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The pros' secret to mixing. Studio Monitors
Old 2nd September 2008
Lives for gear
KBOY's Avatar

Try mixing from the bottom up....;)

Oh, and to reverse what philly man said in one of his posts...

With Urban or any bass heavy tracks, start the mix with only the sub on. Simply shut off the monitors. Get that low end tight and right, then turn on your mains. You might just find that the rest of your mix is anemic in comparison forcing you to get the mids happening a bit more.

I did this on my second to last mix session before leaving la, and it was just the ticket to get the tracks sounding bomb.

This was a kind of rock, acoustic, live drums, urban style kicks and loops music. The approach didn't work so well with the next artist. Her style was more dance/Techno/Goth The whole album was built around really badly distorted, recorded vocals... So the album is mostly built around the midrange, kinda white noise through the whole thing . Here i started with one computer speaker with everything summed mono. What ever works.
Old 3rd September 2008
Gear Addict
E-Irizarry's Avatar
Originally Posted by brian_delizza View Post
The ONLY way to get a good sound is LOTS of reverse reverb all over EVERY track.

Balance? Psssh. For the birds...

seriously though. spot on.
Ooooooh this is an intermediate-level mistake. Yes reverb on everything, but man o' man - you better know how much attack, release, release velocity, delay, force settings you put on EVERY REVERB SUB-CHANNEL on that track!!! Universal reverb for a track just will not suffice. At least not in my eyes - or on my ears rather.

Originally Posted by Roc Mixwell View Post
Just use your ears
Again, this is too generalized. What if the ears weren't trained properly? What happens if the person is not fully-humanly-frequency-hearing enabled?? For example, what if he can only hear as low as 40Hz using 20/20 cans?? Especially if that "tenitus" or "sonitius" ringing in at least on of their ears. Again, whenever ambulances or loud-talking suckers walk by, I cover my ears like a spoiled child because I need to protect my assets.

Originally Posted by wax808 View Post

That's a nice meal right there...very high in Omega fats too. Yum. That and some spicy chili sauce with brown rice and vegatables. I will be holding my face in my hands the next morning on that toilet, baby and it would be worth every arduous bowel movement.

Originally Posted by phillysoulman View Post
and I have to use a cold water compress on my head when I have to listen to some of this crap while going thru a state of decompression
VST effect plugin FLUX Solera is good for that. Ask Lagerfedt, he is the king slay of FLUX products that I know of on here.

Originally Posted by RainbowStorm View Post
Complex interrelationships must be dealt with to create a high level of synergism:

- Tune, tune and tune some more. This is a fundamental building block of great sound. (sampled virtual instruments are often out of tune, remove them from the mix).
- Calibrate, calibrate and calibrate some more. Calibrate room acoustics and monitors. Make sure the combination yields a high quality response.
- Have a working infrastructure. Managing complex high quality interrelationships requires an infrastructure that supports flexibility, ease-of-use, reusability, availability and scalability.
- Have a strategic approach to your current resources within your current project as well as to your upcoming resources within your upcoming projects. A lot of the final result will be related to how well you manage your resources along the process in that particular project and along the way in the long term. If you are serious you need to introduce healthy habits to gain time, energy and money advantages. This will compensate during hard times when you lack the motivation and inspiration to create great music, you will always need more resources anyway.
- Have an intelligent approach to your own learning. Realise that how much you think you know is just an illusion created by your current context. How much you actually do know is revealed when you start reading high quality educational content that is up to date. Great new tools and solutions are offered every day, professionals discover them and create better best practices. A working learning/discovery model is essential to great sound. In order to know how much you know you need to put things into practice. When you return to your reference material, that's when you learn.

So achieving great sound is not a very straightforward, easy-to-master kind of thing. Key aspects of this type of context (building, deploying, operating) must be well addressed to form a powerful production platform.
Caliberating is a serious sub-science of tweaking. If one can eloquently and coherently caliberate any mix, that dude knows what he's doing.
Old 3rd September 2008
Gear Addict
E-Irizarry's Avatar
Originally Posted by rowan_rashard View Post
Yeah it sounds like Phillysoulman makes sure his bass is calibrated properly. That is part of the Philly sound after all: whether is was Gamble & Huff or somebody producing Musiq Soulchild's or Jill Scott's or Algebra's album nowadays. That Philly sound is the south meets the northeast with more soulful influence. I knew NY R&B unsigned artists that rushed to Philly when NY R&B plummeted big-time a few years back because that R&B soul will still alive in some shape or form in Philly.

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!
YA...And KNOW YOUR CANS TOO! I still think 20Hz-20kHz cans are excellent reference monitors.

Originally Posted by phillysoulman View Post
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.
Noooooooooooo, two 808s at most is fine: only if one 808 emulates a 'bass guitar' and the other as a 'bass drum' and needs to be calibrated with a frequency slope of 40-140Hz. But 5? All the noise gating, musical NR suppression, quantization, and compression in the world cannot get 5 808s to harmonically jive. That **** sounds totally DISSonant. Real talk.
Old 5th September 2008
Again, this is too generalized. What if the ears weren't trained properly? What happens if the person is not fully-humanly-frequency-hearing enabled?? For example, what if he can only hear as low as 40Hz using 20/20 cans?? Especially if that "tenitus" or "sonitius" ringing in at least on of their ears. Again, whenever ambulances or loud-talking suckers walk by, I cover my ears like a spoiled child because I need to protect my assets.
....I would never expect to get a true response down to 40 from headphones. Don't underestimate yourself and train your sense of hearing. Engineering and mixing is a listening art, a technical art, and all kinds of other creatives arts.....a post can't tell you how to mix something only your ears can, hence my post, "Just use your ears"....
Old 21st November 2008
Gear Maniac
alvagoldbook's Avatar

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.
AMEN! The thing that I look for in a mix, is the same question I always ask myself. "can I hear every instrument?" If I can't then I've done something wrong.
Old 22nd November 2008
Lives for gear
illacov's Avatar

In many ways...

The two most abused things IMO are EQ and Compression.

The FX stuff like reverbs and all that, yeah maybe but I still think freq adjustment and compression/dynamic control are out of control.

There should be a website or a tutorial on here showing for example, a bass line, a guitar recording of strumming on acoustic (a major chord), a guitar recording of strumming on electric (strat??) (a major chord), piano playing a major chord, a snare drum beating 1 2 3 4 at a moderate tempo and a kick drum doing the same thing on its own. And perhaps a mix of all of them together.

Then show what happens when you take a plain jane eq and peak adjust (+6db, -6db) every 50 hz to 100 hz then what happens when you peak adjust (+6db, -6db)
every 100 hz up to 1k, then same process from every 1k to 20k.

That alone would open alot of eyes.

I have this nagging suspicion that people reach for eq when they need compression and reach for compression when they need eq.


After that the same sort of thing with same sources but with compression at various ratios, attack times, etc....

Might help. Almost like a web textbook.

Maybe it should be aimed at hip hop/rock engineers dunno. However I'm beyond certain that something like this already exists.

Old 23rd November 2008
Here for the gear

Originally Posted by doorknocker View Post
A great performance will balance itself.
This has been my truth in a many instances.
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