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How should a spectrum analyser look on a good mixdown Metering & Analysis Plugins
Old 20th May 2013
  #1
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How should a spectrum analyser look on a good mixdown

Just wondering if anyone can offer some advice on how should a spectrum analyser look on a good mixdown for general dance music?..

I know I could just place a tune through say Voxengo Span but I would be viewing a mastered track..

Can anyone advise if there is a recommended frequency balance across the spectrum to aid in a "Good Mastered Tune"?..

Many Thanks,

Noodlez.
Old 20th May 2013
  #2
Audio X
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodlez View Post
Just wondering if anyone can offer some advice on how should a spectrum analyser look on a good mixdown for general dance music?..
I'll be the first, but the answer is off. Trust you ears.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodlez View Post
Can anyone advise if there is a recommended frequency balance across the spectrum to aid in a "Good Mastered Tune"?..
Not really
Old 20th May 2013
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
ReaperUser's Avatar
 

Pink noise
Old 20th May 2013
  #4
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Cellotron's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Audio X View Post
I'll be the first, but the answer is off. Trust you ears
Absolutely!

Want a sure fire way to screw up the task of mastering audio? One of the easiest ways is to get distracted by visuals while trying to make decisions for an art form solely perceived by hearing.

Where a spectrum analyser actually comes in hand for myself is only on fairly rare occasions - as a way to quickly find the frequency of say a single bass note that pokes over the rest that you want to pull in, or to pinpoint the frequency of a feedback squeal on a live track you want to notch filter down. Otherwise the best setting for them is indeed bypassed.

Best regards,
Steve Berson
Old 20th May 2013
  #5
Like a bunch of squiggly lines.
Old 20th May 2013
  #6
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Empty Planet's Avatar
 

Lol.

Yes, it's good to get reaffirmation to trust one's ears, trite as it might be, because I confess to being troubled by the occasional alarming spectral appearance, even when it sounds good to me. Trust in one's ears and a nice morning-after appraisal of the mayhem, perhaps.

Cheers.



Old 20th May 2013
  #7
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IIIrd's Avatar
 

I'm pretty fond of flourescant colours, blues are nice too...

Ears old chap....thats what they're for
Old 21st May 2013
  #8
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If it's tracked correctly, in such a way as the analyzer actually shows you the same thing you're hearing, it can be very useful. What shape you go for depends on which analyzer you use. In my experience, SPAN usually translates best when it's ruler flat across with a not too steep rolloff on the lows and highs.

Like another poster said, they are most useful for finding a frequency or range you can't pinpoint by ear for whatever reason. But I often check the shape of the mix to make sure that what I'm hearing is what the analyzer is showing... if it's showing something different you've usually a tracking problem and it's going to be a long night.....

EDIT: Or a monitoring problem if this is happening frequently. If there's a ton of bass showing on the analyzer and you don't hear it, that's a bad thing. The mix will likely not translate at all, or it will be mediocre on most systems but translate to a certain speaker extremely poorly. Sometimes individual tracks just don't make the meters dance the way they sound like they should, that's a sign that the tracking engineer was using nothing but ear, he probably didn't even look at the waveform, and probably only checked the meter for clips without observing behavior. It's makes things so much easier for everyone when tracks are recorded not only to sound good, but to meter out close to the way they sound. In my opinion it's better to set up gear for correct behavior on the meter and then tune by ear rather than to set things up entirely by ear only checking for peaks; at least during tracking.
Old 21st May 2013
  #9
If you hear a track that sounds good, look at that. Then you take another great sounding track and look at that, then take another great sounding track and look at that. After that, pick another great sounding track and look at that. Soon you will find out that there is no way you can see if music sounds good. Then listen again, turn of the analyzer and forget about the analyzer and start using your ears instead.

Just like anyone else here answered actually because it's the only way..
Old 21st May 2013
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by da goose View Post
If you hear a track that sounds good, look at that. Then you take another great sounding track and look at that, then take another great sounding track and look at that. After that, pick another great sounding track and look at that. Soon you will find out that there is no way you can see if music sounds good. Then listen again, turn of the analyzer and forget about the analyzer and start using your ears instead.

Just like anyone else here answered actually because it's the only way..
In doing this I think you'll notice that what you expect to see on the meter/analyzer based on what you're hearing is close to what it actually looks like when you take a peek. It's a sign of good monitoring on your end, and good production on the artist's end as well.
Old 21st May 2013
  #11
Gear Nut
 

I certainly agree that using your ears is most important.

However, I have observed something visibly notable about the mixes that sound better to me. I can see the frequency peaks of individual instruments / notes rising out of the general level of the meter.

