Mixing Secrets For The Small Studio - Additional Resources
Useful Mixing Links
Freeware Top Ten
I’ve made more than 200 software recommendations in these resource pages, but if you’re short on time then here’s a shortlist of my own favourite freeware sources:
Cockos: The flexible ReaPlugs bundle includes ReaEQ, ReaGate, ReaComp, ReaXcomp, ReaDelay, ReaFIR, and the open-ended ReaJS host for Jesusonic effects.
Dead Duck: A wide-ranging suite of well-specified, zero-fuss plug-ins, including AutoFilter, AutoPan, BitCrusher, Chorus, DeEsser, Delay, Expander, Flanger, Gate, Limiter, Overdrive, Phaser, Reverb, RingMod, SigGen, Tremolo, and Utility.
GVST: A great range of little workhorses, including GChorus, GClip, GDuckDly, GFader, GGain, GHi, GLFO, GMulti, GMax, GRect, GRevDly, GSnap, GStereo, and GTune.
Kilohearts: This developer’s comprehensive Essentials and user-friendly bundle of 30 plug-ins includes not only workhorse plug-ins such as EQ, compression, distortion, modulation, delay, and reverb, but also a variety of more unusual and creative processors such as Comb Filter, Ensemble, Formant Filter, Frequency Shifter, Haas, Nonlinear Filter, Phase Distortion, Resonator, Reverser, Ring Mod, Trance Gate, Transient Shaper, and Tape Stop.
Klanghelm: A set of great-sounding vintage-inspired freeware processors, including DC1A, IVGI, and MJUC jr.
Melda: A powerful freeware plug-in suite including MAnalyzer, MAutoPitch, MAutopan, MBitFun, MComb, MConvolutionEZ, MEqualizer, MFlanger, MFreeformPhase, MFreqShifter, MPhaser, MRingModulator, MSaturator, MStereoScope, MTremolo, MTuner, MVibrato, MWaveFolder, and MWaveShaper.
Tokyo Dawn: Innovative and slickly designed freeware plug-ins including Proximity, TDR Kotelnikov, TDR Nova, and TDR VOS SlickEQ.
Tone Boosters: Two tremendous freeware plug-in bundles (BusTools and TrackEssentials) which include my go-to dynamic EQ TB Flx, my go-to tape-emulator TB ReelBus, and my go-to de-esser TB Sibalance, as well as other great utilities such as TB Bus Compressor, TB Barricade, and . To download the installation files, go to the developer’s FAQ page here and look for the links under the “Where can I find older (legacy v3) plug-ins?” heading.
Variety Of Sound: Here you can find a great range of PC plug-ins, including BaxterEQ, BootEQ, Density, EpicPlate, FerricTDS, NastyDLA, NastyVCS, Prefix, TesslaSE/PRO, ThrillseekerLA/VBL, and ThrillseekerXTC.
Voxengo: Lots of excellent freeware here, including Correlometer, Marvel GEQ, MSED, Old Skool Verb, Overtone GEQ, SPAN, Tempo Delay, and Tube Amp.
Affordable Cross-platform Software
I’ve tried to mention appropriate cross-platform software options in every chapter page, but here are some of my overall top tips – they’re not all freeware, but they are all excellent value:
Cockos: Their Reaper DAW is now my go-to DAW mixing platform. It’s extremely powerful and ridiculously affordable. The built-in plug-ins are good enough to create professional-level mixes without any third-party assistance, and the editing and workflow-customisation facilities are phenomenal. If you try nothing else, try this.
DDMF: A range of decent low-price plug-ins, including LinComp, LP10, Metaplugin, Bridgewize, IIEQPro.
GVST: As featured in my Freeware Top Ten.
Kilohearts: As featured in my Freeware Top Ten.
Melda Production: As featured in my Freeware Top Ten.
Sknote: In addition to their super-useful SoundBrigade spectral troubleshooter, Sknote also do a wide range of characterful physically-modelled analogue emulations, including C165a, DDD, Disto, DolA, EchoTaps, GTS39, Marconi1, Necklace, Percolate, Rev250, Rountone, STA-limit, and Verbtone.
