The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
Where would you start with this mix
Old 15th November 2009
  #1
Lives for gear
 

Where would you start with this mix

Hi guys. I'm hoping I can get some help here.

Okay, I have been trying like many to get my mixes a little louder just to give to clients that can't afford to go to mastering houses.

I have a mix that i have been practicing on (attached) and I am pretty happy with the mix. I usually start by getting my kick and snare peaking at -10 on my master fader. and build from there. All I have going on with regards to my mixbuss is a Ac1 for some saturation and a touch of compression. 4.1 which is compression about -3db -4db at max leaving -3db Head room. Maybe a little less.

I hardly use any compression on my individual tracks. Mainly just on vox and drumbuss compression. Anyway my RMS levels are around -9.98

The average rock bands I listen to are around -6 so I'm obviously going for around there.

I have done a lot of reading about mastering and my hat is off to all of you in this field. It is a very delicate field that deserves great respect.

Like I said, I'm only interested in learning this stuff to help a few clients out and for my own general knowledge. Now then, I believe a lot has to do with corrective eq to bring the music to life and help it appear louder.

From what i can tell from my track comparing it to others is my mid range mostly in guitar seems to be a little narrow and doesn't stand out as well.

I'm hoping someone can have a little listen and maybe give me a few pointers. I have some waves eq's and compressors. No outboard gear unfortunately. Still saving for some really good stuff. I should also mention even though I have plugins like ozone 3 and I also tried Har-Bal, I'd rather know what's going on rather than hoping some magic preset will sort me out. I want to know why and what eq and compressor I need.

Thanks in advance.
Attached Files

All We Have Are Ghost Dude.mp3 (3.85 MB, 2979 views)

Old 15th November 2009
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Never1's Avatar
 

I listened on headphones (I'm at home atm) and the mix sounds really good, dude!

A bit thick in the low end and low mids.

The Mp3 is pretty bad, so it's hard to hear the details as the high end is all fudged up.

I checked it out in Wave editor and I'd say all you really need is some cleaning up in the bottom end and some limiting to bring it up to peak levels.

Not much else to do there.
Old 15th November 2009
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Never1's Avatar
 

And BTW, don't worry about the RMS levels. The track can only go where it can go. after a point, it will fall apart.

Comparing it to other recordings is almost pointless because the arrangment and the mix will dictate how loud it can be. In the right hands, this mix could be pretty loud and still be quite clean.

Edit: Actually you've got some serious RMS happening. Checked it with a meter and it's sitting at -9rms average. Some commercial albums are mastered that loud.

I am hearing some pumping a bit, from the AC, but it's not bad.
Old 15th November 2009
  #4
Lives for gear
 

Cool man thank you very much. Your thoughts are the same as mine then. A bit too much low end. I was worried about the Ac1 also but to me it just about makes it and doesn't sound too pumped. On it's Gain reduction meters it's barley moving.

I tried to experiment, and threw on Maxim just to have a listen (although I don't intend to use it) and noticed that although I have some low end to clean up, the sibilance on the vocals are causing some problems. On the chorus and 2nd verse.

Should I use a multiband compressor for this kind of thing or go a different route?

Thanks so much again for taking the time.

Kev
Old 15th November 2009
  #5
Lives for gear
 
ed littman's Avatar
 

Verified Member
More imoprtantly the guitars over shadow the vocals. Kinda sounds like a guitar player mixed it. The vocals are on the edge of being to essy/harsh same with lead guitar. The bass has a low mid resonance with a lack of detail. In the choruses it's congested/harsh from the comp/limiter.
Hope that helps,
Ed
Old 15th November 2009
  #6
Lives for gear
 

Yes It does thanks.

I'm a singer by the way. Should know better. lol I guess I can bring them down a touch but the mixes I listen to lately have the guitars hard panned and loud. I think it's the low freq and not enough mid that are probably drowning the vox a bit.

I wish I recorded the lead guitar differently. The leads are a little harsh 2k and up but when I duck those freq down it tends to sound lost and weak.

When you say harsh do you mean too much 2k and up?

There's no limiter on this mix. Just Ac1 plugin to emulate some saturation SSL style (one day I'll have the real deal) and a bit of comp. I have it set Ratio = 2:1, Attack = 3 ms, Release = approx. 299 ms with -4db reduction.

No other comp in my mix besides vox and drum bus.

Do you think I should play with the attack/release some more?
Old 15th November 2009
  #7
Lives for gear
 

I brought back the attack to 10ms and think it sounds a lot better. I listened to the chorus again and like you said I can hear sucking and pulling a little too long. Almost like some was quickly turning the volume knob up and down a notch really fast. Is that what you we're hearing?

