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Vamp
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9th January 2013
Old 9th January 2013
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Question I'm very much involved in perfecting my mixes...

... and I don't want to mess up the levels that I've spent hours perfecting by putting a maximizer on the master, but when I'm DJing and I throw in one of my own, they don't seem to be as loud (I'm not too concerned with loudness as much as definition) and defined as what I assume to be the work of a maximizer. Am I missing anything about maximizers? Is there something I can do to bump up my mix and mastering to the top notch?

Here's an example of my work.

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10th January 2013
Old 10th January 2013
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Well if your into Dubstep. I know that its pretty well known for not being that most elegant when it comes to dynamics. Basically they could careless and slam the heck out of it.

When im in the mixing process the last thing on my mind is the Limiter. I pick the records that I want to compete with and usually have them in as a quick reference and to refresh my ears. I set the out put to about -6db and set my mixes max output to about the same. So as Im mixing and I need a quick reference the track Im trying to compete with isnt louder in volume just perceived loudness. Once my mix is like 75% there I may add the limiter and then I start making small tweaks to get it as close to the reference as possible (in loudness and clarity). I usually find that I have to add a bit of low end (to the kick and the bass inside the mix) and also some midrange. The midrange is mostly what we perceive as being louder with out it actually being louder. Another good tip is to use harmonic distortion. I use it a lot on drums especially. It has a way to just make them hit a lot harder with out actually moving the needle.

So my advice is to study the records you want to sound like, a lot harder and try to achieve the sound during mixing and not by slapping on a limiter.

Good Luck!!
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10th January 2013
Old 10th January 2013
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Originally Posted by ModernMixing View Post
Well if your into Dubstep. I know that its pretty well known for not being that most elegant when it comes to dynamics. Basically they could careless and slam the heck out of it.

When im in the mixing process the last thing on my mind is the Limiter. I pick the records that I want to compete with and usually have them in as a quick reference and to refresh my ears. I set the out put to about -6db and set my mixes max output to about the same. So as Im mixing and I need a quick reference the track Im trying to compete with isnt louder in volume just perceived loudness. Once my mix is like 75% there I may add the limiter and then I start making small tweaks to get it as close to the reference as possible (in loudness and clarity). I usually find that I have to add a bit of low end (to the kick and the bass inside the mix) and also some midrange. The midrange is mostly what we perceive as being louder with out it actually being louder. Another good tip is to use harmonic distortion. I use it a lot on drums especially. It has a way to just make them hit a lot harder with out actually moving the needle.

So my advice is to study the records you want to sound like, a lot harder and try to achieve the sound during mixing and not by slapping on a limiter.

Good Luck!!
Thank you for the response, however, I should be more clear when I say "maximiser." I'm actually referring to a multiband compressor rather than a limiter. I usually use a limiter to boost a sound up that is naturally quieter than the volume fader says it is. Thy being said, thank you for bringing up the middle, I've noticed that with bass sounds and kicks, middle tends to add mud. With other sounds middle is great, I personally like the sound of middle but it's not an exact science. I don't know... You also brought up the topic if Dubstep production, although I do often produce drumstep and Dubstep, I mainly produce electro house, I personally don't thing that genre can excuse poor mixing and mastering techniques. That all behind me, I really like Feed Me's sound which really seems to be all middle and bass rather than bass and treble... Any thoughts?
#4
11th January 2013
Old 11th January 2013
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get the mix to sound good without any squashing shinanigans. Those loud tracks would also sound fuller/better without any limiting. The secret is not in the volume.
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11th January 2013
Old 11th January 2013
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Originally Posted by AudioRadar View Post
get the mix to sound good without any squashing shinanigans. Those loud tracks would also sound fuller/better without any limiting. The secret is not in the volume.
You're not helping with, or perhaps understanding, my concern here: I focus on my mixing more than my mastering but when it comes time to master a track, I want it to be strong. I don't mean to sound rude, but I do make sure my mix is clear and tight before anything. I'm also not clear on what "squashing shenanigans" you're talking about - I did say above that I don't like messing up my mix with a maximiser, if that's what you're referring to.

Again, guys, I'm not talking about a limiter, I'm talking about a multivendor compressor.
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11th January 2013
Old 11th January 2013
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A multiband compressor is no different to a normal compressor when it comes to raising levels, whilst they frequently are called "maximisers" they are most definitely not a silver bullet & can be quite difficult to master. They are very simply frequency specific compressors but if you don't know how to use them properly they can ruin your carefully constructed mix, destroying transients & bringing gallons of mud...but I'm guessing you already knew that!
Personally, I think electro house & dubstep mastering isn't much different in that both will end up slammed into a limiter which is why yours won't sound the same.

