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Production Talk => Mixing/Mastering => Topic started by: polymetric on January 06, 2016, 02:14:37 am

Title: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: polymetric on January 06, 2016, 02:14:37 am
If you have some mixing or mastering tips that have helped you, feel free to share them here.
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: polymetric on January 06, 2016, 02:15:49 am
When I mixdown my tracks, I prefer to just completely reset the mixer. While you're arranging and composing, you may mix stuff a bit so you can have the right perspective on everything, but when finalizing the mix, you'll want to reset everything. Then, slowly pull up the faders starting with the most important elements. Volume is the most important thing in any mix.

If something doesn't fit, mute it. Never delete things, you may find a place for it later.

When mastering, I usually do the same thing, EQ the final mixdown a bit, then compress/limit/clip it a little with my preferred free mastering VST, LimiterNo6.
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: fungsway on January 06, 2016, 02:19:30 am
When I mixdown my tracks, I prefer to just completely reset the mixer.

Let me throw you a curveball. I've had projects in which i've thrown the mixers to complete silence, and my attempt at rebalancing the track actually makes it sound worse than what it was before. What issue am I having here?
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: simon on January 06, 2016, 02:21:37 am
When mixing down a track I've been working on for a while, after doing the initial mix I like to try and consolidate then bounce stems by group (aiming for no more than 25 but usually hitting around ~50 stems). I bring these stems into a new session and then continue my mixdown from there, finding that separating myself from the project allows me to get much cleaner mixes but also doing a bit of compression/expansion on each 'stem' leads to me being able to push my eventual master significantly further.

Another thing, and this took me way too long to realize, but when mixing a track always mix around a central element or else you're mixing at an arbitrary volume. Set the levels on your kick, and mix around that, and don't randomly change the levels of your kick because that's the foundation on which you build out the rest of your mixdown.
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: polymetric on January 06, 2016, 02:22:28 am
Maybe you're not starting with the most important elements. In EDM, this is usually the kick, then the snare, then the rest of the drums. Then once you have that going, bring in the bass, then chords, lead, arps/background stuff, then FX (risers, fallers, etc.) last. Also, you might be going too hard with EQ. I've discovered, it's easier to make a good mixdown by actually mixing it first, then EQing later.
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: polymetric on January 06, 2016, 02:24:12 am
When mixing down a track I've been working on for a while, after doing the initial mix I like to try and consolidate then bounce stems by group (aiming for no more than 25 but usually hitting around ~50 stems). I bring these stems into a new session and then continue my mixdown from there, finding that separating myself from the project allows me to get much cleaner mixes but also doing a bit of compression/expansion on each 'stem' leads to me being able to push my eventual master significantly further.
Great point, although sometimes difficult to actually do, depending on your DAW. In FL Studio, this can be very annoying, especially if you don't have one playlist track for each and every sound. I did this once, and it turned out to be my best mix yet. I've made better mixdowns since then, but at the time it was my best.
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: rooofy on January 06, 2016, 02:24:18 am
Let me throw you a curveball. I've had projects in which i've thrown the mixers to complete silence, and my attempt at rebalancing the track actually makes it sound worse than what it was before. What issue am I having here?

It's possible you were pushing a limiter hard while you were writing the song, and when the limiter is gone and you're mixing to 0 dB, you might not be able to get things loud enough as they were before when the volumes of track were high. I've done that a few times, and the only way to bring it back to what I had while still arriving at a better mix was to improve the sound of individual tracks so that they could work with each other without being so hot on the meters.
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: Nomad on January 06, 2016, 02:26:46 am
When I mixdown my tracks, I prefer to just completely reset the mixer.

Let me throw you a curveball. I've had projects in which i've thrown the mixers to complete silence, and my attempt at rebalancing the track actually makes it sound worse than what it was before. What issue am I having here?

You're probably so used to the original sounding mixdown that this newer one just sounds completely wrong to you, whether or not it is better or worse to begin with.

Although I agree, personally I never reset the mixer when preparing for a final mixdown. As long as you are tweaking things along the way and know which elements of your song are the most important and should have the most clarity then resetting it normally wont do any good. IMO its only worth it to reset if the mix is just completely terrible and irredeemable, then theres no other choice but to reset everything and just try again.
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: flashsapphire on January 06, 2016, 02:35:07 am
I've found that setting my default MIDI or audio channel set to -20dB really helps with headroom. Then adjusting as I add more layers. :)
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: polardubbear97 on January 06, 2016, 02:35:55 am
Less is more as a rule of thumb.

