In the soundlab w/ Kini Rao
Big props to these production chops! Kini Rao – spanning deep house to techno, lets us take a sneak peek into her studio to see how it’s done. With crisp mixes and banging beats, her (tried and tested – what with 4 releases under her belt) formula has been proven to churn out top shelf tunes.
Tips and tricks, from yet another soundlab where we let the music speak for itself.
What’s your room-treatment like: Professional or D.I.Y?
My room has no treatment at all believe it or not! I’m quite lucky to have a naturally nice-sounding room, and I’m very used to the ‘sound’ of the room itself. There is some furniture that helps to absorb any reflections, and I have some thick blackout blinds to help with the outside noise but other than that, it is what it is! The room is not a perfect square either, so that helps as well.
Biggest acoustic-challenge in the studio for you would be?
I had a lot of resonance happening at 128khz with my Mackies which made it very difficult to get an accurate mix, but I’ve just upgraded monitors and that seems to have helped a great deal. The room is amazingly well balanced for something that hasn’t been treated professionally.
And there was a highly annoying Koel bird outside my window singing for days on end, but I don’t know if that qualifies as an acoustic challenge.
Your first rule of mixing is?
Make sure the track itself is a killer track before starting to mix it. It’s essential to have a crisp, clean mix of course, but if the parts and arrangement etc. don’t sound like a great record, then you’re just shining the proverbial you know what. Get the tracks, parts and arrangement sounding as good as possible before you start polishing it. On the technical side, I try to do more subtractive eq’ing rather than eq boosting, unless I’m going for a specific sound or effect.
Last thing you do before your final bounce?
Take a long break. If I come back to a track I’ve been working on, a few hours after a break or even a day or two later, and it still sounds great, then I bounce it down.
What does your master channel strip look like once you’re done with a project?
I started out by using one of logic’s presets called “Final Pop Mastering” or something like that. It’s a pretty nice sounding chain actually. But I’ve upgraded some of the settings to include a different multi band compressor, and a higher end SSL style EQ, as well as a nice limiter. Sometimes I may even put a Sonalkis TBK filter as the first piece in the chain, if I want to do some low cutting or something across the entire track.
What computer are you using?
Mac book pro
Logic 9, Ableton 8
NI audio 8
Equator DSP 5
Best place to check the mix?
I check my headphones and my hifi stereo, but the true test is in the nightclubs. I’ll test my tracks at my gigs and make note of any adjustments that need to happen.
Worst place to check the mix?
I’m not sure there is a worst place? The mix has to sound good anywhere. Even on your laptop speakers you need to be able to hear the click of the kick etc.
Did any hardware go onto this?
Unfortunately not. I’d love to have an impressive list of hardware at my disposal, but I don’t as of yet! Having said that, I am a firm believer that more gear doesn’t necessarily make for better music!
written by Sanaya Ardeshir