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Mixing with FREE Plug-Ins

Mixing music with plug-ins has become the norm these days, but is it possible to create a great sounding mix with plug-ins that offered for free? Well, Russ Hughes says "YES" and shows you some great plug-ins that are available for free and how to use them on a mix. Russ even includes the audio file stems from the tutorials so you can practice mixing along!

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Introduction 3m:35s

Russ welcomes you and talks about how it's possible to mix a track with just FREE plug-ins. He then shows you around the track and talks about the mix and how sometimes the problem is not a lack of money, but simply a lack of imagination.


Drums & Percussion 20m:51s

See how to make super low kicks and sizzling top end using some very nice free EQ and comps and getting the kit, percussion and loops sounding great.


Bass Guitar 3m:36s

Learn how to dial in a warm, rich bottom end that sits under the bed of a song with just 2 plug-ins and some cool tricks!


Piano 5m:59s

Discover how to make a piano sit right in the centre of a mix without losing any of its clarity or tone.


Acoustic Guitar 7m:33s

Have you ever wondered how to get acoustic guitars that push the track along without appearing too high in the mix? All it needs is one free compressor, one free EQ and a little bit of tape saturation.


Synths & Echo 4m:15s

A solid synth line can help keep a pop track moving. Russ explains how to use a powerful delay unit to give it some extra interest and space in the mix.


Electric Guitars 8m:11s

Russ describes the common problems associated with recording guitars through modeling amps and how to give your guitars some real bite and character in the mix.


The Vocals 11m:41s

Russ shows how to sit a main vocal in a mix and then bring in a nice big set of backing vocals that add texture and space. He also explores a couple of low cost reverbs that you may want to consider for your mixes, but also shows you how to give the vocal some space without spending any money.


The Final Mix 5m:44s

Watch Russ take a couple of plug-ins and glue the whole mix together. Then, he challenges you to go out and mix some great tracks of your own. With free plug-ins and this training there's really nothing to stop you!

Russ Hughes

1. When did you start dabbling in music?

I started young. My father was a Jazz piano player who would play Oscar Peterson on the piano, I would go in as a kid and sit and listen to him in wonder. When he left the room I would try and knock out tunes myself. When I was 15 I swapped my bike for a really bad electric guitar which I went home and plugged into my sister's hi-fi, she was not impressed. From there I started having bands in the garage and the rest, as they say, is history.

2. What training have you had?

As a musician, no formal training, I just picked things up by ear. Over the years I've been lucky to work and play with some of the best musicians around, that rubs off on you, playing with great people means you either get better or get a different job! As a trainer I've done a lot of public speaking, presentations and seminars to groups of anything from 10 to 3,000 people. Again, you either get good or get hungry.

3. When did you get into recording?

When I was 17 I bought myself a Tascam 244 Portastudio, that was a 4 track cassette based recording system that cost around $1800! In those days that was a miracle being able to record and mix on separate tracks. Once I got that then I was hooked, in fact I forgotten the stuff I've bought over the years, I just look music and technology and so recording ticks both of my passion boxes!

4. People you have worked with/for?

It's a long list and to name drop would sound like throwing pans down a stone staircase. I've worked with and for, in a technical and programming capacity UB40, T-Pau, Elton John, The Beat, New Order, Jools Holland, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Duran Duran, and Japan to name some of those blasts from the past... I'm old!

5. Why are you so good at training people?

I didn't know I was, perhaps it's the combination of my passion for the music and the gear coupled with a genuine desire to help people to use their gear without any barriers. I read the manual as a last resort (often because they are so badly written) so I guess that other's may feel the same, so I try to find a way of making things as simple as possible, I try not to pretend to be an expert, more a guy who's just figured it out. I also have a terrible sense of humour, which means when I train live there are a lot of laughs.

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