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Mixing Guideline

Discussion in 'F.O.H.' started by Batlecry, Jun 11, 2012.

  1. Batlecry

    Batlecry New Metal Member

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    Hey guys. First off love the forums. You guys are the beez neez. I was wondering in vague terms, what is your steps in starting a new mix. For instance what do you do and in what order.

    Ex:

    1. Normalize all tracks

    2. Get fader levels right

    3. HP and LP Filter on everything

    4. Cut EQ's

    5. Boost EQ's

    6. Compression

    7. Effects

    Im not looking for specifics on each step. I just want to know how you guys go about mixing a song. I don't think I do my steps in the right order. I think the order in which you do things really effects the sound. Hoping to get a general idea of how you mix a song.
     
  2. Jordon

    Jordon Member

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    I personally don't normalize any tracks, and the order of things changes from project to project.
     
  3. Batlecry

    Batlecry New Metal Member

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    I agree. I hate the sound of things after they have been normalized.
     
  4. waltz mastering

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    Normalizing is rarely needed, but it shouldn't change the sound unless the daw is broken. It's just digital gain change.
     
  5. Jordon

    Jordon Member

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    I don't do it because when I'm recording, my aim from the start is to leave plenty of headroom on my tracks. Changing the gain of a track is very rare.
     
  6. whopiecushoon

    whopiecushoon New Metal Member

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    the first thing i do, is try to get everything sounding neat, and well placed, by slight eq, panning, so i can get a basic overall look of the song. then i basically try to make each instrument alive in the whole stereo mix, and for me, that usually requires thinking, looping the song, and a lot of experimentation.
     
  7. JohnTheRipper

    JohnTheRipper Member

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    The first thing i do is use a trim plugin on each and every track, and make sure none of them peaks over -14 dBfs. Most VST plugins are designed to process sound that peaks around 0 VU, so that's why i do it. Then i go for a general balance between instruments, and pan them. After that i EQ and compress each one to taste, and make them work as a mix. I almost always use a compressor on the master bus (usually the ssl buss comp) to glue my mix, and make my mixing decisions through that. After that i apply reverbs and delays, and work on my automation.
    A general rule of thumb in mixing is that if you want an element to stand out (for example vocals in a pop tune) you should mix that element last.
     
  8. Fox Mulder

    Fox Mulder The Truth Is Out There

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    1. Get stuff sounding as good as possible at the source.
    2. Sampling !!!
    3. Leave nothing to be edited later.
    4. Get the fader levels right. Avoid the SOLO button.
    5. Basic EQ and compression if needed. Avoid the SOLO button.
    6. Monitoring everything together and tweak, as to create a rough mix. Avoid the SOLO button.
    7. Mix the drums. Treat each kit piece as a "separate" instrument.
    8. Bring in the bass.
    9. The vocals.
    10. The guitars and other layers.
    11. Mix as a whole. Avoid the SOLO button AGAIN.
    12. Do whatever you want...
     
  9. jENK

    jENK Producer. Engineer. Mixer

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    You don't need to normalize so don't worry about that but getting your gain structure right is essential when mixing in the studio or live. This starts in the tracking process. I begin the mix by getting a basic overall balance of the all the instruments. Kinda like a rough mix using only the faders. Next I'll begin using compression and EQ starting with the drums, then guitars, bass and vocals last (live it's almost the opposite order!) however, I'm always going back and forth between instruments because every change you make affects something else in the mix. Once I'm reasonably happy with the mix I'll move onto effects. Finally I'll go check it on the car stereo and/or other sound systems. And don't forget to reference against other mixes, very important!
     
  10. Batlecry

    Batlecry New Metal Member

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    Thanks guys. Alot of help here. I don't like the solo button. Learned that the hard way. EQ is another thing im slowly getting. Cutting in the 250-320 range on every instrument makes a huge difference. Frequency build-up makes sense now.

    Thanks again
     
  11. Fox Mulder

    Fox Mulder The Truth Is Out There

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    I wouldn't make that a habit. Plenty of good stuff there as well ;)
     
  12. heshian46

    heshian46 Member

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    Dont worry so much about the solo button. If you need to hone in on an instrument (to pick out some offending frequencies for example) solo it. Theres nothing wrong with that.

    Of course, when making decisions about how a sound should fit in mix as a whole it doesnt make sense to solo it in order to make that happen. Make those changes with everything rocking. Use your ears and think about the decisions your making and how it is effecting other elements of the mix.
     
  13. fsgdjv

    fsgdjv Member

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    1. Rough super fast mix
    2. Add reverb, delay and other bus effects
    3. Polish the rough mix A LOT
    4. Automate the shit out of it
    5. Listen to it 500 times and start to think I am completely worthless
     
  14. Scott Horner

    Scott Horner Scottimus Maximus

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    Pretty much this.
     
