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The pros' secret to mixing. Studio Monitors
Old 20th August 2008
  #1
The pros' secret to mixing.

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 20th August 2008
  #2
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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.
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.
Old 20th August 2008
  #3
Just use your ears
Old 20th August 2008
  #4
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wax808's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto View Post

Seriously, guys, mixing is about BALANCE, PROPORTION, and RELATIVITY.

Nice post I guess.

But you never said what tools you were using to do that. That might go a long ways towards helping others.
Old 20th August 2008
  #5
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ryst's Avatar
 

Agreed, Benny....AGREED.

One of the hardest things for me to get right when I started out was balancing things. It took a while. it had a lot to do with knowing my speakers too. I never really had a problem with separation when I started mixing. It was balance. Balance of everything from the instuments, to vocals, delays, verbs....EVERYTHING. But, i'm way past that now.heh
Old 20th August 2008
  #6
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ryst's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wax808 View Post
Nice post I guess.

But you never said what tools you were using to do that. That might go a long ways towards helping others.
Your ears, practice, your ears, practice.........Don't focus so much on specific tools. Their are no plug-ins to quantify what Benny is talking about. It's all about your ears, practice and experience.
Old 20th August 2008
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by wax808 View Post
Nice post I guess.

But you never said what tools you were using to do that. That might go a long ways towards helping others.
What tools? I hope you're kidding, otherwise you're missing the point.

Like I said:

Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto View Post
your tools are not the problem.
Ya dig?
Old 20th August 2008
  #8
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nukmusic'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.
heh You are simple describing/asking about the old Gearslutz.
Old 20th August 2008
  #9
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wax808's Avatar
 

LOOKS LIKE I GOT ME A LUNKER!!!!

Old 20th August 2008
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by nukmusic View Post
heh You are simple describing/asking about the old Gearslutz.
heh.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wax808 View Post
LOOKS LIKE I GOT ME A LUNKER!!!!

Yeah, I figured (hoped?) you were joking, but to be honest, it's tough to tell these days. If it weren't, there'd be no need for my original post in the first place.
Old 20th August 2008
  #11
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wax808's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto View Post
heh.



Yeah, I figured (hoped?) you were joking, but to be honest, it's tough to tell these days. If it weren't, there'd be no need for my original post in the first place.

lol .. Yeah I know. There's obviously an endless trail of posts out there asking the same thing over and over. The reason for this I believe is the trend over the last few decades for instant gratification and answers. That's how you get kids who go out and buy an MPC, a Triton, Pro-Tools, then immediately go to the internet to ask "How do I hook this all up?"


The teat of the internet is breeding some interesting creatures. Some kids nowdays can't even have face to face confrontations or look people in the eye when they talk to them. Thanks to text messaging replacing the mouth.
Old 20th August 2008
  #12
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irthwirm's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wax808 View Post
lol .. Yeah I know. There's obviously an endless trail of posts out there asking the same thing over and over. The reason for this I believe is the trend over the last few decades for instant gratification and answers. That's how you get kids who go out and buy an MPC, a Triton, Pro-Tools, then immediately go to the internet to ask "How do I hook this all up?"


The teat of the internet is breeding some interesting creatures. Some kids nowdays can't even have face to face confrontations or look people in the eye when they talk to them. Thanks to text messaging replacing the mouth.
so true
Old 20th August 2008
  #13
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Ken Lewis's Avatar
The Pro's Secret to mixing is........

its a secret. I aint tell ya'll nuthin.

Now if you'll excuse me i gotta get back to my plugins.
Old 20th August 2008
  #14
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phillysoulman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wax808 View Post
Nice post I guess.

