Remixing

Author: Erik Hawkins | Course Code: OMPRD-385

The "remix" has been a key marketing and creative concept in the music industry for years. Business savvy record labels have been releasing alternate mixes of hit songs in order to reach larger audiences since 12-inch record singles became popular in the late 1970s. Today, the remixing craze is in high gear, driven by the rise of electronic music (from dance to hip-hop), the proliferation of affordable remixing tools (such as powerful laptop computers and amazing music production software programs), the Internet (for ease of distribution and websites that host serious remixing contests), and national ad campaigns that use the term "remix" as a catchphrase for marketing everything from soft drinks to magazines.

However, behind the remixing craze lies a serious craft. In fact, beginning in 1998, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS, The Grammy people) recognized the technical and creative skills necessary to be an accomplished remixer and created a specific award category for Best Remixed Recording. This is very much deserved, especially since Remixing has been culturally significant over the years as an incubator for new music and technical innovation. Indeed, the practice of remixing has helped to foster many innovative music production techniques and sounds that have ultimately bubbled up through the underground into today's popular music.

This course focuses on the production techniques employed by the pros, professional remixers who earn money from their remixes and, occasionally, even a Grammy or two. To keep up with the class, you will need a powerful DAW program and a good understanding of your software. Your DAW program must have excellent audio editing, mixing, MIDI sequencing, and tempo mapping and warping capabilities. In addition, you'll need plenty of virtual instruments and effects for composing new parts and sound design. A few examples of DAW programs that meet all of these criteria are: Pro Tools, Live, Logic, and Reason.

The skills required to remix have a lot of practical applications beyond simply producing remixes. In this class you will learn not only the technical skills necessary to produce professional sounding remixes, but also how to "think outside the box," to hear a song's possibilities beyond its original arrangement and musical style. These skills will translate seamlessly to many areas of your own musical endeavors, from producing original material to thinking of ways for an artist to reach new audiences.

In this course, you will produce remixes based on several different types of source material: stereo masters, a cappellas, breakout tracks (Stems), and multitrack sessions. As the lessons progress, each remixing assignment will tackle another side of the remixing process that is more challenging than the last. Along the journey, you will learn to:

  • Identify the differences between an original and remixed version of a song
  • Legally obtain material for remixing
  • Employ appropriate virtual instruments and effects to remix a song
  • Sound design effective "ear candy" for your remix
  • Recognize the difference between warping and recycling audio
  • Understand ticks-based versus sample-based tracks
  • Tempo map a song
  • Perform flawless tempo changes
  • Compose new tracks that fit perfectly over the original song
  • Remix practically any type of source material
  • Build DJ friendly songs
  • Produce professional sounding remixes
  • Prepare your remixes for distribution and live performance

Lesson 1: The Art of Remixing

  • Definition of "Remix"
  • A Remake is Not A Remix
  • History of Remixing
  • Exercise: Listening to Remixes
  • Workshop: Remix Fun Machine
  • Remix Source Material
  • Finding Tracks to Remix
  • Assignment: Find a Remix Material Resource

Lesson 2: Getting ReWired

  • ReWire Explained
  • Discussion: Do You Have ReWire Experience?
  • Pro Tools Meet Reason
  • Pro Tools MIDI Control of Reason's Devices
  • Extreme Audio Routing
  • Workshop: Advanced ReWire Audio Connections
  • Exercise: Making All the Connections
  • Managing CPU Resources
  • Quiz
  • Assignment: Creating ReWire Session Templates

Lesson 3: Tempo Changes in Pro Tools

  • Recycling Audio
  • Time Compression/Expansion
  • Workshop: Comparing the Two Methods
  • Discussion: Comment on the Two Methods
  • Beat Detective Basics
  • Exercise: Beat Detective Test Drive
  • Tick-Based Audio Tracks
  • REX Files
  • Discussion: Tick-Based Audio Tracks and Import REX Audio Files
  • Elastic Audio
  • Exercise: Elastic Audio Test Drive (Remixing Radiohead)
  • Quiz
  • Assignment: Tempo Change the Loops

Lesson 4: Remixing a Stereo Master

  • Stereo Master Recording
  • Definition of a Mash-Up
  • Discussion: Stereo Master Remix versus Mashups
  • Choose a Tempo and Conform
  • Select and Edit Your Loops
  • Exercise: Rearrange the Regions
  • Adding Your Own Parts
  • EQ Filtering for a Better Fit
  • Quiz
  • Assignment: Remix a Stereo Master Recording

Lesson 5: A Cappella Remix

  • A Cappella Remix Distinctions
  • Discussion: Pros and Cons of Remixing an A Cappella
  • Importing the A Cappella
  • Locking the A Cappella to Tempo
  • Vocals in the Rough
  • Exercise: Repair the Tempo Drift
  • Micro-Editing for Perfect Vocals
  • Workshop: Micro-Editing Vocals
  • Adding a Beat and the Music
  • Workshop: Match the A Cappella to the Music
  • Quiz
  • Assignment: Remix an A Cappella

