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
Getting a tad frustrated... Studio Headphones
Old 29th August 2007
  #1
Lives for gear
 

Getting a tad frustrated...

Sitting here and working on a mix. Have to hand it over tomorrow. It sounds alright. I'd be happy enough for this band to show it to another, say this is his general rate for tracking and mixing...but I just wish it was better. I can't do crispy and huge. It just gets too dense.

I feel like I could sit for a week on this mix and maybe it'd be 2% better.

I don't know. I wish I knew some other people's stories about when they were starting out. I feel like I'm getting better with each mix. I sit there and think maybe it's the gear, maybe I'm peaking out what I can do with these noisy preamps what not...but I hate thinking that's an excuse...

aagkajgljasgdlkdjagljksdagl;skajgajegit2gij etc.

that's my rant for right now.
Old 29th August 2007
  #2
6293
Guest
hell yeah dude. i am there right now. all i can say thats helped is less is more in terms of pieces in the arrangment, fx, verb, and compression. for rock keep the kick tuned and gelled to the bass fundamental so the rhythm section is groovin, sit your vox and pull the rest around it. what helps also is putting it down and starting fresh after working in another genre. pull up a classical session. Listen to the interplay of the instruments and timbral changes due to well played parts of a whole. then go back to your rock mix and see what the music needs. sorry if im just too vague to help....as stated above i am going through this right now. i can assure you of this though...short of a boombox as your only piece of gear, it definitely isnt the gear.

oh and i hear ya on the skajgajegit2gij....that **** sux.
Old 29th August 2007
  #3
Lives for gear
 

Word.

Every mix. I can get to a stage where I think yeah this is cool and then within say half an hour the voices come into my head and then its a struggle!

I guess we have to keep doing what we are doing, as Tchad Blake said in his guest mod, nobody would let him mix records a few years back, now he's the go to for loads of cool stuff.

I think its hard to value the interesting things we can do, but easy to look at what we can't do (in our eyes)

Stick with it mate.

thumbsup
Old 29th August 2007
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Kyle S's Avatar
 

burn mix to a cd

roll a j

get in car

turn stereo up/windows down

drive out to the country and just listen and watch the road




this is where i get my mix revelations.
i feel ya man it sucks. is it possible to change rooms?
Old 29th August 2007
  #5
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by orksnork View Post
Sitting here and working on a mix. Have to hand it over tomorrow. It sounds alright. I'd be happy enough for this band to show it to another, say this is his general rate for tracking and mixing...but I just wish it was better. I can't do crispy and huge. It just gets too dense.

I feel like I could sit for a week on this mix and maybe it'd be 2% better.

I don't know. I wish I knew some other people's stories about when they were starting out. I feel like I'm getting better with each mix. I sit there and think maybe it's the gear, maybe I'm peaking out what I can do with these noisy preamps what not...but I hate thinking that's an excuse...

aagkajgljasgdlkdjagljksdagl;skajgajegit2gij etc.

that's my rant for right now.
Hey man I was right were you were 5 years ago. I am from long island too so many you want to take some lessons from me but I will give you some quick tips (these are assuming you are on a tight budget) that transformed my recordings into what me and my clients consider better than most pro studios.


1. Composition and arrangement of instrumentation/vocals (ie. maybe a 2nd guitar does nothing but muddy up the waters for a song, or a riff should be played down an octave to stay out of the same range as the vocals, or there is an annoying 1 note repeating keyboard thing going on that has no place in the song, or the song just sucks, etc...)
2. Performance - Including good feel, sense of rhythm, in tune, sound/tone, etc...
3. Room (invest in some time and money in treatment and make the room as quiet as possible; the higher the noise floor the muddier the track/mix even if you don't actually hear the noise while the instrument on the track is playing)
4. Choice of microphone (search the web for some good mic choices for the application)
5. Cable (Mogami cables all the way)
6. Preamp (allen and heath 16 channel mixwizard kicks the crap out of mackie and everything else for anywhere near the price of about $50 a channel and much higher until you get to about $500 a channel)
7. Converters (apogee or if you cant afford go with a motu 24io)
8. Good monitors to hear whats really going on
9. Gating (noise gates can remove so much wish wash (and noise from guitar amps or whatever when they are not playing) that is going on especially on tom mics then bass drum and snare; use your ear to set the gate long enough to let the whole sound complete before the gate kicks in otherwise you will have chopped off drum sounds unless thats what you want)
10. EQ ( EQ is the secret ingredient to getting mixes right. Well Eq'd tracks (and they can be well eq'd without the need of extra eq if the track was captured well) are so easy to mix because the tracks remain clear and separate no matter what level (panning is actually very important in that respect). On the other hand muddy tracks will be tough to mix no matter what because things will always be fighting. I will not give away my eq secrets as they are the result of years of hard earned experience. If you want to learn more visit my bands website at Welcome to Mantra Band Site and contact me for a lesson or 2 they will save you years of time trust me. The recordings on the site do not reflect my current work. They were recorded in a noisy crappy room, with buzzing instruments/amps, crappy mics, crappy cables, crappy preamps, crappy converters, half decent mixing eqing skills (before my last few years of experience where I learned the most) and still came out ok. It will be worth your time to check out.)
11. Panning
12. Balance of levels
13. Compressors (the sound that makes the difference between amateur and pro)
14. Reverb
15. Summing quality
16. Mastering

