Really wanna improve my mixdowns but have no idea where to look

Discussion in 'Production' started by Rubs90, May 12, 2013.

  1. Rubs90

    Rubs90 KeyControl

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    Title pretty much sums it. I've read the whole box article thing which was really good to get the basics and the theory, but it's a little harder to put into practice. I've had a look around and I just can't seem to find any information on the basics of mixdowns and how to improve them in general. Any recommendations?
     
  2. MisterApe

    MisterApe 8bit junkie

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    Well where do you want to start is the first question I suppose?

    Learning EQ'ing, frequency splitting, proper compression and such is always the place to begin with imo.
     
  3. Rubs90

    Rubs90 KeyControl

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    Proper EQ'ing, not as in how to EQ, but more like when to EQ and where. Compression isn't a big problem for now, and I don't have a lot of troubles frequency splitting, it's mostly my lack of knowledge on when to use limiters, where to EQ, etc. In general I wanna find out why my tracks are always clipping and what can I do to make it better.
     
  4. miszt

    miszt BASSFACE Royale

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  5. MisterApe

    MisterApe 8bit junkie

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    I always limit my master, best way to keep it loud as fucking fuck whilst also keeping dynamics (with ozone)

    EQ'ing depends on the sound though, I tend to have a little dip in my reeses around 500hz to keep it from sounding muddy, works for me!
    And LP'ing everything but the sub @ 65hz (for kicks and such, higher amount for other sounds ofcourse, no use in LP'ing a pad at 65hz if it stops at 2khz)

    Almost tempted to just make a tutorial on EQ"ing and compressing basses and breaks :D. (maybe to go along with a neurofunk bass tutorial I have planned for next week)
     
  6. Mr Fletch

    Mr Fletch aka KRONIX

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    The 1st steps in a good mix are to learn how to EQ efficiently. I don't just mean slapping on an EQ and cutting or boosting wherever you want. I'm talking really having knowledge of EQ. Learning how the frequencies of different sounds work together and help gel a track. Knowing instinctively when you should be cutting frequencies instead of boosting.

    From there the next step would be understanding mono / stereo requirements, and panning. By having incidental sounds pop in and out to the left or right you are creating a wider sonic field for the track, but you need to understand what sort of sounds this will work with, and don't over do it, too much panning or mono /stereo work can destroy a track. You need to find a happy medium.

    Reverbs and delays can help bring a mix to life, apart from using them for what they were intended for, some real small reverb on a drum track can bring them to life! And some tiny delay can help spread the dynamics of the track!

    Don't get carried away with compression! There's so much emphasis on the loudness war we all hear about. There's no point compressing the shit out of everything if the initial EQ work is all out of place! All you're going to do is create more problems for yourself. Use compression sparingly, some subtle compression on your drum tracks to help gel them together, and maybe some parallel compression to help the overall track get some weight behind it should be more than enough.

    Don't throw shit on your master channel! This is so overlooked its crazy! I see so many people loading up limiters, compressors and mastering software on their master channels then trying to work a mixdown! This will create false responses and your ears will trick you. Leave that master channel empty, get the final mixdown as clean and precise as you possibly can without any master channel trickery! Once you have managed this, export to 44100hz wav file and re import into your DAW for the mastering stage. If your track is going to a label then this is the last port of call as your label will take the track from this point to be sent off to a mastering engineer. However, if you are not getting a release, and just want to get the track sounding as big as possible, this is the point where you can add your mastering software, compressors and limiters etc. and it should be fairly simple so long as you took the time getting the mixdown as clean as can be!
     
  7. MisterApe

    MisterApe 8bit junkie

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    I don't necessarily agree with keeping the master empty, mixing with a proper limiter will help you keep the dynamics in a tune compared to just squashing the fuck out of it and ruining it later on (Huge reason why I'm no fan of Forbidden Society. Too fucking loud.)
     
  8. Mr Fletch

    Mr Fletch aka KRONIX

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    All a limiter does is stops the audio signal peaking over a desired threshold. With correct mixdown work, no channel should be clipping anyway, thus eliminating the need for a limiter on the master channel in the first place?
     
  9. Rubs90

    Rubs90 KeyControl

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    Thanks for all the responses guys, will look into it!

    I've heard a lot about parallel compression but never really knew what it is, care to just give me a brief explanation and its practicalities?
     
