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Techniques for loud mix ITB Dynamics Plugins
Old 24th December 2010
  #1
Gear Head
 

Techniques for loud mix ITB

My mixing skill is at the intermediate level and one of the things I'm striving for is a loud mix (RMS) with controlled peaks around -3. When I send songs to my veteran Mix Engineer they come back loud, punchy, and dense. And the peaks never jump over -3db.
How do you achieve this kind of mix?
Old 24th December 2010
  #2
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Multiband compressors and limiters...
Old 24th December 2010
  #3
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RusRant's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Big M View Post
My mixing skill is at the intermediate level and one of the things I'm striving for is a loud mix (RMS) with controlled peaks around -3. When I send songs to my veteran Mix Engineer they come back loud, punchy, and dense. And the peaks never jump over -3db.
How do you achieve this kind of mix?
You achieve this kind of mix by sending the tracks to a veteran engineer. I think you answered your own question.
Old 24th December 2010
  #4
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jmp72's Avatar
Techniques for loud mix ITB

Don't mix it in mind that it have to be loud, but that it has to sound good, if your mixing skill are good you will easily achieve good volume perception, yes volume perception

The best way i found for my kind of music (lot of drum ie metal) is to clip the converter input, limiter never worked for me, it kills all the transiant especially the snare, but this technic have his limit, pushing it too hard is aweful, and it don't work with every kind of music
Old 24th December 2010
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Big M View Post
My mixing skill is at the intermediate level and one of the things I'm striving for is a loud mix (RMS) with controlled peaks around -3. When I send songs to my veteran Mix Engineer they come back loud, punchy, and dense. And the peaks never jump over -3db.
How do you achieve this kind of mix?
He may be inserting limiters and compressors on individual tracks to raise the volume and control the peaks, and additionally treating the overall mix with some light compression and a limiter set at -3.
The trick is to not over use compression or you kill the punch.
A good enginner will be able to judge this from experience, and also make eq shelf decisions to trigger the compressor correctly, as well as making experienced track eq decisions.
Sometimes going in to the edit window and selecting a few peak offenders on the individual tracks and lowering the volume surgically can give you an extra db or 2 in the final mix.
Old 24th December 2010
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yetti View Post
He may be inserting limiters and compressors on individual tracks to raise the volume and control the peaks, and additionally treating the overall mix with some light compression and a limiter set at -3.
The trick is to not over use compression or you kill the punch.
A good enginner will be able to judge this from experience, and also make eq shelf decisions to trigger the compressor correctly, as well as making experienced track eq decisions.
Sometimes going in to the edit window and selecting a few peak offenders on the individual tracks and lowering the volume surgically can give you an extra db or 2 in the final mix.

^ actual useful post.

Although I agree with everyone.

Squashing sounds with compression does make them louder, but it's a cheap way to get volume.

I'm now spending alot of time 'emulating' compression with volume rides and my mixes sound so much better.
There is nothing worse than the chorus of your track sounding thinner than the verse.
Old 24th December 2010
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkRB View Post
^ actual useful post.

Although I agree with everyone.

Squashing sounds with compression does make them louder, but it's a cheap way to get volume.

I'm now spending alot of time 'emulating' compression with volume rides and my mixes sound so much better.
There is nothing worse than the chorus of your track sounding thinner than the verse.
Riding the volume is so time consuming....but soooo worth it haha...sometimes for the choruses i'll bump up the guitars and vocals just a touch. On vocals i only ever use a 2:1 compression with a soft knee, the rest is riding the fader...makes for a much more natural tone
Old 24th December 2010
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nelson89 View Post
Riding the volume is so time consuming....but soooo worth it haha...sometimes for the choruses i'll bump up the guitars and vocals just a touch. On vocals i only ever use a 2:1 compression with a soft knee, the rest is riding the fader...makes for a much more natural tone
Word.

I'm the worst offender for having buss upon buss. Little and often is a pretty good practice but I'm always bussing Kik and Snare, then drums, then smashing the **** out of the mix buss.

