Audio Mastering Using Waves Infected Mushroom Pusher PART TWO
In this second video (see below) I go into detail about how this plugin can help you to shape and master your music using the Infected Mushroom Pusher in Logic Pro X. It's a great plugin and would be a good addition to any mastering chain. miL takes one last look at this great plugin and discusses both it's sound and function within mastering.
Infected Mushroom Pusher for Logic X
Waves claim the Infected Mushroom Pusher will give you Infected Mushroom's "Secret mixing sauce" with their multiband sonic enhancer and Limiter, which is designed to bring new sonic possibilities all into one plugin?
So will it bring new tone shaping possibilities and more importantly will it give you Infected Mushroom's "secret mixing sauce?" Well let's find out if this plugin can help you create better sounding tracks in Logic Pro?
As my site mastering in logic is all about teaching you the process of mastering and Waves sees this plugin as both a mixing and mastering tool I'm going to look at the Infected Mushroom Pusher from a mastering perspective.
First off I wouldn't strictly say it's a one stop shop mastering tool although you can use it on its own without any other plugins and you'll get great results. Like any mastering tool it's usually best to use it with other ingredients to get the best possible sound from you music.
As it's a celebrity plugin I've put a rough track together in the style, very loosely, based on the group (See video). They say it's a plugin that will get your music sounding better within seconds?
I put that to the test to see if it's true?
So before we get going let's take a look at the plugin's various dials and sliders.
The plugin essentially has an EQ section, dynamics section, stereo and Limiting options with bypass buttons for the EQ and dynamics section.
The input is really easy to use and has a great feature that I really like. The sensitivity LED is like a traffic light system for your music's input levels. When the LED is off the signal is too low, green is good, yellow is optimal and of course red is for digital danger! i.e Clipping.
For mastering and as stated in the manual make sure that when you set the input level you play the loudest parts of your track to get an accurate input level. Of course if you've mixed correctly though and the level is set right you shouldn't need to touch the input dial unless you want to drive the signal more, which will allow you to saturate the signal a little.
For the EQ section there are a three tones shaping options
Starting with the High, as the manual states it will add some sparkle to the mix probably with some kind of fixed high shelf? I've found the high end on this plugin to be very good, plugins for me especially on the top can often be very brittle and require careful setting although you'll need to keep it fairly subtle but the Infected Mushroom Pusher has a very good top end EQ to bring out the highs especially hats and percussion.
The Body dial works well too, and this track in particularly responds well to the mix but as with most low mid EQs it's all down to the mix. Add too much to the wrong track and you could end up with a rather cloudy mix lacking in focus so be careful.
Something I like about this plugin is it's not over the top and when dialling in higher numbers resulting in a more subtle boost, which is a good thing because let's face it we all like to crank the dials up!
For the low I see it as essentially a low shelf but it's a lot more than that under the hood the processing is both low end eq and some kind of harmonic saturation. One thing that I've found using the low is unlike a lot plugin this one seems to add a nice rich warmth that analog sound you might say. That's quite hard to find in a lot of plugins and therefore I think makes the Infected Mushroom Pusher a good choice for Logic Pro users looking to add some richness to their mixes.
The other much discussed feature is the root key system, in other words the relationship between pitch and frequency, of course frequency and pitch are the same thing any EQ can be set to target a specific note but it's nice for convenience sake to quickly dial it in.
For example with the track I demonstrate with in the YouTube video the key is Cm so I've gone for the 5th of the scale, which is the note G, it seems to gives good results for this particular track. For your music you can dial in using the main bass note of the track or other notes from the scale to see which frequencies have the best impact on the low end. That's not to say you have to stick to the key it's a guide and you might find the low end responds better to using a note not in the scale of your song. Either way I like the idea of the Root Key system.
The dynamics section really is the area of the plugin that will pull frequencies forward in the mix and this really is the part of the plug that has that magic sauce. So what is it all about I hear you cry?
The magic dial is an exciter, it will excite frequencies and boost the dynamics which can be further controlled by the Focus and Dynamic Punch sliders.
The more mushroom magic you dial in I find the more forward the mix sounds particularly in the upper mids, I guess this is because the upper mids are being excited more and our ears are more sensitive to those frequencies.
If you write electronic music and want more bite and punch you'll find higher settings with the Dynamic Punch slider will give really good results. If you write music that doesn't need quite as much transient punch you'll find lower settings will work much better.
The Focus slider is all about taste I have found the Focus slider useful to bring the mix into
..more focus in the upper mids especially with higher settings. Carefully combining the Focus and Dynamic Punch can really bring out pleasant qualities in the upper mids.
The stereo image dial is linked to the Magic section, I'll be honest I'm not 100% sure why? Perhaps there's some kind of side chaining with higher Magic settings but to be honest I'm struggling hear how they are linked? Just be aware if you bypass the Magic settings you'll bypass the stereo imaging dial.
Having said that I'm not really that bothered about understanding the science behind the Infect Pusher plugin, I'll leave that to the Waves coding gurus all I'm ultimately interested in is does it sound good and can I use in my Logic Pro mastering chain? And as far as I'm concerned I can in some cases!
With regards to the stereo imaging it's actually quite subtle compared to say Waves's S1 Imaging tool and even though the widening affects the upper frequencies most I found you still have to be careful, if you set this too wide you'll loose some of your kick, snare and bass from the middle, so settings in my opinion for mastering should be anything from 0 to +6 maybe touch more depending on the material.
The Limiter is really good but it is Waves so I would expect it to be; it doesn't smash the mix to bits but you can easily add gain and the Clip and Limit modes allow you Limit the music in different ways, which is a great feature giving you more option for how your music will ultimately sound.
Clip is great for mastering it's gentle on the mix leaving transients intact you could say it's somewhat more transparent meaning you can push it quite hard without killing your music.
The Limit mode is softer and warmer on the mix and to me seems to smooth transients ever so slightly, which can be good if you want to add a touch of warmth to the mix. Acoustic music for example might benefit from Limit mode as it will soften and warm the music but not so much that you lose the essence of strumming. Whatever style of music you write though make sure your experiment and see what works best for your music masters.
The output section is easy it allows you to adjust the output. For me and in relation to mastering I'd leave this at either -0.1 to -0.3 so the signal passes through the plug to output just below 0dBFS. For A/Bing you could use a console similar to the one I demonstrate in the video guide, I talk about this in greater detail in the mastering course, which you can get here. I've set it up in Logic like this so that I can easily A/B the mastered track with the original mix at the same volume. This is extremely important and something mastering engineers do all the time so they can truly track and gauge how they are affecting the mix with their processing moves.
IMP IN ACTION
In the tutorial video I wanted to bring the upper mids forward, add warmth to the low end and perhaps widen the mix a little. The Infected Mushroom Pusher has all the tools in one plugin to do all of those things and sounds like a perfect choice for the job!
All in all for mastering in Logic the Infected Mushroom Pusher is a great choice and Waves have designed a plugin that really should be seriously considered for part of your mastering chain. It's focused more of Electronic music but I think it would work well on all styles of music and of course could be used just as an EQ, exciter, stereo spreader or limiter, just because it gets loaded into a chain doesn't mean you have to use every function .... although there are so many great features you'll be hard pushed not to be infected by this plugin!
I hope you have found this video on the Infected Mushroom Pusher helpful and if you own it find it useful in creating better sounding music using Logic Pro X.
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Thanks again and happy mixing and mastering!