And try not to over-do the master! Most things are done in the mixdown.
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: Blakelight on January 06, 2016, 02:36:05 am
Simple tips :

when it comes to the MIX (not sound design) NEVER eq boost thing until you really know what you are doing , it's dumb tips but it really helps a Lot , as when you boost frequence somewhere you cut it somewhere else and then everything is rebalanced and it can be pain in the ass ;)
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: simon on January 06, 2016, 02:43:35 am
When mixing down a track I've been working on for a while, after doing the initial mix I like to try and consolidate then bounce stems by group (aiming for no more than 25 but usually hitting around ~50 stems). I bring these stems into a new session and then continue my mixdown from there, finding that separating myself from the project allows me to get much cleaner mixes but also doing a bit of compression/expansion on each 'stem' leads to me being able to push my eventual master significantly further.
Great point, although sometimes difficult to actually do, depending on your DAW. In FL Studio, this can be very annoying, especially if you don't have one playlist track for each and every sound. I did this once, and it turned out to be my best mix yet. I've made better mixdowns since then, but at the time it was my best.
Honestly I do it manually. It's a pain in the ass and takes a few hours, but hard work isn't easy and it's the most precise way to do it  ;)
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: Kaivaan on January 06, 2016, 02:44:01 am
Idk if these tips are really common knowledge or not but in my case,
some tips that helped me get cleaner mixes -

1) 17khz cut on your final mix will most likely free up tons of headroom for your song
2) automate the master volume for your song so that the choruses/key sections are +1db (or higher if preferred) than the rest of the song
3) divide your basses- I usually have a sub cutoff so it is only <100hz, and then have another bass layer over it for the frequencies >100hz
4) thinking of EQ/pan as an x and y axis grid (Im sorry if this is hard to visualize, Im bad with explaining so forgive me for not having the best word usage)
5) subtractive mixing - put the volume down for all your sounds and raise it up as you see fit, also, subtractive EQing is a gift from the heavens that changed my quality 10000%
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: Dylan_Hanson on January 06, 2016, 03:27:15 am
I am currently reading a book called "Mixing With Your Mind." I highly suggest you all check it out. Here's the link to purchase the book. http://www.mixingwithyourmind.com/
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: clearskys on January 06, 2016, 04:09:08 am
Let your master buss breathe!

Surgical EQing is great in deflating anything that's under 35-40Hz. Use a brickwall highpass filter and get rid of anything under that frequency point to make sure that any inaudible signal is nullified before proceeding to a master comp or limiter.
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: TheAGNO3 on January 06, 2016, 04:18:27 am
This may seem stupid, but I recommend and swear by starting my mix downs on commercial level speakers (integrated computer/laptop speakers, etc). By doing this, you're making your mix audible to a level that most of your audience will be listening through. Once you've got a solid structure going with that, switch to monitors and fix it up. This method has helped me to bring my mixes up to standard and make my tunes sound a lot better on all systems/mediums of listening. I find this method is similar to how a lot of engineers swear by using ol NS10s to check their mixes in mono. Also I heard Noah '40' Shabib does this as well for the stuff he makes for Drake
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: Blakelight on January 06, 2016, 04:39:33 am
The thing about the NS10 thing is that the Mid is fucked up a lot so it will sound really really fat in the mid but the rest gonna sound shit , problem by mixing thing with Commercial speak is that you fuck up a lot of frequency by doing that you may think that some frequency are good but in fact they're not and some are bad but could sound great .

The thing about monitoring speakers is that they try to be the more neutral they can so not a single frequence will be louder than another wich is not the case with Hifi speaker , so I'm more into mixing with monitor , then headphones to see if it sounds great then some car Hifi speaker , but it will always sound better if it's well mixed or Monitoring speaker
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: fungsway on January 06, 2016, 04:41:33 am
This may seem stupid, but I recommend and swear by starting my mix downs on commercial level speakers (integrated computer/laptop speakers, etc). By doing this, you're making your mix audible to a level that most of your audience will be listening through. Once you've got a solid structure going with that, switch to monitors and fix it up. This method has helped me to bring my mixes up to standard and make my tunes sound a lot better on all systems/mediums of listening. I find this method is similar to how a lot of engineers swear by using ol NS10s to check their mixes in mono. Also I heard Noah '40' Shabib does this as well for the stuff he makes for Drake

Whats your thought on Auratone mixcubes/ shitty speakers?
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: MifzanHerawan on January 06, 2016, 06:16:38 am
i think not a popular trick, but :

for me the trick is to have a change of environment. I arrange in FL, then mix in Live 9 (just through fx-less render). The technical stuff, well you guys are better than me :p
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: Dap on January 06, 2016, 07:30:27 am
My favorite Mixing tricks are: Orchestration, give every instrument or synth an octave or at least a 5th for itself, of course, it is natural to have overlapping, so then I use "inverted" EQing (cutting/boosting like a mirror image on the EQs of the synths that are overlapping), and finally I dip out a little of the 200-500Hz in a lot of instruments because it helps to get a clearer mix since that range is basically the middle point of human hearing and a lot of things overlap there.

