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Question for ME's about mix delivery...
Old 2nd August 2005
  #1
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Messiah's Avatar
 

Question for ME's about mix delivery...

Ok, I know, headroom, don't squash the mf'er, etc...

BUT lets say we are looking to optimise our mixes by keeping one eye on the mastering possibilities;

Transients/Drums. Can they be TOO loud to be tamed/controlled? (Within reason, of course.) You'd rather have them up than down in a mix, right?

Personally, I like to provided mixes with a lot of punch to the kit (mainly because I know mastering will tame it if need be).

What makes an ME happy in terms of drums?

Lead Vocals. How upfront do you like getting it?

Imaging. We've all had mixes that turn to mush with a press of the dreaded MONO button. Anything we should look out for? (apart from the obvious phase issues.)

Bass/Kick relationship. Would you rather we didn't put +4dB 125Hz Lo Shelf on the bass guitar to keep the bass player content?
I always like to deliver mixes with a conservative bass end overall as I feel the ME is going to have more scope for enhancement than me. Plus, I also think it's easier to add than take away... correct?

Guitars. Anything?



I know there are no 'answers' as such, but for the ME guys who see and hear mix after mix day after day, you must have some inclination of what makes a 'mastering friendly' mix, or know instantly 'this is going to sound great'... so share it!
Old 2nd August 2005
  #2
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jumpnyc's Avatar
 

My experience is that my Mastering engineer likes a healthy bass and kick. I try to make it sound as close to perfect as possible without squashing it - leave that to them.
Old 2nd August 2005
  #3
Off the top, a mix with vocals that are too quiet is almost always more serious than a mix with vocals that are a whisker too loud.

Nothing wrong with transients - If they sound weird in the mix, they might well still sound weird later though...

If adding some lows to please the bassist actually helps the mix, that's great. If not, tell him that there is no "I" in "B-A-S-S" or something goofy like that, pour him a few shots of Jager (while the rest drink shots of Coca Cola) and turn a knob on a different channel while going "Yeah! That's EXACTLY what it needed - Thanks!"
Old 2nd August 2005
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by Messiah
I know there are no 'answers' as such, but for the ME guys who see and hear mix after mix day after day, you must have some inclination of what makes a 'mastering friendly' mix, or know instantly 'this is going to sound great'... so share it!
Honestly? Make the mix sound as good as you can without doing anything for the sake of loudness, which generally includes being careful when referencing released material - you may not be trying to match the level, but the hyper-limited sound so common today is not a good thing to try and master from. Not a good thing to chase while mixing, either.

Make this mix sound good and don't try to guess what the mastering engineer 'needs'. The goal isn't to please the mastering engineer, but to serve the artist and their music...
Old 2nd August 2005
  #5
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Messiah's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Blackwood
Honestly? Make the mix sound as good as you can without doing anything for the sake of loudness, which generally includes being careful when referencing released material - you may not be trying to match the level, but the hyper-limited sound so common today is not a good thing to try and master from. Not a good thing to chase while mixing, either.

This constantly irritates me, particularly with rock bands who bring in reference cd's that I know are basically square waves and want you to match them.

Personally, I find it SO fu*kin stressful working/mixing at loud levels with hard compression on the mix buss that just doesn't give you a seconds peace... not an enjoyable or productive way to work at all, IMO.

I like records that sound better as you turn them up, not worse like most modern 'loud' records do. WTF? Why do people/bands WANT to do this to their own music? You are actually influencing people to turn you down!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Blackwood
Make this mix sound good and don't try to guess what the mastering engineer 'needs'. The goal isn't to please the mastering engineer, but to serve the artist and their music...
Brad, I understand what you are saying here, but;

I never mentioned concern of what the ME 'needs' as such, the point is getting some kind of communication to ultimately, as you say, serve the artist and their music, because as the mixer I know that the ME WILL have an affect/influence on the final sound.
I know the mix is good at the end of my stage, I don't need verification of this, but if there is the possibility of the vocal being subdued a little after mastering I'd like to know about it so I can adjust it at the mix stage.
What may seem like a loud vocal at the mixing stage will probably not be after mastering has brought up the guitars, etc.

So, I didn't mean it as a 'help me mix' thread, I meant it as more of a 'is there a way we can help each other more for the good of the record' type-thread.

Old 2nd August 2005
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Messiah
I know the mix is good at the end of my stage, I don't need verification of this, but if there is the possibility of the vocal being subdued a little after mastering I'd like to know about it so I can adjust it at the mix stage.
My point is that there is no forumla to determine that - the processing may push the vocal back or pull it out, you won't know until you're in mastering. That's why I receommend printing voc +/- mixes.

Quote:
What may seem like a loud vocal at the mixing stage will probably not be after mastering has brought up the guitars, etc.
Exactly, but you never know which thing will be brought out or subdued, if any.

Quote:
So, I didn't mean it as a 'help me mix' thread, I meant it as more of a 'is there a way we can help each other more for the good of the record' type-thread.
Sure, gotcha. Just saying, there is no way to determine that unless you are using a mastering guy that always does the same thing to every track...
Old 2nd August 2005
  #7
Gear Nut
 
echotp's Avatar
 

Sort of off topic but....I For the last year I have been bringing my PT rig with me to the mastering room. We make changes on the mix on the fly. Granted this is a bit of a hassle, but, my clients pay me for the inconvenience. Of course I usually mix in the box. I also find that at the last stages of mixing I listen through a couple of plugs (eq, comp , L3) to get a feel for what is around the corner in mastering. Usually the clients like to hear it loud in the car as well for a ref bounce.
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