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When do you get your air? At mixdown or in mastering?
View Poll Results: When do you add "air" to your mixes?
In a mastering session after the mix (various methods)
35 Votes - 29.66%
With indevidual channel EQs on my mixer
32 Votes - 27.12%
With an EQ across my mix buss
25 Votes - 21.19%
With multiband compression across my mix buss
3 Votes - 2.54%
With an "exciter" (Aphex, BBE etc) across my mix buss
2 Votes - 1.69%
I don't do anything special to enhance high frequencies or request or even expect it in a mastering situation
21 Votes - 17.80%
Voters: 118. You may not vote on this poll

Old 7th May 2003
  #1
When do you get your air? At mixdown or in mastering?

When do you get your air?

The super high frequency 'sheen' found on a lot of commercialy released, mastered material.

Please vote in the poll and add below how YOU get "air"...

If you do ANYTHING escpeciall to get air during mixing please vote on that even if you might do MORE in mastering.

If you leave it ALL to mastering time please vote on option 1.
Old 7th May 2003
  #2
Gear Head
 
Fat Cat's Avatar
 

I mixdown directly into Wavelab 4, where I add some "air" with Steinberg Q or Waves and sometimes I use the BBE plugin.

Adding highend during mastering adds a sheen that I just can't get during mixing.
Old 7th May 2003
  #3
OK lately I have been employing an odd method..

I use an EQ and sometimes maximization on the MONITOR ONLY while mixing... (a Finalizer 96k)

When recording the mix I take it off..

Then on a seperate mastering day I add EQ & sometimes multiband compression with 'better tools'...

So I often monitor my mixing session with an EQ and other stuff across the mix buss. But dont record the result.

REASON - I can then A/B my mix against CD's of other commercialy released material and try to "beat the competition" or at least get 'close'. I am always recording a flat umprocessed version for pro mastering if budget allows..

I dont feel this is ideal, but it's working so far..
Old 7th May 2003
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Renie's Avatar
 

I'd like to get better 'air', but I am thinking about it all the time from ground up. So it's a combination of everything for me, from sound sources to mastering, keeping the window open all the time, not swinging it open at the last stage. Surely that's the most logical method as you are lifting only the sweet air selectively rather than lifting the whole top end at the final stage which might have some high end crud on it unless you have gone through all that with a fine tooth comb, which we should have..

However if you don't have the gear that an ME will have the 'last stage lift'
could be the best solution.
Old 7th May 2003
  #5
member no 666
 
Fletcher's Avatar
When tracking... I try my level best to get the tracks so you can bring up the faders with a yard stick and have the song right there... it never works that way, but that's the goal.
Old 7th May 2003
  #6
I goofed badly recently..

I was doing just fine with an 'all flat' no or "very little EQ used" production recently,,, then we were recording vocals which called for a stylised "hyped" high frequency edge to them...

My mistake? to add it on the record side... once the HF boost that the whole track needed was added the lead vocal needed 3 de-essers on it

I should have recorded it flat but set up HF boost on the monitor side to keep the singer happy while recording..

Lesson learned..

Old 7th May 2003
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

When I'm mastering I usually boost 12k as is very popular in many commercial recordings.

I'd love to get it right during tracking but trying to calculate this seems nearly impossible to me. Once tracks are summed the true characteristics of the high end and harmonic content becomes apparent in the 2-track, complex waveform. I don't know how you can predict the timbre of of a complex waveform before things are summed.

Something to think about.
Old 7th May 2003
  #8
Lives for gear
 

I'm with Fletcher. I'd rather put it on in the beginning, especially in digital land, where it's easier to take it away than to add. On vox, my standard is a Blue Bottle, B6 capsule, the Massive Passive, bell, 16k, q at about 11 o'clock. Nothing gets smoother, turn it up until the esses suck and then pull back. Having a short triplet delay running with some good feedback helps dramatize that the esses are too much and defines that line.

On instruments, Soundelux mics are the ultimate answer to high end. Even the 251, which is a warm to dark mic, has buttloads of air and high presence without ever, ever, ever feeling like it is being manipulated, and the U-99 gets incredible amounts of high end into a mix without ever feeling like evil sticks are being shoved in your ear.

