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What you wish you'd known on day one of your mixing career
Old 21st June 2005
  #1
Mindreader
 
BevvyB's Avatar
 

What you wish you'd known on day one of your mixing career

This has all been said before but I thought I'd start a thread on QUICK ways to make your mix sound more like what you've 'heard on records' and wish someone had told you on DAY ONE of your career

Clicky drums ie Why aren't my kick and snare snappy enough on the front-

Create two busses with compressor/eq/compressor, use one to send kick to and one to send snare to. Dial in ridiculous eq to find the best click of each leave it up highish and then balance back into the mix. On a DAW, send the signal from each intrument as if it were an effect so you can dial it in from the intrument fader without having to keep referring back to the bus.

Making mixes more solid by monitoring in mono on one speaker, especially at the start of mixing to work out where my oomph is coming from.

Using mono snare reverbs and not just reaching for any old reverb when it comes to any other instrument, and being careful what's 'stereo' and what isn't.

Starting each day by listening to CD's that you like before you start mixing on the speakers you will be mixing on.

Using a compressor across the bass which is sidechained from a mixture of the kick and snare.

Mixing with some form of compression on the mix bus from the start (depending on the material)

Filtering out most of the top end from everything and being very selective about which instruments are going to be dominating the top end.

Keeping vocals in the center of the mix instead of dialing in lots of top thinking that's what you do.

Mixing too long after your ears are fatigued, the music is too loud, and you're too tired to hear anything anymore. (Especially going 'reverb deaf')

Getting a pair of audiophile headphones that you're happy with, and checking especially for digital clicks and pops at drop in/cut points.

Taking time to go away and come back after having heard some other music somewhere else.
Old 21st June 2005
  #2
Lives for gear
 
lasso's Avatar
 

The most important thing while learning to mix I guess is....knowing what to listen FOR?
Old 21st June 2005
  #3
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Dangerous Dave's Avatar
 

Good thread Bevvy,

It's sort of like basic tips and tricks thing... Lets keep it moving.

thumbsup
Old 21st June 2005
  #4
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lasso's Avatar
 

These are also pretty common:

-Create two sub groups for drums: 1) natural sounding 2) squashed to hell, mixed to taste

-Create multible tracks for kick + snare. One tracks focuses on attack, an other on "meat" and so forth.

-Keep drum overheads panned tight in the verse - full L/R in the chorus.

-Boost one freq. in the kick and remove the same in the bass.

-Keep a strong center - mono is the best punch source

- too much stereo creates a weak image. in stead of panning stereo sources full L / R - keep one to L - and let the R side be reverb or delay.

- don't be afraid to use ridiculous amounts of EQ to obtain the sound you want

- listen in stead of watching

- read posts like these

- forget what you read and figure it out yourself
Old 21st June 2005
  #5
Lives for gear
 
pigpen's Avatar
 

Don't forget to turn everything on!
Seriously...I had steppped away for a day on a mix, came back and starting working and couldn't get my snare to sound the way it did the day before. Fight, cuss, scream.....then realize I had not turned on the lovely Distressor. heh
Sounds silly, but sometimes I get so caught up in the creative end, I forget the little things....like power.
(Don't act like you've never done it!)

Old 21st June 2005
  #6
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ttauri's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BevvyB
Create two busses with compressor/eq/compressor, use one to send kick to and one to send snare to. Dial in ridiculous eq to find the best click of each leave it up highish and then balance back into the mix. On a DAW, send the signal from each intrument as if it were an effect so you can dial it in from the intrument fader without having to keep referring back to the bus.
Neat!

Peece,
T. Tauri
Old 21st June 2005
  #7
Lives for gear
 
pigpen's Avatar
 

Sometimes I use the room mic on the kit as an emphasizer. Leave it out in the verse, in on the chorus, sometimes the oppsite. Sometimes, just the room on bridges...sometimes the bonham, sometimes not.

Filters instead of eq's, especially Filter Bank.

And the #1 thing, I am not Superman, my ears do indeed get tired. Know when to say when even if the client is wanting to get it done right then.
Old 21st June 2005
  #8
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PhilE's Avatar
Listen to records as soon as you come in in the morning- you can't overemphasise this one. Get in well before anyone else (excluding any cleaners or assistants!) and drink coffee and listen to good records before you start.
When you think its nearly done put a record on.
When you need a break put a record on first.
Dont copy the records you are listening to!
In fact the first thing I tell students is learn how to listen.
Did that make any sense?
Old 21st June 2005
  #9
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Ted Nightshade's Avatar
 

Not that I exactly have a "mixing career"!

