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Cutoff, an important mixing technique!
Old 6th August 2005
  #1
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Cutoff, an important mixing technique!

I was tweaking around in the studio, trying to learn something new. I learned some new things... First of all I noticed that effects are a little louder after the downsample to 16-bit (the result of the mastering process). I noticed this on the compressor effect on the drums. I made the conclusion that I probably add too much output on effects because of this and lose important mix amplitude. I also realised EQ cutoff should be used in the mixing process, it's a good way of cleaning up the sound and make the result a little more airy. When you don't use any cutoff at all, instruments tend to overlap each other so then you lower the volume on tracks that sound muddy which in turn makes the instrument not loud/clear enough on the mix. I tried the spectrum analyzer in Nuendo for the first time (available in the pool). It was not a very pretty picture. The whole frequency curve was diminishing all the way from 20Hz towards 8Khz on a piano sound, quite much too, maybe 30 degress or something, so I drew the conclusion that I probably make very muddy mixes and I am bad at using the EQ! I also realised I might have my Mackie HR824 monitors setup the wrong way when I tend to add much too much bass in the mix (when I try to make it sound "good"). I didn't however do anything about the way the studio monitors are configured, but I do think the muddyness in my mixes also is due to external factors.

I think I learned some key things in recording...
Old 6th August 2005
  #2
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Billster's Avatar
 

Cutoff is important as well as cutting frequencies (and of course resonances) that are not important in the mix and are covered by other instruments in a better way. If you own a good eq it will also be rewarding to boost characteristic frequencies of each instrument. This way you get a more transparent sounding mix as well. Mixing is both - art and science !

Bill
Old 6th August 2005
  #3
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john caldwell's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Billster
Cutoff is important as well as cutting frequencies...

Bill
Does cutoff refer to creating a passband for a given sound source to avoid that source bleeding into other sources' passband?

John-
Old 6th August 2005
  #4
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max cooper's Avatar
 

Boy, this is the kind of topic that makes me miss Walters.
Old 6th August 2005
  #5
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drew's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by max cooper
Boy, this is the kind of topic that makes me miss Walters.
ha ha.


guys, let's use this as an opportunity to learn what these things are actually called.

HPF-high pass filter---rolls off lowend
LPF-low pass filter---rolls off highend
Old 6th August 2005
  #6
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kevinc's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by max cooper
Boy, this is the kind of topic that makes me miss Walters.

I was reading a thread he`d be perfect for the other day. I think it was the stereo image thread.
Old 7th August 2005
  #7
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"Good EQ" = Good mic placement + No EQ


What I'm learning.
Old 7th August 2005
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robobo1
"Good EQ" = Good mic placement + No EQ
YES!!! every extra minute spend during tracking saves you ten during mixing!

--jon
Old 8th August 2005
  #9
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Billster's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonCraig
YES!!! every extra minute spend during tracking saves you ten during mixing!

--jon
True, but that doesn´t help with synth sounds and samples unless you remike them.

Cheers,
Bill
Old 8th August 2005
  #10
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Drumsound's Avatar
I love the "revelation" moments!
Old 8th August 2005
  #11
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DirkB's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound
I love the "revelation" moments!
I think Slipperman has come back with a new and improved "subtle" Walters...

Leaving the stereo image for the master engineer did it for me ...(was another thread by our crazy man Tony).

Greetings,
Dirk
Old 9th August 2005
  #12
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max cooper's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyCrazyMan
I tried the spectrum analyzer in Nuendo for the first time (available in the pool). It was not a very pretty picture. The whole frequency curve was diminishing all the way from 20Hz towards 8Khz on a piano sound, quite much too, maybe 30 degress or something, so I drew the conclusion that I probably make very muddy mixes and I am bad at using the EQ!

I have new monitors, so I've been going back through my record collection (stuff I'm familiar with, in other words) and I often have an Elemental Inspector open. Pretty much all pop/rock stuff seems to look something like the attachment below. Is that about what you're seeing? Don't worry too much about what it LOOKS like, anyway. It could look like poop and still sound great.
Attached Thumbnails
Cutoff, an important mixing technique!-insp2.png  
Old 9th August 2005
  #13
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I've recently noticed the corollary to this: high end has been rolled off of other instruments to make room for the vocal. I just got a Presonus Central Station, so I was able to hook up my SACD player again. (It's been in mothballs since my digital console passed the aux inputs through AD/DA.) Listening to Billy Joel, Peter Gabriel and the Police on SACD, I noticed that there wasn't a lot of high-end presence coming off of the guitars and keyboards, which made the vocal that much more intelligible. I've always added high freqs to make something more "pretty," but the mix may be better served to leave some things dull and add that fary dust to the vocal instead. Something to ponder in my next mix...
Old 9th August 2005
  #14
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Fletcher and Munson knew what they were talking about

http://www.physics.mcgill.ca/~guymoo...tchercurve.jpg

Check out the Fletcher-Munson curves... notice that there is quite a boost (in relation to the frequencies preceding) from 8kHz up.

