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Need a lil help on mixing (kicks and mastering) DAW Software
Old 3rd January 2011
  #1
Gear Head
 

Need a lil help on mixing (kicks and mastering)

I've been working on some of my mixes, and I've been following guidelines of getting my mix low and peaking at -6 before using my mastering chain.

Now the problem is, when I unmute the kick, it seems to make the mix louder (0.1), and when I turn it down (like -5 db), i lose that warm and feeling to it (even when I eq and compress).

So I wanted to know are there anytips on kicks and bass I could use, like maybe peak my mixes at -3 before mastering, or focus on the kick blending in with the rest of the mix? And specific tips (i'm willing to try a few, and see if that helps better my mix)

I tend not to use too much on my mastering chain, subtle linear phase eq, a little ozone, and a limiter just to make it loud and clear enough.

If only i could post a demo for yall to listen, aww man.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #2
Deleted #157546
Guest
Have you tried using multiband compression?

Not 100 percent what your problem is, but you could try that.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #3
slam it.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #4
Lives for gear
 

if you turn your whole mix up in the monitoring chain when you decrease the kick level, does it still lose tone? (Hint: it shouldn't. I think that you're getting fooled by a loudness perception issue.)
Old 3rd January 2011
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trap_AllStar View Post
I've been working on some of my mixes, and I've been following guidelines of getting my mix low and peaking at -6 before using my mastering chain.

Now the problem is, when I unmute the kick, it seems to make the mix louder (0.1), and when I turn it down (like -5 db), i lose that warm and feeling to it (even when I eq and compress).

So I wanted to know are there anytips on kicks and bass I could use, like maybe peak my mixes at -3 before mastering, or focus on the kick blending in with the rest of the mix? And specific tips (i'm willing to try a few, and see if that helps better my mix)

I tend not to use too much on my mastering chain, subtle linear phase eq, a little ozone, and a limiter just to make it loud and clear enough.

If only i could post a demo for yall to listen, aww man.
I don't understand the problem? the kick is obviously one of the loudest peaks in your track. That's not unheard of.

Just turn the overall master down, and turn your monitor volume up.

FWIW all this "mixes peaking at -6dBFs" is really only a guideline, it's not a magic number or anything. If you send a mastering engineer a file that peaks at -0.1dBFs, but doesn't contain any clips, then that's absolutely fine - he'll just turn it down in his DAW, and process it from there. The "deliver your masters with 6dB of headroom" advice is to make damn sure there's no clipping, and also to encourage good gain staging within a DAW. It doesn't matter if your mix is closer to -3, -4 or -10 before mastering really.


PS - peaking at "-6" is meaningless, as is "-6dB" - you need to qualify it with a unit. -6dB just means make it half as loud, it isn't a fixed value until you add a unit (in this case, dBFs or full scale).
Old 3rd January 2011
  #6
Gear Head
 

Wow really appreciating the advice. See I want to mix a few beats I did, and I'm trying my best to learn, while delivering the best quality.

See since I'm a audio student (my teacher doesnt really even teach lol), I have the chance to work in a studio with different plugin's waves, psp, etc, and I'm trying to figure out a good way to mix tracks.

Usually I do the following (and if anything I do seems out of the ordinary, or if u can better suggest something, please do):

1.) Get my tempo and Separate all my instruments.
2.) Name each track.
3.) Usually make a few sub busses or channels to group my 808 drums, or strings, etc
4.) Get a nice mix by setting my levels proper, and make sure my total mix doesnt go over -6, or -3 - -2 db
5.) Subtractive eq on the low end-mid range (so drums, bass, horns can breath without other clutter)
6.) Compress if necessary.
7.) Mix everything, and save drums for last
8.) Set proper levels, eq, compress drums, from cymbals, hihats, to snares, and finally kicks.
9.) On the master fader, put Linear phase to brighten and make sure my frequency range is balanced.
10.) Throw ozone to get my sound right, and run a limiter to get my levels loud.

Now I know there are now set rules for mixing, but thats just an typical example of what I've been doing.

What do you all suggest, is that good, or could I do something better? If so what vsts, or methods would you suggest.
Old 4th January 2011
  #7
Gear Head
 

Anyone?
Old 7th January 2011
  #8
Gear Guru
 
rickrock305's Avatar
 

I personally like to start with drums because they are the foundation with which everything else is built upon.

You're doing good by making sure your levels and panning are done up front, and then starting with subtractive EQ. Some people swear by only doing subtractive EQ. I'm not one of them. I like to do subtractive EQ to make space for everything, then do some compression if necessary, then I like to do some additive EQ. I generally mix hybrid, where I do some stuff in Pro Tools like the subtractive EQ, and then I do my additive EQ in the analog domain with a console or outboard EQs.

