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 never thought I would end up mixing lol. I can't wait to finally post a complete track on here. I got very old track mix attempts, and I gotta say I have improved in a way beyond what I thought I could possible in a single year.
Some of the things I developed through this year were an ear for EQ, compression, transients, saturation, voicing in arranges but only to a minor extent as I don't mind voicings over lapping a whole lot, and a lot other things.
I'm gonna post a before and after track soon and you guys will hear a massive difference in sound quality. One is 1 dimensional, sharp, and over-compressed, while the other is spread through the entire stereo spectrum, balanced, rich in sound or as I like to call it well rounded, and dynamic.
A lot of my progress was due to the fact that I not only ask a lot of questions, but I tried to understand sound through other people's ears, with much more experience than me. Something I could not understand through my ears such as transients use to, I just try and try until I can finally hear it even if just a little bit, then take it from there and practice to expand my ear to truly hear it. I use to say 'if it's too subtle, then it's not relevant' but thank God I overcame that mentality. I always asked myself what if.
What at first sounded like a faint sound suddenly becomame much more noticeable.
I can say with confidence that I can finally make normal sounding mixes. I'm not very good, but I can at least strive to be normal right now.
Another thing that helped my progress was my will to educate myself. I watched hundreds of videos, and spent a lot of hours educating myself. I've gone as far as spending 4-8 hours a day, and 300-500 hours on dummy projects sharpening my techniques until I got a decent execution, and I did this 5 days a week for 1 year.
One of the biggest challenges I overcame was that when I got to mixing in the past, I was mixing so drastic it was more like sound design, completely changing the source and defeating the reason why I choose that sound in the first place. What started at 6-10 db EQ boosts have now scaled down to 0.5 to 3.5 db boosts, and rare high boosts for specific purposes.
I wanna thank everyone who gave me input and helped me become better here on looperman.
Sometimes the question isn't 'how does my mix sound', but 'what is good sound'. Not an easy question, but you guys did the best you could to explain it at times.
While I'm grateful for everyone's help I wanna throw a special thanks to Spivkurl for all the help. He probably had an answer for most of my posts haha.
He has had a lot of influence on how I developed myself as a sound mixer, or sound engineer if I may call myself that. Not only he had good advice, but you can learn a lot from listening to his tracks and comparing them to your own.
I can officially say I've crossed the pond. I'm not any longer a pro-loudness person, though there are times that music specifically sounds good loud for a specific purpose/effect.
[Bookmark]: Reminding myself to read this in the morning.
Practice, practice, practice. It's all it comes down to when we are talking about mixing.
One of the best things you'll find out in time, if you haven't done that already, is that every song needs a sound and you'll start hearing that sound you need to reach right from first audition.
Iy all comes down to the sound of the source. On one source you might need a small boost while on another you might need a really huge boost. There are no rules. Just do what sounds good. Start working in context of the song meaning that you eq and compress something then listen and rebalance the rest of the instrumentation to suit the changes you've made. Set up at first a decent static mix of the song (a mix where all the instruments are balanced and you can hear everything) and start from there. As you progress constantly listen to the mix and rebalance stuff. This enables you to keep a good balance and once you start equing and compressing you'll notice that some instruments will need more processing while others will get away with a high pass filter.
Don't mix for loudness, mix for balance and learn how a mix sounds like not a master. If you end up doing way to much during mastering, for example you are adding to much high end during mastering, then go back and rethink your mix.
Experiment as you've already done and you'll get better and better.a
It's all about the sound.
And I've forget the most important thing...don't overprocess anything and that doesn't mean you shouldn't add 10 processors to a kick track, it just means don't do more than it's required. As I've said there are no rules.
For example this week I've mixed a rock album for a band out of Austria, I'll post the processing chains for the kick track in both tracks.
Track 1 -> SSL eq - 8db of 50hz boost - full cut around 700hz with a medium to tight Q - 12db high shelf starting around 4.8khz -> 1176 comp doing about 4db of reduction
Track 2 -> SSL eq - pretty much the same settings except I've added a 5db boost around 1.5khz -> 1176 doing the same thing -> Avids LoFi for some grit -> Decapitator for some snap -> dbx160a in parallel doing about 10dbs of reduction -> 1176 in parallel compressing both the bass and kick for tightness
In both tracks the kicks where highpassed around 45hz more or less.
Now you'll notice there is a lot more processing on the second song and why? Because it was a faster paced more aggressive sounding track while the first had a sparse arrangement. In both cases the tone obtained was the same however I couldn't get aeay on the second track with the same as on the first one because the rest of the instruments where changing the perception of the sound of the kick track.
I've written this not as a guide but just to showcase that more processing doesn't mean overdoing something and to emphasize the fact that some songs require more processing while others require less. I'll see if I can get clearence to post samples of the tracks.
And just for the record as I've been asked multiple times, I insert the compressor first and then Eq into the compressor. For me the sound is more controlled and thighter that way. :)
So just go with what spunds good and stop thinking and start listening to the tracks. There are no rules.
Thanks for the tips Mahloo. I've been lucky I've been sticking to the same band instruments. I got the same bass, drums, strings, keyboard, guitar, and singer lately.
I do tend to change my synth effects all the time. The arrange however is Wildly different from song to song. After all I'm making songs for the same band.
Yea man I use to over-process EVERYTHING when I first started. My mixing now days is composed of EQ-Comp-Reverb(when needed)-Delay(if needed), and some saturation. If I can't get something decent with just that then my source sucks, or I gotta start over. I'm no longer mixing in a heavy handed manner.
Nice experience, it can give hope to beginners who often think it's impossible to learn mixing. It seems you practiced very hard and gain real skills in a short time period so -> Congratulations!
Mixing is a sport, in a lot of ways, but especially in the way where practice only (& regular practice) can make someone better at it once basic theory is learned - in my opinion.
For sure i do agree with Mahloo about there's no rule in mixing - you have to trust your ears, and so to keep them highly trained!
Thanx for your sharing.
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Looper Time : 2022-08-08 06:04:10 | Version l-3110