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How many CD's do you burn in the final stage of mixing?
Old 6th May 2006
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
TapeOp's Avatar
 

How many CD's do you burn in the final stage of mixing?

Hey guys... your opinion would be much apreciated...

One thing that always happens to me in the final stage of mixing is that I take a long time to make my mixes sound as good on CD as in its Pro Tools LE version. So I end up burning quite a lot of CD's until they finally sound right.
When it seems to me that the Pro Tools mix is already ok, I burn a CD, only to realise that the mix doesn't sound as "finished" as I thought - I always the need to go back and adjust volumes here and there.

And I don't go through that process once or twice... sometimes I end up burning 7 to 10 CD's until the track sounds right...!! stikestike

Every time I go back to the Pro Tools mix, and listen again to the bit that didn't sound ok on the CD, I say to myself "well, ok, the backing vocals (or whatever) could in fact be raised..." but it's not to say it sounded bad either... whereas on CD I would notice straight away that the backing vocals were not coming through...!!!

After all this, I have the feeling that while working at 24 Bit, there is more room for error than with 16 Bit... which doesn't make much sense to me, as the smaller dynamic range of the 16 Bit environment - at least to my understanding - would make volume differences get even closer to each other, and therefore reduce discrepancies... a bit like what a compressor does.

My monitors are Mackie HR824... do I need better ones?
I hear these volume differences between PT and the CD with the same (Mackie) monitors, so I don't think it's about that.

Well, I know I can be a bit picky, but not much more than the average slut, I suppose...
And just to finish, my aim is to make my mixes sound as professional as possible, so please bear in mind that's what we're talking about.

So... is that normal...?
Does an experienced mix engineer have to burn as many CD's until it sounds ok...?

Thanks for your time...
Old 7th May 2006
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

Hmmm. I have some concerns with this, and yet I have to agree that I do tend to burn a lot of "test" masters before finishing my work. However, I do that so I can take the mix to other environments (car, boombox, living room, etc.) to listen to it in those settings and on those systems. And I often do find things that need to be corrected while I'm doing this - even though it may have sounded fine on my monitors (which happen to also be HR824s).

But it sounds like you are saying that you are playing the CDs back on the same system that you mixed on, listening through the same monitors. Unless you're doing something unusual to create the CD, there should be no difference between what you hear from the CD and what you hear if you play the wav files directly from your hard drive.

Maybe you're just hearing things that you missed before because you've given yourself (and your ears) a break?
Old 7th May 2006
  #3
Gear Addict
 

I agree with Gilliland - you shouldn't have to do that at all, but should only have to make test CDs to test for translation to other systems. Something must be wrong somewhere.

How are you burning the CD?
Old 7th May 2006
  #4
Lives for gear
 
A27Hull's Avatar
 

I make test cds, for the music mixes and the vocal mixes. Lots of them. It helps to carry around, see how they sound in different systems.
Old 7th May 2006
  #5
Gear Maniac
 
rara114's Avatar
 

The burning of the disc would mean that you are listening to final as a 16bit 44.1 track. If it sounds too different then there is some funny math going on with the extra bits of info or rather the throwing away of info and making room in a smaller space. Your dithering/SRC might need a little workout. Also, if you are listening in another environment to test these burned cd's and then making the changes based on the other environment you might be hurting what you are really printing before/after conversion.

I have also burned off a couple of cd's to do this, but then become aware of the 'problem' back in my room... it's like saying "oh yeah, now I hear it"

Be carefull letting the other system dictate too much influence but rather use it as another reference to see where you are comapred to other mastered music.
Old 7th May 2006
  #6
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A27Hull's Avatar
 

I see your point, but I can't play my 24bit protools mixes in my car without the conversion.
Old 7th May 2006
  #7
More cowbell!
 
natpub's Avatar
optimize room n monitors reduces need for the car
Old 7th May 2006
  #8
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Curve Dominant's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by TapeOp
After all this, I have the feeling that while working at 24 Bit, there is more room for error than with 16 Bit... which doesn't make much sense to me, as the smaller dynamic range of the 16 Bit environment - at least to my understanding - would make volume differencies get even closer to each other, and therefore reduce discrepancies... a bit like what a compressor does...
I believe you are looking in the wrong direction with this particular line of inquiry.