Also in regards to make up gain on the mix buss, is it best to simply match the volume with it bypassed or hit it a bit louder?

Thanks in advance.
Old 15th November 2009
  #8
Lives for gear
 
ed littman's Avatar
 

Verified Member
yes 2k & up.

Maybe raise the vox up 1db put a de esser on it & reduce the saturation a bit.

I think it's ok to be influenced by whats out there. but your best result will be to optimize with what you have. You can go nuts chasing the sounds of other records.

Ed

Quote:
Originally Posted by anemicrock View Post
Yes It does thanks.

I'm a singer by the way. Should know better. lol I guess I can bring them down a touch but the mixes I listen to lately have the guitars hard panned and loud. I think it's the low freq and not enough mid that are probably drowning the vox a bit.

I wish I recorded the lead guitar differently. The leads are a little harsh 2k and up but when I duck those freq down it tends to sound lost and weak.

When you say harsh do you mean too much 2k and up?

There's no limiter on this mix. Just Ac1 plugin to emulate some saturation SSL style (one day I'll have the real deal) and a bit of comp. I have it set Ratio = 2:1, Attack = 3 ms, Release = approx. 299 ms with -4db reduction.

No other comp in my mix besides vox and drum bus.

Do you think I should play with the attack/release some more?
Old 15th November 2009
  #9
Lives for gear
 

Thanks man. I'll get back to it and post my results.

Your dead right about being influenced too much as I am trying to find what works for me. The search goes on.
Old 15th November 2009
  #10
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by anemicrock View Post

I have a mix that i have been practicing on (attached) and I am pretty happy with the mix. I usually start by getting my kick and snare peaking at -10 on my master fader. and build from there. All I have going on with regards to my mixbuss is a Ac1 for some saturation and a touch of compression. 4.1 which is compression about -3db -4db at max leaving -3db Head room. Maybe a little less.

I hardly use any compression on my individual tracks. Mainly just on vox and drumbuss compression. Anyway my RMS levels are around -9.98
Man, it's really great mix, maybe just a touch of vocals more, so the lyrics are easier to understand.

Can I have a few questions about the mix?
Looks like you've already had guitar tracks compressed beforehand.
How about the main snare? Is it sampled? Hats sounds "real", but the attack and length of the snare is almost the same with every hit. Also snare fill in 2:58 has totally different quality than the main backbeat, here it sounds like natural, deep drum.
How high have you highpassed the overheads?
Old 15th November 2009
  #11
Gear Guru
 
UnderTow's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Is this the mix or the master?

Quote:
Originally Posted by anemicrock View Post
I have a mix that i have been practicing on (attached) and I am pretty happy with the mix. I usually start by getting my kick and snare peaking at -10 on my master fader. and build from there. All I have going on with regards to my mixbuss is a Ac1 for some saturation and a touch of compression. 4.1 which is compression about -3db -4db at max leaving -3db Head room. Maybe a little less.
Personally I would remove everything from the mix bus and first learn to mix by getting the levels of individual tracks right. Maybe compress the individual tracks if needed. I certainly would remove that saturation thing. You mix sounds edgy and harsh. That could well be the culprit.

Personally I find the vox to be too upfront but this is a taste thing (You are a singer ). One thing for sure is that the vox sounds harsh and essy.

The guitars sound very thin. Are you hipassing them too high?

The kick sounds very boomy and has too much sub (using up alot of headroom) but waay too little definition.

Again a taste thing but I feel the drums are too soft. It makes the track sound small to my ears. IMO they should be thundering.

Quote:
The average rock bands I listen to are around -6 so I'm obviously going for around there.
I wouldn't worry about level. Just make it sound good. Make it sound good with no stereo bus compression. If you can achieve that, the rest will be really easy.

Alistair
Old 15th November 2009
  #12
Lives for gear
 

Cool guys thanks for the tips. I just finished tracking some vocals all day and have been up 24hrs so tomorrow I'll post my new mix.

To answer a few questions,

There is no compression on guitars just some DUY tape. Maybe It's a bit too much. I'll take it off and see what the results are. Well, either I take Ac1 off the mix bus or take the tape off the guitars. Both are probably too much.

Snare is sampled and blended with the original. I turn the sample way down on fills. I have 5 heavy hits all with different velocity and rings. Shame there not catching your ears. Worked really hard on making this one myself. The whole kit is real besides the snare and kick being augmented.

At 2:58 I think it's the big snare build. For some reason the snare lost it's smack, probably the snare wires got too loose and I never noticed it so rather than trying to use any samples on that part I just dealt with it and turned the room mics up more.

Overheads I spaced differently but they still sound good. I ended up using C4 to comp the lower mids and sub freq but left a good sparkle in the high mids and highs.

My main bummer is the room mics. I get a really nice dark kick and snare (which I like) out of my room but I only have one mic left for mono. (wish it was stereo) and i have a damn hard time trying to keep my crash levels down. I use a Meinl 22" medium crash and it's freakin loud. I also use Meinl studio hats which are really cool and good on snare bleed. Nice and dark.

The mix is a mix. Not a master. Yes it's loud but I was just trying something and copied what Charles Dye does down to a tea. Same plugs, same levels etc.

I can get my mix balances well without anything on the mix bus but it sounds really quite and like I said wa doing the Charles Dye thing.

Ac1 is coming off.

It's funny you say the vox are too loud, a comment above you states they are too quite but like you said it's all personal taste. I also have taken off some plugs on the vox and now just have a de esser, a bit of eq boosting a touch of 2k and cutting around 10k. Then I threw in my La2a Plug to add some character and sounds a lot better. Way better. I hope anyway. lol

Guitars had a bit off rumble so I think there is a touch of hi pass at 30hz. I ran them through my Germanium which is very warm anyway. Again maybe it was the Ac1 or DUY Tape?

The kick I was going for a dark sound. Maybe it's a personal taste again but you are right it does eat the headroom. I'll have a look into it.

The drums to me sound really good. What advise or what specifically makes you think they are weak? There is a good amount of bus compression on the drums. Thought I had them slamming. Well the best I done so far anyway.

Well, again thank you so much you guys for your advise, comments and taken the time to have a listen. I'll get on it and post my results tomorrow.

Kev
Old 16th November 2009
  #13
ORC
Gear Addict
 
ORC's Avatar
Nice tune!

Here's what I think. The vocals are a bit soft at times. This can happen quite easily If you know the lyrics to a song well or, if the vocals are too bright, which they are. Solution? Ask someone who doesn't know the song to have a listen. Ask if they can understand the lyrics clearly. If they say no, then bring them up a half db at a time, until your listener says, "I can hear them clearly now." Remember this when mixing in the future, especially If its you singing. If your own vocal level seems about right to you, bring it up another db, and you should be ok. When I was mixing exclusively, I'd always print a vocal up, and a vocal down, along with the regular mix. In mastering we can compensate for a low vocal level using Mid/side processing, but this is a compromise at best.

The vocal is very bright, but it is consistently that way. Listen to your drum overheads. How bright are they? The vocal ought to be as bright as the overheads, or just a touch brighter than the overheads. I would reach for eq on this vocal before I'd use a de-esser.

I realize that this is an mp3, but here are some more comments: Plenty going on at hard left, hard right, and center, but not much between one o'clock and hard right, and 11 o'clock and hard left. This is where I would pan your overheads and hi hat mics: around 10 o'clock, and 2 o'clock, because right now the guitars and cymbals are really fighting with each other. Darkening the guitars, which i mention later, will help create separation between them and the overheads as well.

The drums sound like samples to me. Great if thats the sound you're going for. If not, use some compression/limiting, eq, to get them to sound more natural. Also the drum verb seems a bit small. The snare is and kick are sitting nicely, but I'd like to hear them fill up a bit more sonic space just by using a bigger sounding reverb. Nothing wrong with a single room mic. Crush it! Bring it straight up the middle this will mask the samples nicely. Pan the drums a little wider to compensate for the mono room mic. Bring those overheads in though. They're close to being in the next room.

Guitars are a bit bright, throw a low pass filter on them at 8k, and work your way down to as low as 5k for a more natural sound. Also set your high pass on the guitars at about 80 Hz. The low E string is just above 80. This will open up the mix for you, and you will gain some sonic real estate. The lowest note on the bass guitar part is quieter than the other notes. Find that frequency and bring it up so the bottom stays solid.

This mix needs some weight as well.

I suspect your monitors because the entire mix (with the exception of your overheads) is pretty bright, and is a little light on the bottom. Solution? Assuming you're using 2 ways, boost your tweeters a db or 2, and back your woofers off about 3 db. This will force you to mix differently, and I think the mix will translate better.

As for buss compression, limiting and eq, leave that stuff off of your mix buss. If you've got a nice outboard 2 buss compressor use it, but use it gently. If I were using an SSL type buss comp at 4:1, I'd set attack at 3 ms or 10 ms (most likely 10 ms if you're going 4:1, I'd also set the release on auto.) At 4:1 I'd be knocking off 2 db maximum.
Your buss comp is making your nice mix sound smaller right now. Its almost like FM radio. Some of it is the mp3, but its mostly compression.

