Author Topic: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!  (Read 26784 times)

wayfinder

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Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
« Reply #30 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 :)

Monoverse

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Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
« Reply #31 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

Scribit

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Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
« Reply #32 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'.
"Very very way more stronger" - Carnage 2k15

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Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
« Reply #33 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.


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Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
« Reply #34 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.

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Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
« Reply #35 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.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2016, 07:46:42 am by Crobbins »

Babasmas

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Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
« Reply #36 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 :

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.

Scribit

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Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
« Reply #37 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
"Very very way more stronger" - Carnage 2k15

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Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
« Reply #38 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.

polymetric

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Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
« Reply #39 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.

MifzanHerawan

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Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
« Reply #40 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

polymetric

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Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
« Reply #41 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

blackoctopus

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Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
« Reply #42 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

BrienWithAnE

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Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
« Reply #43 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!!
~ BrienWithAnE

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Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
« Reply #44 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.