  10. MisterApe

    MisterApe 8bit junkie

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    True, to each their own I suppose. I like having a limiter on there to begin with (Using ozone 5 for it), just helps me keep everything in check and making it sound loud-ish without ruining the dynamics.
    I do agree that squashing the living shit out of it with a limiter will ruin the sound.
     
  11. Rubs90

    Rubs90 KeyControl

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    Also what do you guys tend to have on your buses? I think I'm throwing too many limiters around on my buses and not enough compression. For example, I tend to bus my drum parts (kicks, snares, hats) into individual buses before sending them off into the big drum bus, and in these individual ones I tend to use limiters when perhaps it's not the best way
     
  12. miszt

    miszt BASSFACE Royale

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    hmm adding a dynamic squashing plugin to allow you to keep the dynamics? doesnt sound right to me, and I've never been comfortable with mixing into a limiter, i've tried, as plenty of people say they do it, but i've never found it to do any good whatsoever - not to mention the damage it does to transients. has never made sense to me, but do whatever works for you I guess, its definitly not something I would suggest to someone still struggling to get their mixdowns balanced
     
  13. MisterApe

    MisterApe 8bit junkie

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    Seperate busses for my drums, bass, pads and vocals.
    Bass seperated into several groups first for sub, low, mid and hi, then back into a final buss.

    all (the main 4 busses, not the bass frequency splitting.) have camelphat on there to act as a limiter that doesn't suck :).

    Then izotope ozone 5 on the master.
     
  14. miszt

    miszt BASSFACE Royale

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    strip out all your limiters, and use a few compressors where u need to, a limiter is a compressor, but with a lower ratio. limiters can be great, but imo you need to really understand the subtlties of compressors to get the best out of them. nothing wrong with compressing the drum bus, cant think of a track where I havent, but I do it gently, just enough to bring out the punch and glue it together - remeber to check your attack and decay settings to allow the transients thru, or it'll all go tits up. remeber compression isnt about getting more volume, infact its the opposite
     
  15. Mr Fletch

    Mr Fletch aka KRONIX

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    Parallel compression is a technique where you put a compressor on a send channel, then sending the required amount of various channels through it. By doing this, you get the compression gain and "phatness" without losing the dynamics of the original source. You have the original sounds playing, and also the compressed versions alongside it!
     
  16. MisterApe

    MisterApe 8bit junkie

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    Also, I'm kind of thinking it has a lot to do with the subgenre you're working in.
    Neurofunk in general tends to be very loud compared to say liquidfunk.
     
  17. Mr Fletch

    Mr Fletch aka KRONIX

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    Do you actually have Ozone on the master while writing the track and mixing down?
     
  18. MisterApe

    MisterApe 8bit junkie

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    Yes I do! Ozone maximizer and harmonics set on it to give it that extra bit whilst the actual master is set to -3db.
    Just works for me at least with what I do.
     
  19. DjCartel

    DjCartel Well-Known Member

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    i detect your saying thats a bad thing fletch? whereas id normally agree its bad, alot of tutorials, such as the audio one, who lets be fair is a master of neuro, do actually make the tune with a limiter on the master! i think its all down to personal preference and experimenting. in xtrahs tutorial he says he doesnt like using compressors so uses limiters insteaed. trial and error!
     
  20. Mr Fletch

    Mr Fletch aka KRONIX

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    I've got no problem with people putting mastering software on a master channel once you are doing a home master of a track. I just cant fathom out why anyone would want to put these things on there during the creation process?

    Try looking at it this way........you create a track with ozone on the master channel as you go, it sounds badass! seriously good.......then a label approaches you and wants to sign it. They ask for the track with nothing on the master channel, and -3db headroom. You go back to the project file, you take off all the crap on the master channel..........and..........oh wait..........Everything sounds like utter shite! you then have to spend an eternity going over every last piece with a fine toothcomb trying to iron out all the errors that the wonderful Izotope Ozone has masked for you! A royal pain in the backside I'm sure you'll agree.

    Whereas I have created a badass track too! everything sounds solid as fuck in the mix, ive rendered to audio and added Ozone after everything else is complete and I'm happy I cannot better the mix in any way. I have my original render, and a master render now. Everyone hears the master render, a label wants to sign it........but oh wait.....they want nothing on the master channel, and -3db headroom............so I send them the original render and I'm done! Knowing I don't have to go back and change anything at all, because they original mix was done without anything clouding my judgement!

    But yeah....each to their own I guess.
     
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