Audio Mixing Tutorial

Effect Plug-Ins Explained

23 Tutorials (3hr 58min 44sec)
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    Tutorial 1

    Intro to Frequency


    In this tutorial you are given fundamental understanding of what frequency is and how it relates to your mix.

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    Tutorial 2

    EQ Overview


    This video describes the key concepts behind EQ, what all the common features of an EQ are, such as frequency, Q, filter type, etc... Most importantly it is full of audio examples so you can hear how these parameters affect your sound.

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    Tutorial 3

    EQ on Acoustic & Electronic Drums


    Dig in deeper and start applying the concepts you have developed. Get strong understanding of how you can use EQ on various elements of drums. Learn how to fatten a kick drum, or bring out more attack, see and hear how you use EQ on toms, cymbals, snare drums. Also learn how to use EQ on electronic drums.

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    Tutorial 4

    EQ on Guitar


    This video introduces several different guitar riffs, of varying style, and shows you how to use EQ in each unique situation. Essential viewing for anyone looking to mix bands or work with guitar.

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    Tutorial 5

    EQ on Bass Guitar


    Bass guitar can be a hard thing to mix. EQ is crucial to getting bass to sit right with the other elements. This video examines several different bass styles and looks at lots of options for achieving a wide range of possibilities.

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    Tutorial 6

    EQ on Vocals


    This video takes a look at several male vocal riffs and how you can use EQ to manipulate them. Learn how to help bring your vocal out in a mix, clean up the low end and more.


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    Tutorial 7

    Intro to Dynamics


    Dynamics is the range of volume for a sound, softest to loudest. Good dynamics are essential to creating a good mix. This tutorial gives you a foundation on what dynamics are, how they relate to your mix and sets you up for the rest of the tutorials in this chapter.

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    Tutorial 8

    Compression Overview


    Compressor Plug-Ins can be hard to understand initially. This tutorial details each parameter commonly found in a compressor, regardless of manufacturer. If you want to get comfortable with compression and how to use compressors, this is a must see.

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    Tutorial 9

    Compression on Acoustic Drums


    We look at the acoustic drums again, this time focusing on compression. In this video each element of the acoustic drum kit is detailed and discussed. Learn essential skills for taming volume, bringing out the ring, fattening or adding space to your acoustic drum mixes.

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    Tutorial 10

    Compression on Electronic Drums


    Compressing electronic drums can require a different approach than acoustic drums, so this tutorial focuses specifically on how you can use compressors to improve your mixes that use electronic drums.

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    Tutorial 11

    Compression on Guitar


    We revisit several different guitar riffs that cover a range of styles. Each style may need a different approach when using compression, so we take care to show you these differences and walk through the process with each different riff.

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    Tutorial 12

    Compression on Bass


    This video takes you through using compression on several different styles and examples of bass guitar. Learn how to tighten up the bass without losing too much low end and tons of other practical examples with real world use.

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    Tutorial 13

    Compression on Vocals


    This video takes another look at our male vocalist takes and shows how you can use compression to really smooth out vocal takes, add richness to your sound and more.


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    Tutorial 14

    Intro to Reverb


    Reverb is both simple and complex. In this video you get a good basic understanding the elements that make up the natural reverb you hear everyday and how those relate to the reverb plug-ins we use.

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    Tutorial 15

    Reverb Overview


    Learn all the various elements of a Reverb plug-in, what each means and how they each affect your audio.

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    Tutorial 16

    Using Reverb as a Send


    This video details how to set up a Reverb as a send and return type effect. This setup allows you to blend the reverb signal with the original signal much more effectively and really control your reverb. You also are able to share the one reverb amongst several tracks.

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    Tutorial 17

    Reverb on Drums


    Detailed instruction on how to effectively use reverb on the individual elements of your drums as well as the overall kit.

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    Tutorial 18

    Reverb on Guitar & Bass


    Essential reverb techniques for dealing with guitar and a detailed look at how reverb affects bass.

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    Tutorial 19

    Reverb on Vocals


    We take another look at the male vocals and see the effects reverb can have as well as some interesting and useful ways to use reverb on your vocals, in your mixes.


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    Tutorial 20

    Delay Overview


    This video describes what delay is, how it can be created and the common elements you will find in delay plug-ins.

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    Tutorial 21

    Delay on Drums


    Learn how you can use delay to add new life to your drum parts, give depth and add space. Also learn some more creative uses of delay with drums.

