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percepting your own work

Discussion in 'F.O.H.' started by slo77y, Apr 4, 2013.

  1. slo77y

    slo77y Member

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    hey guys,

    i want to share some thoughts with you about a topic that is killing me everytime i produce a 'larger' project (like a full length album) or generally have a lot of work to do.

    at the time i really get into the mix and really try to make it sound right, sometimes i get in a strange headspace, where my perception starts to bend and the following scenarios occur:


    1. my mix sounds better than everything else
    2. my mix sounds worse than everything else
    3. i feel like the song/performance/raw tracks/whatever is/are shit and no one could make the material sound good
    4. i have no opinion at all about my mix, i cant tell if it sounds good or bad


    i use reference mixes, but i try to not overuse them, e.g. switching back and forth and try matching EQ curves for certain intstruments. that only seems to work as a starting point at the very start of a mix. if i have it at a decent level, reference mixes dont seem to help anymore and i really have to focus on THE SONG to make it sound right.


    worst case of the above mentioned is of course 1. if that happens i immediately stop for the day (at least, thats what i try to do) and start over the next day with fresh ears. (not always possible when there is a lot of work to do)

    another thing that happens pretty often is 3. i mix quite a lot material that was recorded elsewhere (a lot of the times in rehearsel spaces under shitty circumstances) and i often get to the point where i think "this guitar/snare/vocal etc. will never sound better than this"



    i think i tend to 'overmix' a lot of the time.
    im sure that has happened to everyone of us. that awkward moment when u compare the just finished 8-hour mix with 8 zillion plugins on every track to the first rough you did, and it sucks in comparsion.





    so i want to talk about the headspace / mindset of mixing when u have a lot of work to do and cant afford to take longer pauses between your mixing sessions. (that of course helps the most, at least in my experience)


    i am at a point where i think i know a lot of technical stuff, i have access to quite a lot of gear and a decent monitoring situation. i feel my hearing is well too, having learned EQing over the years and often times instantly know what frequency has to be changed etc without messing around.



    the more frustrating it is that i take super long time to get the mix where it lasts multiple days without me wanting to change it.





    perhaps some of you guys run into the same problems, and i would be interested in how you deal with that.

    it seems that there is not much technical stuff left to learn that would give an instant "aha!"-effect and instantly make my mixing better. (of course that may be the case)

    i just try to get better by mixing all the time and never settle unless the mix gives me goosebumps, but that seems hard to achieve. just work hard, over and over again, until it sounds right.



    i have attached a shitty quality yt-link of my last larger project:


    (this is NOT supposed to be a thread where you rate my mix, its just a vague references on which 'level' i might be)



    thanks a lot guys!

    i hope i dont come across to whiney, haha.
     
    #1 slo77y, Apr 4, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2015
  2. UncleBob

    UncleBob Member

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    I think you come across as too dunning-kruger.

    That mix doesn't sound perfect but it sounds pretty good to me, like some of Randy Staub's lesser work (seriously, check out some of the bands he's mixed, especially the smaller ones that didn't have big budget recordings, they have that "style" but aren't that amazing).

    Whatever it is you're going through when you mix you should keep at it, it's obviously working in your favour.

    Here's a band that recorded themselves in a garage, then got a deal and Randy Staub had to mix what they did:
     
    #2 UncleBob, Apr 4, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2015
  3. RedDog

    RedDog Humanoid typhoon

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    You should really try mixing some other material other than your own. your mix just becomes another mix. Also, the spaces in between your sentences are very distracting. I didn't read half of what you said because I was looking for a TL;DR, maybe that applies to your workflow. Very spaced out and disjointed. Try organizing your mix strategy. "Today is the drum mix for a couple hours, then we move onto bass" etc...
     
  4. ecz

    ecz Member

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    I couldn't have put it better myself, I've experienced everything you said a million times.
    I often thought I'm the only who experiences 1. very often. The only thing that helps is to stop and wait until the ears refresh. Mostly some hours later or on the next day it becomes obvious how wrong I was. Only when I have this feeling for several days or even when I stopped working on this project for some days and listen back at it and it still blows away my reference mixes I consider my mixes as finished. After the project is finally released it mostly takes 2-3 weeks until I realize what I could have done better.
     
  5. drew_drummer

    drew_drummer Dancefap

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    I think you mean perceiving.
     
  6. Heabow

    Heabow More cowbell!

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    Exactly what happens to me each time! Very frustrating!

    I always start working on the low end as it's the bigger and most important and super difficult part of a mix (my DT770 helps a lot as I don't have ideal room/monitors). But after that I try to mix relatively quickly as it helps to keep a coherent vision of the song. If a mix takes too long time, I tend to change my mind on the initial choices and I finally redo what it's already done over and over again...

    (still NOT happy with my mixes tho :D)
     
  7. slo77y

    slo77y Member

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    @uncle bob: dont get me wrong. i was in no way trying to say that i am a great mixer or anything like that. i think i wouldn´t have started the thread if that was what i am thinking, haha. randy staub for sure is the king and one of my idols!

    @red dog: i like ur post, i think you might have hit the nail right on the head there. i will definately overlook my mixing strategy and organization. thanks!

    @drew_drummer: oh yes, of course. sorry about that :)

    @ecz: cheers mate :D we are not alone, hehe.


    thanks a lot, so far. this is really great input :)
     
  8. UncleBob

    UncleBob Member

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    I didn't mean to imply that I thought you thought you were the greatest.

    What I meant was it's usually the guys that are pretty good that think they suck and have problems, and the guys that suck and have problems usually think they're the most badass (Dunning-Kruger effect).

    So what I meant was whatever you're going through is probably really common and just stick with it, the day you think you're over those 4 points you mentioned is the day you probably start to suck (or get left behind).
     
  9. ecz

    ecz Member

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    very nice way of thinking!
     
  10. Vicioushead

    Vicioushead Member

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    Oh man. I'm the worst. I know my recordings sound like shit and in my mind, I know how I'd like them to sound. I just don't know how to make that happen. Then I hear amazing home recordings on here and it just makes me want to quit.
     
  11. EmilDelaRosa

    EmilDelaRosa New Metal Member

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    I think if you're really passionate with what you do, you will never be satisfied with your work. Which is a good thing of course. Those scenarios you enumerated are spot on, I was in the same situation 3 hours ago haha!
     

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