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Mixing process confussion
Old 4th September 2011
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Mixing process confussion

Hello!

I know there's tons of threads similar to that, but I didn't find my answer in any of those. So please be patient, I'm just trying to learn. So here's the thing...

I'm a beatmaker and during the process I constantly use effects, otherwise my beats sounds horrible. For example I EQ kick, then add Stereo Imager or compressor, and mainly do that process for all my drums. I know that this is not even a mix or a master, so it's some kind of a working mix, but when it comes to real mix should I throw away this mix and start from scratch and maybe use it as a reference mix, just to point myself in the direction I wanted to go or should I build on that mix and tweak it some more? I must mention that I do beats in Reason, so it is not a best sequencer for doing mix...

Another question that I've got is how much effects should I add to tracks that are ready for final mix? I know that tracks should be clean, but that really means no effects at all, because sometimes I work with samples and if there's no delay and reverb added to them, they sound horrible? And how is it with stereo imaging and panning, just to put every instrument/sample/drums in it's own place? I know that this is part of a mixing process, but should I use them on tracks that are going to be ready for mix or not?

As you can see, I'm a little bit confused with understanding the whole process. I just read the Mixing Engeneer's Handbook and got hundred more questions, that need to be answered. I think I'm going to read it all over again... Hope you guys could help me out!

Thanks!
Old 5th September 2011
  #2
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nite View Post
I'm a beatmaker and during the process I constantly use effects, otherwise my beats sounds horrible.
Let's start there. This is the first change to make. The bones of the groove need to be there from the beginning. If they are not, you need to work at them until they do. Maybe this means you have bad sounds. This is easily fixed with new libraries, and there are many good options out there that aren't expensive. You can also fix this problem for free with a little elbow grease. But the problem could also be a matter of feel. Be careful about your groove. You don't want it to be robotic and quantized, nor do you want it flabby and overly loose. You need to get to a point where you can perform your grooves in with the feel of a drummer, or you have to learn how to get the effect through programming.

Quote:
For example I EQ kick, then add Stereo Imager or compressor, and mainly do that process for all my drums.
Most likely you are overusing the processing. For example, where are you sounds coming from? Most likely they are already compressed, or really don't need any.

Quote:
I know that this is not even a mix or a master, so it's some kind of a working mix, but when it comes to real mix should I throw away this mix and start from scratch and maybe use it as a reference mix, just to point myself in the direction I wanted to go or should I build on that mix and tweak it some more? I must mention that I do beats in Reason, so it is not a best sequencer for doing mix...
To clarify which stage you are in -- you are in compositional/tracking stage. To do this properly you do need a sense of what the mix and the mastering stages will be like, and what they will require so you can make sure they go smoothly. Get the elements sounding the way you want and commit to it. You are simply wasting time to play around with effects, only to strip them off and start over again at the mix phase.

Quote:
Another question that I've got is how much effects should I add to tracks that are ready for final mix? I know that tracks should be clean, but that really means no effects at all, because sometimes I work with samples and if there's no delay and reverb added to them, they sound horrible? And how is it with stereo imaging and panning, just to put every instrument/sample/drums in it's own place? I know that this is part of a mixing process, but should I use them on tracks that are going to be ready for mix or not?
Commit to every decision that is central to your composition. Don't commit to anything that you have reservations about. Again, this issue that your sounds are 'horrible' unless you drench them in processing. This is not a good sign.

You seem to describe a process where somebody else would mix your tracks, is that correct? If that is true, then don't commit to any panning decisions, don't use any compression, don't use any EQ that is not solely for the purpose of crafting the instrument to sound the way you want (in the same way you would dial in a custom synth sound.) Don't use EQ or any other process as if you were a mix engineer, only from the point of view of a writer.

Quote:
As you can see, I'm a little bit confused with understanding the whole process. I just read the Mixing Engeneer's Handbook and got hundred more questions, that need to be answered. I think I'm going to read it all over again... Hope you guys could help me out!

Thanks!
I'm not sure the questions you have are to be found in the handbook. You need to clarify in your mind what you are trying to accomplish and how it fits into a larger workflow.
Old 5th September 2011
  #3
Gear Addict
 

Before you get all complicated and overthink the process, here's a little advice:

There are no hard "rules", but learn the guidelines before breaking them. There's no limit to how many effects you should use in the final mix, if it sounds right then its right. Obviously don't overdo it, but dont underuse them either. If a guitar with a reverb or chorus makes it sound juicy and important, than so be it, but dont put that on everything. This is just like cooking - if it tastes good then it is, but you don't overdo the ingredients.

Also, if you haven't heard before, heres a lesson in life to remember:

You can polish a turd but it's still a turd.
Basically, **** input is **** output.

Don't make your beat suck without effects, make it sound amazing at the source, and then perfect it with effects - you'll be making hits in no time this way, and be proud of your work even before it touches mixing.
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