I wish I'd known that the great sound in the room would never, ever come out of anybody's mixing board no matter how ingeniously everything was multi-mic'ed.

That the best and most natural mix happens in the air in front of the mic(s)!

THAT would have saved me a lot of time mucking about with all this.
Old 21st June 2005
  #10
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Ruphus's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted Nightshade
Not that I exactly have a "mixing career"!

I wish I'd known that the great sound in the room would never, ever come out of anybody's mixing board no matter how ingeniously everything was multi-mic'ed.

That the best and most natural mix happens in the air in front of the mic(s)!

THAT would have saved me a lot of time mucking about with all this.
Having no career either, but came to the same conclusion.
You can fix somewhat in EQing out boxiness of a bad room etc., but it obviously can´t equal the results achieved in a nice sounding room.

Really annoying that environmental noise is forcing me into the booth.

Ruphus
Old 21st June 2005
  #11
Mindreader
 
BevvyB's Avatar
 

Hey, I don't have a mixing 'career' either, but I do have to mix my own stuff all the time like most of us here.
Old 21st June 2005
  #12
Gear Maniac
 

The URL to gearslutz.
Old 21st June 2005
  #13
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audioez's Avatar
 

keep practicing, and soon enough your mixes will have a masterd feel to them, this will happen, it just doesn't happen overnight.
Old 21st June 2005
  #14
"What you wish you'd known on day one of your mixing career?"

1) That it would take me 20 years to get 'not too bad at it' and that it is a difficult thing to do.

2) To try to match natural HF content on percussion & cymbals to the HF content on vocals.

3) That I need a flashing neon sign in front of me when I am mixing that says - DON'T FORGET TO TRY ROLLING OFF THE LOW END ON THINGS THAT ARENT SUPPOSED TO HAVE LOW END ON THEM & THE LEAD VOCALS ARE TOO SIBLANT - AGAIN!! (YOU MORON)
Old 21st June 2005
  #15
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rainsinvelvet's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jules

3) That I need a flashing neon sign in front of me when I am mixing that says - DON'T FORGET TO TRY ROLLING OFF THE LOW END ON THINGS THAT ARENT SUPPOSED TO HAVE LOW END ON THEM & THE LEAD VOCALS ARE TOO SIBLANT - AGAIN!! (YOU MORON)
Thats Awsome Jules!

I could use that light! You need to market this ASAP! heh heh

ERic
Old 21st June 2005
  #16
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RichT's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rainsinvelvet
Thats Awsome Jules!

I could use that light! You need to market this ASAP! heh heh

ERic
Can I have mine custom made to say Idiot instead of Moron???

heh
Old 21st June 2005
  #17
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audioez's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BevvyB
This has all been said before
except for the part where the red wine and pipe tobacco come into play
Old 21st June 2005
  #18
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C.Lambrechts's Avatar
 

- turn things down to make space for 'it' instead of turning 'it' up.
- less is more ... although that's not a mix specific one ... also goes for arranging.
Old 22nd June 2005
  #19
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enharmonic's Avatar
 

That I'd be making a lot of lemonade until I stopped making lemons.

Old 22nd June 2005
  #20
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

I wish somebody would have told me how absolutely stinking rich I would become doing this stuff. I would have started a lot earlier!

Oh well, time to go wash the Rolls and polish the yacht.

Psych! Who am I kidding, I pay a guy to do that for me.

On a serious note, I guess it would have been nice to have been told early on that above all else make sure the client is happy. Always confirm before moving on, always ask if the mix is shaping up the way they like it, and if they ask for something that to YOU sounds bad...do it. They are paying, they like it, and not everything you do is going to sound good to your ears in the end. Some people like way too much reverb, but hell they're paying me so they shall receive it...

in abundance!

War
Old 22nd June 2005
  #21
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soultrane's Avatar
that mixing is an illusion, in alot of ways... turning down a fader and/or cutting a frequency is almost always the way to achieve a bigger sound
Old 23rd June 2005
  #22
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six_wax's Avatar
 

Too good of a thread to die.

what do I wish...?

"No, really. you've got to listen *through* the speakers and the room."

