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Biggest mixing mistake
Old 9th July 2015
  #1
Gear Head
 
Emre's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Biggest mixing mistake

Hi Ross, it´s so great to have you around!

Is there a single „biggest mixing mistake“ that amateurs and semi-pros keep doing over and over again? And if so, what is it?

All the best for your future endeavors.

Emre
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Old 10th July 2015
  #2
Ross Hogarth
 
BoogieMotel's Avatar
 

This is a very deep and interesting question. I will answer right now and may come back to this again as we go as things come up. ... One of the biggest mistakes I think is not placing the vocal in the mix early on. The vocal is the driving force and depending on how much space it takes up, all other elements in the mix will relate to it. (unless its instrumental music of course)
early on most mixers get hung up on the drum sound .. amateur mixes always have the drums too loud
bass also is a really hard instrument to place .. it seems like when you find the right bass compression its like the holy grail .. I am huge fan of Retro Instruments compression
The Retro Sta-Level is my holy grail compressor for bass ...
when the bass is right, everything in the mix will sit better
also stereo everything is a bad mistake
take your reverbs and strereo information and find places for them instead of everything wide
same with drum overheads and room

lastly .. fake mastering limiting .. ugggg
this will destroy any depth of field you created .. so
if you are using limiting and compression
find the setting that you like early on and mix through it ....

these are some of the first answers that popped into my head ....
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Old 10th July 2015
  #3
Gear Head
 
Emre's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Wow, thank you so much for your answer Ross! A lot of topics to chew on.

I will be constantly checking back for any further input you might give on what separates the boys from the men.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BoogieMotel View Post
if you are using limiting and compression
find the setting that you like early on and mix through it .... .
Is this how you managed to make A Different Kind Of Truth so dynamically powerful and yet in-your-face?
Old 12th July 2015
  #4
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BoogieMotel View Post
early on most mixers get hung up on the drum sound .. amateur mixes always have the drums too loud

Depending on the material I'm always thinking Led Zeppelin. Huge, loud drums.

How do you decide when the drums are just too loud?
Old 13th July 2015
  #5
Ross Hogarth
 
BoogieMotel's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by swampstomper View Post
Depending on the material I'm always thinking Led Zeppelin. Huge, loud drums.

How do you decide when the drums are just too loud?
Huge loud drums are fine if the balance of all the instruments is good
but a lot of young engineers spend so much time on their drums and lose sight of the fact that the music lives in the midrange
it lives in the DNA of the song not just the drum sound

when the drums are out of balance it sounds amateur to me

there is NOTHING amateur about Led Zep ... agreed ...
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Old 18th July 2015
  #6
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BoogieMotel View Post
This is a very deep and interesting question. I will answer right now and may come back to this again as we go as things come up. ... One of the biggest mistakes I think is not placing the vocal in the mix early on. The vocal is the driving force and depending on how much space it takes up, all other elements in the mix will relate to it. (unless its instrumental music of course)
early on most mixers get hung up on the drum sound .. amateur mixes always have the drums too loud
bass also is a really hard instrument to place .. it seems like when you find the right bass compression its like the holy grail .. I am huge fan of Retro Instruments compression
The Retro Sta-Level is my holy grail compressor for bass ...
when the bass is right, everything in the mix will sit better
also stereo everything is a bad mistake
take your reverbs and strereo information and find places for them instead of everything wide
same with drum overheads and room

lastly .. fake mastering limiting .. ugggg
this will destroy any depth of field you created .. so
if you are using limiting and compression
find the setting that you like early on and mix through it ....

these are some of the first answers that popped into my head ....
Hi Ross. Thanks for taking the time for this Q&A.
Regarding limiting, what's your approach to limiting on specific instruments and buses while mixing? I recently started making more use of limiting on things like bass, kick, snare, leads, etc. to get more consistent levels and thicken a bit. The first project I tried this on, I was shocked to be able to get the RMS up to like -10 before even engaging the mastering limiter. Of course, I overdid it, so I backed off quite a bit, but it was sort of an aha moment knowing that I could get away with so much less overall mastering compression while still getting respectable levels.
Do you make much use of limiters in this way (or more compression) and if so, what is your approach regarding instruments, bus vs track, gain reduction, etc.?
Thanks again for your contribution to GS.
Old 18th July 2015
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

I totally agree about the newbie drum fixation remark.

