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That Sheen Condenser Microphones
Old 21st July 2014
  #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post


I'm not "repeating" anything....


Didn't mean that to sound off, just felt like that Dan Lavry paper about clocking from ages ago.....
Old 21st July 2014
  #62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
Didn't mean that to sound off, just felt like that Dan Lavry paper about clocking from ages ago.....
That and the SOS article from a while back (which I don't 100% agree with FWIW).

Still if Dan Lavry says it...?!
Old 21st July 2014
  #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uptoolate View Post
Here are a couple of mixes. I would love suggestions on what I might do to improve them.

Nothing wrong with the recordings imo.

The main thing that I think you could improve on quickly is a better use of subtractive EQ.

My preference would be to take out some of the harsh stuff that lives around 2k and above and some of the mud that lives around 50-200hz. It's not that those mixes are bad, but I think those two areas are a tiny bit problematic.

Perhaps a little more compression on individual parts to helps push the mix together overall.

Some decent saturation to warm up the mid lows and tame the highs a little would probably help too.

Oh, and the mixes are a little dry. Try using a couple of plates or small rooms on sends to pull everything together as well. Probably no more than 1/4 second tails and only in small amount.

All the little things start to add up.
Old 21st July 2014
  #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
That and the SOS article from a while back (which I don't 100% agree with FWIW).

Still if Dan Lavry says it...?!
Dan Lavry is heavy and I don't even go to the technical pastures where he operates. But if he said my kick drum was too loud I wouldn't turn it down.
Old 21st July 2014
  #65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
Dan Lavry is heavy and I don't even go to the technical pastures where he operates. But if he said my kick drum was too loud I wouldn't turn it down.
I know - which is all along why I've said "subjective"
Old 21st July 2014
  #66
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As to make up for the OT, just listened to the tracks.

My thought is the vocals are the weakest part. On the first one partly performance, but also some effect work, or lack of. Feels a bit dry and thin in the wrong way and bright in the wrong way. Maybe not ideal mic and then boosted a load of top? Cut all the bottom off?

Also in the first one the levels are off, the vocal hides inside, likely because of it sticking out with its issues if you put it up louder, so you felt to pull it. Also the BV's are a bit small and could make more impact.

I think if you focus on just the vocals and max them out with better effect work (delays, tone stuff, etc) to make them smooth as so they can stand loud and proud the rest will take care of itself.

When you do it, try to switch off all your 'normal' ways of doing it and just rely on your emotions to tell you whether what you are doing is 'right'. Like forget eq frequencies and after switching the current top boost and hi passing off, go again and just do it by ear, really quickly and see what you get. Then maybe play with some saturation on a send to get some meat into the tone.
Old 21st July 2014
  #67
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Just my opinion, but i am thinking that the mixes don't sound as bad as you may think. It's probably is your listening environment. I especially like the stereo spread. To me the percussion mids need to be cut a bit and overall brightened up a bit, and then some EQ for slightly better instrument separation. I think a good mastering would help with all of that. I may be in the minority here, but I think the SM7 suites your voice just fine. It adds a nice warm. I m not sure I would use a DEEsser, but maybe isolate the S's, and bring their volumes down just a tad.
Old 21st July 2014
  #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uptoolate View Post
Here are a couple of mixes. I would love suggestions on what I might do to improve them.
First recording - lacks a bit of background - delays, pad sounds, reverbs, whatever. The arrangement could use adjustment (female voice could be higher pitched/different line). Fix the uneven vocals. Also, the violin melody sounds like it's supposed to be on the front, but rather the guitars dominate.

Second... A bit middy at times. There is one correct position for the compressor on the piano on this one, and it's off. That transient over-blast kills the piano IMHO. I am a big fan of dynamics on this sort of performances anyway, otherwise it's just flatness after flat. Could also benefit tremendously from real instruments.


The biggest problem in my opinion is not the mixing really, but that everything from the arrangement to performance is just a bit flat, boring, not so interesting. But that's just my opinion. Mastering comp won't help you much here, could take more energy away in fact...
Old 21st July 2014
  #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chainrule View Post
Honestly, the problem is 100% your converters. They have a "hard" quality to them.
religious songs and conversion is the problem. now that is ironic!
Old 21st July 2014
  #70
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Let's try this another way.... When you listen back and compare yourself what do you feel is wrong? The reason I ask is because, once you worked that out then you;re half way to your solution. Alan parson's could go through your mix and give you exactly what you need however, would you understand what he was saying and know how to implement the changes?

