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Mr.HOLMES
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29th November 2010
Old 29th November 2010
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Dear MEs.

I always try to get better and better in mixing.

This year I discovered that my mixes are frequency wise good but compared to mixes by old dogs in this business they miss - mud ...

Professional mixes
MUD = Everything stands together a complete picture.

My semi professional mixes
Sounds good frequency wise but the elements have to much their own spots.
Just a few elements mud together.

But special the lead vocals not always but often stand very separated upfront from the rest of the band.

So I went back listening to more professional stuff and made a discovery in pop music.

80s- very nice mud nice dynamics.
90s- mud is there but it does not sounds as nice as in the 80s
00s- I may can imagine there was mud but everything sounds with a tat distortion on it.

So is it possible that limiting in the RMS range destroys the mud the glue - the intension of the mix engineer?

If you hear the same in this case I have listened to the wrong decade of pop music to make it happen.

MR.H
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30th November 2010
Old 30th November 2010
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Fewer real rooms, many more digital reverbs.
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30th November 2010
Old 30th November 2010
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May an interesting discovery ?

When I refer to mud I usually mean too much congestion in the low mids, it's not a good thing! The balance can be hard to get right, too little sound in this area and the track lacks weight and density. If your mixes are too thin your probably cutting too many frequencies, or there aren't enough frequencies contained in your arrangement/recordings. Glue is different to mud, and refers to the way in which a mix gels together. Sometimes careful compression/saturation at the mixing/mastering stage can help things glue together if the mix benefits from it, but they key to getting a well balanced dense track (if that's what your after) is getting the arrangement right in the first place.
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30th November 2010
Old 30th November 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.HOLMES View Post
But special the lead vocals not always but often stand very separated upfront from the rest of the band.
Hard to tell without a sound example.
Some early reflections can help if the vocal is to much in the face.



All the best

Herbeck
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30th November 2010
Old 30th November 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edva View Post
Fewer real rooms, many more digital reverbs.
Some early reflections can help if the vocal is to much in the face.

Have to try it.

My idea was to put a little bit ERs with a small room behind important elements and to balance the wet/dry so that it gets more the impression everything has a bit to do with the rest.

I will see.

At the moment:
If I listen to older mixes of myself I just do this
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30th November 2010
Old 30th November 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.HOLMES View Post
Some early reflections can help if the vocal is to much in the face.

Have to try it.

My idea was to put a little bit ERs with a small room behind important elements and to balance the wet/dry so that it gets more the impression everything has a bit to do with the rest.

I will see.

At the moment:
If I listen to older mixes of myself I just do this
What i meant was that the older the production, or older style, then the more everything shares fewer reverbs. Newer stuff sometimes has a different reverb on every element.
If I understand you correctly, "everything has a bit to do with the rest" means sharing fewer reverbs. Try a really nice old plate on everything, just a little goes a long way. thumbsup
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30th November 2010
Old 30th November 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edva View Post
What i meant was that the older the production, or older style, then the more everything shares fewer reverbs. Newer stuff sometimes has a different reverb on every element.
If I understand you correctly, "everything has a bit to do with the rest" means sharing fewer reverbs. Try a really nice old plate on everything, just a little goes a long way. thumbsup
Nope.

In the 80's the major studios had AMS,Lexicon, EMT 250 and Quantec reverbs, plus the plates that were around from the previous decade to work with. The idea of mixing up different reverbs from different manufacturers in the mix came out of the 80's productions.


The biggest difference between then and now is that you just had better engineers and producers back then that knew what they were doing and cared about the sound. Also there were no corners cut like now for the major productions, so you really had the best to choose from as someone else(the record label) would pick up the bill. Compared to now where just about anyone "engineers" and without the experience, people just choose to compress and EQ the crap out of everything and call it ambience. I would say what dominates the sound of today is distortion, but not just on a guitar, but on everything.

