Mixdown problems

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Tekvision
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Mixdown problems

Post by Tekvision » Tue Feb 04, 2014 9:44 pm

Hello guys! So, i've been lurking around this forum for awhile, reading alot about mixdowns and production tips in general. I think i've gotten decent in production, but my main problems seems to be that:
-I don't really know how to start mixing
-My tracks don't sound as clear as I'd like

I already mix to some degree while I'm working on a track, like leveling tracks and minor EQing, so it's bearable to listen while I produce,but when the track is complete, I kinda have no clue what to do from there.

So here's an example of a track of mine:
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I don't know if this sounds bad or if it does, what improvements I should, or could make.

I hope you guys could help me with this problem of mine, and I'm happy to be part of the DSF community!
Thanks! :6:

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Re: Mixdown problems

Post by rockonin » Tue Feb 04, 2014 11:32 pm

I listened through headphones so I cant be too specific on your mixdown. But I do know that I really like this track.

Some tips though:

High pass a little further on the tracks to clean the mix, and then compress slightly to make up for the loss in harmonics
Automate/lower the volume of the lead arpeggiator in some sections because its killing everything else in the mix.
Hi hats need to be a little more prominent in the mix
To add a little more oomph to the basses think about automating some eq/filters.
Think about side chaining elements

This track kind of reminds of the Brookes Brothers 'Loveline' track. Good work.
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Re: Mixdown problems

Post by fragments » Wed Feb 05, 2014 2:49 pm

Compress for the loss in harmonics? Why not just a little boost somewhere pleasant in the sound? Why not just turn it up a half -db? Why compress?
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Re: Mixdown problems

Post by Sharmaji » Wed Feb 05, 2014 4:29 pm

fragments wrote:Compress for the loss in harmonics? Why not just a little boost somewhere pleasant in the sound? Why not just turn it up a half -db? Why compress?
at the track level, if i'm looking for more harmonics i'm more likely to reach for an 1176 or la3a emulation (or just use the distressor) rather than eq; the circuitry alone, doing no gain reduction, can help. That free weirdo russian compressor that's green is really good for this as well.

actually eq-wise, i'll reach for the waves pultec emulation and not have it do anything; again, the circuitry does wonders for bringing sounds into focus. Plus, the plug-in lets you get rid of the electrical noise.

though i've said it before and i'll say it again, the airwindows "drive" plug is the single-best (and free) tool for accentuating harmonics and making things sound bigger, without obviously limiting/compressing/distorting. If you want more obvious distortion, you simply can't beat the decapitator.
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Re: Mixdown problems

Post by Tekvision » Thu Feb 06, 2014 3:25 pm

Thanks for the tips! Tho I have already sidechained almost all of the basses in the drop, I could propably try to fiddle around with the ratio and threshold a bit more! One problem, specfic to that track, is that I have no clue if it is muddy, or not, especially on the low end. :dunce:
Might have something to do with my monitor placement, and/or not having any kind of acoustic treatment.

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Re: Mixdown problems

Post by nowaysj » Thu Feb 06, 2014 6:31 pm

Sharmaji wrote:
fragments wrote:Compress for the loss in harmonics? Why not just a little boost somewhere pleasant in the sound? Why not just turn it up a half -db? Why compress?
at the track level, if i'm looking for more harmonics i'm more likely to reach for an 1176 or la3a emulation (or just use the distressor) rather than eq; the circuitry alone, doing no gain reduction, can help. That free weirdo russian compressor that's green is really good for this as well.

actually eq-wise, i'll reach for the waves pultec emulation and not have it do anything; again, the circuitry does wonders for bringing sounds into focus. Plus, the plug-in lets you get rid of the electrical noise.

though i've said it before and i'll say it again, the airwindows "drive" plug is the single-best (and free) tool for accentuating harmonics and making things sound bigger, without obviously limiting/compressing/distorting. If you want more obvious distortion, you simply can't beat the decapitator.
Listen to this motherfucker's advice.

and
That free weirdo russian compressor that's green is really good for this as well.
Here it is Molot Shit name, so english speaking people forget what it is called, and have to refer to it by color.

Just noticed that he has a console emulation vst up there now: http://vladgsound.wordpress.com/



Can I follow up with some questions to this post?

