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Adding high end to everything during Mixing. Is this Normal?
Old 2nd September 2005
  #31
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
UBIK said it so well, working in an 8'x8' is a really bad idea. Is there another room in the house that you could move to? Starting with parrallel surfaces isn't great, but the problems are compounded when the room has two or more of the same dimensions.

IME, working with bass heavy monitors usually does make me reach for extra top end until I figure out what the root of the problem is. If the low frequency's are obscuring the top, the mix might be bright enough but is just clouded by the extra low energy. I almost always cut before boosting and I've rarely added top boost on the 2-mix. Only if the tracks are super dull to begin with and it's some kind of pop record that needs the sheen of a big top shelf.

You gain 3dB of low end for each boundry the monitors are contacting...stuff 'em against a wall and you gain 3dB, into a corner is 6dB. Ideally the monitors should be at least a foot or two away from a wall to avoid the proximity effects and low end buildup. BTW, that rules applys to everything...amps, drums, horns, piano etc.
Old 3rd September 2005
  #32
Gear Nut
 
papiel's Avatar
 

Most of the projects I mix were recorded at homes or in modest project studios with a gear that is far from high end. I find myself doing EQ to clear things out while trying not to over-process and keep things natural. It's really depends on the material but in a vocal track, for example, I occasionally need to notch out freq's around 200-300hz, sometimes 500, and even 2khz. Naturally it translates to a brighter sound. Sometimes I'll give a tiny boost at 12khz, or 10khz or 8khz, it really depends.

The bass tracks I get are mostly DI, no compression. If it's a P-bass there's a lot to clear out around 200-250 and 500 and some subs that are jumping out as well.

YET I can't say that I systematically boost hi freq's. Actually I sometimes cut highs on OH's and shakers in order to place them against acoustic guitars and vocal sibilance.

Lately I realized that if start a mix by building it around the lead vocal, the mix turns out a little darker, while starting from the rhythm section the overall sound is brighter.

But hey, what do I know...
Old 3rd September 2005
  #33
Gear Addict
 
NuSkoolTone's Avatar
 

Guys, All I can say is WOW and thanks for your contributions.

I had all but forgotten about this thread and then saw it bumped back up when I was surfing through.

I happened to have a tape measure with me, and the room is actually closer to 9'x11'. However the 9' is front to behind me and the 11' is mainly to my right as I am pretty much next to the left wall.


To answer some questions:
Unfortunately, this room is my only option at this time. I have already downsized my desk, and will have to get very clever to downsize further in order to get me more in the center of the room (assuming that's a good thing.)

The monitors on the mackies have a switch for +2db @ 10khz. I leave that in because I do have a tendency towards bright mixes regardless of the room I'm in.

I'm not using the bass compensation switches (Cut) becuase if I can barely hear the bass anyway why would I want to cut it? Or perhaps I SHOULD so I will have a more balnaced picture based on what my room is actually capable of producing? (Hmmmmmm)

I've come to the conclusion the bass ends up boomy because the room is too small for the wave to develop and it's untreated. I will have to look into the rock wool and or the special insulation type mentioned on that acoustics site (I've read it before, just hard to find the stuff locally.) I hear what you guys are saying about how important it is to treat the room. Burning a CD and then listening in different stereos (Mainly cars I am familiar with, and a few boom boxes) I am hearing where my room is lying to me and it is aggravating for sure.

Reference tracks often sound a little dull. I'm almost certain it was brighter going in. When I listen to reference CD's I'm listening to a variety to see the gamut of what's "normal." Like Evanesence, Kenny Wayne sheppard, to AC/DC, Toto, journey, Dream Theater. I'm not trying to emulate any of them, but it is good to see if I am in "The ballpark." Most of this is CD, some is converted MP3. Often on individual tracks I have been adding high shelf often starting at about 1-2khz. Sometimes by as little as.1db to as much as 7db(!) I am trying to get away from this practice. I also tend to groups things (Drums, guitar doubles, vox and comp them, occasionally mult.)I have tried the High shelf at the end on one mix that was comparitively "dull" and it seemed to make it sound in line with the other mixes. When mixing I'll also toggle a multiband comp across the 2-buss and see if things pop-out as problems or to help with some decisions as it will get compressed in some form later by "pseudo mastering."


