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Mixing with Pink Noise

Discussion in 'F.O.H.' started by UMF, May 19, 2013.

  1. UMF

    UMF Just Another Member

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    I recently started to balance my Mix with the help of pink noise, and I must say, I am starting to really like it. I start it in the Volume/ Pan stage early in the
    mixing phase. It helps a lot when you have to mix on headphones. It also changed the amount of plugins per channel. I don't have to do a lot of surgical fixing and sculpting the individual tracks because the levels are perfect and I can hear certain problem areas a lot better and make everthing glue a lot better.

    Does anybody else do that kind of stuff besides using it for mic placement and room measurement?
     
  2. AntonioPetrole

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    Which technique are you referring to? I'm only familiar with micing with pink noise
     
  3. LBTM

    LBTM Proud Behringer User

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    Check this out.
     
  4. UMF

    UMF Just Another Member

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    Actually I was talking about balancing the instruments with pink noise..
    You load a pink noise generator or a pink noise sample in your project, set it to a level where it would basicly cloud up your mix, and then start balancing your tracks.
    I am starting by soloing the Kick and pink noise only, and then set the Kick's volume so that I can almost not hear it in the pink noise anymore. Then solo snare with the pink noise and do the same till your done with all your instruments including vocals.. I do not know if it is a technique or anything, but it works for me. I just wanted to know if somebody else does something like this
     
  5. UMF

    UMF Just Another Member

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    Cool, I could not find anything about that with my google research.

    roflsaurusrex looks like it is a technique that other peole do....

    I don't do it the exact way how that article states, but close...
     
  6. RedDog

    RedDog Humanoid typhoon

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    This is actually really interesting, and I will have to do a shootout for myself. Coincidentally, I have an obnoxious neighbor who always always always has his AC/heat unit running, so the noise floor of my environment is higher than optimal, but I recently have been putting out more cohesive mixes. Will report back.
     
  7. mickrich

    mickrich Member

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    I take it this is to try and get all frequencies covered to add density to your mix?
    Sounds interesting.
     
  8. UMF

    UMF Just Another Member

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    Well, since pink noise has equal energy in every octave it is nice for me to have a guide where I can balance my instruments to.
    For example, lets take a 100% ITB production:
    1.) Choose all your sounds that fit the song like you would normaly do (Drums, Bass, Guitars, Vocals etc....)
    I'm not talking mixing. If you use Midi for Drums for example, then coose your kit -pieces (S.D Avatar Kick, MF Snare, Avatar Toms etc...)
    If your Bass Guitar is recorded via DI or is Midi, set it up like you would normaly do. For me, if it's not fast or technical music, I'll go with a nice Ampsim on one track (Ampeg etc..). At that point I'll just want to make sure that I like the combination of the raw kit and the bass tone. Just what a lot of people do when they set up live drums, micing amps etc..

    Same goes with amp sims.Choose a complementary chain (Ampsim, impulse), maybe Tubescreamer and move on to vocals. My vocal chain at that point consists of a basic EQ and little compression.

    2.) Pink noise time
    - Since we have the sounds that we like and fit the project, We will route everyting to a Bus and call it mixbus. Next to that we have a track that goes to the real masterbus just like the mixbus. That track has a Mono pink noise generator or a pink noise sample on it set so that it reaches - 6db on it's track channel.
    At this point pink noise is still muted. I always start by paning everything. Once this is done we can start balancing the volumes.
    turn on the pink noise, mute everything else but unmute the kick. Now, there is a point where the kick gets almost totally buried in the pink noise. We want that. Once you have that, leave the kick fader alone, mute the kick and unmute the snare. do exactly the same for the snare and so on.....
    For the guitars, I always create a bus and balance the whole bus, not the individual L/R Rthm guitars. Same goes for the overheads.

    3.) Turn off the noise
    - Ok, the above step should only take you a couple minutes. After that take a break and reset your ears. Then listen to your Rough Mix. Should sound listenable, even with the unprocessed tracks. Now you can start sculpting. For me HP/LP first, then EQ,Compression. I always set up a surgical EQ after HP/LP and than a nice EQ. Since I don't have a huge budget, I use Reaper for surgical stuff and mostly Stillwell plugins for shaping. since there is not a thousand bands in the plugins, it kind of keeps me from overdoing EQ.

    And that's what i do with pink noise and for me it works pretty good...

    Let me know if it helped if you try it, and sorry for my English
     
  9. florianvantuil

    florianvantuil New Metal Member

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    Sounds really interesting. I will definitely give this a try on my next mix.
     
  10. hurdy

    hurdy Sup

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    I just tried this for shits and giggles and it actually translated surprisingly well. Wasn't expecting much of this... lolz I suggest you guys try this shit. I would be interested in your opinions too
     
  11. UMF

    UMF Just Another Member

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    It also works pretty good when you try on a mix that is almost finished but your not sure about the levels.
    I just heard from a mastering engineer that this is used in mastering too from time to time.

    I find my mixes are a lot more punchier and I have to do less EQing with tis technique.
     
  12. Nimvi

    Nimvi Member

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    I have never done this, but will try it some time. Sounds interesting :) More tools in the toolbox!

    Something similar that you may want to combine with that technique:
    I usually set my instrument levels in mono on a rather low playback volume (except for the bass guitar, for which I play back a little louder). That gives me a pretty clear image of the order of the layers in the mix-sandwich.

    Extremely effective for hearing frequency-clashes too. Mute an offending instrument for a few seconds while playing back your mix in mono and then unmute it. You should hear the overlap right away. If you have trouble identifying it, it can help to set the offending instrument a dB or 2 louder than it should be.

    Go find that first frequency that jumps out at you and set a cut and Q in such a way that it creates a space for the dominant instrument and doesn't bother you anymore when doing the mute/unmute thing, but go no further than that.

    Now switch back to stereo and everything should sound more open than before but still natural.

    I really love that technique. You have to get used to the weirdness of mono to know how stuff should sound (quad-tracked guitars sound pretty shit in mono...), but once you get used to it, it's great for a lot of things. It can be used to set levels, resolve clashes (even ones that get covered up by the illusion of panning), check for phasing issues, and even to set the ratio between a dry signal and a reverb to find a depth that slots in juuust right with the mix. That's a lot of benefits for pushing a single button! And in my experience, if something sounds good in mono, it sounds even better in stereo.
     
  13. UMF

    UMF Just Another Member

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    Nimvi,

    I heard of that technique before. It is an awsome way to find clashing frequencies. I have this covered in a Bag of Tricks kind of ebook I am putting together at the moment! What i also like to do, and I don't know how much people do it is that when I use a highpass filter and have it set, I'll turn that highpass into a lowpass and check what I have removed. Works wonders for me to clear up the Low end an low Mids.
     
  14. 53Crëw

    53Crëw Member

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    Hey, thanks for sharing this. I just tried a quick mix and it really helps get the levels balanced between instruments. Great tip!

    Cheers.
     
  15. UMF

    UMF Just Another Member

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    Cool, glad I could help.
     
  16. smy1

    smy1 Member

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    I wish every DAW had an "EQ-reverse" switch, where you just hit one button and the EQ gets reversed so you can check what you've taken out.
     
  17. UncleBob

    UncleBob Member

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    You might want to check out Fabfilter Pro-Q if you already haven't.
     
  18. smy1

    smy1 Member

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    UncleBob: I actually bought the Fabfilter bundle for the Pro-L and never really checked out the Pro-Q. So thanks for the info! :)
     
  19. anotherpaul

    anotherpaul Member

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    Free ReaEQ has "Flip all bands" feature. It doesn't turn highpass to lowpass though, but you can do it manually.
     
  20. UncleBob

    UncleBob Member

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    To be able to set a frequency point and solo that region based on the Q is a godsend, if you have a HPF and you hit the solo you'll hear only the low rumble you're getting rid of, it's got a bunch of other useful features as well.
     

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