How much can you fit in a mix vs. how much you should?

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Dizzo
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How much can you fit in a mix vs. how much you should?

Post by Dizzo » Sun Jun 08, 2014 5:53 am

So ive been working on my mixing skills a lot lately and ive noticed a big change as to how good my stuff is sounding before i really knew anything about mixing. But there are some artists whose mixes just sound downright incredible and are no comparison to others. One song that i think has a really good and full mix is this song
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It just sounds like theres so much going on in this song and with my skill level theres no way i would be able to cram that much into a mix. And ive got a coulpe questions to go with this.

Ive got a pretty good set of ears and can normally tell what all is in a mix and this mix just sounds like it has a ton going on in it, like much more than other songs (especially the beatport junk). Is there really a lot going on in this mix or are the artists just kinda amplifying what theyve got to make it sound like that?

Right at the drop at 2:00 they add a little more to the mix every 8 bars and at the 16th bar after the initial drop they add another sound that only lasts 1 bar long every time its played and is played every other bar it seems like (2:15, 2:19, 2:23, etc) And im pretty confused as to how they were able to add this in because it sounds like its playing at the same frequency as the lead (and it sounds like the lead, or at least something, is still playing below it at the same time)? Every time i ever have 2 sounds playing near the same frequency its really tough for me to make both of them clear in the mix and because of this i usually only have one thing playing at a certain frequency - can anyone give me any advice as to how to get better at this or just any tips in general? Like will reverb or volume levels help with this?

Those are pretty much the two main questions i had but the other thing i was gonna ask was if any of you guys knew any other songs with really good mixes that i could go and check out?

Thanks guys :Q:
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outbound
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Re: How much can you fit in a mix vs. how much you should?

Post by outbound » Sun Jun 08, 2014 6:50 am

When two things are happening at the same time there has to be a compromise. This usually comes in the result of a EQ/filtering to take away area of the spectrum that can clash. The more minimal a mix the more of the spectrum elements can take up but for busy one's you most likely are going to be wanting to do a lot of HP filtering, subtractive EQ etc to get it all in there and no clashing too badly.
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Re: How much can you fit in a mix vs. how much you should?

Post by Dizzo » Sun Jun 08, 2014 7:03 am

outbound wrote:When two things are happening at the same time there has to be a compromise. This usually comes in the result of a EQ/filtering to take away area of the spectrum that can clash. The more minimal a mix the more of the spectrum elements can take up but for busy one's you most likely are going to be wanting to do a lot of HP filtering, subtractive EQ etc to get it all in there and no clashing too badly.
So in this case theres most likey a HP Filter and or subtractive EQ being put on the lead thats only being put into effect when they bring in another sound that might clash. So like its still there but its just making room for it? Because that makes a lot of sense
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Re: How much can you fit in a mix vs. how much you should?

Post by nowaysj » Sun Jun 08, 2014 8:31 am

Do a google search for "brick wall" then do a google search for "brick wall limiting" Somewhere between those two, is your answer.

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Re: How much can you fit in a mix vs. how much you should?

Post by Dizzo » Mon Jun 09, 2014 5:25 am

So i kinda looked at the limiting thing and one thing i noticed is that it said that limiting is pretty much demolishing all dynamics that are above the limit in which you set. What does this mean? I dont really know much about limiting so i dont really use it all that often and when i do use it, i use it very lightly and nothing really sounds destroyed to me. It usually just sounds slightly louder? Like im just kinda confused by this - would anybody be able to help explain or point me to a good read on it?
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Re: How much can you fit in a mix vs. how much you should?

Post by NinjaEdit » Mon Jun 09, 2014 5:45 am

In music, dynamics normally refers to the volume of a sound or note

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamics_%28music%29

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Re: How much can you fit in a mix vs. how much you should?

Post by nowaysj » Mon Jun 09, 2014 8:43 am

Stargazer wrote:So i kinda looked at the limiting thing and one thing i noticed is that it said that limiting is pretty much demolishing all dynamics that are above the limit in which you set. What does this mean? I dont really know much about limiting so i dont really use it all that often and when i do use it, i use it very lightly and nothing really sounds destroyed to me. It usually just sounds slightly louder? Like im just kinda confused by this - would anybody be able to help explain or point me to a good read on it?
Maybe tomorrow from me.
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Re: How much can you fit in a mix vs. how much you should?

Post by Sure_Fire » Mon Jun 09, 2014 9:15 am

Brick wall limiting technically cannot 'destroy' all your dynamics. Dynamics in music I believe refers to the difference between the softest and loudest parts of a piece of music, while you may screw over most of your Transients, you don't really lose your dynamics, assuming your track had them in the first place (notable exceptions include grindcore and deathstep). Au5's tracks are actually a great example of how dynamic music can be whilst still being squashed. Check out Blossom by Au5, you'll see that when elements of the track are stripped to the bare minimum in the loudest parts of the track, those remaining elements (i.e. whatever bass is playing at that particular point) hit you right in the face with a burst of volume. Of course, it's not actually any louder than the rest of the track, it can't possibly be. It's to do with perceived volume, and it counts as dynamics.

Sorry I kind of suck at explaining stuff.
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Re: How much can you fit in a mix vs. how much you should?

Post by wub » Mon Jun 09, 2014 9:20 am

I've always thought of the mix as a 3D cube. In the middle of the cube is the listener. The XYZ axis represent volume, panning, frequency range. Basically try and fills the cube without cluttering it too much in one place.


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Re: How much can you fit in a mix vs. how much you should?