If you really don't want the limited to hell sound that 99.9% of EDM is putting out there then the best way for you to compete with higher levels is to master gain staging & EQ'ing. Sharp, precise subtractive EQ will give you so much more room to boost the frequencies you do want & generally raise the volume of your mix without any added cloudiness or potential clipping.
A multiband comp may help you to bring out the bass a little or tame a harsh top end but it won't give the levels you describe without the limiter after it.

Andre
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11th January 2013
Old 11th January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vamp View Post
You're not helping with, or perhaps understanding, my concern here: I focus on my mixing more than my mastering but when it comes time to master a track, I want it to be strong. I don't mean to sound rude, but I do make sure my mix is clear and tight before anything. I'm also not clear on what "squashing shenanigans" you're talking about - I did say above that I don't like messing up my mix with a maximiser, if that's what you're referring to.

Again, guys, I'm not talking about a limiter, I'm talking about a multivendor compressor.
If you want a strong master send it to a mastering engineer perhaps, these people exist for a reason. And no your mix isn't very tight... It actually lacks a lot of movement.
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11th January 2013
Old 11th January 2013
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Originally Posted by AudioRadar View Post
If you want a strong master send it to a mastering engineer perhaps, these people exist for a reason. And no your mix isn't very tight... It actually lacks a lot of movement.
I know that it sounds odd which is why I'm here; my MIX is fine, my mastering seems to have messed it up and I'm looking for someone who can help me figure out what to do with my master :/ at this point I'm running an EQ, a multivendor compressor, and a limiter for good measure (the limiter isn't doing anything but ensuring that there is no clipping by reducing the ceiling to -0.2)

I stopped using Ozone because it seemed to be causing problems
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11th January 2013
Old 11th January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndreBenoit View Post
A multiband compressor is no different to a normal compressor when it comes to raising levels, whilst they frequently are called "maximisers" they are most definitely not a silver bullet & can be quite difficult to master. They are very simply frequency specific compressors but if you don't know how to use them properly they can ruin your carefully constructed mix, destroying transients & bringing gallons of mud...but I'm guessing you already knew that!
Personally, I think electro house & dubstep mastering isn't much different in that both will end up slammed into a limiter which is why yours won't sound the same.

If you really don't want the limited to hell sound that 99.9% of EDM is putting out there then the best way for you to compete with higher levels is to master gain staging & EQ'ing. Sharp, precise subtractive EQ will give you so much more room to boost the frequencies you do want & generally raise the volume of your mix without any added cloudiness or potential clipping.
A multiband comp may help you to bring out the bass a little or tame a harsh top end but it won't give the levels you describe without the limiter after it.

Andre
Thank you, this will help. I specifically DON'T want the limited sound, instead I'm trying to find out what I can do to be competitive with professional sound without using a "maximiser"
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11th January 2013
Old 11th January 2013
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Originally Posted by ModernMixing View Post
Another good tip is to use harmonic distortion. I use it a lot on drums especially. It has a way to just make them hit a lot harder with out actually moving the needle.

isn't that because the harmonic distortion actually changes the waveform, utilizing phase as its time relationship to your advantage making the effected elements sit better or pierce through the mix?
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12th January 2013
Old 12th January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skillz335 View Post
isn't that because the harmonic distortion actually changes the waveform, utilizing phase as its time relationship to your advantage making the effected elements sit better or pierce through the mix?

Im not a technical scientific guy, Im more of a "turn the knob until it sounds good" kinda guy. From my understanding its just adding overtones to the source, so it gives more colour to the midrange.

----------------------------

You have to understand that you don't wait to get to the mastering stage. It's all part of the mixing process. Thats the reason why I do most of my mix (75%) in raw form with nothing on the master bus - I get it to sound dynamic and interesting. Next step is to add the limiter and maybe EQ but I dont use much EQ and sometimes I never use EQ. And I am maybe taking off 3db at the absolute most. I dont like to squish my dynamics. But I still have work to do and I do it inside the mix not on the master bus.

For example if the limiter is now making the vocals sound burried, I go into the mix and fix that. Turn them up, maybe add a little mid range EQ If it makes the snare sound squished, I go in and fix that. I might layer another snare under it to bring back those dynamics. The fact of the matter is that you cant rely on just the mastering because you never know what the limiter (or multiband) is going to do to the track once you try and squish it. And also why would you want to use a multiband on the master if you dont have to?? if you need more low end, just push the kick up, screw the multiband. You should only use the multiband if your in dire straights. Everything should be managed inside your mix with maybe a little sweetening on the master fader (a little nudge in EQ, small amount of compression etc).


AudioRadar also mentioned your mixes having a lack of movement. To me thats a huge reason for a lot of mixes dont sound quite there. When you listen to a track that was done "professionally", most of the time the chorus FEELS like a chorus, not like a a busier verse. Its all about how it makes you feel.
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