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The pros' secret to mixing. Studio Monitors
Old 27th August 2008
  #31
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phillysoulman's Avatar
 

Mix at low to medium volume WITHOUT your subwoofer engaged.
Use the sub ONLY to check low end reference and to hype your homies and a&rs.
Old 27th August 2008
  #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OBSCENE View Post
As said before...

PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE

oh yeah and practice some more

Also when you're learning if a song is just to hard to get right work on something else for a while then return to it listening to a bad mix of something for too long can ruin you're perspective I have been guilty of this many times and probably will be again.

best words in this thread.

Its the main thing that separates the folks "that know" from the folks "that don't know." They just got so much more practice. Too many try to make it all technical and s h i t when its really not. heh
Old 27th August 2008
  #33
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by phillysoulman View Post
Mix at low to medium volume WITHOUT your subwoofer engaged.
Use the sub ONLY to check low end reference and to hype your homies and a&rs.
hehheh
Old 27th August 2008
  #34
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Denny McNerney View Post
i'm sure there are a lot of people here reading that, and are now scrambling to find the BALANCE, PROPORTION, and RELATIVITY presets on their waves plug-ins...
Hell with that, I'm still trying to get my "Make That Groove Stanky" VST to work in Ableton live...
Old 28th August 2008
  #35
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Left Headphone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto View Post
Y'know, it's a funny thing, no one ever seems to mention things like "get a really good balance" or "ride the faders when that part gets too loud". It's always parallel process this, stereo-widen plug-in that. Maybe that's the reason people keep asking the same inane questions about how to achieve a professional sound.

Seriously, guys, mixing is about BALANCE, PROPORTION, and RELATIVITY. There's no black magic or secret trick. And your tools are not the problem.




Just had to get that out here.


Old 28th August 2008
  #36
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Ken Lewis's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by phillysoulman View Post
Mix at low to medium volume WITHOUT your subwoofer engaged.
Use the sub ONLY to check low end reference and to hype your homies and a&rs.
i think the more important rule is to KNOW YOUR SPEAKERS. If i'm listening to my Event's, my sub is on. always. i have a smaller set of speakers that i spend alot of time during the mix on that do not have a sub woofer on. I know what each speaker is telling me and they are both important. before i started mixing with a sub, my mixes were often wayyyy toooo basssssyy

And i think as far as mix volume, its simply important that your mix sound great at ALL volumes. I start really loud for about a half hour to really vibe with things while i'm getting basic feel and balance, then i'll spend much more time at medium to low volumes, and switching between speakers.

but it is IMPORTANT to listen at high volume occasionally, because if something is really hurting your ears at high volume, its gonna really hurt everyone elses ears when they are crankin their ipod or listening in the club.

Plus if your low end is distorting the speakers a high volume, there very well might be something wrong with your low end. Different problems present themselves at different volumes in a mix. Its important to me to reference at all volumes, as well as with a sub and without a sub. My sub isnt there to hype clients, my sub is there to tell me what the sub frequencies are (or are not) doing in my mix. i wouldnt mix without it and i use it for far more than just occasionally referencing my low end.

The best part is when i have clients over and they think they are listening to the big speakers when they are actually listening to the small speakers. thats when you know you have a solid mix!
Old 28th August 2008
  #37
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Lewis View Post

The best part is when i have clients over and they think they are listening to the big speakers when they are actually listening to the small speakers. thats when you know you have a solid mix!

I love that too!!!


Lavish
Old 28th August 2008
  #38
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Autotune Prophet's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Lewis View Post
i think the more important rule is to KNOW YOUR SPEAKERS. If i'm listening to my Event's, my sub is on. always. i have a smaller set of speakers that i spend alot of time during the mix on that do not have a sub woofer on. I know what each speaker is telling me and they are both important. before i started mixing with a sub, my mixes were often wayyyy toooo basssssyy

And i think as far as mix volume, its simply important that your mix sound great at ALL volumes. I start really loud for about a half hour to really vibe with things while i'm getting basic feel and balance, then i'll spend much more time at medium to low volumes, and switching between speakers.

but it is IMPORTANT to listen at high volume occasionally, because if something is really hurting your ears at high volume, its gonna really hurt everyone elses ears when they are crankin their ipod or listening in the club.