My new years resolution is to ween myself off of mix buss compression.
I can get far better sounding mixes if I try and mix a track to sound loud rather than just slapping a limiter over it so it is just loud.
Old 24th December 2010
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkRB View Post
Word.

I'm the worst offender for having buss upon buss. Little and often is a pretty good practice but I'm always bussing Kik and Snare, then drums, then smashing the **** out of the mix buss.

My new years resolution is to ween myself off of mix buss compression.
I can get far better sounding mixes if I try and mix a track to sound loud rather than just slapping a limiter over it so it is just loud.
+ a billion

Maybe if more people took this attitude, we'd have far better mixes on the radio haha...although i don't think you should ween yourself off buss compression entirely. I used to smash things in the buss...now i'll only compress enough to get the tracks to glue together just a little more...UAD Fairchild is great for that glue effect...i think this is more what a buss compressor is designed to do anyway...increase in volume is just a side effect of pushing it harder...
Old 24th December 2010
  #10
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u b k's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RusRant View Post
You achieve this kind of mix by sending the tracks to a veteran engineer.

Or assisting him, or apprenticing under him.


Gregory Scott - ubk
Old 24th December 2010
  #11
filter each track from unwanted frequncy-content. the main key is EQ for loud mixes. get rid of what disturbes, push stuff that has to cut. 2k is the key for ipodish listening devices.

if you filter the unwantend content with an eq (such as the sonnox eq), you can compress and limit the **** out of your track. espacially with the highend. it gets nasty if you limit or compress the hell out of a track. filter the unwanted content makes it to appear louder.

I use less compression and more limiting in the box then on analog consoles.

you have to make sure the individual signals are always well leveled, mostly compressed or saturated.
that's why the L1+ is so famous...

use some sort of distortion/saturation plugin on reverbs.. that helps to use less reverb because you can hear it better.

de-rumble the lowend and you are veteran engineer heh
Old 24th December 2010
  #12
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RusRant's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k View Post
Or assisting him, or apprenticing under him.


Gregory Scott - ubk
Yeah, basically what I meant as well. Knowledge is power here for sure.
Old 24th December 2010
  #13
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True North's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by George Necola View Post
filter each track from unwanted frequncy-content. the main key is EQ for loud mixes. get rid of what disturbes, push stuff that has to cut. 2k is the key for ipodish listening devices.

if you filter the unwantend content with an eq (such as the sonnox eq), you can compress and limit the **** out of your track. espacially with the highend. it gets nasty if you limit or compress the hell out of a track. filter the unwanted content makes it to appear louder.

I use less compression and more limiting in the box then on analog consoles.

you have to make sure the individual signals are always well leveled, mostly compressed or saturated.
that's why the L1+ is so famous...

use some sort of distortion/saturation plugin on reverbs.. that helps to use less reverb because you can hear it better.

de-rumble the lowend and you are veteran engineer heh
WOW - this post is CRAMMED with lots of little nuggets of loudness wisdom. Great post.
Old 24th December 2010
  #14
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OceanMan's Avatar
 

You are striving for an RMS peak average of -3? Seriously? Thats just silly.
Old 24th December 2010
  #15
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by George Necola View Post
filter each track from unwanted frequncy-content. the main key is EQ for loud mixes. get rid of what disturbes, push stuff that has to cut. 2k is the key for ipodish listening devices.

if you filter the unwantend content with an eq (such as the sonnox eq), you can compress and limit the **** out of your track. espacially with the highend. it gets nasty if you limit or compress the hell out of a track. filter the unwanted content makes it to appear louder.

I use less compression and more limiting in the box then on analog consoles.

you have to make sure the individual signals are always well leveled, mostly compressed or saturated.
that's why the L1+ is so famous...

use some sort of distortion/saturation plugin on reverbs.. that helps to use less reverb because you can hear it better.

de-rumble the lowend and you are veteran engineer heh
Great advice! Thank you. I find the low end the trickiest part. Whenever I try to mix loud it's always the low end that gives me problems. Now I have to figure that out. Getting answers just leads to more questions.
Old 24th December 2010
  #16
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by OceanMan View Post
You are striving for an RMS peak average of -3? Seriously? Thats just silly.
Loud RMS with peaks around -3.
Old 24th December 2010
  #17
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PlugHead's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Big M View Post
My mixing skill is at the intermediate level and one of the things I'm striving for is a loud mix (RMS) with controlled peaks around -3. When I send songs to my veteran Mix Engineer they come back loud, punchy, and dense. And the peaks never jump over -3db.
How do you achieve this kind of mix?
Make everything louder than everything else!

