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Serban Ghenea Mixes - all ITB?
Old 22nd September 2020 | Show parent
  #1951
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaggy2039 View Post
I thought of something today listening to the Halsey vocal mix on Marshmello’s “Be Kind”....Did Serban or Marshmello put that wickedly bright bump in the top end of the vocal? Sounds almost like they were trying to emulate the top end EQ/ compression as if the song were being played on FM radio....
I think its the character of voice coupled with the mic tbh... some people do bit crush though a tiny bit, and then bring it up with compression...
Old 23rd September 2020 | Show parent
  #1952
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Hi john!
I really like your mixes it always sounds great!
I have 2 questions

1: I often feel like your mixes and Serbans sounds kinda tight and solid both instruments and vocals wise, I assume it has a lot to do which sounds the producer choose in the first place but if you feel that something in the mix needs to get a more tight/solid feeling how do you usually do to achieve that?

2: Your mixes often seems to have a perfect control over the mid-high and high frequency’s. The mixes never sound harsh and never conflicts with the vocals highs but still the highs seems to be there in the instruments. If you feel that something in the mix sounds a bit harsh and needs to be tamed like a synth or something,how do you usually do that and what are you listening for to tame the high frequency’s but also not just make it sound dull but at the same time not conflict to much with the vocals high frequency’s?

Thanks!
Old 23rd September 2020 | Show parent
  #1953
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHanes View Post
We’re using the Studio 100
Hi John, from this picture and Serban's IG post I see you both have the same monitor desk (like monitor stand)



It's the first time I see something like that. What material is it? Some kind of stone or not? and how wide it is (what's the distance between ProAc's tweeters)?

Thanks for your reply
Old 23rd September 2020 | Show parent
  #1954
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TheHanes's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by EvgenyStudio View Post
Hi John, from this picture and Serban's IG post I see you both have the same monitor desk (like monitor stand)



It's the first time I see something like that. What material is it? Some kind of stone or not? and how wide it is (what's the distance between ProAc's tweeters)?

Thanks for your reply
The desks are made by Argosy. I'm not sure of the model. We had some 3/4" granite cut to top the monitor bridge and the top of the outboard rack. I think it helps add some mass and anchor the sound of the speakers.

The nearfields are about 5' apart tweeter to tweeter I'd guess.
Old 29th September 2020 | Show parent
  #1955
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What intrigues me most about the MixStar mixes is the way in which the vocals are always the unmistakable core. Usually a lot happens with the vocals. Doubled, pitched, saturated, animated, filtered and positioned. Real work of art! The years of experience clearly resonate. Very impressive!
Old 7th October 2020 | Show parent
  #1956
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Heard the Morgan Saint EP over the weekend for the first time... after 15 listens through I really appreciate the mix. You can really blast the songs at high volume without it being too harsh or fatiguing.

Thanks for your great work and tuning me into another great artist!
Old 7th October 2020 | Show parent
  #1957
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seanak View Post
Heard the Morgan Saint EP over the weekend for the first time... after 15 listens through I really appreciate the mix. You can really blast the songs at high volume without it being too harsh or fatiguing.

Thanks for your great work and tuning me into another great artist!
Seanak,

Thanks! I really appreciate the feedback. That is exactly what I want to hear; appreciation of the mix, ability to listen over and over, and appreciation of the art and artist.
Old 7th October 2020 | Show parent
  #1958
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattenylander View Post
Hi john!
I really like your mixes it always sounds great!
I have 2 questions

1: I often feel like your mixes and Serbans sounds kinda tight and solid both instruments and vocals wise, I assume it has a lot to do which sounds the producer choose in the first place but if you feel that something in the mix needs to get a more tight/solid feeling how do you usually do to achieve that?

2: Your mixes often seems to have a perfect control over the mid-high and high frequency’s. The mixes never sound harsh and never conflicts with the vocals highs but still the highs seems to be there in the instruments. If you feel that something in the mix sounds a bit harsh and needs to be tamed like a synth or something,how do you usually do that and what are you listening for to tame the high frequency’s but also not just make it sound dull but at the same time not conflict to much with the vocals high frequency’s?