Eq'ing. If it doesn't need the low end, I am a high pass freak. Some of this stuff has 70+ tracks and is REALLY busy (too much) So I try to make as much room as possible.

What I DO find odd, is often I can "Feel" the bass even in this room with standard CD's, but not with my own stuff. Yet when I take it to my car with the subwoofer.. Boom city. I'm going to guess that I'm tuning my low end into too low of frequencies. Problem is I really LIKE the low chest thumping lows! It's obvious there are still a few tricks to learn here.


I also found that my UAD-1's were art of the clarity issue. I as using an eq called "EX-1" over A LOT of tracks and it built up the mud. I recently have been using some URS eqs and have noticed a few things using them. My bass is sitting better, and not necessarily as boomy with more clarity. Now, sometimes it's the other direction because I was so focused on clarity that now it's got a touch to much sizzle in the high mids (Lost some punch too.) So I think here is now learning how these two tools (URS and UAD-1) play best to gether and make the best compromise.

I think I'm getting there, but I long for the day when I can get results without countless trial and error so much. I really appreciate your comments and flattered that you have generously spent your time. Thank you again. You have given me new ideas and insight into this art that I hope to be great at some day.
Old 3rd September 2005
  #34
Lives for gear
 
DirkB's Avatar
In a situation like you are describing, even for the experienced pro's, it's going to be hard to achieve a satisfying lowend like on your favourite commercial cd's.

With the mackies, it's very hard to be able to eq the lowend, because they distort rather quickly and you can this nice blooming lowend which can sound cool, but is a translation disastre.

I'd start with putting 4" rockwool across as many corners of your room as you can. This will help tightening the mid-lows and even some lowend. A very good site with a cool forum about acoustics is over at forum.studiotips.com.

Just keep on trying to improve and you'll get better. At least you're finding that there are issues acoustically that need fixing and that is exactly what engineering is about. thumbsup

Good luck,
Dirk
Old 3rd September 2005
  #35
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by NuSkoolTone
I happened to have a tape measure with me, and the room is actually closer to 9'x11'. However the 9' is front to behind me and the 11' is mainly to my right as I am pretty much next to the left wall.

To answer some questions:
Unfortunately, this room is my only option at this time. I have already downsized my desk, and will have to get very clever to downsize further in order to get me more in the center of the room (assuming that's a good thing.)
Yeah, moving towards the center of the room will help...as will getting the console & monitors centered in the room, but still...a 9x11 room is better then 8x8 but not by much. Can you swap the tracking & mixing spaces to get into a room that's bigger? Adding rockwool like 703 (check the real lumber yards) will help, but since the room is so small to begin with your not getting all the low end you could, purely because the wavelegth doesn't have ample room to develop and spread out.


Quote:
Often on individual tracks I have been adding high shelf often starting at about 1-2khz. Sometimes by as little as.1db to as much as 7db(!) I am trying to get away from this practice. I also tend to groups things (Drums, guitar doubles, vox and comp them, occasionally mult.)I have tried the High shelf at the end on one mix that was comparitively "dull" and it seemed to make it sound in line with the other mixes. When mixing I'll also toggle a multiband comp across the 2-buss and see if things pop-out as problems or to help with some decisions as it will get compressed in some form later by "pseudo mastering."
Experiment with different types of EQ, try some tight peaking boosts up higher, like 5kHz or even 12kHz, with low-mid cuts in the area of 100-400 cycles. The area around 1kHz is still midrange, upper midrange for sure but it's not high frequency area. Depending on the cymbals and what things sound like, I might even rip 800-2kHz out of the overheads to leave more room in that area for vocals and guitars.

Leave the multi-band compressors and limiters and all that crap off the 2-mix for now. Tools like that are great for problem solving or adding a bit of polish but it's so easy to do damage that you're better off without it 90% of the time. Get the mix to sound great with as little as possible.

