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creating an intentional lo-fi mix Saturation Plugins
Old 15th December 2010
  #1
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otobianki74's Avatar
 

creating an intentional lo-fi mix

I'm wrapping up a project and will be doing final mixing over the next few weeks. we're really shooting for a lo-fi'ish/live sound akin to the white stripes. most of the rhythm stuff was tracked live, so that's definitely happening.

I guess I'm curious to hear about anybody's tricks used to dirty up a mix. eq, compression, tape, etc.

I've never engineered with tape before (but used to track to it as a musician years ago) so I'm not sure what I should be shooting for (ips-wise, settings, etc.) say if I were to try the new UAD studer plug.

just fishing for some ideas.

right now I've been using decapitator, echoboy delays, and plate verbs, and stuff is sounding cool.

I have the ubk clarity control and the a-designs nail on the mix bus. wondering if this is adding too much of a pleasant sheen (though I do love what it's doing for the mixes).

your recommendations can be on individual tracks or bus processing.

PS, I'm thinking of having my guy master to tape at the final stage.

thanks guys!

EDIT: been digging the mixes from black keys brothers (deluxe).

oto
Old 15th December 2010
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by otobianki74 View Post
I've never engineered with tape before (but used to track to it as a musician years ago) so I'm not sure what I should be shooting for (ips-wise, settings, etc.) say if I were to try the new UAD studer plug.

PS, I'm thinking of having my guy master to tape at the final stage.
Tape isn't lo-fi. Don't go barking up the wrong tree...Unless you want to bring a 4-track Porta-Studio cassette thing into the mix.

For me, nothing says lo-fi like overdriving your mic preamps in an irresponsible manner. A bit of cheesy guitar pedal distortion on the snare drum doesn't hurt either. The "wrong" kind of mic bleed also "helps". Granted none of that sounds like the White Stripes...but I guess they are not the sound I think of when shooting for lo-fi.

Have fun. And don't worry about going too far over the line.
Old 15th December 2010
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheebs Goat View Post
Tape isn't lo-fi. Don't go barking up the wrong tree...Unless you want to bring a 4-track Porta-Studio cassette thing into the mix.

For me, nothing says lo-fi like overdriving your mic preamps in an irresponsible manner. A bit of cheesy guitar pedal distortion on the snare drum doesn't hurt either. The "wrong" kind of mic bleed also "helps". Granted none of that sounds like the White Stripes...but I guess they are not the sound I think of when shooting for lo-fi.

Have fun. And don't worry about going too far over the line.
nice! I can actually back into my modded pm1000s and drive the carnhill in/outs. that's a good idea. I'll also try some pedals on snare.

and yeah, I'm not sure about using tape in this manner but I guess I was under the assumption that tape would truncate some of the extended HF frequencies that I've captured. I suspect for a lo-fi sound I don't need to have a sweet, extended high end. again, I'm not a tape guy, so don't know.

thanks.

oto
Old 15th December 2010
  #4
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Mr. Light's Avatar
Yah I don't know if White Stripes is lo-fi......their sh!t sounds pretty damn good to me, was recorded well. Maybe the word "indie" is more appropriate?

I think a lot of it has to do with the way you edit (or don't edit). Leave some slop in there, maybe don't edit drums to the grid, nevermind the sour vocal in the chorus.

Like you mentioned, maybe don't slam the final mix with compression. Cut a little of the highs off everything.

Besides all that, if the band plays like crap it should sound lo-fi no matter how it's tracked
Old 15th December 2010
  #5
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u b k's Avatar
 

Depending on how a deck is set up, tape can often give the highs a more extended feel. But if you overbias zealously and trim back the repro hf gain you'll get a much more dark, saturated sound. Also, some decks just have more of that vibe than others; it's almost impossible to make a studer sound dirty, it's almost impossible to get an old akai to sound pristine.

Do not underestimate the power of cassette decks.

You can definitely abuse mix processing, but my preference is to dirty up the individual tracks. If you mix on auratones, you won't be so concerned about how dark the mix is, focus on the low mids and mids. No giant sub bass, no extended air. Try rolling off the top and using just a hint of the Focus bands on the Clariphonic, that'll give you presence without treble. If something needs to be brighter, use distortion rather than eq.

Most of all, have fun with it, dirt is a blast!


Gregory Scott - ubk
Old 15th December 2010
  #6
i would highly suggest the Stillwell Audio Bad Buss Mojo. This thing can destroy like no other.

Bad Buss Mojo | Stillwell Audio - It's About The Sound
Old 15th December 2010
  #7
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otobianki74's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k View Post
Depending on how a deck is set up, tape can often give the highs a more extended feel. But if you overbias zealously and trim back the repro hf gain you'll get a much more dark, saturated sound. Also, some decks just have more of that vibe than others; it's almost impossible to make a studer sound dirty, it's almost impossible to get an old akai to sound pristine.

Do not underestimate the power of cassette decks.

You can definitely abuse mix processing, but my preference is to dirty up the individual tracks. If you mix on auratones, you won't be so concerned about how dark the mix is, focus on the low mids and mids. No giant sub bass, no extended air. Try rolling off the top and using just a hint of the Focus bands on the Clariphonic, that'll give you presence without treble. If something needs to be brighter, use distortion rather than eq.

Most of all, have fun with it, dirt is a blast!


Gregory Scott - ubk
great info all around man. thank you u b k!
Old 15th December 2010
  #8
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otobianki74's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by shaneoconnor View Post
i would highly suggest the Stillwell Audio Bad Buss Mojo. This thing can destroy like no other.

