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Mixtape mixing
Old 31st May 2007
  #1
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t.dizzle's Avatar
 

Mixtape mixing

I've never been a fan of mixtapes, and have tried to steer clear of them as far as mixing gigs go (except for W.C.'s mixtape). But, as I'm sure most of you already know, there's probably more mixtape work out there right now than original stuff and it's easy money (or so I thought) for the most part. Anyway, I took this mixtape mixing gig that came to me from an artist in Philly (to pay for my fishing trip tomorrow!), and as I was working there were a couple of things that came to mind and I'm wondering if any of y'all have had similar observances/experiences...

1. The instrumental (Lil Jon's "Grand Finale" in this case) has already been mastered. Sounds great except the 808 sections are clipping.

2. I'm working with raw vocals being mixed on top of a mastered track.

Those two issues bring these complications into play -

1. Bringing up the mixed vocals to a mastered level to match the instrumental isn't the easiest thing to do. Just slapping on extra gain seems to make the vox disconnected from the track. Not to mention that the vocal tracks start to clip on the L/R. I've got about 2db of headroom left to push the faders up, which means that rides are damn near impossible. Apparent loudness is what I need, but that requires even more compression than what I'd like to use and will suck the life out of the performance.

2. The final mix can't be mastered again. Since the instrumental is already clipping, pushing it even further will make the distortion unacceptably loud. Also, I'm eq'ing the highs a bit more than normal to give the vox the feel of being mastered with the instrumental together like a normal mix. Making the two separate entities congruent is a bitch.

So, I've found this mixtape stuff to be pretty frustrating as far as mixing goes. I realize that most mixtapes are just kinda slapped together with not so much emphasis on sonics, but I can't work like that.
Old 31st May 2007
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

lower the 2 trk to -3/-4db and mix as normal. at the end throw a transparent limiter like oxford or UA precision on the 2 buss to push the level back up. I've been mixing freestyles for mixtapes for 4 years from everyone from fabolous to david banner. this is how I have always done it.
Old 31st May 2007
  #3
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ryst's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by t.dizzle View Post

So, I've found this mixtape stuff to be pretty frustrating as far as mixing goes. I realize that most mixtapes are just kinda slapped together with not so much emphasis on sonics, but I can't work like that.
++1
Old 31st May 2007
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by t.dizzle View Post

So, I've found this mixtape stuff to be pretty frustrating as far as mixing goes. I realize that most mixtapes are just kinda slapped together with not so much emphasis on sonics, but I can't work like that.
I've mixed a ton of mixtape songs in the last year and i've gotton a sysytem that pretty much works for me.

What i've found what works is to treat it like a mastering session more than a mixing session. Process as you were mastering the mix not putting the mix together. This helps it gel together and jump out of the speakers.

Sometimes the instrumentals have to be processed and automated differently in sections to fit.

The hardest instrumentals are the MP3's that are distorted beyond belief. In those cases i put the focus on the vocals and highlight them so well that you only notice when the music is by itself.
Old 31st May 2007
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor View Post
The hardest instrumentals are the MP3's that are distorted beyond belief. In those cases i put the focus on the vocals and highlight them so well that you only notice when the music is by itself.
definatley agree
Old 31st May 2007
  #6
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by t.dizzle View Post
I've never been a fan of mixtapes, and have tried to steer clear of them as far as mixing gigs go (except for W.C.'s mixtape). But, as I'm sure most of you already know, there's probably more mixtape work out there right now than original stuff and it's easy money (or so I thought) for the most part. Anyway, I took this mixtape mixing gig that came to me from an artist in Philly (to pay for my fishing trip tomorrow!), and as I was working there were a couple of things that came to mind and I'm wondering if any of y'all have had similar observances/experiences...

1. The instrumental (Lil Jon's "Grand Finale" in this case) has already been mastered. Sounds great except the 808 sections are clipping.

2. I'm working with raw vocals being mixed on top of a mastered track.

Those two issues bring these complications into play -

1. Bringing up the mixed vocals to a mastered level to match the instrumental isn't the easiest thing to do. Just slapping on extra gain seems to make the vox disconnected from the track. Not to mention that the vocal tracks start to clip on the L/R. I've got about 2db of headroom left to push the faders up, which means that rides are damn near impossible. Apparent loudness is what I need, but that requires even more compression than what I'd like to use and will suck the life out of the performance.