Quote:
Eq'ing. If it doesn't need the low end, I am a high pass freak. Some of this stuff has 70+ tracks and is REALLY busy (too much) So I try to make as much room as possible.
If the songs don't need 70+ tracks, then I'd highly recommend shutting some of them off in the mix. The amount of clarity you'll gain might be astonishing.
Old 3rd September 2005
  #36
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

i'll throw out this invite: post a few clips of some of the tracks you feel need all that high end, let some of us here listen to them and give you some perspective.

the thing about mixing is that, first and foremost, it's all about making things live with one another, making them fit. it's okay for the whole mix to be dark, because mastering will lift the highs as much as you desire. the important thing is that everything gel, that each element gets its own space to breathe, and that has less to do with the top freqs than you might think.

the rush to make everything bright is a common novice approach, because things sound clearer and more forward with all that top when solo'd. they'll mix together 4 elements with a ton of energy in the fundamentals (low-mids) and generous energy in the harmonics (mids), resulting in a muddy, murky mess. there's an understandable desire to make it all brighter in response, but the right thing to do is to begin carving away on the individual tracks with subtractive eq.

the result will be a mix that sounds smooth and spacious, warm and glued, if a bit dark. highs can then be added judiciously, in small amounts, to select instruments to give the whole picture a lift. light compression on things that still jump out, maybe a little spank on the 2buss for attitude, and you're golden. exceptions abound, sometimes things need to be cranked, but if the exception seems to be the rule when you're mixing, your approach is probably flawed.

70+ tracks don't help the matter. arrangement is everything. let me repeat that, with emphasis, as it's too easy to gloss over: arrangement is everything. space is an element unto itself and needs to be actively preserved in the structure of the song. if the arrangement is dense and crowded, your mixes can only be dense and crowded at best, hideously busy at worst.


gregoire
del ubik
Old 4th September 2005
  #37
I swung by the studio this afternoon to drop off supplies. The studios in house engineer was mixing a production alone (band were due in later) vocal sounded GREAT - mix sounded fine but far less bright than vocal..

So we tried a low pass filter (took off some HF) on the vocal - and it made the mix sound 'more together' and something a mastering engineer could get his HF boost pliars onto!

I think the best thing is an EVEN spectrum of sound - if you have 'spike' in one frequency range on ONE mix element - like an over bright tambourine - it can be hard to raise the WHOLE tracks HF content - because anything you boost on the mix - will boost that damn tambourine.. so you might be better off backing off the HF content of the ONE stray element (the tambo) so that the WHO mix has an even frequency representation.

This will leave welcome scope for mastering....

Old 4th September 2005
  #38
Lives for gear
 
max cooper's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NuSkoolTone

Eq'ing. If it doesn't need the low end, I am a high pass freak. Some of this stuff has 70+ tracks and is REALLY busy (too much) So I try to make as much room as possible.
Holy Ultra-mega-multitracking, Batman! Well, that's a tough kettle of fish to cook. I wonder how well those M-Audio converters are making sense of that.

This is a good thread, though. Lots and lots of good info here. So I thougt I'd add this; take your work surface and turn in around 180 degrees so that your back is to the wall and you look out into the room. Just try it. It just might help a lot.

If you're wondering about the effect of a big crt monitor inbetween the speakers, try an A/B demo. Play a CD and have someone put the monitor on the floor and put it back a few times. You'll start to hear the difference right away.

Oh, yeah. You mentioned listening from the next room. Good idea IMO. I find that sometimes weirdness in the low mids is easiest to hear from either the next room or the back side of the monitors (which is why I like to have enough space to listen from there.) I was having trouble with a mix once, and I started walking around the room, and voila! When I got around to the other side, it became obvious that there was way too much energy around 350Hz. Now I always check from there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cdog
Commercial modern rock mixes these days are very bright and way too loud. If you're trying to match those you will have to use a lot of processing.

Throw on some old 60s recordings to let your ears return to hearing what music actually sounds like - unprocessed.

For what its worth I usually mix with a slight 1-2 db shelf boost @ 8khz across the whole mix. I find I use less EQ on the individual instruments this way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by drundall
As much as I like a lot of that music, maybe he doesn't want his recording to sound like an anachronism.
Anachronism or not, what about what sounds good to one's own ears. Isn't this why nobody will stop the volume wars? Because everybody wants their stuff to sound like all the other stuff that's being released today? I do whatever I can to make my stuff sound like an old record.
Old 4th September 2005
  #39
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by max cooper
I do whatever I can to make my stuff sound like an old record.

i'm in pursuit of an ideal i call 'modern vintage'. old school tone and vibe, new school spank, punch, and attitude.

i haven't quite nailed it yet, but i'm getting dangerously close...