  15. ArthurD

    ArthurD Member

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    First of all, track ultra tight and ultra tuned. New strings, new drum heads, fresh vocalist.
    Use DI to split the signal and check tune while the guitarrist/bassist is playing. If it goes out of tune a cent, tune that part.
    Make shure the song arrengment is consistent.
    When everything is tracked:

    Edit the shit out of its parents. GRID ON THEM. Edit all silence out. Cut in a musical way, do not chop the transients. Light compression is good here (I mean ultra light compression).
    Add more drum samples now. Sometimes I end up with 4 different snares.

    Consolidate and export all single tracks and import to the mixing template (I have one in cubase with all plugins I use most ready).

    All single tracks has:
    -Trim Plugin (I use Cubase imput trim)
    -VCC
    -Equality
    (I add more plugins/hardware then)

    Usually triplicate the bass track. (Bass, Grit, Dist)

    And assign them to all groups:
    Lead Vocal, Vocal Dist, Backing Vocals, Drums Bus, Snare Parallel Comp, Kick Parallel Comp, Distorted Guitars, Clean Guitars, Bass, Synth, Strings, Keys.

    All Groups has some plugins ready:
    -VCC
    -Bus Comp

    My mix bus has SSL comp with -4db max reduction, Attack .10 or .30, Release on auto. Makeup +4.

    Now ajust the trim on every track and then push all faders to "0".
    First thing I do is to take bass tracks up and mix it to its bus. -18db max on bus.
    Next I push the kick drum fader up and mix it with the bass and make things coesive.
    Then I add lead vocals, mixing with 3. Next I push the lead vocal fader to 0 again (this has a purpose).
    The next step is to add guitars in mono and mix them with the kick, bass. When mixed with clarity, pan the guitars.
    Then I add snare and cymbals. Ajust your parallel comp if you want it. Mix everything. Add all other tracks one by one and make them sound good without panning, when you pan they will sound great and clean.
    The last thing I add (again) are the lead vocals, so I can put them on top.

    *** MIX IT QUIETLY. Normally listening to it loud means that its sounding like shit, and you can't make it sound good at low volumes. You will become Biased.
    *** Each 20 minutes worked, 5 minutes resting ears.
    *** Listen to great mixes and compare clarity.
    *** Listen to it on the next morning.
    *** "5. Listen to it 500 times (and on different sources) and start to think I am completely worthless".

    This is one of the aproaches I do.
     
  16. Jono Duncan

    Jono Duncan New Metal Member

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    first of all normalising your tracks would be the last thing you do. with the fader levels you can do a rough mix but once you do all your processing your level of your faders will have to adjusted..with hp and lp filters you don't necessarily need to do on everything all depends on the quality of your recordings...hope this helps...Love & Respect...Jono D......
     
  17. stuglue

    stuglue Member

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    I never normalise as it brings the noise floor up
    Here's my order
    first, in Studio One i'll rename the tracks to something more distinct and informative, colour code them so i know at a glance what instrument it is
    second, i'll use the Mix Tool for getting all the sounds to about -6db
    once i've gain staged its then a case of getting a good balance between all the drum components.
    I'll then see how the rhythm section sounds together (drum and bass)
    i'll then introduce the vocal as i see this as the focal instrument so i don't want to leave it until the end.
    After that i'll introduce the guitar and look to see where it should sit in the stereo field
    after that its time to look at compression then eq
    i'll look to utilise aux busses to save cpu
    add a limiter to the master track
    look at automation to help raise and lower certain parts within the arrangement in terms of volume so that fills and licks aren't missed
     
  18. amarshism

    amarshism Member

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    haha this
     
  19. vikk

    vikk Member

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    1. Proper label
    1.1 rename the tracks to something you can recognize
    1.2 order the tracks by instruments(i normally group them)
    1.3 color code the tracks to each instruments (late at night when your eyes are tired you really don't want to find a track among your 100 gray tracks)
     
  20. WarlockStudios

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    Everyone mixes differently for sure try a few different mutations and see where you get the best sounding results and which workflow works best for you, experimentation and not being afraid to try something you think is ludacris is a good way to go about it i've found.

    Personally I do this:
    1. Spend as much time as you can afford getting an amazing sound at source - using NO EQ or processing!
    2. Once I've got me an amazing sound (as best as I can get) I then dial in HP/LP
    -> here's the can o wormies for point 2: it's good to leave HP/LP until you have all instrumental elements so you can check EQ balances in the mix but there are certain things that become more or less a given after you've done it loads e.g. I HP my overheads straight away to about 250 - 300Hz whilst tracking.
    3. Get your overall rough fader levels and pan everything. I usually mix the drums by themselves first, then add rhythm guitar tracks, next is bass, then bring in the lead guitars, over/underdubs, keyboards, extra percussion, SFX, then vocals.
    4. When you've got your rough volumes to work from start polishing everything up adding processing and EQing so that everything sits in it's correct place in the mix. I usually find I will EQ everything before I even look at compression with the exception of bass and vocals. Then naturally automate any parts that need it.
    But as mentioned by others above, each project and each different style of music will make you want to start in different places. I generally do all kinds of heavy metal and rock and that's what works for moi ;-)

    Edit: Forgot to add this: http://www.ultimatemetal.com/forum/...ic-mixing-series-0-introduction-glossary.html
     

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