2track: to hype or not to hype, that is the question
Old 27th May 2005
  #1
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2track: to hype or not to hype, that is the question

playing around with this GR EQ-2NV to get started feeling it, i threw it on the 2buss just to mess around with the mixes some.... and dialing in the "modern" kinda sound, hp@27hz, boost @ 100hz, cut at 330hz, boost @ 6k8hz, and shelf at 15khz kinda EQ. your typical smiley face EQ.

now taking the mix on its own sounded fine, natural. add that EQ curve to teh mix and suddenly it sounds "clearer" [yet with some negative tradeoffs imo] but seems to imitate a lot of the current crop of records i hear... then if you flip to bypass, suddendly the original mix sounds a bit dull at first, but if you wait a bit your ears adjust back and it sounds fine again once your hearing clears of the hyped version.

any thoughts on this?

in terms of this mix, i had actually thrown it up in like 10 minutes and have gone back and tweaked the things i liked that the hypeQ did to the individual elements that was positive yet it let alone the things i didnt like.
Old 27th May 2005
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alphajerk
now taking the mix on its own sounded fine, natural. add that EQ curve to teh mix and suddenly it sounds "clearer" [yet with some negative tradeoffs imo] but seems to imitate a lot of the current crop of records i hear... then if you flip to bypass, suddendly the original mix sounds a bit dull at first, but if you wait a bit your ears adjust back and it sounds fine again once your hearing clears of the hyped version.
When you say "the current crop of records (you) hear," what sort of records do you mean? Records that you like and think sound great or just records that you hear, say, on TV or on the radio or in a movie trailer or what? I ask because the older I get, the less I want to make things sound just like other things (maybe it's the years I spent doing lots of sound-alikes for karaoke and stuff). Every time I hear (or read) people bitching about how crappy today's music is or how bad it sounds or how over-compressed it is or destroyed in mastering or whatever, I think, "Then take some initialtive and change it." I gripe about those kinds of things, too, but then avoid them whenever I can in the things I record, unless a client specifically asks for it. We make our own realities.

I'll get off my soapbox now, but those are my thoughts on the issue. I might have missed your point entirely, but I just thought I'd touch on that perspective anyway.

Good topic!

Chris Garges
Charlotte, NC
Old 27th May 2005
  #3
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records i just hear being done, for better or worse.... and i can see the addictive nature because AT FIRST, it sounds like an improvement in the sound but upon further review, it can also been seen as detrimental as well. but knee jerk reaction says the hyped version is "better", and typical of the end user and their inherent smiley face.

im just looking for opinions about this... i certainly notice more modern recordings taking use of this over older recordings. this recording happens to be some pretty old school country so i can get fully away with a very lofi/natural sound. and the first response from the artist was " That's the best version I've heard. I'd stopped playing that song as I didn't think it sounded so good, but that's great." direct quote [from someone who is REALLY picky about shit], that was the "natural version".... so its not like im taking a crappy mix and trying to "enhance it"
Old 27th May 2005
  #4
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oh, and i do kinda like the hypercompressed sound for some stuff. obviously genre dependant. and there is a "limit" [pardon the pun] as to how far it can be taken, but i dont find myself offended as easily as some here do by this practice.
Old 27th May 2005
  #5
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You hit exactly the question I´m dealing with since yesterday.

Eventhough the case is a bit different it comes very close.

Am about mastering mixes that seem to sound just fine as they are, however I was keen to put them through a tube limiter.
Send them through that box at very moderate settings and the influence is huge.

On the one hand the more ballsy tube chararcter on the other hand its boxy image and on top of it lots of detail and depth gone. Still, that ballsy aspect is attractive ( too bad I can´t merge the two versions ), also that rounding-up the hair around female voices or distorted guitars appears appealing and glueing, ... but the weird thing is all in all whichever version I listen too I seem to like best.

However, when switching from the "dull" tube example to the original gives so much more subtleties, air and especially third dimension ... And in the same time you think like it was a bit thin in a way compared to the boldness of the tube box.

The sad thing is that you can´t just compensate the limiters dull and re-gain detail by simply adding some HF with an EQ before it. ( Makes it sound paperly.)

I´m sure my tubes aren´t the best ( new ones are supposed to arrive next week, but the mixes gotta leave before ).