But you never said what tools you were using to do that. That might go a long ways towards helping others.
Its not about tools..your ears are your tools
Old 20th August 2008
  #15
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wax808's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by phillysoulman View Post
Its not about tools..your ears are your tools

Would you consider the scroll wheel on a mouse a tool?
Old 20th August 2008
  #16
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doorknocker's Avatar
A great performance will balance itself.
Old 20th August 2008
  #17
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wax808's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by doorknocker View Post

I'm constantly amazed how just-released gear gets bashed here...wait, it's often gear that hasn't even been released yet! Ot it might have been released but the bashers haven't actually used it......

That is one of the saddest things about the internet. How it taps into the human tendency for despair and criticism, and allows critics to lash out without any sort of repercussion or personal shame for doing so.



The Alesis Fusion is an example of a beautiful product which was nay-sayed into obscurity and eventually non-existence as far as any development was concerned. A few people on a couple of message boards single-handedly dismantled that product.
Old 20th August 2008
  #18
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phillysoulman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wax808 View Post
Would you consider the scroll wheel on a mouse a tool?
Hell no
Old 26th August 2008
  #19
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Denny McNerney's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto View Post
Seriously, guys, mixing is about BALANCE, PROPORTION, and RELATIVITY.
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...
Old 26th August 2008
  #20
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phillysoulman's Avatar
 

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...
geez.. I thought that they were on the UAD 1 cards.....oh drats
Old 26th August 2008
  #21
Gear Maniac
 
johnbohn's Avatar
 

Who needs level balance when you can just compress the piss out of the stereo bus! HA
Old 26th August 2008
  #22
Gear Nut
 

are most pros...(turn the knob until it sounds good) type of guys??
Old 26th August 2008
  #23
Gear Nut
 

how many stages of compression are there?
Old 26th August 2008
  #24
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phillysoulman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rowan_rashard View Post
why so much compression...you compress when tracking and then you compress again when mixing...maybe two or more compressors and then compress again on the mix buss and the mastering guy compresses again...but i guess thats the sound of radio today
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
Old 26th August 2008
  #25
Gear Addict
 
alyricalmind's Avatar
 

Wouldn't you need "tools" such as a mixing board with faders (though a mouse is also an option), a good set of reference monitors, a room with decent acoustics, a sub that translates well to others, etc? Yes, your ears are part of your tools, but I could never imagine trying to mix accurately on a cheap set of speakers with no sub (especially hip hop) in a room full of bad acoustics... it just wouldn't work.
Old 26th August 2008
  #26
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phillysoulman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by alyricalmind View Post
Wouldn't you need "tools" such as a mixing board with faders (though a mouse is also an option), a good set of reference monitors, a room with decent acoustics, a sub that translates well to others, etc? Yes, your ears are part of your tools, but I could never imagine trying to mix accurately on a cheap set of speakers with no sub (especially hip hop) in a room full of bad acoustics... it just wouldn't work.
thats why most of it sounds like ****
Old 26th August 2008
  #27
Lives for gear
 

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.
Old 27th August 2008
  #28
Gear Addict
 
babyface_finsta's Avatar
 

The real problem is the majority of us dont listen to music any more... And the majority of the books and videos have nothing to do with our style of music... what they did to that Cat Stevens Kick isn't gonna work on that 808... Along with everything being being bundled in a software program... unlimited this and that...

Cant blame a passionate person for not having patients... I think if everyone understood how long it can actually take to make a record sound good (even for the greats)... things would be different... we all get frustrated... but some of us, wont give up....

The greatest lession I've learned is to bring up a kick and snare... loop the playback and listen for the relationship between the two... then work on the bass and kick relationship... then introduce another instrument... etc etc etc... panning, sub groups... BUT... if the drums aren't working... the songs not gonna work (so start over)... it's Rap Music (or it usta be)... then introduce the FX... gate the verbs and compress some of those delays... step away... let it play while you clean up... take notes of what wrong... Tweak... then I get to the automation... by that time... someone will have stopped by and forced be a second set of ears... where I'm greated by that Kick sounds like Ass... or you def wussup with that high hat... or whatcha trying to bring Bass Music back...