When it comes to eq'ing it in the mix, the Sony Oxford and UA Cambridge are the only things I will use to manipulate the highs.

I might run the mix through the Massive to give it a bit of high and low glue, make everything feel joined together, but if I was really looking for something specific, would attack it at the instrument level. Nothing drastic can really work for a whole song, as far as I'm concerned.
Old 7th May 2003
  #9
Lives for gear
 
Unknown soldier's Avatar
 

These are great suggestions coming from you more experienced fellows......

I use a DA7, and I find that it's hard to gauge the high end. The mix on the board seems bright and full of top end, but I think that's misleading. I'll mix to soundforge, add a little waves L1, and throw the CD into my walkman (acid test for me). The high end seems muffled compared to pro CD's. I'm led to believe that the digital "air" I'm hearing is missing something. Maybe it's that pixie dust.....
Old 7th May 2003
  #10
Gear Head
 

i do as much as possible as early as possible. ie, if i feel i can add the high end tracking without painting myself into a corner later (hello jules) i will. otherwise in the mix its oxford EQ (pt plug) or maybe ren6. but usually oxford. then i certainly allow the mastering engineer to do what is needed to make it "competitive."

the reason i do this is: we spend so much time during our production process listening to the songs and so many CDs are sent to producers etc to listen in cars.... that if its not approaching competitive early on, i definitely hear all about it. so i'd rather just make it sparkle from the get-go.

-a-
Old 7th May 2003
  #11
Lives for gear
 
doug_hti's Avatar
 

If having it mastered, I will not add EQ at all on the mix buss. I may add EQ, buss compression and limiting to see how the mix and clarity changes, listen to it on a couple consumer speaker sets, two headphones (7509s and K240s), then take it off and send it at the session sample rate.
If doing it in the box. I get the levels up pretty good through compression and or multiband compression, some EQ and limiting, not terribly dramatic though. Then I do the software SRC to the intended sample rate. Bring it into the new session and EQ it appropriately and limit it to get the levels up appropriately.
Old 7th May 2003
  #12
Lives for gear
 
C.Lambrechts's Avatar
 

IMHO the 'air' in a mix starts at the very beginning :

1. a proper arrangement.

2. Fletcher allready mentioned it ... for me one of the most important stages in the process is tracking. It helps to have a very clear idea in your head of what you want the final result to sound like. Get your sounds right while tracking. Be especially carefull with compression during tracking ... if your not sure UNDER compress. no way you're going to get rid of overcompression in the mixing stage. you need the dynamics to work with and let your mix breath (and keep it airy)

3. The mixing stage : imho it is essential for a mix to breath, be open, in order to be airy ... getting rid of unnecessary frequencies on tracks. proper use of eq / filters is essential here. keep tracks that adress the higher frequency range out of the lower ones and vice versa for example.

4. Multiband on the mix buss : I use it but with care and usually even take it out before going to mastering ... but it does give me a better idea of what the end result is going to be like. Especially in project studios, home studios where listening conditions are not optimised multiband is a dangerous tool. Overcompressed bass to make it pump more is a common mistake that comes to mind. Use your finalisers with care ... give the mastering guy some room to work with.

5. the mastering engineer. IMHO he shouldn't have a hard job if your mix is right. Especially don't count on him to get it right. Count on his experience and ears to give it the final touch ... usually a subtle one if you ask me.
Old 7th May 2003
  #13
urumita
 
7rojo7's Avatar
 


while your artists are performing it would be very nice for them to feel that they are doing something really cool and be it that cool thing that they are doing that they can hear and feel rreally well.
after that the editing, mixing and mastering is engineer geek weirdo stuff that only musicians who read too many MIX articles pay any attention to.
there are albums recorded with SM57s and soundcraft consoles that have performances and recording procedures far superior to the record company safe boring lifeless overdubbed and edited/comped eq'd and compressed to death material recorded with the "best "gear", just because the engineer thought he had nothing better to do and didn't listen while tracking and just wanted to fiddle around with the knobs.. not to mention anything the manager or A&R git had to add to the miasma.
If you have good gear and rational tracking techniques you can only hope that some of these good artists will find out where you are and book some time. non troppo.
anyway. if you have to master, it's always good to leave them something to do with all that nice gear they have, since it's part of the process anyway. It's my guess that most mastering guys these days are attenuating treble while they're finding sneaky ways (not always successfully) to get rid of some. these days while walking through the diffusion of music in public spaces the only hting I hear is hihat and vocals and maybe a little guitar. is this "air"?
Old 8th May 2003
  #14
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 

Getting air

Sorry if this sounds like an ad, but since moving to the 9k a year ago, I haven't felt the need to put EQ on the mix bus like I used to...the air is pretty much there when the basic mix is done.

