Kim Lajoie's blog

Six ways to get bigger beats

by Kim Lajoie on September 13, 2010

Who doesn’t want bigger beats? Well, maybe your neighbours. But maybe you don’t like your neighbours. Who am I to judge? I just supply the tools. It’s up to you to use them ethically. Here are some quick tips: Depth. Separate your drums into two groups – main foreground drums (kick and snare) and secondary […]

Five ways to deal with an ugly vocal

by Kim Lajoie on May 31, 2010

Every once in a while as a producer or engineer, a project will come your way with one of those singers. With an… unconventional voice. Maybe they’re inexperienced. Maybe their voice is just like that. Maybe they’re doing it deliberately because they like it. Whatever the reason, you’ll recognise this kind of project by that […]

What’s wrong with transient shapers?

by Kim Lajoie on April 19, 2010

Transient shapers are processors that adjust the dynamics of a sound. Rather than changing the dynamic range like a compressor, transient shapers operate only on the initial onset of the sound – the transient. The initial smack of a drum. The plink of a piano. The pick of a guitar or bass. They don’t work […]

Five compression mistakes and how to avoid them.

by Kim Lajoie on January 11, 2010

Compressors are complex tools and, like most other audio engineering tools, there are more ways to set them up ‘wrong’ than there are to set them up ‘right’. If you’re careful though, you won’t fall into these common traps: Too much gain reduction. You know you’ve done this when you’ve got tons on gain reduction […]

Sweetening your mix bus, and why you shouldn’t wait for mastering to do it

by Kim Lajoie on January 4, 2010

There’s a case to be made for ‘sweetening’ your mix bus. ┬áMany mixes can benefit from some subtle processing to bring out the best qualities of the tone of the mix and to use dynamics to give the mix a more compact, controlled sound. To bring out the best qualities of the tone of the […]

The case against compressed drums (articulation vs texture)

by Kim Lajoie on August 12, 2009

Don’t overcompress those drums! When drums are compressed, the body of the drums is brought up in level (relative to the transient). This creates the perception of longer sustain, making the drums sound bigger. By bringing up the level of the audio between the transients, there is more sound overall. This makes the drums sound […]

Effects on a send

by Kim Lajoie on August 11, 2009

Sends are an interesting component of mixer topologies. They allow a combination of mixing and parallel processing. When several channels have non-zero gain applied to a send, they are mixed together, sent through whatever processing is assigned to the send, and then returned on a new channel. The processing on the send ‘hears’ a mix […]

Soft-knee compression

by Kim Lajoie on July 29, 2009

So, you think you’re pretty familiar with compressors. You know how they work, what they do. You know what the basic controls do – attack, release, ratio and threshold. But maybe you’re not sure about ‘knee’. Something about being soft? What is knee, and – more importantly – what is it useful for? Normal compressors […]

Limiting vs Clipping

by Kim Lajoie on July 7, 2009

Limiting is an extreme approach to compression. Where compression reduces the degree by which sounds can go louder than the threshold, limiting is designed to stop sounds from being any louder than the threshold at all. Limiters usually have simpler controls to compressors, but are functionally similar to compressors with high ratio and fast attack. […]