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Mixing way to Hot...

Discussion in 'F.O.H.' started by Zombietakeover, Aug 3, 2009.

  1. Zombietakeover

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    Already I know i have been mixing hot for a couple of years now....And Since My ears i guess are becoming more trained because my stuff is starting to sound like shit to me.....It just sounds Fried and slammed
    the user ahjteam had this to say----(and i agree with every word)
    The whole mix is just a bit too slammed to my taste, because it gets really exhausting to listen to the mix because the 1-6khz gets really in your face, my ears were pretty much shot after 2 rounds.

    Also because of the slamming, the lowend sounds a bit thin and kick and snare attack sound a bit harsh, you could lower them a bit. I know the bass is there, but I can't tell a single note it is playing (edit: I take that back, I heard the bass at the very end when the guitars dropped out ). It could have a bit more definition and low end.

    here is the mix. i posted it in the rate mix section a few weeks back...
    http://files.getdropbox.com/u/637857/burnthereplicamix12.mp3

    I'm not going to lie when i take the limiter off its prolly going 4-6dbs in the red....that's disgusting i know . I have been mixing with getting volume in mind...So i don't have to push the Master that hard.....But it's like i get to a point where i just can't hear things...Like even when i turn the fader up ...it makes no difference ...everything is slammed......i know i know turn things down....I'm currently remixing the project and looking to pick up some tips on the way.

    To me my guitars sound so awful in the mids and it sounds like there slammed basically lol....ARGGH so frustrating
    most people would be satisfied with my mix but i'm not I want to be better.

    So a better way would be to go at the compressor/gclip/limiter at softer more even level and then boost a little harder in the mastering(gclip/limiter)

    I don't really understand this theory, someone explain slower for the dumb how mixing at a lower level can give you louder and bigger sounding mixes.

    ewwwwww I'm going to watch sharkweek on Discovery. I'm disgusted with myself....thanks for any info fellas..
     
  2. AllanD

    AllanD boom tap boom-boom tap

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    Well, instead of boosting, try reducing around the certain instrument you want to stand out more. How are you EQing? Are you cutting frequencies of clashing instruments that you boost?
     
  3. Sean in Silence

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    Basically my rule is that NOTHING clips.
    EVER.
    If even one track is clipping turn everything down until that track is no longer clipping.
    and if the master is clipping don't turn the master volume down
    but turn all of the individual tracks down until the master is no longer clipping.
    and then master from there.
    hope that helps a little
     
  4. PhilR

    PhilR Studio Scapegoat

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    You know technically it's impossible to clip the channels on any DAW with 32-bit internal processing. Only channels routed to a physical output (i.e. the master bus) should be able to clip as at that point you're overloading the DAC. The only real exception to this is plugins that use integer math rather than floating-point.
     
  5. Fragle

    Fragle Member

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    haven't listened to your mix, but when you wrote this:
    ".....But it's like i get to a point where i just can't hear things...Like even when i turn the fader up ...it makes no difference "
    there's one thing that immediately came to my mind: bad eq'ing.

    one thing about mixing that's very important to understand is that the balance between individual instruments is not only determined by it's level (=fader setting), but also a great deal by how it's sitting in the mix. if e.g. your snare just doesn't cut through regardless of how high you crank the fader, it's more than likely that it's just competing with different instruments, e.g. guitars.

    other than that, yes, you already know it....ease up on the volume.
    technically speaking philR is right, if there's an individual channel clipping it shouldn't actually matter....although people will disagree, and i'm not that convinced myself tbh.
    it DOES however matter with the 2bus. there's a reason why you're actually supposed to leave some headroom for the mastering process - once you clipped the D/A during mixdown there's no going back.
    my advice would be: try to seperate your production into MIX and MASTERING. do each in different projects. try to get your MIX as balanced as possible. DO NOT TRY to make it as loud/exciting, bright, or have that same low end depth as your (MASTERED) reference CD's. stay on the low side, if it's peaking anywhere around -6 to -3db you're perfectly fine. imho a good mix will sound somewhat bland when compared to a finished product, but it will have a great spectral balance.
    it's the mastering where you can try to add that extra shimmer, extra bottom punch, and obviously get things as loud as you think you need.

    btw, i'm not saying that you should go for sub-par mixes. at all! the thing is, it's way easier for a mastering engineer to add some sparkle to a somewhat dull mix, than to tame an overly bright one! and that's why it's so important to get the spectral balance right. if the whole thing is a tad dark but everythings balanced, adding some extra highs won't make individual stuff like overheads/vocals sound *overly* bright.

    but well, i'll stop it right now....^^
     
  6. jeid

    jeid Terribad

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    This is an excellent post. I have this problem, I keep trying to get my mixes to sound very polished and I guess that's where I fail.

