. Uh, who I'd worked with loads. I, I, I knew him well. Um, so what happened was the engineer that I was working with was ill for a couple of days. So, uh, Chris who was producing it, said to me, look, Dom, can you just step in and, and do what we've been doing for a couple of days and, you know, load 'em into pros, do a quick rough mix and when every rough mix, just gimme a call and I'll come down and just spend 20 minutes, you know, just finishing it off. Which for me was just a golden opportunity to do it as good as I could do it. And then have somebody with 20 years of experience sit down and go, right here's what I'm gonna change from here. So then I was looking over his shoulder going, okay, he's changed that one. That sounds so much better from that little tweak, I didn't realize there was a problem there, but now he's changed it. I can hear it. So it was a huge thing for me in a couple of days. I learned so much just from leaning over him and hearing what he had heard and how he changed it. So that's what I, you know, the, the idea with mixed consultancy is that people can send stuff into me, and I've been doing this for 25 years, so I've probably got a bit of experience on quite a lot of people. Um, and, and I can just go, right, well these, these are the changes that I would do if I were sat in front of this mix. Now I can hear problems at 300 herz in the guitar, or 80 Hertz in the kick drum and, and, and, and recommend a change, which will normally be generally about the ballpark of where it ends up being, being apparently from the feedback I get from people that. Um, but the important thing is what I find really inspiring about doing it. Cause I'll do that and, you know, I, I'll send someone a PDF of here's what I've changed, here's all the things I've changed with this track. And, and it's, a lot of it is EQ stuff just to clear everything out, make it all sound great. Um, but then what's great is people use it again and again and again. They use the service. I get quite a lot of people that, that once they've used it once, you know, realize that, that it's, it's helping them a lot and they get much better very quickly. Yeah. Because they, they can hear it then, you know, they hear that problem that I spot in, they go, oh yeah. So then that doesn't happen the next time. So it's a really interesting process that, um, getting the stuff, the repeat business from people and realizing how quickly they're learning how to get better at mixing. Um, the other thing that people don't realize, I think is how important, um, automation and balance is to mm-hmm. moving a mix from being good to being great. And, and I think the, the tale I always tell my students is, I, I watched an interview with Andy Wallace, who I think is an incredible mix engineer. Um, does a lot of rock stuff. Um, and he said he spends about 45 minutes doing all the EQ compression effects balance, and he's got probably three assistants that do most of this, you know, setting up a mixed four, but 45 minutes to get a mix together. He's not a lot of time, that's extremely quick because we're doing it for like twice as long as I have, so he should be fast, but even so, yeah, but then he said he spends 10 hours on a mix, so the rest of the time he's doing these little automation moves and moving things around so that everything hits exactly the right time and, and really you're drawing the, the point of what you're doing there. The, the job or the mixer is to draw the listener's attention to the right thing at every beat of the mix. So you know, the listener's always hearing the vocal or that little grace note on the snare or the fill in the base or the delay you set off on the guitar. That was a cool little sound to fill that gap and pushing the, per the listener's interest around that is all about automation. And, and, and it's a sort of, it's an odd task because you set up a, a nice balance and everything's sounding good. And then you start getting into the automation and it sort of falls apart a bit while you're doing stuff on the drums or stuff on the guitars or vocals and your balance falls apart. So it always sounds worse before it sounds better. Um, but then at the end when you've actually got it nailed, um, having done some good EQ work before compression effects are working, all of that stuff, getting the automation works, so the dynamics of the song are being served properly, um, is a difference between a good and a great mix.

Marc Matthews:

Fantastic. So you've got two things there, haven't you? So it's sort of like the EQ and the clarity as you mentioned there, and the automation. Mm-hmm.. Um, what about compression? Cuz compression, having spoken to and been involved with a lot of the, the listeners and compression is something that comes up a lot. What, what pitfalls, pitfalls might be the wrong word, but what, what challenges do you see in a novice mix with regards to.

Dom Morley:

Uh, the first one is being able to hear what it's doing, cuz I know I couldn't, when I started out, I had no idea. When I first started the studio, people were talk, putting compression on and talking about compression and I was like nodding and grinning and going, yeah, thinking I can't hear the difference. I dunno what they're talking about. Um, and then, and then finally got go in the studio on my own. Cause obviously this is pre dws, you know, I didn't get a chance to do anything on my own and play with it. So then I sort of put something through a compressor and slammed it and went, oh, okay, well that's doing it wrong cuz that's too much. But then if I peel it back, then I can notice how it sort of starts to make things pump a little bit. And then you put a couple of things together and they start pumping together and, oh, I can see how this is a good thing. I understand it a bit better now. So, um, so that's challenge one is actually hearing what it's doing. Um, yeah, without doing it too much, without sort of, you know, absolutely slamming everything. Um, but then, then I think the other thing that people get confused by a lot is, um, is settings like, like attack and release. Um, not all compressors have those on, obviously, but, um, but if you do, I always say like with release, set it to release in time with the music. That's, that's your best safe option. So watch the needle, go back in time with the music and then, and then, you know, you're pulling everything to be moving in time. So you're helping the groove of the song by doing that. And then with the tact time, start slow. Start slow, so it's not really doing anything. And then go faster and faster on the attack time until it starts to grab the thing that you are trying to compress. Um, and then, and then, and then leave it when it sounds good is the bottom line. Um, so that, that's attack and releases. That's what I sort of recommend is, is when you are learning and start doing that. And the other thing I think is again, it sort of reaches into the automation. Don't use compressors to level out your mix. Use automation to do. Use compressors to make things grabby and punchy and exciting, cuz that's what they're really good at, at leveling things out. They're okay. That's, that was all we had back in like the seventies and sixties and fifties. We only had compressors, we didn't have automation so you had to use it to sort of squash things. Whereas these days that's better done with automation and, and with, with compressors you can use 'em for what they're really good at nowadays, which is making things punch him. Yeah,