Thanks!
Thanks. I think it goes to a lot of the things that I touched on in the Q&A. Obviously many of the producers that we are working with have very good taste and direction. But that is not always the case, we also get many projects from less experienced producers that need to be brought to that level.

I would go back to mixing in a vocal-centric way. Most always we are mixing with the vocals (and full production really) in place after getting to the "good rough mix" stage. So most every decision about the mix is made while hearing the vocals and instruments as a whole. Of course we will solo things to zoom in on specific things, but is not building a mix sound by sound specifically.

To tame harshness, there are several things that I think we are doing. Not listening loud and long to avoid ear fatigue. Listen loud for short periods of time and quietly, and even very quietly for longer periods. When listening very quietly, the vocals will sound a bit too loud; you have to understand that and not make level adjustments at that volume. These are just the tools to be able to accurately identify harshness. When listening loud, harshness will really stand out and hurt.

Tools to tame harshness are various. Riding the level, apply some saturation or distortion (i.e. cymbals, high hats), multiband compression (shrill vocal), heavy handed de-essing when necessary, volume rides on other breaths and "Sss" sounds, cut (mute) surplus "sss" sounds on BGV's, especially ones that are not in time. Cleaning up the vocals will make room for some harsh instruments to not clash as much.

For shrill synths, sweep for specific frequency and notch deeply if necessary, automate EQ if it is only specific places, maybe try to spread the sound around the vocal so it is not centered with the vocal.
Old 7th October 2020 | Show parent
  #1959
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MartijnNL View Post
What intrigues me most about the MixStar mixes is the way in which the vocals are always the unmistakable core. Usually a lot happens with the vocals. Doubled, pitched, saturated, animated, filtered and positioned. Real work of art! The years of experience clearly resonate. Very impressive!
Thanks, that is one of our tenets of mixing I think.
Old 7th October 2020
  #1960
XDX
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The low end has always impressed me. Tons of bass and sub that fit just right with the kick and everything stays very punchy and clear. But the whole mix always sound great! Everything has a natural tone to it while also being exciting.

Thanks for setting the bar so high, it's a great target to aim for with my own mixes.
Old 7th October 2020 | Show parent
  #1961
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juiseman's Avatar
Really awesome tips here!! Thank you so much for sharing!!

Could you talk some about how ya'll do some of your low end mixing? This area I often have issues with. Mostly getting the Kick, Bass & sub bass cohesive.

Thanks,

~JuIsE~
Old 11th October 2020
  #1962
Gear Maniac
 

Hey John,
Just wondering... did Serbian allow you to share his ITB master bus chain or even the kind of plugins rather than the specific makes themselves or is that still cloak and dagger?
Thanks!
Old 11th October 2020
  #1963
XDX
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Mix Bus Processing

I don't think you'll get any specifics.

EDIT: I created my own master bus setup with Bluecat Patchworks and a handful of plugins within that. I made sure none of the plugins change the eq response, or the volume of the mix. But the sound is clearly better with all the plugins on.
Old 12th October 2020 | Show parent
  #1964
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XDX View Post
Mix Bus Processing

I don't think you'll get any specifics. .
Really??? Why not? I mean we could all use the EXACT same plugins as Serban and come nowhere close to the level of greatness that he gets in his mixes. You can’t buy or copy that level of skill, experience and uniqueness.
It would be inspiring to see what he uses specifically and see everyone try and put their own spin on his master bus chain and still get nowhere close to the type of mixes he gets. Lol

I guess that’s why he won’t do MWTM.. shame.
Old 12th October 2020 | Show parent
  #1965
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tansao View Post
Really??? Why not? I mean we could all use the EXACT same plugins as Serban and come nowhere close to the level of greatness that he gets in his mixes. You can’t buy or copy that level of skill, experience and uniqueness.
It would be inspiring to see what he uses specifically and see everyone try and put their own spin on his master bus chain and still get nowhere close to the type of mixes he gets. Lol