Am about turning on the rig and listen again, but I suppose in the end I´ll go for the bright version. I would just hate to lose all the definition and space that obviously only HF can give you.

Ruphus
Old 27th May 2005
  #6
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Well, the problem is in general public deafness caused by high SPL torture and comfort with huge SPL listening situations (clubs, concerts, parties, cars, ipods etc...). IMO, it doesn't have anything to do with music trends or hype. Mind you, even jazz is "funny" nowadays!!! You CAN NOT change that, period. It will get WORSE (progressive hearing loss …)

Put the damn smiley EQ on the mix, satisfy the artist, producer and label then apply inverse smiley EQ when listening privately.

I'm sarcastic but it could actually work

Cheers
Old 27th May 2005
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alphajerk
so its not like im taking a crappy mix and trying to "enhance it"
To me, that would be more appropriate, actually. I mean, if you're using it to serve a specific purpose, as opposed to just trying to get it to sound like other stuff on the radio or whatever. If it sounds noticeably better with it in, rock on. If it's negligible and just makes the mix sound more like everything else out there (which people seem to be constantly complaining about), be a renegade!

Chris Garges
Charlotte, NC
Old 27th May 2005
  #8
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On my band's last project I directed our Mastering engineer to do his best work on the material without feeling the need to do use the smileyface hyped "modern" eq job and super loud compression techniques. Pop it in after a modern pop production and it sounds strange in comparison, but let your ears adjust for a moment and it stands on it's own... just how we wanted it...
Old 27th May 2005
  #9
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I always count on the human ear to adjust to the sound- when that reveals a world of subtleties, I'm all for it. I've had that experience seeing acoustic music unamplified in a nice hall. At first, you think maybe it's a bit quiet, but that in itself makes you listen differently. Then, after a couple minutes, you can hear EVERYTHING.

Kind of like a nature scene- just like it really. The more you look, the more there is to see.

BUT- it's tough going from hypeland to something with subtlety and dimension. Like the listener is hearing the usual hyped stuff and then your effort at natural comes on. The thing that can make the transition successful, is a striking arrangement and the music itself. Things like for real deep unrolledoff bass and the shing of cymbals and chimes can help give the unhyped recording a expansive open sound that quickly tells the listener's brain that yeah this is worth a good listen here and that it's "more than" the usual hype candidate in some significant way.

It's that transition that's tough- for album listening, the ear quickly opens up and does it's miraculous work.

The difference can be the difference between a listener with all their senses peeled, leaning forward to take everything in, and a listener with their senses dulled and using their miraculous brain to turn it all down and filter out the very hype that's such a kick for about one hot minute.
Old 27th May 2005
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weedmaker
Put the damn smiley EQ on the mix, satisfy the artist, producer and label then apply inverse smiley EQ when listening privately.
the artist hasnt heard the hyped version, that comment was from the original natural state mix... the hyped version just came from playing with this new EQ and dialing it in for shits and grins. he liked the unhyped version just fine.

im not really looking for advice, just opinions on it. ultimately, i like the natural mix more... but certainly goes against the grain of much current freqwise... i actually LIKE the lowmids being "there" and not simply cut for clarity's sake, and that goes the same for the top end.
Old 27th May 2005
  #11
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hey, alphajerk

I ment in general, I didn't want to advice you.

Damn internet communication ...
Old 27th May 2005
  #12
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no, ui though you misread it as the artist preferring the hyped version...
Old 27th May 2005
  #13
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To me "hyping" a mix (or a master) means optimizing the sound to the particular room and monitors at the expense of what it'll sound like elsewhere. It can be done with eq. and it can also be done with compression. Trusting monitors too much is a very common beginner's mistake.

I and most of the people I know feel that eqing and/or compressing individual mix elements will usually allow the musical balance to translate better than an overall surgical mixbuss treatment. That said, it often sounds better to use the buss for any broad, overall eq such as a 100Hz. or 5kHz. shelf that you'd otherwise want to be applying to every track. This is because using individual eq can cause the tracks to fight each other rather than blend.