And of course HP filters to clean up the low end.
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: Shew on January 06, 2016, 09:07:47 am
This may seem stupid, but I recommend and swear by starting my mix downs on commercial level speakers (integrated computer/laptop speakers, etc). By doing this, you're making your mix audible to a level that most of your audience will be listening through. Once you've got a solid structure going with that, switch to monitors and fix it up. This method has helped me to bring my mixes up to standard and make my tunes sound a lot better on all systems/mediums of listening. I find this method is similar to how a lot of engineers swear by using ol NS10s to check their mixes in mono. Also I heard Noah '40' Shabib does this as well for the stuff he makes for Drake

I usually inadvertently do this because I'm too lazy to plug my headphones into my laptop or set it up onto my monitors so I just use the good ol' fashioned macbook pro speakers.
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: ERLAND on January 06, 2016, 09:28:03 am
I don't know if this is the right thing to do, but Dyro and Synchronice made this tip before. I like to lower the volume of the break -0.5 db before the drop, it makes everything hit so much harder. I do this in the mixdown process though.

Oh, also have this image! I like to use it as a reference sometimes, however don't take it as being a rule to do like in the image.

Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: RylanT on January 06, 2016, 10:12:34 am
Idk if these tips are really common knowledge or not but in my case,
some tips that helped me get cleaner mixes -

1) 17khz cut on your final mix will most likely free up tons of headroom for your song
2) automate the master volume for your song so that the choruses/key sections are +1db (or higher if preferred) than the rest of the song
3) divide your basses- I usually have a sub cutoff so it is only <100hz, and then have another bass layer over it for the frequencies >100hz
4) thinking of EQ/pan as an x and y axis grid (Im sorry if this is hard to visualize, Im bad with explaining so forgive me for not having the best word usage)
5) subtractive mixing - put the volume down for all your sounds and raise it up as you see fit, also, subtractive EQing is a gift from the heavens that changed my quality 10000%
These are all great tips. 17k Seems low though, I've noticed most pro tracks about 18-19k.
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: CROIX on January 06, 2016, 02:55:41 pm
Hey friends! I've got a lot of things that I do when I mix and master but I'll list some basics -


I hope I could provide some insight. Best of luck to you all!
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: Mussar on January 06, 2016, 03:51:06 pm
I don't know if this is the right thing to do, but Dyro and Synchronice made this tip before. I like to lower the volume of the break -0.5 db before the drop, it makes everything hit so much harder. I do this in the mixdown process though.

This is pretty common in the Bass music scene from what I've heard - attenuate the master volume by half a decibel or a decibel for everything but the drop (or the sections surrounding the drops), and it adds a whole new dimension to the mix.
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: ofobiaz on January 06, 2016, 04:40:24 pm
Don't forget a 200hz cut for bass and kick. usually go for maybe -19 to -32db sometimes -11db bell cut almost narrow but not to notch.
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: Volant on January 06, 2016, 04:52:49 pm
My tip would be to make sure everything goes together well in Mono. If the mix sounds great in Mono already and nothing is overlapping, the stereo you add to it will sound heaps more effective. I started doing this in July last year and my mixes have been sounding a lot better since then.
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: Konac on January 06, 2016, 06:47:44 pm
I think my biggest tip would be to be patient with the different mixdowns and masters you produce.
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: Scribit on January 06, 2016, 07:18:29 pm

4) thinking of EQ/pan as an x and y axis grid (Im sorry if this is hard to visualize, Im bad with explaining so forgive me for not having the best word usage)

This is called 3D mixing; I learn't about it awhile back. Might have other names as well so I don't know how good a google search would be...
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: morgan on January 06, 2016, 10:34:38 pm
general personal rule of mine : only trust people's mixing advice if you know their skillset is up to a standard you hope to get to/exceed - taking advice from a guy who makes half assed beats is just a waste of your time
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: wayfinder on January 06, 2016, 10:38:04 pm
general personal rule of mine : only trust people's mixing advice if you know their skillset is up to a standard you hope to get to/exceed - taking advice from a guy who makes half assed beats is just a waste of your time

probably the most useful basic advice in this whole forum :)
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: Monoverse on January 07, 2016, 12:34:42 am
plenty of decent tips here! here's my generic mixing/mastering tip - FX chain order is important. the more seasoned producers here will understand what i mean, but i remember when i first started out i didn't realize exactly how important it is to be conscious of.