Sonimus: These guys not only make SonEQ, one of the nicest-sounding freeware EQs around, but also sell some other affordable plug-ins that are on my own first-call list for tone-shaping: Britson, Satson, SonEQ Pro, and StonEQ 4k.
Schwa & Stillwell Audio: I like these reasonably priced plug-ins a lot, my personal favourites being Bombardier, CMX, The Rocket, Schope, TinMan, Transient Monster, and Vibe EQ.
Tokyo Dawn: As featured in my Freeware Top Ten.
Voxengo: As featured in my Freeware Top Ten.
Los Senderos Studio’s Recording Glossary: A large and clearly written glossary, which is also nicely interlinked and illustrated. Try this in the first instance.
Sound On Sound Technical Glossary: Masses of useful info here, especially if you’re just starting out.
Audio Engineering Society Pro Audio Reference: A slightly more specialist glossary which complements the others quite well.
Gearspace: A good deal of pro-level chat and some great Q&A forums with high-profile producers. Plus, there’s a dedicated newbies area.
Home Recording: Another active forum, with a dedicated newbie zone.
Sound On Sound: A very active forum which includes regular contributions from Sound On Sound magazine’s staff and contributors.
Interviews With Producers & Engineers
Here are some of the best free on-line magazine interview archives on the net:
Sound On Sound Magazine Article Archive: Includes back-issue articles from the last twenty years, all free to view with the exception of the most recent nine months’ worth, which are only open to subscribers. (If you can’t wait to read something recent, bear in mind that you can buy individual articles as PDFs for a only a quid each.)
Tape Op Magazine Article Archive: Another massive collection of on-line articles, although much of it only accessible if you sign up for an (excellent value!) online subscription.
Mix Magazine Article Archive: Another good collection of on-line articles, if you don’t mind wading through loads of in-line web ads.
Muzines Magazine Archive: This is a great not-for-profit project where they’ve scanned a load of old music-tech magazines (including early Sound On Sound issues that were never originally available online). As such, there are bucketloads of classic interviews here as well.
Gearspace Expert Q&A Archive: Preserved for posterity here are Q&A sessions Gearspace carried out on their forum with a few dozen big names in production. Although these aren’t as focused as published interviews, they’re nonetheless very revealing, and provide insights into the working methods of some engineers (such as Mike Shipley and Russ Elevado) it’s difficult to find out about from elsewhere.
Video and podcast interviews are also becoming an increasingly valuable resource. Here are some freeware recommendations:
Pensado’s Place: A cable TV show presented by world-renowned mix engineer Dave ‘Hard Drive’ Pensado, featuring candid interviews with many current A-list engineers.
Mix With The Masters Q&A Videos: Although most Mix With The Masters videos are behind their paywall, their Youtube channel also posts great free Q&A videos with many of their featured producers.
RecordProduction.com: A mixed-bag collection of video interviews with producers and engineers, including plenty of high-profile names.
Waves Video Archive: Despite the ostensible focus on Waves products, they also feature interviews with many leading producers.
The ‘Working Class Audio’ Podcast: A long-running and thoroughly down-to-earth interview podcast which delves into the practical realities of making a living as an audio professional. Plenty of famous names have been featured, but the less well-known interviewees are no less interesting to listen to because of their insights into running small-studio businesses.
In addition to these free information sources, there are also a number of interview resources that I’d highly recommend:
Howard Massey’s Behind The Glass (Volume I) & Behind The Glass (Volume II): Probably the best books of collected technical interviews out there, in my opinion. What’s particularly good is that Massey often asks the same questions of several different producers, and the differences in their responses are fascinating.
Maureen Droney’s Mix Masters: A great collection of interviews, many of which originally appeared in Mix magazine.
Rick Clark’s Mixing, Recording, And Producing Techniques Of The Pros: Lots of good straight-from-the-horse’s-mouth material.
Bobby Owsinski’s Recording Engineer's Handbook, Mixing Engineer's Handbook & Music Producer's Handbook: The interviews in the second half of each of these books are worth the entry fee on their own.