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Never heard this about ITB mixing, what do you think? DAW Software
Old 28th December 2010
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
ktodac3298's Avatar
 

Never heard this about ITB mixing, what do you think?

I forgot where I was but somewhere in the forums I read this tip, copy and pasted it into notepad for safe keeping, but didnt copy the author or where i got it from. I find it interesting since I've never heard of this EXACT technique before. Anyone use it?

"Insert a trim plugin on every track as your first insert.
Bring your faders to unity
Use the trim to Trim down all the audio to a basic rough mix where all instruments are peaking at ~ -20db.
Then use your fader's to fine tune."

Now I will say I do use trim plugins and watch my peaks and all that, but never used a trim like this.

Thanks!

And sorry to whoever originally posted this, if you read this let me know and ill quote you!
Old 28th December 2010
  #2
Gear Head
 
ElJustin's Avatar
 

I know Skip Burrows did a thread (that grew rather exponentially) on the topic of ITB mixing. Essentially, the notion is that on analog VU meters, unity on the meters reads around 1.23 volts. To find that same spot on the digital meter in say Pro Tools, it is around -18db. ITB mixing suffers from a lack of headroom often due to overly high metering levels. This is the thread I'm referencing

The Reason Most ITB mixes don’t Sound as good as Analog mixes (restored)
Old 28th December 2010
  #3
Lives for gear
Actually i saw this on a youtube video, its actually more related to the fact that the faders are logarithmic. What i mean by that, when they're closer to unity, you have the ability to fine tune a bit more, because volume is stretched across a larger distance on the fader (can't find the right words to describe this haha), the -20 is yeh the headroom thing, but it made a hell of a lot of sense when i saw the video, let me try and find it...the guy explains it a bit...give me 10 mins
Old 28th December 2010
  #4
Gear Addict
 
gumby1220's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nelson89 View Post
Actually i saw this on a youtube video, its actually more related to the fact that the faders are logarithmic. What i mean by that, when they're closer to unity, you have the ability to fine tune a bit more, because volume is stretched across a larger distance on the fader (can't find the right words to describe this haha), the -20 is yeh the headroom thing, but it made a hell of a lot of sense when i saw the video, let me try and find it...the guy explains it a bit...give me 10 mins
does make some sense after being reminded that the faders are logarithmic, and for fine tuning.
Old 28th December 2010
  #5
Lives for gear
Dang i couldn't find the video :( but yeh that was the main point that the faders were logarithmic. A small move close to 0 can be a very small change, but a small move closer to the bottom can be a very big change...i remember seeing the video, writing this down, but haven't used it yet haha...i might start using it now though.
Old 28th December 2010
  #6
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gumby1220's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nelson89 View Post
Dang i couldn't find the video :( but yeh that was the main point that the faders were logarithmic. A small move close to 0 can be a very small change, but a small move closer to the bottom can be a very big change...i remember seeing the video, writing this down, but haven't used it yet haha...i might start using it now though.
yeah it's not a bad idea not sure if i actually will use it though seems like it adds a few extra steps in the mixing process that really isn't all to necessary. though i may use it from time to time on just small amount of tracks in a mix that do need some fine level adjustments.
Old 28th December 2010
  #7
Lives for gear
Yeh same...i might try it out when i have some free time. If it improves the quality of my mixes, i'll use it for my other mixes.
Old 28th December 2010
  #8
Registered User
 

just try it and see i do something similar i track at the roughly the same volume and pipe the stems out to a digital mixer giving the mixer more headroom works well
Old 28th December 2010
  #9
Gear Maniac
 
cporro's Avatar
 

i remember that gain staging post. it was a real eye opener for me. what i got out of it was you need to watch the gain everywhere and then adjust your channel faders for final mixes. every time you hit an eq or plugin you should make sure the gain is optimal (i remember thinking averages of -20bd) going to the next stage. aux sends should hit verbs at optimum levels, ditto for buses.

all that made sense to me.

if i understand above technique right it seems you aren't optimizing things for gain. looks like u are optimizing for more fine adjustments of the fader. i can see how that would be more convenient. but couldn't it cause some issues? what if the rough mix level of a track is super low? so then the trim is feeding all plugins, sends, busses, at very low levels. seems better to feed them at optimal levels and then bring the fader down at the end.

