A few nights ago, at RSPE Audio here in L.A., I had the opportunity to hear R&B and hip-hop mix specialist Dave Pensado talk about his mixing techniques. Pensado has worked with a who’s who of name artists: Mary J Blige, Beyonce, Keyshia Cole, Christina Aguilera, Black Eyed Peas, Justin Timberlake, Destiny’s Child, Pink, Brian McKnight, Ice Cube, Warren G, Lil’ Kim, Mya, Elton John, Sting, Seal, Kelly Clarkson, and others. It was a pleasure to get an inside look into his mixing process, check out one of his Pro Tools sessions (an Aguilera song), and even ask him a few questions about parallel compression and how he uses it. (I’ll discuss what he said about parallel compression in another blog.)

While he was talking, he alluded to the fact that he had done a lot of articles where he talked about his mixing techniques. So, when I got home I googled him, and sure enough, there are some excellent articles available on the Web where he talks about most of the stuff he covered in the seminar. One of the best articles I found is from Sound On Sound, where he shares his actual plug-in settings from a couple of The Pussycat Dolls’ songs that he mixed, “Beep” featuring will.i.am, and “Buttons” featuring Snoop Dogg. The article is part of Sound On Sound’s inside track series, Secrets of the Mix Engineers: Dave Pensado. In fact, I think this is such a juicy article I don’t want to take a chance that it’ll be pulled off the Sound On Sound site so I’ve archived it as a Zip, along with all of the plug-in screen shots, and I’m attaching it to this blog. I hope you find it informative. If you do, be sure to thank Sound On Sound and Dave Pensado (he’s on Facebook).

Download the Zip: pensado_soundonsound

Now, here’s something that Pensado said in the seminar that stuck in my head. It’s not something that I’ve seen quoted in any of his articles. You know how I’m always going on about the importance of checking your mix on different speakers? I even wrote a blog awhile back on how to set up multiple monitors for checking your mixes, Setting Up Multiple Monitors for Better Mixing. Here’s what Pensado said, I think it’s excellent advice and totally hits the nail on the head.

“Probably 80% of consumers are listening to music on their computers and iPods. So, if you’re not checking your mix on ear buds you’re missing the boat.”

And, on that note, here’s the video for “Beep”, listen to it on your ear buds.

    Plain and simple todays music reality, I don’t even own an Ipod myself but I do have a pair of Ipod ear buds to check my mixes. Thanks for sharing the zip.

    What a great quote! Very true. I also like to test mixes inside a car with factory standard speakers, probably the second most used place people listen to music. Lot’s of panning ideas have come from that method of putting the mix in a practical scenario.

    That is a very obvious and important point.
    Too obvious ! Thanks for sharing with us.
    Like the above poster I do not own a portable MP3 player myself but I think it;s worth getting a decent quality set of buds for at least a quick listen.

    Before we go further, these music production lessons are unlike any other self-learning courses available on the internet today. It’s very clear that once you open it, it doesn’t briefly go over things you already know or gives you a few good teasers and then disappoints you. I personally don’t like to waste my time and hard earned money reading things that I could have just researched myself on the net.

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