Post by NinjaEdit » Mon Jun 09, 2014 9:52 am


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Re: How much can you fit in a mix vs. how much you should?

Post by wub » Mon Jun 09, 2014 10:02 am

That's the puppy, great video :Q:

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Re: How much can you fit in a mix vs. how much you should?

Post by outbound » Mon Jun 09, 2014 12:41 pm

Dynamics = the amount of contrast between the loudest and the quietest parts of the audio.

They can take the shape of micro dynamics in the case of slamming a kick drum through compressor to close the gap between the transient and the body of the kick (effectively allowing you to achieve a higher rms without clipping, the advantage being this is generally considered to be perceived as 'louder')

You can also take into consideration macro dynamics of a track. For dance floor tracks these don't range much (usually a louder drop with a quieter intro and breakdown etc) a good example would be in something like classical which ranges quite drastically between quieter and louder more powerful sections for great effect.

The trick in this genre is being able to get things loud while retaining the punch that comes from the relationship between the transient material and the body of it. Simply whacking a limiter full blast over the material is just going to chop those transients off which can work in some circumstance but not others. Compression is great at reducing dynamic range overall while still retaining the lunch that's been created. Obviously settings depend on the track etc etc etc
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Re: How much can you fit in a mix vs. how much you should?

Post by fragments » Mon Jun 09, 2014 4:08 pm

For me 50% of the mix is arrangement. You can make your track more dynamic (in a different sense) by playing with the art of music rather thant he science of mixing. Octive shifts are a god send when trying to get two sounds to play nice when the sing together! IMO turnes should be pretty well mixed before you even start messign with too much EQ or compression or anything. Arrange smart!

Obviously this wont always work. But I hate mixing. I dont want to be an audio engineer. I want to play with synths and drum machines. So more and more I have been using my hate of mixing as a limitation that I have to bend my creativity around.
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Re: How much can you fit in a mix vs. how much you should?

Post by Dizzo » Tue Jun 10, 2014 12:15 am

Man it just seems like theres so much i dont know. Maybe im just over complicating things for myself though. So as im understanding, limiting can pretty much give you a "perceived sense of volume" i guess i could say? And that could overall help the dynamics of the track? Sorry if im wrong but im just trying to put two and two together here since this stuff seems just as difficult to grasp as i bet is it to explain.
Sure_Fire wrote:Au5's tracks are actually a great example of how dynamic music can be whilst still being squashed. Check out Blossom by Au5, you'll see that when elements of the track are stripped to the bare minimum in the loudest parts of the track, those remaining elements (i.e. whatever bass is playing at that particular point) hit you right in the face with a burst of volume. Of course, it's not actually any louder than the rest of the track, it can't possibly be. It's to do with perceived volume, and it counts as dynamics.
And then with that ^^ like ive heard the song blossom before but i actually went back and really payed attention to it keeping all the stuff you guys here are telling me about in mind, and it sounds like most of the crazy bass sounds Au5 has got going on all play at separate times (with a few exceptions). Where in the song dreaming by him and Fractal it sounds as if there are constantly multiple sounds overlaying each other.

When it comes to that would that mean that Au5 and Fractal were using a combination of limiting/compressing, filtering, and EQing all at the same time to enable multiple sounds to overlay each other so smoothly?

This stuff just seems so crazy to grasp but im absolutely determined to gain knowledge of it!
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Re: How much can you fit in a mix vs. how much you should?

Post by fragments » Tue Jun 10, 2014 12:33 am

Stargazer wrote:
When it comes to that would that mean that Au5 and Fractal were using a combination of limiting/compressing, filtering, and EQing all at the same time to enable multiple sounds to overlay each other so smoothly?
Yea. Wouldn't be unlikely. Modern dance music is an engineer's play ground and a musician's nightmare ;p
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Re: How much can you fit in a mix vs. how much you should?

Post by nowaysj » Tue Jun 10, 2014 12:38 am

I really can't tell if this is trolling.
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Re: How much can you fit in a mix vs. how much you should?

Post by fragments » Tue Jun 10, 2014 12:48 am

nowaysj wrote:I really can't tell if this is trolling.
Honestly, as a teacher, I have a hard time believing most "dumb questions" are trolling. (no offense OP, seriously). You wouldn't believe the crazy shit questions I get in class on the regular...
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Re: How much can you fit in a mix vs. how much you should?

Post by Dizzo » Tue Jun 10, 2014 12:53 am

nowaysj wrote:I really can't tell if this is trolling.
Im legitimately looking for help and i figured this forum would be a good place to go to. In fact my last couple topics all had to do with mixing since thats something that i have a lot to learn about.
fragments wrote: Honestly, as a teacher, I have a hard time believing most "dumb questions" are trolling. (no offense OP, seriously). You wouldn't believe the crazy shit questions I get in class on the regular...
No its cool, im actually going to school for this but its summer. Im really just kinda double checking and clarifying stuff since its seriously so difficult to really understand things with out face to face teachings, so im just kinda making sure im actually getting what youre saying
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Re: How much can you fit in a mix vs. how much you should?

Post by fragments » Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:08 am

Yea dude...as far as I am concerned no worries! I am no expert but feel free to PM me about anything...if nothing else I can like point you in a general direction.
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Re: How much can you fit in a mix vs. how much you should?

Post by NinjaEdit » Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:11 am

I don't think it's most correct to say that limiting improves dynamics. Limiting reduces dynamic range. Sure Fire was making the point that music can still be perceived as dynamic even with the use of limiters. This is where a Fletcher-Munson equal loudness curve comes in.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fletcher-Munson

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