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What am I missing... Spatial Processor Plugins
Old 7th September 2007
  #1
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drewrevolution's Avatar
 

What am I missing...

So, I've been listening to my recordings on my main monitors and I get them to where I think the mix and everything sounds good.

Then I'll throw in a professional mixed and mastered CD to compare loudness and what not.

I always feel like those professional mixes are WIDE compared to mine and it makes me feel like my recordings are just down a narrow path.

How do I get my recordings to sound huge and wide like the professionals? Is it a certain technique? Hardware? Software? A mix of everything?

Or do I just need more practice haha

Thanks!
Drew
Old 7th September 2007
  #2
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allencollins's Avatar
 

'wide' could be your converters , your preamps. But 'wide' mixes have alot to do with how the instruments are recorded , how they are eq'ed, their timbre and placement in a mix.

Sometimes you have to allow instruments to have some 'space' too. Less is more
when it comes to wide mixes
Old 7th September 2007
  #3
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drewrevolution's Avatar
 

Thanks for your input!
I guess I should have provided more information too...

API 3124+ = Pres
RME FireFace 800 = AD/DA

So it's a relatively decent setup, but it's still getting me nowhere close to being wide and huge sounding. Do I just need to learn to mix better or is there something that can help me out?
Old 7th September 2007
  #4
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ballast32's Avatar
 

If you want a "wider" sound, consider hard panning of mirrored tracks. If you think something sounds better at 20% left, pan it a bit more. Also, creating more separation in the actual tone of the instruments helps. If you have two guitar tracks, one for left and the other for right, have one slightly more or less distorted than the other, EQ it slightly differently, etc. (and be sure to put one at 100% left and the other at 100% right). Little things like that make a huge difference. DON'T DOUBLE TRACKS!! it's lazy and doesn't work. And don't think more tracks the better... less can more, you just have to do it tastefully. On top of all that, get a Manley SLAM or some high-end compressor to strap across the whole mix. Those things sound amazing. Analog outboard gear tends to add more depth, width, and general goodness that can't be found in plugins (I'm not gonna start the protools vs. analog argument... there's some amazing plugins out there, but it's just not the same!). Using the Waves SSL G comp sounds great, but having the actual G-series compressor (XLogic rack) adds a tasty touch.

That's just my input from humble experiences.

-Clayton
Old 7th September 2007
  #5
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drewrevolution's Avatar
 

ok thanks,

that does help. i sometimes double tracks like snare and EQ it different w/ different reverb spaced about 2 miliseconds from the original track to get a bigger feel and it works usually.

i can't afford high-end analog compressors right now so plugs will have to do. i do love my uad-1, and have been considering getting the Neve 33609. I would think that might work awesome as a 2-bus comp.

anyone used the 33609 uad-1 plug across as a 2-bus?
Old 7th September 2007
  #6
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RCM - Ronan's Avatar
1) are your mixes panned wide?

2) Are you using lot of stereo tracsk? (this will make things sound narrow)

3) Are you comparing to records mixed on analog consoles? (I know I will get flamed but I just call em like I see e)
Old 7th September 2007
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

i know the feeling. Keep in mind a lot of mixes you are hearing have multiple steps of extremely high quality signal chains from tracking to mixing to mastering. These signal chains not only add harmonic distortion, they do amazing sublte compression that does beautiful things to transients that digital just cannot do. This helps everything sit in the mix so easy.

In the same breath I could tell you that a great sound can be had with a SM7 into a sebatron straight to protools. The problem is once you start working with 20+ tracks the accuracy of digital makes it hard to get the mix to "gel".

Those huge 'punchy' mixes come from the culmination of so much analog goodness that its overwhelming when you add it all up. ITB mixes CAN be great as well...but its very time consuming and stressful. I can't remember once that I mixed ITB and it didn't feel like work.

High pass filters can be your friend.
Also, don't forget the power of automation.
Old 7th September 2007
  #8
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And don't forget the main key to Width and Depth : ARRANGEMENT...
Old 7th September 2007
  #9
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Long_Shaded_Eye's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grizzly View Post
And don't forget the main key to Width and Depth : ARRANGEMENT...
Yeah I think so. Also the vision you have of the recording before you record anything. At the moment I'm recording some tracks and I put adjectives on my ambitions before putting any mic.

So if you want something wide, try not to choose that at the mixing stage but when you are putting your mics across the room and when you are creating the songs.

Good luck.
Sorry for my terrible English.
/Nick.
Old 7th September 2007
  #10
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BradM's Avatar
My mixes always sound wider to me once they come back from mastering. Are your mixes mastered?

Also your mix will sound instantly wider and more spacious if you run it through some high quality outboard like an EQ, compressor, or even a mic preamp. Playback from the DAW main mix never sounds as wide to me as playback through nice analog outboard....especially something with transformers.

I'm an ITB guy, but I have to agree with Ronan on this one.

Brad
Old 7th September 2007
  #11
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miqer's Avatar
 

Some mastering studio's they stereolize the high freq (all above 10k)... a tool like isotope (or is it izotope) ozone can go this... I don't like it... but sometimes it works...