The line between what the recording actually needs and what sounds best in one room is tricky. I've found that what makes a great mastering monitor is a speaker that shows most reasonably good mixes are very hard to improve on. It differs from hype monitors that make "everything" sound good because most of the things you'll try to do to a good mix will sound obviously worse.
Old 27th May 2005
  #14
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i trust my monitors cause they dont let me down. its sounds out of the room what it sounds like on them... but in a different enviroment. but still the same. if things were way out of wack, then i wouldnt have built confidence in them.

that said.

hyping a mix to me, especially with a lot of modern releases means cutting the low mids, boosting the lows a tad, and bringing up the HF for "detail"... really has nothing to do with the room itself. its part of the mastered CD.
Old 27th May 2005
  #15
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After listening again through speakers ( last night was through cans ) the tube version looks less dull now ( might be the Adams hyping HF a bit though ).
Anyway, I just called the band leader to come over and decide himself. Sometimes additional opinons can´t hurt the individual case.

Ruphus
Old 27th May 2005
  #16
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if the hyped eq sounds better to you then it's probably just louder, so that when you bypass it all those hypey freqs seem to fall away. it's the overall loss of energy that's informing your judgment.

so level match the two. hype all you want, then pull the gain back so that the apparent bass levels are the same when the eq is engaged and when it's bypassed (i'm assuming bypass also bypasses the makeup gain circuit). now, when you hit bypass, your mix's low mids and mid-range should jump out at you and the song will come alive. engage the eq, and suddenly those energetic mids get sucked away, and the mix sounds thin and small.

the best mastering engineers i've worked with understand this, and 90% of their eq'ing is to unmask and unclutter, or to shift the emphasis, or bring the overall picture into balance... hype has nothing to do with it. unless, of course, hyped is the sound you're after.


gregoire
del ubik
Old 27th May 2005
  #17
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i havent said it sounds better...
Old 27th May 2005
  #18
Gear nut
 

I tend to find that a lot of young bands want the hyped version. You know hyper EQ, hyper compressed. I got slated the other day off this college kid for not religiously compressing my mixes on the 2buss. I tried to explain that not all mixes need comping, depends on what your after. Besides I like to get it tight without compressors first. But no he wasn't having it. So I took a completly natural sounding mix no eq or compression, which actually sounded nice, applied said smiley face and compd it tighter than hell - hey presto he loved it! But it just doesn't sound 'real' anymore. But it sounds like his hero's. I tend to find with a lot of this indie rock stuff (libertines et al) That tight eq and compression make them sound more 'rock and roll' if you know what i mean. Like gives the stuff an urgency and 'pump' that isn't there in the first place. Its just too artificail for my own personal taste. Nothing wrong if thats what you want - but it won't find its way to my record collection (and yes I still collect records!)

Anyway just my two pennith.

Peace
Old 27th May 2005
  #19
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I think it's a very subjective thing. Bob's advice as to what the perception is by our ears with various techniques used is very good, but it still goes back to a 'do you like blue or red better?' kind of question. Listen to some later period Beatles or Dark Side of the Moon. To my ears it sounds very 'flat' frequency curve-wise. Compared to much stuff today it's almost dark in the highs, and lacking much of the modern low frequencies that some of today's better recordings have. Compare DSOTM to OK Computer and you'll see what I mean. For how much I love DSOTM, the drums sound almost demo-ish by todays comparisons. But on the other side, I have yet to hear as lush (without being campy or overly processed) representation of guitars and vocals on modern recordings. So it depends on how far you want to go with it...there is always a middle point.
Old 28th May 2005
  #20
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You know, ironically, itunes has given me a fascinating new perspective on the general EQ of mixes (specifically rock and pop) and how it's evolved. The ability to so quickly move around between countless records is very informative. And the ability to easily level match (just remember to undo it later!) makes it a valuable comparison tool. That being said......

Today's mixes, specifically by the radio guys like the Alges, A Wallace, Brendan O' Brien, etc., seem much more prominent in the low end and the mids. I've been of the opinion that most mixes today were more hyped (smiley faced) until really comparing them to work that's older. Rock records from the late 80's, early 90's for instance are FAR brighter in gerneral than their modern counterparts. The low end however seems much less emphasized in the older ones compared to todays. A lot of rock guitars today seem to live more in the lower mids than the old days when they were emphasized more in the upper mids. Maybe it's that old marshall vs modern rectifier type thing. In terms of the mix EQ, it's all reminiscent of that pushed SSL 4k boxiness that a lot of those guys are using as a big part of their sound.... Even though people were mixing on the same consoles 15 years ago. I think people are actually mixing the bass guitar/synth a bit louder in general as well. The only thing that seems more hyped on the top end today are lead vocals. That pultec top boost thing... Of course todays mixes being so compressed, perhaps there actually is that massive amount of hi frequency stuff on everything but it's being cut down by the compression and limiting. Transient sounds (drums, ac guitar, etc) being very succeptible.