for instance, on a master chain it does matter in which order you're processing the signal. attenuating EQ yields different results before/after dynamics processing and so forth. while there's no strict rules in what you have to do to achieve the sound you're going for, i've found it extremely useful to have a calculated approach to processing everything in the mix & master chains. of course, experimenting with the order of plugins isn't a bad idea either - i've picked up many useful little tidbits just by swapping the order of fx
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: Scribit on January 07, 2016, 03:14:47 am
plenty of decent tips here! here's my generic mixing/mastering tip - FX chain order is important. the more seasoned producers here will understand what i mean, but i remember when i first started out i didn't realize exactly how important it is to be conscious of.

for instance, on a master chain it does matter in which order you're processing the signal. attenuating EQ yields different results before/after dynamics processing and so forth. while there's no strict rules in what you have to do to achieve the sound you're going for, i've found it extremely useful to have a calculated approach to processing everything in the mix & master chains. of course, experimenting with the order of plugins isn't a bad idea either - i've picked up many useful little tidbits just by swapping the order of fx

Ahh memories... I remember back in the day putting all my audio inserts in alphabetical order because I thought that was 'the rules'.
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: Monoverse on January 07, 2016, 03:37:35 am

Ahh memories... I remember back in the day putting all my audio inserts in alphabetical order because I thought that was 'the rules'.

ROFL know what's funny? that process actually works pretty well for stereo FX plugins. i couldn't remember what order i liked them in best when i started so i remembered them alphabetically for a while because it worked: chorus, delay, reverb.

Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: 932843200 on January 07, 2016, 03:41:46 am
Take advantage of using Mid/Side or Left/Right EQ. You will be surprise how effective they are at creating more space.
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: Crobbins on January 07, 2016, 07:40:00 am
There's a lot of good tips going on in here! Loving this forum in general. Hopefully I can contribute by adding a few things I've picked up along the way.

Mixing:
1. If it's for another artist, I'll set the "default audio track" at -12db with a basic chain of Abletons old compressor(used for sidechaining), Pro-Q2, reverb (Valhalla room and Altiverb), imager (Waves S1 and PS22), Alloy 2 (or other transient shaping plugins), compressor (CLA-2A and Pro-C2), Utility-Mono(for referencing). I group all the plugins together, turn them all off individually, and then turn the group off. I also have this group preset saved as an audio effect rack labeled "Track Tools" which makes it easy to swap in and set as the default new track.  This way when you import the stems, all of the tracks will have this default chain of most common plugins I use.
2. If you're mixing your own track down, export the stems and mix with them so you don't keep getting distracted and making changes to composition elements.
3. Export the original mixdown to a/b reference before you start. Sometimes you can lose track of little things that the producer wanted more forward in the mix.
4. Listen through the mix 3-4 times without making any changes, take notes, get a rough idea where you want elements to sit spatially and in the mix, listen for conflicting elements and frequencies.
5. EQ EVERYTHING. If anything, I'll have a default high/low cut on each track and tightened to the key frequency range of the track. If the track needs further additive/subtractive EQing, it's sometimes better to do this while the full track is playing when making the initial cuts and then solo a/b with the track when doing small detail work.
6. Sidechain. Almost everything needs to be sidechained or sidechain to something else in the mix. This along with EQing helps get a clean mix. Long fx, sweeps, crashes, risers are all major offenders I often catch without having sidechains and they can mud up a mix fast.
7. Shoot for the most headroom you can with nothing on the master. -6db to -5db is pretty standard before exporting for mastering.
Mastering:
1. I use Pro-Q2 at the beginning of my master chain running 2 instances. The first is for stereo processing with default 12db/oct low/high cuts at 30 Hz and 20 kHz. I then make an upward bell curve to solo and drag through the mix hunting for resonant frequencies and notching down peaks. The second one is used for mid/side processing. On this instance, I’ll create a sharp low cut at 30 kHz that all use to quickly A/B the mid or side channel to EQ them separately.
2. When using multiband compression, it’s very easy to slightly dull your percs by using too high of a compression ratio. Key placement of your compressor and limiter thresholds are the first crucial step in reducing the compression ratio needed. The second factor of attack and release times are very important to catching just the peaks of what you want to compress without degrading the quality of the transient and mix as a whole. Whatever compressor you use, be it Waves, Pro-MB, Ozone, etc. learning the ins and outs of these variables will have the largest return in quality of your master. Reading their manuals and watching how professionals use them in a studio setting helped me out a lot.
3. If you’re adding further imaging during mastering, don’t push the high end too much. While it may help the mix sound brighter, during compression and encoding (especially uploading to Soundcloud) the hats are always the first to distort. I use Ozone 5’s  Vectorscope built into the Meter Bridge to make sure nothing is hitting in the red.
4. Using limiters in series is great for achieving commercial loudness without having to push a single limiter too far. I generally use 2 Pro-L ‘s in series, the first one has the output limited to -2db, longer lookahead, slower attack/release, and lower stereo linking percentages . This is where I push the mix in terms of input gain and gain reduction. As a starting reference, I’ll solo both of my low end compression bands containing both the kick and sub together and raise the input gain until I hear it start to distort and then back it off about -0.5db. Now I listen to the full mix and keep lowering the input gain until the snare and percs are well preserved and the overall mix isn’t being distorted during the limiters gain reduction. It’s helpful to remember that limiters are great for catching fast peaks such as snares and claps, but are much worse at compressing the slow lowend peaks like 808’s/kicks. This is why I start with the lowend solo’d, to find the absolute max the mix can be driven. The second limiter is set with the input gain set to 1.9db and output at -0.3db and do not change, since the first is limited to -2db. Here is where I tweak the quicker lookahead, lower the attack/release, and increase the stereo linking until I’m happy. I'm also partial to the "All around" style setting on both limiters.
5. After exporting, a quick and easy to check for any clipping that may have occurred from bleeding through is by opening it up with Audacity. In the newest version, it’s set up to show red bars where ever the gain signal goes above 0db.
6. Upload to SC as a private track to easily cross-reference on multiple platforms while in its most commonly listened to compressed state.
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: Babasmas on January 07, 2016, 09:14:56 am
My tip would be to make sure everything goes together well in Mono. If the mix sounds great in Mono already and nothing is overlapping, the stereo you add to it will sound heaps more effective. I started doing this in July last year and my mixes have been sounding a lot better since then.
First this ^