"It's all a matter of perspective. Big things only sound big because other things sound small."
Old 23rd June 2005
  #23
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Curve Dominant's Avatar
Quote:
What you wish you'd known on day one of your mixing career
1) There are no rules, only guides
2) Parallel compression works wonders
3) You can only do so much with what you've got
4) Fight like hell to record it so you don't have to f&ck with it in the mix
5) Reductive EQ, always
6) Listen to the mix remembering what it was like to be 13 years old, and what excited you about a recording.
7) Knowing that the secret to failure is trying to please everyone.
8) Listen to the mix in a rental car before you commit to it.
9) Get the mix played in a dance club and see if peoples rock to it
10) Even the most musically illiterate artist can teach you volumes, so listen to them, always
Old 23rd June 2005
  #24
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RichT's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Curve Dominant
1) There are no rules, only guides
5) Reductive EQ, always
Woooh, way to go with no rules.

Old 23rd June 2005
  #25
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The Alamo's Avatar
 

1*** That compressors are often the best eq's...

2*** That, regardless of the wise lesson to first reach for reductive eq, ridiculous amounts of additive eq can be a blessing.

3*** That you shouldn't compare your mixes to mastered CD unless, at least, you bring the level of the CD to your mix's level (and even eq the CD for that matter).

4*** That only the best is good enough.

(Remember) The Alamo
Old 23rd June 2005
  #26
Lives for gear
 

To make the kick and bass guitar have there own space AS WELL as the top end of distorted guitar, cymbals and vocals even it means some drastic LPF on certain sounds..

Sibilance sounds better to fix by hand than to use a deesser too strongly.

That the midrange is the most important thing. Low end and top end issues seem to be easiest to 'fix' in mastering, but if your snare and vocal arent working together... theres not much that can be done...

Not making everything 'loud'. Sometimes leave the fader down, and try to bring the sound out with radical eq, so its not competing with the important stuff..

NEVER solo, just use mutes.

Dont chase a commercial release too far and remember its mastered. Save your favorite unmastered work that youve done to use as a ref.

Turn a brickwall limiter on at times to see if your mix will stand up to mastering..

Mult the bass, distort it a touch, LPF and HPF it drastically so it has a little some midrange poke to give guitars definition and size..

Dont overmix.
Old 23rd June 2005
  #27
Mindreader
 
BevvyB's Avatar
 

Please be as SPECIFIC as possible when describing your favourite tricks. We can all wax lyrical, but lets get dirty...

Vocals:

* Vocals battling with other parts (especially strumming guitars) -

Compress conflicting tracks with sidechain from the vocal. Easiest way to do this on a DAW is to create a bus with no output, send to this bus from the vocal track, and have the compression on the conflicting track use this bus for its sidechain

* Vocals not sounding exciting enough/good enough/pro enough!

Most people have Waves so this is easier to explain. If you've got much better kit then you probably know this already, but for a basic vocal:

Vocal track: Waves De-esser/Waves RVox compressorgate
This has sends to three other busses:
Bus 1: Severe eq boosting the 'diction' frequency of the vocal followed by insane compression
Bus 2: Waves Doubler with panned hard left and right pitch shifted to taste
Bus 3: Waves Doubler set to fast delay setting (akin to 'Lennon' or 'Elvis' vocal style repeated delays)

All these, including the vocal track, are sent to another buss where they're compressed all over again, and mixed to taste. You're trying to get a vocal that sounds less 'mono', but which ALSO works WELL in mono. You need to be careful not to overdo it.

And if you're running Altiverb and don't have a Lexicon 480 handy, get hold of the 'Ambience' impulse response and choose a small to medium setting and use that as your main vocal reverb

* Talking of checking in mono, if you wondered how to do this from inside Logic, put the Gainer helper plug in across the mix bus - it has an option for mono inside it, so you can set this to mono and quickly check your mix in mono by muting and un-muting this plug

* And another thing. When you're using Waves Doubler don't forget to knock out the original source or it'll sound wrong
Old 23rd June 2005
  #28
Gear Maniac
 
BJohnston's Avatar
 

Like other posters have said, that everything begings @ the mic source. Also the use of creative Compression. Probably the single most helpfull thing I've learned to help my mixes really pop. I wish there would have been a board like this when I first started 10 or so years ago. I've learned more in the past year or 2 just by reading how other guys approach there projects than ever before. Cheers to you all.

B
Old 23rd June 2005
  #29
Lives for gear
 
PhilE's Avatar
Just make it the best it can be. Each track doesn't have to be everything in the world.
Give things space.
Stop doing too much.
If there is a trick you always do- try doing it a different way first.
Old 23rd June 2005
  #30
Here for the gear
 
coppage's Avatar
 

my two cents

  • Know Your Monitors and Your Room
  • Listen in the Right Spot
  • Stay away from Solo Buttons
  • Listen at low levels
  • Don't Forget Mono
  • Don't Abuse your two mix
  • Listen from a distance or another room
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