Really though, practice working without those mix buss plugins if you can. Your mixes will sound better. Try mixing with as little compression as possible, using it only to reign in unruly dynamics. Of course there are times when we want to use comps and limiters for effect, but if we do this all of the time it has no effect, because there is little uncompressed signal to compare the effect to. Mixes with compression and limiting all over the place are fatiguing to listen to as well.

Have your mix peaking at -3dbfs.

Let your mastering engineer help you with mix buss compression. I have an ssl, a drawmer and an api. I ask all of my clients to leave the mix buss alone, unless i know that they are really good at using a buss comp. I go easy with these three boxes. If I can get the mix to breathe a bit more, thats all I shoot for. I have a couple of serious comp/limiters that i use to make things sound finished. Too much of any one compressor will make a mix sound like that compressor instead of your mix.

To summarize, leave the mix buss to your mastering engineer, tweak your monitors (this will take care of many of the above issues) tweak your mix a bit and you should be golden.

I converted your mp3 to a 24/96 wav file, ran that through my Lavry A/D, and did a quick pass on my half inch 2 track at 15 ips. This gave the mix weight and balls. The sibilance on the vox was tamed, the drum samples sounded much more like drums. Actually it sounded surprisingly good. I wouldn't recommend tape simulation plug-ins at all. They ad distortion, and sound like anything but tape. Better to use some compression, and darken things a bit with eq. If you want analog tape sound, Anamod makes a nice box, and the Cranesong Hedd sounds good too. Neither sound as good as a nice tape deck, with good tape, and proper alignment.

Good song!! You should be able to make this mix sound great!!!
Old 16th November 2009
  #14
Lives for gear
 

Okay, here is my remix of the song. I have to upload it as an mp3 and the wave file is too large.

I have taken all your comments on board and I think the mix sounds far,far better. To me ears anyway, hopefully yours too.

I have taken DUY Tape off the guitars and changed the eq and i have taken Ac1 of the mixbuss. Actually regarding the mixbuss, I have still left my renaissance comp on it but have the attack on 10ms, release on 299ms, Ration on 2:1 and I'm only compressing about -2db. It doesn't NEED it. My mix is fine without it and doesn't fall apart or anything. I just feel it help glue it a tiny bit better. It's WAY less this last time.

The ONLY other thing I have on the mixbuss is DUY wide which is set on 17% and no bass boost. I really like what it does with the guitars. Speaking of guitars I pulled them in a bit to 90% on both sides. Cymbals are panned pretty much how you said. A little wider only because they we're not recorded that wide.

Vocals I have done the best I can without sounding muddy or small as the singers voice is naturally very sibilant.

I really hope you guys like it and to me for my prefs the drums are big and I like the sound. If it's not your taste with samples that's cool.

Again thanks in advance.
Attached Files

Ghost new.mp3 (3.82 MB, 159 views)

Old 16th November 2009
  #15
ORC
Gear Addict
 
ORC's Avatar
I think you should remove the waves compressor from the mix buss. Let the ME adress that issue. He has real hardware peices to do this with. Same goes for the stereo widener. These are notorious for creating phase problems. Best left to the ME who has better tools, and better monitoring with which to do this.

It seems that you are kind of gettting into this thing which I see so many folks doing these days, which is trying to have your mixes sound mastered BEFORE they go to mastering. You're hurting yourself here. A good ME can do so much more with real hardware pieces. If you send in mixes with buss compression, limiting, widening, etc. You're leaving your ME much LESS to work with.

Compression plugins on the digital mixbuss sound terrible in my opinion. Yes, the ssl buss comp sounds ok, but not like an ssl, same for the api plug. PSP vintage warmer and old timer sound ok too. But you should have no desire to put something that just sounds ok across your mix buss. You should only want stuff that sounds fantastic on the 2 buss. This is where the ME comes in with real hardware pieces. If the ME uses a digital comp or eq, It will be something VERY good, and very expensive.

Make a bold move, and pull that stuff off of the mix buss. Your mixes will thank you for it, and so will anyone who masters for you.!
Old 17th November 2009
  #16
Lives for gear
 

Here is the song again without the master buss comp and a new track.

hope you guys like it.
Attached Files

All We Have Are Ghost No Comp.mp3 (3.86 MB, 159 views)

Medal No comp.mp3 (3.46 MB, 114 views)

Old 17th November 2009
  #17
Lives for gear
 
wado1942's Avatar
 

Quote:
Checked it with a meter and it's sitting at -9rms average. Some commercial albums are mastered that loud.
That was normal for about half the CDDA medium's life in the main stream. My hottest masters sit around there these days.