Always trust your ears above everything else. Go with what sounds good. Always compare before and after to make sure you are making improvements and not making things worse. One great trick I have found with mixing is to add 1 track at a time and mix them until they sound how you think they should. Then mute 1 of the tracks wait a little then unmute the track. Did it not come in loud enough? Just bring it up. Then mute the track again, wait, then unmute. Is it on the money? Good move to the next track and follow this procedure. If not keep trying. This shouldn't take more than a few mutes/unmutes to get the two tracks right. This has worked wonders for me and has enabled me to get great mixes really fast.

Welcome to Mantra Band Site
Old 30th August 2007
  #6
Registered User
 

try starting the mix over. zero out the faders. attack it with a plan. don't use effects unless you hear the need for them. listen.listen.listen!

turn you monitor off. listen.

go to the back of the room. listen.

lie on the floor. listen.

get Buddhist about it all.

mute is your friend. mute tracks, listen...to they add anything? if not cut them out! If the mix sounds too dense, that's probably because it is too dense!

most of all, give yourself 3-4 hours to finish it. no distractions.

good luck, you can do it.
Old 30th August 2007
  #7
Lives for gear
I have no idea if this will help, but often a short delay and a long delay can bring life to a mix.

Set up two stereo auxes. Put a 1/4 note delay on one (or left side 1/4, right side 1/2) and a whole note delay on the other.

Start sending little amounts of everything but bass to these delays. Yes, even kick drum! Just have fun experimenting with the space created.

Not too much. Keep it subliminal.

Does this help? (If so, send my check to ....).
Old 30th August 2007
  #8
Lives for gear
i always found that when dealing with baby bands/microbudget situations, you've gotta mix like a producer and, like the fellow above said, be judicious but unafraid with your use of mute, etc. a lot of bands are "everyone on, all the time". doesn't always translate so well onto record, so you've gotta be the guide. keep yourself in sympatico with what you know (by this point in the recording process, if not sooner) the artist is trying to say and where he/they're coming from, and you will be a hero with great sounding product to sing your praises.
Old 30th August 2007
  #9
Lives for gear
 

that's exactly one of the problems...

there's an inordinate amount of **** going on in the music....

drums, bass, rhythm guitar, lead (which is doubled and sometimes harmonized), keyboards, vox and back up vox...

the singer was like "do what you want with it, you're the guy" and i was like terrific...

in walks the guitarist and starts telling me this and that...the singer just gets tired of hearing it and says listen to him...

i think what this needs is a stern phone call (im on the right level with these guys to give one) and to sit down tomorrow with fresh ears and start hacking out the **** that doesn't bring a damn thing...

thanks to everyone everyone for the advice and what not...im gonna give another crack at it tonight with what they wanted and then hopefully tomorrow ill have a little more play over it
Old 30th August 2007
  #10
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by orksnork View Post
that's exactly one of the problems...

there's an inordinate amount of **** going on in the music....

drums, bass, rhythm guitar, lead (which is doubled and sometimes harmonized), keyboards, vox and back up vox...

the singer was like "do what you want with it, you're the guy" and i was like terrific...

in walks the guitarist and starts telling me this and that...the singer just gets tired of hearing it and says listen to him...

i think what this needs is a stern phone call (im on the right level with these guys to give one) and to sit down tomorrow with fresh ears and start hacking out the **** that doesn't bring a damn thing...

thanks to everyone everyone for the advice and what not...im gonna give another crack at it tonight with what they wanted and then hopefully tomorrow ill have a little more play over it
My advice is if they are paying you give them exactly what they ask for. Then spend a few hours on your own to change things to the way you want afterwards and play it for them and if they like it better make em pay.
Old 30th August 2007
  #11
Gear Guru
 

when I get a song that is having "density issues" I strip it back down to guitar bass and drums and get it rockin'. then I might try to sneak some of the 'inordinate ****' back in, but if it doesn't fit, it stays out. If some stupid part that they worked really hard on isn't 'featured' - well too bad. If one individual in the band is 'underrepresented', tough.

