Mixdown, mistakes and tipps?

Discussion in 'Production' started by Apostata, Dec 31, 2015.

  1. Apostata

    Apostata Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2015
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    14
    Hi guys,

    even though I have been producing for years, I still have trouble with the mixdown of my tracks, I have recently sent a track to a label and gotten the response, that the track is quite good but the quality is lacking. (I can post the link if you want to hear what I am talking about).

    Especially when there is a lot going on in the track, I can't get them to sound clean without heavy cutting of frequencies, so I must be doing something wrong. Can anyone give me links to good sources about mixing, or give me some advice?

    For instance, how do you mix two components that use the same frequency range, without loosing power and punch? What's the key of mixing a really good clean track? So far I know you have to be carefull with the range from 40-400 Hz, cause that's where it starts to sound muddy, but when mixing guitars for instance, how can you keep the nice low end info of the guitars while cutting this range?

    I seriously think, that's my biggest problem right now and I really need to improve.

    Please, be as specific and detailed as possible when posting, thanks guys!
     
  2. blend107

    blend107 Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2013
    Messages:
    164
    Likes Received:
    50
    That sort of frequency range is one that seems to get muddy quickly. Try putting little peaks and trophs each of the guitar's EQ to allow each one to poke through at a certain frequencies. For example, if you boost guitar 1's EQ at 350Hz, then put a little dip in the EQ at 350Hz of guitar 2. A few of these peaks and trophs might help them poke through individually so you can hear each one more clearly.

    Something else you could do is pan them - even a very slight pan can create a discernable difference between them in the mix.

    Hope that made sense! There are probably better techniques I do not know of though
     
  3. sam the dnb man

    sam the dnb man Variation

    Joined:
    May 24, 2007
    Messages:
    10,437
    Likes Received:
    562
    Location:
    Feltham
    It's commonplace in metal to pan guitars to make sure they aren't conflicting.

    Maybe you should change the tone of one of the guitars...

    Slipknot have two guitarists and sometimes they play in unison.
    However, eac h guitarist will have a different tone dialled in so that the guitars compliment each other.

    Try going for a deep overdriven tone on one guitar (with not much high end) and a distorted high passed (12 dB cut or so at whatever frequency works) guitar over the top.

    Balance the levels, EQ accordingly (by doing the notch thing that was mentioned earlier), assign both guitars to a bus, add subtle compression (if required) and a touch of reverb.
     
  4. Apostata

    Apostata Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2015
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    14
    Thanks for the answers so far,

    basically I have been doing the EQ like that, but always end up cutting too much, so that the punch is missing. I tend to use stereo seperation and that usually works, but when I have three guitars, a background ambient synth, bass and drums, it seems for me impossible to make them all equally upfront and clean. I have heard a couple of tracks where there are several guitars playing, all of them punchy and clear and all of them seem upfront in your face. I have no idea how to get this clean sound done, I guess I will try again with the panning, have been using that too, but I don't like the sound wandering off to far to one side (besides percussions).
     
  5. Kyba

    Kyba Mew Nember

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2015
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    19
    Post some links of what you've made vs what you want it to sound like pls.
     
  6. Apostata

    Apostata Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2015
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    14
    Here is the link to my track:



    however, I intend to remix the whole thing, using paralell compression and side chaining this time. I have to look for a good reference track, right now I can't remember where I have heard such guitars, also the problem being, that they were complete instrumental tracks and you can't probably compare them to an electronic track, since live instruments have different dynamics (meaning, that I have lots of electronic elements.

    What I am also interested in are the volume levels when mixing, I have heard that the kick should peak at about -12 db and the whole mix should reach a max of -4db before mastering. So is it better to have a very low volume and then bring up all frequencies when mastering?
     
  7. Kyba

    Kyba Mew Nember

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2015
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    19
    Anyone who tells you 'this instrument should peak at -Xdb and this one should peak at -Ydb' should be ignored IMO, because every track is different. During mixing, as long as your master fader isn't clipping, you can have it peak at any level (-4db, -2db, -24db if you feel like...). The only difference is that at the end of the day your final limiter will need a 24db threshold rather than 4db.

    Everything in your track is pretty loud and on the sides. Which make your centre elements and drums sound weak and further back. If you're going to put something on the sides, it doesn't need to be so loud as it will stand out quite easily against what's in mono. However if you put too much on the sides (guitars, mid bass, pads, fx) all working in the same frequency range I assume that's when you start cranking their volumes so they stand out from each other.
     
  8. Apostata

    Apostata Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2015
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    14
    I have made it loud in the mastering stage. SoI should keep the side elements lower and then bring out the volumes in the mastering process?
     
  9. Kyba

    Kyba Mew Nember

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2015
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    19
    I try to do as little as possible in the mastering stage. I aim to have the track sounding as good as possible after mixing. If there are any problems with individual track levels or pan, I tend to go back and fix them in the mix as I find mastering can easily destroy your track if you don't know what you're doing.

    I think it's important to use a reference track. Level match your track with a pro track that you like and you'll immediately see any problems.
     
  10. Apostata

    Apostata Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2015
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    14
    How exactly do you use the reference tracks? I have used them in terms of concept. Do you use a spectral analyser and try to match the result, or also identify individual elements, such as percussions etc.?
     
  11. smoothassilk

    smoothassilk Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2013
    Messages:
    692
    Likes Received:
    155
    Match all the volumes of different elements to your reference track by ear. If your bass sounds quieter than the reference, turn it up. If your snare is louder, turn it down. It helps to get a similar reference track
     
  12. Apostata

    Apostata Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2015
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    14
    Ok, thanks, I have never thought of it from that perspective.
     
  13. Apostata

    Apostata Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2015
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    14
    I have done another mix of the track and have gotten it a lot cleaner, using panning for the guitars and different EQing, despites using side chaining this time, in the end part the Kick still does not cut trough enough.

    How can I make the kick prominent, without loosing the volume of the guitars?
     
  14. RUSSLA

    RUSSLA DNBF Monarch

    Joined:
    May 23, 2008
    Messages:
    6,264
    Likes Received:
    884
    Location:
    BH1
    Layer a sound higher up the frequency range like a someone thumping on a table or similar. You'd be surprised how much punch can be interpreted by the hearing the higher freqs. (I havent listened to your track yet btw)
     
  15. sam the dnb man

    sam the dnb man Variation

    Joined:
    May 24, 2007
    Messages:
    10,437
    Likes Received:
    562
    Location:
    Feltham
    Recently I've started making everything in mono and I mean everything.

    I used to get distracted by the stereo image during the writing stage, which resulted in me losing momentum. Also, a lot of the processes that I was doing were detrimental to the entire mix.

    It may not be ideal, but finish the arrangement in mono and get it sounding comparable with other well produced tracks (in mono of course). Once you have a balanced and desirable mix, concentrate on the stereo field.

    It might not work for everyone, but I think I might actually finish a tune by implementing this method.
     
    WhoSayReload? likes this.
  16. See Me Soon

    See Me Soon Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0
    ibz rg7321.png I don't know if this helps, but, I use a phaser on at least one of my guitars, and pan it a fair amount to one side. This way is not likely it stays on the same frequency as the other guitar.

    check it out on this track what I mean:

    start at 1:00 to hear guitar one, and the second guitar (the one with a phaser on it) kicks in just after 1:08



    I recorded both guitar pieces in one run, using the same settings and guitar (I always record 'just' a clean Ibanez) and used audacity.