Posted in : Forum : Mixing , Mastering And Production Techniques
Youve created a track but how do you give it that polished edge ? Discuss the art of mixing and mastering and swap production techniques.
i use a compression plugin on most of my drums, bass synths, and guitars and occasionally on sounds that need consistency. but tonight i ran across one track that additionally had a compressor on the Master channel, which isn't something i normally do. after some A/B'ing with and without, i realized i dug the way it sounded and i'm thinking about inserting one on the Masters of other songs. however, i've run into a problem. while individual sequences sound great, whenever a new instrument is introduced, anything punchy or deep, it takes some time for the effect to adjust and the music kind of pumps in a very dissatisfactory fashion. would using a 'brickwall' preset resolve this or does it just need some more fine tuning? can anyone recommend some good level settings for me to use as a reference/starting point? if it helps, i produce industrial music and having a tight, punchy, consistent mix is what i work towards. thanks for the help!!
I like to do a serious EQ sweep.. I take a low frequency band... or narrow yeah.. that's the one.. A narrow frequency band, and then I search for freq's that are wonky or troublesome..
What I have noticed, if I extend the reach of this EQ and do the A/B thing you mentioned, I have a greater depth of what is really happening.
ALSO!When you are doing something vulgar and awesome like industrial, volume fades and just "riding the volume" in general.... You know?Like ... the dude that invented compression probably was just trying to TURN things down, when he wanted other things UP!
I like to think of things linearly. But it's very multidimensional. You probably need to switch speakers and have a good cup of tea/beer to calm your head while dealing with thick mixes.
Just my thoughts.
BTW hardwareexorcist you really seem to know what you are doing for the most part (just from your posts around these forums)SO I want to offer you one of my trick techniquesIt's very very simpleI run TWO of thesehttp://bram.smartelectronix.com/plugins.php?id=4
Both run Linear and LEFT and RIGHTbut the trick is to press play so they function correctlyYou can get an INSANE amount of depth of what is really happening in your mix while trying .... to.... mix....yeah
It's easy to throw a compressor on there... but if it's your heart mind and soul put into a track, I like to know EXACTLY what's happening.
Bah... I mean drop these on your main mixer..So you can reference both Left and Right speakers, but also run them and see how it's going to look before you render.
hah.. I am gonna shut up now.
That pulsing can mean you are using too much compression. Compression can also be used as an effect and that pulsing you are hearing could be just that. Make some adjustments in your compression settings like ratio and threshold. This has happened to me and that was the problem.
I can't help you with any suggestions [alividlife's already covered most if not all of it], but what I do know is that using compression on your master channel is generally a bad idea because it just makes every element really loud leading to a loss in the dynamics of your sound. I'm no expert at mixing, but tons of professional producers and mastering engineers have talked about the problem of over compression.
.... never load a compressor on your master channal.sound is dynamic and if you compress that it sounds elektric.just use a limiter so stay on 0dB.
what i mostly do is keeping my kick and snare on -9 dB.the higher hat on -14 db.and every other instrument based on the kicks etc.
good luck with that.
Yeah I never load compressor on the master either I prefer to use them as needed like on vocals. I have used a limiter on the master channel.
i've never put a compressor on a master channel...
Peace from LA
Beatmaker doesn't have compressors :( I wanna computer that can a real DAW...I think I'm gonna save up for a used macbook pro and ableton... But first I need a job that pays better than minimum wage.
I think theHumps answered your question most accurately. The "pump" is an actual effect of compressors that is sometimes used intentionally. Overcompressing creates this effect and if that's not what you're looking for...ease back on the compressor. A "Brickwall" presetting might just cause that. A late attack on the sound by the compressor might indicate that you need to adjust the attack at which the compressor opens the gate.
Also, there is a very fine line between a compressor and a noise gate(in case you did not know). Compression on your Master Tracks might cause some crazy effects. So compression on your master takes the overall decibel level of all the tracks in your song and, based on that level; opens or closes the gate. Don't know if this helps or if I'm just spouting crap you already know but I wish you luck!
possibly helpful thread, probably more than anyone wants
what it boiled down to imo was: listen, tweak, listen, tweak, repeat, lol
ive only mixed a few tracks where i used compression, (on the vox, never master) and i have found it to be a very precise tool, one track i ended up getting rid of it, just not improving anything,i would nort use it just for the sake of having it on there... the one one im doing now its so precarious, one screen pixel up sounds rad, one pixel down, doo doo. hope that helps, lol.
there has been a lot of great advise so far...another suggestion is to group your parts together so that you compress most but not everything
I only use compression on bass and vocals....And then drums if I am having really big issues with sound...But fer the most part, I do it the old school way, Ride the fader.Save the automation, go back and fix it.
I also like to render tracks at a very low decibel range before I move on to making it sound big and sparkly.Altho.. I feel personally I am getting pretty good lately, and I don't even need to master, because I have all my tracks all in a row pre-saved from 4 years of trial and error.
ALTHO! Since you are doing Industrial... Man, I still struggle with industrial and mixing drum and bass and death metal. I can deal with metal, but there's soo much distortion or gain on reeses or the drums in industrial.It can be a real headache.
Do you have the ability to sidechain?I would look into sidechaining if that is something you can do in your DAW. That is if you want to keep the "breathing" compression thing yet still hold a consistency of volume on multiple frequency bands.Maybe a dynamic compressor would be another option.
