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What was the most important technique/trick that put our mixes to the next level? Studio Monitors
Old 19th October 2005
  #1
Gear addict
 

Thread Starter
What was the most important technique/trick that put our mixes to the next level?

As the subject goes...
Old 19th October 2005
  #2
Lives for gear
 

I think everyone needs a Neve clone!
Old 19th October 2005
  #3
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blackcom's Avatar
 

learning to keep things as organized and simple as possible.
Learning how to use a phase scope to avoid problems
Time aligning multimiced sources, like snare and bass drum

Also I learned:
Too much treble - it will sound thin
Too much mid - it will sound thin
Too much bass - it will sound muddy and less punchy.

Learn how to use alot of HPF and LPF where neccessary, keep things where they should be.

Learn to mix without depending on an EQ on the 2-buss.

I guess the right frequency balance for each track was very importent.

Finding a few EQ and Compressor plugs that works, LEARN them and stick to them. (Samplitude EQ, Hydratone, URS A+N, Samplitude Compressor, Voxengo, Kjaerhus was my choice)
Old 19th October 2005
  #4
11413
Guest
this will turn some heads

mixing with an auratone 5c "super" sound cube in mono

suddenly all the lil things you agonize about on genelecs simply don't matter
Old 19th October 2005
  #5
learning how to use a compressor effectively.

Multi-buss compression.

Leanring the influence of monitoring volumes - not just Fletcher - Munson

Also, Trina Shomaker's comment about visualizing mini band members on the meter bridge when monitoring softly.
Old 19th October 2005
  #6
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absrec's Avatar
 

1.) Auditioning tracks in mono.

2.) Not being afraid to eq, but knowing when what I just did sounds like total **** and putting it back where it was.

3.) Buss compression

4.) understanding that there is no reason to listen any louder than the average person listens to music.

5.) Taking breaks to rest my ears.
Old 19th October 2005
  #7
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proxy's Avatar
 

Stopping for a second to let the years of shedding sink in, then mixing from the gut again...

Yeah, and some key pieces of great gear don't hurt either...

- proxy
Old 19th October 2005
  #8
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Curve Dominant's Avatar
Parallel compression, without a doubt. On drum submixes, guitar submixes, on vocal elements to an extent. Getting that technique down, and then getting creative with it, was a big leap here.

All the artists I produce for noticed it right away. The recordings didn't sound like "demos" anymore. They started saying, "Wow, it sounds like a real CD."
Old 19th October 2005
  #9
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MJGreene Audio's Avatar
 

Quote:
mixing with an auratone 5c "super" sound cube in mono

suddenly all the lil things you agonize about on genelecs simply don't matter
This is so true. A great engineer turned music supervisor Mike Flicker who did all the early Heart records turned me on to this while mixing a TV show for him. He said put up the Auratone and go get a towel to throw over it. If it sounds good with that then it will sound great anywhere.....

Still use the Auratone to this day. I don't use the towel anymore. I got tired of clients asking why my dirty laundry was on the console......

Michael Greene
Old 19th October 2005
  #10
Registered User
 

Many many levels to go, but...

1. The Gear (I don't care what anyone says).

2. The Arrangement (a good musical arrangement where **** doesn't fight each other is easier to mix and sounds good/professional from the start).

3. Tracking (also makes mixing way easier if the parts are recorded and played well in the first place).

4. The Ears (the bitch of all bitches...as it applies to knowing what sounds good, what needs EQ, how to EQ, where to put the mic, when things are in tune...and all that crap...).
Old 19th October 2005
  #11
84K
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84K's Avatar
Mixing through ADAM S3As
Mixing to 1" tape... ATR 102 Aria deck ... 15 ips
Parallel compression
Using a Pultec EQP-1a EQs on the 2-mix
Using a: Thermionic Culture Phoenix, Pendulum ES-8, or Atomic Squeezebox on the mix buss.
Experimenting with Reverbs
Running some tracks through a PA and mic'ing the PA
Old 19th October 2005
  #12
Lives for Jesus
 
stevep's Avatar
1. Good songs and good musicians.

2. Automation.................

3. Check on a few monitors and in a car

4. dont be afraid to use the eq and comps.

5. take a day off

sometimes i will get everything set up, get a good mix then come back to it the next day.

steve
Old 19th October 2005
  #13
The demo vs album comment reminded me of another - use of distortion.

I do a demo for cleints all the time and play them a track with disortion and hten cut the distoriton out. After a couple of A/Bs I'll narrate "album...demo" which is exactly what the changes sounds like, with the discotrion sounding more like an album.
Old 19th October 2005
  #14
Gear addict
 

Thread Starter
Mike,
what kind of distortion are you referring to? Mix buss? or parallel bus distortion....

a lot of great answers

Brandon
Old 19th October 2005
  #15
Lives for gear
 

The most important?
Tracks of good musicians playing music together.
Old 19th October 2005
  #16
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Learning how to really listen and understand.

Not much else really matters.

You can emulate things all day long and copy or mimick what other people are doing by using certain pieces of gear or signal flow but it won't lead you anywhere until you can really hear what it's doing to the music.

Once your ear is really trained things like picking the right reverb or EQ settings, having a mono compatible mix and all that jazz...it's a non-issue. Like proxy said...just mix from the gut.

YMMV.
Old 19th October 2005
  #17
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Kahrs
Learning how to really listen and understand.

Not much else really matters.

You can emulate things all day long and copy or mimick what other people are doing by using certain pieces of gear or signal flow but it won't lead you anywhere until you can really hear what it's doing to the music.

Once your ear is really trained things like picking the right reverb or EQ settings, having a mono compatible mix and all that jazz...it's a non-issue. Like proxy said...just mix from the gut.

YMMV.
Excactly..
Also....sometimes less is more regarding processing,etc.
thumbsup
Old 19th October 2005
  #18
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Ruudman's Avatar
 

Agree on many of the tips given in the thread.
My best technique is to place/plan parts in dimension before tweaking tracks.
You know: levels, panning. Layers of stereo (i.e soft synths) becomes muddy,
make a priority list.

Tips for users of URS eq's and the like:

start using eq's in a normal way again. I took the advices about only subtract
when dealing with digital eq's, but with good plugs, proper levels:
- go back to normal.

ruudman
Old 19th October 2005
  #19
1. Its a special previlege and an honor to be asked to give your objectivity when dealing with someone elses work.

2. Listen to the song and i mean really listen to the song not just hear it and start turning knobs.

3. Always go with your gut instinct when making decisions in the mix.

4. Remember that its not your song and the client will have to live with it once its out of your hands.

5. Lastly and most importantly...mixing a song is supposed to be fun not just work.


That's why you got into in the first place.
Old 19th October 2005
  #20
Registered User
 

The funny thing is...

if all the other crap is in place, how hard is mixing really?

For those of us in non pro situations...the thing(s) that make it hard are fighting all the less than stellar issues...

if you're working with lousy intruments, a lousy room, weak mic collection, mediocre monitors, mediocre songs/arrangements, average singers, crappy computer, uncomfortable chair, stuffy room, neighbors making noise, and on and on...mixing is going to be pretty much a bitch all the way around...

if you're in a pro environment with top gear and top musicians and top songs, how hard is it to set the faders and pan some **** and snort some coke and scoop up the sloppy seconds...
Old 19th October 2005
  #21
84K
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84K's Avatar
Using compressors more for the sound / tone then the compression. Doing more fader riding, less limiting.
Old 19th October 2005
  #22
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the most important trick is to keep your mind at 'how the song is supposed to sound' and not obsess too much about gear and it's different characteristics.

the most important thing is the one thing you either know or don't know, and nobody can teach you; knowing what sounds good and what sounds bad.
Old 19th October 2005
  #23
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djui5's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JP11
if you're in a pro environment with top gear and top musicians and top songs, how hard is it to set the faders and pan some **** and snort some coke and scoop up the sloppy seconds...