Beyond eq - I took a year off, and kind of forgot how to add vibe to sounds. Think I used to use a preamp emulation and an 1176 clone. What's the best way to add edge and clarity to sounds, hopefully with (actually, and really) shaving a few db's off of peaks? What device/chain do you use? Looking for a little fuzzy fizzy cutting edge, without adding too much mush to sounds.
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Re: Mixdown problems

Post by Sharmaji » Thu Feb 06, 2014 8:07 pm

nowaysj wrote:
Beyond eq - I took a year off, and kind of forgot how to add vibe to sounds. Think I used to use a preamp emulation and an 1176 clone. What's the best way to add edge and clarity to sounds, hopefully with (actually, and really) shaving a few db's off of peaks? What device/chain do you use? Looking for a little fuzzy fizzy cutting edge, without adding too much mush to sounds.
you're basically looking at 2 end goals-- you want to cut down the dynamic range, and you want to add harmonics to the sound.

there's a million ways, overall you either want to introduce a circuit that adds harmonics (the pultec, 1176, tube/transistor/tape path), or you want to actually distort/saturate something, so...

it depends on the material. I think camelcrusher and the airwindows plugs are great places to start w/ saturation-- they tend to add a bit of high end as well, which can help w/ clarity... and then you go to far, and your low end and midrange get all fruity.

on the paid front,
fabfilter volcano gives you a ton of control over the spectrum, magnetic is a great emulator, we've already discussed the waves 1176, pultec and LA emulations....

I know i'm missing others. I've had a camelcrusher and an exciter, both as sends, in my mix template for years-- another good way to just add to a sound w/o actually changing it.
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Re: Mixdown problems

Post by nowaysj » Thu Feb 06, 2014 8:18 pm

I honestly haven't used camel crusher in probably four years. I don't even think I have it installed anymore. Will get on it. What exciter do you use?

In regards to Fabfilter, were you referring to Saturn, rather than Volcano?

Airwindows is also ironically not on windows, yeah?

==

And thanks!
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Re: Mixdown problems

Post by fragments » Thu Feb 06, 2014 8:37 pm

Loving this convo. Ive got my soundcraft mixer racked up now and a couple hardware compressors...going to try just running tracks throught he circuits...
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Re: Mixdown problems

Post by Sharmaji » Fri Feb 07, 2014 1:43 am

nowaysj wrote: In regards to Fabfilter, were you referring to Saturn, rather than Volcano?
yep probably. I have the suite, i only wind up using the pro-Q and "the other one," which is the distortion one. Can't remember unless it's in front of me.

doh yep airwindows is mac only. in fact i think it's audio units only-- TAKE THAT MASSEY

exciters... i have a couple of tricks. my cheapo aphex 204 has helped breathe life into everything from thin, wimpy cellos to flabby snare drums to background vox that are somehow both too harsh and too dark. I also have a crosswired dolby unit that does the opposite of dolby-- works great for adding high end to lead vox and snares.

in software land, i'd tried the waves aphex... it was nice! and almost indistinguishable from the stock logic one. soo.... back to logic once the demo expired.

while i don't own them, i've always liked seeing the spl vitalizers in studios- there's a software version out there as well, though i haven't used it.

keep in mind though, the urei emulations from waves have a built-in high-end shelf; quite often, once i've cut out the junk from a sound that needs thickening, the LA2A alone will add enough high end to make things sound groovy.
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Re: Mixdown problems

Post by fragments » Fri Feb 07, 2014 2:40 am

Sharm. Final verdict. You think owing a rack version of an Aphex Exciter is worth it over say the Waves software version? The SOS article on the 204 seems positive w/o seeming like a fluff article...and they are very not expensive units ;p

Sounds like a really cool character box.
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Re: Mixdown problems

Post by nowaysj » Fri Feb 07, 2014 3:50 am

Sharmaji wrote:
nowaysj wrote: In regards to Fabfilter, were you referring to Saturn, rather than Volcano?
yep probably. I have the suite, i only wind up using the pro-Q and "the other one," which is the distortion one. Can't remember unless it's in front of me.

doh yep airwindows is mac only. in fact i think it's audio units only-- TAKE THAT MASSEY

exciters... i have a couple of tricks. my cheapo aphex 204 has helped breathe life into everything from thin, wimpy cellos to flabby snare drums to background vox that are somehow both too harsh and too dark. I also have a crosswired dolby unit that does the opposite of dolby-- works great for adding high end to lead vox and snares.

in software land, i'd tried the waves aphex... it was nice! and almost indistinguishable from the stock logic one. soo.... back to logic once the demo expired.

while i don't own them, i've always liked seeing the spl vitalizers in studios- there's a software version out there as well, though i haven't used it.

keep in mind though, the urei emulations from waves have a built-in high-end shelf; quite often, once i've cut out the junk from a sound that needs thickening, the LA2A alone will add enough high end to make things sound groovy.
Thank you! You know, after all these years, I've finally started hearing timbre/frequency shifts from compressors... haha, and it is not subtle. I just, like, never listened for it. :dunce:

How much would you say their la2a is boosting in the highs? And you mean the la2a doing no compression, no gain reduction, yeah?