Marc Matthews:

I, I really like the idea of what you said about the attack and release, cuz I remember when I was starting out and admitted it, I, I haven't been in the, the industry, the game as long as yourself, but I, I would struggle with the attack and release in, in terms of what to do. And they're very much like you've said, right? There is, I found, uh, it was either a tutorial on article, in fact, it might have been, uh, Bobinski, it might have been in the Bobinski mix Engineers manual or engineer manual. And he said, and it said exactly what you said there about Oh, did he? Yeah. Yeah. The slow attack and then the, the release and time with the mu uh,

Dom Morley:

fantastic. It's not just me that, that's a good idea. That's good.

Marc Matthews:

I've been, and I've been doing it ever since. And, um, and, and the air and it works wonders. Um, and it's a fantastic one. Going back to the eq mm-hmm. with regards to eq, if you're just starting out, do, are there, can you think of any, uh, sort of exercises, like air training exercises or anything along those lines to help with regards to what EQ was doing and how to balance those

Dom Morley:

frequencies? Um, I just, I dunno about ear training exercises. What, what I, what I try and tell people is, um, put, put, put a thing in the mix, whatever it might be, start with one thing and then add another thing and see if you can hear a problem that where it's not as clear as it was before. It doesn't sound as good as it was before. And where is that? Because as Newton is normally somewhere, unless you've got a kick and a high hat, you know, that are so far apart, it doesn't matter. Um, but say put two guitars or a guitar and a piano or a couple of sys together or stuff and, um, and go, okay, where, where is the problem? Where does it sound muddy and confused and busy? Where, where it's not separated. Um, and what you've got there is, is an area where they both have a presence, um, and they both are, you know, have a reasonable, you know, volume in that frequency. Uh, but they're not both allowed it because it sounds worse. So you've got to make a call on who gets to win at that point. Um, and so, so then just boost, I, you know, I, I mean I still do this all the time. Boost and sweep around. So boost up three or four B or whatever you wanna do, sweep that around till you hear the point where you go, ah, yeah, that frequency, that's the one that I don't like. And then take that out of one or the other, um, and, and, and see who sounds better without it. So it might be you take it out of the guitar sand, it's like, well now the guitar's lost what we need from the guitar by taking that frequency out. Therefore it's gotta go from the synth or the piano. Because, because you can't lose the, the, the main sort of focus of the guitar by doing this. So, um, like for a good example, I do it with the vocal when I start a mix is I find like a, a present frequency of the vocal normally sort of between two and three K, which is sort of the peak sensitivity of human. Uh, because that's where voices, you know, are most present. So I find a spot there by, by doing a boost and a sweep and, and there's normally a point where it feels like the singers just stepped forward a foot, you know, that is just a little bit more present when a boost our frequency and go, okay, that's their spot. Nothing else is allowed there. So in everything from there, then I, I, you know, make a note of the frequency. And then for the rest of the mix, everything else has to have a dip there because the vocal has to be there. Um, there's nothing that can fight with the vocal. So I don't care who you are. You might be a snare drum, you might be a great guitar sound. You ain't going in that frequency because the vocals.

Marc Matthews:

Got it. Yeah. That's a fantastic tip. Um, because I think with vocals in particular, now the podcast itself is sort of centered. Um, and it focuses on like the, the synth side of things and synth synth music, which is why I was for the, for the audience, if you're watching this, this podcast, you'll see there's an array of modular synths in the background there in Dom's, uh, in Dom's studio, which is incredibly impressive. But yeah, and, and I, I do get the question a lot of, of vocal and in terms of bringing vocal, cause a lot of synth wave tracks and synth music, uh, I say a lot, a vast majority of it is, is instrumental in bringing those vocals in. And that, that's a really cool way of doing it. Um, and I like the idea of just saying and, and being rigid and strict and saying nothing else is gonna go in that spot. Yeah. Um, that I've picked up with, with, with that EQ suite. And it's quite

Dom Morley:

often I see, I see things on forum. I really shouldn't go on forums, but occasionally I go on forums and I see people saying, um, you know, how do I get, why, why isn't my vocal fitting in this track? And then somebody will, will suggest like a 10 plugin chat. I'm just like, oh God. It's just like the guitars in the same spot as a vocals. It's never, there's nothing you can do to that vocal to make it fit. You do it to the guitars and make some space for it and then it'll be fine. An easy move in the guitars and everything's done. So that sort of thing. It's, yeah, it's once. And again, it is sort of the thing with remote consultancy, once you've, you've, you've done it a few times, it's sort of, it kind of, it's obvious, you know, you hear it straight away cuz you sort of, you are used to listening for it

Marc Matthews:

and finding it. Yeah. Yeah. It's, it's interesting, um, that with regards to the plugin chains, cuz scrolling through the internet, scrolling through social media and I see various posts every now and again. I sit quite every now and again quite a lot. And it's just plugin chain off the plugin chain, off the plugin chain, which is great. But a lot of the time, as you say that it's not necessarily the plugin chain that your plugins or whatever it is you are using, that's the issue. It's uh, it's that frequency balance. So it, there's another question I wanted off the back of this, but before we go onto that, my next question was gonna be, you mentioned there about the vocals. So when you're actually starting a mixed session mm-hmm., which instrument group are you starting with? Or does it vary depending on the project? Uh, well

Dom Morley:

I do that thing with the vocal and then I do the drum. That's always my route. So I know where the hole's gotta be for the vocal. And then cuz the, the, the drums define, the kick defines the bottom end. The snare defines the mid range and the high hats define symbols, define the top. So once you've got those in place and you can start fitting the instruments in. But, um, I would, I would hate to have to fit drums in after the fact, you know, because they are everywhere. Mm. Um, so, so I'd hate to have to try and fit that in after I'd got in all the rest of the instrumentation. That would be a pain. So that's always the route.

