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Automation for dynamic mixes

Discussion in 'F.O.H.' started by Rob Logic, Nov 6, 2008.

  1. Rob Logic

    Rob Logic yayyyyyy!

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    How much automation does everyone do on dynamic drum performances? What channels do you automate the most (kick, snare)? Or do you pretty much rely on varying types of compression to keep your drums cutting through a wall of guitars? Ss it automating guitars around the drums? I've been kind of sitting at a wall for a while where I feel like my mix is pretty great, I can hear everything clearly then go to master one of my tracks. The drums get dominated to say the least. I know its the limiting of the track but there is a flaw in what I am doing at some point. Light limiting settings, the track is too quiet. More aggressive setting and bye bye snare. I'm assuming that the mix is the root of the problem and the mastering just exacerbates it to shit. Anyone have ANY ideas let me and everyone else who struggles with a maintaining a congealed mix at every point of the production know. Thanks!!!
     
  2. beyond dead

    beyond dead heavy metal dad \m/

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    shave a few dbs off the snare with a clipper such as gclip, or event horizon, then apply a db or so of clipping to the 2 buss. search for the "getting your loudness" thread. worked wonders for me
     
  3. Rob Logic

    Rob Logic yayyyyyy!

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    thanks dude
     
  4. paladin shredder

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    honestly, i only use automation on vocals. to me, automation is a big pain in the ass. i usually just put a compressor on whatever needs it. i also use a massey L2007 on the master bus. i know some people are totally against putting a limiter on the master bus, but lets face it, during mastering it is going to be limited to some degree. first, i solo all the drums and adjust the levels of the drums and the limiter settings to what i think sounds good. the limiter settings are usually a slow/medium attack and medium release, faster stuff kills the attack of the drums. i do this with each element of the mix, all the time checking where the level is on the meter. then i listen to everything all together and adjust settings from there. once i have a mix i'm happy with, i take the limiter off and export the file if i plan on mastering it in a later stage.

    when i listen to the mix without the limiter, most of the time i notice the snare and the drums in generally are really loud compared to everything else, but once it is mastered it turns out exactly how i expected.
     
  5. Machinated

    Machinated Member

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    I use automation a hell of a lot, its another thing you can use to make your mixes more interesting. Ill do general level automation, normally vocals first, then usually I'll do some slight movements of the kick and snare volumes.

    I automate a hell of a lot of FX, for example programming EQ's to sweep through, or building up distortion gradually, or whatever I can think of to get something different and unique in there.
     
  6. paladin shredder

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    yes, for effects, automation is very useful. but overall if something is too dynamic and gets burried in some parts, i'd rather mess with the compressor settings than mess with volume automation. mainly because in protools, if i automate something in volume to go up 2 db's in a particular part, i can no longer adjust the volume manually because it is written than way for the whole song, then i have to start automating this part and that and it never ends. i'll automate bus sends for effects and i'll automate to mute a section, but that's about it.
     
  7. Machinated

    Machinated Member

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    I know what you are saying....I find automation in Logic to be pretty quick, but if its a 1dB change or something like that through the whole track, I'll normally just add it from the last plugins output on the chain.
     
  8. Metaltastic

    Metaltastic Member

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    Well you can raise or lower the overall automation baseline (keeping the increases/decreases you already had) by selecting the entire area of the track with regions in it and raising that with the trimmer or holding shift (I think) with the smart-tool.
     
  9. ffaudio

    ffaudio Member

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    I get into this annoying automation thing, too, where after you add it as automated you can only change it in the waveform view. An old program I used to have (I forget which!) used to work it so if it was automated you could shift+click the fader and adjust it. I wish sonar did that (or maybe it does and Ij ust don't know).