    Cheers
     
  7. schust

    schust Member

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    +1, exactly!

    having my stuff mastered professionally made an honest man outta me, mixing-wise. and somewhere between mix #8000 and #1,229,222,222 :loco:, i somehow "got it". less is truly more, in this case.
     
  8. Melodeath

    Melodeath Moonbow

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    +1
     
  9. Styvo

    Styvo Member

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    I'm battling with things on this end at the moment.Fragle and PhillR,you both make interesting points.I usually don't get any clipping when i mix,and i haven't had a bunch of material sent off to get mastered.Some has i won't lie,but i was not present nor had any conversations with the Mastering guys offering any feedback to better let me understand where i might be going wrong with things.
    I personally still haven't found a mix i have done that i can honestly say I'm hugely proud of.It seems that for some reason i do it,than prefer not to listen to it again.On the occasions that i have I'm either satisfied or dissatisfied but i guess that could also be largely my own expectations,time factors and level of experience i have,material I'm working with.
    I have these tracks i am working on at the moment and i am being particular about leaving -6 db or so of headroom.
    I do wonder though how much of a difference Mastering is going to make to my mixes.
    I hope for the life of me it's significant.
     
  10. Melodeath

    Melodeath Moonbow

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    Mastering can make a huge difference. I master my own tracks, and it's a huge difference usually.
     
  11. Metaltastic

    Metaltastic Member

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    Hey Josh, here's my strategy for loudness maximization on every mix that works for me!

    First, select all the faders, and bring them all way down simultaneously, like at least halfway down. I'm not sure if there's a way to move multiple faders simultaneously in all versions of Cubase (depending on which you're on), but that's not an issue if you haven't done any level adjustment yet. And if you have, and you can't move multiple faders at the same time, then, well suck it up :D Cuz this gives you plenty of headroom to increase the level of certain tracks if they're too soft, which sometimes is SO much easier to do than bringing everything else down. Obviously, everything will be really low in output volume, but that's what the CNTRL RM knob on our Onyx 400F's is for :D (or just bringing up the master fader)

    Second, do ALL your mixing.

    Third, when it's now loudness time, bring the snare track volume way lower than it currently is (so it sounds too soft in the mix). But then put an instance of GClip on it, leave the dynamics and clip knobs at their default positions (0% and 100%, respectively), and crank the gain knob (also turn on 2x Oversampling). Watch the meters in the plugin as you play back your track, and just keep cranking that gain knob until there's some nice clipping going on, but also be sure to listen intently to make sure there aren't any artifacts creeping in (it's really hard to notice clipping on something with as sharp a spike and little decay as a snare, but crank GClip enough and you'll notice eventually!) For a lowdown on why clipping the snare is AWESOME for loudness maximization, check out this post I made in another recent thread (but of course, the idea was first presented here, at least AFAIK, by Slate back in the infamous "Getting Your Loudness" thread, so props to him first and foremost! :headbang: ) So once you have the snare at a good level of clipping in GClip, use the track fader to get it back at the right level in the mix.

    Almost done - Fourth, be certain your master fader is at 0 dB (meaning, neutral), and put another instance of GClip on the master bus, using the same settings as on the snare track (except for gain, obviously), and turn up the gain just until you start seeing the spikes clip on the meters (be gentle here though, cuz the clipping can get a lot more noticeable since it's the whole mix going through it, and while you may not be able to hear clipping on your monitors, that doesn't mean it's not there, so better to err on the side of caution)

    Finally, put your limiter of choice on the Master Bus after the GClip instance (Elephant in my case :headbang: ), and tweak it to get the loudness you want! (usually I set my CNTRL RM knob on my Onyx to the level of a decently loud but not totally obliterated metal mix, such as "The Great Cold Distance", and then turn up the limiter until I can roughly match it, usually around -10 dB RMS) Also, I always set the output level to -.5 dB just to be safe (so it doesn't clip cheaper converters that can't handle stuff going right up to the 0 dB line)
     
  12. Zombietakeover

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    I dunno i thought i was catching on to EQ....I mean i hear those sweet spots were stuff appears and disappears...,And usually were i boost, i will subtract in another track. But then again Maybe i suck at eqing.

