Mixing into Heat

Just wondering what you think is best practice and why here. So, I’ve been trying to decide which is best from these two options:

  1. Create and mix your track without Heat, then add it in to get that final polish usually in a much subtler way than doing Option 2…

  2. Have Heat on the master from the get-go, pushing things how you want them with the Heat being an integral part of the sound

I’ve been doing a bit of both but it’s hard to decide which is optimal due to the fact that A/B testing is quite difficult to pull off in an unbiased fashion. So, what do you think is best? Option 2 is great but as soon as Heat is disengaged, the original track sounds a little wack compared to what’s achieved with Option 1. However, with Option 1, it’s harder to push the bass into pleasing distortion without the hats also being pushed way too hard, for example, whereas the hats are usually lower in the first place when going for Option 2. Help!


Option 2.


When I’m tracking into a DAW I tend to give each track it’s own little session with the heat, use it where it works, and then reapply it subtly on the master.

But for a full mix where you’re really spicing things up it’s probably best to hear what it’s doing and let it influence creative decisions throughout so that it’s not a pain in the @$$ trying to get things to sit right later.

The intermodulation gets pretty gnarly on anything above the saturation circuit.

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I tend to go with Option 1. I try to push the Mix to a great sounding without the help of anything and then, I push the Magical button and sculpt even more the Sound of the Mix. This is when I use the Heat on the Master.


The only thing I’ll say against option 2 is you do have to fight the urge towards over relying on the Heat to make your tracks sound good.

I found that having the Heat on the master all the time made me a lazy mixer, hence you now owning my Heat.
I think, as with most mixing decisions, it comes down to how confident and competent you are with your mixing tools and whether you’re using them to improve your sound or as short cuts.

Anyway, enough rambling, go do stuff.


True philosophy right here. No matter how amazing the machine is, if it doesn’t help me make what I want it gets the Baxter Punt.



I think this captures it. I recall @circuitghost saying similar things about how the Heat can leave its fingerprints all over, if you let it. Now, let me say that until recently, I’ve been doing mostly option 2, but trying to use it as subtly as possible (A/B checking with the active button). Lately though, almost trying to be my own devil’s advocate, I am leaving the Heat out and trying to achieve some mixes without using it on the master. Of course, I’ve been in a little creative funk, so not much work has been done so far. I guess I’m challenging myself to mix without the Heat for a little while.

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…heat up some of ur elements during creation/recording process…
finish ur track to a total mix…maybe run the heat another time on one of ur mixing busses…

then run that final mix file for the mastering process as an xtra, final step of production…
run heat one last time, behind some multibandcompression BEFORE it finally hits ur brickwall limiter…

but make sure, for that very final treatment, clean boost is all it needs for some final touch…


Or, put another way, I just love dancing on the edge of regret.


Thanks for all the advice, everyone! And special thanks to @Fin25 for the Heat itself. I think I’m going to double down on Option 2, with regular sanity checks (turning off Heat) along the way to see what’s happening underneath or if something could be improved. @reeloy, great advice, but as I’m being minimal here with only Analog Rytm MKII into Heat, I have multiple stages of analog distortion, overdrive, bit crushing, filtering, and compression along the way to Heat. Speed of creation is my main concern here so I don’t get so bogged down in unnecessary details. Cheers!


…main focus here should be…mix and master are TWO different steps…

ur final mix file should result in a file that has still some headroom left…
and THEN ur master file result should make the most out of that…

write and mix as fast as u pefer, like and can…
but then, those mixes deserve some time and try again options whenever u think so…


Agreed. Nice one. Lots of food for thought here!

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I think the best is to not use AH on your mix at all.
AH is pretty cool for sound design but on the master bus it add lot of color. It is usable only with subtle settings and finally you won’t get the full potential of the unit.
If you want something to put on your master bus, you should go with some mastering plugins.
I’d say use the AH to resample or on a separate output.


I’ve just got one, so I just slather it all over everything.

That said, I’m not mixing or mastering, I’m trying to work out playing live, so a different use case I reckon.

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In many ways it’s the same use case. I want something quick for mixing tracks that are performed live. Hence the new setup :slight_smile:

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Im in the option 2 camp. If it’s an element you consistently find yourself wanting over all your content, by all means keep it on the master while creating.

I write Into a culture vulture on the master when producing and the results are stellar.

Yes, if you’re not familiar with producing in general, this tactic will not give you a general knowledge base for mixing and may add obstacles to your progression to create an incredible mix without it.

That said, if you’re producing without the intention to learn the craft and are confident in your abilities to mix and produce from the get-go, mixing into a coloration unit on your master will give you a better feel of the final mix and give you a streamlined workflow from the start.

It’s up to you to decide where you’re at, and what your production goals are.

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Option 1 here. While I do love option 2 sometimes, it can really mess up a mix where separation is key. Certainly when working completely on hardware I want to make sure the grooves are mixed as good as possible with the few tools we have. All sounds have a place in the mix. It’s also pretty much impossible to make big changes in a live situation per groove. Changing circuits is impossible without a hard click for instance.

I use the heat to color the mix as a mastering tool when playing live or on the master bus in my daw use in a quite subtle way. It’s incredible for that.

There’s no best way of course. Whatever gets your creative juices flowing :slight_smile: . It can be very inspiring to start with a kick and bass groove through the heat from the get go as it glues in such a nice way. In my case the problem there is that for my live set i don’t have the flexibility to change too much on the heat live. Changing circuits is a no go, dialing in programs while transitioning between grooves doesn’t really work either etc. So subtly and controlled coloration is where it’s at for me in this case.

For more heavy heating i use it as a sound design tool where I can really mess with its modulation capabilities and what not


Use it when recording the individual instruments, I say. Forget about the mixbuss for now. Make them sound tasty and you’ll hardly have to mix at all.


i think the option 1 is better
create and mix your track clean, and then Heat it in to get that final polish

as they say in the music creation process, the mixing process is one most complicated and one of the most important thing to do and the mastering (the analog heat here) is the final touch maybe to get the music better (but you can live without it)