    Oh, and on topic. On metal mixes I find I can't really do a lot of automation since all the way through it has to be heavy heavy heavy. But in rock or pop and stuff, I like running the MILAR way and building the song up up up the entire time it's running. I have an example here:

    http://www.ffaudio.com/music/public/hottcommodity-jane.mp3

    Probably not everybody's type of music on here, but there is a lot of automation. The into is a little louder (drums and guitars) then it drops the guits a bit for the first verse, the fill into the first chorus is turned up and the guitars come into that chorus a bit louder. After that they drop down again for the next verse and come up louder for the 2nd chorus (than in the 1st chorus).

    It just keeps going like that and adds volume and intensity to make the song sound like it keeps on trucking forward and getting bigger and bigger.

    I haven't found a way to implement this in metal.
     
  10. Rob Logic

    Rob Logic yayyyyyy!

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    After using the search feature (I know, I should have in the first place) I think I found some interesting things regarding kind of what I was looking for. I worked on the mix taming each individual track in terms of frequency and levels doing simple adjustments to eq. I realized there was a ton of low frequency build up through the mix. I may have cut too much but to me the second attempt sounds like its breathing a bit more, the snare cuts, and to me it was easier to attain this volume. This was done in a couple of hours, probably could do a better job but I feel accomplished for the day.

    song 1 first mix

    song 1 second attempt
     
  11. jrt12

    jrt12 Member

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    holy shit, those mixes are like night and day! Badass!!! well, IMHO... i'm defintely not listening on studio quality speakers, just a Creative Labs setup. Did you create all that space by just EQ'ing? or did you remix and adjust panning?
     
  12. colonel kurtz

    colonel kurtz Member

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    probably never will, either
     
  13. ffaudio

    ffaudio Member

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    Mostly because everything is at 11 all the time.
     
  14. crosstalk

    crosstalk Member

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    11 is wimpy these days, real metal goes to 12.
     
  15. Rob Logic

    Rob Logic yayyyyyy!

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    Thanks. All eq and compression and limited for volume. Cleaned up a lot of mess down low first. Initially when I was doing this I was quick to go for the multiband but in the end that was just used on the guitar bus as I usually have it, I just adjusted it a bit. The compression on the mix bus was done in stages to help help tame some transients without pumping the mix and changing the over all tone. What went in the compression pretty much came out just less dynamic. I don't use gclip cause I run logic and I haven't heard of such a monster on au or mac compatible vst or else I'd try that on my drum bus. Never the less, I guess what I learned is be more cautious of what real estate each voice takes up and then it's relation to other things.
     
  16. Sinister Mephisto

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    I think that for mixes to be really exciting, hold attention, and have a sense of focus you really need some automation. Or at least I need it. I went a long time avoiding automation and thinking I just had to process differently or adjust levels differently, but compression as the only source of level control is boring and unmusical (IMO). Don't get me wrong, I love compression for changing the envelope of a sound, or adding character to a part, and it does help with level control to an extent, but without automation a mix (my mixes) can sound really dead and unfocused. That said, in metal, for the most part I leave my drums static and move everything else around them, unless they need to come down for a very soft section or something.

    As for not automating in protools because you can't change the overall level, some easy things to do, one is use the volume trim function on the track, or a trim plugin. I've also used the output of an L1 or similar as a means of control overall volume of a track.
     
  17. seditz740novaprospect

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    i create 16 groups for automation, 8 for rides etc on the most important elements of the mix, and 8 parallel to them for overall level with no automation. if the whole automated track needs to come up or down ... occasionally use it on individual tracks according to the needs of the mix
     
  18. Sinister Mephisto

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    If I understand what you are saying, than this is especially cool for something like a vocal because if you put your compressor on aux so to speak, than your rides are pre-compression.
     
  19. seditz740novaprospect

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    i dont run any compression on the automation busses, i ride the levels after all the processing of all my subgroups, i have a comp on my master to take care of taming the rides just a bit, that would parallel process the bus with automation though so in theory it would work,but you are messing with the input signal of the compressor with the automation ....not really sure though im sure someone can elaborate a bit more on that technique becuase im unfamiliar with parallel compression of a automation group...
     
  20. Metaltastic

    Metaltastic Member

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    Wow...so lost right now...
     

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