The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Mixes Slighly Bright, Fix in Mastering or.. Studio Headphones
Old 13th March 2018
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Mixes Slighly Bright, Fix in Mastering or..

I'm happy with my mixes but think they are uniformally a little bright. Not just one element, all the tracks are balanced relative to one another, just overall bright.

Is slight de-brightening best left to mastering, applied to the stereo master or should I go back and uniformly de-brighten each track relative to one another? I feel there's less room for destructive revisits if this is best accomplished on the stereo master.
Old 13th March 2018
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Jeff Hayat's Avatar
 

Best thing to do is provide your ME with as close to what you want your end product to be as humanly possible. The fix it in the mix approach is one thing, but fix it in mastering is something you do not want to aim for.

Sure, you can go back and de-brighten each track relative to one another, but that's really for when you have an element or two that's too bright. If it's the entire mix that's too bright, you might be better off placing an EQ on the master bus, and cutting some hi end from there.

Another good option is to send the track to the ME, and get an opinion on whether or not there really is too much hi end.

Cheers.
Old 13th March 2018
  #3
+1 on getting it to the ME as perfect as possible. If it’s not possible for that to happen for some reason, then a pro ME should do a nice job in balancing things out. I would at a minimum, only for testing purposes, roll off a little high end freq (master two bus) just to see if it messes with any balance of instruments (and compensate accordingly).
Old 13th March 2018
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Lance Lawson's Avatar
 

If it's all mixed and balanced then a general EQ tweek is perfectly acceptable. I have mixed where EQ is balanced to my liking and to myear and preferences. Then when applying mastering effects the mix often brightens up again so with all mastering effects engaged I roll off the highs a bit. Unless there's horrendous EQ misapplication in the individual tracks themselves no need to open the unmixed tracks again.
Old 13th March 2018
  #5
Lives for gear
 
RCM - Ronan's Avatar
I would go back and revisit the mixes. Overly bright mixes are a pretty tough thing to fix in mastering. When I am mastering, I would rather have to brighten things than to un-brighten.
Old 13th March 2018
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Analogue Mastering's Avatar
It depends, whether it’s the same element being too bright in all tracks (i.e. the vocal or a resonant cymbal) or whether it’s brightness that’s has touched everything in the mix (i.e. something that was applied on the mixbus affecting each mix as a whole)
Also think about WHY you NOW think things ended up bright? Did you get feedback? Did you listen on different sets? Where are the monitors on which you mixed on the brightness spectrum? Are they dull or bright? How are your room acoustics?

Context is everything. Also what changed that made you think you can do better now? Can you exactly pinpoint the culprit? Or do you want to apply general taming?
The fix itself is not so difficult, what drove you to this decission is.

Get an ME to provide objective feedback. Things might not be to bright in the first place, or can be corrected easily without revisiting the mixes, or you might get the best results by spending a bit more time in the mixes. Get feedback, context is everything.
Old 13th March 2018
  #7
Gear Maniac
 
Jake_SJL's Avatar
 

Is it too bright due to lack of low end? Or is it too bright due to too much high frequency content?

Did you apply any low pass filters on anything? To me usually only vocals and cymbals dominate that 10k + range. Same way only kick and bass occupy the lowest frequencies.
if you put a negative high shelf on the master bus, it might make everything BUT the vocals and cymbals sound better.

Also how is your monitoring? My old system was so bass heavy that my mixes used to be too bright due to compensating for a bass heavy system.

If it’s only slightly too bright, try saturation/tape sim rather than eq.
Old 13th March 2018
  #8
Lives for gear
 
XKAudio's Avatar
 

I find that if you have locked in the mix, its not a good idea to go in and start changing things unless it is a very small specific adjustment. It can easily lead to chasing your tail.

Try adjusting your mix in stages.

If you go back and start fiddling, chances are you will fix your problem and create another.

It sounds like your in the stage where taking a tilt eq to the masterbuss is appropriate. (and in the long run seeing if your room is too dark)

hope this helps

Last edited by XKAudio; 13th March 2018 at 09:53 PM..
Old 13th March 2018
  #9
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolsen View Post
I'm happy with my mixes but think they are uniformally a little bright. Not just one element, all the tracks are balanced relative to one another, just overall bright.
How did you arrive at this conclusion? Listening to your mixes somewhere else? Listening to other records in your own mix environment? There must be a third option but I can't think of one.