Plus if your low end is distorting the speakers a high volume, there very well might be something wrong with your low end. Different problems present themselves at different volumes in a mix. Its important to me to reference at all volumes, as well as with a sub and without a sub. My sub isnt there to hype clients, my sub is there to tell me what the sub frequencies are (or are not) doing in my mix. i wouldnt mix without it and i use it for far more than just occasionally referencing my low end.

The best part is when i have clients over and they think they are listening to the big speakers when they are actually listening to the small speakers. thats when you know you have a solid mix!
Excellent post, especially as far as the "Different problems present themselves at different volumes in a mix" part is concerned. Very inspirational.

Me: I'm taking notes
Old 28th August 2008
  #39
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doorknocker's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto View Post
Y'know, it's a funny thing, no one ever seems to mention things like "get a really good balance" or "ride the faders when that part gets too loud". It's always parallel process this, stereo-widen plug-in that. Maybe that's the reason people keep asking the same inane questions about how to achieve a professional sound.

Seriously, guys, mixing is about BALANCE, PROPORTION, and RELATIVITY. There's no black magic or secret trick. And your tools are not the problem.
I always thought that 'balance' and 'riding the faders' are no-brainers so that all the 'parallel process'-question take this for granted, I may be wrong....

But a mix can be totally 'right' as far as BALANCE, PROPORTION, and RELATIVITY are concerned yet still fail to MOVE, EXCITE and IMPRESS. That's the part that defines 'pro' to me in the same way that any jazz player worth his salt will know his scales, standards and Trane solos but very few of them can really deliver the music in a way that makes it attractive to people that may not be 'insiders'.

So any parallel processing trick is useful to read about, I don't need to read about balance because that's something you have to hear and apply for yourself.

If the gear isn't important then why not save some money and start a Formula I racing team equipped with VW Beetles?
Old 28th August 2008
  #40
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phillysoulman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Lewis View Post
i think the more important rule is to KNOW YOUR SPEAKERS. If i'm listening to my Event's, my sub is on. always. i have a smaller set of speakers that i spend alot of time during the mix on that do not have a sub woofer on. I know what each speaker is telling me and they are both important. before i started mixing with a sub, my mixes were often wayyyy toooo basssssyy

And i think as far as mix volume, its simply important that your mix sound great at ALL volumes. I start really loud for about a half hour to really vibe with things while i'm getting basic feel and balance, then i'll spend much more time at medium to low volumes, and switching between speakers.

but it is IMPORTANT to listen at high volume occasionally, because if something is really hurting your ears at high volume, its gonna really hurt everyone elses ears when they are crankin their ipod or listening in the club.

Plus if your low end is distorting the speakers a high volume, there very well might be something wrong with your low end. Different problems present themselves at different volumes in a mix. Its important to me to reference at all volumes, as well as with a sub and without a sub. My sub isnt there to hype clients, my sub is there to tell me what the sub frequencies are (or are not) doing in my mix. i wouldnt mix without it and i use it for far more than just occasionally referencing my low end.

The best part is when i have clients over and they think they are listening to the big speakers when they are actually listening to the small speakers. thats when you know you have a solid mix!
Ken,
Where are you setting your sub crossover and sub level?
Old 28th August 2008
  #41
Lives for gear
My mixes have gotten much much better by peaking lower. I try and keep the whole mix peaking at -6 and not even near 0.

Massive difference for me.
Old 28th August 2008
  #42
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phillysoulman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Methlab View Post
My mixes have gotten much much better by peaking lower. I try and keep the whole mix peaking at -6 and not even near 0.

Massive difference for me.
No ****!!
More dynamics,eh??
Old 28th August 2008
  #43
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Ken Lewis's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by phillysoulman View Post
Ken,
Where are you setting your sub crossover and sub level?
HA! I have absolutely no idea. I think i've gotten very lucky with the pairing. I set it up, start listening to a bunch of CD's and just kinda set the subwoofer response according to my ears. I dont think i can even adjust the crossover point, its just built into the JBL and i dont know what it is. The Event SP8's have a button on back that rolls off below 80Hz so that button is engaged.

