Working faster!??
Old 24th April 2010
  #1
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Working faster!??

In the day of DAW mixing, hybrid systems, controllers and trackballs what are some ways you guys have found to speed up your workflow while mixing? I find mixes have been taking me days instead of hours. Anyone care to share some tips they find effective?
Old 24th April 2010
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Chav View Post
In the day of DAW mixing, hybrid systems, controllers and trackballs what are some ways you guys have found to speed up your workflow while mixing? I find mixes have been taking me days instead of hours. Anyone care to share some tips they find effective?
Mix templates, consistant workflows, and a control surface have allowed me to sprint through mixes.

30 minutes of setting up the session will saves me several hours of time.
Old 24th April 2010
  #3
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mixing out of the box and using PT just as a tape machine makes mixing a lot faster for me, too bad I can't do it all the time.
All together, when mixing with your computer screen off mixing is a lot easier and usually takes less time
Old 24th April 2010
  #4
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pot after pot of coffee
Old 24th April 2010
  #5
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If you're mixing something someone sent you 9 times out of 10 you're SOL and have to do the time reorganizing everything to the way you want it. We all do things a little bit different.

If you're doing the tracking start with a game plan. I literally write out every track I plan on doing on a piece of paper labeled 1-24 or whatever. 1 kick out 2 kick in 3 snare top 4 snare bottom...etc

Talk to the band and find out simple arrangement things. How many guitar parts, are they doing leads and solos separate, any parts with delay or reverb, is there any aux percussion like shakers or tambourines, are there backup vocals, harmony tracks, etc.
Find this out for every song and get a "worst case" scenario with the most tracks they could ever need and then make a template for the session so for every new song you just click it and open it and boom, ready to record, no setting up. Instead of "saving as" you just "save as template" and save it in the bands folder on your HD. From then on, whenever you're ready for the next song you double click the template and it pulls up the full session ready to record.
That alone saves me hours in 8-14 song sessions.
It's also a great idea to create tons of groups. Grouping makes me so damn happy.

Also writing down the levels and settings on EQs and compressors really helps me out. Once you have one song 95% mixed, you can pretty much copy the settings on every song and make the minor tweaks that the individual songs need. At the end of the day its still the same drum kit, bass, singer, etc playing at pretty much the same volume.

And finally, try to mix as much as possible while you are tracking. Get finished sounds going in, you know? I've always found less is more. Not every channel needs an EQ and compressor. Most of my mixing, organizational, and workflow techniques come in to play during tracking. Usually once you're trying to do BIG things during the mix its too late. Just remember it will always be music, focus on making it sound like it.

Like I said though, if you're mixing what other people tracked...
Old 24th April 2010
  #6
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Take a break every 2-3 hours and use that time to save/back up your work to your external drives, DVDs, etc... Or you'll have to sit and wait at the end of the session when you're tired.

I find that restricting myself to 1 maybe 2 songs a day keeps the project flowing nicely and saves time in the long run, rather than trying to open/close 6-8 sessions in a day.

Toward the end, print them all out, import the best mix into all, and push up the 1-2 weaker ones up to that level...

Very broad, but there ya go.

-Bruno
Old 24th April 2010
  #7
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I think it comes down to practice, regardless of your chosen work methods.

Some like to keep everything super-organized, and spend time to conform incoming mix sessions to that template. I haven't taken that approach.

Beyond labeling tracks and keeping any pertinent session notes, I wouldn't say my sessions follow many layout parameters. I don't always have the drums/percussion all grouped in the same spot, then bass, then all the guitars, etc. I don't use markers. I have a good memory for this kind of stuff, and zip around very quickly. I still mix with a mouse.

I've just gotten good and fast through years of working this way. I started in analog studios, and they were all set up differently. I got used to working on different setups and took that mentality with me when I slowly migrated to DAWs about a decade ago.

For me, getting faster at mixing came mostly through learning what I wanted in a mix and how to get it, not through technical workflow.
Old 24th April 2010
  #8
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I like to take it nice and slow.......

