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Watch a Hip-Hop and R&B Mixing Masterclass

Watch a Hip-Hop and R&B Mixing Masterclass

Get Grammy-winning tips from Young Guru and Anthony Cruz, and learn to dial-in your mixes using UAD plug‑ins.

In this episode of UA Live, legendary hip-hop engineers Young Guru (Jay-Z, Kanye West) and Anthony Cruz (DJ Khaled, Ne-Yo) are pitted against each other in a multi-round mixing battle of the track "Bless Up," from UA's Beat Maker Challenge.

From importing and fine-tuning mix stems to preparing your master bus for the finished product, learn how to make every step of your mix count with these two masters.

18:02 Set your Levels First

Learn how Guru “clip-gains” all his stems, hunting down stray dynamics and bringing his faders to unity before he even thinks about applying EQ and compression.

28:30 Dialing in Kicks & Snares

Watch as Guru smalllays with EQ levels on the kick and snare drums, “going overboard” and then pulling back to find just the right combination of lows and highs.

50:22 Adjust Kick Drum Attack

Listen as Cruz pulls in the UAD 610-B, Precision Buss Compressor, and Helios Type 69 to fine-tune the attack of his kicks. “You’ll thank me later, okay?”

1:08:16 Monitor Tips

Guru and Cruz discuss the importance of knowing the response of your near-field monitors, the ones you’ll spend the lion’s share of your mixing time on.

1:10:26 Let’s Get It On

Cruz is challenged to exploit the virtues of the Vertigo V-SC2 Compressor plug-in, while Cruz is tasked with making optimal use of the Harrison 32C EQ.

1:39:50 Crush your Drums

Learn how Cruz and Guru crush drum groups with the API 2500 Compressor plug-in. Then watch as they blend the crushed sound back into the main drum group.

2:41:24 Add Shine & Shimmer to Vocals

Here, Cruz explains how he uses ping-pong delays from the UAD Precision Delay to delight the vocals. Also, learn how he tames low mids with the UAD DreamVerb Room Modeler plug-in, avoiding muddiness, while keeping them wide and present.

3:09:54 Always Stay Mindful of Gain Staging

Cruz explains how important it is to be aware of your gain-staging throughout the mix process to avoid the impulse to over-compress or over-saturate late in the game.

— James Rotondi

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