The JBL sub does have a volume control though, so i think i've got mine currently set to -4dB and that seems to even out the low end to where it works well for me. Every time i go to mastering things seem to sound like they do in my room, and mastering guys never complain, so its working. Such a scientific method.
Old 28th August 2008
  #44
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phillysoulman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Lewis View Post
HA! I have absolutely no idea. I think i've gotten very lucky with the pairing. I set it up, start listening to a bunch of CD's and just kinda set the subwoofer response according to my ears. I dont think i can even adjust the crossover point, its just built into the JBL and i dont know what it is. The Event SP8's have a button on back that rolls off below 80Hz so that button is engaged.

The JBL sub does have a volume control though, so i think i've got mine currently set to -4dB and that seems to even out the low end to where it works well for me. Every time i go to mastering things seem to sound like they do in my room, and mastering guys never complain, so its working. Such a scientific method.
Im using JBL 6328ps as the "mains" and a Tannoy 10 inch sub with crossover,level and tilt controls.

Event 20/20 bas for mid field and ns 10 ms as nearfields.
Sometimes Ill switch in the sub with the Events but not al the time..mainly with the JBLs
Old 28th August 2008
  #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phillysoulman View Post
No ****!!
More dynamics,eh??
Yeah for sure. Having that extra room really helps me a lot. I know it is subjective upon your mix style though.
Old 28th August 2008
  #46
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phillysoulman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Methlab View Post
Yeah for sure. Having that extra room really helps me a lot. I know it is subjective upon your mix style though.
Im so glad that you are a sensible engineer!!

Ive been trying to tell some of those knuckleheads this for eons and they always balked at my comments.
Old 29th August 2008
  #47
I think the one secret no one has mentioned is probably the most mysterious & hardest to explain, that the one thing you really need to have as a professional mixing engineer is the ability to hear the potential of the mix beyond what the tracks in front of you are telling you. But you have to hear it in a way that it will please the talent, the management & record execs, the public and yourself as well. Plus add on top of that you have to be able to realize this vision technically.

This is obviously no easy task. Why?

Because you can if you wish, aspire to work hard at it and spend years working on it and develop the latter or the technical aspects of mixing, but the former...the necessary "internal vision" is something you have to be born with. Now some guys have a lot of the "internal" vision and have no technical savyy. These guys usually end up as the real great music producers and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Actually what this business needs is more people with vision beyond what's at hand. But without the technical experience necessary to deliver a "hit mix" they rely on others to realize their vision for them.

And then you have engineers or technicians that are all technique but lack "it".

While these guys are fine technicians they just can't deliver beyond what's put in front of them, which again is not a bad thing because they make great tracking engineers and DAW editors. Why? Because they will make sure that things are captured right, documented correctly & edited properly so the mix engineer can more easily realize the vision necessary for the project.

Nowadays because of the way the business has been down graded you have people putting themselves in the position to try be everything, even though they don't have the skill sets to do even one thing great. But that's the state of things.

I think if people really focused in on their strengths and what they really do great things would be better as a whole for everyone.
Old 29th August 2008
  #48
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irthwirm's Avatar
 

do you have the master vader at 0 and just try to keep everything at -6 or do bring the fader down to -6. I always find it hard to keep it low to stay around -6 especially with my snares.
Old 29th August 2008
  #49
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phillysoulman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by irthwirm View Post
do you have the master vader at 0 and just try to keep everything at -6 or do bring the fader down to -6. I always find it hard to keep it low to stay around -6 especially with my snares.
Master FADER at -6
Old 29th August 2008
  #50
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Ken Lewis's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor View Post
I think the one secret no one has mentioned is probably the most mysterious & hardest to explain, that the one thing you really need to have as a professional mixing engineer is the ability to hear the potential of the mix beyond what the tracks in front of you are telling you. But you have to hear it in a way that it will please the talent, the management & record execs, the public and yourself as well. Plus add on top of that you have to be able to realize this vision technically.