In any case, I've tried "hyping" my mixes to try and match the type of modern radio sound only to have my mixes come out sounding thin. Taking out the lower mids is so tempting but they're what adds richness to the sound. I've finally stopped doing that and really focused on what's going on down there, stoppoing myself from cutting them un-necessarily. Some mud removal is essential a lot of the time but definitely NOT from a 2 buss EQ! Besides, everyone and their brother hypes the crap out of it on their crappy stereos so why do it for them and make the music have a giant hole hole in it by the time they're done with it?! One of my favorite mix references is actually an old imac through iTunes with the "Rock" EQ setting. This will tell me instantly if my mix is too hyped as it tends to sound paper thin. It can't put out anything resembling low end but certain well mixed records still sound big on them. I think it's due to a well balanced low mid content. If you're thinking about hyping your mix, listen on small speakers to make sure you've got something left!
Old 28th May 2005
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by nlc201
Today's mixes, specifically by the radio guys like the Alges, A Wallace,
That's because these guys came from mixing dance,r&b and rap where the bottomn end is crucial.

You can also add JackJosephPuig.Brian Malouf,Dave Way and Michael Brauer to the list with the same background.
Old 28th May 2005
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson
To me "hyping" a mix (or a master) means optimizing the sound to the particular room and monitors at the expense of what it'll sound like elsewhere. It can be done with eq. and it can also be done with compression. Trusting monitors too much is a very common beginner's mistake.
I think there is a big liability towards doing this kind of thing with a client attending or approving. One of the many places where there is an education gap that perpetuates problems.

But there is a whole school of mastering where folks guess at a type of hype that translates.

One of the best ME's out there told me that "I find it serves my clients better to EQ for the average listener rather than the audiophile." To judge from the audio that accompanied this statement, that meant quite a bit of exaggeration and "exciting" sonics and all that. I guess I must have the wrong brand of boombox? 'cause it came off as a weird example of obviously brilliant and obviously screwed up. I suppose it's that commercial sheen that clues the listener in that this is a real pro big studio modern production that could become a big big hit in today's competitive more competitive than ever marketplace! Because this type of sound does nothing to make the audience closer to the performer.

Because the song usually gets buried, unless it is the type of song that sadly but typically is depending on a real-pro-big-studio-modern-production-that-could-become-a-big-big-hit-in-today's-more-competitive-than-ever-marketplace sound to basically soundalike. If you have an actual happening and moving performance of a happening song, you would do better to stay the hell out of the way. And just serve it up flat and natural.

But some very knowledgeable, experienced and well meaning engineers want to give that song every possible edge, and hedge their bets by attempting a tasteful amount of hype that translates reasonably well. The best of all worlds? I don't think so- I think that's more like trying to be everything to everybody.
Old 28th May 2005
  #23
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Long before I heard anybody talking about it I was moaning about times that had started when sonics were selling music instead of performance skills.

However, in the same time I have ever since been lusting for sound better than life. While sonics can´t make a bad song appealing for me, if I can have both sides shiny at once I just love it.

That Lindley record for instance, made by George Massenburg, does it sound like live? No, but I love that lush, round, defined image. Same with some stuff from Little Feat, APP, Supertramp, Queen etc.pp. All bigger than life but delicious to me.

Everybody has one or more sections where he likes kitsch. I think to have only one and that is on sonics.
Sure, there are records that I like as humble or realistic as they are, not that I couldn´t enjoy that kind of quality too.

But I don´t think that one ought to feel like a pros-titude when mixing for that sparkle. My temporary goal is to try learning that sonic gloss and afterwards see what might fit best individually.
But for now I am having LOTS of fun trying to tweak in that pearly finish.

