Author Topic: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!  (Read 32557 times)

Seneta

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Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
« Reply #45 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.

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caduceusmusic

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Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
« Reply #46 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.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2016, 03:00:56 am by caduceusmusic »

Dichotomy

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Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
« Reply #47 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) 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.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2016, 01:55:17 am by Dichotomy »

Kabuki

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Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
« Reply #48 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

deathy

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Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
« Reply #49 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.
If the truth can be... told...
so as to be... underSTOOOD...
it will be... belIEVed.

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Dichotomy

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Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
« Reply #50 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.

« Last Edit: January 11, 2016, 08:07:48 am by Dichotomy »

Dichotomy

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Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
« Reply #51 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/

Dichotomy

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Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
« Reply #52 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).

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Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
« Reply #53 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.

manducator

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Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
« Reply #54 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

TeeBee

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Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
« Reply #55 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

Nogan

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Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
« Reply #56 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.
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Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
« Reply #57 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

Atherton

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Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
« Reply #58 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

Ocular

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Re: Post your mixing/mastering tips here!
« Reply #59 on: September 08, 2016, 02:27:34 pm »
Just wanted to throw the plugin Oxford Inflator out there, it works wonders