This is obviously no easy task. Why?

Because you can if you wish, aspire to work hard at it and spend years working on it and develop the latter or the technical aspects of mixing, but the former...the necessary "internal vision" is something you have to be born with. Now some guys have a lot of the "internal" vision and have no technical savyy. These guys usually end up as the real great music producers and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Actually what this business needs is more people with vision beyond what's at hand. But without the technical experience necessary to deliver a "hit mix" they rely on others to realize their vision for them.

And then you have engineers or technicians that are all technique but lack "it".

While these guys are fine technicians they just can't deliver beyond what's put in front of them, which again is not a bad thing because they make great tracking engineers and DAW editors. Why? Because they will make sure that things are captured right, documented correctly & edited properly so the mix engineer can more easily realize the vision necessary for the project.

Nowadays because of the way the business has been down graded you have people putting themselves in the position to try be everything, even though they don't have the skill sets to do even one thing great. But that's the state of things.

I think if people really focused in on their strengths and what they really do great things would be better as a whole for everyone.
Beautiful post. One of the most eloquent and accurate descriptions I've read.
Old 29th August 2008
  #51
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C Heat's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor View Post
I think if people really focused in on their strengths and what they really do great things would be better as a whole for everyone.
A philosophy for life no doubt.
Old 29th August 2008
  #52
Gear Addict
 
Left Headphone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by phillysoulman View Post
Master FADER at -6
Where are you letting your peaks hit, 0 or -6?
Old 29th August 2008
  #53
Quote:
Originally Posted by C Heat View Post
A philosophy for life no doubt.

This above all: to thine own self be true...
— Hamlet, Act I, sc. iii

Old 29th August 2008
  #54
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theblotted's Avatar
 

the best way to take one's game to the next level, imo, is find a mentor or somebody else who's better than you. sit down with them, let them do the same mix of the song, and ask how and why.

of course, this is all after you've done your homework - knowing how everything works, signal flow, know how each and every gear works, etc.

then practice some more.

the rest is experience and taste.
Old 29th August 2008
  #55
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phillysoulman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Left Headphone View Post
Where are you letting your peaks hit, 0 or -6?
Wherever they work for you,just as long as they dont clip.
I was referring only to my master fader(bus)
Old 1st September 2008
  #56
Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor View Post
I think the one secret no one has mentioned is probably the most mysterious & hardest to explain, that the one thing you really need to have as a professional mixing engineer is the ability to hear the potential of the mix beyond what the tracks in front of you are telling you. But you have to hear it in a way that it will please the talent, the management & record execs, the public and yourself as well. Plus add on top of that you have to be able to realize this vision technically.

This is obviously no easy task. Why?

Because you can if you wish, aspire to work hard at it and spend years working on it and develop the latter or the technical aspects of mixing, but the former...the necessary "internal vision" is something you have to be born with. Now some guys have a lot of the "internal" vision and have no technical savyy. These guys usually end up as the real great music producers and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Actually what this business needs is more people with vision beyond what's at hand. But without the technical experience necessary to deliver a "hit mix" they rely on others to realize their vision for them.

And then you have engineers or technicians that are all technique but lack "it".

While these guys are fine technicians they just can't deliver beyond what's put in front of them, which again is not a bad thing because they make great tracking engineers and DAW editors. Why? Because they will make sure that things are captured right, documented correctly & edited properly so the mix engineer can more easily realize the vision necessary for the project.

Nowadays because of the way the business has been down graded you have people putting themselves in the position to try be everything, even though they don't have the skill sets to do even one thing great. But that's the state of things.

I think if people really focused in on their strengths and what they really do great things would be better as a whole for everyone.
Well put.

It's always easy for me to tell an intern or assistant who shows promise not because he can blow me away with mixing technique, but because he can create something exciting and moving that doesn't necessarily sound great. That's a skill you either have or you don't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by doorknocker View Post
I always thought that 'balance' and 'riding the faders' are no-brainers so that all the 'parallel process'-question take this for granted, I may be wrong....