I'm having too much fun.
Old 25th April 2010
  #9
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There where some good points but may this inspires as well.

1.
Templates / Channel strip Settings.
May a setting that worked the last mix can work with minimal tweaking again.

2.
Decisions...
A DAW leaves too much space for not making a decision.
I know someone taking 2 hours tweaking a TECHNO base drum.
It is not the matter of the BD it is the matter that he has 1000 ways to treat this drum.... he is unable to make decision.

This leeds to point...

3.
Too much plug ins!
Do not use too much plug ins!
Only take what makes sense and what you need.
I have seen overloaded mixing windows in Logic by some friends... in a real world studio you cant have 30 times 1176 and not 20 times a pultec.

4.
Treat plugs like hardware
Do not overload the plug ins in the mix.
Since Skip taught us here this hint, to treat plugs like real hardware my mixing is faster because the mix comes faster together.

5.
Hardware on the mix bus!
Depends on your taste.
In my world I use some hardware on the mix bus.
I love to use some transformers there or tape.
It helps me and the mix sounds more like a record with this to me.
Also it gives the elements in the mix a real space/focus.
Old 25th April 2010
  #10
^ I really like point 3 above.

my default mode of operation is a set of plugins - an SSL on every track, setup from the start, plus regular choices for drums (tape sims etc), notch EQs, vocal chains etc- as if it was hardware.

If you spend all your time experimenting, you'll never finish anything. A little bit of experimentation at a time, plus a lot of what you know.
Old 25th April 2010
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
^ I really like point 3 above.

my default mode of operation is a set of plugins - an SSL on every track, setup from the start, plus regular choices for drums (tape sims etc), notch EQs, vocal chains etc- as if it was hardware.

If you spend all your time experimenting, you'll never finish anything. A little bit of experimentation at a time, plus a lot of what you know.
Similar like mine Waves SSL on nearly every channel.

Sometimes I use a mix bus compressor (very soft) and after this EQ because compression on the mix bus can take away some low end.

But it all depends on the style of music.
I also love to do some parallel compression so it keeps the dynamics more natural.

After all not a lot of plug ins so I can keep an better overview.

But I highly advise to use some hardware on the mix bus.
It makes sense and it covers inharmonic distortions produced by some plug ins which dull the sound special at high track count.
Old 25th April 2010
  #12
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I try to make executive decisions as I go. If something isn't quite working or is not quite right, I won't "come back to it later", but instead work to get it working how I want to there and then.

I find whenever I try and go back to something later I just end up going around in circles. Similar to the 'get it right during tracking' philosophy - just get it right at every stage.
Old 25th April 2010
  #13
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I've definitely found that in the same way that creativity can come from limitations (and in fact be stunted by limitless options), I also work faster when I don't distract myself with endless choices of plugins and settings. Less is more Also I agree totally with using plugs as if they were hardware, it forces you to think differently; more like "I need to try and get the best out of each instance and understand it fully" rather than stacking endless instances of every plug you have just because you can.
Old 25th April 2010
  #14
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is suggesting mixing as you go along too silly of an answer? After each channel or group of channels have been tracked, roughly align the levels, perhaps a bit of compression or reverb and carry on as you go along until you reach mixing stage. It should then only need tiny tweaks.
Old 25th April 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by odavy View Post
I've definitely found that in the same way that creativity can come from limitations (and in fact be stunted by limitless options), I also work faster when I don't distract myself with endless choices of plugins and settings. Less is more Also I agree totally with using plugs as if they were hardware, it forces you to think differently; more like "I need to try and get the best out of each instance and understand it fully" rather than stacking endless instances of every plug you have just because you can.
Agreed. Less is more and lets you work faster. I am still narrowing down to which plugs to use consistently.
Old 25th April 2010
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamiedonnelly View Post
is suggesting mixing as you go along too silly of an answer? After each channel or group of channels have been tracked, roughly align the levels, perhaps a bit of compression or reverb and carry on as you go along until you reach mixing stage. It should then only need tiny tweaks.
This works very well for me....as long as I'm doing all the tracking as well as the mixing. Since I generally know pretty much what I'm after I usually get the instruments sounding that way....or pretty close....before I move on the the next phase.