What also sometimes works the following:

You have a mono signal, say a guitar... Copy it, pan one left, one right... now pitchshift one of them 0.01 or 0.02 notes up or down (a little bit, so you cant hear)... and there is your stereo image! The signal comes in the left ear a little different than the right and the brain calculates the position of the sound. On mono playback, it might flange a bit...



m.
Old 7th September 2007
  #12
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by miqer View Post
Some mastering studio's they stereolize the high freq (all above 10k)... a tool like isotope (or is it izotope) ozone can go this... I don't like it... but sometimes it works...

What also sometimes works the following:

You have a mono signal, say a guitar... Copy it, pan one left, one right... now pitchshift one of them 0.01 or 0.02 notes up or down (a little bit, so you cant hear)... and there is your stereo image! The signal comes in the left ear a little different than the right and the brain calculates the position of the sound. On mono playback, it might flange a bit...



m.

Better off just double tracking. I've received mixes that the band has done this with the guitar tracks. Not the best idea...although it can be used for effect when a specific guitar track enters. I wouldn't do that to the main guitar tracks though.
Old 7th September 2007
  #13
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Unclenny's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by drewrevolution View Post
How do I get my recordings to sound huge and wide like the professionals? Is it a certain technique? Hardware? Software? A mix of everything?
Living within the box as I do I'm forced to cheat.

I put up a Waves S1 on an aux send and bus a few selected tracks through. My mixes are not huge and wide like the pros, but this is one of those little things that makes a subtle difference in this game of inches.
Old 7th September 2007
  #14
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allencollins's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drewrevolution View Post
Thanks for your input!
I guess I should have provided more information too...

API 3124+ = Pres
RME FireFace 800 = AD/DA

So it's a relatively decent setup, but it's still getting me nowhere close to being wide and huge sounding. Do I just need to learn to mix better or is there something that can help me out?
Ask a question get defensive with the answer??
First off firefaces are not very focused in my opinion. so maybe you don't have to learn to mix better.......... It's your gears fault!!!!!!!!!

Seriously though wide is all about instruments blending together
properly. There is no reference on this. Ive heard huge mixes done on adats
and tascam 38's through beringer eurodesks

It seems most people are confused. If you go out and by a $3500 Alembic do you automatically sound and play better than you did when you were playing your $200 fender p-bass you bought at GC? You only sound betterif you know what your doing. So what difference would it make if you traded in your mackie 2408 for an 80 series Neve?? If you don't know how to use tha mackie properly?

There is more to recording and production than gear. It's called Skill and Talent.
and the ability to harness the most out of the gear no matter how good or bad the gear is. I don't know you nor have I heard your mixes. You asked for help so I though I tried to offer it. There are many variables. I said MAYBE it's your pres I said MAYBE it's your converters. You have assured me you have fine equipment.
So the story goes maybe it is your mic placement? Maybe it's the lack of ambience
in your mixes? Maybe it's the wrong combination of instruments competing with eachother in your mixes. Maybe your mixes aren't eq'd properly. Fortunetly it is probably not your gear.

I didn't give the 'did you pan your instuments wide' condescending answer cuz I didn't think anyone would not do that automatically. Thats the first thing you learned when you got your portastudio in 1984. So I figured you new that

'space' is the key to big wide mixes more than anything else. Getting insruments to blend in a mix and give them there own spcae in the mix.

I used to live near the great producer Jimmy Miller. I would see him from time to time at a coffee shop down the street from where we lived. I asked him shortly before he died "what makes a record sound like a record" he replied with one word

"SPACE"
Old 9th September 2007
  #15
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drewrevolution's Avatar
 

Hey!

Sorry, I wasn't meaning to sound defensive so i apologize for coming off that way. I was just providing more information about my gear.

Thanks for everyone's input. I think i kinda figured out something that maybe is affecting the "wideness" of my mixes.

My live room is COMPLETELY covered in foam. Yes, it's like a big iso booth.
I basicaly have no room feel or ambience.
I need to find another room to liven up the sounds and I also want to experiment with mic placements.

Once again, thanks for everyone's advice! It's awesome to have somewhere like this to go to get more advanced engineer's opinions.
Old 9th September 2007
  #16
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BlueRadio's Avatar
 

Let's not forget what creates the illusion of width and space...

room sound, reverb, echo, ect.


-Many of the records you are listening to were probably recorded in spacious, acoustically designed rooms.

-On top of that...subtle, tasteful amounts of reverb are probably sprinkled throughout the mixes at a level that you may be totally unaware of.

-Panning and HP filtering will also get you there.


Hope this helps
Old 9th September 2007
  #17
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lowfreq33's Avatar
 

one nice trick- for stereo pianoroll some highs off the left (low) side and some lows off the right (high) side. This gives more separation and keeps it from sounding like "big mono". I'll do the opposite with a couple of guitars so that the lows don't pull to one side.
Old 10th September 2007
  #18
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Old Goat's Avatar
 

Wow. Some good ideas here. I both copy and double track a lot, but eq'ing the sides differently simply never occurred to me. Cool. Neat thread.
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