Do a mix on your own and present it to the band as a fait accompli. Be totally ruthless in leaving out or pushing down anything that is layering for the sake of layering. Be totally undemocratic like a coach putting in only his best players in the championship game.

Make it all cake and skimp on the icing.

Then when they come in, let them tweak it to their hearts' content (on the clock of course) No doubt they will lobby for you to bring up all the little decorations they made. But chances are when they A-B it against the 'cake' mix they will see the light. Or perhaps some effective middle ground will be discovered. Either way, you did your job and you got paid.
Old 30th August 2007
  #12
Lives for gear
 
DontLetMeDrown's Avatar
 

Sometimes it helps to take a track you are having trouble with to an experienced engineer/mixer that you trust. Pay him to work on the song for a few hours and you will probably learn how to overcome at least a few of the of the obstacles you are facing. Even if you don't like his mix of the song, you can take what you have learned and make your own mix applying some of his fixes to the other songs. If you recorded DI's sometimes it can be helpful to reamp your guitars in a kickass studio through some better gear.

Best of luck with everything.
Old 30th August 2007
  #13
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diegel View Post
1. Performance is most important (I would say 80% signficance ratio to everything else)
2. Arrangement of instrumentation (ie. maybe a 2nd guitar does nothing but muddy up the waters for a song, or maybe a riff should be played down an octave to stay out of the same range as the vocals)

first of all, that was a brilliant post, everyone would do well to re-read it and take notes.

the only thing i have to add is that i would reverse 1 & 2; it may just be the way i mix/produce or the people i've worked with, but i find that arrangement is the absolute biggest determining factor in how open/punchy/spacious/whatever a mix can be. a brilliant arrangement - which includes choice of instrumentation as well as layering of parts and rhythms - will support sloppy playing and still sound brilliant. brilliant playing, otoh, is lost if the arrangement is total ass.

i guess i'd also throw 'instrument tone' somewhere into your list... good sounding instruments make life easy.

again, fantastic post.


gregoire
del
ubk
.
Old 30th August 2007
  #14
Lives for Jesus
 
stevep's Avatar
You cant mix whats not there......... Its all about the arrangement

if you push up the faders and it sounds like a record , your 1/2 way there

just do the best you can



.
Old 30th August 2007
  #15
Gear Addict
 

Lots of great advices in this thread !...

Arrangements are definitely the key, so don't feel bad about drastically muting anything that don't serve the feel of the song, even though it sure will hurt several egos there... If the guys are good musicians though, they will all eventually turn this into an uplifting experience that will allow them to improve their skills, not only in a studio but also on stage... If not, well... fuuck

Also a mediocre rythm section can make the mix sound very muddy too, typically a heavy loaded drums part with a loose bass line... In that case, not much to be fixed during the mix, might as well do it all over again...

Our job is basically to turn all of these waves into a single one, so it obviously requires quite a few poor elements to be burned on the pyre !...

Good luck !

Olivier.
Old 30th August 2007
  #16
Lives for gear
 
Unclenny's Avatar
Great thread!!

I'm just reading.
Old 30th August 2007
  #17
Gear Addict
 
ScottTunes's Avatar
 

What can you do without?

What is the song's focus?

Drum dominant? Guitar dominant? Vox dominant?

Can't be all... BUT, using dynamics, each can have a turn, which also gives the song movement or momentum...

I'm ruthless with the first one - how much can you take away and still have a song? Except on my own songs! Heh! Then I get someone else to do it so I can yell at them!
Old 30th August 2007
  #18
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k View Post
first of all, that was a brilliant post, everyone would do well to re-read it and take notes.

the only thing i have to add is that i would reverse 1 & 2; it may just be the way i mix/produce or the people i've worked with, but i find that arrangement is the absolute biggest determining factor in how open/punchy/spacious/whatever a mix can be. a brilliant arrangement - which includes choice of instrumentation as well as layering of parts and rhythms - will support sloppy playing and still sound brilliant. brilliant playing, otoh, is lost if the arrangement is total ass.

i guess i'd also throw 'instrument tone' somewhere into your list... good sounding instruments make life easy.

again, fantastic post.


gregoire
del
ubk
.
I agree. The composition and arrangement happens before it is performed. And if things are played sloppily I think the human ear has a tendency to fix it in their mind because you subconsciously know how it's supposed to sound. The order I put these in were more or less the order of the signal chain so I was thinking more along the lines of the fact that bands usually don't find out that their arrangements could use adjustments until after they performed and recorded it and hear it back.
Old 30th August 2007
  #19
Lives for gear
 
gurubuzz's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by orksnork View Post
that's exactly one of the problems...