And on the OP's question about choosing the wrong decade, i hate to say it but there is truth in that. If i had to grow up as an engineer around the sonics of todays records, i would have a really tough time relating and working with artists that came up in the past. It be a stretch and very difficult to relate to someone who is used to hearing the tails of reverbs on their vocals, but not get in the way of everything else, plus not knowing how to make it sound good that way. I came up working in the 80's so doing this and working with a whole bunch of different effects was the norm. When the 90's came around and the sound got clearer and leaner, because of the advent of automation it became easier to incorporate this sound. The 2000's was a downhill ride till now where people will buy just about any plug or hardware piece to make things gel, not knowing that what made things gel in the older records is the manipulation of ambiences.delays and pitch based effects to give a more homogenized and interesting landscape.
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30th November 2010
Old 30th November 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor View Post
what made things gel in the older records is the manipulation of ambiences.delays and pitch based effects to give a more homogenized and interesting landscape.
Is there a plugin for that?
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30th November 2010
Old 30th November 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macc View Post
Is there a plugin for that?
Ha...ha...ha
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30th November 2010
Old 30th November 2010
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reading your post, I think you're confusing 'mud' with 'glue'.

That said, I've gone from trying to get my mixes super clean to feeling comfortable with a bit more mud - lower mids - in the mix.

While most releases these days are super clean, from time to time I'll listen properly to a mix I thought was really crystal clear and hear (on good headphones) quite a lot of noise and blurry low-mid. If vocals are clean, and drums are clean, then I think it can help to allow a bit of mud-build-up on things like acoustic guitars or bass or filtered synths.
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30th November 2010
Old 30th November 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor View Post
In the 80's the major studios had AMS,Lexicon, EMT 250 and Quantec reverbs, plus the plates that were around from the previous decade to work with. The idea of mixing up different reverbs from different manufacturers in the mix came out of the 80's productions.


The biggest difference between then and now is that you just had better engineers and producers back then that knew what they were doing and cared about the sound. Also there were no corners cut like now for the major productions, so you really had the best to choose from as someone else(the record label) would pick up the bill. Compared to now where just about anyone "engineers" and without the experience, people just choose to compress and EQ the crap out of everything and call it ambience. I would say what dominates the sound of today is distortion, but not just on a guitar, but on everything.

And on the OP's question about choosing the wrong decade, i hate to say it but there is truth in that. If i had to grow up as an engineer around the sonics of todays records, i would have a really tough time relating and working with artists that came up in the past. It be a stretch and very difficult to relate to someone who is used to hearing the tails of reverbs on their vocals, but not get in the way of everything else, plus not knowing how to make it sound good that way. I came up working in the 80's so doing this and working with a whole bunch of different effects was the norm. When the 90's came around and the sound got clearer and leaner, because of the advent of automation it became easier to incorporate this sound. The 2000's was a downhill ride till now where people will buy just about any plug or hardware piece to make things gel, not knowing that what made things gel in the older records is the manipulation of ambiences.delays and pitch based effects to give a more homogenized and interesting landscape.
It's easily the best answer on a subject. Thank you!
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30th November 2010
Old 30th November 2010
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My take... up to the late seventies a lot of mixes were very focussed to the mid range. During the 80s the 'hi-fi' thing became more popular and mixes started to reflect that, brighter, slightly scooped low mids, and with a more pronounced (but still controlled) bass. In the 00s the loudness quest has pushed the upper mids and tops even further forward. It's almost like the definition of 'flat' in a musical sense has changed. What was once a rich brown in tone is now a garish pink.
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30th November 2010
Old 30th November 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macc View Post
Is there a plugin for that?
The Multiband Parallel M/S Homogenizer, gotta have that!

Engineering skills were different, spaces were different and arrangements were constructed based on what the songs needed rather than resulting in an exercise in composition or striving to fill up every available space in the frequency spectrum. The track count restriction also helped as opposed to today unlimited tracks and playlists.
Won't even go into the fact that three decades ago you needed to be able sing and play to actually cut a record.......... but that is another story ......
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Mr.HOLMES
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30th November 2010
Old 30th November 2010
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GS is always good for brainstorming.

As I wrote no I love my mixes from their frequency response they are just nice from that standpoint seen.

What I hear in the professional mixes is, special form the 80s 70 s etc.

+
Transients no corners!!

+
As some of you wrote all the reverb and delays have something together a ribbon form left to right-

+
Nice early reflections.

MY impression is the more we brainstorm here is that the ribbon I speak about is not to get with jut slapping reverb on everything. My gut instinct tells me it has to do with feeding delays into the reverb engine which simulates ERs from near walls.

For example take stuff from 80s Alphaville or Depeche Mode there you have a lot of reverb but the source stands in the middle of it no swimming nothing and the whole thing is mono compatible but you have the impression of tons of reverb and delay.