I have found that the mixes I like best are ones where there's clarity of individual instruments (even in a dense dance mix) and I can see it because the peaks will be distinct from the rest of the frequency plot.

So for me, I tend to like to see the individual peaks popping up.
Old 21st May 2013
  #12
Mastering Moderator
 
Riccardo's Avatar
It is called audio for a reason.
All well with looking at the peaks that you like best but looking instead of being able to hear will not give you any advantage in the long run,quite the opposite.
ymmv
Old 21st May 2013
  #13
Gear Addict
 
barrythave's Avatar
 

Ears
Old 3rd October 2016
  #14
Gear Head
 
dasdeck's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ReaperUser View Post
Pink noise
some are mixed that way, e.g. with the analyzer roughly showing a 3 dB slope.
modern mixes, however, are mostly showing a slope of 4.5 dB per octave, so somewhat between pink and brown noise.

Cheers!

JM
Old 11th October 2016
  #15
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Red Mastering's Avatar
I do use analyzer, with every project, checking phase issues, rms/peaks level,
distortions, limiting (those are very easy to recognize)
but my opinion is that if you just want to look at it and have opinion without listening, then you will be very disappointed by your findings.
There coud be many problem related to the quality if the mix, balance is one of the first, and analyzer won't be able to show you anything you can use.
Really depends on the song/genre, it could look like mix is not balanced well, but your ears tell you that it is ok, for that genre.
So I would advise to support yourself with analyzer, but never ever create any serious opinion only based on this - it will mislead you terribly.
Listening to the music is the only way.
Old 17th October 2016
  #16
CCP
Gear Head
 

Analysers are fantastic and I use them all the time in conjunction with my ears, but its great to know that all the people who gave such deep & obvious advice like use your ears etc etc have such flat pure rooms & the hearing of a untouched angel. I unfortunately am human and my room is pretty good but it has a roof & a few pesky walls & stuff. I have spend days running exceptionally well produced tracks through analysers to see patterns and I always quickly run a track I am working on through an analyser to see if anything is happening that either my ears my room etc etc might be missing THEN I turn it off and continue using my ears.
Old 28th June 2017
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CCP View Post
Analysers are fantastic and I use them all the time in conjunction with my ears, but its great to know that all the people who gave such deep & obvious advice like use your ears etc etc have such flat pure rooms & the hearing of a untouched angel. I unfortunately am human and my room is pretty good but it has a roof & a few pesky walls & stuff. I have spend days running exceptionally well produced tracks through analysers to see patterns and I always quickly run a track I am working on through an analyser to see if anything is happening that either my ears my room etc etc might be missing THEN I turn it off and continue using my ears.
I totally agree. Use your ears yadda yadda is of course the end goal, but when new to mixing, a spectrum analyzer can be an enourmous help. The thing is, I usually mix way too dark, cause I like warm fuzzy stuff, but when played back on other systems, it's always muffled and undefined. I think part of the reason is that when I mix, my ears adjust, so I think that I've put in enough highs cause Ive been listening to it for the past hour, that mix is my reality at the moment. It's only when listening to another produced track that I realize it's way too dark.

IMO listening to a reference track to compare is the same thing as using an analyzer. Both help me realize my mistakes but the analyzer helps me to actually see what I did wrong instead of guess, making it easier to learn and develop "angel ears" after the whole learning curve.

And I really like the benefit of being able to "see" the mudiness between kick and bass for instance. Good mixes do indeed have separate peaks where instruments live, so with the analyzer I mix and try to recreate those dips and peaks, all for the sake of learning and to train my ears so I don't need to use the analyzer afterwards.

It's a spectacular learning tool imo!
Old 1st July 2017
  #18
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If you're not using sloping offsets in your analyzer then a general ballpark is somewhere between pink and brown noise for me with electronic music - pink being a little thin on the lows and brown too blankety.

But let's say if your track has a huge beat but without a hihat... then the frequency analysis will look skewed if you're comparing it to a commercial release with a bright hihat. What I mean is - in a situation like that, it doesn't mean you should brighten your track to compensate or try to match the other track exactly.

Ultimately you need to just close your eyes and listen.