Then, NO COMPRESSION. Why ?

Most people doesn't understand compression enough to make it work properly. Which means, they destroy their ideas while using compression. The best thing to do, and the hardest too, is to lower everything and try making it sounds how you want it without compression. My mixer often looks like that :
(http://puu.sh/mmFUg/3a2b512224.png)
This way, I have -3 dB of headroom during the drop and amazing dynamics. (Dynamics are important, saturation is bad.)

There's EQ everywhere most of the time. The bass are linked together except for the sub, the drums sample are linked together too.

The rest is up to preferences.
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: Scribit on January 07, 2016, 12:23:09 pm
I think that's a really good point. A lot of people see things about EQ and compression and therefore slap it in random places without knowing why or checking the mix after to see if it helped
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: Babasmas on January 07, 2016, 12:25:01 pm
I think that's a really good point. A lot of people see things about EQ and compression and therefore slap it in random places without knowing why or checking the mix after to see if it helped
No newbie knows that compression is satan. But I try spreading the word that the illuminati controls us so we add more compression in our life.
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: polymetric on January 07, 2016, 02:02:25 pm

Ahh memories... I remember back in the day putting all my audio inserts in alphabetical order because I thought that was 'the rules'.

ROFL know what's funny? that process actually works pretty well for stereo FX plugins. i couldn't remember what order i liked them in best when i started so i remembered them alphabetically for a while because it worked: chorus, delay, reverb.

Putting a chorus after reverb and delay would sound weird, because it'd chorus the tail of the reverb. Reverb before delay and vice versa don't have any easily noticable difference, although I'm sure if you phase canceled a recording with delay first and reverb last with one of the opposite configuration, it'd do something weird.
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: MifzanHerawan on January 07, 2016, 02:13:50 pm

4) thinking of EQ/pan as an x and y axis grid (Im sorry if this is hard to visualize, Im bad with explaining so forgive me for not having the best word usage)

This is called 3D mixing; I learn't about it awhile back. Might have other names as well so I don't know how good a google search would be...

just googled this, wow i like the concept haha. totally trying 3d mixing
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: polymetric on January 07, 2016, 05:47:08 pm
general personal rule of mine : only trust people's mixing advice if you know their skillset is up to a standard you hope to get to/exceed - taking advice from a guy who makes half assed beats is just a waste of your time

Great point, I'll summarize and compile all the best tips in the OP
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: blackoctopus on January 08, 2016, 09:35:03 pm
Everyone has different techniques so it is great to hear everyone styles.  Myself I like to make the mix sound as polished as I can, then add just a small amount of EQ, compression with API2500 then limit with Pro-L (usually not more than 4db of reduction). 

Here is an hour long video of one of our mastering techs doing a full master from start to finish ITB which might have some tricks for some people:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSxABqzeWSE

Premaster at 3:30 and master approx 48:00
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: BrienWithAnE on January 08, 2016, 09:55:33 pm
One of my favorite mixing strategies...

To work on mixing your sub bass frequencies, ad an EQ to the end of your master channel.  You need just two bands.  Create a low pass filter with the steepest Q that your EQ will allow, and bring it down to roughy 100-150 Hz.  Depending on your track and what you're listening for, you can adjust where the LP is... but I tend to bring it closer to 100 Hz so that I'm really only working on the lowest lows of the track.  I also add a high pass, also with the steepest Q possible, and have it sit anywhere between 20-30 Hz, just for peace of mind I suppose.

