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How loud should my mix sound? Plugin Bundles
Old 15th April 2018
  #31
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I have never met a mix engineer that mixed INTO a bus comp and then removed it before being sent to mastering. Never.
Old 15th April 2018
  #32
Quote:
Fair enough.

I think it's two different things though.
To each their own.
There are also other mitigating factors that i have not even talked about. For instance, sometimes the person wants to have hardware only processing done on the bus. So in this case, there will be nothing on the master bus when exporting it to have it mastered.

Another scenario is for attended sessions, a lot of people like to see how a compressor is set in the mastering stage.
Quote:
I have never met a mix engineer that mixed INTO a bus comp and then removed it before being sent to mastering. Never.
There is a difference between a professional mixing engineer and an amateur. Ive met both and both will have different needs.
What forum are we in? Oh yea, Newbie
CJ
Old 15th April 2018
  #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
To each their own.
There are also other mitigating factors that i have not even talked about. For instance, sometimes the person wants to have hardware only processing done on the bus. So in this case, there will be nothing on the master bus when exporting it to have it mastered.

Another scenario is for attended sessions, a lot of people like to see how a compressor is set in the mastering stage.

CJ
Sure. I can see that, and that would also help people to understand what you do.

When I was starting out mixing I never used anything on the mix bus... as you said partly because I had no mix bus hardware in my studio and the plugins weren't all that back then, but also I was aware that I wasn't confident in mixing in other studios through hardware on the mix bus in that destructive a manner.

However as you get more experienced as a mixer and have a selection of outboard for the mix bus, it's a totally different thing mixing into a chain when compared to what a mastering engineer can do as you can change the mix and the mix bus chain settings to get the best result.

Personally I'd always advocate that it's key to have a good relationship with a mastering engineer you trust whatever your level, and that you don't deliver them mixes that they can't dynamically work with!

It's a catch-22 though: inexperienced mixers still need to try to learn to use mix bus compression, it's such a powerful tool when used well.
Old 15th April 2018
  #34
Quote:
Sure. I can see that, and that would also help people to understand what you do.

When I was starting out mixing I never used anything on the mix bus... as you said partly because I had no mix bus hardware in my studio and the plugins weren't all that back then, but also I was aware that I wasn't confident in mixing in other studios through hardware on the mix bus in that destructive a manner.

However as you get more experienced as a mixer and have a selection of outboard for the mix bus, it's a totally different thing mixing into a chain when compared to what a mastering engineer can do as you can change the mix and the mix bus chain settings to get the best result.

Personally I'd always advocate that it's key to have a good relationship with a mastering engineer you trust whatever your level, and that you don't deliver them mixes that they can't dynamically work with!

It's a catch-22 though: inexperienced mixers still need to try to learn to use mix bus compression, it's such a powerful tool when used well.
Old 15th April 2018
  #35
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it's pretty simple a mix is a mix and a mastered mix is final product

ive been mixing over 40 years so i mix into my mastering after get my track 80% there.. then i work back and forth between what my soft compressor and peak limiter are doing to the mix until i get the result i'm looking for ..i do that to work the artifacts and level

for people who are learning how to mix it's not advised to mix into compressor/limiters..they create a wall that ive seen people get messed up over..like trying to bring up a snare on a mix going thru that chain when it's already banging the peak limiter and its wall

mastering engineers need SPACE ..if your mix needs 6 dB of shelving @ 100hz..where do you think he's going to get it if your mix is near digital 0?..he has to lower your mix ..


when i master for people i just tell them gimmie something with at least 8dB of headroom..and pull off any 2 bus squash

on the original question apparent volume is the ultimate test ..and that's how the sound appears to us in relation to our fletcher muson sensitivty to frq curve..thats why in the 60's pocket radio and table radio days the songs had a lot of 3k..yes the "loudness wars" are not new

Last edited by Sigma; 16th April 2018 at 06:00 PM..
Old 16th April 2018
  #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quetz View Post
Turn that snare down then you can turn everything else up.

Look at your Drums channel, you're more than 4dB over.