Ruphus

PS: The bassist and the drumer came over yesterday. First they preferred the more tuby example, but after switching back and forth and pondering we concluded that the examples with more dimension came better for the rock pieces. Only for a jazzy sort of ballade I suggested to take the tube thing. The arrangement didn´t bear much on 3d anyway and the tube sound suits the mood well.

Ruphus
Old 28th May 2005
  #24
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oh i love bigger than life.

but with this particular thread i was looking more towards trends in the disprersion of energy amongst the frequency spectrum.

been a lot of great posts do far.... im not taking one side over the other, obviously the production really defines what route one should take with it, or does it? what if we modernized the characteristics of old school country, would it throw people too much? did they already and turn it into pop country or in that in the production, not the sonics? or take stoner rock which has always been quite dark and "muddy" with not a lot of high end content.... wht if it was made to sound more modern? would it change the genre itself? i have heard some newer styles of it done lately and it sounds a bit bizarre to me becase it took away elements of its history, yet at the same time sounded fresh and exciting.

im not claiming a right or wrong here. just looking of what you guys think about how music is bewing adapted to the culture.



fwiw, the EQ i came up with didnt sound thin at all, sounded big and ballsy, yet a little light on the low mids [which i like mow mids personally] but it was more clear and "polished" sounding more like a typical release of today. and what ended up happening is [because i only spent 10 minutes mixing it before strapping this EQ in to play with it] i went back and changed elements in teh mix that had positive attributes to the change while leaving the ones that didnt fare as well alone and come up with something i am really liking.

but keep the discussion coming is there is any more to say about it.
Old 28th May 2005
  #25
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but, it is REALLY intersting to listen to music over time... and hear the difference in approaches in frequency emphasis over time.
Old 28th May 2005
  #26
I've been doing it lately on my SSL mixes.

About a +1 to 2db at 16k-18k and maybe a little minus nudge around 150-175hz(this varies sometimes).

It keeps me from over EQing the highs in the tracks and i noticed at mastering time almost no highs have to be added.
Old 28th May 2005
  #27
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really? i would think the opposite to happen? or do you mean you leave it on when you print? if so, i think there is something there since all EQ adds pahse shift, if you add top eq to each track, you are adding more phase shifting throughout the tracks rather than just once on the 2buss.

sometimes, i think it is good to fix individual tracks but when you have a portion of the sonic spectrum that is "together" yet on the whole either high or low in proportion to the rest of the mix, why not just address it at the 2buss?


in this case, it didnt work for me as elements in the mix didnt fare as well as others that i did like about it, so i went back to the individual elements and then didnt have a need on the 2buss.


but so far, i am REALLY liking this GR EQ2NV..... great job dan!
Old 28th May 2005
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by alphajerk
really? i would think the opposite to happen? or do you mean you leave it on when you print? if so, i think there is something there since all EQ adds pahse shift, if you add top eq to each track, you are adding more phase shifting throughout the tracks rather than just once on the 2buss.

sometimes, i think it is good to fix individual tracks but when you have a portion of the sonic spectrum that is "together" yet on the whole either high or low in proportion to the rest of the mix, why not just address it at the 2buss?


in this case, it didnt work for me as elements in the mix didnt fare as well as others that i did like about it, so i went back to the individual elements and then didnt have a need on the 2buss.


but so far, i am REALLY liking this GR EQ2NV..... great job dan!

Yeah i live it on when i print.

I noticed though i do this more when mixing rock.

When doing the other genres its just different.

Basically whatever sounds good at the time.
Old 29th May 2005
  #29
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Welcome to Mastering

Those points sound like the places I'd have started on that last tune you posted.

Yet without hearing the two examples how could we say anything about this new tune?

Can you post a verse and chorus of each version?




What you're calling the hyped trend may be the low mid cuts needed to get up over -10dbfs, plus the boosted top that makes a lot of Hip Hop and Rock sound 'commercial' in the choruses.

These are the trends ... but do they serve your tune? Only the artist or producer gets to say.
Old 29th May 2005
  #30
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the rough mix i posted? its those points which i tend to dislike in current productions that i wouldnt wanted changed... especially in that rough mix i posted. power sacrificed for clarity... and as noted, the listener will sacrifice it anyway so why starve the lamb?
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