Mixing and Mastering

Discussion in 'Production' started by DjCartel, Dec 4, 2012.

  1. DjCartel

    DjCartel Well-Known Member

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    i've searched the forum and cant really find the answer to my question. shoot me if im being blind.

    basicaly, what is the difference between mixing and mastering? also, do people do this at the end of a track or during the writing process? when i make a track i tweak eq's and volumes etc as i go. is this mixing as you go? or just part of making a tune. i feel like the components of most of my tunes sit together nicely, but i never do a "mixing" session, so am i missing a crucial stage out somewhere? (this could be a really fucking stupid question)
     
  2. StrifeII

    StrifeII Member

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    mixing is balancing your track - volume levels, EQ's, compression on individual tracks. you're not wrong to mix as you go because you're also being creative throughout, which sometimes requires effects and processers etc. but sometimes it's good to start from scratch on the mix entirely. I like to send everything to group channels so they're easier to work with.

    mastering, you export the whole thing and send it to somebody with better ears than you. :)
     
  3. DjCartel

    DjCartel Well-Known Member

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    ah right, so mixing is litrally just making sure the track sits together nicely. makes sense now. i thought i was missing something by not doing one big "mixing" stage, cheers man!
     
  4. StrifeII

    StrifeII Member

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    you possibly are missing something...i would say it's pretty rare that people don't mix down at the end of writing a track. mix as you go, but definitely consider mixing down at the end too.
     
  5. heffay

    heffay New Member

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    Look up tarekith mixing and mastering guides. Great guidelines for mixing music and in the mastering one he'll explain the exact differences. They're long guides, but they're like only the very basics to mixing, you learn most from practicing and training your ears. That's what i've heard and found for myself over the past couple years. Mixing/mastering isn't really something you can simply pick up from tips on a forum. so research. there's tons of stuff, and then work at it. That's it! Eventually your mixes are just part of your process and you get to focus more creatively than analytically on fun things like composition, arrangement, and bass modulations.
     
  6. lostnthesound

    lostnthesound Burns Easily in the Sun

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    In a nutshell, mixing is the process of blending all of the sounds that make up your musical composition in manner that enables them to fill frequency range of 30Hz – 20kHz without conflicting with one another. The challenge is getting all those working together without having one "dominate" the mix over another.

    Mastering is the art of taking that mix and applying a variety of processing that can make it louder, brighter and (for lack of a better term) warmer.
     
  7. DjCartel

    DjCartel Well-Known Member

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    that all makes sense. nice one guys. i think cos i do it as i go along, i need to focus on the mastering aspect a bit more. although i cant seem to get the tunes much louder without them running red in the master!
     
  8. Prideinyouride

    Prideinyouride Member

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    Research mix-down technique, get your tunes loud and fresh is to do with the mixdown, careful use of limiters and compressors will help with overall loudness of the tune. mastering is something slightly different and even more specialised and specific.
     
  9. alcaponeuk

    alcaponeuk Member

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    mixing to me means getting my levels right - same as dj mixing, getting two things to go together nicely, or in production case about 4 or 5 things with drums, so mixing is normally throughout- and eq is normally throughout for me, then when its all done and dusted i go back and eq the things i want to jump out more or just need fixing, mastering to me is the phase once the tune is finished, where you ultimately tweak everything to sound perfect then eq where you want slightly - also MASTERing tends to be around the MASTER channel, so in my case i add soft compression where its really really needed, then ill just brickwall the bastard and turn it up - i leave about -0.6db headroom for mastering. if you dont want the mastering process to be difficult then ensure that none of your instruments are peaking and they all sound nice already when you come to mastering it- then the mastering is a simple matter of just making the track loud enough to sound good live. this is from an amateur pov- I'm still nowhere near skilled enough and my mixes are all in amateur headphones so, but thats the general idea
     
  10. DjCartel

    DjCartel Well-Known Member

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    yeah that sounds kind of like what i do to be honest. i feel like my tracks seem to sit nicely in the mix. but when youve been working on a tune for so long maybe you become acustomed to what you think sounds good so it may actually be shite. ill keep playing around. practise makes perfect aye
     
  11. sam the dnb man

    sam the dnb man Variation

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    Mastering is the final stage of the creative process and its best left done to the professionals IMO. Places like Masterpiece spend thousands on their monitoring and acoustic treatment alone to provide the most accurate reference possible. Mastering is an art and takes years of experience. Its possible to do from home but its probably never gunna sound as good as anything that has been mastered professionally, bar a few dodgy albums that I have picked up over the years.

    If you are serious about getting your music heard I suggest you get it mastered professionally. You can do sit in sessions at masterpiece with Beau Thomas I believe which may show you a few things.
     
  12. kama

    kama benkama.net

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    +1 for putting all your instruments in groups at the mixing stage... I do tunes with FL Studio but once I feel a tune is 'ready', I'll export the tracks and wait a week or so to 'forget' the track. Then import tracks into REAPER, group similiar tracks together by their dynamic and frequency content - for example Drums to 1 group, Sub to another, pads to 3rd, synth stabs and bass mids might go well together as the fourth.... Might do some audio editing and even go back to the source file and re-export if I spot some weaknesses in the production.

    Might do sidechaining with kick+sub, might even limit the groups separately if there are wild peaks in there to get more headroom in the mix. Although usually I don't give a shit as to what level the master is hitting as long as it doesn't go red and sounds good.

    After I'm pleased with this, I do my own mastering to get a level that wont stand out badly when mixed. I'ts very simple usually, lowcut under 20-30Hz (and usually i need to boost tops from 12K up) with a linear EQ, Compress mildly with a long release (maybe 1 or 2 bars worth of time) and limit to get it to -10dB RMS. I've noticed that after my mixdown this means about boosting 5-7 db with a limiter.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2012