gregoire
del ubik
Old 4th September 2005
  #40
urumita
 
7rojo7's Avatar
 

Your problem is Bass, so concentrate on that. The treble is probably fine. Get a tone generator and put up your TLM where you sit to work and align those monitors the best you can. You may have to pull out alot more bass than you believe. You may need to put an EQ over your monitors. You can do this without affecting your mix but only what you're monitoring, as a kind of fix. Turn your setup around so that you face the short wall, the classic distance for good listening is your butt at 5/8 the length of the room, your work surface in front of you. If this leaves little room for your bed or couch or recording space, make that space in front of the console or whatever it is that you have. Get the monitors on some kind of absorption, I've heard of people using mouse pads, better yet on stands with the absorption. In the live area of my studio I've hung some 6'x4' jute rugs from the ceiling about 4" from the wall and I've sewed rigid fiberglass panels to them so that they don't touch the walls. At the 90° corners you can hang them at 45° if you have the space and this will help both the bass and the treble characteristics in the room.
If you ask me trying to solve a problem with the bass by adding treble is not the way to go. you're just opening another can of worms.
Electrically, bass eats up a lot of headroom and I find that a good limiter and not pumping the bass with eq but finding the freq that peaks and dipping that and then raise the volume of that track and the highs come out nice and fine, at this point you can start reaching for the master buss eq.
You may not be able to make a perfect space but you can improve it enough to get pro results.
Also, don't monitor too loud or these problem are unsolvable in a small space, find a boombox you can plugin to your system and use this for 80% of your mixing, play reference material through this. Leave the door open if you can, or some kind of vent, I've been outside when the monitors are on and I feel air coming out of my fresh air inlet.
Old 4th September 2005
  #41
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 

i havent read all of this.... but if you are close micing with cardoid pattern mics, then bass BOOST will reduce high end over all and you will always be compensating for it.
Old 4th September 2005
  #42
Gear Head
 
monrock halo's Avatar
 

To answer the thread's topic question, imho normally you wouldn't want to be boosting high shelf on all of the tracks... more like just on a few that need it.

But it depends on the source tracks you've got to work with. And the EQs available.

It's kind of amazing how even with mediocre source tracks, it's possible more than I would have thought previously to put together a mix that works -- in general, and also without boosting high shelf everywhere.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jules
An analog / old skool mixing trick is / was to use a GML 8200 eq across the whole mix to lift the HF - precisely so that you don't have to on each individual channel.
Yes. I like to strap an EQ (usually a Massivo) across the mix using a slight, gentle HF shelf starting from the mids on up. But not always. I've heard some great mixes done that didn't have anything across the mix.

Another thing is to preceed that with an SMC2B across the mix that compresses the mid-band and low-band 1 to 2 dB but only a half dB of GR on the high-band...which can open up the mix just so.

Some excellent mixes I've heard had no EQ at all but a pair of linked EAR comps to smooth the mix out EQ-wise. They actually sort of redistribute/smooth out the EQ in a way that, for a certain sound, works well and smooths over some problems.
Old 4th September 2005
  #43
Lives for gear
 
cdog's Avatar
I think a lot of people will listen back to today's crop of super bright, insanely loud recordings and think how dated sounding they are. Kinda like how we listen to disco now. "Wow they though that sounded GOOD"
Old 5th September 2005
  #44
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Absolute's Avatar
 

What we have here is 30 diagnosis of a patient no one has seen.

Post an ever lovin clip because, as far as I know, music can be heard though text yet

I must say there is a lot of good info in this thread though..but it's histerical that a simple clip would have solved the problem in 1 post.
Old 5th September 2005
  #45
AB3
Lives for gear
 

I have the Mackie 824s and have a square room (20 by 20). They are upper bass and midrange heavy. It does help to move them several feet from any wall. Also, the bass traps and other sound treatment is critical. Given all that, listen to other CDS through the Mackies that you like 0- get use to that sound - then mix to match that sound.
Otherwise, buy other monitors, which is not a bad idea either.
Old 5th September 2005
  #46
Gear Addict
 
NuSkoolTone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Absolute
What we have here is 30 diagnosis of a patient no one has seen.

Post an ever lovin clip because, as far as I know, music can be heard though text yet

I must say there is a lot of good info in this thread though..but it's histerical that a simple clip would have solved the problem in 1 post.
Ask and ye shall receive.