I do think there's no steadfast rules to music. Except one:
what a great amount of advice! i knew i could count on my people at Looperman to help a brother out=)
@alividlife: you've always got some great tips, man. yeah, my industrial music is more difficult to mix and master than any other genre i work with. i'm a big fan of taking breaks when mixing to avoid ear fatigue, and sometimes just coming back to mix a week later may present some ideas that you didn't think of yet. i usually look at my tracks at some point through a spectrograph to get a good idea of what frequencies need adjustment. i don't use it as an end all be all, more of reference point. it's always up to my ears whether or not a mix is 'right' or not.
@theHumps; yeah, i figured overcompression was the issue, i just wasn't sure what settings (or combination thereof) causes it. using compression on an entire mix is pretty new to me, so i'm not sure wherein lays the problem.
@SGN; yeah, alividlife is always full of great tips=) like i said in my OP, having one on the master isn't something i normally do, and that's why i'm having some issues. i really only take the advice of 'professional' producers and engineers with a grain of salt. electronic music by nature needs to have a certain element of experimentalness to it and i'm more interested in finding my own production style than following 'rules' placed down by other people that have no idea of what i'm trying to accomplish sonically.
@LymixTheBull; you know, i think a limiter is EXACTLY what i need, not a compressor. but i think that using a compressor in this fashion has given me some ideas about how to improve my mix utilizing harsher EQ techniques. thanks.
@JoeFunktastic and yeshintae; i know it's not recommended, but i like to experiment using tools in ways they're not really meant to be used and work on getting sounds in new and unusual ways. i tend to look at music as more of an art than science with pre-defined notions and what should be used where and how.
@theThanx; you should just switch to PC! the hardware and software is cheaper and just as reliable, not to mention the vast amount of freeware available online. don't believe mac's anti-PC propaganda!!
@anchor; thanks for the specifics about compression, yes it definitely helps paint a clearer picture for me. yes, i'm familiar with noise gates, i use them frequently on guitars and vocals due to amount of heavy processing i use on them. thanks for the tips.
@dungbeatl; yeah, it is a very precise tool and it's not for every sound in a mix. since i'm running on relatively dated hardware, i can't afford to use processing resourcing on extra things just to have them. i try to make things as lean as possible just to keep my machine running, haha. thanks for the link, i'll look into that and see if i can find anything of use.
@traxnctrl; the DAW i use allows me to either group or to process tracks individually which i usually do, mostly for EQ purposes though.
@alividlife (again!); i really don't live to automate things like volume, EQ, compression, etc. if i don't have to, unless i'm doing it for a specific effect. i prefer to keep those elements fairly static. actually, distortion is an effect i really try to keep to a minium, preferring to find FXs that simulate whatever element of distortion i'm looking for, like extra EQ for punchiness or tube sims for crunchiness. distortion, by and large, usually presents more problems than it's worth. with my industrial music, it's more often than not the amount of layering and aggressive sound processing that causes me to have issues with mixing. i do have sidechaining capabilities, however i never use them. i try to keep my mixing and production techniques as simple as humanly possible and save the time and mental capacity to use towards programming and songwriting. man, you hit the nail on the head with the only rule in music, lol. isn't that why we're all here networking with one another? to learn new ways not to suck? haha.
thanks again for everyone that posted and lent me a hand on this, i really appreciate it.=)
Yea... I have considered it and done some research, but from what I'm also interested in using it for video as well (I actually study film in college) and while I'm in no way AGAINST PC's, unfortunately Final Cut Studio is what I know the best and it's currently owned by the apple.
In all honesty I'm a little turned off by apple's policies and company structure. Steve Jobs really seems to me almost like a dictator.
you know, you're probably the ONLY mac user i've ever encountered that hasn't gone on and on about how mac is superior in every way to PC, lol. that's really cool that you've gone through the research and everything. i've heard that most schools teaching film are using macs with FCS, so you're actually getting a leg up on the rest of us by having learned the ins and outs of a program for your profession. i've been really wanting to get into learning video software so i can make my own videos. Adobe apparently came out with some serious software for PC a few years ago that's equal in quality to FCS so i might give that a go. are you doing any work yet we can check out?
Some really quality advice here ;0)
Lol i'm the same as hardwareexorcist in that i only produce to the means of my computer! Its basically a single core G5 so does struggle once im up over 30 tracks with FX etc.
Big ups to Alividlife for that link too ;0) I've got all those plugins on pc but not for my mac!
compression is awesome and i tend to use a small amount on nearly everything. its fantastic for sculpting kicks and snares once you understand how to get the nobs to work in your favour. Iv found it only sounds terrible if you use very harsh settings e.g sounds will be better with 3 compressors using very light settings than using just 1 with heavy settings (not saying use 3 compressors just making a point :)
The one i use the most is a Focusrite liquid mix and it can put a really nice character into your sounds when you get used to how it works.
Hope this helps :)
the thing that Ive learned here that has made huge differences to my limited ability would be (for us old analog guys) to Get clean tracks. You can't take a red-lined distorted track and fix it with a compressor, but you can take a clean track and make it as noisy and messy as you want. It's like trying to make your Soup less salty..The only time I've compressed an entire track was converting old Cassettes from the Garage band days. On Mixcraft's vst plug-in comp, the presets for "Bring out your hi-hats" and "even piano levels" were able to help.
I suggest creating a drum bus/group and use that as a drum bus compressor to effect drums only.
NY compression comes to mind........
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Looper Time : 2021-09-21 20:46:44 | Version l-3110