what i have been trying on my DAW is non destructively normalizing tracks to peaks of say -12 or where ever they have an average level of say -20. you can also eyeball the audio and drag the volume handle on the object (chunk of audio). on my daw this happens at the same point in chain as a trim. it's super quick to do...but if you tracked at the right levels you don't even need to. then as i add plugins i adjust the output so the channel fader continues to average a good level. i also make sure all sends to buses or whatever are received at good levels...basically i keep levels optimal until they hit faders and go to the master bus.

have i seen big differences in my mixes? too soon to tell.
Old 28th December 2010
  #10
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Boschen's Avatar
 

Logic has a setting that lets you toggle between the log meter and another setting; can't recall where it lives, but could be useful if you don't like the log display on the meter.

I use Rodger Nichol's Inspector, which is a free plug, and a definite improvement over Logic's meter; you can set the meter however you like, including the red and yellow warning zones. Other folks seem to like FreeG.

Gain staging is definitely important in the digital realm. Yellow is the new red, as some will tell you. I usually track levels that peak well below the red zone, so I have lots of headroom without having to worry about noise floor issues.

Proper monitor calibration is a related part of this equation. Check out Bob Katz's K-method of calibration if you're interested. I think there's a dedicated thread in the subforums that explains the process.

@cporro: you're normalizing all tracks singly? I thought there was no way to do this 'non-destructively', and I've been told to avoid normalizing at the buss end. If I'm going to 'crush' the wave, I want control over how it's crushed, and I don't want to hand that off to an automatic process. Could you elaborate on this a bit on how you do it, and how it's working for you?

BTW, I like your website and the look of your studio; B&W photos are so classy... nice open mixing space too!
Old 28th December 2010
  #11
Gear Addict
 

That's the advice that Propellerhead gives for using the mixer in Record. Set the faders to unity, then use the built-in gain at the top of each strip to get as close to even as possible. Then the EQs, dynamics, inserts, aux sends, etc., all are getting the optimal signal and the channel fader's usefulness is maximized.
Old 28th December 2010
  #12
Gear Maniac
 
cporro's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PFRfan View Post
That's the advice that Propellerhead gives for using the mixer in Record. Set the faders to unity, then use the built-in gain at the top of each strip to get as close to even as possible. Then the EQs, dynamics, inserts, aux sends, etc., all are getting the optimal signal and the channel fader's usefulness is maximized.
makes sense to me. but still have to watch levels between plugs right? since one plug may alter the level for the next plug dramatically.

this also works out kinda nice if you have a way to bypass all plugins to hear the mix raw and compare to processed version. levels should be at least in same ball park.
Old 28th December 2010
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
cporro's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boschen View Post
Proper monitor calibration is a related part of this equation. Check out Bob Katz's K-method of calibration if you're interested. I think there's a dedicated thread in the subforums that explains the process.
thats one thing i never figured out the value of. i mean i totally believe bob. i must just be a bit thick on this one.

Quote:
@cporro: you're normalizing all tracks singly? I thought there was no way to do this 'non-destructively', and I've been told to avoid normalizing at the buss end. If I'm going to 'crush' the wave, I want control over how it's crushed, and I don't want to hand that off to an automatic process. Could you elaborate on this a bit on how you do it, and how it's working for you?

BTW, I like your website and the look of your studio; B&W photos are so classy... nice open mixing space too!
thx.

i think the way things are normalized is dependent on how your daw deals with normalizing. for my daw non-destructive is the default. when i first read the post on gain staging i asked around my daw forum if i could simply normalize objects (samplitudes way of saying audio regions more or less). the answer was yes. its a fast way of getting the levels right instead of using a trim plugin.

samplitude works a bit different so i don't know about other daws. but basically any normalizing on the object level occurs before the signal enters the track channel. just like a trim.

as far as crushing things... normalizing should not crush anything. it does not change dynamics. it's like adding a constant to each sample if you know what i mean.

but destructive normalizing can throw out data. and it actually writes a new file. i have a hard time figuring out how you'd loose data normalizing up. but i can see how you'd loose data normalizing down. in any case i never do it destructively.

what do you mean normalize at the buss end? you need a file to normalize from what i know. and a bus signal is created in real time. no?
Old 28th December 2010
  #14
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John Suitcase's Avatar
 

There are a couple of different things here:

You should adjust the input trim to have a good solid level, with some headroom. That gives your plugs the right amount of signal to work with. If you lower something to a level that you like in the mix, then try to compress it, for instance, the compressor won't have enough signal to trigger actual compression.