And all that holds together.
HOW DID they do this that it glues e.g. muds together and is one big picture.
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30th November 2010
Old 30th November 2010
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Most '80s records (even Pink Floyd, Pixies, etc) always sounded to me very sterile and I was smiling when heard them. 90's mixes are way more balanced in sound, more low-mid levels that were glueing the mix.
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30th November 2010
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There Will Be Mud

was just listening to Rumer's album, Seasons of my Soul, on spotify.

It's not muddy, but it's a great example of how low-mids can really make a mix beautiful. For a 2010 release, it's really not very top-end heavy at all.
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30th November 2010
Old 30th November 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor View Post
Nope.

In the 80's the major studios had AMS,Lexicon, EMT 250 and Quantec reverbs, plus the plates that were around from the previous decade to work with. The idea of mixing up different reverbs from different manufacturers in the mix came out of the 80's productions.


The biggest difference between then and now is that you just had better engineers and producers back then that knew what they were doing and cared about the sound. .
hmmmm.....perhaps, and maybe using tape had something to do with it? Or maybe all the coke that was used made everyone think all those mixing up of different reverbs sounded better? And I know at least a couple of engineers today who know what they are doing, and care about the sound.
My experience only, not directed at you, or anyone else. Just commenting, not attacking. After all, hearing is extremely subjective, isn't it.
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30th November 2010
Old 30th November 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor View Post


And on the OP's question about choosing the wrong decade, i hate to say it but there is truth in that. If i had to grow up as an engineer around the sonics of todays records, i would have a really tough time relating and working with artists that came up in the past. It be a stretch and very difficult to relate to someone who is used to hearing the tails of reverbs on their vocals, but not get in the way of everything else, plus not knowing how to make it sound good that way. I came up working in the 80's so doing this and working with a whole bunch of different effects was the norm. When the 90's came around and the sound got clearer and leaner, because of the advent of automation it became easier to incorporate this sound. The 2000's was a downhill ride till now where people will buy just about any plug or hardware piece to make things gel, not knowing that what made things gel in the older records is the manipulation of ambiences.delays and pitch based effects to give a more homogenized and interesting landscape.
There goes my question.
I can hear that things gel to together not because of gear or that there is a magic engineer.
I recognized lately that I missed out that it is an art itself how to set up effects, reverb, delay etc. so that it gives a complete picture of the mix.

And that seems to me plays a big role that everything glues together.

I just ask myself why all the work if the mixing art gets destroyed by limiting in the mastering process.

But I learned a thing in my last mix.
It is not done with slapping a reverb here and there

I dont say my mixes are bad for what I do by now; and some friends are happy with what I do but now it is time to learn how to set up delays and reverbs that it gels all together.

I dont know how to get there but I am pretty sure I also will learn this because till to this point today a have reached myself the goal tobalance it frequency wise.

Lets see where this trip gets me two.

At the moment I have the feeling some experiments with delays + reverb combination and critical listening is the way to get there.

Funny at all today skipping thorough I tunes I also found some professional mixes where there was nothing holding together.

I have the chance to learn this now.

Any more hints are welcome.
Except the hint not to destroy it in mastering
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1st December 2010
Old 1st December 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edva View Post
hmmmm.....perhaps, and maybe using tape had something to do with it? Or maybe all the coke that was used made everyone think all those mixing up of different reverbs sounded better? And I know at least a couple of engineers today who know what they are doing, and care about the sound.
My experience only, not directed at you, or anyone else. Just commenting, not attacking. After all, hearing is extremely subjective, isn't it.
+1
I probably shouldn't be in this forum but I am. I agree about the medium piece. Tape did add to things, both in the recording/mixing/mastering, but also in the listening. Everything was smoother then. But I agree, its all subjective.

I love the sound of Bee Gees Stayin Alive (70s), Teddy Pendergrass 'Close the Door' (70s), MJs 'Off the Wall'(70s), Journey's 'Foolish Heart'(80s), Phil Collins 'Face Value' (80s) Van Halen's Jump (80s), Madness' 'Our House' (80s), Prince 'Purple Rain' (80s), MJs 'Thriller' (80s), Teddy Riley and Guy 'Groove Me' (90s), Tribe Called Quest 'Electric Relaxation (90s), Dr. Dre 'This or That' (90s), Faith Hill, Gwen Stephani, Mary J Blige, and Drake of the 2000s. All great music, spanning the continuum of recording engineering and technology. All are in rotation on my iPod and I listen to all on hifi speakers at home and in the car. All sound great to me.