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    Tutorial 22

    Delay on Guitar & Bass


    This video goes through several different guitar and bass parts while showing you the various ways you can use delay to enhance these elements in your mixes.

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    Tutorial 23

    Delay on Vocals


    Delay can help blend your vocals, give them extra depth or thicken them up. It can be a great creative effect for production work or used subtly to help vocals fit in the mix. This video teaches you some practical uses and examples that you can implement.

In this series of training videos you'll learn the essential basics to properly and effectively use EQ, compression, delay and reverb plug-ins in any recording program! We don't just recite the textbook meaning of each knob and button, you're going to see and hear each of these plug-in types used on acoustic and live drums, guitar, bass and vocals.

The tutorials are shown in Ableton Live using Sonnox plug-ins as well as Live's built-in effects, but the theories and techniques are timeless and work with any brand plug-in or device. Get a rock-solid foundation on the most important tools that pro's use to make their mixes come to life and shine.

1. When did you start dabbling in music?

I have been living and breathing music, and music technology, for most of my life. I first got into music by learning guitar over 20 years ago, at around 11 years old, and after playing in bands throughout my school years. I studied Audio engineering at college, at first with analogue tape and MIDI gear using external synths and an early version of Cubase.

2. What training have you had?

After leaving school and earning a living playing in bands for a while I started working in live sound in the mid 1990s, working on a lot of live music events, large and small, while still writing and producing my own music, both solo and with various different bands.  By this time my music took more electronic focus, switching to Logic to sequence samplers, synths and drum machines, and record live instruments and vocals. 

3. When did you get into recording?

From 2000 I worked in a production studio in the UK, mainly using Logic, Cubase SX, Nuendo, Wavelab, Sound Forge and the Waves plug-ins for audio engineering, and Reason and Acid for music composition, until discovering Ableton Live in 2002.

4. People you have worked with/for?

When MIDI was added to Live in version 4, I focused much more on using Ableton Live with Native Instruments and Waves Plug-ins, getting to know them intimately. Over the last few years I have been an internal tester for Ableton’s upcoming versions and I am also an Ableton Certified Trainer.

5. Why are you so good at training people?

I am good at training people because I have an intimate relationship and passion with the technology I use. I strive to develop a deep understanding of the tools I use and genuinely want to share that expereince with others

Products by Craig

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    tutorial video

    Ableton Live 8 Explained - Vol 1

    This collection of Ableton Live video tutorials, presented by Ableton Certified Trainer Craig McCullough, will explain the features and functions of one of the worlds most revolutionary DAW’s, Ableton Live. Learn the important basics right the first time as Craig takes you through them step by step.

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    Ableton Live 8 Explained - Vol 2

    This collection of advanced Ableton Live video tutorials, presented by Ableton Certified Trainer Craig McCullough, will explain the deeper features and functions of Ableton Live. Craig offers knowledge that is sure to take your Ableton Live skills to the next level and make you a master.

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    Ableton Live Clip Tricks

    Use Ableton Live? Well then you need to know all of these awesome clip tricks! Ableton Certified Trainer Craig McCullough takes you through all of his personal favorites, one by one, in this power packed micro series, empowering you and your Ableton Live knowledge to work faster and more creatively.

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    tutorial video

    Designing Electronic Drums

    Ableton Certified Trainer Craig McCullough reveals the steps to design fat, brilliant modern and classic electronic drum sounds. The techniques Craig shows you can then be applied in any DAW and to any type of sound to make them stand out and be noticed!

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    DJ with Ableton Live - Vol 1

    Ableton Certified Trainer Craig McCullough takes you through the fundamentals of DJ'ing with Live, demystifying commonly misunderstood and overlooked skills and techniques needed to create a solid DJ set, and get the club moving.

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Effect Plug-Ins Explained is rated 5.0 out of 5 by 3.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very good tutorial, very good teacher Really enjoyed this tutorial...teacher has a good style. Things were explained well.
Date published: 2017-01-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the best tutorials I've watched. This tutorial gives an excellent overview of the effect and use of plugins. I enjoyed seeing how the plugins were used, what effects changes to the settings had on the sound, and the various examples. I'll probably watch it once more, to be sure I captured everything..
Date published: 2016-09-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent! Very detailed and well explained. Congratulations - I just learned a lot!
Date published: 2016-08-20
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