And here we are, this is probably the most important day as this concert will serve as the master version of the concert. In case we need to change or correct something, we have all the previous rehearsals recorded. In Pro Tools we not only record the multi-track but also the processed stereo mix. This comes handy if we need to change some small thing later.
As I mixed both rehearsals I made some notes on how to refine this mix session in order to really fit my needs. In some parts it become more complicated, but if we look at the whole big session, it become somewhat more simple.
For example I considerably reduced the number of layouts I use. I made twelve when I set up the session and I felt that I need all of it to reach everything easily, but later on I felt that this time it’s too much. The layouts combined with the VCA spill is powerful enough so I don’t need that many in this session. After two days I ended up using only four layouts, one being an “escape” that brings all the VCAs right in front of me. I’ve got two ways to do this, this is one way. The other way is to bank to the right-most part of the session. I always order my tracks so I have all the VCAs at the right side of my tracks. It doesn’t really matter if they’re at the left or ride side of the session, the point is they need to be all left or right, so you can reach them with one button push. With this, anytime I want instant total control, I recall my VCA layout, or bank there from the surface.
Only one major thing has changed, I removed the chamber fx and made another hall but this time I chose a more natural, real life like hall from Phoenix verb. So now I use a combination of three verbs:
- early reverb (Phoenix verb)
- real hall (Phoenix verb)
- big hall (R2)
The right combination of these can add real depth, without sacrificing detail. Although now I mix this in stereo, it still need to sound good in mono. Don’t overthink this, sometimes push the mono button and listen to the detail and balance, if it’s right, then it’s good, that’s it.
The other very useful thing I use is to lock parameter to certain buttons next to the touchscreen. Right now, on the left side I have the ProLimiter parameters locked, on the right side I have the Sonnox Dynamics controls locked. Call me a control freak, but I love to have these important parameters almost always within reach.
One more thing which comes very handy during a live mix like this is to check VCA assignments. It’s very handy that with only one button (bus) you can see all the contributing channels above the VCA. In short, you see the channel name and the fader position in dB, if you like it is possible to make minor adjustments from there with the pots.
So this is the final broadcast/record session which will become the mix session eventually.
The whole show went really well, in my opinion this all in-the-box method is definitely the future. If not now, then in a few years. Do something big live, and when you start to mix, you already have a very good starting point, your session, with a good mix, automated VCAs or tracks, routing, markers.