Every time I hear a love song with big snare smashes, I get this picture of two guys standing behind the singer and alternating face slaps on snare beats.
Old 22nd July 2015
  #8
Ross Hogarth
 
BoogieMotel's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrdelurk View Post
I totally agree about the newbie drum fixation remark.

Every time I hear a love song with big snare smashes, I get this picture of two guys standing behind the singer and alternating face slaps on snare beats.
hilarious !
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Old 22nd July 2015
  #9
Ross Hogarth
 
BoogieMotel's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beel Zebub View Post
Hi Ross. Thanks for taking the time for this Q&A.
Regarding limiting, what's your approach to limiting on specific instruments and buses while mixing? I recently started making more use of limiting on things like bass, kick, snare, leads, etc. to get more consistent levels and thicken a bit. The first project I tried this on, I was shocked to be able to get the RMS up to like -10 before even engaging the mastering limiter. Of course, I overdid it, so I backed off quite a bit, but it was sort of an aha moment knowing that I could get away with so much less overall mastering compression while still getting respectable levels.
Do you make much use of limiters in this way (or more compression) and if so, what is your approach regarding instruments, bus vs track, gain reduction, etc.?
Thanks again for your contribution to GS.
I so dont really care about level .. its not my game
great sonics is my game
rms level is not but great balances and tones are
i am not a fan in general of limiting
i love compression
I use compression as much for tone than anything
I use it to impart a sound
so if your game is RMS level, you are probably losing the game called, make this song sound amazing
I dont use any mastering limiter ever on my mixes
so we are in a apple and oranges discussion here
the reason i use compression and the rare limiter on mults is to keep the integrity often of the original performance and enhance it with a multed compressed signal
but its all for the overall tone not how loud I can get it in the track
but when its done right
you can choose who and how loud you want something to be without banging against my mix buss uncomfortably
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Old 23rd July 2015
  #10
Ross Hogarth
 
BoogieMotel's Avatar
 

Another thing that came to mind is panning
when someone has a marginal listening environment
you can always tell because when you listen to the panning its uneven and not symetrical
or
basically clumped mono
really make sure your panning is exactly where you intended
and
another thing is
NO RIDES
a mix is a mix with things moving and coming in and out and up and down like a really good movie or play
make sure that your mixes are dynamic and not just boring static balances
putting rides on things to make them more dynamic
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Old 23rd July 2015
  #11
Gear Head
 
Emre's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Excellent answers again Ross!

Regarding Rides/Automation: How much dBs do you ride one channel per average (if this can be quantified at all)? Do you ride busses, too? FX sends/returns? Even the master fader for emphasizing the macro dynamics of a song? And are there elements that stay rather static (or that would at least be perceived as being rather static), like kick, bass, etc.?

And regarding panning: LCR, LCR-ish or whatever works?

Thank you so much!
Old 23rd July 2015
  #12
Gear Addict
 

Amazing! Thank you, Ross! You've changed my thoughts about few important things.
Old 24th July 2015
  #13
Gear Nut
 
Jonas's Avatar
"One of the biggest mistakes I think is not placing the vocal in the mix early on."
Great posts Ross. Assuming I had a rough music mix (meaning like 5-10 minutes of setting initial levels)...what would be step one to placing the vocal in the mix?
Old 24th July 2015
  #14
Gear Addict
 

Hi Ross,
Thanks so much for taking the time. You mention "rides", and many other top mixing engineers do as well. Could you give us an example or two of your own mixes where rides are on display so that we can possibly get an idea of how, why, and where you do them? Obviously, there is no hard and fast absolutes on when to do a ride (but if there is, let me know)...
Thanks!
Old 29th July 2015
  #15
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Thank you Mr @rosshogarth for these amazing tips & tricks and knowledge about mixing steps. The best school shared by the Best Mixers. Appreciating your great contribution

Grateful :-)
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