gain structure and mixing aka THE MONEYSHOT THREAD

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Postby laurend » Wed May 23, 2012 9:42 am

bassbum wrote:I ask because at college I was told never to touch the master when mixing down but they never gave me a reason why.

Your college should also explain why all mixers feature a master fader if it's useless.
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Re:

Postby Sonika » Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:23 am

macc wrote:Rather, set your drums for *around* -8 / -10 (ie, a bit less than half).




does this mean each individual element of the drums (i.e. kick, snare, etc) could be set up to that, or the drums overall?
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Postby Genevieve » Sun Jun 24, 2012 3:29 pm

Sonika wrote:
macc wrote:Rather, set your drums for *around* -8 / -10 (ie, a bit less than half).




does this mean each individual element of the drums (i.e. kick, snare, etc) could be set up to that, or the drums overall?


Total drums >.>
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Postby Sonika » Sun Jun 24, 2012 3:39 pm

really? fuck me I've been doing it wrong
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Postby dididub » Sun Jun 24, 2012 4:23 pm

I have the plugin TesslaSE by Variety of Sound (a signal modelling transformer emulation plugin) and the "sweet spot" of the plugin occurs when the internal VU meter is starting to go into the red. So when I'm using it on a channel, I will set the gain such that I'm inputting quite a hot signal into the plugin, and then use the output gain control to bring the channel back into context of the mix.

So I'm not sure I agree with always setting the levels right as early as possible in the signal chain. I feel that gain staging is staggering the addition of gain to a signal such that each component is working with a signal at the "sweet spot" of that component.

Sonika wrote:really? fuck me I've been doing it wrong


Not necessarily. Guidelines.

Have you been fighting with the faders to prevent peaking?
Do you find that your mixes are repeatable and by the time you've added all of your channels, the track has pretty much mixed itself?
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Postby laurend » Sun Jun 24, 2012 5:00 pm

Until dB values won't be expressed in a correct unit (RMS vs FS) all posts related to a particular dB value will remain useless blabla.
Last edited by laurend on Mon Jun 25, 2012 8:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby nowaysj » Mon Jun 25, 2012 7:34 am

dididub wrote:So I'm not sure I agree with always setting the levels right as early as possible in the signal chain. I feel that gain staging is staggering the addition of gain to a signal such that each component is working with a signal at the "sweet spot" of that component.


Those two things are not contradictory. Just keep your gain at manageable levels, and be cognizant that each stage in a signal chain doesn't need to, shouldn't, but often does add a little gain. The whole process of sound design, writing arranging, everything usually just incrementally piles on the gain. The trick is starting low enough that you have room to grow/thicken up without bumping into the ceiling.

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Postby Attila » Mon Jun 25, 2012 9:23 am

And I think it should be understood that any and all rules should be thrown out in favor of what sounds best to you, granted you know what the hell you're doing.
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Postby 55stevieboy2010 » Sat Jun 30, 2012 5:49 pm

When it comes to mixing down and setting the volumes for each track, they say drums should be about -8, bass should be about -10 pads about -16 i think it was? My questions which volume slider do i set to these values, the up/down slider in the mixer view or the little volume box in the simpler view when i have say a drum loaded into it? (I use ableton)...or both?

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Postby eldoogle » Sat Jul 07, 2012 10:56 am

I like to use the volume sliders in the clip view personally. Plus, if you drag the grey dividing bar between the AB Sends and the volume slider up, you can see the highest peak of each track in volume. I use it always.
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Postby laurend » Sat Jul 07, 2012 11:17 am