Lesson 6: Remixing Breakout Tracks

  • Breakout Track Details
  • Discussion: The Advantage of Breakout Tracks
  • Setting Up the Breakouts Tracks
  • Workshop: Organize the Breakouts Tracks
  • Groove Quantize
  • Micro-Editing Instrument Parts
  • Exercise: Make These Tracks Groove Together
  • Working with Loops in Pro Tools
  • Quiz
  • Assignment: Remix the Breakout Tracks

Lesson 7: Remixing a Multitrack Pro Tools Session

  • Multitrack Session Sources
  • Discussion: Other Multitrack Sources at Your Disposal?
  • Another System's Session
  • Multitrack Remix Strategies
  • Importing Audio Regions and Tracks
  • Steps for Completing a Remix
  • Workshop: 12-Step Remixing Program
  • Quiz
  • Assignment: Prepare the Multitrack for Remixing

Lesson 8: Recording New Parts

  • The Game Plan
  • Drum Loops and MIDI Samples
  • MIDI Groove Extraction
  • Exercise: Map and Groove the MIDI Files
  • Instrument Loops and MIDI Samples
  • Strategies for Staying in Key
  • Discussion: Got MIDI Samples?
  • Quiz
  • Assignment: Lots of New Parts

Lesson 9: Structure and Transitions

  • Traditional Song Structure
  • Remix Song Structure
  • Exercise: Find a Mix-In Example
  • Producing Variation and Transitions Between Sections
  • Exercise: Find a Studio-Produced Transition Example
  • Pro-Tools Arrangement Tools
  • Quiz
  • Assignment: Produce Your Remix Song Structure

Lesson 10: Final Music Production

  • Sound Design Techniques
  • Advanced Stutter Tricks
  • Discussion: Share Any Other Final Music Production Tricks
  • Mix While You Go
  • Identifying High-Impact Production Points
  • Assignment: The Final Music Production

Lesson 11: Mixing

  • EQ for Club and Radio Play
  • Compress to Control Dynamics
  • Various Mixing Tips
  • Workshop: Identify the Effect
  • Sound Replacement
  • Discussion: Share Any Special Mix Tricks
  • Mixing Steps Review
  • Quiz
  • Assignment: Do the Mix

Lesson 12: Mastery and Delivery

  • Distribution Plans
  • Distribution Channels
  • Discussion: Plans for Your Remixes
  • Mastering Choices at Each Step
  • Workshop: Mastering Steps
  • Indications of the Changing Times
  • Discussion: Comment on the Industry Changes
  • Quiz
  • Assignment: Master Your Remix
  • Next Steps

Erik Hawkins

Author & Instructor

Erik Hawkins is a composer, producer, remixer, and author whose talents and technical expertise have leaders in the music industry calling him a "taste maker." He has worked with and remixed a variety of top artists, including Irene Cara, Digital Underground, Conscious Daughters, Strypper, Brenda Russell, and DJ Sasha. His own progressive dance music tracks have been used by major television networks and film studios, including ABC, CBS, MTV, Nickelodian, and New Line Cinema. Some of the TV shows and films in which his music can be heard include Ugly Betty, CSI:Miami, Burn Notice, Big Brother, The Last Day of Summer, The Disaster Movie, and The Informers.

More than one hundred of his articles have appeared in the industry's top publications, including Electronic Musician, Mix, and Keyboard. He's had monthly columns in Remix, MC2, and DigiZine. He has authored several books, including Studio-in-a-Box (ArtistPro, 2001) and the Complete Guide to Remixing (Berklee Press, 2003).

For lots of cool music production tips and tricks, check out his Berklee Online blog page:

http://blogs.online.berklee.edu/erikhawkins

To hear more samples of his music, visit his Web sites:

http://www.facebook.com/erikhawkmusic http://soundcloud.com/erikhawkmusic http://www.youtube.com/user/muzicali http://twitter.com/erikhawk

Online Courses Taught by Erik

Pro Tools 101Pro Tools 110Producing Music with ReasonRemixingProgramming and Producing Drum Beats

Prerequisites

Do you have the pre-requisite knowledge required for this course? Take our self-assessment quiz to find out.

Software Requirements

  • Any DAW software program with comprehensive MIDI, virtual instruments, effects and audio capabilities. For example, Pro Tools, Live, Cubase, Sonar, Logic, and Reason.
  • PC Web Browser: Firefox (recommended), Chrome, Internet Explorer (or Edge)
  • Mac Web Browser: Firefox (recommended), Chrome, Safari
  • Flash Player: current version
  • Adobe Reader: current version

Hardware Requirements

  • USB to MIDI keyboard controller
  • High quality external audio interface (recommended)
  • Studio quality monitor speakers (recommended)
  • Windows 7 or higher or Mac OSX 10.7 or higher
  • 4 GB RAM or more
  • At least 20 GB of free hard disk space

Comments

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Next Term Starts June 27


  • Level
  • Duration
    12 weeks
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