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Old 2nd October 2019
  #1
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Audio Engineering

Hello everyone
I need a little bit of help here please. I'm still learning the dos and don'ts of Mixubg Process.
My problem might not be a problem but I should ask anyways. Everytime I record a song on an already made instrumental, I spend hours on the mixing and it all sounds perfect. Lyrics are good. Etc. But whenever I go back to thesame mix, few hours later, it sounds ugly lol. Am I missing something? Or it's just me
Old 2nd October 2019
  #2
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That happens to a lot of people, regularly. Either you lose focus or your ears get tired. After you get more practice that will happen less. Also, pay attention to how loud you are mixing. If you are mixing really loud, it will sound bad when played back at less volume. Same thing if you mix too quietly.

Best thing to do is use a reference track. Import an audio file of a big commercial song, professionally mixed and mastered that has similar sounding elements to your track and keep it on mute in your session. Balance it's level to your mix so that when you unmute it, it matches the level you are getting from your mix.

Using a reference track from the early stage is great because it gives you a measure of how much bass, midrange and treble you should be aiming for.
Old 2nd October 2019
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jerry123 View Post
That happens to a lot of people, regularly. Either you lose focus or your ears get tired. After you get more practice that will happen less. Also, pay attention to how loud you are mixing. If you are mixing really loud, it will sound bad when played back at less volume. Same thing if you mix too quietly.

Best thing to do is use a reference track. Import an audio file of a big commercial song, professionally mixed and mastered that has similar sounding elements to your track and keep it on mute in your session. Balance it's level to your mix so that when you unmute it, it matches the level you are getting from your mix.

Using a reference track from the early stage is great because it gives you a measure of how much bass, midrange and treble you should be aiming for.
Wow. Thanks Alot. That makes a lot of sense
Old 6th October 2019
  #4
Happens to everyone. I've been mixing professionally for nearly fifteen years and it still happens to me daily. Learn to listen quietly, take breaks frequently, and break up your mixing with some listening to commercial records.

You can also benefit from AI-assisted mix tools like Ozone or Gullfoss or BassRoom. All of those can be super useful.
Old 7th October 2019
  #5
Yes agree with all comments above. I don't know if there are any industry standard tips but I always playback at a quieter and louder volume, check again days later plus listen on normal hifi speakers, headphones, in the car, etc... After years of this my mixes tend to be pretty good with minimal tweaks but you'll get the hang of it.
I tend to mix as i'm working on the song though so add compression to the drums when they're done, add dynamic processes and effects to other sounds and work on the levels and overall mix as i'm working so don't really have a mixdown session as such. Not everyone's bag but works for me.
Old 7th October 2019
  #6
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The harsh reality is that you never hear the same thing the same way twice. There are plenty of good nerdy science papers on the subject. Minute changes in your body, the environment, time, etc. all affect how your brain processes what you hear. To further complicate things, your brain naturally tries to become accustomed to whatever you are hearing at the moment. So if you are mixing a song for 6 hours straight, it starts to just feel right regardless of how close it is. Then the next day after your brain has "reset" it suddenly is exposed for the trash it is. It takes a lot of experience to learn how to train your brain not to fall for this - and you never get there fully (I've been full-time 20 years making records). In the meantime, take frequent breaks. 5-10 minutes every hour and occasionally having a reference track that you flip to. I also always have a mandatory rule that I never send a mix off to a client without sleeping on it first (sometimes not entirely possible with deadlines....).
Old 9th October 2019
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris carter View Post
The harsh reality is that you never hear the same thing the same way twice. There are plenty of good nerdy science papers on the subject. Minute changes in your body, the environment, time, etc. all affect how your brain processes what you hear. To further complicate things, your brain naturally tries to become accustomed to whatever you are hearing at the moment. So if you are mixing a song for 6 hours straight, it starts to just feel right regardless of how close it is. Then the next day after your brain has "reset" it suddenly is exposed for the trash it is. It takes a lot of experience to learn how to train your brain not to fall for this - and you never get there fully (I've been full-time 20 years making records). In the meantime, take frequent breaks. 5-10 minutes every hour and occasionally having a reference track that you flip to. I also always have a mandatory rule that I never send a mix off to a client without sleeping on it first (sometimes not entirely possible with deadlines....).
I was actually laughing to this because that's the exact problem I have lol. I understand you 100 percent
Old 9th October 2019
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto View Post
Happens to everyone. I've been mixing professionally for nearly fifteen years and it still happens to me daily. Learn to listen quietly, take breaks frequently, and break up your mixing with some listening to commercial records.