Not really, the stress just shifts rolls. Sure, you got all kinda pretty lights and nice flavor to play with, you got a great song to mix and your "feelin it".

What happens when the producer hears the mix and flips out because the bass dosen't have the punch or warmth he wants. What happens when the artist hears the mix and things you f'k up his song. What happens when the assistant turns on the fader motors mid mix and upsets your balance, so you gotta start over. What happens when PT's crashes and you can't get your mac to boot. What do you do when you have to look the A&R in the face, who has to have the album delivered to stores in 2 weeks, and tell him/her that the files on the hard drive have all been deleted. The album budget is $15,000,000. How do you explain the intern who slipped in the room and asked everyone in the band for their autograph. How do you explain the smoke coming from channel 35?

All those pretty lights....




I agree with the above comments about the song. The most important trick/technique is to learn to hear the song for a song, and make it sound that way to everyone else.
Old 19th October 2005
  #24
Gear Maniac
 

My way

For me, the best thing that pushed me was .. insisting.. Even when it's done - since I own the stuio I work in - I always come back on things - next morning, next week, maybe - and try to deliver better things. Believe me - this is just like training yourself, since ther is always time when you're not working - one hour of working around on an already mixed song, can do wonders - especially for the client, who I can asure you, will apreciate your effort and probably come back. Of course, is not always working this way - when there's a tight dead-line - well, you just have to do it at your best.
Old 19th October 2005
  #25
Registered User
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by djui5
Not really, the stress just shifts.
well, sure, life can be stressful no matter what...it's not always easy being a supermodel either...

still, mixing-wise, is it going to be easier to get a great drum sound if you've got a pro drummer with a fantastic drum set perfectly tuned in an excellent room with top pres and mics and a bunch of 1176s and whatever all set up by your assistant...

or if you've got a ****** playing a cheap set badly tuned in an untreated garage with cheap pres and mics into a cheap digital box with cheap digital effects...
Old 19th October 2005
  #26
Harmless Wacko
 

Focus on finding the big picture.

Everything else will follow.

SM.
Old 19th October 2005
  #27
Gear addict
 
WEAPON_X's Avatar
 

having the self esteem to turn down projects when i just can not realte to the material.
it is very hard in the beginning, but i found that it pays - you just do not have to suffer to make something work or sound that you just cannot stand.
if - at any chance - doing music that you can relate to is definitly an extreme step upward, because you go with the music, be more creative and have more fun.

on the other side, when you have to pay rents and investments, it is not easy to do that, i see this point. however, trying to find a good balance for one#s self is still important.
Old 19th October 2005
  #28
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bunnerabb's Avatar
For me, it's sort of what Slippy said. Shove everything the f*ck out of the way except the music and where it's going and how you're going to get it there.

Screw the dumb ****. Make the record and make it with whatever you have at your disposal that will make it sound like the record you're trying to make.

Keep focused on the whole thing.

Of course, this may not be what Slippy said at all.
Old 19th October 2005
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curve Dominant
Parallel compression, without a doubt. On drum submixes, guitar submixes"
Ditto
Old 19th October 2005
  #30
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Bob Ross's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundBadge
sometimes less is more regarding processing

Whaddya mean, "sometimes" ???


I mixed four CDs over the course of 10 years for an alterna-rock singer/songwriter: the first one was in 1988 (I think), the last one in 1998. After the last one was mixed his lead guitarist commented "It's amazing how much bigger and wider this one sounds compared to the first album, yet it has no reverb, it's totally dry!"

No, my friend, it actually has a buttload of reverb & echo on it...all used in very tiny amounts.

I'm a big fan of If I Can Hear It It's Too Much, not just for processing but for any engineering decisions. The moment my ear gravitates towards something that was achieved in the control room rather than in the musician's hands, I know I've gone too far.

Of course, sometimes going too far is exactly what's required...
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