Christmas comes early this year as the long-awaited V3 update of the ever-popular mixing plugin Sknote Strip is finally here! At its heart, Strip is still a virtual channel strip, which emulates the workflow, feel, and sound of several analog mixing consoles. The shiny new interface is but one of many great new features: there is now a total of eight console models, providing an even larger choice than before; the EQ features three individual bands and is fully parametric; there is a dual-band sidechain EQ for deep control over the sidechain signal; a multimode expander has been added for either gating or upward compression; and much more.

In our very first episode with this fine piece of digital-analog software we will explore how we can utilize some of Strip V3’s features to take a full mix of a synthie pop song to the next level. First things first, here is the raw material:

Third Generation Mixing

We start by placing a fresh instance of Strip V3 on the master bus. Before we continue with the EQ, compressor, etc. we choose our virtual mixing desk via the drop-down menu right above the volume fader. We go for the new ‘H Digital Clean’-model. This suits our electronic song perfectly due to its modern, defined, and powerful sound. As a first treatment, we then apply some EQ: a small boost at 25kHz will give the sound more clarity without getting harsh, and another boost at 5.5kHz will provide a nice body. Don’t forget to actually engage the EQ by clicking on the little button next to the high band’s frequency.

Next up is the compressor. Before we turn to the threshold and release we remove as much low end from the sidechain signal as possible by turning the LOW-control all the way down (i.e. to the left). We do this because our source signal is pretty bass-heavy, which could result in an unpleasing pumping effect when the very low frequencies trigger the compressor. Having done that, we switch on the compressor unit, and lower the threshold (THR) so that we get an average gain reduction of -6dB to -8dB (as indicated by the gain reduction meter on the right side of the volume fader). Since we are dealing with a full mix we want to achieve a rather transparent effect. Therefore, we engage the SOFT-mode. This changes the internal attack time of the compressor from slow to fast, and also affects the knee value. Eventually, we set up the release time (RLS) so that it generally matches with the tempo of the song (keep an eye on the gain reduction meter while adjusting this control). After turning up the output level (OUT), to make up for the loss in volume, we’re all set!

The interface of the plugin should now look something like this:

Strip3 Synth Pop Mix Interface

The Result

Time to listen back to our song:

As you can surely tell, it is pretty much like night and day – we achieved a much more consistent and powerful sound within minutes!

You can download the preset for Strip V3 here: Strip3 Synth Pop Mix Preset.FXP