there's an inordinate amount of **** going on in the music....

drums, bass, rhythm guitar, lead (which is doubled and sometimes harmonized), keyboards, vox and back up vox...

the singer was like "do what you want with it, you're the guy" and i was like terrific...

in walks the guitarist and starts telling me this and that...the singer just gets tired of hearing it and says listen to him...

i think what this needs is a stern phone call (im on the right level with these guys to give one) and to sit down tomorrow with fresh ears and start hacking out the **** that doesn't bring a damn thing...

thanks to everyone everyone for the advice and what not...im gonna give another crack at it tonight with what they wanted and then hopefully tomorrow ill have a little more play over it
As someone said, democracy and mixing a record don't work....


My advice while mixing, when your tweeking something like EQ and compressors when you think it sounds good just back off a little of what you did....to where you cant tell the difference. like if you boost something until it sounds good just back the knob off to where you can't here the difference.


If I remember I put every channel down to -12db before I start and have a decent mix buss compressor going from word go....
Old 30th August 2007
  #20
Lives for gear
 

helpful advice...

there is a power struggle between instruments in the mix...

the synths are doing a lead, the guitars are doing a lead, and the vocals are worth being up front...

still trying to make this phone call happen before it's one that goes "hey we need that right now"
Old 30th August 2007
  #21
Lives for gear
 

ahhh finally got him

"do the mix you wanna do, if you don't like something that's there, bury it"

all the right things were said...

now my friends...

i work.
Old 30th August 2007
  #22
6293
Guest
synth like square wave buzz lead, or chimy hollow breezey lead/ Can you sit the vox first then carve the other two instruments around the vox? or send the one element to stereo preverb/spatial fx, then only return the preverb/fx from that element and blend with the dry/direct sound from the other lead element. sorry to throw **** at your wall.
Old 30th August 2007
  #23
Orksnork you're in the same county as me, if you want to come by with the tracks, I could check out what you have and maybe give you some suggestions. No Charge
Old 30th August 2007
  #24
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by orksnork View Post
ahhh finally got him

"do the mix you wanna do, if you don't like something that's there, bury it"

all the right things were said...

now my friends...

i work.

Kinda takes the load off doesn't it? Hope you feel better about things now. If you get a chance give us a snippet of the song in question. I'm curious how it's going to turn out.
Old 30th August 2007
  #25
Lives for gear
 

Musiclab: thanks for the invite. I've gotta wrap this up before too long and head upstate...so i don't really have time for that today....

but could I take you up on that the next mix I'm doing? (probably something that I'm not profiting off for myself, and I'll be happier with the playing and arranging)


blackfish: errrrrrm

Jonboy: I could send around some links to an mp3 in private messages for anyone who would want to listen...but I'm not quite ready to have what little confidence I have in my meager skills destroyed yet...I'll send you a PM.


I'm definitely having a problem getting the vocals to sit right. The singer has a weird, coheed and cambria kind of voice...
Old 30th August 2007
  #26
6293
Guest
[QUOTE=orksnork;1468950]

blackfish: errrrrrm

QUOTE]

cool. hope it works out.
Old 30th August 2007
  #27
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by orksnork View Post
Musiclab: thanks for the invite. I've gotta wrap this up before too long and head upstate...so i don't really have time for that today....

but could I take you up on that the next mix I'm doing? (probably something that I'm not profiting off for myself, and I'll be happier with the playing and arranging)


blackfish: errrrrrm

Jonboy: I could send around some links to an mp3 in private messages for anyone who would want to listen...but I'm not quite ready to have what little confidence I have in my meager skills destroyed yet...I'll send you a PM.


I'm definitely having a problem getting the vocals to sit right. The singer has a weird, coheed and cambria kind of voice...

Definately send me some links, I'm working with one of those types of singers tonight.
Old 30th August 2007
  #28
Lives for gear
 

blackfish: it sounds pretty square buzzy....but im not really sure what you mean with the rest of your comment
Old 30th August 2007
  #29
Lives for gear
 

you've got pm
Old 30th August 2007
  #30
Lives for gear
 

i wanted to thank you guys again for the help and kind words thusfar
Top Mentioned Products
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
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
Mono / So much gear, so little time
1
jabney / Gearslutz Secondhand Gear Classifieds
0
tunasafedolphin / The Moan Zone
12
TonyBelmont / Gearslutz Secondhand Gear Classifieds
1
tom_c / The Moan Zone
6

Forum Jump
Forum Jump