Get to know: how and when to use FAST Reveal
We dive deeper into FAST Reveal with producer and FAST user, Jonathan Campbell, and explore how and when to use the plugin.
Q: When have you used FAST Reveal in your music?
A: There are a few different scenarios that I use it in, but for the same core reason — when you can’t get two sounds to sit nicely with each other. For example, vocals and pads, both want to shine through. FAST Reveal makes it easy to have the vocal come out on top, without affecting the sonic qualities of either instrument.
Before FAST Reveal, when both sounds were playing and you couldn't tell which one was better, making one sound louder didn’t solve the problem. Increasing one sound would alter the whole mix and make the job harder when volumes are skewed and particular elements aren't playing together. Volume automation was the solution previously, but it's fiddly and takes time, taking you out of the creative flow. Having FAST Reveal saves you a lot of time and avoids the need to fine-tune volume automation across an entire track.
Q: At what stage in the music-making process do you use FAST Reveal? Leave it to mix down? Or chuck it on when you are composing ideas?
A: Personally, I mix as I go — although it isn’t the final mix. After the creative part is ‘done’, the mixing magic happens. When I’m in the flow of making music, FAST Reveal helps me to quickly sort out clashing frequencies between two parts, so you can hear what's happening with a lot more clarity. The headspace of mixing is a different frame-of-mind, FAST Reveal allows you to mix on the go without exiting that headspace.
Q: What do clashing low and high frequencies sound like, in which situations are you likely to spot them?
A: Clashes happen everywhere, but low-end is a lot more obvious because it's what we would call in music production, _muddy_ (when two sounds blur together). On the flip-side, when mixing with headphones, the high-ends of instruments can be very obvious. FAST Reveal is great for mid-high end frequencies — due to producers working in small spaces or innapropiate mixing spaces, these frequencies tend to be missed due to the listening environment you’re in.
It can be hard to spot clashes, especially if you’re starting out with music production. FAST Reveal highlights things visually, it analyses for you when you can't hear it yourself. If your ears are struggling to identify audio problems or the room you’re in means you’re missing the competing instruments in your mix, seeing them with your eyes helps massively.
Q: What happens when you don't have FAST Reveal on?
A: As touched upon, different rooms and spaces will highlight clashes, as every space is unique. Bass instruments blur into one, and you can’t distinguish between the separate parts, especially when talking about the kick drum and a bass synth or bass guitar. In one space your mix might sound okay but in another have no clarity between parts sharing the same frequency range. Having FAST Reveal on means your mix will sound clear anywhere.
Q: A common term that’s used in music production can be linked to FAST Reveal — so what is a ‘bus’?
A: A ‘bus’ is a channel that puts multiple channels together. It’s a great way to group sounds such as melodic instruments, vocal layers, drums, etc. Processing things this way groups your audio together and is a more efficient way of mixing, saving that precious CPU on your machine. With FAST Reveal in mind, you might want your vocal to sit on top of everything — bussing multiple melodic parts together will solve this, and save you using FAST Reveal on multiple channels.
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