I guess that’s why he won’t do MWTM.. shame.
John has been very clear he won't share specifics there - and that's totally their decision to make, we should respect it.
Old 12th October 2020 | Show parent
  #1966
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
John has been very clear he won't share specifics there - and that's totally their decision to make, we should respect it.
No problem! Noted.
Old 13th October 2020 | Show parent
  #1967
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
John has been very clear he won't share specifics there - and that's totally their decision to make, we should respect it.
Listening to all music mixed by John and Serban it's clear there are not to many specifics to share. Every artist / song gets what it needs and fits the genre. Just compare 24K Magic to Thank you, next. A totally different sound and use of fx.
Don't forget the quality of the source material they mostly work with, the producers, engineers and the mastering engineers responsible for the final sauce, all have their share in the sound we admire.
Old 13th October 2020 | Show parent
  #1968
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Quote:
Originally Posted by juiseman View Post
Really awesome tips here!! Thank you so much for sharing!!

Could you talk some about how ya'll do some of your low end mixing? This area I often have issues with. Mostly getting the Kick, Bass & sub bass cohesive.

Thanks,

~JuIsE~
I guess without giving away some secrets; maybe just a general starting
place would be helpful.

~JuIsE~
Old 13th October 2020 | Show parent
  #1969
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MartijnNL View Post
Listening to all music mixed by John and Serban it's clear there are not to many specifics to share. Every artist / song gets what it needs and fits the genre. Just compare 24K Magic to Thank you, next. A totally different sound and use of fx.
Don't forget the quality of the source material they mostly work with, the producers, engineers and the mastering engineers responsible for the final sauce, all have their share in the sound we admire.
They have one standard mixbus chain they use on everything. That’s obviously where the curiosity will be most piqued and it makes sense not to give away any specifics. As exceptional as they are, the competition is definitely out there.
Old 13th October 2020 | Show parent
  #1970
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Quote:
Originally Posted by juiseman View Post
Really awesome tips here!! Thank you so much for sharing!!

Could you talk some about how ya'll do some of your low end mixing? This area I often have issues with. Mostly getting the Kick, Bass & sub bass cohesive.

Thanks,

~JuIsE~
They definitely carve these well, I’d be curious too.

Do you (John) use any visual monitoring for this or it’s all by ear?
Old 13th October 2020 | Show parent
  #1971
Gear Nut
 

Seeing the surround setup in the room it's also possible to mix in surround and downmix to stereo. Don't know if John and Serban ever work like that. (John?)
Old 13th October 2020 | Show parent
  #1972
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juiseman's Avatar
That sounds like a lot of extra work too me...but who knows...

How well does down mixing from surround translate to stereo? I have never tried that.
Old 14th October 2020 | Show parent
  #1973
Quote:
Originally Posted by MartijnNL View Post
Seeing the surround setup in the room it's also possible to mix in surround and downmix to stereo. Don't know if John and Serban ever work like that. (John?)
If you read the interview John linked in his Q+A, it states how they work in surround.
Old 14th October 2020 | Show parent
  #1974
Quote:
Originally Posted by juiseman View Post
That sounds like a lot of extra work too me...but who knows...

How well does down mixing from surround translate to stereo? I have never tried that.
It's very common in film.

For example, space was/is at such a premium on DVD, that much of the time there's not a dedicated stereo mix - only a 5.1 stream that is downmixed by the player.

I don't know, but I wouldn't be surprised if with streaming it's the same thing. I have a 5.1 system fed directly from my apple TV, and most shows play in surround. Which would suggest that 2.0 (aka stereo) systems are playing back a folded down 5.1 stream.

whenever I've assisted or worked on a stereo + surround mix (and that's always been to picture too), we've done the stereo mix first and then pulled it into surround. but whether the stereo mix is ever used alone is another thing.
Old 14th October 2020 | Show parent
  #1975
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Quote:
Originally Posted by juiseman View Post
That sounds like a lot of extra work too me...but who knows...