Helps with the performances too.

Different story with a mix only project.
Old 25th April 2010
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Chav View Post
In the day of DAW mixing, hybrid systems, controllers and trackballs what are some ways you guys have found to speed up your workflow while mixing? I find mixes have been taking me days instead of hours. Anyone care to share some tips they find effective?
Have you asked yourself whether time is really the actual issue here? Ask yourself that question and listen to the answer. You'll be surprised...
Old 26th April 2010
  #18
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Keyboard shortcuts
Track FX and BUS Templates
A fast computer (Waiting for stuff to happen is throwing money away)

Mostly I think it's just being ultra familiar with your software so that everything is second nature.
Old 26th April 2010
  #19
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the import session data command is a very useful tool and saves me a lot of time, not just importing from templates, but from the last song I just mixed

It really helps to be sure your editing is done-ity, done, done before you start on a mix. Nothing kills your mixing momentum like stopping to fix a late snare or paste a weak guitar chord.

I do tend to accept the fact that for me at least, a good mix takes time. And I don't blame the DAW. This was true for me even back when I had tape and a console.

Vision is the key, without it, every step of the process has to be A/B to find out if you are doing the 'right' thing. But while I especially agree with Mr Holmes's #2 : Decisions, I find there is Always a lot of tweaking to do, even if you already know what you want, even if you tracked your kick drum with a vision in mind.
Old 26th April 2010
  #20
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I agree with the plug in part...but it's hard sometimes you have clients that expect that you will work it with plugs...I like the mentality of treating it like hardware .....I'd also say group things push into those compressors with a few things..all drums and bass can be nice sometimes, Guitars keys...etc...I'm not great at it yet but I try to get it down to key elements on one or two faders...and push into that and work eq there and ride or automate that...although I'm not that fast...I feel that a day and half per song is as quick as I should go at this point..and that is quick compared to some ITB mixes which can go on literally for weeks....so I guess OTB mixes are faster as mentioned
Old 26th April 2010
  #21
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I wish my clients had the budget and patience for that...
I'm doing two songs a day tracked mixed and mastered. So a 6 song EP takes three 12+hour days.

More songs, less days if they're renting out a really nice studio.
Old 26th April 2010
  #22
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i feel the same way about plugs also... but i run di into a api 512c for my bass and guitars using amp sims and this can hurt on my processing and most midi i convert to audio. things can get hairy when 45 tracks are going and i'm pretty much just trying to do small edits and polishing. maybe converting the guitars to audio to get rid of the amps sims could help also if i feel they are the right tone 100%

like i have 2 high hats, a snare, bass drum so each gets it's own eq like a api waves eq and then bussed to a aux with a cla2a coompressor/psp whatever my choice is. then all my guitars are different when stacked and can be about 3-5 for verse and sometimes up to 9 on chorus but all seperate and bussed into groups like verse aux,chorus aux ect. then i add my reverbs where i need them and use some virtual instruments. not too much overkill but even on my mac pro quad with 8gb ram in logic it can stop when it hits a transition to add an extra vocal so i have to fight with it sometimes and get lucky it doesn't stop and keeps going.

this happens to me sometimes and i pre mix to get my sound as i go in each part and post mix master at the end. i can't figure out how to have a simpler faster time with no computer issues. record at 88 24bit might help. i'm thinking about ditching the digi nterface i'm running spdif into a digi 002 with a rosetta and lunchbox for something else. or maybe it's just a logic9 acting up issue. even in protools le it has it's own set of problems too that are totally different.

i plan to work on my mac this upcoming weekend for awhile to straighten some of my stuff out and hopefully make it run smoother. maybe back up hard drives reformat re dump the data, re organize and just start from scratch with settings. I just want something rock solid but nothing ever has been towards the end of my sessions. record at 96khz 24bit because i like to mix like this with eqs and have always done this for hybrid itb and di analog stuff. maybe the step down from 96khz would do it. freeze tracks doesn't do much either in my work flow.
Old 26th April 2010
  #23
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I like to spend a full day on editing - timing, phase alignment, pitch correction. Then any necessary corrective EQ. Once I've done that I print the tracks and do a quick level mix and leave it till the next day.

