Mixing Flicker

The final mix for “flicker” is coming along, slowly but surely. I’ve been listening to Irresistible Force “It’s Tomorrow Already”, Plaid “Double Figure” and Spacetime Continuum “Emit Ecaps”, and comparing them to the song as I mix it to try to achieve a similar sort of atmosphere and feel. The plan is to do this with each of the slowburn tracks, and pick three of my favorite albums to listen to that have the sort of vibe I am shooting for with that particular song.

While mixing “flicker” I’ve been trying to come up with a general process for doing all the slowburn mixes, so hopefully after this one the songs will go a bit quicker. The biggest thing slowing me down so far has been freezing and tweaking and re-freezing UAD tracks as I mix, which takes six minutes each time I do it. Unfortunately there isn’t much of a solution for speeding that up other than not using those plugins, which is not really an option.

Another challenge has been figuring out how to deal with effects busses, because Logic 7 won’t let me freeze them or send them to other busses. The most common situation I would want to do this is with a delay bus, where I also want to add some of the main reverb to the delayed part. My current solution is to duplicate the audio track being delayed to a new audio track, then put all the same effects as the original on that track plus the delay from the bus plus anything else (EQ, transient shaping, etc) special I used on that bus. Since it is no longer a bus but now am audio track, I can then send it to the main reverb bus, and also freeze it to free up CPU and DSP power. A somewhat annoying workaround, but it lets me do what I want to do.

Logic 8 would let me do all of this directly, by just sending a bus to another bus, but at this point I’m not willing to risk upgrading and running into technical issues. So I’ll stick with this duplicate and bounce strategy for now.

For this final mix stage, the big things I’m tackling for each song are:
-Drum bus processing (compression, EQ, fake room reverb, Kaoss-like effects, volume tweaks)
-Reverbs (overall main reverb, individual verbs on pads and some percussion, ambience for drum bus)
-Volume automation (have loud and soft parts of the overall song, have individual synth parts louder or softer at times)
-Effects automation on key parts (automate amount and parameters of effects on certain parts at certain times)

For “flicker” specifically, my original to-do list looked like this:
-bounce down delay busses and add reverb
-trim some of the drums?
-add effects, automate volume on crash
-drum weirdness at 109, re-bounce
-trim/automate toms?
-trim some noises, place more in background
-automate volume on ramps
-add vapor effects on some noises
-blip part needs transient/eq/volume work
-extra effects to make a couple parts stick out
-hall verbs on pads
-individual plate verbs for percussion noises
-room verb on drum bus
-main UAD plate verb for all parts
-increase loud/soft dynamic throughout song
-use panning automation instead of auto-pan for some parts
-pick a couple key points in the song to do something particularly interesting

I’m now mostly done with “flicker” and am starting work on “bubblepop”, which was already in good shape, so I should hopefully be finished with both of them by the end of the weekend.