Bad Buss Mojo | Stillwell Audio - It's About The Sound
will check this out. haven't heard of it. thx!

I realize lo-fi might not have been the best adjective, but I think you guys are getting my point at what I want to achieve. the mixes need to have more grit than sparkle ultimately.

I tracked guitar and drums live in the same room with the amp REALLY loud, so the energy is definitely there. I have some nice bleed and and I'm not doing too much gating or mutes, so the open mics on the kit are really working well together. I love the way the guitar playing in drum-less sections still rattles the snares in the room.

thanks.

oto
Old 15th December 2010
  #9
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Joram's Avatar
 

creating an intentional lo-fi mix

- Reamp snare
- reamp bass and use both a room mic and a mic at the snare
- record vocals with a gritty mic, an sm57 will do
- use a spring reverb
Old 15th December 2010
  #11
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otobianki74's Avatar
 

thanks for those links, some good info. I read one of those interviews before but completely spaced.

I'm really happy with with the takes/performances I have. actually a fair amount of pre-pro was done, and thought put into the tracking setup, so I do feel we captured the energy akin to the vibe of le stripes. with regard to my wanting it lo-fi, I guess there's room to make it sound dirtier.

I'm gonna try a few things posted here, plus I dig this bit from one of those articles:

“Jack and Meg are big supporters of the analogue format, and he’s a big believer in the old-school approach: punch it in, no comping. If you don’t like a vocal take, just erase it and redo it. He has a Studer A80 eight-track recorder at home, and we used a Studer A827 with a 16-track head, and Emtec 900 2-inch tape, 30ips, no Dolby. I recorded pretty hot, because I wanted the stuff to have an extra little bit of distortion, and more edge and lots of tape compression. These things became part of the sound. I also had to make sure my levels were consistent, so when I spliced something in, it didn’t become unmixable and out of control.”

thx.

oto
Old 15th December 2010
  #12
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waxx's Avatar
 

i think the best way to do it now (after tracking) is hi cut fairly deep, overdrive it in an analog device (preferable with big colouring transfo's) and drive it a little to hard to tape.

But such thing starts with tracking. I know a guy who also want to sound very lo fi (think early 70's reggae like the 'Black Ark' productions of Lee Perry of that time) and swears with no condensors, and not that clear sounding recording and mixing equipment (old soundcraft mixer (i thought), an old tape machine (next to his digital setup), an a bit noisy delay and reverb, ...) and he does it very good these days (in the beginning he messed up sometimes his experiments to find the right sound). The result is heared in his recordings like hearable here: Pura Vida on Myspace Music - Free Streaming MP3s, Pictures & Music Videos
Old 15th December 2010
  #13
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I think the most important thing to do when making a "lo-fi" or indie recording is to track it the way you want it to sound in the final mix. Experiment with mic placements, especially room mics, and do things that you normally wouldn't do. That's how you get really interesting sounds. Don't be avfraid to comitt to something. Have a vision of the final product, then do make it happen...

You won't have to work very hard when mixing if you track this way.

Another trick to "lofi" is that it's really high-fi in disguise. Bands like White stripes, the Hives, etc. record often with Neve 1073 preamps. What makes it sound different is the sounds in the room is not stock and the micing/EQ/compression is non traditional.
Old 15th December 2010
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Light View Post
Yah I don't know if White Stripes is lo-fi......their sh!t sounds pretty damn good to me, was recorded well.
Yeah, if anything I think of that stuff as maybe low-fi sounds captured in a fairly natural way. As opposed to something like Guided by Voices or Ariel Pink where the whole mix is buried in a low-fi sludge.
Old 15th December 2010
  #15
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Rentzen's Avatar
Before mixing, dust off the old guitar pedals and get creative with re-amping!

It's fun & it can take a project to a whole new level
Old 15th December 2010
  #16
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otobianki74's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by initialsBB View Post
Yeah, if anything I think of that stuff as maybe low-fi sounds captured in a fairly natural way.
good way of putting it. kind of why I said "lo-fi'ish." I think, judging from the responses, people are getting the gist of my post.

btw, I did commit to sounds on the fly. recording overdriven, heavy guitar, some played with slide, in the same room with the kit. there is bleed in the mics, all the mics are open. I used a few ribbons to darken the sound up, notably on the drum overheads (which sound great), and guitar amp (not that that makes something lo-fi). pretty much all the sounds are there, it's just missing some "dark" glue. I feel I could polish this and have it sound sparkly and great, but I kinda want to run my nails against a chalkboard on this one. haha.

love all the re-amping ideas, pedals, eq stuff and tape reccos, and will definitely run some channels back into my pres to drive those big transformers. I have 16 channels I can use to destroy!

thanks.

oto
Old 21st December 2010
  #17
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otobianki74's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by shaneoconnor View Post
i would highly suggest the Stillwell Audio Bad Buss Mojo. This thing can destroy like no other.

Bad Buss Mojo | Stillwell Audio - It's About The Sound
this is working nice. trying other stuff as well, but seems to work well on driving individual channels and sub groups.

oto
Old 21st December 2010
  #18
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evangelista's Avatar
 

When going for a lo-fi vibe, I often mangle the mix bus first and foremost.

Amp sims can do wonders.
Old 21st December 2010
  #19
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HPF @ 80hz and LPF @ 15khz on the mix bus = instant lo-fi.
Old 21st December 2010
  #20
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otobianki74's Avatar
 

the only thing with tweaking the mix bus is it's affecting everything... which is cool, if that's what you're trying to do.

I find with each track I can mangle separately to taste, then add mix bus glue trash smash at the end.

for instance, I want a little more drive on the snare drum than the overheads.

oto
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