    But on this next mix im going to be anal about leaving -3 to -6 headroom.

    So If i was to start with the Kick and snare , I need to make sure they aren't going over -6 and then build from there correct?

    i don't understand though. I try to mix so i don't have to Slam during mastering .... how is mixing quieter and Slaming the master make the mix sound better/louder/bigger

    Sorry dude's if I'm hard to understand..It's hard for me to explain sometimes.
    but keep the knowledge coming...cheers
     
  13. Metaltastic

    Metaltastic Member

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    As long as no tracks are clipping, mixing loud and then not applying as much gain boost in the mastering process is no different than mixing low and boosting like crazy in the mastering (unless you have something analog in your mastering chain, though somehow I doubt it :D). I just prefer the latter so I have plenty of headroom to increase the levels on instruments that might need it, without having to worry about overloads!
     
  14. kev

    kev Im guybrush threepwood

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    I feel this post actually. I have been suffering similarly lately- seems to be one of the downsides of mixing through the master chain. If I pull all that shit off, i get a good few DB's of clip which I know is shocking and should not be allowed right. Need to adjust my techniques i think :)
     
  15. Metaltastic

    Metaltastic Member

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    Read and learn Kev! :D
     
  16. kev

    kev Im guybrush threepwood

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    Hahaha. Tell me about it. Funny thing is tho it doesnt actually seem to cause too much harm really. Maybe things will change soon, having this focusrite saffire 56 has changed my sound quality considerably this week! I wish I had more time to play around, wait til the fecking 9-5 comes for you dude :(
     
  17. Metaltastic

    Metaltastic Member

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    Ain't it the truth dude, amazing what a noticeable difference upgrading your D/A converters makes! (since it's whole mixes being piped through them to your monitors)
     
  18. kev

    kev Im guybrush threepwood

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    Yep! Not to thread hijack, but everything has become a bit smoother, the lows and mids have come alive especially detail wise, and even what i would class as the muddiest kicks on my 1010lt are popping through with quite some clarity now.
     
  19. PhilR

    PhilR Studio Scapegoat

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    The mastering engineer at our studio just upgraded from an MBOX to a Benchmark DAC for his main mastering converters and the difference was just silly. The Mbox sounds like it has almost an entire octave of low end missing by comparison and the high end was just a world apart. He's having to re-calibrate his whole monitor setup just to adjust.

    Of course his first reaction was disgust at how now all his recent mastering work will sound totally wrong. :D
     
  20. Fragle

    Fragle Member

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    that's why you don't call yourself a mastering engineer if all you got is a friggin m-box....


    anyways:
    "i don't understand though. I try to mix so i don't have to Slam during mastering .... how is mixing quieter and Slaming the master make the mix sound better/louder/bigger"

    the thing is, you do NOT want to fuck with your 2bus....EVER. it's a nasty bitch that pukes right back at you when you penetrate it too hard, you know what i'm saying?
    the point i'm trying to make is that, once you got your mix sorted out, with everything having a good balance, and staying nice and well below the 0dbfs threshold, your mix will have way more depth and clarity. you'll no longer try to stuff as many things into as little space as possible, but instead get things sorted out, with the important stuff being upfront, and the less important background stuff being right there - in the background, but still well audible.
    once you got to that point, you can go and fuck with that mix in the mastering process. if you smash it to pieces in the mastering, it'll sound like a friggin good mix with depth and balance, just crushed as fuck. on the other hand, if you mixed as hot as possible in the first place, all you will have is an ALREADY SMASHED MIX, and all you can do is to loudness maximize it by smashing it even more. there will be little to no depth, no clarity. just a smashed version of a smashed mix.

    bottom line is though, this stuff is way easier said (or understood for that matter) than recreated in a real life mix...cause it's fucking tempting to say STFU to the conservative mixing choir and just drive it way hard - because nobody will ever be able to tell, after all you got that nice lil limiting thing on your 2bus that's saving your ass.
    WRONG.
     

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