Mixing is so much easier with clean, tight tracks. And a whole lot more fun
Old 26th April 2010
  #24
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All of the above: organisation and reducing tracks to manageable amounts (8)

I'd like to add DAW knowledge and shortcuts to that list. Mousing is waste of time. Lifting my arm and looking for which button to press on my MCU's is a waste of time (that 'master section' is the least used part of my controllers).



Herwig
Old 26th April 2010
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
^ I really like point 3 above.

my default mode of operation is a set of plugins - an SSL on every track, setup from the start, plus regular choices for drums (tape sims etc), notch EQs, vocal chains etc- as if it was hardware.

If you spend all your time experimenting, you'll never finish anything. A little bit of experimentation at a time, plus a lot of what you know.
Right on, Right on!
I'm defaulting to the Massey TapeHead plug as #1 in my chain, followed by the Brainworx Cleansweep HP/LP filter set...so far, once I've got the colour and the level sorted, then filter out what I don't need (and slap on some more colour on the master with another TapeHead), 9 times out of 10 I'm more than 75% of the way to a final mix. it's EQ tweaks, compression, effects and automation that finish the last 25%
Old 28th April 2010
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blacklight_uk View Post
I like to spend a full day on editing - timing, phase alignment, pitch correction. Then any necessary corrective EQ. Once I've done that I print the tracks and do a quick level mix and leave it till the next day.

Mixing is so much easier with clean, tight tracks. And a whole lot more fun

I agree but I've found that "printing" tracks ...or bouncing in place causes phase issues ...I'm finding that leaving all edits and fades and plugs in place is the most accurate way...I wish it weren't the case...but it is...at least in logic and PT
Old 29th April 2010
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glissando View Post
I agree but I've found that "printing" tracks ...or bouncing in place causes phase issues ...I'm finding that leaving all edits and fades and plugs in place is the most accurate way...I wish it weren't the case...but it is...at least in logic and PT
I have heard weirdness with non-realtime bounces in logic (realtime bounces seemed fine to me... but I haven't tested this extensively), but in PT I can get them to null (barring time based effects of course).

Any thing in particular which may be causing the problems?
Old 29th April 2010
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Chav View Post
In the day of DAW mixing, hybrid systems, controllers and trackballs what are some ways you guys have found to speed up your workflow while mixing? I find mixes have been taking me days instead of hours. Anyone care to share some tips they find effective?
In Pro Tools, keyboard shortcuts more than anything.

I like to work with templates too, but more from a creative standpoint than anything else (often limiting myself).

One important thing I "learned" was to NOT DO what a whole generation is being taught through magazines - to process everything. Not only does this take up a lot of time, it doesn't even sound better in many cases. I'm going overboard with it now, even minimalizing EQ, but I'll probably land in the middle ground somewhere in the end.

Another thing is committing. This includes recording synthesizers as audio and not MIDI, recording with FX and something more recent for me - not saving takes that I don't know will end up in the finished track.

As for hardware, well, I can't really name any hardware that have made things faster for me other than analog outboard. Sad but true.
Old 29th April 2010
  #29
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NO ERRORS (AHEM,AVIDFORMERLYKNOWNASDIGIDESIGN) and a computer that can handle serious business! all I need!
Old 29th April 2010
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glissando View Post
I agree but I've found that "printing" tracks ...or bouncing in place causes phase issues ...I'm finding that leaving all edits and fades and plugs in place is the most accurate way...I wish it weren't the case...but it is...at least in logic and PT
with offline processing in tools are you checking the start of the new region to make sure there hasn't been any uncompensated latency in the print?? Some plugins STILL don't compensate properly in audiosuite...

with bounces - you need to be checking for the same thing - if you've overstepped the ADC limit in some chains you might get issues....
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