I chose to analyze a Kush After Hours video by UBK/Gregory Scott because I seem to follow his type of mixing style already and he delineates how he does his. I broke it down step-by-step for my own understanding.
This (below) is the original video and it is a treasure – full of great information, so I suggest you watch it first and then read my interpretations below. This is such good advice here from this video by Gregory Scott at Kush Audio.
Note: I use a lot of Kush Audio plugins because they are so beautifully made and give my music a sheen and elegance that I just cannot properly explain with words. I highly recommend them.
Here below is what is taken from the video and interpreted by me:
A mix bus compressor anywhere in the mix is the enemy because you will fight it. Mix bus compression is for density and nothing else.
I put it at the end of the mix bus before the master and I use the TDR Koletnikov or U-He Presswerk (which I favor). But sometimes, I don’t even need it.
Add saturation. Bump up 30 Hz?
or bump up 100 and pull down 200? (Pull down the mud zone.)
He mentions a transformer box with a shimmery sparkly presence at 8k.
Try the Trident in software. I did and maybe it is similar or maybe (probably) not:
Nail compressor with 2dB of reduction at the most. Really a limiter. (Maybe try Novatron in software?)
Nail into Hammer into Pultec. All A-Designs hardware. Bump up the lows and highs and take out some of the low mids.
Pushing up 800 Hz (the foundation of the mid-range). Make a wide bump around 800 Hz. A little goes a long way.
Obviously, use Kush’s Hammer that has an 800 Hz band, and give a gentle lift there. It is magical. What a great insight from Gregory Scott. It is probably the best advice I gained from this Kush lesson. And, if you notice, it is featured prominently on the Kush video front splash screen for this after-hours video lesson.
Hammer (works in tandem with the Pultec, so align these colors in the text with those I marked in the image below):
or 3.5k out.
My Hammer is usually set up like this (below) (with the exception now of having that second knob from the left on the bottom set to 800 and the one above it set to boost around 3 or 4 dB) and gives me a silky smooth sound going into my Pultec-type EQ:
Put back in 12k
Pull out 10 or 20k and put in 16k.
My Pultec-type of the equalizer is a Tube-Tech Softube models PE1C and ME1B in series (not the PSP one above any more), and here are the usual settings for me:
Software: Novatron with transformers down (no more saturation), or AR1 or Silika, 2:1 mix mode, 80-120 ms release time and dig in with overcompression, then bypass to hear it go away. Then bring the compressor in and back off the threshold until clarity and openness and transient impact come back. Somewhere on that line. Bypass is not finished or exciting enough, turn it up and hear a wall of sound so crest factor is too small, back off to 2db reduction at the most.
I use TDR Kotelnikov and watch that crest factor by checking the release peak and release RMS LEDs:
But, I do like the smooth analog sounds of U-he’s Presswerk also. The butter-smooth mixdown preset is on my mix bus:
Inflator. Positive (reduce peaks and increase RMS energy) 35 curve, 20-30 effect level, green and red-lit. Key into the low where the effect will be.
Or, replicate this in FL Studio with the Fruity Waveshaper:
But you could also use Decapitator for some of it. I use a desk distortion setting for mine that gives it just a little something. The attitude meter just jumps slightly off of -20 to -10 at the most. I use “E” type for desk distortion. As Soundtoys describes it, “Modeled after the Chandler®/EMI® TG® Channel. Wade Goeke at Chandler Designs has crafted some truly excellent gear based on vintage mixing consoles from the famous EMI/Abbey Road studio in London. Like the EMI consoles, the sound of the TG channel is a beefy low end coupled with a smooth but airy top-end sheen. We just love the sound of this piece of gear, which is an excellent mic preamp, DI and EQ, with loads and loads of character.” I set the tone control mid-bright, but can change it if needed for the material. I set the drive control to be in auto with output and move the drive knob to just where I get a pulse in the attitude needle from -20 to maybe -10.
Here’s my mix bus chain:
VUMT is a meter so I know the level going in.
I always have the Hammer and Tube-Tech EQs on.
Sometimes I use the Trident and you see it is on in this image above.
I either have the Kotelnikov on (for more clean and classical music) or the UBK on for movement when a mix lacks a certain something. Sometimes both are on.
I use RootOne or Lowender (not shown) to enhance my low end. Usually, this is on.