Then , what are you seeking to achieve with your soundscapes? From what I hear your present gear doesn't seem to quite gel.

Do you sit there and listen to other mixes and wonder why, even when the vocals let rip, they still "sit right", listen to your own mixes and realise your voice is always forward of the mix never part of it? Do you listen to other mixes and wonder why, everything sits in its' own space and yours, has no real sense of space? The first track sounds almost as if you phoned the vocals in from another place they simply don;t actually sit/gel , pick your own word, with the rest of the track. There's nothing really wrong with the EQ. On the second track that's very impressive again. You must have arms about 50 feet long to be able to play piano in one room and sing in a totally different room. There's part of the sheen that's missing, the cohesiveness of a what you perceive as a "professional" mix. Go listen to Elton John's your song and then listen to how your voice and piano interact with each other. Notice how, when Elton hits the harder notes, he backs off the mic and the ambience matches the piano and strings? How they've added a sympathetically toned reverb to the more intimate sections that attempts to mimic that of the room he's in, not go against it?

Your gear list currently looks like that of an Indie or trad rock band for recording themselves, only that's not what you do is it? The music you make, where one to characterise it as microphones, sounds to my ears, like classic KM84 and U47 territory. The other sheen you are missing is that of the 200hz-500hz area, there's a bit of a lack of "body" there and it's probably no coincidence that U47s and KM 84 lend strings, voice, piano, that very sheen you seem to be missing?

if you were to ask me what gear should I be looking to buy to make the sort of music you make, I'd say this. A pair of Beyer MC930s a good U47 clone, something like the Sennheiser 600 phones, you say you room is untreated? and monitors that are in the Harbeth, ATC, ball park sound wise. Given the music you make, you could a lot worse than track down a pair of Tannoy Little Red monitors, they are a tad more forgiving of "bad rooms" than many of today's monitors.
Old 21st July 2014
  #71
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Earcatcher's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by uptoolate View Post
Here are a couple of mixes. I would love suggestions on what I might do to improve them.
The second song is where I would typically have pulled out my Violet Amethyst Vintage mic out of the closet to use it on the voice, for a smooth, warm, intimately present sound. It goes rather well with the UA610. That would have brought the song so much more into a "finished" sound, and make it easier to get the mix right.
Old 21st July 2014
  #72
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Sounds like a really good project studio recording. Were you expecting more?

Get it mastered, that is where the Wax is applied. I am sure that there are 100's of Plugins that will claim to give you what you think you need. But it is what it is. the next 2-5% is Murder.

Get it mastered.



Old 21st July 2014
  #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
So you think you could come into a room, listen to a source you hadn't heard before, with no other reference point, and tell me if it's the FF or if it's a burl? That's "night and day" to me. If you need to A/B it's not night and day.
I could tell, I have used both of them for countless hours, I know their "sound" like I know the sound of an api vs neve or a les paul vs stratocaster or MCI deck vs Otari deck


Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
I don't know if you've read GS recently, but converters are the first thing people seem to want to "upgrade"!
I'm by no means saying they are the first thing to upgrade, however in the OPs case (besides his rooms)
His other gear is solid it seems like the only thing left is his A/D D/A

Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
The OP has quality preamps. However, those mackies aren't great, and his mic selection is minimal (good as the SM7b is, it doesn't suit him). Assuming (from the recording) his instruments are good, it's room/monitors/mics for me before anything else. THEN the interface - but then, that's the only thing left TO upgrade!
The mics are minimal but adequate. To me..... The D/A interface and monitors go hand in hand. They are collectively a unit. Then the A/D is another story but IMO as important as the micpre...for the simple reason the micpre has to pass signal to it. The interface is what it's name implies.... It's an "interface" between the micpre and DAW and an interface between the DAW and the Monitors. To me your micpre or monitors are only as good as your interface(s). They are extensions of their collective functionality. I'm not recommending a fatso or a harmonizer or some novelty item here. An interface is a BIG deal, it's the heart of your DAW. The Interface is responsible for the sound that goes to DAW and the sound that goes to near-fields. What is more important than that in the gear world?

Sure acoustics are MORE important but after that, interface all the way at least in this case.
Old 21st July 2014
  #74
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Quite simply; mastering the material to a 24 bit 192 khz {Or better such as DSD} set of converters with some equivalent fidelity compression in front of it will give you that "polish" "sheen" "gloss" or whatever you want to call it on your tracks. It helps considerably if you tracked everything into 24 bit 48 khz or better.
If not, no amount of conversions or mastering is going to improve matters enough to yield an audible improvement. Start over.

TOL
Old 21st July 2014
  #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chainrule View Post
I could tell, I have used both of them for countless hours, I know their "sound" like I know the sound of an api vs neve or a les paul vs stratocaster or MCI deck vs Otari deck
Yet, you still have not provided any clips of the supposed difference. And if indeed we don't have adequate enough monitoring to observe this larger than life difference, what does that tell? That monitors are more important or converters?


It's completely dishonest to compare converters with guitars - which are supposed to have a sound and obviously have great differences by design (and measurably).
Old 21st July 2014
  #76
Quote:
you have to keep in mind that everything you put on your tracks has to go through your converter.
That's kinda how signal chains work, innit? All your live audio tracks (that must be what we're talking about, since VI's won't normally go through conversion in the studio unless one is mixing OTB) go through your mic(s), then through your board (or perhaps standalone pre(s)); as you're mixing all your signal goes through your monitor setup into your room and into your ears, too, influencing how you mix and configure those elements. Of course, you can switch elements (including converters, for that matter) around, but the ultimate product is dependent on all the elements of the chain that processed it. Every element in a chain is a 'quality filter.'
Old 21st July 2014
  #77
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I don't hear a converter problem. I hear choices made that could be optimised.
Old 21st July 2014
  #78
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
To quite a few of us a subjective improvement is all the 'better' one could hope for.

To think how Antelope manage to sell their 10M to all those people for 5 grand and law and behold, it doesn't actually make it 'better'.

@BOWIE....nice to see you here, spouting a nugget of truth. Been ages.

On topic I agree with the man who said some people just have an affinity with audio, like seasoning. And then it ends up tasting good. It's not because they have more Saffron than the rest of the chefs.

I thank you kindly sir for hearing me.
Old 21st July 2014
  #79
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vintageidiot View Post
I thank you kindly sir for hearing me.
Never underestimate an idiot.
Old 21st July 2014
  #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron Rash View Post
I've been chasing the "Sheen" forever a good example of it is Bon Iver at Air studios. When his vocal comes in it gives me chills how "Sheeny" it sounds.

Here's the Bon stuff: Bon Iver at AIR Studios (4AD/Jagjaguwar Session) - YouTube

To the unexperienced ear you will find yourself adding crazy amounts of high shelf EQ until it turns into a sibilant mess but that's not where it's at. It's all the harmonics! Particularity in the 2K area that stretch's upwards adding sheen on top.

Particularly the easiest way I have found to achieve this is to just record through a 1073 running it a little hot. It will give you all that sheen, mojo and then some. If you're going the tube route you would want to try a V76 it does the same thing but differently.

There's a reason why these preamps cost so much money. Not because they cost very much to build, but because they do something special that us engineers can't live without.

Just my 2cents
Sorry for going OT here but : Really love that you refer to Bon Iver - absolutely loved the 2nd LP

However it would not have been the same without that 47 or the C37A they use frequently either, I suppose... And in that specific recording.. I suppose the blend of C12s and the Coles gave a realy nice tone on the grands as well.. man they seem to love 4038´s at AIR.. they have 11 of them http://www.airstudios.com/technical/microphone-list/
Old 21st July 2014
  #81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uptoolate View Post
I record mostly acoustic pop type stuff. In the Jason Mraz vain. Some rock here and there.

My gear:
2-610
Daking MicPreEQ
Fireface 800
Mackie 834s
UAD, waves and more
sm7b
ksm32
Rode NTK
run Sonar
Problem is, it's such a broad topic with so many culprits, you'll get a lot of responses about various points in the chain. All are probably correct, to some degree.