And don't listen to any rules about "always cut a little at 600hz" "always high pass the master at 30hz" etc. Never ALWAYS do something.
Old 1st July 2017
  #19
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Depends on how you've calibrated the analyzer to show a good mix? haha. Seriously though. Really. You set the parameters of how you want the analyzer to respond. And yes there are standards but they differ for media format and genre, etc and usually are more important for mastering not mixing. You shouldn't mix for an analyzer you should mix for your ears, and if you're not getting good mixes either way then you should probably get that straightened out before you start doing projects.
Old 18th May 2018
  #20
Lives for gear
FFS a reall good question and just loads of idiotic "use your ears " answers. This is why gearlutz sucks balls sometimes. Of course he's going to use his fecking ears hes not a moron - its just that as someone pointed out your room can decieve your ears into thinking theres more/less bass on a track than there actually is. I for one, would like to know if anyone can actually answer this question, instead of just being a smartass - what they would say - pkeas epost a graphic !! There ar epnty of proffesionals around who use analysers AND their ears when mixing.
Old 20th May 2018
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gusss View Post
FFS a reall good question and just loads of idiotic "use your ears " answers. This is why gearlutz sucks balls sometimes. Of course he's going to use his fecking ears hes not a moron - its just that as someone pointed out your room can decieve your ears into thinking theres more/less bass on a track than there actually is. I for one, would like to know if anyone can actually answer this question, instead of just being a smartass - what they would say - pkeas epost a graphic !! There ar epnty of proffesionals around who use analysers AND their ears when mixing.
Depends entirely on genre/track and analysis parameters but OK i'll bite: It should generally look pretty flat/full across the spectrum at the height of the song in realtime but offline longterm analysis should indicate a sloping downwards from left to right.

Take 10 second slots of frequency averages from a bunch of current pop songs and say "that's what my track should look like"... unless you're into jazz or drum n bass or deathgrind or..
Old 20th May 2018
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MogwaiBoy View Post
Depends entirely on genre/track and analysis parameters but OK i'll bite: It should generally look pretty flat/full across the spectrum at the height of the song in realtime but offline longterm analysis should indicate a sloping downwards from left to right.

Take 10 second slots of frequency averages from a bunch of current pop songs and say "that's what my track should look like"... unless you're into jazz or drum n bass or deathgrind or..
Thanks for the reply - a straight answer - brilliant !!!. Yes I was assuming it would genre specific and was hoping for a few graphs showing the different genreas and how they might look - maybe I should have been more specific - its just I assumed that its insanely obvious that the answer would be genre specific and for example you wouldnt want loads of sub bass on a folk record whereas you would on a drum and bass record. In my case techno which I imagine is fairly similar to drum and bass. Thanks for your input all the same though - what analysis tools do you use ?.
If there's any other proffesionals out there would love to see a few screenshots.
Old 21st May 2018
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gusss View Post
Thanks for the reply - a straight answer - brilliant !!!. Yes I was assuming it would genre specific and was hoping for a few graphs showing the different genreas and how they might look - maybe I should have been more specific - its just I assumed that its insanely obvious that the answer would be genre specific and for example you wouldnt want loads of sub bass on a folk record whereas you would on a drum and bass record. In my case techno which I imagine is fairly similar to drum and bass. Thanks for your input all the same though - what analysis tools do you use ?.
If there's any other proffesionals out there would love to see a few screenshots.
No problem, man! I understand your frustration and get tired of the "use your ears" catch-all answer to everything.

I use iZotope RX and absolutely love it for analysis. It gives you plots like this...



Which incidentally looks like a pretty balanced mix

You can analyse in realtime or get frequency averages over whatever time selection you choose.

I think RX Elements can do it and it goes on sale for $29 sometimes.

Send me your tracks and I'll analyse them for you!
Old 23rd May 2018
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MogwaiBoy View Post
No problem, man! I understand your frustration and get tired of the "use your ears" catch-all answer to everything.

I use iZotope RX and absolutely love it for analysis. It gives you plots like this...



Which incidentally looks like a pretty balanced mix

You can analyse in realtime or get frequency averages over whatever time selection you choose.

I think RX Elements can do it and it goes on sale for $29 sometimes.

Send me your tracks and I'll analyse them for you!
Perfect thanks ! I have RX5 but I might send you some stuff anyway just to see what you think.
Old 27th May 2018
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodlez View Post
Just wondering if anyone can offer some advice on how should a spectrum analyser look on a good mixdown for general dance music?..

I know I could just place a tune through say Voxengo Span but I would be viewing a mastered track..

Can anyone advise if there is a recommended frequency balance across the spectrum to aid in a "Good Mastered Tune"?..

Many Thanks,

Noodlez.
There is no set standard to how the frequency graph should look. To each their own, meaning each song sounds different and each graph will represent each song. so copying a graph form one song and trying to replicate that graph for another song is useless and a waste of time and the song will never sound the same..
Do not think you can match graphs and have your song sound the same, because this is completely false.

Graphs do not represent the sound the way you think it does. We listen to music, we do not look at it.
You do no even need to use a graph.

Use your ears and when the song sounds the way you want it to sound ,its done
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