Marc Matthews:

Yeah, I, it is a similar route that I follow myself and in other discussions I've, I've heard other engineers do do that as well. With regards to the drums, admittedly, I've, no, I don't think I've ever started a mix with the vocals first, but certainly something I'm gonna try going forward now cuz it's being in the, being a, a sort of engineer, producing myself and it's quite new to, new to the game as it were, comparative to yourself. It's still learning that. And I find the vocal chain is probably not the vocal chain, probably don't wanna use that term, but the vocals being the hardest bit of the mix to, to get right and, and I think actually maybe doing it first is, is the way to, and then make space

Dom Morley:

for it. Yeah. Make sure every time you bring an element in, it's not fighting with the vocal cuz it's not allowed to.

Marc Matthews:

Yeah. And vocal, I think what I've noticed. Yeah, exactly. And what I've noticed in mixes that I've done myself is I, when I've left the vocal to the end and I've got all this other stuff going on and then I'm just like, shit, where does that vocal go now?

Dom Morley:

And I've the audio crowbar, I dunno why.

Marc Matthews:

Yeah, I'm like, and then I go through track by track and I'm like, right, and I'm gonna have to get rid of that. I'm gonna have to get rid of that. I'm gonna have to get rid of that, get rid of that. And then I'm like, I'm just gonna have to write the song, like produce, start again. Compose the song all over again. Yes. So audience listening, vocals first go with the vocals

Dom Morley:

first. Yeah, and to be honest, I don't really go to town with it. I don't go to town. I know some people who do the whole vocal sound first and then carry on. I just find out the main present frequency in that mid range and go, okay, I know it's gotta be there, and then I move on. So there'll be more that I do afterwards, but I just need to know that bit.

Marc Matthews:

Ah, so it's actually just picking out the, the sort of frequency that that pivotal frequency and then the actual rest of the processing will be done further down the line. Yeah.

Dom Morley:

Yeah. But there are other people that do it the other way. I know people that start with the vocal sound, particularly I think more often than not, people working like real pop stuff. Um, That I've known people do that where they get the, the whole vocal sound effects, compression, the works, and then start bringing other things

Marc Matthews:

in. That's an interesting way of doing it. Um, because if, if you were to start with them with, with all that to begin with, and then you'd bring other instrumentation in, would you not need to then go back and adjust, well, I suppose you're gonna do it anyway and adjust that those, that vocal processing that you've done. Exactly. You do

Dom Morley:

do it anyway. You know, when you're do in a mix, it's not like you, you know, you set up your base sound and then, and then that's done. I'll never touch that again. You know, you always, you know, tweaking stuff from going back in and

Marc Matthews:

Interesting. Kind of segues nicely. Then answer the next part, which is, imagine we've gone through all this process then and, uh, we've gone through the mix. We're, we're relatively happy. How do you know when the mix is finished and ready to put to bed? Now this is something that I struggle with personally a lot. Mm-hmm., um, and I go through the, I go, I can go through binge editing and I can be sat there and just binging and doing it needlessly. Yeah. Um, I slap myself on the wrist for doing it. I have

Dom Morley:

a set process for this, um, which actually I thought loads of people did. And then I was chat. I do like a monthly chat with a couple other guys who I trained with back in Metropolis and sort of, cuz we used to do this sitting around the coffin machine and we don't do that cause we're in our own little studios. So, so I do a monthly zoom, uh, with those guys and, um, and, and I, I brought it up my process and I thought everyone did it. They didn't, they hadn't heard of this. So what I do is, so I have two sets of speakers. I have some Newmans, um, and some ya tens. Um, and then I have two sets of headphones that I use for mixing as well. I have some Grado. Um, and then, uh, these things called Ross and Audio ones, which are very nice PO one. Um, and, and what I do is I pick one of those things for my first pass. So I've got the sound, everything's kind of together, but I need to get into automation now to get the thing finished. So I, I pick one of those things and go from start to finish doing everything that I can hear, everything that I think needs doing. Uh, so maybe say it's some annoy do do everything. So it sounds finished to me on the annoyance. Then I go onto another one. Probably I'll go into the great os, do the same from start to finish. Then I go into the Ns, tens, same thing. Then I go into the ros, same thing there, and then back to the no for last pass. And at that point I probably can't hear anything I want to change. And once I've done the last pass on the thing that I started on, I'm done.