Then, when you're ready to mix (or as you go along) you want to insert a trim plug (or use the output level of your last plug-in) to adjust the channel so that it's close to how you want it in the mix with the fader at unity.

That way you have optimal level into your plugs, and have the fader at the point where fader moves aren't wacky when adjusting something that you want low in the mix. This is important when you're using a controller with faders, I find, moreso than when mixing with a mouse...

This may be different in an analog console, where different amp stages can impart different sounds, etc.
Old 28th December 2010
  #15
Gear Maniac
 
cporro's Avatar
 

yeah what john said.

i suspect digital gear is much like analog gear in terms of input gain. some gear will do better with higher gain some with lower. but the overall point is the same...you want most of your signal in a reasonable range allowing some headroom and not hitting the plugin at rms -40db.

this is not how i used to do things. i used to track too hot and gain stage too hot. which according the earlier mentioned thread gets you a case of the digis. oh my.
Old 28th December 2010
  #16
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Roey Izhaki talks about this fader thing in his very good book, Mixing Audio.

I don't think he's the first to think of it, though!
Old 28th December 2010
  #17
Gear Maniac
 
cporro's Avatar
 

that's my fav book on mixing. i learned a lot of new things from it. maybe i should revisit it. mixing audio is the title no? it got lots of criticism for typos and such but the info is good so who cares.
Old 28th December 2010
  #18
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Yeah, that's the title. It reads like something written by someone who speaks english as a 2nd language, go figure!

But it does have a lot of really good info, much better than most books I've read on mixing. The sections on compression are really worth the whole price of the book, I think!
Old 28th December 2010
  #19
Gear Maniac
 
Oscar G. Hinde's Avatar
 

I do it and it works marvels. I never worry about cliping the twobus, I have a lot more control over levels (due to the fders being logarythmic) and plugins work better in general since they don't have to handle such a hot signal, not to mention that when I send tracks or stems to my outboard gear the levels are just right.
Old 28th December 2010
  #20
Gear Maniac
 
cporro's Avatar
 

i still haven't heard a big difference but i've just started to do this. encouraging to hear about your results. seems like the topic is way overdue.
Old 29th December 2010
  #21
Gear Nut
I tend to stage everything to -18dB mixing on an outboard mixer. It makes sense and works that way but software mixing is a different to me in that way.
Actualy I end up like using the software mixers like EQ where cuts are more resonable that boosts. (Theres term for this style which I forgot) The result is more or less a hard time because of the logarithmic.

Can someone please post a pic of software gain plugs? Totaly off here heh
Old 29th December 2010
  #22
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Bob Vinsick's Avatar
I remember reading this also. The reason this is recommended is because there is more precision in moving a fader around 0dB. If you move a fader 1/4" near 0dB, you get around 2.5dB change. If the fader is at -30dB and you move it 1/4", you get a change of at least 10dB.

Depending on the length of your fader, this may vary.
Old 29th December 2010
  #23
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John Suitcase's Avatar
 

Yeah, you can be more detailed around unity gain.

I use FreeG as a gain trim, or just use the output level of the last insert plug.

Sonalksis Ltd.

FreeG has nice metering, too, and you can use it to do polarity, etc. And it's Free! RTAS, VST AU, Mac, PC
Old 29th December 2010
  #24
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Vinsick View Post
I remember reading this also. The reason this is recommended is because there is more precision in moving a fader around 0dB. If you move a fader 1/4" near 0dB, you get around 2.5dB change. If the fader is at -30dB and you move it 1/4", you get a change of at least 10dB.

Depending on the length of your fader, this may vary.
Yep, hence the logarithmic scale
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