More likely, the "problem" (if it helps to call it that) is this: When you burn a CD of your mix, then listen to it, you are listening differently.

Put this phenomenon in the realm of "psychoacoustics" if you wish. But I've experienced this myself many times: I burn a CD of a mix, and then when listening to the CD, I'm listening more from the standpoint of "the listener" than from the standpoint of "the producer/engineer." So I hear it differently, and thus get different ideas as to how it should be mixed, than when I was sitting in front of the PT mix and edit windows with my "producer/engineer" ears on.

But I've personally burned quite a few CDs and MP3s of a single mix, repeatedly going back to the mix to tweak things.

I honestly don't believe it has anything to do with bit depth issues at all, but then, I'm always careful to dither from 24 to 16 bit when I mix down.

Hope this helps.
Old 7th May 2006
  #9
How many Cd's i burn at the final stages?

One.

The one i give the client to take home and listen to and hopefully decide that everything is a go.thumbsup
Old 7th May 2006
  #10
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Marjan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Curve Dominant
I believe you are looking in the wrong direction with this particular line of inquiry.

More likely, the "problem" (if it helps to call it that) is this: When you burn a CD of your mix, then listen to it, you are listening differently.

Put this phenomenon in the realm of "psychoacoustics" if you wish. But I've experienced this myself many times: I burn a CD of a mix, and then when listening to the CD, I'm listening more from the standpoint of "the listener" than from the standpoint of "the producer/engineer." So I hear it differently, and thus get different ideas as to how it should be mixed, than when I was sitting in front of the PT mix and edit windows with my "producer/engineer" ears on.
Good stuff Curve! thumbsup

Having said that, I think there's a subtle yet real difference between a full mix and its 24 bit stereo version... let alone between the mix and the 16 bit CD... so I sort of agree with the OP.
The point is to not let it turn up too different after bouncing - experience certainly helps figuring how it will sound 'later on'.

TapeOp, may be you just need to be more patient...
Internal bounce is usually not advised by the way; practice and good monitoring will help too.
Old 19th May 2006
  #11
Lives for gear
 
Marjan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by A27Hull
I see your point, but I can't play my 24bit protools mixes in my car without the conversion.
But of course you can.
Park it near the studio and take an output from the monitor controler to the car system.
You're a slut, you're supposed to do that..
Old 19th May 2006
  #12
Lives for gear
 
Jim vanBergen's Avatar
 

Lately, I have burned a LOT of CDs as I mix two to three songs per mix session and them listen to them the next day in one of the two car systems, comparing & taking notes.

I want to be more like Thrill, and have absolute confidence in my mix that I hand to the client- and for them to NOT give me notes. That's happened a couple of times...but not often enough. Since it usually takes me a week to finish mixing a complete album of 12-16 songs, I will often have burned 12-20 CDs over the course of the week, because I'm also dubbbing a copy for the client(s) per mix session as we progress.

On this next live DVD I'm prepping, perhaps I'll finish ALL the mixes on my own just in the studio, then submit them to the client ONCE.
Old 19th May 2006
  #13
Gear Nut
 

Also, make sure the program that plays back the CD (like itunes) has the EQ (which is hidden) set to neutral (zero). I find that Itunes (even in neutral) colors my cd's a bit. I tend to playback my cd mixes directly on Quicktime. Just a thought.
Old 19th May 2006
  #14
Lives for gear
 
flail19's Avatar
 

Even back in the day (early 90's) we used to transfer our mixes onto a tape cassette, no cd's. Then we could go out to the car, to the local stereo shop and try it out on these different stereos. It was just more convenient to go to tape but same concept.

You could try getting a couple more sets of monitors to A/B for a "second" opinion. FWIW I have plenty of experience mixing in a nice studio etc... and when I got home to a lousy room and not so high end monitors I struggle mixing ITB too.
Old 19th May 2006
  #15
When I am "monitoring" the mix, I am always listening to it as it comes out of the back of my HHB CD burner. So... the "mix" and the product of the CD burning is the same thing.

It really does sound different if you're listening to it anywhere along the chain... so I've set it up so that what I hear is what I end up with.
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