As for the drums, I think they're just too heavily compressed. Only about half my mixes have any compression on the drums at all because it's the quickest way to take the impact out of them. Sometimes I'll compress the bass drum or perhaps the snare & toms is the drummer is all over the place because he doesn't know how to attack them. 6dB of compression on any drum would be a lot for me though. 3dB is more normal.

I only listened to the new upload BTW.
Old 17th November 2009
  #18
Lives for gear
 

wado1942 I hear ya man.

Maybe the slammed drum buss is a little too loud that your hearing. The kick,snare and toms individual tracks are dry. No compression but they are sent to a aux track with an La2a plug that's slammed hitting roughly -6db/-7db but for me where the buss fader is at is just right.

The overheads are dry. No comp. The mono room mic is slammed. I had to ride that track when the cymbals hit though as the comp just makes the cymbals too loud.

So all in all then I'm not too sure if it's the mono room mic that's slammed pretty hard or the very low bus comp the kick,snare and toms are going through that you find to be too much.

For me I really like it. Maybe I'm wrong and got a little carried away.

The whole mix of both songs no are at average -5db and peak at -3db. No Mix buss comp, no more Ac1 or stereo widener. Nothing at all on the Mixbuss.

The only thing that's really bugging me are the toms on Medal. Might have to replace them as the drummer wasn't very good at all hitting them.
Old 17th November 2009
  #19
Lives for gear
 

Just to add, where my anxiety lays no though without any comp on the mix buss is that the avegage RMS levels at around -18db and the loudest parts -16db.

I know you guys are supposed to "Make it loud" but seriously is this normal? For instance the new "The Almost" cd that I'm really digging at the moment has an RMS of -8.9 Well if I wanted to get my mixes that loud well let's say -9 after being mastered that would mean with my track now being at -16db you guys would have to get -9db out of the track. Right?

It just scares me bands are gonna go somewhere else when they hear how quite their mixes are. I know I'm doing the right thing but is there anything I can do to get my track a little louder before sending it to you guys? I know that might sound like a stupid question but my first and most important goal is to make the mix sound good.

Also is there nothing digital wise that can get my mix to -9rms that won't sound like ass. Obviously and defiantly I will send my bands to a professional mastering house but for my own learning and mow own bands stuff we're demoing it would be nice to know.
Old 17th November 2009
  #20
Gear Addict
 
beanface's Avatar
 

Hello.


The mix sounds really good, but the snare transients don't sound right to me - almost like how sonnox transmod sounds when its pushed a wee bit too far. thumbsup
Old 18th November 2009
  #21
Lives for gear
 

Thanks man. It's coming along really well now. I know exactly what your talking about with the transients. I kinda excepted it though.

Kev
Old 18th November 2009
  #22
Lives for gear
 
Never1's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by anemicrock View Post
Just to add, where my anxiety lays no though without any comp on the mix buss is that the avegage RMS levels at around -18db and the loudest parts -16db.

I know you guys are supposed to "Make it loud" but seriously is this normal? For instance the new "The Almost" cd that I'm really digging at the moment has an RMS of -8.9 Well if I wanted to get my mixes that loud well let's say -9 after being mastered that would mean with my track now being at -16db you guys would have to get -9db out of the track. Right?
\.
those levels are perfectly fine.

Most mastering guys will give it more gain via analog outboard, so it won't affect anything sonically. At -18dbfs you're still getting 21 bits on a 24bit system.

I've gotten mixes that were averaging -24dbfs with peaks around -18dbfs.

The mix you give your bands could have a limiter on it, just to crank up the level and let it do a db of reduction on the strongest parts.

They will freak out if they hear it being too quiet. It's idiotic but it's true, as most are insecure and want it loud. No need to explain anything. Just print two versions. One for the ME and one for them.
Old 18th November 2009
  #23
Lives for gear
 

Never1 Thanks for the ecounregent.

I'll just print 2 mixes then. Just such a shame that so many bands just don't understand this. I just finished recording a band that we did 5 songs for. It's on;y been a day and they are already calling me asking when I'll have the mixes done.

Insane.
Old 18th November 2009
  #24
Lives for gear
 
Never1's Avatar
 

The bands don't need to understand it. it's your job to give them what they want but also do what's best for the end result...hence printing two mixes.
Old 18th November 2009
  #25
Lives for gear
 

Defiantly but they'll just have to except my shitty limiting until it goes out to the real mastering house. lol
📝 Reply
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
🖨️ Show Printable Version
✉️ Email this Page
🔍 Search thread
♾️ Similar Threads
🎙️ View mentioned gear
Forum Jump
Forum Jump