During my time with EPP, I made a lot of beats. At one point, Underground Dinosaurs was going to be a double album that came in a large pizza box instead of the five-song EP it ended up being. Obviously, a good number of them were never used.
Years have passed, and I have collected all these unused gems to finally find a use for them. Thanks to a combination of poor organizational skills and a long tradition of changing plugins, I no longer have the session files for most of them. This has forced me to use the original mixdowns, and not all of them are up to today’s standard.
This is where my restoration chain comes in. Using varying levels of EQ, pitch correction, filtering, and saturation, I’ve been going back through and rebalancing these mixes so they all have the fullness and punch that should be expected in 2019.
RBass + L3 + RX
My older stuff mostly suffers from three problems:
1. Imbalanced low midrange
2. Excessive high end
3. Not enough compression
I was always trying to do this thing where I kept all the dynamics, so I never did enough compression or limiting. This has worked out in my favor, as I can now apply that limiting with Waves’ L316 plugin, or just the regular L3 if I can get away with it. I also failed to reinforce the low midrange, so some careful application of RBass brings those frequencies into focus.
Fixing the high end is a little trickier, as attenuating those spiky frequencies without making the song too dull sounding is a difficult balancing act. To accomplish this, I use iZotope RX’s De-ess module and set it to “output noise only,” then adjust until I’m hearing all the harshness in the song, then apply the process. Next, a high pass filter and a low shelf removes any low frequency information that I might have picked up. Once left with just the harshness in the high frequencies, I save this file as a copy, and reopen the original file.
The final step is to use De-bleed on the original track, using the track I just saved as a source. De-bleed will now reduce just the high frequencies to the correct levels without making everything overly dull or removing any of the other information.
It’s important to note that I only process the instrumental in this way once the vocals are in place. There could be some extra texture in the vocals that work better with different settings, so there’s no point in doing the same work twice.
Find out how well this trick works when Back In The System comes out later this year. 😉