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inserting the compressor directly is good, and bussing to compression or parallel compression is good to. though with parallel compression you have the ability to buss other signals to that aux at a wet and dry ratio saving resources.
its all a matter of work flow man, do what you hear and feel as right.
any eq is good, if you use it right.
are all your signals containing noise or have bleed in between transients? it comes down to what your recording. if digital things like synth, why would you
i record as hot as i can without clipping.
I compress my master buss, not every time but at my semi pro skill level I find it necessity as I wont have my tracks mastered untill I get into a treated studio and get a final mix. some people don't, some people just dont have to.
the final mix is the one your happy with. with me, its when I get to a studio to finalize my mix. Cuz in my home studio there are all kinds of problems that effect how my mix actually sounds as opposed to how it sounds to me there.
no questions stupid man, I wish when I was first starting out with this engineer/production thing I had know about sites like this. They are invaluable tools and if you dont ask then you hinder yourself.
Mix in stereo, because the very large majority of ways people will listen to this music will be stereo, be it in a car, or through headphones on an iPod. It does help to check your mix as you go in mono, to make sure the whole thing doesn't totally collapse in mono, but mix in stereo.
Thanks for such the quick responses.
--Steveswisher are there any certain videos you would suggest? I've looked at a few youtube vids.
I don't have any specific ones to point you too. Sorry if I came across as rude with my response. I would recommend watching a lot of different videos that explain the fundamentals of mixing.
I always mix in stereo. I agree with checking your mix in mono as well. Making sure your mix holds together in mono becomes really important when you're performing or having your tracks played in a club since those setups will be mono at some venues. I've noticed problems with my stereo mixes when I've had multiple instruments fighting for the same frequency range and I used a lot of panning to create separation. I usually have to go back and make EQ adjustments to give the parts their own place in the spectrum.
OK as others have said, you're asking what mixing is (mostly), and the answers only really come with 100s of hours of practice, the question is what can reduce, slightly, the amount of hours required...
Great general rules are
- always A/B the changes you make, ideally with eyes closed, and always volume match, even shit sounds better .5 db louder
- use reference tracks a lot and clinically. What's your favourite bass? What vocal do you love the most? Build a list of these and have them handy as samples to text your material against, dont analyse just try and make sure you're in the ballpark of the sounds you know sound great
- learn from youtube and read books, mixing is an art, your choice of colours is what you bring, but you have to know how to mix/create the colours and textures you want and that is often technical
1. Should I put a compressor as a send or just as an insert track?
- either fine, though the first more common. Compression on a send track is a more advanced technique in some ways (though also less risky as your original sound is untouched...). Best compressor tips i have is when starting out less is more, i.e. make sure you know how much "gain reduction" any comrpessor is giving you and make sure in general it's not more than 2-3db, the less the better and 1db can make it better (you be the judge, ref. AB tests and vol. matching above. Compressing your drums on a send in a certain way is called "new york compression" by the way, check it out it's useful but always be able to come back to tyour track a week later having not listened to it, and try muting the parallel compression - does it really, honesly sound better with, and if so are you sure it's not just because it's louder (i always have na issue with sends here, harder to AB while volume matching)...
2. I was suggested put all effects( as in like distortion and other stuff) through busses. Is this true?
- as above this is about what works. In general busses can be nicer as your original sound is intact. The biggest lesson (I think) with those kind of FX is that In General less is more - if you're listening to your track thinking "check out the reverb i did it's awesome" you may be in the wrong ballpark. Good idea for FX sends is to turn their fader down to zero, turn it up v. slowly until you can just hear the effect, then turn it down just a fraction. You want to be able to hear when you mute it, much more than you want to be able to hear the effect audiabley in a track, in general.
3. What are some good eq's to use for vocals when mixing or is the channel eq good as is?
- if you're starting out most EQs are fine, it's like saying what car should i learn to drive, learn to drive is the main thing a specific car will not help you pass the test. No harm in learning on a basic eq, think about being "an eq ninja" - in general, subtract rather than add, and be very careful about the effects of the EQ just making s*** louder - if you've only boosted with an eq, to AB it, as you def. should, you'll nee to turn the gain on the eq down utnil switching it on and off appears to have no effect on the volume, just a subtle effect on the sound / tone - THEN you're ready for the pyschological challenge of "does my last 10 minutes work relaly benefit this sound, or not?"
- high pass filtering most sounds other than the kick and bass is often a good idea (but risky as any such powerufl tool is for beginers).
4. Should I always use a noise gate? If so use as an insert or bus?
- why would you use it on a bus? Are you recording stuff live for mixing? If not i'd say forget about gates for now, that's right i said it! May be saying this because i'm more an ITB guy / not tracking.
5. What are good levels for the vocals to be at before mixing (in the sample editor section), like the gain volume for the track or should I just just normalize it?
- dont normalise stuff, it's like a "make photo cool!" button in photoshop, will only ever be of any use to amateurs as it pretends to make a really complex task (if you're aiming for pro sound) dead simple. Learn how to compress and eq vocals, and learn how to ride the fader / automate. Volume automation is your mixing friend, dont be confused because it's not "vintage" and doesnt have a cool GUI! Automate the crap out of your volume and your music will be even more musical. Caveat: you dont want to be thinking "oh cool automation" when you hear your track, you want the energy building exaclty where your heart feels the song should build, and dropping likewise.
6. And I have read a lot on mixing and some say you should put a compressor on the output/master track before mixing is this true?
- v. risky to do this, but worth working on as mixing into A VERY SMALL AMOUNT of well set-up compression is more fun usually (sorry old timers if i'm offending anyone).
7. Lastly, what does the final mix consist of?
- odd question which flags you as a beginner! What are your favourite commercial tracks? There's your answer. Listen to your mix next to other reference tracks, what sticks out the most as "odd"? Keep tweaking those things until nothing sticks out much as odd next to your favourite reference tracks. I'm not talking that awesome new synth sound you designed or that weird sample you use for a snare drum, i'm talking "the bass sounds kind of too big next to that other track who's bass i've always loved!" or "the vocal is so clear but even though it hurts my ears a little next to that other cool vocal recording, i'm still proud!" ... put your pride away and make small changes to these kind of problems and you'll get somewhere.
Very much my 2c, i'm an amateur doing many many hours a week of this awesome fun stuff for the last two years....
I want to say that I'm sorry for such a late reply (I've been busy with school on spring break now), but I want to thank you all for your help. It has helped me alot and before I was using a usb Yeti mic and really good computer speakers to record and mix, but now I do have a really good mic, interface, and monitors.
I've gotten a lot better Thanks to you guys, any more advice?