You get a tad bit more air with the SMC2B on the mix bus...using a very slight amount of 3-band stereo comp. Following this, my experience has been that there was enough air to avoid the EQ stage at mastering.

I hope to try following the SMC2B up with a pair of EAR comps with hand-matched valves on a mix this Sunday, which will be printed to Emtec 900 1/2" tape on an ATR102. Those comps are great.

Old 8th May 2003
  #15
Lives for gear
 
Roland's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by C.Lambrechts
IMHO the 'air' in a mix starts at the very beginning :

1. a proper arrangement.

2. Fletcher allready mentioned it ... for me one of the most important stages in the process is tracking. It helps to have a very clear idea in your head of what you want the final result to sound like. Get your sounds right while tracking. Be especially carefull with compression during tracking ... if your not sure UNDER compress. no way you're going to get rid of overcompression in the mixing stage. you need the dynamics to work with and let your mix breath (and keep it airy)

3. The mixing stage : imho it is essential for a mix to breath, be open, in order to be airy ... getting rid of unnecessary frequencies on tracks. proper use of eq / filters is essential here. keep tracks that adress the higher frequency range out of the lower ones and vice versa for example.

4. Multiband on the mix buss : I use it but with care and usually even take it out before going to mastering ... but it does give me a better idea of what the end result is going to be like. Especially in project studios, home studios where listening conditions are not optimised multiband is a dangerous tool. Overcompressed bass to make it pump more is a common mistake that comes to mind. Use your finalisers with care ... give the mastering guy some room to work with.

5. the mastering engineer. IMHO he shouldn't have a hard job if your mix is right. Especially don't count on him to get it right. Count on his experience and ears to give it the final touch ... usually a subtle one if you ask me.
I'm with you Chris on this one!!

Regards


Roland
Old 8th May 2003
  #16
Anyone care to get into what different about the sound on a mix of:

A) Multiband HF boost
B) EQ HF boost

When one should be used and the other shouldnt?

Presently, I tend to employ multiband compression only when EXTREME surgery is required. But I am open minded and my methods & opinions change monthly!

Old 8th May 2003
  #17
BTW,

Facinating tip from Rob Darling about a vocal delay set up during tracking helping to point to over HF EQ abuse...

Too much! ch ch ch ch ch ch ch ch ch ch ch

Old 8th May 2003
  #18
The EQ's with the best air on the mix:

1)Sontec
2)Millenia Media
3)Avalon AD2077
4)Pultecs/Massive Passive
5)Sometimes NTI-EQ3

When mixing on analog:

1)GML8200
2)Avalon AD2055

The problem with adding air to a digital mix is the anti-aliasing filter. If you get too close(which the Massive Passive and GML can do) you get weird aliasing artifacts(harshness!!!).

Jon the reason you don't need it on the 9000J is because it has its own smiley bump that's inherent(Lynn Fuston is actually examining this point).
Old 8th May 2003
  #19
Lives for gear
 
cashewcupcake's Avatar
 

Well I try to get my air when i track. At least some of it. I make sure that those frequencies are present in the actual tracks, so I don't have to artificially inseminate them with plugins or analog distortion later. Instead, all that's required is a mild EQ nudge.

The tracks I usually put air in are hats, vocals, and occasionally "distorted guitar" hiss does good when shaped properly. When available, good real or synthetic room sound from drums can also be used for air.

Honestly, when I boost over 17K things usually don't sound quite right. Usually I find it better to add a shelf eq lower down around 8-12K and add 1-2db.