Marc Matthews:

So you you, you're sort of trialing it on different systems or different listing environments. Headphones. And then,

Dom Morley:

so I'm kind of doing the mix, going through, doing all my information, moves everything that I wanna do, and then I'm jumping on a different set of monitors and doing the same thing where there's always less, you know, there's less for each of each round. There's far less me to do, but it, it just means I'm, I know I'm not missing anything cause I'm checking out on all my different systems and, and, and making the changes that I hear on there. And, and then, you know, I do, I have got these different ones cause they all do sound a little bit. I like the sound of them all, but they are all a bit different. So, um, yeah, guess how it works

Marc Matthews:

with regards to different, different listening environments. Um, I, I sort of audition mixes and productions in the car and I, I hear conflicting stories with that. I hear, or I rather I read, some individuals will say, no, you shouldn't do that. And others will say, well, yes you should. What are your opinions on, on auditioning, sort of in a, in a car environment? Um,

Dom Morley:

you should do, if it works. You know, if you, if you can sit in the car and you hear your mix and you hear something that's not right about it, and then you go and change that thing that you heard and it sounds better, then that's a great listening environment for you. Um, and it's just like, you know, with, with these headphones, these, these speakers, they won't work for some people, but they work for me, so it's great. Um, the car thing. Didn't work very well for me, so I stopped doing it. Um, uh, it might just been, I didn't like stereos, particularly in the cars that I had. I've got a new car now with a nice stereo, so maybe I'll start doing it, but I can't be bothered. What I've got at the moment works, so let's not, let's not mess with that too much. Um, but no, I, I think, I think any of those kind of rules that people set is like, I find a bit weird. Uh, like when people say you can't mix on headphones, well, you can, and if your mixes sound really good on headphones, then keep doing it. So, um, yeah. And there's slight, there's very slight technical things that people say about it. Ah, but this tiny technical thing, it's like, yeah, but people, if you know that and you know your headphones well, you work around that and you know that that's the case. Mm-hmm., it's like, you know, there's people that, you know, suffer from minor levels of hearing loss that are mixed engineers and, and they work around it, their perception deals with it, and they turn out brilliant mixes. And, uh, I, I was speaking to a mastering engineer recently said it always used to be the case. Back in like the eighties, up to the end of the eighties, that people would come into mastering and go, I've got a bit of a hole in my hearing, about 500 hertz. So there might be something odd there, but there you go. And then they carry on. It'd be a brilliant mix and there'd be something odd about that. So all those things, those little limitations that everybody has either in themselves or in their room or in their whatever, as long as you know what they are, um, you can carry on and

Marc Matthews:

get a great job. Yeah, I agree with that. I, I've spoken to numerous producers and I know, I know a few off the top of my head and who mix predominantly with headphones and they, their mixers sound great and the production sound great. I did know, this was way back when I was, I was studying, uh, music production and there was a, there was a, a lad and he was mixing using apple in ear headphones. Wow. And his Yeah, I know. And his production sounded amazing and he'd obviously attuned them. So, and he'd done it so much and he was so attuned to using them and how they translated, he got it totally dialed in, which was. Incredibly impressive. Yeah. Yeah. So, um, it kind of leads on to the next bit then with regards to mis misconceptions and myths. So with regards to mixed engineering, what do you think is the biggest sort of misconception myth that maybe someone who's starting out would read or hear?

Dom Morley:

Hmm, good point. I think probably any of those rule are four mentioned rules, I think are misconceptions and myths. The idea that you can't do something and, and I always try and try and remember that when I'm telling people how I do stuff or how I'd recommend to do stuff. And yeah, unless you don't agree with that or unless you think that sounds rubbish, in which case don't do it. And, and I do that in the mixed consultancy stuff as well. I try and flag up, like this comment is a slightly in the realms of production rather than mixing. Like, it's like this is a taste comment. Try it, see if you like it. If you don't sack it off, it doesn't matter. But it's just, I always try and approach it of like, what would I do if I was sat here? Here's what I would do. Right? So that's, that's, um, I try and check myself on that sort of thing. But yeah, I think if you ever hear anyone sort of saying, oh, you, you can't, you, you can't monitor on those. You can't listen on that. You shouldn't do this. That plugin's not for that. It's for this, you can't mix with plugins. It's gotta be analog, it's gotta be digital, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. All of that's nonsense. All that matters is what comes out. The speakers. Does it sound good if it does? You've nailed it.

Marc Matthews:

Yeah. Uh, exactly that. And it's a case of like the end listeners not gonna really care too much about the process of putting together even together a

Dom Morley:

tiny bit. Not

Marc Matthews:

a tiny bit, yeah, exactly. Exactly, exactly. That. Um, and it leads on again to this next question and it kind of falls under, maybe it does fall under the myths and misconceptions and this regards to sort of mixing and then mastering. Cause a lot of the audience do mix and master. They produce, they write, produce, mix, master in their own music. Yeah. What is, what is your opinion on mixing and mastering your own music? Should you get maybe someone else to master it? Um, is it, yeah, basically that is the question. Do you think it's worthwhile getting a second set of ears to master that music? If, if it is possible and it falls within your sort of budget?

Dom Morley:

Yes. Always. Yes. I would always do that if I could. And I, I, I, I think I've, I've once or twice mastered something that I've mixed myself, but, um, I feel it's a bit like marking your own homework if you do that. Um, whereas if, if I send it to someone else, then, then, then I'm getting a second set of professional ears, listen to the mix in a different room, which is also good, you know, um, on different speakers than, or mylo, um, and, and getting their kind of take on it. Um, so yeah, I would always recommend to do that. I know it is a budgetary thing. Um, but I think that the problem that I think has sort of crept into music production is it seems that people think it's the norm to mix and master something. Like it's all one process and it's one person's job, and it isn't, and I don't think it should be. I understand that sometimes that's how things go. Um, just like sometimes, you know, you're better off as a performer, somebody else doing the engineering for you. So all you have to think about is the performance. You then have to think about how things are rooted and, and, and all that sort of stuff. You, you can focus on the one job that you've got, which is performing. And if you've got an engineer., they can do their bit and you get a better result on both ends. That doesn't always happen. Sometimes you gotta do it yourself, do all the job yourself. Same with mixing, mastering, sometimes you just have to do it and, and that's how life is. But if you get an opportunity to get someone else to cast their ears over it and go, this is perhaps a little bit heavy here, I think you can push it this much on the compression, blah, blah, blah, then uh, I would always do that. Um, the one sort of thing, um, that I think people need to be aware of with using other mastering engineers, using other people to do it is be aware of how you want your track to sound and let them know if they didn't do that. Cuz I th the, I I have had mixed experiences marketing engineers and, and the ones I use now are ones I've, you know, I found a few guys that I use a lot, um, and they sit there and listen to the mix and go, okay, that's what he's aiming for. And then they just make that better.. And occasionally in the past I've had people go, oh, right, he's probably got that wrong then I'm gonna change this completely . I'm like, well, that's not what we wanted because my mix got the okay from the band. Everyone was happy. Yeah. And so now you are supposed to just make that a bit better with the mastering job, hear any problems, whatever, but not completely change it. Um, so that's, that's just the only bit of advice I say I'd give if you are sort of new to farming, mastering out to other people is, is be aware that, you know, this is you. If the mix is signed off and okay, everyone likes it. That's what everyone wants. And it just needs to be a slightly embellished version of that, not something completely

Marc Matthews:

different. Yeah. Uh, fantastic advice. And do you think it's worth I, with mastering, finding a mastering engineer who specializes in the, specialize might be the wrong word, but their warehouse is the genre of music that you're working within? Cause I guess mastering engineers though, they're quite broad, aren't they, in terms of what they master? Yeah.

Dom Morley:

I mean I know that that often happens. Um, . Yeah. I mean, it, it happens in all areas of the industry really. There's, people get known for doing certain things and it's mostly because you've done those things a bit and people recognize you for it and go, oh, well he did that record that sounds a bit like mine. So, so he can have mine now. And then you just end up down a sort of, you know, a bit of a path. It's something I've tried to avoid, if at all possible, cuz I think keeps life more interesting if you're doing like a variety of things. Yeah. Um, but, um, but, but then you sort of end up, you end up doing a better job on things that you understand more. I think so that, that kind of does make a bit bit of sense. Like, I don't do a lot or I don't do any hip hop. Uh, I don't do any. Black metal, you know, those are things I don't listen to, so it's not stuff that I would, I would do a good job on. I don't think so. Um, and, and unfortunately I don't get offered it, so I don't have to say no to anybody because they've also not seen any of that on my cv. So it is fine. It all works out okay. But yeah, I, I, I would, you know, there's no harm in looking about in the cv and if none of it's what you are into or want to sound like, then maybe find somebody where the CV does look like something you wanna sound like, cuz that's what they're working on every day, if it's a certain sort of thing. So there's no harm in it. Yeah, I don't think it's vital. Um, but I think it might make things a little smoother. Yeah.

Marc Matthews:

So I suppose the key bit of information or advice there would be is obviously, I think if you're gonna choose a mastering engineers to go check out their cv, their, their, their portfolio of music that they've done, and see if it sort of resonates with the music that you have. Yeah. And then you'd be able to make a sort of an informed decision from that. Yeah.

Dom Morley:

And they'll probably understand what you're aiming for because that's the sort of stuff they work on every day, so,

Marc Matthews:

yeah. Fantastic. Oh, well aware. We, uh, we're all 40 minutes in already and, um, what I'm gonna move on to now, so the, the inside the Mix podcast has a Facebook community group, and in there when I'm doing an interview, I will post and say, uh, if you've got questions, uh, you'd like me to put toward, um, the interviewee, do post them. So I've got three questions here. So the first one is for Maurice, a gay Kumo Wii. Mm-hmm. And he asks, uh, is it different to mix for vinyl? And if you do, uh, well, he's actually got two questions. So that's the first one. Is it different if you make, if you're mixing for vinyl? Mm-hmm.? No.

Dom Morley:

Uh, that's the mastering process. Uh, mixing would be exactly the same. Um, and mastering. It's, uh, and, and I'm, you know, as a not mastering engineer, I'm gonna explain this really badly. Um, and mastering engineers, if they're hearing this, are gonna be shouting. Uh, but, uh, the way I understand it is in order to get it onto the vinyl, um, you have to do certain things about mono and the base, and being careful how much base you put on it, because that can cause the needle to jump if there's too much, cause the cut's too deep and things like that. So there, there's a technical process, uh, that means you have to master it slightly differently. So, so if you are mastering a record, um, you know, an album, you might master it separately for, um, a digital, uh, upload than you would for vinyl, because there's different considerations.

Marc Matthews:

Fantastic. Thanks for that then. So basically, um, the mix is essentially the same, and then it falls into the master the realm of mastering then for the, for the vinyl. Yeah.

Dom Morley:

The, the only thing, actually one thing is if you add a super stereo base, I think that wouldn't get on vinyl and they'd have to do something about that. So you might want to think about that when you mix it. I think that's the only, the only consideration I would do is provide like a really big stereo base out, I think might not fit on buying all that.

Marc Matthews:

So, yeah. Fantastic. Um, so the next, the next question from for Maurice is, um, I think this ties in quite well actually to the, the Loop Masters, the Stranger, stranger Synth mm-hmm. We're talking to Stranger since Yes. Luke Master, uh, project that you went with. So his que next question is, uh, what is your approach, um, for sync projects and tv? Now, he was a bit vague with that one. Now I'm assuming he means with regards to the production. Um, how does that

Dom Morley:

sort of start? Yeah, so I, the only thing that I've done like that is those sample backs. I don't, um, I don't work on, uh, like production albums or, or sync stuff. So I haven't got Okay. An angle on that. Um, the only, the only thing that, that, the story behind that one was simply that I had a load of friends go text me and, and, and email me, said, have you seen this thing strange at the. Things series, you'd love the soundtrack. It sounds just like the sort of music you make. Um, so then I checked it out and thought, oh yeah it does. Um, I could probably do a sample pack of stuff that sounds a bit like that and people might be into it. So that's how that came about,

Marc Matthews:

opportunistic. Oh, I see. Yeah. Fantastic. So do you do a lot of the total tangent here? Do you do a lot of sort of your own synth productions? Cuz obviously with the modular, since you've got in the background there with time permitting, I guess,

Dom Morley:

do you That is the big phrase. Time permitting. Um, which it isn't. So I did, I did a full track EP under the name, um, five pages, which is five is a v like the Roman numeral thing. So if you look up V pages Yeah. On, um, your streaming platform of choice, uh, there's a four track EP there, um, which is a bit synthy. Uh, first track's a bit more guitar. There's a few guitars on a bit. It's mostly synthy stuff and some friends singing. Um, uh, that, that's all I've, I've actually put out myself. This ends up on other people's records basically. Um, either as. You know, if I'm mixing, I might put stuff through it or, or recommend they send a mini file with a sy part and, you know, I can, you know, embellish or replace or something. Or just if I'm producing something, you know, this'll end up on this some fantastic,

Marc Matthews:

excellent stuff. I've, I'll go and check that out. Um, five pages, um, on my part, on my streaming platform of choice. Um, brilliant stuff. In fact, what I'll do is I'll put a link in the show notes for this episode. Oh, cool. Go. Yeah. So the audience can go away and, and have a listen to that as well. So the next question is from, uh, Chao Daniel. So he's a producer called Thalos, asks, how do you dial in modern retro sounds during mixing? And he cite the Amy Winehouse back to Black album. Um, that's quite a, a broad

Dom Morley:

question there. Um, well, the first thing I'm gonna say is that was mixed by Tom Elmhurst and not me. I recorded most of that. Ah, um, but he mixed it. But, um, I can certainly tell you how. recorded it to sound modern virtually, which was, uh, absolutely a conversation with, uh, with Mark, uh, Ronson, who produced half the album. Um, Sal Rome did the other half, but probably if you only know the singles, you know, all Mark's Wants. Um, and, and he said about wanting to sound old sixties Girl Group, Phil Specter, those kind of sounds. Um, uh, cause I was doing first session him was strings, um, a string session did, uh, and I think actually we had brass and orchestral percussion on in one day. It was like quite a big, kind of full on shipping things in and out the recording room. So I set up a lot of valve mics and a lot of ribbon mics. Um, because those were the mics that they had in those days. That was the process that they had. So I thought, well, let's try and be as authentic as we can by using the, the, the gear that they had. Um, but then also what I, I sort of thought as well, I'd read, you know, Books about those sort of things. There's a really good, uh, biography of Phil Specter, which is really interesting. But what, what they would do in those days often is they would have one mic in the room. They wouldn't, they didn't have the capability to mic everything up individually, so it'd be just one mic or a few mics that would cover the room, and then you move the instruments closer or further away, depending on how loud you want them to be. Um, so I thought as an aside, I'd put a ribbon mic in the studio that we were recording in had like a big, um, there's a bit of glass and concrete in a plaster, unfortunately, but there was some wooden bits and there was like a shell shaped wooden thing covering a corner like the inside of a shell. So I put a ribbon mic up there to catch some, some room sound with an old mic, that sort of thing. Um, and then speaking to Tom afterwards when he was mixing or after, he'd mixed it, that was, that mic was what he used for most of the string sound, and then he just fed things into it from there. So that was a way of the getting those to sound old was simply by using the techniques that they used and, and. And, and the equipment that they used. And there you go. That's, that's, that's how they did it. So that's how we'll do it. Um, , uh, yeah. So in terms of mixing, there's a few things you can do that are little tricks. Like, for example, if you set up the same room reverb or small hall, um, that's kind of, you know, and everything goes to that a little bit. That's, that's how they were recorded in those days cuz everything was in the same room. There was like, Phil Specter used a room called Gold Star where he did everything. Um, and uh, and so that can start to sound a little bit retro by the fact that that's, you know, that's, that it all sounds like it's in the same space. Um, and not going too bright on things cause they didn't, things weren't recorded that bright. Um, so concentrating more on warm.

Marc Matthews:

That's another one. Fantastic. It's inter interesting that you mentioned Phil Specter then because, um, as what, what's the date? Today's the, the 11th of November. I've challenged myself, I dunno why I've done this with writing a, uh, no writing a Christmas song or covering a Christmas song. And, um, I've been listening to, to Phil Spector's Christmas album, the Finest Christmas album. There is . It, it is very good. I, what, what I was doing is I've been on a music sort of theory and composition and arrangement binge blade, and I was thinking, right, how are these songs put together? So I've been looking around online and then listening to songs and thinking, okay, this goes there. That goes there. What cause are they using core progressions and all that sort of things. And it's really interesting, actually, which is why it's led me down this Phil Specter route, but Right. It's exactly what you mentioned there about the particular sound you have. Cause when you listen to it, it, it, it sounds like one microphone, but it, yeah, I guess it, it wouldn't sound the same if it was record. No, he wouldn't have that character. No,

Dom Morley:

no. It's, yeah. That alla sound thing. Yeah. Which is, yeah, which is cool. Interestingly, I did work with Phil Specter once, just as an assistant and I got him to sign my copy of the Christmas album, which that's very pleased about. Oh wow. But, uh, but he said that it was a good story. He, um, said it took about nine months putting that album together, um, with the writing and the recording and everything. It was a big, big project for him cuz he was like, it was on his label and it was like, I'm gonna be rich cause I'm gonna make you know, the best Christmas album ever. And he said, and then, and then just before Christmas, Kennedy was, and Christmas was canceled in America. So then I did nothing cuz nobody was really, they weren't going for it the way they had and it took him years to, to recoup what he'd spent on it. But then obviously since then, it's been massive. But yeah, it was quite funny that, that, uh, that totally went, went very badly for Oh, wow. For quite a

