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Learning: Nail the Mix – Metal Music Production Techniques


Following my recent Doom Style music composition Cyb3rDemon H8te, I wanted to improve my metal music mixing skills. In fact, this was something I am trying to do this since a very long time, watching tutorials almost on a daily basis since years. But I needed something which goes deeper than usual tips and tricks and plugin review. I needed to see full mix session.

Two months ago, I discovered the perfect website for this: Nail the Mix, by URM academy. It is a website where you can watch videos of full mixing sessions (usually up to 6-8 hours), from top artists, mixed by the original engineer/producer behind the mix. Watching some of your favorite bands favorite songs being mixed, starting from the original recordings, is really stimulating. The bonus is that you also got access to the raw tracks so you can try to mix them too, with your own taste and techniques. No need to focus on composition: you have all the sounds who made the final track, you just need to make them actually sounds good, big, and sharp. The platform has few ergonomics issues but the price is affordable which makes it very nice.

So I watched tons of these tutorials, like the Vildjartha one, and also try to replicate some mixes, like Humanity’s Last Breath, Allt, Emmure, Spiritbox, Jinjer, Loathe, and I also remixed some others like Tallah and King 810… Count about 6-8 hours per videos and add about the twice as that for mixing, few investment for new plugins here and there (Fab FIlter Timeless, Elevate Bundle, DSEQ…), and you will got an idea of how deep I felt into this exercises. I even did Allt twice (one time with Friops)!

Unfortunately, I can’t share these mixes online, it is for private use only for obvious copyright reason. But if you come by, I will for sure make you listen. I felt I have learn tons of things in these tutorials, taking notes and trying new workflows, and my mixes are sounding better already. My previous Doom Style track would benefit from a bit of remix IMHO, but I prefer to make another one. 😋

The main lessons I got from these are:

  • Everyone is mixing differently, artistically speaking. Though there are some common things we see almost everytime (like Fab FIlters Pro-Q plugin), there is tons of different approach for the same issue. Side chain bass from kick or not, Soothe guitar or not, Reamping guitar or full DSP, recorded drums with or without drum triggers or MIDI drums etc…
  • Don’t hesitate to be extreme. Several clipper in chains, lots of saturation and tape/tube emulators, huge EQ bump or cut etc… if it sounds good, it is good.
  • Think of mix direction: what you want to do, and what you are starting with.
  • Top-down or semi top down mixing approach, though not my favorite approach, can be interesting.

So after about 30 hours of tutorials if not more and about 10 tracks mixed, I should be ready for mixing other metal tracks. Maybe some compositions? Other Nail the Mix? Well, wait and see, but for sure, I want to be able to share something! 🤘

Meanwhile, it felt very good to actually use REAPER for other things than pure scripting, and to make actual music! I should do that more often! 🎸