Here are two mixes on a current "Album" (Demo) that I'm doing (attached). Yes this is my own project (I'm on keys.) The attachment that says "1st" is the mix done in Februrary with only UAD-1s. The mix that says "2nd time around." Is a mix done in July after gettting the URS plugs. These are both completely ITB.

The first one IMO is darker and muddy but with a little more punch. The second one is much more open and detailed, but as I was getting high on the "Clarity" with the new plug-ins and I took it a little too far (Noticably on the drums, and maybe the vocals?) So I'm probably looking to go between the two for this particular song. I stil hear things mix wise to fix, but you can hear a stark difference between the two I think.


I know this isnt' show and tell, but any critiques/suggestions are welcome. I just ask you to be kind.


Thanks again.
Attached Files

Beauty_Final 1st.mp3 (4.64 MB, 120 views)

Beauty_2nd_time_aroundCD4.mp3 (4.65 MB, 165 views)

Old 5th September 2005
  #47
Gear Guru
 
Sounds Great's Avatar
 

8 X 8 room? Is your ceiling around 8 feet as well? A cube like that is the absolute worse place for monitoring music. I would treat the room before changing any equipment.
Old 5th September 2005
  #48
Here for the gear
 
harryo's Avatar
 

Okay... 'tis my first post. so be gentle.

I've read 'most' of what people posted here and I'm surprised that no one has asked what sample rate NuSkoolTone is recording at. Room acoustics aside, any many interfaces will sound dark and dull if you record at 44.1 or 48k. The 1010LT can go up to 96k (more samples= higher frequencies captured) which sounds pretty darm good on my projects. But then again, you might already be recording at 96k...

Let the Mastering engineers deal with the downsampling and dithering algorythms. Give your M.E. the highest sample rate recordings that you can.

cheers,
-harry
gearslut wannabe
Old 5th September 2005
  #49
Gear Addict
 
NuSkoolTone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by harryo
Okay... 'tis my first post. so be gentle.

I've read 'most' of what people posted here and I'm surprised that no one has asked what sample rate NuSkoolTone is recording at.

Welcome to the forum Harry,

Projects are 24/44.1khz
Old 5th September 2005
  #50
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NuSkoolTone
Ask and ye shall receive.

Here are two mixes on a current "Album" (Demo) that I'm doing (attached). Yes this is my own project (I'm on keys.) The attachment that says "1st" is the mix done in Februrary with only UAD-1s. The mix that says "2nd time around." Is a mix done in July after gettting the URS plugs. These are both completely ITB.

The first one IMO is darker and muddy but with a little more punch. The second one is much more open and detailed, but as I was getting high on the "Clarity" with the new plug-ins and I took it a little too far (Noticably on the drums, and maybe the vocals?) So I'm probably looking to go between the two for this particular song. I stil hear things mix wise to fix, but you can hear a stark difference between the two I think.


I know this isnt' show and tell, but any critiques/suggestions are welcome. I just ask you to be kind.


Thanks again.
well, i'm no pro engineer. overall i find it much more pleasant to listen to the darker mix on my bm6ps positioned about a foot+ from the wall. just sounds more natural. although maybe a couple of mix elements benefit from the added high end the mix as a whole does not (IMVeryHO). which maybe illustrates the need to use extreme caution when using additive eq to an entire mic...

just my 1 cent...
Old 5th September 2005
  #51
Gear Nut
 
TedF's Avatar
 

You really have got the answer with that lot!!!

It's really simple... listen to a reference CD in your room.... it probably sounds woolly. If not, then there's not too much wrong.... with lots of stuff in a small room there's not much room for acoustics!

But don't worry about adding reasonable amounts of HF... you need it to compensate for the extra LF that you mix in to make it all sound 'modern'.

A good point to remember is that if you add LF, then you need to add HF too to balance it...... The converse is true; you can trim HF from a mix, and if you also trim LF to compensate, then the thing still sounds OK.... this is an old trick used in AM radio transmission.

Just use lots of compression!!!

Ted Fletcher
www.tfpro.com
Old 5th September 2005
  #52
Gear Nut
 
TedF's Avatar
 

Yes, welcome to the forum Harry!

But that's not quite right..... the amount of 'HF' is not limited by the samplerate.... it's all to do with the 'timbre' of the sound you're recording. There's a lot to be said for recording at 44.1KHz so that there are no conversions before going to CD!

Ted Fletcher
www.tfpro.com
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