At any rate, if you decide to just darken the whole thing, I'd give your ME both versions. If the ME agrees that they're too uniformly bright, he/she probably has better EQ than you, or at least they should.
Old 13th March 2018
  #10
Gear Maniac
 

Thanks for everyone's helpful responses. To answer a couple questions:

Monitoring:
Presonus Sceptre S6
Avantone MixCube
Beyerdynamic DT770 PRO headphones
iPhone Earbuds
Subaru Outback with 'Premium Audio' (ie. tweeters and subwoofer)
Various consumer playback systems

Room Treatment:
Spare Bedroom sized room, carpeted, 8' ceilings
13 homemade broadband absorbers (4 inches 703, 2' x 4'), on ceiling above mix position, ceiling/wall corners, wall/wall corners, walls

My Revelation:

Even though I was testing other mixes alongside mine, it seems I lacked discipline and the high-mids crept up on me. I suspect my 13 broadband absorbers 'darken' my listening environment. I've learned I'm initially attracted to a brightness level more than I need when tracking and during initial phases of mixing. I then listen to a great reference and go 'whoa, these guitars are darker than they should be, so are the vocals...' which is crazy and I'm obviously the one misjudging. Bass content seems consistent with other mixes, and believe me this is a pain to get right as an amateur. If I listen to a great commercial mix in my car, then listen to mine, I can mitigate the brightness difference by slightly adjusting the 'treble' control on the radio. This makes me more assured I've uniformly overdone the highs or high mids across all mix elements. Its not that far off either, just enough for me to be ashamed I didn't exercise more control while comparing reference mixes. Using SPAN, I see a little lump between 2-4k, more than my favorite references, but the rest rolls off like it appears to do on these same references. I observe (and hear) this across 7 songs. I'm thinking my next project (I only do my band's stuff), I should turn UP the high frequency control on my Sceptres, to trick myself and keep from getting bright in the first place.

I agree with a poster above, to beware of revisiting the mix and ultimately being destructive if a 2 buss solution could work better. The problem is I'm feeling insecure about what tool to suppress what I believe to be 2-4k across the whole mix. If this is something I could do, perhaps a ME could do it better, with better tools. The most pleasing result I've found was to apply a T-Racks Pultec on the 2 bus, set Attenuate to 5k and attenuate 3dbs, but I'm starting to chase my own tail at this point. A dip centered around 3k, Q around 1.5 and a half to full db cut seems to mitigate the harsh buildup, but something sounds unnatural when I do this.

So, bottom line, I think my trouble is cumulative buildup between 2-4k, and it is just a skosh too much. The only element I'm boosting in that range at all is kick (around 6k for click, but alot) and snare (around 4.5k, a db or three).
Old 14th March 2018
  #11
Lives for gear
 

A perhaps useful test I would use would be to try the two bus eq compensation on a few of the mixes (or mixed tracks), with the question, are parts that are causing or driving' the problem improved, but to the detriment of other aspects in the mix? Thus, a cue which way to proceed.
Old 14th March 2018
  #12
Lives for gear
 
vernier's Avatar
A decent ME will know what to do.
Old 14th March 2018
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Jeff Hayat's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolsen View Post
I'm feeling insecure...
Do what sounds right. It may not be the best option. It may be the wrong way to go. You might fail. Fear of failure is a sure fire way to not improve your skills.

Cheers.
Old 14th March 2018
  #14
Lives for gear
 
herecomesyourman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolsen View Post
I'm happy with my mixes but think they are uniformally a little bright. Not just one element, all the tracks are balanced relative to one another, just overall bright.

Is slight de-brightening best left to mastering, applied to the stereo master or should I go back and uniformly de-brighten each track relative to one another? I feel there's less room for destructive revisits if this is best accomplished on the stereo master.

Maybe cut a little 7kHz, using an EQ (even a plugin could work) where you can really play with a Bell curve to get surgical?

Just take any track and give that a shot? Usually that will "tame" most sibilant mixes. If the brightness is higher up on the food chain , maybe the 2Bus processing was just a bit too aggressive somewhere you normally pick to boost? Gain is exponential when you boost it on an EQ, not linear. So Two EQ's boosting around the same bandwidth, splitting the gain between them will sound "cleaner" and more natural than boosting with one EQ aggressively.

I am currently coding my own mastering software suite, so feel free to PM me. I don't mind taking phone calls to advise people.
Topic:
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump