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The frustrations of being new at mixing...

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Spiritbeast, May 12, 2011.

  1. Spiritbeast

    Spiritbeast Noob-in-training

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    So today me and my buddy finished up the first song for our new album (sans vocals, which will happen a bit after). I was so excited to finally start mixing, until I realized... I may have had a lot of reading, but of course that doesn't mean anything until you can apply it... which I can't!

    Basically, I'm just asking myself: "what next?" So I'm asking if you guys have any suggestions on where to start working through a mix... how to ask yourself "what do I need to fix?". Obviously theres no defined answer, but it's good to get lots of opinions.

    This post by Anssi definitely helped me get started, and I think I'm getting pretty close to having decent levels, but I'm just so puzzled on whats next. So my mix is definitely not 'good', but I have trouble pointing out whats 'bad'.
    (EDIT: Keep in there pretty much isn't much 'mixing' except for levels going on. A compressor on the bass and the cymbals, that's it I think. And theres some random keyboards I was playing around with in there.)

    Thanks for any advice guys. I appreciate this communities patience.
     
  2. Joel4662

    Joel4662 Member

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    That's a brooooaaaaadddddd question
    I always think about eq balance > dynamic balance > depth > repeat
    With eq balance I first figure out what I need and what I don't. If you run a reference mix through An eq analyzer it's pretty flat. When I run min at first they usually aren't, so you have to adjust accordingly
    I also figure out which freqs are competing alot, and take care of that first and formost

    Dynamic balance is all about thinking "does it sound glued?" if the instruments sound like drums *then* guitar instead of drums *and* guitar i start workin on that.

    Depth is verb and delays for me

    Some book explained this alot better in how you think about it in a circle
    Idk this is my mindset when I mix, hope it helps!
     
  3. Spiritbeast

    Spiritbeast Noob-in-training

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    Haha yeah, it's a horribly horrible vague question. but thanks for answering. What book? I'd definitely like to do more intense reading.
     
  4. Joel4662

    Joel4662 Member

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    That'd be "mixing audio" by roey izhaki
    Fantastic book
     
  5. Williamn

    Williamn Member

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    Truth is your first (hundred) mixes is gonna suck :).
    Like everything it takes time (like years) to get good and learn what is needed to get the job done.

    I battle with this all the time myself as im also semi new in this, some days im like "oh this is pretty good" and the next im thinking "fuck this shit". But what motivates me is when I listen back to my older stuff and hear that I have improved a shit load since then.

    With that being said I can tell you my workflow, it may not work for you tho.
    I start by doing the drums, get them sounding decent and cleaning them up. then I move on to bass and set up my starting point sounds and then in the end I mix bass and drums together to get the low end to punch as one unit.

    Next step is getting the guitars fitting in and then last vocals.

    Cant listen to the clip, but gonna check it out later
     
  6. OneDaySky

    OneDaySky Clint

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    Mix the low end first. That's the hardest part to make sit right so I rate get it halfway there before touching anything else. Mix your drums and work on the kick drum-bass guitar relationship (like all the basics i.e. Compression, eq etc. And go onto guitars, keys, and vox
     
  7. DullElysium

    DullElysium Member

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    Anyone else think his mix sounded suprisingly good? I was expecting something less.

    But yeah. Compression is essential in the metal/rock scene. And like OnedaySky stated the low end is a bitch and should be taken good care of. I'm no professional but I've started to see where I go wrong with my mixes. But it's a whole another story when I actually should do about it. Sometimes I just don't know what to do. But getting the picture of what's wrong in the mix is crucial. Other people can point to you how the things you need to do can be done.

    I believe I'm slightly derailed.
     
  8. Spiritbeast

    Spiritbeast Noob-in-training

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    Nah, everything you guys said makes sense. And yeah, the mix isn't bad, it's just not that crisp modern sound. Making things tight and good levels is over half the battle. Unfortunately, the other half of the battle will take much more effort...

    Perhaps my big confusion is that all I really need is EQ and Compression... and that's too simple for me to grasp. Obviously, EQing the right way is going to be a lot of work, and something I need practice at. Everything is coming through in the mix (except maybe the kick), but it just doesn't sound 'crisp'. Hopefully compression and EQ fix this is up - I mean, honestly, what other tools are? I saturated the bass a bit in my newest mix to warm it up, and 'verbed the Snare a little, but little tools like that aren't going to get me that 'sound' I want.

