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Mixing for MP3
Old 1st September 2008
  #1
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Thread Starter
Mixing for MP3

in your interview from 2006 in electronic musician you said that you will start
to mix specifically for mp3;

what are your findings since this time till now?
Old 6th September 2008
  #2
Guest Moderator - September 08
 
Dave Pensado's Avatar
 

I wish I could report that I have made great progress, but I just can't find the time. If you guys have some insights, please share them with us. To start let's list our favorite MP3 makers (conversion software). I just do it in PT, bounce to disk and export as an MP3. I gotta figure this out. Thanks for the question.
Old 6th September 2008
  #3
I mix on a pc using cubase, (one of the few I would imagine). I don't hate the MP3 compression straight out of cubase, but I do notice the difference when using LAME,
At the mo I'm using WinLAME as it is a very easy to use and sounds great. :-)
As far as mixing for a MP3 format, knowing the MP3's will be sold online and played in clubs, personally I try to keep the highends as detailed in the mix, pulling a bit more high end out of pads and strings giving this area space for percussive transients (house music at the mo has a huge amount of transient click on percussion, TransX, Transient Designer aided).
I think as MP3 causes a bit more blending to occour you just need to mix with a bit more space (so easy to say, so hard to do, haha)
Well that's what i have found on it. :-)

O
The Scientist
Old 6th September 2008
  #4
Gear Head
 

I have noticed that different bitrates can effect the overall mix,
reducing or accentuating the bass and/or treble in the mix.

I can't imagine mixing differently,except corrective EQ at or post
mastering to compensate.

Scott Alger

Parkside Studio, Chicago
Old 6th September 2008
  #5
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johnbohn's Avatar
 

I found out if you filter out everything above 18k or so and don't do any stereo widening and other spatial things, you don't get nearly as much of the garble. I also dip around 50hz about a db and half.

Obviously I print normal mixes first and then do this.
Old 6th September 2008
  #6
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I find LAME mp3 encoding sounds best.
Old 6th September 2008
  #7
Hey Dave,

If you haven't already done so, check out this software called Barbabatch from Audio Ease. You can download the LAME codec for MP3 purposes for free and the software is really good.

Here's a link to all the specifics: BarbaBatch

I've been using it for all my conversion and I have to say, I really think it sounds better than any other software conversion (including PT|HD in Tweakhead mode) that I've tried.
Old 6th September 2008
  #8
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Franco's Avatar
 

Wouldn't this be like saying "I've got all this great gear and high resolution, I'm going to mix specifically for cassette tape."

MP3 as a format is designed to shave off what the encoder considers unnecessary frequencies, and how can you mix for something that degrades your audio?

I feel that if you have great mixes to begin with, and encode at a high kbps rate (320 for example), your MP3s will sound close to the original mix, almost as good. This is what I've learned on my own, but I may be wrong and there may be a trick to making better mixes for a format that degrades your audio, I don't know.
Old 6th September 2008
  #9
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Old 6th September 2008
  #10
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Chris Doremus's Avatar
 

Great Plugin Idea

That gives me a great idea. A plugin that emulates the sound of MP3 conversions!!! The "MP3-erizer" Copyright, ME!!!
Old 7th September 2008
  #11
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rickrock305's Avatar
 

I use a program called Snapper to convert MP3s. It uses the LAME encoder, which from all accounts I've read seems to be the best one going.

I think iTunes is probably one of the worst.
Old 7th September 2008
  #12
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E.rOk.stA's Avatar
 