A little high frequency goes a long way.
Old 9th August 2005
  #15
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allbaldo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by synthetic
I've recently noticed the corollary to this: high end has been rolled off of other instruments to make room for the vocal. Listening to Billy Joel, Peter Gabriel and the Police on SACD, I noticed that there wasn't a lot of high-end presence coming off of the guitars and keyboards, which made the vocal that much more intelligible. I've always added high freqs to make something more "pretty," but the mix may be better served to leave some things dull and add that fary dust to the vocal instead.
I've been digging myself out of the "mud" lately, by letting guitars be a bit darker in the mix. I used to try to get them bright, because...well..I like bright guitars sometimes, but a lot of the top end I was reaching for does little to help the guits, and much to mask other instruments.
Old 9th August 2005
  #16
Gear Maniac
 

Guitars certainly seem to be a large offender of vocals. The great thing about them is that there are a ton of dominant frequency ranges they can live in, and lot of ways to make them sound musical without being full range. It seem like more and more records these days are working with thin guitar sounds to accent the rest of the mix.

Steve Mabee

---------------
http://www.primalgear.com
Old 9th August 2005
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robobo1
http://www.physics.mcgill.ca/~guymoo...tchercurve.jpg

Check out the Fletcher-Munson curves... notice that there is quite a boost (in relation to the frequencies preceding) from 8kHz up.

A little high frequency goes a long way.
You may not be looking at that quite right. That is for percieved equal loudness of the frequency spectrum. i.e. frequencies below 200hz require progressively higher SPLs to appear as loud as frequencies in the 2-6khz range. Same for high frequencies except for a little bump of sensitivity around 12khz. Above 15khz you can see our sensitivity starts to dramatically trail off. That print of the curve doesn't even plot the response. From this you can see why intelligibility has a lot to do with that 2-6khz sensitivity (hence telephones limited bandwitdth). You can test this yourself somewhat. Slowly sweep an oscillator through your best full range headphones or speakers while riding the gain at the same time. Try to keep everything at an equal loudness. You will find at those very low and high frequencies that you are turning the gain way up. I guess so much so that when you are way up in the above 10khz range if you were to leave the gain equal and sweep down into 2khz it would be uncomfortably loud. This is so very unscientific. Several things may be at play that may exaggerate the curve even more. Your current state of hearing (we tend to lose that way upper air gradually as we age even if we aren't blasting ourselves with 110db regularly), the transducer's (speaker, headphone) ability to reproduce the signal (hardly flat even on big buck monitors), and the acoustic environment if you're trying it in the open air with speakers. You get the idea. I seem to hear a lot of attention and discussion about high and low frequencies in audio production. Vintage hi-fi, recording gear and many of the recordings we love so much were made at a time and under practices that didn't really pay much mind to frequencies above 12khz.
Old 9th August 2005
  #18
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Ok I reread you post. Maybe you were just mentioning that little bump between 10-15khz. Sorry for the lecture. I still think how much emphasis folks put on <4hz lows and >12khz highs is overrated. The thick of the battle is in those mids. I like how the other poster said he saves the airy highs for the important things like the lead vocals.
Old 10th August 2005
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grahluk
Ok I reread you post. Maybe you were just mentioning that little bump between 10-15khz. Sorry for the lecture.
You got it.

And as for how all this got started... I'd sure hate to hear a "mix" where the FFT displayed an EVEN measurement across the spectrum! OUCH!

Don't use your eyes, use your ears.
Old 10th August 2005
  #20
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Berolzheimer's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drew
ha ha.


guys, let's use this as an opportunity to learn what these things are actually called.

HPF-high pass filter---rolls off lowend
LPF-low pass filter---rolls off highend

Don't forget BPF- band pass filter- rolls off Hi & Lo
and BRF- band reject filter- I think that one's self explanatory
Old 10th August 2005
  #21
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u b k's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by grahluk
I still think how much emphasis folks put on <4hz lows and >12khz highs is overrated.

for me, <4hz is where the COLONIC MAGIC is. ignore it at your own peril.


gregoire
del ubik
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