Mix Question

Recording engineering discussions and questions. Also a great place to discuss software, plugins, and computer based recording/arranging.
rparker
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Re: Mix Question

Post by rparker » August 13th, 2009, 8:08 pm

Sounds like a good idea, Laz. Thanks for the tip. :D

Yeah, it was a touch frustrating. I didn't let it get me too bad. Not a good day to play today, so will hopefully be able to tackle it tomorrow. I'm kind of pondering the rhythm guitar tone & chord striking anyhow. Now that there's more than just a guitar going, doing a full head-on strum sounds awfully busy or perhaps excessive.

I did fiddle around some and got a couple more GP generated backing tracks set to play with yesterday. Kind of fun being able to have several pokers in the fire at once with this stuff. Suits my current attention span perfectly. I made one for "Hey Joe" and the Stones' "Miss You".

I think Hey Joe is going to receive some latent angst. I'm getting a little bit better at being able to play really hard core type tones with my amp off and listening to it on playback with full tone, but without the volume. It's just like anyone else, but I just have to wait for total audible feedback. It's sure a lot of fun to make some all out racket for a change instead of 99% soft, clean guitar. I've got patches set up on my effects board and tested the levels and it seems to be fine. It's sort of Neil Young (the really hard stuff) meets death metal, minus the chunk. :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:
Roy

"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin

Scrybe
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Re: Mix Question

Post by Scrybe » August 19th, 2009, 8:34 am

If it helps any...

eliminating clipping pretty much has to be done "as you go" - you have to make sure there is no clipping of the input audio signal itself, no clipping from any processing you might do to it (Amplitube, EQ, delay, etc.), and no clipping during mixdown to a stereo file. Once you've processed any of these stages, it becomes impossible to remove the clipping at a later stage. Make it a habit of double-checking levels at every stage and you should be fine for the most part. And once you're happy with something, don't tweak it further. Doing something like e.g. further EQing the stereo file once you've mixed down to that, then rerecording it has been known to introduce clipping. Hope this helps some.
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gnease
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Re: Mix Question

Post by gnease » August 19th, 2009, 7:48 pm

+1 on Scrybe's post. because it is so difficult to "undo" non-linear (and time delay) effects applied to tracks, I am always careful about saving a version of the preprocessed tracks -- that's pre- any process, as well as interim versions of combined tracks and even various versions of effects. every time I'm ready to do a major mix, renomalization, EFX processing or edit, I start by producing two copies of the WIP (work in process). one for archive, one for continued monkeyfoolishness.
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rparker
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Re: Mix Question

Post by rparker » August 20th, 2009, 1:31 pm

Thanks for the additional thoughts and tips, Scrybe and gnease. Some I understand now and some will come to me as I progress. I think I said it somewhere else, but the more I learn about playing and recording, the more I discover needs to be learned. Is lots of fun. Glad I have no dead-line. :)
Roy

"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin

rparker
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Re: Mix Question

Post by rparker » August 20th, 2009, 5:35 pm

Well, one more little jewel I discovered from my botched attempt at U2's One. I looked at it again late this afternoon and started testing some guitar levels to make sure I wasn't going to get clipping from that one track alone. I then looked over everything I've done (listening to Scrybe's and others double-check everything note) and discovered that I had also clipped the recording of the Guitar Pro drum and bass tracks as well as my vocals. The whole project is toast and needs start over from scratch. The lead/fills were going to get re-done anyhow based on some lessons learned by my Hey Joe project.

Funny thing, though, is that I'm not that frustrated.

I am saddened that the vocal track needs done though. I think it was my least horrid vocals yet. I will see how that sounds with all the other fixed. I'm saving this whole thing off in a backup project-monkeyfoolishness like gnease mentioned. If it works, great. If not, I'll just have to do more dog torturing. :mrgreen:
Roy

"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin

TRGuitar
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Re: Mix Question

Post by TRGuitar » September 13th, 2009, 11:55 pm

I've kind of neglected this thread. I haven't recorded anything in a while and thats probably why. I have been messing around for years though attempting to capture music I play. I started with two cassette players and overdubbed the tracks, then moved on to a reel to reel machine with sound on sound as well as sound with sound. It had a phenominal echo. I had a small 4 track cassette studio then a very elaborite one. (Still have that, great paper weight that it is) All you need now is a computer and a little software. For the origional question ... I read that low frequency sounds are not directional to our ears. Bass and drums go center. I tend to pan left and right about half way. If the track has one guitar and a vocal, guitar one side, vocal the other. This is simplistic but works for me. Listen to old Jimi Hendrix recordings. Recordings from the days of 4 track studios. See how they got the most out of what they had to work with. Man, I really need to record some stuff.
"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
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rparker
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Re: Mix Question

Post by rparker » September 14th, 2009, 3:26 am

It must irk you (and others) in some way that you spent so much time and money getting your processes down and techniques dialed in only to wake up one morning and discover that any dummy can download some freeware and start recording before the day's 3rd cup of coffee. I certainly didn't pay my dues on this one. I plugged in a USB mic and a headphone jack and boom, I could record. I had a similar feeling for Photography. Woke up one morning and found out that $300 digital cameras were getting the same color saturation that I was with my $5.00 per roll speciality film and the digital dark-room that is Photo-Shop (and others) put people miles ahead of me in an instant. So, Now I have a similar "paper-weight". I cannot give this $600 Canon film camera body to anyone.
Roy

"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin

Scrybe
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Re: Mix Question

Post by Scrybe » September 14th, 2009, 6:15 am

Good mixes are pretty subjective. Once you get past the basic faults of a mix (eg clipping, timing problems, etc) it all becomes more and more a matter of personal opinion and inclination. So creating a "good mix" requires having a conception of what a good mix is. To that end, a lot of critical listening to the mixes of songs is a must for creating something you'll be satisfied with. It's like the meerkat says: simples.
Ra Er Ga.

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TRGuitar
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Re: Mix Question

Post by TRGuitar » September 14th, 2009, 7:00 pm

Practice does make perfect. That is what is so cool about digital recording, you are not using up tape, causing wear and tear on your recording media. You can save and redo all you want and make perfect copies without loss of quality. This lends itself to limitless experimentation.
"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --

Ignar Hillström
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Re: Mix Question

Post by Ignar Hillström » September 22nd, 2009, 3:40 pm

If you're just starting with mixing and have problems with clipping a good idea is to use limiters. Digital distortion is very hard to prevent without them, espescially with highly dynamic signals like DI'd e-guitar, vocals and such. Once the basic tracks are distortion-free a basic comp/limiter on the master bus will prevent the worst problems and you'll probably want one anyway there for final dynamic touch-ups.

As for general mixes: don't overcrowed the mix, use EQs to give each instrument it's own space. Make the arrangement clear, instruments should either be melody or accompaniement but it should be clear either way. Use comps to make sure the softer parts dont get drowned out. Clear pointless sounds like low-freq rumble with roll-offs. Give each instrument its own space in the stereo image, compensate for the loss of volume when panning away from the center. Give a sense of ambience with reverb but keep a consistent sound throughout instruments serving the same function and dont overdo difference in reverb levels between backing and melody. Decide which part of the music is most important and lower the volume of the rest accordingly.

But in short: just make sure you know what you want before starting with the mixing. If you don't you'll get lost in all the options and it usually ends in an overproduced muddy sound. With a basic freeware EQ and comp/limiter you can do most things. Just make sure you know where you want to go and don't lose focus. It's like moving into a new house: you know your furniture but things work best if you plan before you start placing stuff. :D
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