I'd rather have a darker mix anyways since almost all consumer systems boost "treble' in gross amounts. At first people would probably react to a crispy mix favorably but it most likely would detract from the album musically.
Old 8th May 2003
  #20
Lives for gear
 
cashewcupcake's Avatar
 

As for exciters over mixes, why bother even trying to make a good mix if you're going to obliterate all your subtle tweaks and listening efforts? May as well just bring up the faders, apply Finalizer, smear on exciterment, eq, whack out your eqing with L2, and then smear on more exciterment. And bassenhancement too. Then more EQ. Then multiband compress.


Hey that approach sometimes works ya know.
Old 8th May 2003
  #21
Gear Maniac
 
Heterodox's Avatar
 

Sign me up Fae.
Old 8th May 2003
  #22
Lives for gear
 
Renie's Avatar
 

Chris

What multiband comp'(s) do you prefer/use?

Cheers

Renie
Old 8th May 2003
  #23
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by thethrillfactor
The EQ's with the best air on the mix:

1)Sontec
2)Millenia Media
3)Avalon AD2077
4)Pultecs/Massive Passive
5)Sometimes NTI-EQ3

When mixing on analog:

1)GML8200
2)Avalon AD2055

The problem with adding air to a digital mix is the anti-aliasing filter. If you get too close(which the Massive Passive and GML can do) you get weird aliasing artifacts(harshness!!!).

Jon the reason you don't need it on the 9000J is because it has its own smiley bump that's inherent(Lynn Fuston is actually examining this point).
I like your EQ list. The Millenia dual topo EQ with valves in is killer BTW.

I saw Lynn's graphic yesterday but am not sure what conclusion to draw for the moment...for example, is it the 9000J or the converter/clock that we are seeing? Is the 9k bass-light as some assert or bass-rich as Lynn asserts...and so forth. For my part, all I can say is that it's probably the widest and most open-sounding console I've come across. Round and dark it is not.
Old 8th May 2003
  #24
Quote:
Originally posted by jon

I saw Lynn's graphic yesterday but am not sure what conclusion to draw for the moment...for example, is it the 9000J or the converter/clock that we are seeing? Is the 9k bass-light as some assert or bass-rich as Lynn asserts...and so forth. For my part, all I can say is that it's probably the widest and most open-sounding console I've come across. Round and dark it is not.
Jon,

I am thinking it could be the 888/24's.

I agree on your assesment on 9000J.

Very wide sounding!!!
Old 8th May 2003
  #25
Lives for gear
 
e-cue's Avatar
 

Nightpro / NTI
Old 8th May 2003
  #26
Mastering Moderator
 
Riccardo's Avatar
Jon,
you say you like the EAR compressors. Have you had the chance to try the EAR stereo EQ? Anybody out there with impressions on this unit?
Old 8th May 2003
  #27
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 

Nope, not yet!



Right now in the CR, in addition to the regular stuff, there are 12 Neve 1073s, 4 GML 8200s, 2 Massive Passives, 2 EAR comps, 2 LA2As, 2 LA3As, an EMT 250...brought in by the current project producer/remixer/artist, Philippe Zdar...so I'm pretty happy with the outboard EQ situation for the mixes this weekend. Both 2" and 1/2" analog tape is being used.

We've got an album mix going these next 3 weeks for a band from Melbourne, Australia....definitely the longest distance traveled by a client so far to get here.

Should take a photo...looks like gear heaven right now.

Old 8th May 2003
  #28
Mastering Moderator
 
Riccardo's Avatar
Jon,
I am sure you'll be pretty happy with the outboard eq you haev at your disposal!!! I was just curious about the EAR stereo eq and how it compares with a Massive.
Old 8th May 2003
  #29
Lives for gear
 
C.Lambrechts's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Renie
Chris

What multiband comp'(s) do you prefer/use?

Cheers

Renie

My current favourite is a Tubetech SMC-2B which we bought a couple of weeks ago together with a Cranesong STC-8. I'm currently switching / testing between both on the mix bus.

I used the smc-2b for tracking the other day, backing vocals ... using it almost as an eq ... the result was great. Definately intend to do that more.

For plugins I use C4 and MC2000 ... depending on the occasion ... I like both.
Old 8th May 2003
  #30
Lives for gear
 
C.Lambrechts's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by jon

Should take a photo...looks like gear heaven right now.


take it and post it .... spank us with it
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