Some artists/producers have been able to span a good part of this and keep the music just incredible. I think of U2, Sting, Prince, Michael Jackson (RIP), Luther Vandross (RIP), and Janet Jackson (thanks a lot to Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis). I think they all can at least give some credit to the consistent sets of ears they've had behind the consoles for decades. Whether they were recording and mixing to tape or hard disk, using hardware Lexicons or the EMT250 UAD plugin, the music sounds great. And there are some of us basement engineers who are trying to achieve the smooth analog non-distorted 'sonic nirvana' of the old days. I love music and think that its all great.
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1st December 2010
Old 1st December 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slug1 View Post
+1
I probably shouldn't be in this forum but I am. I agree about the medium piece. Tape did add to things, both in the recording/mixing/mastering, but also in the listening. Everything was smoother then. But I agree, its all subjective.

I love the sound of Bee Gees Stayin Alive (70s), Teddy Pendergrass 'Close the Door' (70s), MJs 'Off the Wall'(70s), Journey's 'Foolish Heart'(80s), Phil Collins 'Face Value' (80s) Van Halen's Jump (80s), Madness' 'Our House' (80s), Prince 'Purple Rain' (80s), MJs 'Thriller' (80s), Teddy Riley and Guy 'Groove Me' (90s), Tribe Called Quest 'Electric Relaxation (90s), Dr. Dre 'This or That' (90s), Faith Hill, Gwen Stephani, Mary J Blige, and Drake of the 2000s. All great music, spanning the continuum of recording engineering and technology. All are in rotation on my iPod and I listen to all on hifi speakers at home and in the car. All sound great to me.

Some artists/producers have been able to span a good part of this and keep the music just incredible. I think of U2, Sting, Prince, Michael Jackson (RIP), Luther Vandross (RIP), and Janet Jackson (thanks a lot to Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis). I think they all can at least give some credit to the consistent sets of ears they've had behind the consoles for decades. Whether they were recording and mixing to tape or hard disk, using hardware Lexicons or the EMT250 UAD plugin, the music sounds great. And there are some of us basement engineers who are trying to achieve the smooth analog non-distorted 'sonic nirvana' of the old days. I love music and think that its all great.
Yeah, very nice post.
Oh yeah, good tape sounds like butter in heaven compared to anything else, we've just gotten used to digital, and it's gotten better, but.........good tape.thumbsup
And yes, it's ALL in the listening, in the "consistent sets of ears" as you say - that's where the great mixes come from, almost regardless of the equipment.
As regards iTunes, I hear a little bit missing in there. It is sometimes hard to find great copies of great mixes. I like vinyl when possible, for the same "sonic nirvana" you describe. CD's are OK, with a good converter.
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1st December 2010
Old 1st December 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.HOLMES View Post
At the moment I have the feeling some experiments with delays + reverb combination and critical listening is the way to get there.
If you are using a convolution reverb, make sure that the impulses are at the same samplerate as your project.
If not, use a good SRC to change the samplerate of your impulses.
The internal SRC of most convolution reverbs are often poor.



All the best

Herbeck
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4th December 2010
Old 4th December 2010
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i do not understand why so many engineers are looking for glue in a mix buss compressor. in my experience a GREAT main reverb with some good early reflections is much better for the "glue factor".

i always keep saying: if youre are looking for ONE piece of gear to improve ALL of your mixes, you should have a look a a great reverb unit.

but then it is of course not just about owning it but to know to use it...
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4th December 2010
Old 4th December 2010
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Those super short ambiences and super realistic ERs are tough. A lot of digital units can't hang. The techniques that can:

Shortish (but not close mic) distance btwn the original source and mic
Mic'd bathroom in mix
PCM70 tiled room
Quantec
Sony Dre-S777
and to a degree Bricasti and short haas delays, etc.

Any other faves? Using these (sometimes in very small amounts) contrasted against medium field and far field reverbs, delays feeding reverbs, and the above units possibly feeding reverbs can start to create the "M.U.D." atmosphere and contrast.

Not digging on IRs for the short stuff... and I've gone through a lot of them looking.
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4th December 2010
Old 4th December 2010
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May an interesting discovery ?

Yes, +1 for the quantec and pcm 70. I am using them on every mix...
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