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Watching the VU meters versus using your ears...
Old 31st May 2006
  #1
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Lando Calrissian's Avatar
Watching the VU meters versus using your ears...

I've always tried to mix in conjunction with checking the levels as well as using my ears. I know from experience that using my ears seems to work best.

However, when using my ears, sometimes when I check the levels of the vocals for example, they actually peak above the drums making them the loudest element in the mix. The mix sounds good, but I know that in theory, the drums, especially the kick should be the loudest element in the mix.

Should I continue to go with my ear's instinct, or follow the theoretical "drum rule" and lower the vox?
Old 31st May 2006
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

If you're mixing thru a board....listen don't look...
Old 31st May 2006
  #3
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con?one's Avatar
 

i use my ears, its alot faster... and like you said, gets beter results
but i definitely use the meters for finding little problems, etc...
Old 31st May 2006
  #4
Moderator
 
TonyBelmont's Avatar
 

The universal answer is "use your ears"..

Just watch for peaks when tracking.
Old 31st May 2006
  #5
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Igotsoul4u's Avatar
do a vocal up and a vocal down pass if you don't trust your ears.
Old 1st June 2006
  #6
Gear Head
 
BigArt's Avatar
 

use your ears
Old 1st June 2006
  #7
Moderator
 
Tim Farrant's Avatar
 

Well I find watching the VU meters very useful. If you are trying to keep a vocal nicely tucked into a mix so that it sounds like part of the band, (and not just plastered on top of it), then muting the vocal and seeing the difference in VU swing is helpful in identifying the energy being consumed by the lead vocal.

Sometimes, thinning the vocal out with some EQ can reduce the energy it is taking up without any apparent loss in volume. Same with the bass, sometimes a gentle low cut shelf can reduce the space it is taking up without loosing it's perspective in the mix.

I don't think there is any right/wrong way, do what works for you!

Cheers
Tim.
Old 2nd June 2006
  #8
Here for the gear
 

Hello to everyone on the forums.

My opinion about this topic is that you need to use both. Depending on your monitoring system, certain cycles can simply slip past you and haunt you at mastering.

Dexter Simmons
Old 2nd June 2006
  #9
Moderator
 
TonyBelmont's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dexter simmons
Hello to everyone on the forums.

My opinion about this topic is that you need to use both. Depending on your monitoring system, certain cycles can simply slip past you and haunt you at mastering.

Dexter Simmons
Hi Dexter,

Welcome to Gearslutz!
Old 2nd June 2006
  #10
Here for the gear
 

Hello Tony

This forum is great. I'm enjoying going through the posts.

Dexter Simmons
Old 2nd June 2006
  #11
Lives for gear
 
streetbeats's Avatar
 

I agree with Dexter.

Also, meters can be particularly useful for noticing problems like DC offset coming through a channel; stuff you cant hear but thats eating up your headroom.

Im pretty sure Ive read an interview with Chris Lord-Alge where he talks about how he uses meters as well as his ears to mix, the meters helping him find the console sweet spot.

Just searched and found the interview....here is the quote:

Quote:
What is it you love about this [SSL 4000 G Plus] console so much?

Bottom line, this console has attitude. In 10 more years, these consoles will be like old Neves. They're classic. This one was installed in about 1985; it's modified as far as you can go, and it's in great shape. And it's got light meters, which I like. I'm all about the meters.

What do you mean?

I've got to see what's going on. I don't do this by ear only! I use the meters to balance things left and right, and to see what's going on with each fader so I can optimize the console.

They're set to show input?

No, the output of the fader — fader to mix — EQ'd and everything. It's all about maximizing the signal strength. You hit the tape machine a certain way, the tape machine is hitting the console a certain way, you're hitting the mix bus a certain way. You're at the sweet spot. All consoles have a pretty small sweet spot where it really sounds good.

That's something you don't hear mentioned much lately.

Well, everybody's thinking because they're digital, they don't have to worry about a sweet spot. Well, yeah, you do. Digital craps out so quick it's disgusting. In an all-digital console, the sweet spot is tiny — like a postage stamp. But there's a small window on any console where the headroom is right and where it really sounds the best. That's where I stay, in that window.
The whole interview is here:

http://mixonline.com/mag/audio_chris...lge/index.html
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