But a mix can be totally 'right' as far as BALANCE, PROPORTION, and RELATIVITY are concerned yet still fail to MOVE, EXCITE and IMPRESS. That's the part that defines 'pro' to me in the same way that any jazz player worth his salt will know his scales, standards and Trane solos but very few of them can really deliver the music in a way that makes it attractive to people that may not be 'insiders'.

So any parallel processing trick is useful to read about, I don't need to read about balance because that's something you have to hear and apply for yourself.

If the gear isn't important then why not save some money and start a Formula I racing team equipped with VW Beetles?
When the question is something like "How do I get my drums to bang?", and the first answer out of everyone's mouth is "parallel compression" or somesuch, that's
something of a problem. At least the way I see it.

I don't know about other mix engineers, but my sessions look like track-after-track of panoramic photos of city skylines with all the volume automation I do. For me, balance isn't just about putting up levels and leaving them static. Balance is a constantly-moving, animated performance.

You wanna read up on interesting and useful tricks? I can understand that. I can also understand the feeling that balance is something you learn through experience to achieve (as opposed to learning by reading a boring article), but there are some practical tips that can be offered. Like this one: One common fader ride I do to make my 808s "bang" is simply riding adjacent kick drums down with each 808 hit. It creates way more headroom on the mix buss, allows the 808 to bloom more fully, and in some cases, even reduces the weird comb-filtery-ness that happens when you layer multiple kick sounds.

Or this one: In the pop/rock world, you have guys like Andy Wallace creating more explosive and exciting balances by doing things like riding up crash cymbal hits, or pushing up the downbeat of every kick drum on the chorus.

THAT'S balance, to me at least. And when done well, it will indeed move, excite, and impress as much as any compression or EQ trick. Most important of all, you'll yield "professional results" (whatever that may mean to you) when used in conjunction with an APPROPRIATELY-CHOSEN technique (seriously, parallel compression on every drum track is NOT the answer!!).

It's not about hating gear (if you think that's the case, you REALLY don't know who you're talking toheh). It's about stopping finding ways of deferring blame when you come up with a bad mix. It's about learning the basics of how to mix before you over-complicate things with too many tips you read on Gearslutz. It's about stopping listening to what everyone else says and starting listening to the MUSIC.

Look, I know it's not that much fun to read up on balance techniques and volume automation tips (which is why most of those garbage home recordist mags re-run the same tired drum recording tips and vocal production tutorial articles every other month), but for those of you trying to mix out there that are self-taught and have never had the opportunity to learn by interning or assisting a pro, you gotta start somewhere, no matter how unsexy it all is. The fact of the matter is, mixing is about balance; it should be done more with the performance and the faders and less with all the pretty light-show boxes.
Old 2nd September 2008
  #57
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phillysoulman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto View Post
Well put.

It's always easy for me to tell an intern or assistant who shows promise not because he can blow me away with mixing technique, but because he can create something exciting and moving that doesn't necessarily sound great. That's a skill you either have or you don't.



When the question is something like "How do I get my drums to bang?", and the first answer out of everyone's mouth is "parallel compression" or somesuch, that's
something of a problem. At least the way I see it.

I don't know about other mix engineers, but my sessions look like track-after-track of panoramic photos of city skylines with all the volume automation I do. For me, balance isn't just about putting up levels and leaving them static. Balance is a constantly-moving, animated performance.

You wanna read up on interesting and useful tricks? I can understand that. I can also understand the feeling that balance is something you learn through experience to achieve (as opposed to learning by reading a boring article), but there are some practical tips that can be offered. Like this one: One common fader ride I do to make my 808s "bang" is simply riding adjacent kick drums down with each 808 hit. It creates way more headroom on the mix buss, allows the 808 to bloom more fully, and in some cases, even reduces the weird comb-filtery-ness that happens when you layer multiple kick sounds.

Or this one: In the pop/rock world, you have guys like Andy Wallace creating more explosive and exciting balances by doing things like riding up crash cymbal hits, or pushing up the downbeat of every kick drum on the chorus.