Thats just my way of working though. If you really wanna do your drums last I guess there's nothing wrong with that if you can make it work that way. End result is all that matters.

The reason you're seeing that jump when you add the kick is because the kick is generally one of the loudest elements of a mix and also contains a lot of low frequency energy. Thats another reason to start with it IMO. I generally start with kick, snare, bass, maybe some hihats just to feel the groove. Get that basic rhythm section really slamming and grooving and then start adding in other stuff, popping in the vocals now and then just so you know where you're going and where you're at and make sure what you're doing is serving the song.

Hope that helps.
Old 9th January 2011
  #9
Gear Head
 

Hey thanks for the advice. I'm so use to using subtractive Eq, but slightly boost my kicks or 808 kicks.

Also I usually get the the rough idea of the mix before I work with the stereo master fader and throw in the l2/ozone.

Then I begin mixing with the limiters (l2), and linear phase eq on to make sure the mix sounds good before I make it loud with the l2.
Old 9th January 2011
  #10
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jayvo86 View Post
Have you tried using multiband compression?

Not 100 percent what your problem is, but you could try that.
Agree. Try the following bus setup (apply appropriate compression and eq at each step):

- Mix kick & bass to BUS 1 and compress and eq accordingly. Make sure the parts blend well in the 50-100Hz region. Try LA-3A and Fatso. This is the most difficult part and you should spend a lot of your time here.
- Mix snare, hihats, other percussion to BUS 2 and apply 1176 style compression.
- Mix vocals with effects to BUS 3
- Mix rhythmic/dynamic instruments to BUS 4
- Mix ambient (pads, etc) instruments to BUS 5
- Mix BUS 1, 2 & 4 to BUS 6
- Mix BUS 3 & 5 to BUS 7
- Mix BUS 6 & 7 to MASTER and compress & eq gently + finishing touches.

With this approach, instead of applying radical EQ and compression to the final master bus, you would spread out your compressors and eqs and apply them sparingly to the right parts, at the right time & position in the mix.
Old 10th January 2011
  #11
Gear Head
 

Wow thanks, this sounds like really good advice.

So if I focus on mixing on sub group channels, eq/compressing on individual tracks (and some on the bus like spectralive), and making sure the bus is sounding good, i can tight up and make a better mix?
Old 10th January 2011
  #12
Gear Nut
 

Think of it this way. If you are applying heavy compression to the mix bus, prominent parts, typically kick, bass, vocals, will tend to react more to the compressor than less prominent parts. As a result, your compressor will tend to affect the less prominent parts in tandem with the prominent parts which may be undesirable.

For example, let's say you're mixing a techno/dance song. The kick will likely be the loudest element in your mix. If you compress aggressively at the mix bus stage, every other element in the song will compress alongside with the kick. Clearly, you want vocals, for example, not to be affected by the compression on the kick.

Hence -> multi-bus compression (look it up). Here is the guy that invented it. Really interesting reading, if you ask me. Read the part at the bottom:

Secrets Of The Mix Engineers: Michael Brauer
Old 10th January 2011
  #13
Gear Head
 

I see what you are you saying.

Like if I just mixed and focused on using compression on the master bus, it would compress the kick, but it could ruin the rest of song since I'm compressing everything in one channel instead of making sure I treat each element (drums, bass, guitars, vocals, etc).

But by using multiband compression, I can let a different compressor focus on each sub group or channel bus, like running a compressor on the kick and bass group, or a hi pass filter on the vocal and pads group to let the drums breath, and take out any clutter?

Then when I get to the master fader, I would more than likely have a more better sounding, well approached mix, that I can use a little linear phase eq'ing and l2 limiter to gain the loudnesss I want?
Old 10th January 2011
  #14
Gear Nut
 

You got it!

Just don't confuse mixing for mastering. L2 is a mastering limiter, which shouldn't be used in the mixing process.

There's a wealth of information on Michael Brauer's website. Highly recommended. I think a lot of it actually came from Gearslutz discussions.

MHB Productions - Q&A
Old 11th January 2011
  #15
Gear Head
 

I think I got it now.

See I've been leaving out multiband compression, which is probably why the kick was so hard to mix, and I focused on the master fader plugins.

The only reason I use the l2, linear phase eq, ozone, etc is at the end is to get my mix sounding sweet and loud enough for the overly compressed music of today lol.

So I'll try my best to make it sound good without and mastering plugins during the mixing stage, and once that is working, I will run my mastering chain, maybe do a few level adjustments, eqs, etc, and check my mixes in the car, ipod, etc.

Also, I tend to listen or have a good reference song when I run my mastering chain just to make sure I'm on the right path.
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