Meeting Topic: CRAS Grad Mario McNulty "Anatomy of a Mix"
Moderator Name: Peter Gjerset
Speaker Name: CRAS Grad Mario McNulty
Other business or activities at the meeting: Nighttime event with Mark DeGeorge of SSL - Open to the public
Meeting Location: Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences 1205 N. Fiesta Blvd Gilbert Az
Mario McNulty took the current students of CRAS through his mixdown work flow on the song "Shake the Fire" that he worked on two years ago for the artist Sampson, who's real name is Kayleigh O'Connor. McNulty introduced us to his presentation by strongly articulating the importance of labeling as an engineer. Slowly making his way through the 48 voices used in this mix, he explained how he keeps his separate instrument groups colored and organized. McNulty eased us into the in-depth view of the processors and plug-ins used in this song; however, once he did, he dug deep. He began his explanation with the kick drum, saying "The main thing for me in my kick is that I can't compress it too much. It needs to breathe in the song." From there he progressed through the song, voice by voice, showing us the steps he would take throughout his mixing process, stopping along the way to point out plug-ins used, such as, 'PanMan,' 'Manny Marroquin Triple D,' and his favorite EQ for vocals 'Waves CLA-76.' McNulty used the Phoenix II plug-in on Kayleigh's vocals, which produced a "whole other level of chest voice." While working this track, he also took off the top end of EQ and pushed the mid frequencies so the vocals could really be heard. After working on vocals, which followed the percussion and bass tracks in his work flow, McNulty said "just analyze what's going on in the song now and move from there." From here he advanced onto guitars, synths, and sound effects and then transitioned onto a broader spectrum of adding in bits and pieces throughout the rest of the tracks. Following McNulty's thorough breakdown of his mixing process, there was time for a Q&A. During this time, he states "sometimes you just need the maturity to accept that a certain voice or sound doesn't need to be changed or automated." Then when asked the question, "What genre do you consider the easiest to mix?" he responded with "That's a really good question... Depending on whether the song is good or not, whether you actually enjoy mixing the song that you're working on, will be how difficult that song is to mix. McNulty's presentation was an appreciated and thorough look into the future for many of us aspiring engineers.
Written By: CRAS AES Officeholder Jared B.