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Is this too much on a mixdown 2bus? Dynamics Processors (HW)
Old 1st September 2011
  #1
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Is this too much on a mixdown 2bus?

Hey all! Hoping to get some input.

I've been working on my mixing lately and came up with a McDSP 2bus chain that I copied and used on several tracks. It sounds good (to me) but curious to know if I'm encroaching on "mastering" territory. I have yet to have a track mastered but will shortly. I'm working on house/techno tracks that are big in the low-end.

1) Analogue Channel 01 - Console Pre-amp Simulator: 2-3 db of compression/saturation
2) MC2000 - Multiband Compressor: lots of compression on the low end, 2-3 db on mid low, and 1-2 db on mid high
3) Analogue Channel 02 - Tape Simulator: 1-2 db to add back some of the bottom

For item #2, I end up with lots of compression on the low end because I use it to tame the subbass only. My room for mixing is ghastly and find that the bottom end is too loud when I play the tracks on other systems. This is not the ideal solution but seems to sound ok. Hopefully it won't cause problems later...
Old 1st September 2011
  #2
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huejahfink's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Yeah, I would say that was possibly too much if you are going to send the tracks out for mastering.
Better to get the sound you want by working the individual tracks than by working the buss like this.
I used to mix into plugins like this quite a lot, and the moment I stopped doing that - I started getting more precise and better balanced mixes.

Out of the plugs you mention, I think the multi-band comp is probably the first one to try knocking out. You've got access to the mix, so you have the opportunity get your balances working better without it.

As far as the console saturation on the output goes ... maybe you could get better results by saturating key channels in the mix and leaving some cleaner to provide a contrast?

I think the tape sim might be one that you could keep on there while you mix. But I would keep trying it with and without throughout your mixing process just to make sure that you are not battling against it.

Perhaps you could prepare two versions if you really feel that the master plugs are making the mix work, send both to mastering and communicate with your engineer. "I like the sound of this processing for reasons x,y,z, can we get better results with your gear?"

Last edited by huejahfink; 1st September 2011 at 07:28 AM.. Reason: edited for writing style, advice/opinions the same as original post
Old 1st September 2011
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by dempsey1200 View Post
Hey all! Hoping to get some input.

I've been working on my mixing lately and came up with a McDSP 2bus chain that I copied and used on several tracks. It sounds good (to me) but curious to know if I'm encroaching on "mastering" territory. I have yet to have a track mastered but will shortly. I'm working on house/techno tracks that are big in the low-end.

1) Analogue Channel 01 - Console Pre-amp Simulator: 2-3 db of compression/saturation
2) MC2000 - Multiband Compressor: lots of compression on the low end, 2-3 db on mid low, and 1-2 db on mid high
3) Analogue Channel 02 - Tape Simulator: 1-2 db to add back some of the bottom

For item #2, I end up with lots of compression on the low end because I use it to tame the subbass only. My room for mixing is ghastly and find that the bottom end is too loud when I play the tracks on other systems. This is not the ideal solution but seems to sound ok. Hopefully it won't cause problems later...
I would say it's all fine if you're happy with the results. There can be something very cool in an aggressive way with slamming a multiband if that's the vibe you're after, or any other gear whether digital or analog. After doing this for a few decades, the main things that i've learned is just make it sound good. Don't worry about the way other's do things, get the sound you're after, even if it means running your mixes through a guitar pedal. There's no right and wrong when it comes to this stuff. There are times when a well balanced mix can be tame and boring, verses the mix that is slanted in a unique way. Could you imagine if the track Bennie And the Jets didn't have that insane amount of slap delay all over the record. Hey maybe they ran the whole mix through an 1178 to get that pump...back in the day guys used to do that...i certainly don't hesitate to go unorthodox if that's whats needed. Remember, it's not how things look, it's how it sounds...and no one will know if you're multibanding your master bus.
Old 1st September 2011
  #4
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Let us hear. No way to say if it sounds good otherwise. I wold guess that it is too much, but the guess would be unfounded.
Old 1st September 2011
  #5
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huejahfink's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Gosh I feel like some kind of awful "mix police" now after reading those replies....

True... do whatever you think is right! I've definitely run much weirder chains than yours and got good results with them that worked fine in the club as well.

Just from my perspective, master buss processing by default has been a band-aid approach I was better off without.

An alternative might be select group buss processes. For example... instead of using a multiband on the master to control your low elements, perhaps you could try sending your kicks and your bass parts to a group and doing some compression or saturation there instead - rather than hitting ALL the elements through a crossover or whatever.
Old 1st September 2011
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by huejahfink View Post
Gosh I feel like some kind of awful "mix police" now after reading those replies....

True... do whatever you think is right! I've definitely run much weirder chains than yours and got good results with them that worked fine in the club as well.

Just from my perspective, master buss processing by default has been a band-aid approach I was better off without.