Marc Matthews:

while. Yeah. Yeah. That's quite the , that's, uh, . That's, that's, uh, that's not great when that hap Well I say when that happens, like it's happened a lot. But yeah, that's, uh, that is incredibly unfortunate. But like, say, I think he's, he's probably probably done quite well off the back of it, I think I wanna say re-released. I could, I could be wrong. This was, again, this was late last night when I was researching the, the, the, um, the foundations of a Christmas song, . So the, the final question is, uh, from another community member called Dan Maloney. And the, uh, his, uh, his question is, when so much is possible inside the box, is investing in really pricing Mike Preamps worthwhile? Or would a good microphone in decent plugin be better? I thought, I suppose a good example of that would be like, there's the Slate Digital, uh, mic emulation, um, which you, you buy the Slate digital mic, and then you have various different mic modelings within their software.

Dom Morley:

Yeah, yeah. Um, unfortunately I'm not particularly the best guy to answer that on, on the base that I haven't used any of those. Um, I haven't used the modeling mics. I've heard good things. It was the Townsend one as well, which won, won an award for Best Mike, not even best modeling Mike, um, just as a great sound of Mike, which then got bought by Universal Audio, the company. So I think that's turned into Universal audio's, Mike, or if they've got one out, is that one, you know, or whatever. If the, if not one's coming out soon and it's that, um, So, um, so I'm not sure. I guess, I guess maybe my advice would be to get something, if you want to go that route of using a variety of different things, um, it's still worth getting something that's high quality because you still want the best signal going in to the d a w, you know, if you have a bad signal going into a d A W, that's not very clear. There's not much, you can only color it from there. You can't make it better and clearer. So, so if that's the route you wanna go, I'd, I'd recommend getting a nice quality one, but something that's quite clean. So like a Neve one, for example, is great, but it's fairly colored. Um, and which is a nice, you know, that's what I would go for. But that then that's the choice I've made. You know, I've made it decided to sound like that, or, or I have a couple of valve ones that I really like. So, so that's the choice I would make there. Uh, but if you went for something like, you know, a Grace Designs or a millennial or something, they're, they're companies that are known for making gear that's really high quality and really clean. And then from there in, you can then change it however you like and that change will have the effect that you're looking for because you've, you've got a full clean signal going in. So I think there's always, there's always, um, an argument for, for having the best quality signal as far along the chain as you can get it. It's like there's a friend of mine used to describe, he says, his woodwork teacher used to say, keep your wood as long as you can for as long as you can. Uh, meaning once you start chopping bits off, you can't put them back together again. So once you start degradating your signal, you can't make it posture again. So it's best just to keep it as clean and posture as you can for as long as possible until you want to start making decisions about it not being

Marc Matthews:

Yeah. I, I really like that analogy and it makes perfect sense and it kind of falls, or it, it pairs nicely with the idea of getting it right at source when you're recording. So getting, getting it right at source before, right at that beginning there, cuz. Yeah. As you say that, if you, if it's not there to begin with, put, putting it in or adding it can be, can be, can be tricky, if not impossible. Yeah. Um, no, that's fantastic. Thank you. Yeah. Brilliant, brilliant answers to those Dom, and I hope that's, uh, for, for those three listening and the audience as well has answered those questions. I'm sure it has. So the, the final bit really is, is, is touching on the mixed consultants key. Cause I think it's, it could be a fantastic thing for, for a lot of our listeners now. I, I came across the mix consultancy because I interviewed a producer called One Equals Two Brandon Gant a few months ago. And he mentioned that he used your service. Yeah, yeah, yeah. He

Dom Morley:

has, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. No, yeah. He's used, yeah, did, did a few things on that record. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. It, it's good. That was a good example actually of, you know, He did a few tracks. We worked in a few tracks together, and, and he got better and better as you know, as, as they went along. So, yeah, it was good.

Marc Matthews:

Yeah. Yeah. He, he mentioned it and he, and sort of signpost me in your direction. So audience listening, if you wanna go and check out that particular episode is episode 35. Do so after listening to this one, obviously, but there's episode 35 with, uh, one equals two. Um, so I know you touched on it briefly earlier, but can you just give us like a really quick sort of, uh, breakdown of the mixed consultancy? Cause I know you, there's also tutorial elements in, um, and courses involved in it as well, if I, if I'm not mistaken. Yeah, kind of.

Dom Morley:

Well, yeah, I, there are some of those. So basically the idea is, it's a bit like I explained earlier, I, I managed to get my head over the, the another engineer once who had 20 years experience with me, saw what he did to my mixes. And I learned a ton in that period. So I thought, how can I make that available to people that can't? For time or money reasons, full-time education in, in music production. So I thought, well I can, I can, I can do that, I can offer people that. So you upload your mix to me. Um, and then there were two sort of packages, this gold or platinum and gold is I then I listened to it. I write down all the things that I would change at that point. And then I send you a pdf with all of those things. If you buy the platinum one, you then make the changes, do whatever you like to mix, send it back to me. I check it from there and I write another list of the things that I would change from here. Send that to you. Then you send, make the changes, send it back to me. And then I do a third round of, normally they get smaller as they move along, you know, cuz, cuz we are closing in on stuff. Um, but they, you know, but things do change as you develop the mix through the, the, the changes I've suggested. So then you get a third round where send, you know, do you a PDF for that. So that's golden platinum packages of that. Um, the reason why there's a course that I have available, I made a course on how to record vocals. Um, and the reason why I did that is a lot of the problems that I hear are actually from people not, haven't recorded the vocal very well, and, and their mixed problems would be mostly, or, or largely easier or gone. Uh, if they had a really good sounding vocal that was really well performed. So in, in the recording vocals course, which you can get to on the website, mixed consultancy, um, I get into the psychology of it, like how to do pre-production, what to talk about, how to talk about things, tempo lyrics, pitch all of the things that need to do and know before you start recording, we talk a little bit about gear. I talk about how to run the process of recording and what to do with editing, tuning all that stuff afterwards so you can just get a great lead vocal and, and. You can, you know, mixings just so much easier if you've got a great lead vocal to work for. So that's kind of what I've got with the mix consultants. It's mostly about those kind of con um, the consults. That's where I started it, but then I've got that course there because I know that that's, that's a big part of what would help people get better at mixing as well.

Marc Matthews:

Fantastic. And going back to what you said there about the voco, I suppose it sort of echos what we mentioned just then about getting, getting it right at source and if Absolutely, if you go through that process of learning and education and figuring out, actually this is, if I get this vocal, how it should sound before it goes in, like I said, it's gonna make it so much easier further down the

Dom Morley:

line. Yeah. And I think people don't realize how, how much performance makes a difference to mixing. If the performance is great, you know, the mix is easier. Oh yeah. And, and that's a big part of it, which, which is why I get into the psychology a lot because that the psychology of the session and you as a producer

Marc Matthews:

and all that sort of stuff. Yeah. It's, it's really interesting cause I've, I've sort of. more so on the other side of the glass being the, the, um, the musician being recorded. And, uh, it, it, the reason why that I then looked at production and mix engineering and whatnot is because I kind of poked my head around the door and I looked at the computer and I thought, actually that's quite interesting. And I kind of wanna know what he's doing there at that desk. Yeah. And that's sort of how I sort of came into it. The

Dom Morley:

thing I find mad as well. Yeah. The thing I find mad with it is, uh, there's, I, I put a lot into it and, you know, when I do a vocal session, I'm thinking about lighting and, you know, all this sort of stuff. And, and then there's people that record themselves and go, oh, well, you know, I won't bother with that stuff. I just, you know, I have a cup of tea. And then I'd start singing like, why am I put, why do I put more effort into someone's vocal session that they put into their own? Why would you not put that effort into your own vocal? It's your vocal. Yeah. Like, it matters more to you. You, you know your name's on everything. My name's on it, but your name's bigger, you know, in bigger font than my name is, but I'll put more effort than you were. Just find that mad. Like here's all the things you can do. that I do to make something better psychologically, do it to yourself. Like learn that and, and, and treat yourself in a way that means you will get the best performance. Yeah, it's um, Blows me away with that case where people just go, oh, I don't need to do that. It's like, no, you don't need to, but you'll be better if you do. Yeah,

Marc Matthews:

yeah. I agree. I totally agree with that. Cause I've, I've fallen foul that myself when I was recording an album many years ago. And when I go into the studio, I tune my guitar, I look at the intonation, make sure the, uh, the trust wa trust rod was said, right. The Floyd Rose was all good. Mm-hmm. made sure, um, I had decent picks and everything. All my cables were correct. I had everything I needed. But then when I'm sat at home recording, I'm just like, oh, I just pick my guitar off the wall and I'll start playing and record it and I dunno. Yeah. It is exactly that. It's, yeah. And maybe it's, I dunno, it's a convenience thing. You're sort of like, oh, it's that relaxed atmosphere. You, you sort of need to take yourself away to another room. Or it's like you say, it's the psychology of it, isn't it? It's totally the psychology, when

Dom Morley:

you go to that studio, feel better, you perform better. I think when you've set yourself up. Know that your instruments bang on, everything's ready to go. You've got the lights dimmed your phone's off, you know, you know you're ready to record at that point. And I think you, you, but I think a lot of people put a bit too much, I mean, this might sound a bit weird, but a lot of people put a bit too much emphasis on having a relaxed performance. Sometimes it doesn't want to be relaxed. Sometimes it wants to be present and it wants to be urgent and it wants to be, you know, all a hundred percent in the moment as opposed to, you know, leaning back on your chair going, oh, that would do. I got it.. Marc Matthews: Yeah, I totally agree. And having played metal, it was very much, I mean, we, we couldn't sit back and, and relax and play. It was all very that So lean forward. Yes. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. And, and try and stay in time. That was always my, that's why I kind of, I think that's why I kind of moved the other way cuz I was like, mm. I'm not as good as the other guitars, so I'm gonna start honing my skills somewhere else, you know? Right. Yeah. Um, but no, Tom, thank you very much. We, we sort of reached the hour mark now, and this has been fantastic, and I know the, the audience listening is, uh, it's gonna take so much away from this as I, I, I have done as well. So a really big thank you for spending the time with me today, this, this Friday evening. Yeah. Um, it's very, very well, it's fantastic to, to get, get your knowledge and, and spread your knowledge throughout the, for our audience. So a big, big thank you and, um, I'll catch up with you soon, Don. Yeah. Cheer. Hi, this is Ghost Georgie. My favorite episode of Inside the Mix is episode 38 right now, because it was cool to hear about Pensacola myths, um, creative process and um, working on doing the songs live.

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Mixing myths that could ruin your music
Why you shouldn't master your own music
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Hardware versus software in mix engineering

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