I do almost the same thing. I read in an audio mastering handbook that the higher frequencies is what is harder to encode and translate when transferring mp3's over the internet. For that reason, I use a low pass filter and shelf off everything above 18.5 cycles. It seems to do the trick. I dunno, anyone else?
Peace
Old 7th September 2008
  #13
Gear interested
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Pensado View Post
I wish I could report that I have made great progress, but I just can't find the time. If you guys have some insights, please share them with us. To start let's list our favorite MP3 makers (conversion software). I just do it in PT, bounce to disk and export as an MP3. I gotta figure this out. Thanks for the question.
My favorite software for mp3's is Wavelab, but I normally bounce to disk straight from the daw as mp3. I'm also slowly but surely making most projects mp3.
Old 7th September 2008
  #14
soulstudios
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Pensado View Post
I wish I could report that I have made great progress, but I just can't find the time. If you guys have some insights, please share them with us. To start let's list our favorite MP3 makers (conversion software). I just do it in PT, bounce to disk and export as an MP3. I gotta figure this out. Thanks for the question.
lame[/B].sourceforge.net]Lame is far and away the best MP3 encoder out there, from both objective and subjective internet tests. If you want to make an MP3 that sounds as close to the original PCM as possible, try encoding with the razorlame[/B]]Razorlame tool, go to options and set the q-value to 0, bitrate to CBR 320 (I hate VBR - it always introduces a slightly 'fuzzy' sound from the constantly shifting quality-level, from my experience), and checkbox 'disable all filtering' in the Expert tab (this preserves all frequencies, at least before the encoding phase - this means that some of the hi end doesn't get rolled off - unimportant to most people who can't hear it - but important to me).
Don't want to disable filtering at lower bitrates though, you'll lose clarity in other sections of audio due to less audible frequencies consuming more of your available mp3 bandwidth...
With MP3 a bit of high end always gets lost or smudged, however you encode it though. So if your mix is sounding a little bright, congrats - it'll get fixed in the encoding phase -

Hope this is useful to someone.
Matt
Old 7th September 2008
  #15
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taturana's Avatar
i've been pretty sucessful with the newest lame codec... either in wavelab or mp3converter PRO, which is very parctical too...
Old 7th September 2008
  #16
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ProducerBoy's Avatar
 

Jimmy Douglass was saying he has started mixing in 88.2 for this reason. He felt that his mixes translated better from 88.2 to mp3.
Old 7th September 2008
  #17
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Rednose's Avatar
I've found using wavelab with the "Fraunhofer" codec produces good results.
Old 7th September 2008
  #18
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neilio's Avatar
 

i really really like aac, i find it to be musical, and the best relatively of course, i havent the time to really get into the flacs/ogg vorbis/apple lossless yet...

but 192 aac seems to be a very very good compromise, of quality...
Old 8th September 2008
  #19
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Edge's Avatar
 

I have had good results with wave lab conversion, on a mac I use Itunes
Old 8th September 2008
  #20
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BobbyPeru's Avatar
 

I think a better question is: How do I optimize mixes for Myspace compression? Some tracks on Myspace just slam other do not sound as well. I don't believe its totally the all out quality of the recordings either.

Both of these seem to be questions that would be better off addressed by Mastering engineers though. I don't know if we necessarily have to change our mixes for MP3 or Myspace, they may need to be mastered differently with that intent though. Like if you're doing an LP and CD release the masters would probably emphasize certain aspects to maximize both mediums.

Bobby Peru
Milwaukee, WI
Old 8th September 2008
  #21
Gear maniac
 

David Ben gave a lecture at my school where he was talking about focusing on mixing for mp3 and showed us some pretty decent work. I don't remember what software he said he used unfortunately. I think he still mixes analog for the mp3 stuff as well.
Old 8th September 2008
  #22
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Beyersound's Avatar
I usually use the one in Cubase SX it has been good for sending test mixes to clients. There are also 2 or 3 in Nero, I use them at times and they are really good. Choices are a great thing!
Old 8th September 2008
  #23
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Old 8th September 2008
  #24
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messiahwannabe's Avatar
 

one simple trick for me (not having the digidesign plugin) - it you export your track to 48khz instead of 41 (cd quality) then convert to mp3, it sounds noticeably better.
Old 8th September 2008
  #25
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farjedi's Avatar
 

I'm no expert but on Beatport they use LAME which they say is the best Mp3 conversion software...I would like to know also which is the best..haven't tried LAME but if anyone has please comment...
Old 8th September 2008
  #26
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Idiophonic's Avatar
 

I've used the MP3 conversion in Logic Pro, it seems to sound as good as an MP3 can sound...

I've gotten good results by trying to compensate for what the MP3 algorithm favors. These may be very general statements, but I think most mp3 codecs select for the mid-range frequencies preferentially over the lows and highs, resulting, to my ears, in a very mid-heavy sound. (Vocals suddenly jump out, maybe the snare drum gets louder, etc.)

I put an EQ on the 2-buss and gently scoop btw 1-5 kHz (with a low Q) and slightly boost the high frequencies. Doing this (and adjusting through a few EQ/bounce attempts) I've managed to get some mp3s sounding very close to the wav files, at least in terms of overall frequency balance.

Anyone else find themselves doing this? (pre-emphasis od deemphasis of freqs before mp3 conversion?)
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