An alternative might be select group buss processes. For example... instead of using a multiband on the master to control your low elements, perhaps you could try sending your kicks and your bass parts to a group and doing some compression or saturation there instead - rather than hitting ALL the elements through a crossover or whatever.
Sorry if you felt that i was calling you out...didn't mean it to come off that way. I think what you're saying is also true. I personally tend to go the sub group route as you pointed out for the reasons of flexibility and helps me keep an eye on my gain staging. But for 2 bus i tend to go analog...i personally like the sound of analog saturation / distortion over digital emulation for 2 bus duties...but in the case of the op sounds like he's in the box. I suppose he's piling on the plugs for character as well as control. I must say i've leaned on the low end of the McDSP 2000 at times. I can really get some snappy tight stuff happening in conjunction with normal channel processing in a cool way without shrinking the mix.
Old 1st September 2011
  #7
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huejahfink's Avatar
 

Verified Member
No not at all, Engmix.... all good.

Just made me realise that my writing style made it sound like I was laying down some rules or laws when actually I was casually offering an opinion. I've gone back and made some edits to make it sound less because that wasn't my intention.
Old 1st September 2011
  #8
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The Listener's Avatar
No gimmicks for better sound on the mix buss!!

If you really feel the need you can use some classic compression "for glue" (NO MULTIBAND **** in mixing - this is like mixing into a robot that tries to auto-mix your balance - highly counter-productive in the mix!!!)

For creative purposes you can put all sort of **** on separate subgroups, try parallel compression, inserting weird fx - whatever works - but you must end up with some coherent picture coming out of the mix buss - so no fooling around with nonsense there... if you want to be able to REALLY balance the mix - don't put stuff like you described on it. It might sound like it is helping you to get a better sound as a quick impression, but in reality it is stabbing you in the back.
Old 2nd September 2011
  #9
I just love the don't do this and don't do that posts. In all the years i've been doing this i never heard anyone in the rooms say don't do this and don't do that...instead try it, if it sounds good then great.

I remembered one time taping up the master bus meters on a desk....and after a few hours when we peeled off the tape the pin's were buried and not moving. It sounded slamming. Of course we had a moment of concern thinking this has to be bad, but we went with it because it simply sounded slamming. I remembered once someone adding a stereo track of a distorted to the hilt version of a mix alongside a non distorted version. The distortion made the difference between bland and cool.

Do whatever it takes! The only thing that will ruin your mix is worrying about what will ruin your mix. Your ears won't lie. If it sucks, take it off, if not, leave it on.
Old 2nd September 2011
  #10
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Michael Grafl's Avatar
 

What you put on your 2-buss or don't put on your 2-buss is a mixing decision like any other decision on any other channel in the mix. No mastering engineer is in the place to tell you what to do regarding it, although an open discussion can certainly be beneficial.

The 2-buss makes it easy to screw up a mix, and I'm sure mastering people get exposed to a lot of mixes which have had exactly that happen. Which is why—I suppose—many of them recommend (beg for?) leaving the 2-buss untouched.

I get it. But I do think it's condescending and inappropriate.
Old 2nd September 2011
  #11
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I certainly get that we should 'go with what sounds good'. What I was originally concerned about is whether too much compression on a mixbus will limit the ME's ability to get the best outcome. To my ears (in this terrible room) the mix sounds better with this chain, which is what led me to start this thread.

One poster pointed out that I'm adjusting the mixbus for control and color and that is (now was) the case. I picked those plugs for coloring and then used the multi-compressor for control. I'm going to reapply the chain across some submixes and see how it sounds while leaving 1 single (generic) compressor on the 2bus for the glue.

Thank you guys for your thoughts and ideas.
Old 2nd September 2011
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by dempsey1200 View Post
I certainly get that we should 'go with what sounds good'. What I was originally concerned about is whether too much compression on a mixbus will limit the ME's ability to get the best outcome. To my ears (in this terrible room) the mix sounds better with this chain, which is what led me to start this thread.

One poster pointed out that I'm adjusting the mixbus for control and color and that is (now was) the case. I picked those plugs for coloring and then used the multi-compressor for control. I'm going to reapply the chain across some submixes and see how it sounds while leaving 1 single (generic) compressor on the 2bus for the glue.

Thank you guys for your thoughts and ideas.
You would really have to flatten a mix to death to truly leave absolutely no room for a ME. It's more brickwall limiting that will leave no room. Yes your point of a bad room can be misleading. But listen on numerous systems and you should be able to get a good idea of where you might be falling short. In my opinion i have only once had a mastering session where the ME used substantial amount of compression to the point of rebalancing the mix...it turned out to be cool. I don't think it was anything to do with not hearing something in the room i was working in, it was more a creative call on his part. Other than that, i find that mastered versions of my mixes tend to be louder and a little broader in the overall eq than the unmastered versions. So if you're looking for a certain kind of sound or mojo to your mix...get it in the mix.
Old 3rd September 2011
  #13
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Storyville's Avatar
The issue is that many people sending mixes to MEs are not seasoned. And often, they are mixing from home in less than ideal monitoring conditions. The ME is being hired as a second set of ears - as a final touch mix-engineer.

The issue is not black and white.
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