THAT'S balance, to me at least. And when done well, it will indeed move, excite, and impress as much as any compression or EQ trick. Most important of all, you'll yield "professional results" (whatever that may mean to you) when used in conjunction with an APPROPRIATELY-CHOSEN technique (seriously, parallel compression on every drum track is NOT the answer!!).

It's not about hating gear (if you think that's the case, you REALLY don't know who you're talking toheh). It's about stopping finding ways of deferring blame when you come up with a bad mix. It's about learning the basics of how to mix before you over-complicate things with too many tips you read on Gearslutz. It's about stopping listening to what everyone else says and starting listening to the MUSIC.

Look, I know it's not that much fun to read up on balance techniques and volume automation tips (which is why most of those garbage home recordist mags re-run the same tired drum recording tips and vocal production tutorial articles every other month), but for those of you trying to mix out there that are self-taught and have never had the opportunity to learn by interning or assisting a pro, you gotta start somewhere, no matter how unsexy it all is. The fact of the matter is, mixing is about balance; it should be done more with the performance and the faders and less with all the pretty light-show boxes.
Hey B..that was a "bangin" post, homes!!
Old 2nd September 2008
  #58
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KBOY's Avatar
 

Don't know if this has been touched on, but I was thinking about it while driving today.

INTONATION, TUNING!!!!!!! If you want to put live bass over tuned sub bass make sure you know your instrument and the thing is set up properly..

Oh, and don't ask if you should tune... Just do it! LOL But then again, at least know how to tune your damn instrument. Know what your instrument does depending on how hard you press a string.

I had one guitar player I was tracking where I had to tune as he held the strings because the thing was so far out a whack, and the guy grabbed the neck like a base ball bat. Having an iron grip on your fret board doesn't do much but make your notes go sharp.

But then again, if more musicians realized the beauty of a finely set up instrument by someone that knows what they are doing (it is an art in itself) earlier on in their career, they would probably not have an iron grip cause they wouldn't be used to the strings being an inch off the fret board..

LOL....... Seriously though.

This is one aspect that helps the mix flow. You don't have to fight it as much. I think the above post about balance is spot on. But I do love players that can balance themselves in their performance.
Old 2nd September 2008
  #59
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phillysoulman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by KBOY View Post
Don't know if this has been touched on, but I was thinking about it while driving today.

INTONATION, TUNING!!!!!!! If you want to put live bass over tuned sub bass make sure you know your instrument and the thing is set up properly..

Oh, and don't ask if you should tune... Just do it! LOL But then again, at least know how to tune your damn instrument. Know what your instrument does depending on how hard you press a string.

I had one guitar player I was tracking where I had to tune as he held the strings because the thing was so far out a whack, and the guy grabbed the neck like a base ball bat. Having an iron grip on your fret board doesn't do much but make your notes go sharp.

But then again, if more musicians realized the beauty of a finely set up instrument by someone that knows what they are doing (it is an art in itself) earlier on in their career, they would probably not have an iron grip cause they wouldn't be used to the strings being an inch off the fret board..

LOL....... Seriously though.
Geez..that reminds me of one particular artist here who really had a thing for basses....
In fact, there were several instances where he wanted to record FIVE basses playing harmony!! ane guess what..he did....even after I tried to tell him of the anomalies present when doing such a thing.
He loved it..I HATED it!!

Recently,he wanted to try five 808s playing harmony..I passed on the experiment.
Old 2nd September 2008
  #60
Lives for gear
 
KBOY's Avatar
 

I absolutely love the bass... Well any bottom end really. I've done a lot of 2 or 3 basses on top of each other with superb results. BUT, they were usually octaves, spread or something of the sort. And typically the song was built around that. Also, I'm a stickler for tuning and the arrangment. Some guys just want to put all 50 of their ideas into one song.

So I hear ya, sounds like a nightmare.

Which brings up another point. Don't take on mixes that are not arranged well. Or learn how to take away without the artist getting pissed to make the mix work right.

5 basses, 5 808's LOL Save it for the next song and producer guy..
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