Glad to help...
Old 24th December 2010
  #18
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Dynamic range is a good thing, but if you want something loud just compress and limit or use Waves LL stuff.
Old 24th December 2010
  #19
Gear Nut
 
Titans55's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by George Necola View Post

de-rumble the lowend and you are veteran engineer heh
Excellent post. Could u please elaborate on this. I find it extremely difficult to do this while retaining the power and punch in the lowend.

Thanks
Old 24th December 2010
  #20
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Techniques for loud mix ITB

Also try serial compression (milder settings on two comps vs more aggressive settings on one) and wet/dry so called NYC / parallel compression.

This way you can squash the hell out of it, but by blending the uncompressed, unlimited track, you can add back some transients and ooomph.

The comment about eq'ing out frequencies that build up or create mud is also particularly effective.

Experiment, have fun, good luck.
Old 24th December 2010
  #21
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Techniques for loud mix ITB

Quote:
Originally Posted by Titans55

Excellent post. Could u please elaborate on this. I find it extremely difficult to do this while retaining the power and punch in the lowend.

Thanks
Use a high pass filter starting at the highest possible frequency, gently lower the frequency to restore low end.

Particularly useful on LDC vocal mic tracks, drum overheads, and depending on your sound/song guitar cabs.

This preserves the bass freqs in the primary bass tracks - kick drum, bass guitar/bass synth. Adds much clarity without robbing low end where it is needed.

YMMV - try it out.
Old 27th December 2010
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Titans55 View Post
Excellent post. Could u please elaborate on this. I find it extremely difficult to do this while retaining the power and punch in the lowend.

Thanks
gearonthego has a good example of how to start derumbling.

I use lowcut on every track.

what really helps, is route all the individual signal from the tracks to groups and apply a lowcut-filter only on the groups. this way, you have less phasing-issues. any lowcut filter introduces phasing, due to the steepness of the filter. this way you have less "phasing". to me it just sounds better.

what helps to *de-rumble* but is not related to the punch, is using a comp on the masterbus. I use sonalksis exclusivly on the masterbus for that purpose. the green compressor is very transparent and "auto-derumbles" :D really you need to try it. also you can make it musicaly pump to the track if necessary.
Old 27th December 2010
  #23
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Techniques for loud mix ITB

This is where the oxford inflator is absolutely an essential. Cranesong Phoenix + inflator + minor compression + minor limiting on the 2. This is where I've been lucky in that I've had 0 problems with rms and loud mixes. Parallel pumping also helps.
Old 27th December 2010
  #24
Techniques for loud mix ITB

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nelson89
Multiband compressors and limiters...
Very few mix engineers I've worked with use multiband compression as anything other than a problem solver. The answer to the op's question is simply "improve your mixing ability". By whatever means possible - reading, practicing, apprenticing, listening, and so on. It's not as simple as "use compression".
Old 27th December 2010
  #25
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by George Necola View Post
filter each track from unwanted frequncy-content. the main key is EQ for loud mixes. get rid of what disturbes, push stuff that has to cut. 2k is the key for ipodish listening devices.

if you filter the unwantend content with an eq (such as the sonnox eq), you can compress and limit the **** out of your track. espacially with the highend. it gets nasty if you limit or compress the hell out of a track. filter the unwanted content makes it to appear louder.

I use less compression and more limiting in the box then on analog consoles.

you have to make sure the individual signals are always well leveled, mostly compressed or saturated.
that's why the L1+ is so famous...

use some sort of distortion/saturation plugin on reverbs.. that helps to use less reverb because you can hear it better.

de-rumble the lowend and you are veteran engineer heh
Good answer!
Old 27th December 2010
  #26
Registered User
A spectrum analyser, e.g. freebie VST Voxengo Span, let's you see if you have any problem areas, especially subsonic noise.

