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Hip Hop: Are Songs "Pushed Back" during the mastering stage? Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 12th July 2006
  #1
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Hip Hop: Are Songs "Pushed Back" during the mastering stage?

A lot of songs I hear on commercial joints, the music seems to be pushed back a tad, im comparison to the vocals. Is this usually done in the mixing or mastering process?
Old 12th July 2006
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sirocco
A lot of songs I hear on commercial joints, the music seems to be pushed back a tad, im comparison to the vocals. Is this usually done in the mixing or mastering process?
For the stuff coming out of "upper" level studios with well known artists, in nearly all cases the balance between vox and instruments has been well agonized over in the mix stage - so in most of these cases the mastering engineer attempts to preserve this balance that is already in the mix also in the master.

I deal with a lot of hip-hopstuff made in mid to lower end project studios, and in these cases often times the balance is all over the place - so I've done things like bring up the Mid channel and boost up the mids in the area where the vox lies for when given stuff where the vox is buried - or done multiband compression on the just one band covering vox's freq area to tame a mix where the vox really pokes over the rest of the mix. Really what is done is assessed on a track by track basis.

But in most hip-hop - the vox is the most important element (closely followed by kick & snare).

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Steve Berson
Old 12th July 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sirocco
A lot of songs I hear on commercial joints, the music seems to be pushed back a tad, im comparison to the vocals. Is this usually done in the mixing or mastering process?

You mean the vocals are balanced toward the "upfront" position. It's very common these days and it's done in the mixing.
Old 12th July 2006
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Hip Hop heads love compression a bit too much, from my experience. Especially nowadays with being able to load up a gazillion compressors in a DAW mix. I've worked on stuff where a compressor is put on say, a drum subgroup, and then on the master fader as well, while having another compressor on the vocals, perhaps a compressor on the kick, a different compressor on the snare, etc. etc. etc. Once realized that the dynamics are squashed, the vocals are just turned up louder (this is basically what I've seen that sounds like what you're describing).

It's not just "amateur" engineers doing this either. A lot of times people pay for studio time and "shot-call" the engineers into just flooding the session with an orgy of compressors, lol.
Old 17th July 2006
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It makes your song sound louder, is probably the right answer. Listen to the first 2 A Tribe Called Quest albums and see where the vocals are.

When the vocals came up in rap mixes, they started selling more records and I think (my theory) is that hip hop records are being mixed by more pop engineers now. At least thats what it sounded like.

Personally I like the older Marly Cold Chillin grungy sound than todays distorted midrange mp3 BS!

BaseJase
Illynoise
Old 16th June 2008
  #6
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I know that a lot of times ME's apply rock mastering techniques to hiphop tracks wich, in my opinion is totally off base. One constant loud track does not mean good mastering. A lot of mastering of hiphop muisic that I have heard burries the kick and the snare way to much.....wich leads to crappy high vocals.
Old 16th June 2008
  #7
Its more in the mixing and it comes from mixing in a DAW. Its one of the weak points of mixing in a DAW i've noticed. As you stack tracks the low end starts to disappear(Kick & bass).

What most guys do is compress more to get more level but it never really helps.
Old 16th June 2008
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arf
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It seems that vocal perspective in mixing has come way up. I think this is in direct resppnse to the loudness wars and heavy digital clipping/limiting. Vocals read louder and compress easier than peakier dynamic sounds like drums. The net result is that more and more releases are sounding like jingles instead of records.
Old 16th June 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by illynoise View Post
When the vocals came up in rap mixes, they started selling more records and I think (my theory) is that hip hop records are being mixed by more pop engineers now. At least thats what it sounded like.

Personally I like the older Marly Cold Chillin grungy sound than todays distorted midrange mp3 BS!

thumbsupthumbsupthumbsup
Old 21st June 2008
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor View Post
Its more in the mixing and it comes from mixing in a DAW. Its one of the weak points of mixing in a DAW i've noticed. As you stack tracks the low end starts to disappear(Kick & bass).

What most guys do is compress more to get more level but it never really helps.

what is a solution to this in terms of non-DAW mixing, would going out to a fulcrom (or 2) and coming back in thru a nice pre (or two) make a difference to this bass issue in your opinion?

Or would it have to solved with analog gear (EQs, compressors etc) as well as an analog desk etc etc (IE the full analog monty,so to speak).

thanks!
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