You can also benefit from AI-assisted mix tools like Ozone or Gullfoss or BassRoom. All of those can be super useful.
A friend got me Gullfoss but I seriously dont understand the point here lol. What exactly does Gullfoss do?
Old 9th October 2019
  #9
SFB
Gear Addict
 

Never trust your mix until at least 7 days after you think you finished it.
Old 9th October 2019
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SFB View Post
Never trust your mix until at least 7 days after you think you finished it.
I agree with this
Old 10th October 2019
  #11
One of the reasons I love recall - there’s ALWAYS something I’d change on a mix after finishing it!
Old 10th October 2019
  #12
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It's you.

You need to get your reps, write/arrange/record.....and DO NO spend too much time on anything, if a song doesn't come out the way it wants, move on to one that does, spend time ARRANGING this is where the "Mix" really happens.

Record, DO NOT edit for hours on end, if the parts are no good, take a year off and brining you playing singing up to snuff. You should be able to burn through three takes, comp in 1 minute and MOVE ON,

It's about the macro not the micro, the micro is a trap.

All this being said, your mixes are probably fine, and you just need to wait a little longer before listening back.
Old 10th October 2019
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Khariis View Post
I agree with this
BOOOOM! Listen to this man, he knows of which he speaks.
Old 10th October 2019
  #14
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by chris carter View Post
The harsh reality is that you never hear the same thing the same way twice. There are plenty of good nerdy science papers on the subject. Minute changes in your body, the environment, time, etc. all affect how your brain processes what you hear. To further complicate things, your brain naturally tries to become accustomed to whatever you are hearing at the moment. So if you are mixing a song for 6 hours straight, it starts to just feel right regardless of how close it is. Then the next day after your brain has "reset" it suddenly is exposed for the trash it is. It takes a lot of experience to learn how to train your brain not to fall for this - and you never get there fully (I've been full-time 20 years making records). In the meantime, take frequent breaks. 5-10 minutes every hour and occasionally having a reference track that you flip to. I also always have a mandatory rule that I never send a mix off to a client without sleeping on it first (sometimes not entirely possible with deadlines....).
More great advice.

But I'll reiterate my point if you know in your gut the song isn't kicking, you're done,

If the song is improperly arranged, you spend time in the "Mix" phase trying to make things sound good that shouldn't be there, it's common for mixers to receive deliverables with horrible arrangments.

I sat and watched one pro mixer, starting work on a record you may have heard, and all he did was spend the first 10 minutes...Delate, delate, delate...."What the **** does he think I'm going to do with 50 guitars?"....."So, where's the dog whistle?....OH! There it is!", DELEATE, Delate, Delate....Oh if I could have seen the producers face had he known....

If you are confident in your song, able to give a good performance (And by that I mean you should be able to play/sing it all the way through and have it sound good with no mistakes...if you can't you shouldn't be recording it) and spend time making sure the is ZERO superfluous crap in the arrangement, everything there serves an obvious purpose, nothing needs drastic EQ to make it "Fit" (It should ALREADY fit when you record it, if it doesn't? DELETE) And all the tunning/timing work has been done to fit the song (Not saying it needs to be hard tuned and cut to the grid, unless it DOES, in which case DO IT) all tracks are color-coded and laid out in a logical groups,... all audio consolidated from the "1" Tempo/click/conductor track is there..

Then at that point mixing becomes fun easy and CREATIVE! But if it arrives in any condition less than what I've described, it's NOT a candidate for "Mixing"

(Unless you're Iggy Pop presenting Bowie with "Raw Power" to mix, and he's asking you why the lead vocal kick drum and Tom L ar all on the same track...in that case, you are a genius and tell Bowie that's HIS problem, or Keith Richards being asked by Jimmy Miller to tune his guitar while recording, "Rocks Off" and "All down the line"...in that case "Fuuuuuck you Jimmy...I ain't turning ****" Should do just fine.)
Old 10th October 2019
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by terrible.dee View Post
More great advice.

But I'll reiterate my point if you know in your gut the song isn't kicking, you're done,

If the song is improperly arranged, you spend time in the "Mix" phase trying to make things sound good that shouldn't be there, it's common for mixers to receive deliverables with horrible arrangments.

I sat and watched one pro mixer, starting work on a record you may have heard, and all he did was spend the first 10 minutes...Delate, delate, delate...."What the **** does he think I'm going to do with 50 guitars?"....."So, where's the dog whistle?....OH! There it is!", DELEATE, Delate, Delate....Oh if I could have seen the producers face had he known....