IMO, decide which instrument occupies the low end (kick or bass?), and high pass everything else. Even high pass that instrument if necessary.

Consider ducking the bass with the kick - or just compressing the two together for a similar effect.

I'm not a fan of multiband compression when you have access to individual tracks. A Mastering engineer does what he has to do with what he has to work with: stereo tracks. But a Mix engineer should deal with issues within each track. Also - when tracks combine, this can create problems. Especially if you have time aligned all your drum transients on purpose ... creating massive spikes that are going to get killed in mastering ... consider leaving them more natural ...

Distortion is like the fastest limiter ... sometimes clipping is preferable to limiting, especially with drums. I use Voxengo Elephant, which has a choice of limiting algorithms, including clipping ... or the use of a Saturation plugin can achieve a similar effect ...

It's easy to overdo limiting or saturation, but it can help avoid surprises after the ME has volume maximised and removed the peak transients ...
Old 27th December 2010
  #27
One technique I like on loud dense rock mixes is using my snare to trigger side-chain compression on the guitar bus. Not a ton of reduction, maybe 2-3 db or so. Quickest attack & release. That way the snare doesn't have to be 'louder' to stand out in the mix... The guitars will simply duck a little to let the snare pop through. Just don't overdo it or the guitars will pump and start to sound arpeggiated (which may be a desired effect - especially in dance music).
Old 27th December 2010
  #28
Gear Head
 

I do a lot of filtering on each track when I mix but I think the key is knowing what to filter and how much. I find the low end can get weak if I spend too much time on it, and I don't realize it until I compare it to a big mix.
I can get a mix sounding big to my ears, but it's a little chaotic on the meters. Then when I try to control the low end it doesn't sound as big anymore.
I can get the drums to sound good and "behave" on the meters, but they don't play nice with the other bass elements. And when I try to whip the bass into shape things start to weaken. It could be the room I'm mixing in. Maybe I'm not hearing everything in the low end correctly.
Old 27th December 2010
  #29
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Rimby's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by George Necola View Post
filter each track from unwanted frequncy-content. the main key is EQ for loud mixes. get rid of what disturbes, push stuff that has to cut. 2k is the key for ipodish listening devices.

if you filter the unwantend content with an eq (such as the sonnox eq), you can compress and limit the **** out of your track. espacially with the highend. it gets nasty if you limit or compress the hell out of a track. filter the unwanted content makes it to appear louder.

I use less compression and more limiting in the box then on analog consoles.

you have to make sure the individual signals are always well leveled, mostly compressed or saturated.
that's why the L1+ is so famous...

use some sort of distortion/saturation plugin on reverbs.. that helps to use less reverb because you can hear it better.

de-rumble the lowend and you are veteran engineer heh
I'm a noob at mixing so forgive me....but I want to make sure I'm understanding this correctly:

If each individual channel is well limited then there are no transients to slip through to the buss compressor, which then means that stronger amounts of compression can be applied to the buss? Because nothing is slipping through to make it pump which might call for a reduction in the level of compression (assuming someone didn't want the pumping)?
Old 27th December 2010
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nelson89 View Post
Multiband compressors and limiters...
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
Very few mix engineers I've worked with use multiband compression as anything other than ... not as simple as "use compression".
Au contraire mon liebchen!

A million years ago, I asked pretty much this precise question on the TapeOp message board, and the genius-of-all-trades Joel Hamilton gave this specific answer, "Multi-band compression and limiting."

Or the question was more general... "what do 'commercial' mixes have that mark them as being so crisp and detailed and yet so forceful?"

And lo/behold, it turns out that he was onto something-- jockeying the thresholds and attacks and releases in a multi-band compressor and a limiter are excellent ways to shape the 'densities' and highlight frequency ranges in a real 'sculptural' way-- not that it's mandatory ever, not that you can't get a punchy mix in many different ways-- but as a handy way to contain the tendency of loud stuff to overload, while keeping a sense of drama intact-- I hate to end this like a simpering magazine review or something, but it's one approach that the concerned audio enthusiast might well be advised to look into!
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