To anyone reading Sharmaji's response here, and you don't understand it, keep reading and researching and trying these things out and it will make sense. It took me a long time just to get to where I can understand this mf's responses to my questions.

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Re: Mixdown problems

Post by Sharmaji » Fri Feb 07, 2014 4:24 am

@Sj- re: the high-end boost,i have no idea dB-wise. it's generally both "nice" and "sweet." if something goes into it already sounding good, it'll come out with a bit of sheen on it. Definitely can help background vocals stand up to a super-bright lead vocal. It won't be the thing that saves a poorly-recorded vocal, but it can be part of the chain that helps.

(i like the LA2A on background vocals, clearly)

you have that control whether or not it's compressing. To my ears, it sounds like it can do more high-end boost if it's compressing more. I very well may be imagining that, but it sounds good regardless.

fragments wrote:Sharm. Final verdict. You think owing a rack version of an Aphex Exciter is worth it over say the Waves software version? The SOS article on the 204 seems positive w/o seeming like a fluff article...and they are very not expensive units ;p

Sounds like a really cool character box.
the aphex one that Waves has modeled is the old school, vu version which will run you 4 digits for the hardware model. the plug is,what, like $150? it's cool but it's a one trick pony. you set it and it either is what you need it to be... or you find something else. again, exciter plugs are most useful for me on a send, so that i can just add general brightness to sounds.

the 204 is sweepable in both the highs and the lows-- not stereo-linked, but, shit, you've got 2 hands. make 'em work together ;)... if you were going for accuracy above all you wouldn't be using an exciter.

I do think it's an extremely useful tool-- sure it can add more bass and sub to things that are supposed to be bassy and subby (or highs to things that are supposed to be crisp and bright), but its even more useful as a resuscitation device for things that just need to sound better in general. You usually can't EQ in energy that isn't already there in a sound-- with this, and similar tools, you can kinda/sorta create that energy.

I use it more on stem elements in mixes than in production (entertainingly enough, i use my Orban EQ's more for production than mixing... go figure). It's not the kind of thing i'd have the patience to calibrate and set up for each mix session, so it generally is part of the chain as i'm getting together sounds at the beginning of a mix-- something gets printed through it, and goes back into the session.

if your monitoring situation is sorted, yet you're always at a point where your looking at your favorite sounds in a mix and just can't get them bright or thick enough-- the aphex can help.

and it's cheap!
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Re: Mixdown problems

Post by fragments » Fri Feb 07, 2014 5:05 am

As always, many thanks Sharm. I wouldn't call my monitoring situation sorted as I'm still trying to win the battle of being allowed to hang treatment in our guestroom : )

I was thinking of getting one for as a mix tool...as you said...cheap. Stereo link not required, knobs are made to be turned...
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Re: Mixdown problems

Post by ehbes » Fri Feb 07, 2014 5:22 am

im gonna give you the advice i give myself:

take a nice long poop, kill a few beers, and mix for the vibes.
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Re: Mixdown problems

Post by Gurnumsbug » Fri Feb 07, 2014 5:43 am

ehbrums1 wrote:mix for the vibes.

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Re: Mixdown problems

Post by ehbes » Fri Feb 07, 2014 5:43 am

Gurnumsbug wrote:
ehbrums1 wrote:mix for the vibes.
other two steps are vital tho
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Re: Mixdown problems

Post by nowaysj » Fri Feb 07, 2014 7:12 am

Sharmaji wrote:You usually can't EQ in energy that isn't already there in a sound-- with this, and similar tools, you can kinda/sorta create that energy.
That's the heart of it right there. Really is an illusive ability. Had a moment the other day listening to my mix, and everything was where it should be, and everything was sounding good, full spectrum, but it just struck me how flat the mix was, no energy, definitely no vibe.

When I'm working outboard, I use an Orban 6228. That thing can get vibey, I guess - pretty rough!
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Re: Mixdown problems

Post by Sharmaji » Fri Feb 07, 2014 4:02 pm

nowaysj wrote:
Sharmaji wrote: Orban 6228
hah-- that's the same ones i have (though i think it's 622B, not 6228... stupid font regardless). it's an odd eq, a bit noisy, but actually IS good at adding the magic that isn't there. definitely not a "responsible" EQ but i don't have any plugs that do what it does. totally 100% a good investment for sound.

plus it distorts in a fun way :mrgreen:
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Re: Mixdown problems

Post by nowaysj » Fri Feb 07, 2014 5:54 pm

It does distort!

And I thought it was a B for the longest time! Was talking to someone and they were trying to convince me it was an 8. Then I looked, and that B really started looking like an 8. No it is a B! Hehe.

And what is even funnier, I got it out of a studio in Brooklyn. What is the chance? Probably pretty high!
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