If you are confident in your song, able to give a good performance (And by that I mean you should be able to play/sing it all the way through and have it sound good with no mistakes...if you can't you shouldn't be recording it) and spend time making sure the is ZERO superfluous crap in the arrangement, everything there serves an obvious purpose, nothing needs drastic EQ to make it "Fit" (It should ALREADY fit when you record it, if it doesn't? DELETE) And all the tunning/timing work has been done to fit the song (Not saying it needs to be hard tuned and cut to the grid, unless it DOES, in which case DO IT) all tracks are color-coded and laid out in a logical groups,... all audio consolidated from the "1" Tempo/click/conductor track is there..

Then at that point mixing becomes fun easy and CREATIVE! But if it arrives in any condition less than what I've described, it's NOT a candidate for "Mixing"

(Unless you're Iggy Pop presenting Bowie with "Raw Power" to mix, and he's asking you why the lead vocal kick drum and Tom L ar all on the same track...in that case, you are a genius and tell Bowie that's HIS problem, or Keith Richards being asked by Jimmy Miller to tune his guitar while recording, "Rocks Off" and "All down the line"...in that case "Fuuuuuck you Jimmy...I ain't turning ****" Should do just fine.)
In this case, he’s talking about mixing against an instrumental.

And David Bowie was never a mix engineer as far as I’m aware.
Old 11th October 2019
  #16
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zukan's Avatar
 

The best approach is to take regular breaks and in the breaks listen to well produced music. This allows to brain/ears to reset themselves. I have been mixing for 30 years and I still do this. Trust me, you're not alone with this dilemma.
Old 12th October 2019
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
In this case, he’s talking about mixing against an instrumental.

And David Bowie was never a mix engineer as far as I’m aware.
Hes talking about instrumentals for sure but then, I can still relate to it a hundred percent. It makes a lot of sense when I think about it. Whenever I record my Adlibs sometimes, I force it to make it sit even though it obviously doesnt. I have a new rule now...Delete
Old 13th October 2019
  #18
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stixstudios's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by terrible.dee View Post
... If the song is improperly arranged, you spend time in the "Mix" phase trying to make things sound good that shouldn't be there, it's common for mixers to receive deliverables with horrible arrangments...
Yes indeed, that's a huge insight.
I've only just recently come to that realization . I've found myself fiddling with eq, pan, effects etc. only to come to the conclusion that if the song had been arranged differently, then things just would have flowed better.

I'm not saying the arrangement is horrible, just that the song "peaks" in the wrong areas sometimes.

It's a great tune and idea, but the song is not mine, nor do I know the individuals that created it. Therefore I'm not in a position to suggest to the band manager/whoever, that the song may benefit from a re-look at the arrangement.

Good fun, nevertheless.

Last edited by stixstudios; 13th October 2019 at 09:29 AM.. Reason: Paragraph Layout.
Old 24th October 2019
  #19
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Fanu's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by terrible.dee View Post
I sat and watched one pro mixer, starting work on a record you may have heard, and all he did was spend the first 10 minutes...Delate, delate, delate...."What the **** does he think I'm going to do with 50 guitars?"....."So, where's the dog whistle?....OH! There it is!", DELEATE, Delate, Delate....Oh if I could have seen the producers face had he known....

Personal record from a client I've had is 99 tracks.
Making a living doing this, I can't say I'll refuse to accept that many in the future, but I'd definitely wish I didn't get that many.
That song ended up being 40 bounces, and I wasn't allowed to delete anything until a later stage where the producer himself got frustrated with it and realized that's way too much.
Whenever I get, say, 20 tracks for strings, I need to make some decisions. Deleting stuff and making it more simple that way is often easier than trying to make all those 20 strings work even when the producer is insisting on that.
Old 25th October 2019
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fanu View Post
Personal record from a client I've had is 99 tracks.
Making a living doing this, I can't say I'll refuse to accept that many in the future, but I'd definitely wish I didn't get that many.
That song ended up being 40 bounces, and I wasn't allowed to delete anything until a later stage where the producer himself got frustrated with it and realized that's way too much.
Whenever I get, say, 20 tracks for strings, I need to make some decisions. Deleting stuff and making it more simple that way is often easier than trying to make all those 20 strings work even when the producer is insisting on that.
It really depends on the record and the production.