    I'll try compressing more things. I already took the compression off the cymbals and just put one on the drum bus itself. I guess I'll group rhythm guitars and bass and compress that, leads and synths and compress that, and then get back to you guys.

    EDIT: Also, the rhythm guitar tone is bothering me... just sounds a little bit fakey for my taste. I guess I just have to pick the right combination of impulses, but boy that's harder than I thought.
     
  9. SharkGTS

    SharkGTS Member

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    I am the same way just finished 6 weeks of DAW mixing in Reaper after doing just tape-based stuff waaay back. I feel like i was born yesterday and certainly act like it! here to learn but have a decent ear.

    my 0.02 instrument tone great guitar work is really nice. I would try to position the different tracks so there is less sonic overlap. at least that is what I am hearing. For that you'll need some time based effects (delays, or ???) and careful panning or panning envelopes to move things around a bit.

    drums are way back there , too far back for my tastes - how were they recorded?? I like to hear a big drum sound / power.... so maybe it's a good idea where they sit.

    Vocals are going to be hard to place you'll have to find room in the mix.

    What are you using for mastering/loudness optimization - ie something like Ozone?
     
  10. Spiritbeast

    Spiritbeast Noob-in-training

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    Thanks for the compliments on the songwriting.
    And well.... the guitar tracks are actually edited to be in time with each other, perhaps that's causing the issue? I didn't hear this issue but since you know way more about this stuff, it's something I'll have to consider.

    The drums are Sturgis samples. A bigger sound would certainly be nicer. I guess I'll just turn everything up and compress it.

    And there's nothing on the master bus.

    EDIT: This question seems really dumb and sort of nonsensical but, is there any way something could sound better on a different interface? Or if rendering the raw DI's as .wavs, moving them to my computer and applying the same presets... things could sound not as good as on the computer they were recorded?

    We record our tracks on my buddys laptop with his Saffire 6 USB, using the same monitors I use when I bounce the raw DI's and apply the same presets on my computer... I hook the monitors up to my Alesis io2 Express. I feel like the tracks just sound crisper on his computer, but maybe I just need to A/B more.
     
  11. ahjteam

    ahjteam Anssi Tenhunen

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    the song sounds interesting, mind consolidating the audio and exporting the midi, I'd like to give it a try when it has vocals.
     
  12. Spiritbeast

    Spiritbeast Noob-in-training

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    Thanks dude, nice to be complimented by someone who I've learned so much about. If you want to hear the tracks for our album as we record them, let me know. We are on track for getting guitar and bass for each song at 2 days per song.

    And I'd gladly give you the tracks, though it might not be a bit until it has vocals. Our singers a busy guy and I still haven't bought my SM7B yet. It's clean vocals BTW - pretty loud and aggressive though.
     
  13. Spiritbeast

    Spiritbeast Noob-in-training

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    So I've been REALLY busy doing recording. I haven't been here in a while, but I finally gave mixing another shot on another song... and it sounds better! It's pretty much all compression and levels at this point (and a Limiter on the master bus to make things loud, but thats all).

    Tell me what you guys think: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/27079170/Dforcemix3.mp3

    Now once my SM7B arrives... let the vocals begin :)
     
  14. DullElysium

    DullElysium Member

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    Yeah it's better. Though I can hear the drums being fake. But it's definately better than the first mix!
     
  15. Spiritbeast

    Spiritbeast Noob-in-training

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    Yeah, it's annoying... you hear 'change velocities' but a lot of pro mixes I hear have pretty constant hit sounds... of course not all the time though. It's something I'll have to pay attention to. My more recent mixes have the drums a bit quieter in the mix and that's helped not only make the drums sound more real, but glue things a little more.
     
  16. Ionei

    Ionei Member

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    I start my mix with drums.
    Get the sounds I want(ballpark)
    Then add in bass+Guitars.
    Get the bass somewhere cool.
    Tweak guitars abit.

    I pretty much just tweak over and over until I get to the point where its cool and sounds good.
     
  17. Spiritbeast

    Spiritbeast Noob-in-training

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    Yup. A big bummer for me is I get it sounding nice on my monitors, then I give it to a friend on his computer speakers and it sounds weird in some way. That's a damn pain.

    I like my most recent mix, but getting a low end that can heavy up the guitars while not being too over the place is a challenge for me now. But it won't be long before I'm at the step "How do master?"... challenges, challenges.
     

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