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recording young rappers in studio Multi-Ef­fects Plugins
Old 10th September 2011
Here for the gear

recording young rappers in studio

I reckon that nowadays a small good new bussiness for studios is recording rappers in studio since hip hop fashion is getting bigger and bigger (at least in italy, 20 years later than everywhere).
Quite often kids pay studio time and bring lousy mp3s or even stuff ripped down from youtube..

Since I want to get the best result as I can, and beats are usually overcompressed and well mastered if I'm lucky, how do you think I could get the best result in terms of loudness and definition.

Let me explain: If they have an L+R beat, let's say a busta rhymes instrumental, I have to reduce the level of the track, record vocals and then?

would you eq the beat or the voice or both?
and how would you get the best results in term of loudness?
I'm always scared to use a maximizer on these kind of mixes...

And then if you have a really dirty crappy mp3 full of noise created from downsampling, how would you "clean" the mp3 to get the less disgusting result in terms of sound?
eq? multiband compression?

I know this sounds quite an annoying conversation, but these guys start to be a small part of the incomes of a studio and nowadays they're getting important...

Old 10th September 2011
Lives for gear
AndyFromDenver's Avatar
Really coach them well through doubling their take, they'll probably be s'ing their pants at how cool it sounds. Try and source where they stole the crappy mp3 in case you can steal a higher quality version. Dip in the music track in whatever their presence range happens to be. And lastly, f it and limit it all again. Lastly lastly stay positive as they will be looking to you for approval.
p.s. this is all theoretical...
Old 10th September 2011
Lives for gear
Turn the beat down (I usually turn it down around 12dB or so). EQ the beat if it needs it. Upward compression or transient designing etc if you need more dynamics. M/S EQ to try and isolate different instruments you need to EQ. Do whatever you need to do to the beat; much of this is more art than science. EQ the vox if they need it. Do whatever you need to do to the vox. You may need to sidechain compress the vox off the beat, or the beat off the vox, or both, to get things to sit right - it can be really tricky.

If the mp3 is noisy, then it's noisy. It's not that big of a deal. That said, generally they are not noisy, particularly if they are "industry beats" (that term has always cracked me up LOL).

At the end your mix buss levels should be like with any other record. Then do the same limiting post-mix to turn the volume up just like with any other record.

Honestly, here's the deal with all these 2track mixing questions that get posted here every day. You still need good mixing skills to get the vox and music to gel together. The people who have problems getting them to gel together are the same exact people who can't make a normal multitrack mix sound good.
Old 10th September 2011
Lives for gear
E.rOk.stA's Avatar

+1 @ Andy and Chris
Old 10th September 2011
Here for the gear

I mixed some good quality soundin tracks on horrible youtube converted mp3's its easy just treat it like a normal tracked out beat and i always master the track again. Only boost frequencies with an analog eq or u will hear funny stuff.
Old 12th September 2011
Here for the gear

Very helpful answers, thanks a lot guys.
These days I found also another great solution to make these mixes sound good to these guy's ears:

Play the final mix very loud and start waving the hands strongly when the first verse come thru.

Old 12th September 2011
When I get clients coming ripping instrumentals off of youtube, before they get a chance to download, I ask for the name and do a google search to find a better quality instrumental.

Unfortunately, alot of my clients just bring me a crappy 192kbs beat and expect 'professional' results. Usually the instrumental is at 0dB, if not clipping. Def. turn the instru down until theres a good balance between the vox and the beat.

For those really crappy beats, i put Ozone on the Master. With the right settings, you can get that loudness and fullness of the instru, while making the song sound as cohesive as possible.
Old 12th September 2011
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3rd Degree's Avatar

Disclaimer: I am not a professional mixing engineer, nor do I have a public studio. Charging or not, I make it clear that my home studio is for tracking only and they are going to only get a "rough" or "listenable" mix. I have found that many people prefer my studio over some of the low end public studios in my area, however.

I know that a lot of people are giving you good technical advice. I have some more "logical" advice. I often am very straight up about how well I can mix something that isn't up to par in terms of quality. It doesn't matter if it's off youtube or it's a tracked out beat that just isn't very good and has a lot of issues. These things are obvious before you really start so just let them know your limitations. Be confident in how you say it, it's not necessarily your lack of skills, you just are not going to be able to make it sound "radio" in the end. Not saying you can't, but if you don't feel you can, that's fine, just assure them you can make it sound good.

The reason being, most people don't really care that much, especially if they are not getting legitimate instrumentals. They just want to put something out. Maybe they are talented, maybe it's just for fashion, but as long as they sound good enough, I have found people are happy.

I would say that in the last 10 non-professional projects I have heard, only 1 had a semi decent mix throughout the whole album. Many where all over the place in terms of both the mix and just the overall sound quality in both the instrumentals, and the actual song (actual vocal recording and the like). Many of these people still payed for studio time.

Out here, it's kind of assumed that the studio isn't going to fully mix your song anyway. You can pay hourly but usually their is a quick mix and the expectation is you are going to come back to that studio, or take it to another for the final mixdown. Song by song, different story. Because of that, most songs are released before mixing if it's non-professional.

Anyway, being upfront has not hurt me and people are usually more than happy with what I do when I am not. I make sure I use technical terms, even if when I know they don't understand what I am saying, to let them know why this isn't the right way to do things. Again, most of the people who don't have proper instrumentals are not super picky about sound quality, as long as their vocals sound good, they are happy.
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