OK, let's be clear.
Imagine we have 2 different kick samples. Both are peaking at 0 dBFS. Because the sounds are different, they don't have the same volume despite the meters display the same values which are peaks. The only relevant dB values for expressing a volume is RMS, which unfortunately isn't the default unit for DAWs.
That means advising about a particular fader gains, in order to obtain a balanced mix, is perfectly wrong because no kick sound as the same volume. Every correct gain setting corresponds to a particular sound. No one can say all the bass drums must be set at -10 dB.
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Postby dididub » Sat Jul 07, 2012 4:17 pm

laurend wrote:OK, let's be clear.
Imagine we have 2 different kick samples. Both are peaking at 0 dBFS. Because the sounds are different, they don't have the same volume despite the meters display the same values which are peaks. The only relevant dB values for expressing a volume is RMS, which unfortunately isn't the default unit for DAWs.
That means advising about a particular fader gains, in order to obtain a balanced mix, is perfectly wrong because no kick sound as the same volume. Every correct gain setting corresponds to a particular sound. No one can say all the bass drums must be set at -10 dB.


V. Well said.
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Postby nowaysj » Sat Jul 07, 2012 6:17 pm

Maybe, but likely not for the target audience of this thread. IMO the only thing that matters is peak, because it is the law, no exceeding 0db! In terms of perceived volume and impact of a particular sound, ears are better guides than meters, but to allow them the freedom to do their work you need to have ample headroom, and that is where peak metering comes in.
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Postby dididub » Sat Jul 07, 2012 8:59 pm

It depends whether advising about fader gains is to obtain a balanced mix or to ensure you have room to mix.

Balanced mix means that peak fader gain advice doesn't help much. Room to mix means that peak fader gain advice can be quite useful.
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Postby MaZa1 » Sun Aug 05, 2012 5:21 pm

I've been trying to find somekind of answer to this, but i haven't found.
What level the midbass should peak? I know theres no exact rules, but some rough level?
Lets say my kick peaks -10db and snare -12db, the whole drumbuss it set to peak round -8,-10db
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Postby laurend » Sun Aug 05, 2012 5:56 pm

MaZa1 wrote:I've been trying to find somekind of answer to this, but i haven't found.
What level the midbass should peak? I know theres no exact rules, but some rough level?
Lets say my kick peaks -10db and snare -12db, the whole drumbuss it set to peak round -8,-10db

Peak values are meaningless. Only RMS values correspond to the perceived volume.
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Postby dididub » Sun Aug 05, 2012 6:00 pm

As long as you're not clipping (use a reasonable reference level) then ignore your peak meter. It doesn't matter. Set it where it sounds best.
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Postby MaZa1 » Sun Aug 05, 2012 8:28 pm

Yeah, but this is the problem. It does sounds nice in different volumes, but im not sure if its too loud compared to the rest of the track.
My ears get a bit tired or w/e, after couple times i've listened the track, so could there be some "piercing" etc freqs that should be eq'd away?
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Postby RandoRando » Mon Aug 06, 2012 8:54 am

laurend wrote:
MaZa1 wrote:I've been trying to find somekind of answer to this, but i haven't found.
What level the midbass should peak? I know theres no exact rules, but some rough level?
Lets say my kick peaks -10db and snare -12db, the whole drumbuss it set to peak round -8,-10db

Peak values are meaningless. Only RMS values correspond to the perceived volume.

not going against what your saying but a legit question, how does one mix knowing this, because the peaks are what spike the meters and make them go over 0. i know you can turn all the tracks down to avoid that, but when mastering time comes and you gotta bring the levels up, is it ok if all those peaks get compressed alot? isnt that taking away the transients? because if i mix going by the RMS, (how i hear it), i feel like i would be using alot of compression. is that how people make tracks insanely loud? by mixing by RMS? and ignoring the spiking meters becuase the spikes are gonna get compressed anyways?
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Postby laurend » Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:30 am

Your ears are the only relevant tool whilst mixing. Reading dB values on a dedicated meter display is far less precise and far slower than what ears can do. Peak meters are useful as visual feedback for tracks activity, and clip prevention on the master section. Managing the transients is the key point for loud tracks. This can be done at the arrangement, tracking, mixing or mastering stages. Compressors and limiters are only corrective tools which have a serious impact on the audio quality. The dose makes the poison...
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