2. The final mix can't be mastered again. Since the instrumental is already clipping, pushing it even further will make the distortion unacceptably loud. Also, I'm eq'ing the highs a bit more than normal to give the vox the feel of being mastered with the instrumental together like a normal mix. Making the two separate entities congruent is a bitch.

So, I've found this mixtape stuff to be pretty frustrating as far as mixing goes. I realize that most mixtapes are just kinda slapped together with not so much emphasis on sonics, but I can't work like that.
In the case of the Vox mixing.. Try to notch out with a EQ these frequencies, 1k - 4k of the mastered beat. That should give you some room for the vocal without adding level to anything.

as far as making the Vox blend with the mastered track, Mix the vocal a lil higher than the pocket, than add some reverb to smooth out the edges. It should work pretty good, if you have quality components to work with..

peez
Old 1st July 2007
  #7
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mix-it-well's Avatar
 

I got the same Problems!
I got a mastered Beat ,full of hihats and all that and a vocal with 20.000 adlips. The beat is about 200 % louder then the vocals...I just can't mix it.
That's crazy ,I just can't do it.
When I try to cut the Beat at 10Khz the hihats sound like crap ,when I don't do it the vox seems disconnected.
I hate it.
Old 21st July 2007
  #8
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swisha31's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by sethdk View Post
lower the 2 trk to -3/-4db and mix as normal. at the end throw a transparent limiter like oxford or UA precision on the 2 buss to push the level back up. I've been mixing freestyles for mixtapes for 4 years from everyone from fabolous to david banner. this is how I have always done it.

yeah that's what i do too. you have to have room to mix your vocals in anyway and the vocals with the track topping out at 0db is gonna push it over into clipping anyway so i always just lower the instrumental to about -3db and then mix accordingly. if you need more room for vocals, take the instrumental down just a little bit more but not too much. that transparent limiter will help big time. for a while i was putting an L3 on the 2bus and it would make the track to boomy and a bit muddy but the high end would be perfect. transparency fixed that problem
Old 22nd July 2007
  #9
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Stitch333's Avatar
 

A trick I use to sit the vocals in the 2track is a modified parallel bus treatment:
Make a bus and assign sends from both the 2track and the vocal bus. Squash the hell outta that bus, high AND low shelf eq and add some reverb to taste.
Other than that, I'll carve with an eq a lil space out of the 2track to sit the vocals in the bandwidth better. remember to try battering the vocal bus with comps.
2mix comp and eq also helps shape the soundstage as unified. ESPECIALLY if they are analog. Digital plugins tend to just smear everything around when its sketchy to begin with.
As far as clipped 808s: either VERY selective x-noise, surgical eq on only those clipped kicks or (if all else fails) the pencil tool. Draw that **** out...
Old 23rd July 2007
  #10
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Traxx's Avatar
 

As someone mentioned earlier, lower the volume of the two track to record the vocals. Mix the vocals the best you can with the two track. Mix the vocal track down to two track form. Bring the two track instrumental and the two vocal up in another session. Master the vocal two track then adjust the levels of both tracks accordingly. I find that generally works well for me. I also like what someone else said by approaching the track by mastering. I actually see it that way as well. Good luck to ya and don't you love those little jobs that pay for the little things that you don't wanna put money into? lol Most money goes back into gear so it don't really seem like you're making money but when it pays for a little getaway its definitely a sweet reward.
Old 23rd July 2007
  #11
Gear Addict
 
hle144's Avatar
 

Mixtape mixing,...Thats an oxy-moron.
Old 23rd July 2007
  #12
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FULL-DUPLEX's Avatar
 

It is not that easy, but 2bus compressors like the Waves SSL and the UAD Neve compressor helps to glue the 2track and the vocals together...
Old 23rd July 2007
  #13
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Ace'Lo's Avatar
 

Ok....this what I do for all of the mixtapes I've worked on(DJ Smallz, DJ Chuct T, my own Smokin Ace). I record all the vocals(Verses and chrouses if any). I mix it so that the vocals sit on top of the 2 Track. I then buss all the verse tracks to a buss and do the same with the chrouses(if any). Then on those busses I apply some type of compression(Usually the Duende Buss Compressor). From there I put a mastering plug on the master fader(Ozone or Master X3). But once I have all the songs in order and done the process above to all the tracks, I put em back into Protools in the correct order. Then I add a Limiter on the master fader of all the songs so everything stays in line(usually a sony oxford). It works like a charm..because I stressed about 2 months over this issue. You can hear how it came out here

Ace'Lo - Smokin Ace - Free Mixtape @ datpiff.com
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