Pinned Mixdown and Mastering (Questions and Help)

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    • ok, re-did it, with the settings turned down and this time used my yamaha monitors to listen to it(and these monitors seem to hate compressors/limiters because they point out any volume difference).

      talking about bx_XL here. the first time, it didn't distort anything, but it did mess with a partial gate, but that was my fault because i had it set too high. the muddying i mentioned earlier was just the crappy earbuds i was using to listen to it. they couldn't handle the volume or frequencies or something and they distorted like a cheap car stereo.

      2nd time it sounded great, but not much different than voxengo elephant (which is much simpler and doesn't use high/low and m/s processing). likely due to the fact that i already apply some anti-phasing to my low freq channels off the bat so i guess i don't really need m/s processing on my own tracks, but on other people's stuff who haven't recorded their audio properly i would see where this would be a huge improvement.

      my opinion: it lives up to the hype and is a great tool to have in your arsenal, but it's not 100% necessary to use it because there are other tools out there that offer almost equal sound if you do things properly

      also to the sonnox heads, i've heard some good things about them, hoping to get a hold of their eq pretty soon. :)
    • Right! If you're making that 'perfect' bass sound and can't get it perfect because it sounds way to 'muddy' like you said (wooly maybe?) you should try and filter out some 160Hz. That'll take the mud out of it :) hehe

      I'm working with Sonnox for like a week and I already can tell the difference, great sounding plugs. It's like they have the deepest respect for your wavs, <3 <3 so i have respect for them haha
      Electro is the SF of music !
    • M.C.U.;48767 wrote:

      Right! If you're making that 'perfect' bass sound and can't get it perfect because it sounds way to 'muddy' like you said (wooly maybe?) you should try and filter out some 160Hz. That'll take the mud out of it :) hehe

      I'm working with Sonnox for like a week and I already can tell the difference, great sounding plugs. It's like they have the deepest respect for your wavs, <3 <3 so i have respect for them haha

      selective eq'ing on wobble and distorted bass sounds i know about

      if "surgery" were to be done with an eq it would be on those types of sounds. they can get a little too gritty sometimes. sometimes it can be unbearable so yea, having a tool to completely remove certain freqs can be extremely useful. ;D
    • beagle;37487 wrote:

      1st of all, the secret is in the mixdown. no amount of mastering will fix a weak mix. Ideally, it should sound as if hardly any mastering is needed.

      Check the EQ of everything, roll off anything below 40hz on everything (we can't hear this low and any signal down here may affect mastering compressors from working properly).

      High-pass filter (or good EQ) on EVERYTHING that doesn't have bass - hats, snares, any synths, etc. This will free-up the low end for bass and kicks and keep your mix clearer.

      Speaking of bass and kicks, use a spectrum analyzer to determine which frequencies they occupy. They shouldn't be fighting for the same space (eg both peaking at 80hz), if they do your mix will sound muddy and flat.
      If you use a sub-bass, make sure your kick is peaking at about 100hz and doesn't have too much sub-bass.

      If you think they are interfering with each other, consider using a compressor on your bass sidechained to the kick so it 'ducks' a bit when the kick hits - this free up breathing space i nyour low-end.


      Also you mentioned you use a compressor on every bus - don't unless you absolutely think you need to. An over-compressed track will lose dynamics and may sound weak or just unpleasant.

      And when you've got your mix sounding good, make sure you leave plenty of headroom (3dbs or so) when you render it out - this allows your mastering plugs to work properly.


      BTW, I used to mix in headphones before I got my monitors - having studio-quality headphones helps, but generally it's impossible due to the extreme stereo field of 'phones and the way they re-produce bass.

      However, that said, I found I could get MUCH better mixdowns using this plug-in:

      112db.com/redline/monitor/

      Whack it on your master-out channel and it works wonders.




      holy shit i cannot wait to check that link after reading this superb advice. i couldnt have written it better myself. the first 3 sentences really sum it up. trust your ears and compose it properly the first time. i have trusted my ears and developed my own a 3 step process that i use to
      "master" my tracks, but it really all starts in the first 3 sentences. good luck pimp
      -spec1
    • I've gotta say, that after hearing everyone's tracks on here, you lot are ultra talented. Being a complete noob at music production after a huge break from it, and trying to learn Ableton, it's taken me about a week just to get a snare sound that I think sounds half decent !

      If I ever get to create a finished track it'll probably still end up sounding wack - but all this advice is top notch. Still not sure I'll ever, ever be able to get the level of clarity and un-mudiness in a mixdown that you lot seem to achieve, but godammit I'll give it a go ! :)
    • i got a question....

      working on a track with amateur rap artists who recorded their vocals on their home computer systems without quality interfaces and mics...

      the vocals they recorded sound a bit muffled and i also noticed that the frequency completely cuts off everything above 9kHz, so no amount of boosting or eqing seem to bring those frequencies back to make them sound lively. anybody got a workaround for something like that?
    • Dr Skunk;50066 wrote:

      One bit of advice I would add is to give your ears a rest! I never try to master a track on the day i`ve made it, leave it until the next day or later and you will find that you pick up on things that you hadn`t noticed whilst producing the track.