The drums are eating up all the headroom, and so is the bass - you shouldn't have to have your channel faders all down that low, even for a mix at quieter than -16LUFS.

I know you haven't added any processing yet, but your basic balance is off; it should already have a nice clean crisp and balanced sound to it.
If it doesn't, you need to revisit your sound sources. You'll thank yourself later.
Thanks heaps for your suggestion.

Since posting this thread, I came across this article and video tutorial which seemed to clear up a few basic things that I was doing majorly wrong when it comes to gain staging.
Gain Staging: The Difference Between Amateurs and Pros

Basically, I used the Gain plugin on each channel to bring all my tracks to a general -18dbFS level, with all the faders still sitting at 0. Then, I adjusted them to make a more refined mix. The entire thing sounded super quiet - my peaks were maxing at like -10 maybe. My mix sat at around -20ish RMS. Just to get an idea of how it would sound "mastered"; All I did was add the Adaptive Limiter plugin onto the master output and cranked it up to a reasonable perceived loudness. My "mastered" mix sat around -12 RMS and sounds as loud as other commercial tracks in that genre... louder than some even.... and sounds absolutely clean, more balanced, the drums feel somehow punchier and more dynamic, the whole mix just gels together more smoothly and feels like there is heaps more free space in the mix. Going back to my other mix it sounds quieter and more distorted, ironically.

I see the error of my ways previously - I was leaving the EZdrummer fader at 0 assuming they should be a reasonable level for mixing. Once I brought them down to -18 and tried to mix around that spot, it all panned out quite easily. I basically had no clue about simple gain staging but I think I'm on the right track now. I might post an updated sample of my mix soon.
Old 16th April 2018
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dights View Post
Whilst mastering engineers are no doubt usually far more proficient at using stereo compression techniques, they can't alter the mix to compliment the compressor.
Since the financial barriers to hanging out a Mastering shingle have fallen so dramatically, I think there's a lot more room for doubt than there used to be.

And if I were a mastering engineer with an impressionable client, of course I'd want an uncompressed mix. All the easier to hand back an end product that's way louder.
Old 16th April 2018
  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Since the financial barriers to hanging out a Mastering shingle have fallen so dramatically, I think there's a lot more room for doubt than there used to be.

And if I were a mastering engineer with an impressionable client, of course I'd want an uncompressed mix. All the easier to hand back an end product that's way louder.
Haha, yeah I could see that. I suppose it depends who your clients are.

For me a mastering engineer's job is not simply to make things way louder.
Old 17th April 2018
  #39
Sky
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgmusic View Post
Thanks heaps for your suggestion.

Since posting this thread, I came across this article and video tutorial which seemed to clear up a few basic things that I was doing majorly wrong when it comes to gain staging.
Gain Staging: The Difference Between Amateurs and Pros

Basically, I used the Gain plugin on each channel to bring all my tracks to a general -18dbFS level, with all the faders still sitting at 0. Then, I adjusted them to make a more refined mix. The entire thing sounded super quiet - my peaks were maxing at like -10 maybe. My mix sat at around -20ish RMS. Just to get an idea of how it would sound "mastered"; All I did was add the Adaptive Limiter plugin onto the master output and cranked it up to a reasonable perceived loudness. My "mastered" mix sat around -12 RMS and sounds as loud as other commercial tracks in that genre... louder than some even.... and sounds absolutely clean, more balanced, the drums feel somehow punchier and more dynamic, the whole mix just gels together more smoothly and feels like there is heaps more free space in the mix. Going back to my other mix it sounds quieter and more distorted, ironically.

I see the error of my ways previously - I was leaving the EZdrummer fader at 0 assuming they should be a reasonable level for mixing. Once I brought them down to -18 and tried to mix around that spot, it all panned out quite easily. I basically had no clue about simple gain staging but I think I'm on the right track now. I might post an updated sample of my mix soon.
Awesome, and thanks for your gain-staging link. What you're describing is pretty much my approach since becoming a student of mastering last year.