I produce with headphones so once I have this EQ on I can turn up my interface's gain and check out how the kick & sub are interacting.  Hopefully this helps some people!!
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: DV_ on January 08, 2016, 10:22:52 pm
Parallel processing.

So, duplicate your audio track, keep the original intact (or simply send the original through an aux bus) and then affect the duplicate / aux track differently than the original. Most commonly used parallel effect is in my opinion, parallel compression - basically you blend the heavily compressed track and the original together - that way you can even out a dynamic vocal for example, but it won't sound squashed like it would if you only heavily compressed the original. It is a really great and useful trick for vocals, but it works on pretty much everything.

It can also be used as, for example a parallel exciter bus. You create an exciter aux and let's say you insert your favourite exciter at the bus on 100% wet. After that, if you feel that an instrument needs 'excitement' or whatever, just send the desired amount through the exciter parallel.

I hope I explained this well, if not I'll gladly post some links that might help.
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: Seneta on January 09, 2016, 05:58:57 pm
Try to avoid eqing in isolation,unless it's something surgical.

If you added and effect or made a cut,play the track w/o the effect and compare it.

REFERENCE!!
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: caduceusmusic on January 10, 2016, 02:48:47 am
In mixing, reverb sometimes messes up frequencies. Here are some tips to EQ the tracks with reverb and without reverb.

For the tracks with reverb on them set the highs to about 750 Hz and the lows from 80-90 Hz.
For the tracks without reverb on them set the lows to about 90 Hz, set the mids from 1000-2000 Hz, and set the highs about 9.5-18 kHz.
For the tracks without reverb on them, put the gain for the high and low frequencies from 2-3 dB and don't change the mid frequency band.
For the tracks with reverb on them, use a limiter and put the gain at -5 dB with a threshold of 0.7-1 set to brickwall mode.

For the frequency bands that are not a specific frequency but a frequency range change depending on how wide you want the stereo to be.
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: Dichotomy on January 10, 2016, 03:32:27 am
Has anyone else used Ozone's snapshot / eq matching features?... or gently nudge a track towards pink noise with them? I notice a lot of people in the "Tell us your master chain!" (http://theproducersforum.com/index.php?topic=167.0 (http://theproducersforum.com/index.php?topic=167.0)) thread add a gentle boost in the highs for brightness, and I think this gives a similar (maybe more deliberate) effect with less risk of introducing ear-fatigue.

Also, specifically about mixing, I've come into the habit of having each stage in an FX chain output as close to 0db as possible. No plugin input gain is manipulated. I've noticed some plugins have a "trim" button that simplifies this (and gives me reassurance that this is a somewhat accepted technique). There might be some technical description of why this is good, and that's neat... but I do it more for my sanity. If done properly, you can A/B plugins without volume fluctuations. Soft-clipping can be used if desired.
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: Kabuki on January 10, 2016, 05:41:53 am
What are your opinions on pink noise leveling? I tried it and actually got a decent result on one track, but every other time I tried it I just got crappy results. Gave up on it
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: deathy on January 10, 2016, 12:13:54 pm
If I'm going to do it, I prefer gray noise leveling, follow the Equal Loudness Contour.
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: Dichotomy on January 11, 2016, 01:49:29 am
What are your opinions on pink noise leveling? I tried it and actually got a decent result on one track, but every other time I tried it I just got crappy results. Gave up on it

Pink noise works like a charm for me. Actually, that's not true... it works like an industry respected technique. Just like balancing a shot in photography... or color grading a take in film. You can do things by sensory perception (feel), or you can do things by number (technique). Some people can feel 3.5 grams in their palm, some trust a scale. Of course, music is intangible. Maybe it depends on what quality you're willing to assume responsibility for. Maybe it depends on what quality you're expected to be able to repeatedly produce.

Whatever method, hopefully the results will be the same.... unless you're a beginner who's technique doesn't yet match their taste. Instead of guessing, I'd say learn all the technique you can... and employ it as often as you remember to. When you get to the point where technique holds you back (not let's you down)... then mix by ear. If all is well in the world, you'll have trained your ears to the technique, and balancing without pink noise will still produce reference quality mixes that have less chance fatiguing your listeners, no matter what crazy car-stereo, or cell-phone speaker, or closed-back circumaural headphones they listen with.

Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: Dichotomy on January 11, 2016, 01:59:16 am
Also, specifically about mixing, I've come into the habit of having each stage in an FX chain output as close to 0db as possible. No plugin input gain is manipulated. I've noticed some plugins have a "trim" button that simplifies this (and gives me reassurance that this is a somewhat accepted technique). There might be some technical description of why this is good, and that's neat... but I do it more for my sanity. If done properly, you can A/B plugins without volume fluctuations.

I came across a term that describes this: unity gain.
http://www.sweetwater.com/insync/what-is-unity-gain-and-why-should-i-care/ (http://www.sweetwater.com/insync/what-is-unity-gain-and-why-should-i-care/)
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: Dichotomy on January 11, 2016, 02:26:20 am
Are new recordings consistently out of sync with existing material? Does your DAW automatically detect and compensate for hardware recording latency, but doesn't really keep things in sync? Well, hopefully this'll help out.

When recording a vocalist or live instrument, calibrate your DAW's recording latency. To do so, play some audio sample (preferably with a pronounced waveform) and record the headphones. Yep... put the headphones on the mic, kill the monitors, and record the audio from headphones onto a track in your DAW. Next, simply zoom in, mark identical places in the source and recorded waveforms, and compute the difference in milliseconds. Use this value to manually set hardware recording latency... if it can, your DAW will correctly compensate for this time. If not, at least you have an exact distance to move your clips.

Since this difference is a function of the sample rate / buffer size / input & output latency / and processing speed of your computer, you'll need to recalibrate when any of those things are affected (usually deliberately changed).
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: UsernamesGiveMeAnxiety on January 13, 2016, 01:21:45 am
Clarity can be overrated. Mr. Carmack, Flylo, and Skrillex, for example, sometimes have mixes erring on the side of messy. However, I think thats the intention and works really well for their music. Skrillex is always pushing the limiter like crazy, and Mr. Carmack always has weird mix shit going on (like https://soundcloud.com/mr_carmack/djsliink-putyabackinitcarmack).

To put it simply: Feeling + Energy > Clarity

Fair warning though, you can overdo it.
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: manducator on January 13, 2016, 09:23:52 am
Let me throw you a curveball. I've had projects in which i've thrown the mixers to complete silence, and my attempt at rebalancing the track actually makes it sound worse than what it was before. What issue am I having here?

Hey, I always tart with all faders down and while bringing them up, I make use of pink noise. But I have to tweak it afterwards of course, but it gives me a starting point. Why mixing against pink noise? It ensure that all instruments are perceived equally loud, more or less:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsV4mGTLB8s
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: TeeBee on January 15, 2016, 04:44:16 pm
Mix/Master as you write the track if you can .Saves so much time that way and eliminates problematic sounds early on .That way the final mixdown is just getting the extra 5-10% out of the track
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: Nogan on January 19, 2016, 05:43:17 am
Its been said a few times, but I want to repeat that you should definitely cut harmonics (or subharmonics) that are on the verge of not being audible or are at least relatively quiet. This should especially apply to your low end, because a lot of the time these frequencies add up from various sources and can cause your mix to have extra unnecessary muddiness.
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: ZAU on February 14, 2016, 04:30:00 am
I am currently reading a book called "Mixing With Your Mind." I highly suggest you all check it out. Here's the link to purchase the book. http://www.mixingwithyourmind.com/

My order is on the way, should arrive within the coming week, excited! ;D
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: Atherton on February 17, 2016, 12:42:46 pm
There's a lot of good tips going on in here! Loving this forum in general. Hopefully I can contribute by adding a few things I've picked up along the way.