For your acoustic pop Jason Mraz style, the first thing to pop into my head are questions about the sound source: brand new strings on the guitar, proper mic technique to get good clarity from the close mics, high quality condensers (not the SM7b or the KSM 32 - both of which I own and are good mics, but pretty far from a traditional U87 tone), good pre's and conversion, a well-arranged musical performance that allows the instruments to shine, a mix with a lot of space and tasteful reverb, and yes equalization and compression, on the individual tracks and on the mixbus (i.e. proper mastering), etc etc...

It all adds up. Any one of those stages, done incorrectly or with a bad piece of kit, will be a stone in your shoe.

It frankly takes a lot of planning, and knowing how each piece of the puzzle will fit with what came before, and what comes after. It's why the talented folks make the big bucks!
Old 21st July 2014
  #82
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomteontour View Post
Sorry for going OT here but : Really love that you refer to Bon Iver - absolutely loved the 2nd LP

However it would not have been the same without that 47 or the C37A they use frequently either, I suppose... And in that specific recording.. I suppose the blend of C12s and the Coles gave a realy nice tone on the grands as well.. man they seem to love 4038´s at AIR.. they have 11 of them Mic List - AIR Studios
Excellent observation about Bon Iver, while we're on that topic...

The "For Emma..." album, as I'm sure everybody knows, was done with one (or a few) SM57's. Now, it's a great album. Sounds fantastic. But I wouldn't say it has any remotely the same "sheen" as that Jason Mraz "I'm Yours" tune. It benefits from sparse arrangements and creative mixing, but has an overall "dark" sound. So, take that for what it is.
Old 21st July 2014
  #83
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
Every element in a chain is a 'quality filter.'
it all matters, yes agreed
Old 21st July 2014
  #84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
I don't hear a converter problem. I hear choices made that could be optimised.
So interface selection is not a choice that could be optimized? Why is that exempt? seriously ... that makes your whole argument sort of invalid not considering all options . Are you monitoring through a FF by any chance
Old 21st July 2014
  #85
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chainrule View Post
So interface selection is not a choice that could be optimized? Why is that exempt? seriously ... that makes your whole argument sort of invalid not considering all options . Are you monitoring through a FF by any chance
So because I think that the converter is a long way down i the issue list that I heard, you think I run a fireface? I don't. I just know that there are untold things he can do to make it better even WITH a fireface. Converter is not exempt, no. But it doesn't mix for you or comp the performance last I checked.
Old 21st July 2014
  #86
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oden View Post

love the specs... so something is flat response 20 - 20 and it's means it's good? let's get real here. My sound blaster live has the same specs. First rule in recording....
don't read specs... Second rule: critical listening is the process!!
Old 21st July 2014
  #87
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Chainrule reminds me of Isawsasquatch, or someone of that ilk.
Old 21st July 2014
  #88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vintageidiot View Post
Chainrule reminds me of Isawsasquatch, or someone of that ilk.
As long as he didn't read spec sheets and used his ears to record, sasquatch comparison is cool with me

I listen to these mixes here and all I can hear is a cheap A/D converter. I can't get past that aspect.
Old 21st July 2014
  #89
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chainrule View Post
love the specs... so something is flat response 20 - 20 and it's means it's good? let's get real here. My sound blaster live has the same specs. First rule in recording....
don't read specs... Second rule: critical listening is the process!!


spec sheets

FF800
When transparency is the goal, the specs become important. Unless you are implying that it is magic that is happening on those chips.

Critical listening is fine, but not many know how to do it properly and/or let cognitive bias cloud their judgement. Besides that it's kind of hard to do that without owning the converter to compare to.

I would definitely go with the specs over what someone says on the internet without any sort of proof.




Perhaps the soundblaster isn't that terrible by the way. At least if it had half as good drivers. I remember seeing that mythbusters workshop by Ethan, not a real difference to speak of after a pass or two. About 40 min:

Old 21st July 2014
  #90
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This thread is useful because it shows who here listens to things, and thinks about mixing. It also shows who likes to buy whatever gear and pray that it gives them some magic quality.

Ears and skills. Ears and skills.

(And room treatment and monitoring...)
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