You'll develop a sense of what track and stem levels are "normal" for your style or a given project. In mastering, I use typically three stereo tracks in series with just a few plugs on each, and set the output of each nominally to -18 LUFS (plus and minus short-term swings) before passing to the next track. This ensures that I am hitting compressors, etc. in the chain somewhat consistently for a project.

Please post the same clip using your new process - it will be fun to hear the differences.

Regards,
Sky
Old 17th April 2018
  #40
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Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
They also mix into a compressor and then take it off before its mastered. That is my preferred way.
That is not the preferred way for any mixer who knows what they are doing.
Old 17th April 2018
  #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sky View Post
Awesome, and thanks for your gain-staging link. What you're describing is pretty much my approach since becoming a student of mastering last year.

You'll develop a sense of what track and stem levels are "normal" for your style or a given project. In mastering, I use typically three stereo tracks in series with just a few plugs on each, and set the output of each nominally to -18 LUFS (plus and minus short-term swings) before passing to the next track. This ensures that I am hitting compressors, etc. in the chain somewhat consistently for a project.

Please post the same clip using your new process - it will be fun to hear the differences.

Regards,
Sky
I've attached the 2 clips of the same music

- Bounce of mix (no effects, EQ, or compression)
- "Mastered" version, with Adaptive Limiter on Master output.

The screenshots reflect both samples. You can see the mix is very quiet at around -29 RMS -16 Peak
Then when it's limited, I'm able to bring it up to about -12 RMS, which sounds very close to other commercial tracks.

Remembering that this is a work in progress and I still have other parts to record, so eventually I'll EQ a lot of the tracks, and apply EQ to the master, so the final mix will hopefully sound more polished but for the example of my question - I think I'm on the right path now. I hope this thread helps anyone else struggling with this... I've been trying to achieve cleaner louder sounding tracks for like 5 years now. I know it's not perfect and there's still work to be done to refine the mix, but I'm very happy that I've had this light bulb moment! Gain Staging FTW.
Attached Thumbnails
How loud should my mix sound?-screen-shot-2018-04-17-11.29.44-pm.jpg   How loud should my mix sound?-screen-shot-2018-04-17-11.30.10-pm.jpg  
Attached Files

Mix Example B (Gain Staging).mp3 (466.2 KB, 310 views)

Mix Example B (Mastered Test).mp3 (466.2 KB, 309 views)


Last edited by jgmusic; 17th April 2018 at 03:00 PM..
Old 17th April 2018
  #42
Gear Head
 

Also, one of my misunderstandings was that I was mixing everything and making sure nothing peaked and hit 0db... apart from that I figured I was mixing everything at an appropriate level avoiding peaking etc. I had no idea to stick around way down at -18 and then bring up the loudness later on.
Old 19th April 2018
  #43
Quote:
That is not the preferred way for any mixer who knows what they are doing.
That is pretty ignorant to say, as "everyone who know what they are doing" knows there are no rules and you do what ever works best for you. Each one has a different workflow and different ways of mixing. There is not one set way to do things.

Just so you know
Old 19th April 2018
  #44
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
That is pretty ignorant to say, as "everyone who know what they are doing" knows there are no rules...
i'd call it more overstated and awkwardly put than ignorant.

Outside of classical and some other kinds of orchestral work, in 2018 I think it's reasonable to say that most pro mixers use at least a little something on the mix bus.
Old 19th April 2018
  #45
Quote:
i'd call it more overstated and awkwardly put than ignorant.
Brent, you missed the context of it.
The context was what he said way above. "that anyone who knows what they are doing, do it one way" and that in fact is ignorant!!
Old 19th April 2018
  #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
Brent, you missed the context of it.
Pretty sure I didn't.
Old 19th April 2018
  #47
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Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
Brent, you missed the context of it.
The context was what he said way above. "that anyone who knows what they are doing, do it one way" and that in fact is ignorant!!
Haha, well I guess we disagree. I don't know what kind of clients you work with, but I can't imagine a scenario where it would be acceptable for a mastering engineer to tell the mixer to remove their mixbus compression/processing after they've been mixing into it. That just doesn't make any sense.
Old 19th April 2018
  #48
Quote:
Haha, well I guess we disagree.
Yea, i'm on the level of that there are no rules to audio production and you think the opposite.
Old 19th April 2018
  #49
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Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
Yea, i'm on the level of that there are no rules to audio production and you think the opposite.
I agree that there are no rules, but I believe that a mastering engineer should work with what is given to them - provided that it's a decently balanced mix - not dictate anything about the mixing process.
Old 19th April 2018
  #50
Quote:
I agree that there are no rules, but I believe that a mastering engineer should work with what is given to them
they do and some make suggestions and have preferences depending on what they receive.
Quote:
not dictate anything about the mixing process.
You obviously have not read the entire thread, as there is not dictating. Suggestions, yes.. Especially when you get a mix that is too squashed or lifeless. This is the context of the discussion, but people want to go off base and ASSume....