Mixing:
1. If it's for another artist, I'll set the "default audio track" at -12db with a basic chain of Abletons old compressor(used for sidechaining), Pro-Q2, reverb (Valhalla room and Altiverb), imager (Waves S1 and PS22), Alloy 2 (or other transient shaping plugins), compressor (CLA-2A and Pro-C2), Utility-Mono(for referencing). I group all the plugins together, turn them all off individually, and then turn the group off. I also have this group preset saved as an audio effect rack labeled "Track Tools" which makes it easy to swap in and set as the default new track.  This way when you import the stems, all of the tracks will have this default chain of most common plugins I use.
2. If you're mixing your own track down, export the stems and mix with them so you don't keep getting distracted and making changes to composition elements.
3. Export the original mixdown to a/b reference before you start. Sometimes you can lose track of little things that the producer wanted more forward in the mix.
4. Listen through the mix 3-4 times without making any changes, take notes, get a rough idea where you want elements to sit spatially and in the mix, listen for conflicting elements and frequencies.
5. EQ EVERYTHING. If anything, I'll have a default high/low cut on each track and tightened to the key frequency range of the track. If the track needs further additive/subtractive EQing, it's sometimes better to do this while the full track is playing when making the initial cuts and then solo a/b with the track when doing small detail work.
6. Sidechain. Almost everything needs to be sidechained or sidechain to something else in the mix. This along with EQing helps get a clean mix. Long fx, sweeps, crashes, risers are all major offenders I often catch without having sidechains and they can mud up a mix fast.
7. Shoot for the most headroom you can with nothing on the master. -6db to -5db is pretty standard before exporting for mastering.
Mastering:
1. I use Pro-Q2 at the beginning of my master chain running 2 instances. The first is for stereo processing with default 12db/oct low/high cuts at 30 Hz and 20 kHz. I then make an upward bell curve to solo and drag through the mix hunting for resonant frequencies and notching down peaks. The second one is used for mid/side processing. On this instance, I’ll create a sharp low cut at 30 kHz that all use to quickly A/B the mid or side channel to EQ them separately.
2. When using multiband compression, it’s very easy to slightly dull your percs by using too high of a compression ratio. Key placement of your compressor and limiter thresholds are the first crucial step in reducing the compression ratio needed. The second factor of attack and release times are very important to catching just the peaks of what you want to compress without degrading the quality of the transient and mix as a whole. Whatever compressor you use, be it Waves, Pro-MB, Ozone, etc. learning the ins and outs of these variables will have the largest return in quality of your master. Reading their manuals and watching how professionals use them in a studio setting helped me out a lot.
3. If you’re adding further imaging during mastering, don’t push the high end too much. While it may help the mix sound brighter, during compression and encoding (especially uploading to Soundcloud) the hats are always the first to distort. I use Ozone 5’s  Vectorscope built into the Meter Bridge to make sure nothing is hitting in the red.
4. Using limiters in series is great for achieving commercial loudness without having to push a single limiter too far. I generally use 2 Pro-L ‘s in series, the first one has the output limited to -2db, longer lookahead, slower attack/release, and lower stereo linking percentages . This is where I push the mix in terms of input gain and gain reduction. As a starting reference, I’ll solo both of my low end compression bands containing both the kick and sub together and raise the input gain until I hear it start to distort and then back it off about -0.5db. Now I listen to the full mix and keep lowering the input gain until the snare and percs are well preserved and the overall mix isn’t being distorted during the limiters gain reduction. It’s helpful to remember that limiters are great for catching fast peaks such as snares and claps, but are much worse at compressing the slow lowend peaks like 808’s/kicks. This is why I start with the lowend solo’d, to find the absolute max the mix can be driven. The second limiter is set with the input gain set to 1.9db and output at -0.3db and do not change, since the first is limited to -2db. Here is where I tweak the quicker lookahead, lower the attack/release, and increase the stereo linking until I’m happy. I'm also partial to the "All around" style setting on both limiters.
5. After exporting, a quick and easy to check for any clipping that may have occurred from bleeding through is by opening it up with Audacity. In the newest version, it’s set up to show red bars where ever the gain signal goes above 0db.
6. Upload to SC as a private track to easily cross-reference on multiple platforms while in its most commonly listened to compressed state.

*Slow Clap*   Cheers to this guy
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: Ocular on September 08, 2016, 02:27:34 pm
Just wanted to throw the plugin Oxford Inflator out there, it works wonders
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: Paco Robles on October 31, 2016, 06:28:08 pm
Always, always REST. Give it a couple days then resume.
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: DonGatti on December 04, 2016, 04:06:31 pm
I spent years recording working for major studios, owning studios, recording for major artists and indies too. I have learned and created certain specific techniques when it comes to MIXING VOCALS. These days with the prosumer market booming, there are a lot of folks who want to perfect their skill set when it comes to the recording process. This book "THE SECRET TO MIXING VOCALS [EXPOSED]" by DonGatti Denero, is the culmination of my years of experience in mixing.
These are the same ideas and techniques I teach to aspiring engineers. Learn from the guy who wrote the book! Follow this link and get your copy today! Available on Amazon.
https://www.createspace.com/6556098?ref=1147694&utm_id=6026 (https://www.createspace.com/6556098?ref=1147694&utm_id=6026)
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: eidolon on December 04, 2016, 06:59:36 pm
we're all going to die someday fuck it put soft clipping on everything

also careful lowpassing is underrated
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: Dr. Duce on December 12, 2016, 11:15:52 am
Mix/Master as you write the track if you can .Saves so much time that way and eliminates problematic sounds early on .That way the final mixdown is just getting the extra 5-10% out of the track
I couldn't agree more. This is the process I use. I then allow several hours or up to a full day's break before finishing off my masters. Fresh ears are sooooo important.
Title: Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
Post by: jaysak on February 21, 2017, 07:51:07 pm
Everything should be subtle.


https://soundbetter.com/profiles/51201-seah
Title: Post your mixing/mastering tips here
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Title: Post your mixing/mastering tips here
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