Nowadays, I spend more time focused on trying to record things properly, handle the arrangement prior to mixing... **** in **** out... it's soo true... and the knowledge that the only way to fix it in the mix... is to remove it from the mix

The other problem is the majority of us produced the track... and then we try to mix it ourselves (with out stepping away from the record long enough)... even if you just added drum programming to a 70's sample... it can take hours to sound right... and multiple attempts by starting over... and sometimes it'll never sound right...

What I do... is try my best... then, pay someone to mix my record... once I get the 2 track... I import it into my session... and try to figure out what they did (at least the level and balance)... If I cant figure something out I make a call (the engineers I deal with are cool... and they'll tell me some **** that would make someone else but I find it heh )... at the end of the day I never wanna cut them outta the equation, but I would like to be great at what I want to do... prior to that I send them the reference... described what I hate about what I did... they chime in... I learn... Engineers love to talk (and give the enought time to experiment), they are just taught not to... Your gonna learn so much... and when those conversations start becoming productive your gonna learn some extra cool stuff... I have... my mixes have gotten better (but I'm still learning)... but I still get the "you should listen to the Meters"... then mix your drums...

Book a studio for the day bring in one or two songs to mix... provide lunch and whatever.... dont ask questions until the times right... make a new friend and pay them... make a duplicate copy of the session... ask about their plug choices... ask to document settings... take it home and disect...

On another note... I listen to demo's and beat submissions about 10 - 12 hours a week... the number one reason your ideas dont get placed are due to mixes... I now have the benefit of being on the other side... the records that get placed just sound better than yours... 9 times outta 10... if your not placing stuff (or your chasing submissions, where they just need a name... to make the Muckety Muscks happy) but thats a whole nother talk show... I've listened to a boat load of crap the past 3 months... my mixes stepped up by listening to other peoples bad tracks... and I realized that those A&R's in the past were just sparing my feelings... ...

It just takes time... some people are better than others... some have more patients... Cats walk into my spot, and I tell them from the door... they should stack another $250 so I can have my boy mix it (thats prolly why they still help me... i bring them so much work).... they look at me funny... which actually pays off... because they now think I'm too expensive or busy... which is furthest from the truth...
Old 27th August 2008
  #29
Gear Head
 

Good thread

I have to start by saying that I am by no means as good as a lot of the people floating around on these forums but I have to say that you're ears are definatley you're most important tools. One trick that might help some people find a better balance for their mixes is to put on a few cds that have qualities they like ie: you really like the bass response on certain recordings, Play the cds whilst you move around in you're control room and find the rooms sweet spot for that frequency range or ranges and keep a mental note. These spaces can really give you some insight into how well or not well you're mix is coming along and what is fighting/drowning other things out. I have been in a fair few high end studio's and have found that this still holds true in those situations. Also when listening to you're mix in mono it is best to listen through one speaker only as summed mono is not the same. This will give a better representation of how the mix is stacking up and where things are sitting front to back and top to bottom. Also from my experience I have found that many people mix at volume levels which are way to high to get the full picture and be able to hear things clearly (higher volumes are best used for SHORT periods to run checks on you're mix but still not TOO LOUD), which means by the end of the mix you're ears aren't actually hearing what they should be which is why one day it sounds good to you and the next it sounds completely different.

Also the gear you use does have a slight impact but only a slight impact. The trick is for those on a budget (Myself included)and to a lessor slightly extent but still those who aren't to learn what their gear is capable of and to not force it to do something it can't.

I have heard many great recordings done on some really low budget gear even some top albums were done on budget gear like the old 8 track cassette porta studios.

I say do yourself a favour and in you're play time (probably not on client time) Try to get the best results possibly using only the bare minimum thus forcing you're ears to work harder, and training them to hear things more clearly.

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.
Old 27th August 2008
  #30
Gear Nut
 

this is some good stuff
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