How well does down mixing from surround translate to stereo? I have never tried that.
I'd say that in the competitive world that John and Serban works in, a down-mixed surround mix to stereo would never cut it - compared to a proper stereo mix.

I remember reading somewhere that the psychoacoustics involved in surround sound preproduction offers almost 10dB extra "headroom" or perceived "depth" compared to a stereo sound reproduction - meaning that if you spread out the sounds and instruments in the surround field, you can mix them almost 10dB lower and they will still be audible in the mix. So imagine having done a proper surround mix with that kind of dynamics and depth, and then try to fold it down to stereo - or better yet, fold it down to a radio-friendly pop mix in stereo.

But, anyway, John is a better person to answer this question.


Cheers
Fred
Old 15th October 2020 | Show parent
  #1976
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TheHanes's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by MartijnNL View Post
Seeing the surround setup in the room it's also possible to mix in surround and downmix to stereo. Don't know if John and Serban ever work like that. (John?)
No, it’s the other way around. Get a stereo mix done and then tackle the Atmos mix.
Old 15th October 2020 | Show parent
  #1977
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TheHanes's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by newguy1 View Post
They definitely carve these well, I’d be curious too.

Do you (John) use any visual monitoring for this or it’s all by ear?
Pretty much by ear. A few meters like the DK in various modes (1/3 octave, fft, correlation) mostly to confirm visually that your hearing accurately.
Old 15th October 2020 | Show parent
  #1978
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TheHanes's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by frenzy View Post
I'd say that in the competitive world that John and Serban works in, a down-mixed surround mix to stereo would never cut it - compared to a proper stereo mix.

I remember reading somewhere that the psychoacoustics involved in surround sound preproduction offers almost 10dB extra "headroom" or perceived "depth" compared to a stereo sound reproduction - meaning that if you spread out the sounds and instruments in the surround field, you can mix them almost 10dB lower and they will still be audible in the mix. So imagine having done a proper surround mix with that kind of dynamics and depth, and then try to fold it down to stereo - or better yet, fold it down to a radio-friendly pop mix in stereo.

But, anyway, John is a better person to answer this question.


Cheers
Fred
I think you are dead on accurate here. Each mix, stereo and Atmos must be done by hand. No automatic down or up mixing would be acceptable.

Yes also there is much more headroom available all around. Most often when moving sounds from stereo L&R to surround speakers I’ll be pulling them down 4 to 6 dB to match the perceived volume of that sound in the stereo mix to an equal perceived volume in surround.
Old 16th October 2020 | Show parent
  #1979
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHanes View Post
Pretty much by ear. A few meters like the DK in various modes (1/3 octave, fft, correlation) mostly to confirm visually that your hearing accurately.
Thanks, I'm not working out of a great room at the moment and have recently started leaning on visuals more, it seems to really help as a quick reference point for decision making.

Do your room and monitoring setup give you everything you need? Do you take trips to the car, listen on earbuds, Bose type speakers in another room, out of a phone etc? Or the room and monitoring are dialed in to the point where nothing is gained by listening in the car or wherever else?
Old 16th October 2020 | Show parent
  #1980
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newguy1 View Post
Thanks, I'm not working out of a great room at the moment and have recently started leaning on visuals more, it seems to really help as a quick reference point for decision making.

Do your room and monitoring setup give you everything you need? Do you take trips to the car, listen on earbuds, Bose type speakers in another room, out of a phone etc? Or the room and monitoring are dialed in to the point where nothing is gained by listening in the car or wherever else?
I would not say that my room is an ideal mix environment and it has not been tuned and tested; I'm just very used to how it sounds. I will listen on my Pro-AC's, on headphones, and occasionally on little Bose computer speakers.

Only because I've been in this room with these speakers for almost 20 years do I trust enough to not listen in a car or other reference room. That just takes a lot of time to achieve totally familiarity.
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