Submixing yourself bounces is one thing; I’d probably do the main balances and then print strings to sections.

If it’s someone who’s unsure of themselves they may welcome your input.

If it’s someone confident, and you start deleting tracks, you’re probably going to get politely told to put it back in or find yourself unhired!

If there’s just multiple mics on the same part, that’s a bit different...you don’t lose the part by losing the mic.

The track I’m working on now has about 60 odd parts not including auxes, and I’ve not added programming yet. But they’re all needed.
Old 25th October 2019
  #21
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ilan's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by terrible.dee View Post
ON,

It's about the macro not the micro, the micro is a trap.

Now THAT'S wisdom right there!
Old 27th October 2019
  #22
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Don't listen and mix loud. Mix it kinda quiet it moderate volume.
Old 18th November 2019
  #23
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Many say don't mix loud. But shouldn't you check your mix loudly? I've noticed that the mix opens up and reveals volumes levels that are off and EQ mistakes, too. Than I fix them, and go back to mixing quieter again. Can anyone relate to this?
Old 18th November 2019
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hummarstra View Post
Many say don't mix loud. But shouldn't you check your mix loudly? I've noticed that the mix opens up and reveals volumes levels that are off and EQ mistakes, too. Than I fix them, and go back to mixing quieter again. Can anyone relate to this?


I can I can I can
I do this a whole lot
Old 18th November 2019
  #25
Gear Maniac
 

My rule of thumb,

Mix at a volume that you can actually talk to somebody next to you.

Before you bounce to 2 track, check the track with a louder volume to reveal any possible noises.

I haven't had a track rejected for TV/Film in years.
Old 21st November 2019
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny Scott View Post
My rule of thumb,

Mix at a volume that you can actually talk to somebody next to you.

Before you bounce to 2 track, check the track with a louder volume to reveal any possible noises.

I haven't had a track rejected for TV/Film in years.

I'm sorry I gotta ask a potential stupid question lol. What's a 2 track?
Old 21st November 2019
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Khariis View Post
I'm sorry I gotta ask a potential stupid question lol. What's a 2 track?
The stereo mix in this case. I would say “when you print your mix...”
Old 21st November 2019
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Khariis View Post
A friend got me Gullfoss but I seriously dont understand the point here lol. What exactly does Gullfoss do?
Youtube. Check it then have a session just working with this. I mainly use the 1st 2 functions on the plug, again, mostly. I've just finished my room so lately I've been taking lots of breaks going to my vehicles and checking my mix. I take notes and only fix issues I've had with my mix. Doesn't matter if you go out there 10 times. Eventually, you will hear those issues your hearing in your car in your studio. At least it's that way for me.
Old 21st November 2019
  #29
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e-are's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by hummarstra View Post
Many say don't mix loud. But shouldn't you check your mix loudly? I've noticed that the mix opens up and reveals volumes levels that are off and EQ mistakes, too. Than I fix them, and go back to mixing quieter again. Can anyone relate to this?
IMO, A LOT OF ISSUES ARE REVEALED AT LOW LEVELS. A recent revelation of mine.
I can hear elements that are too dynamic, out of balance, eq issues, and things that are out of place much easier listening at low levels. Like below 80db. It's actually pretty astounding to me but if you read up on the Fletcher Munson curve, it makes a lot of sense. once your ears are shot from loud listening, you can't make good judgements.
IMO, of course..


Edit: I never mix "loud". I'd say 83db is the loudest. I do have a small room tho.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e-are View Post
IMO, A LOT OF ISSUES ARE REVEALED AT LOW LEVELS. A recent revelation of mine.
I can hear elements that are too dynamic, out of balance, eq issues, and things that are out of place much easier listening at low levels. Like below 80db. It's actually pretty astounding to me but if you read up on the Fletcher Munson curve, it makes a lot of sense. once your ears are shot from loud listening, you can't make good judgements.
IMO, of course..


Edit: I never mix "loud". I'd say 83db is the loudest. I do have a small room tho.
Ok cool. Here is something I'm experimenting with. I'm almost maxing out the output volume on my interface into my Big Knob (multi-monitor controller) and engaging the Dim button. I seem to hear a lot more at lower volume that way. I'm wondering if gain structure from my interface-monitor controller-amplifier-NS10 is having effect. Maybe I'm sending too little interface output at the beginning of that chain? Just wondering about that. Btw, I got the Dim switch idea from CLA. He said the mixes that way a lot in the Sonic Scoop interview. But who the **** really know.
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