      I agree. I think the most important thing when mixing / mastering / composing / synthesising is your ears!

      If it sounds right, it is right. There's too much focus on numbers nowadays kHz this bitrate that etc.

      I pretty much just twist knobs and press buttons until it sounds right to me and don't get bothered by the specifics :)

      I find that if I spend too long in the studio (spare bedroom) I start to become unsure on how good things sound, whether levels are right on certain things. This is when I know my ears have become tired and I give it a rest for at least a few hours if not until the next day.
    • Drew;50087 wrote:

      i got a question....

      working on a track with amateur rap artists who recorded their vocals on their home computer systems without quality interfaces and mics...

      the vocals they recorded sound a bit muffled and i also noticed that the frequency completely cuts off everything above 9kHz, so no amount of boosting or eqing seem to bring those frequencies back to make them sound lively. anybody got a workaround for something like that?



      yes , do it again ...
    • alavux;50313 wrote:

      yes , do it again ...

      meh trying to get a bunch of slack jawed forum trolls to do something again correctly is harder than that.

      anyway, began on a project and routed every track to 3 different sends separated by an eq i set on each one as a crossover. then i compressed each band hi/mid/low separately using voxengo elephant, then sent those to the master with no compression there, just a 3 knob eq with slight overdrive(yea a form of compression but it works differently than most, just for that warmth effect). i am pretty pleased with the results so far. ;D
    • some interesting posts on here. Thought I'd give my opinion, for what it's worth!

      Totally agree with R21, compression on the drum parts and bass are pretty much standard procedure for me too. I really like Izotope plugs. I tried Sonnox and didn't get on with 'em, but loads of peeps swear by it, so it's all personal taste.

      Izotope Alloy is low latency and really good for individual tracks to add bit of compression, EQ etc to beefy stuff up or cut through the mix better. Not sure if there's much truth to this but 'the experts' say cut the EQs, not boost ;)

      A/B EQ from tracks you like with some sort of analyser, they do a great one in Izotope Ozone. Should see ya reet
    • I would agree strongly with the idea of cutting below 40hz in your mixes, this is probably the most important thing in the mixing process, being that it will instantly give you a cleaner mix altogether. I would strongly emphasize the importance though of not having this being a standard, and actually become comfortable with the idea of cutting many times way above 40hz. Many pads, strings, etc, dont really use much below 150hz, so it will give you even more room.

      Another thing I would like to add however, that is just as important, and it is to cut in the high frequency range...ever notice tracks being hissy? you will notice that just as many sounds do not use many parts of the low frequency range, many also do not use the very high end of the high frequency range. This also will help make room so that sounds that do utilize that extreme high end will have room as well...but mostly its about taking out the hiss or suddle white noise that can sound like shrieking.

      I would highly recommend using reverb in just about everything, but be very modest...you dont want to give your tracks too much of a "hall" sound, but reverb in suddle use is what gives tracks that "big sound".

      I would highly recommend the sonnox plug in suite, as it is very clean and offers many options. The EQ is very practical, in that it offers good shelving, but better yet, very nice low and high pass filters that can be curved to fit your needs. I personally do not use shelving as it is not "surgical" enough, but rather the filters...it gets the job done.

      Other than that, another point that hasnt been mentioned is group mixing...another extremely important aspect of mixing, and one that will give you more volume, and dynamic balance. Take all of your drums, and render them into a single stereo group, compress, eq, and then do the same for all synths/strings/pads, then for all arpeggios/loops, and the same for sounds, and vocals. Make sure you have everything panned where you want it before rendering, and a nice tip is to make sure to do a "test render" of your drums. Do one, check it in your car, and home stereo, and if good, then you can begin arranging.

      Its better to get things where you want them in each single track, than try to boost or cut a group mix, which with drums, can really affect things. Say you boost around 100 to compensate for a weak kick, well, you will also be raising that in your snares which may not be suitable. Usually though, 808 snares will not use much below around 120-150hz, so it should be ok, still though, getting things right in each track is always the best practice. It all depends on what you use.

      At the very end, do a group mix for all music ( non percussive elements ), and balance that out with your drums. This will give your very final mix the perfect balance. Do loud tests while mixing, and also low tests. Loud and low tests let you hear if things are too loud or low in the mix. In dance music, you want the drums to be stronger than the music itself, otherwise your drums will be suppressed in the background and will not be as punchy in the final mix.

      Like people said too, rest your ears!!! never master after making a track, and dont master for more than 2 hours straight, you will loose orientation and will not accurately hear what you are doing.
    • Drew;48768 wrote:

      selective eq'ing on wobble and distorted bass sounds i know about

      if "surgery" were to be done with an eq it would be on those types of sounds. they can get a little too gritty sometimes. sometimes it can be unbearable so yea, having a tool to completely remove certain freqs can be extremely useful. ;D


      A nice trick for that is to turn the gain up on the range you suspect is the problem, then sweep across with the frequency knob, going back and forth...this will expose the culprit freq, which you can then completely cut with bringing the gain all the way down. Make sure you get your bell really tight though,as to not interfere with the surrounding frequencies.

      This doesnt always work, but its a small trick of the trade that does help in many instances.