Andrew Scheps Mixing Techniques
You might know him as the Metallica guy, the guy who won the loudness war, or perhaps the guy that looks like Andrew Weil and doesn’t care about mastering. I’m talking about Andrew Scheps. While this guy has been around for awhile, his modern techniques and edgy methods have kept him at the forefront of the mixing world. Join me as I walk you though Andrew Scheps mixing techniques.
Andrew Scheps wears many hats. He records, mixes, and produces. While this might seem normal to us, it’s testament to his diversity to do so on such a high level. Make sure you’re stepping out of your ruts and trying out new tasks.
When he first hears a mix, he’s generally feeling it out. He’s been quoted as saying that the faders go up several times before a good static balance gets dialed in. Next time you do a mix, try out several different attempts at a static balance before you move on.
Look at his wall of gear and tell me you don’t feel envy. Trying out different stuff helps you appreciate the differences each piece has to offer. While some experts suggest you stick to just stock plugins, I believe you’re smart enough to try out a few. Learn your tools!
So far, we’ve covered the man’s preferences. Let’s look at some techniques now. We ordinarily think that distortion is something to be avoided. Not so! Just like a clean guitar, sounds can be too clean. Set up a parallel distortion buss and you’ll be Schepsing like a pro in no time.
Speaking of parallel processing: no article on Andrew Scheps mixing techniques would be complete without mentioning parallel compression. While Michael Brauer uses four main busses, Andrew uses several compressors in parallel to get his sound. Try an 1176 or an LA2A in parallel to hear their differences. Remember to play with the settings but don’t use EQ on these returns unless correcting a problem.
Try to get an in-your-face-sound while splashing reverb around like it’s the last ballad you’ll ever mix. Forget it! If you want to get Scheps-y, pare down your spatial FX to short slaps, ambiences, and other short and transparent ones. Andrew fancies the Softube Spring, in case you were wondering.
Man in the Box
Many old cats find it hard to learn new tricks. Mr. Scheps doesn’t play that game. Getting inspiration from Tchad Blake, he now enjoys the flexibility and portability laptop mixing provides. Even though he’s found software substitutes for his gear collection, he says that it’s not the gear. So go forth and wield your stock plugins wisely!
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