If i get a mix that can be better mastered, if it was done differently, then i speak up. Cause I care unlike some, i guess.
Some will master anything they get
Old 19th April 2018
  #51
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if someone has run thru peak limiters at the buss i take that and ask for it without too and master both and let client choose..lol 100% of the time they pick the one mastered from the no peak limiter in the 2 buss
Old 19th April 2018
  #52
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Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
they do and some make suggestions and have preferences depending on what they receive.

You obviously have not read the entire thread, as there is not dictating. Suggestions, yes.. Especially when you get a mix that is too squashed or lifeless. This is the context of the discussion, but people want to go off base and ASSume....


If i get a mix that can be better mastered, if it was done differently, then i speak up. Cause I care unlike some, i guess.
Some will master anything they get
Wow, okay. I wasn't trying to argue here, I was just pointing out that what you suggested is not acceptable IMO. I've seen plenty of posts by you, and I have come to assume that you know what you're talking about, so I won't debate further about this, and I'll just leave it at: I disagree with you on this matter.
Old 19th April 2018
  #53
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Originally Posted by Sigma View Post
if someone has run thru peak limiters at the buss i take that and ask for it without too and master both and let client choose..lol 100% of the time they pick the one mastered from the no peak limiter in the 2 buss
A peak limiter is rather different from mixbus compression.
Old 19th April 2018
  #54
Quote:
A peak limiter is rather different from mixbus compression.
Some people set their compression to act like a limiter (Ratio >10)

Quote:
Wow, okay. I wasn't trying to argue here, I was just pointing out that what you suggested is not acceptable IMO. I've seen plenty of posts by you, and I have come to assume that you know what you're talking about, so I won't debate further about this, and I'll just leave it at: I disagree with you on this matter.
RESPECT!!
Old 19th April 2018
  #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unitymusic View Post
A peak limiter is rather different from mixbus compression.
Not in the sense that they both push back at you. That's the main thing that folks who are new to it have to get used to.
Old 19th April 2018
  #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
Some people set their compression to act like a limiter (Ratio >10)
True, but when using ratios that extreme, the processing starts to serve a different purpose altogether. And that sort of touches on what I meant in my original post, by saying "people who know what they are doing". I wasn't trying to be elitist or anything, it's just that if you're going to go the route of mixing into something [and I recommend that you should] then you should not be too "heavy handed" unless you really know what you are going for. But there's only one way to learn...
Old 19th April 2018
  #57
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Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
RESPECT!!
Also, I do have respect for you, and for Brent as well. It's always nice to see posts from either of you. No hard feelings I hope.
Old 19th April 2018
  #58
Quote:
Also, I do have respect for you, and for Brent as well. It's always nice to see posts from either of you. No hard feelings I hope.
NO hard feeling to anyone here . Just a bunch of passionate people!!
Old 19th April 2018
  #59
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@jgmusic

After that little interlude, I just want to give you a heads up that your gainstaging soundfile still sounds quite quiet here, and my monitors are only calibrated to 73dB SPL.

You want to get the ratios of your monitoring right because to get your basic balance going at a decent level you probably have to have your speakers cranked up pretty high, in other words, they're probably not operating in their sweet spot, power-wise (and noise level-wise).

It's like overcranking a preamp.
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