Where does a mix become "BIG"? Mixing or Mastering?

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by Antenna, Sep 12, 2010.

  1. Antenna

    Antenna Oh God Damnit!

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    Ok, so everyone should atleast be familiar with my mixes by now, if not take a peep at my soundclick. I'm fairly comfortable with my mixes now frequency and compression wise, BUT I listen to modern mixes such as... Bulb of course! Veil Of Maya's TCMC... Holy shit those mixes are huge and almost surround you. Then I listen to mine.... Flat fucking tires, 2d all the way. I've recently messed with stereo seperation in my last two mixes on my soundclick but it's still not sounding right and then I start running into problems like my snare stops popping because when I set the guitar stereo seperation it over powers. Then I turn down my volume and when I go to master it all sounds like muddy poop. So I started to wonder "well maybe massiveness comes in mastering..." So I went back to my original mixes and pushed them to be mastered. I have used sonic maximizers to seperate multibands pushing the bass out farthest the mids in the middle and keeping the treble centered and slightly seperating the Master track. It sounds nothing like these pro mixes I stated above, SO WHAT THE FUCK AM I MISSING HERE!!!!!!!!! :wallbash::wallbash::wallbash::wallbash::wallbash::wallbash:.
    oh btw just in case you're too lazy to move you're mouse a 1/2 inch down farther here is my soundclick link. :noplease:
    SoundClick artist: Hand Of Taurus - Gangster Fresh Experimental Metal
     
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  2. MF_Kitten

    MF_Kitten Set up us the bomb

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    i know your frustration, man! it really is all in the mixing. the mastering just polishes it and gets it ready for use. it's where the "finished" sound comes in.

    you need to make sure all the different parts of the mixes have their own space to play out on. that means not having too much lows in the guitars, and not drowning the snare with the mids. it means letting the bass make it all massive sounding. it means a whole lot.

    just keep aiming for one thing at a time. start by getting a good basic drum sound. compare with pro mixes and stuff, see what the drum mix really sounds like. then add guitars. make sure the guitars and the drums are at good levels. you're supposed to be able to hear the drums and guitars really well, with both having the same priority in the mix. do what you can to get a good basic guitar tone. do a low pass at around 7 khz-10 khz. then do a high pass at about 100 hz. then figure out where the tone of the snare is, and do a dip in that frequency area in the guitars, so the guitars aren't overstepping the snare. then get the bass going. add low mids (between 100 and 300 hz) to make it audible in the mix, and make it blend with the guitar. find the main "kicking" frequency of the kick drum (usually like 60-70 hz), and do a dip to remove some of those frequencies in the bass, so it doesn't drown out the kick drum.

    that's the basics of it. just use your ears, and keep trying it again and again. as long as you're never satisfied, you'll always keep progressing. so i hope you're never satisfied for too long at a time, because that's waht makes you better.
     
  3. Kurkkuviipale

    Kurkkuviipale Another Sinking ....

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    Words wise as hell MF_Kitten. +1!
     
  4. Antenna

    Antenna Oh God Damnit!

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    Thanks guys! I totally understand the EQ and freq aspect of what you guys are saying but I mean Wide when I say BIG. These mixes are beyond panning the guitars 80% LR and even doing fancy Quad tracking with 75% and 100% LR and panning the drums to fit their "places" in the recording. I mentioned using Stereo sepration to push my mixes out bigger before, but like I said even when you bring down the volume after seperation it still eats your mix up and it loosens up your guitar playing. So Does anyone know how to acheive more WIDTH out of their mix and again does it come when mixing or mastering?
     
  5. TreWatson

    TreWatson Pro Thread Killer

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    i think i can answer that as that was something i had issues with. ( if you remember)

    i ended up boosting the low mids and that widened up my guitar sound, but brought everything a little closer together as well, so that when i added the bass, the mix felt MASSIVE.

    keep in mind this is a RECENT discovery.

    i'd say fiddle with your tones more than everything. and quad-tracking will not make the actual track massive, but it will make the guitars themselves sound massive.

    i single track.
     
  6. Gameboypdc

    Gameboypdc SS.org Regular

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    Have you tried or are you using a expander on your master track? I found this really helps when mixing/mastering. I also would recommend using minimal post EQ if at all possible. I found that the more time spent on fixing and or forcing a track to blend with another just made my mixes feel 2D. When you do your mixes do you listen thru a headset or studio monitors? If you use monitors, what volume level do you listen to your mix at? I've listened to your stuff quite a bit and I honestly think it's great, although I can see what you mean when you say 2D. Hang in there though your not the only one who is still trying to achieve professional quality mixes.

    Cheers!
    Gus
     
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  7. Antenna

    Antenna Oh God Damnit!

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    First off thanks a milly for the kind words bro! I use a mix of head phones and Moniters. I always listen with a low volume so I can hear it all without the bass bomming in out just plain out fatiguing my ears too bad. Later when I'm trying to get the whole feel of the finished product I will turn my moniters up just to see if the bass is gonna blow me away! I have done work with expanders but I honestly have no idea where to start with them. I almost want to treat them like a multiband comp because it has compression and three bands but when you throw the expansion into the mix I have no idea where to pan the seperation! I've tried panning the bass the widest and working my way in to finally having the treble centered and a slight bit of seperation in the master but it still sounds off. Any suggestions?
     
  8. anne

    anne No privacy hedge.

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    Do you have any reverb on the master?
     
  9. Antenna

    Antenna Oh God Damnit!

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    not a bit
     
  10. anne

    anne No privacy hedge.

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    put it on there.
     
  11. Antenna

    Antenna Oh God Damnit!

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    explain this to me because I have no idea why or where to apply reverb to my master.
     
  12. anne

    anne No privacy hedge.

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    Just try a subtle reverb plugin on the master bus if the mix feels dry. It creates more of a sense of space.
     
  13. Kurkkuviipale

    Kurkkuviipale Another Sinking ....

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    anne has a good point in there. It does not only create a sense of space, but also glues the mix together. Remember to be extra careful with this, and remember to use room reverbs.
     
  14. rectifryer

    rectifryer Banned

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    :agreed:
    I would even go so far to say that EQs are bad all together and should only be used when you cant obtain the exact tone you want from the source no matter what. Exceptions being filters. I just repeat to my self, "source tone, source tone, source tone" when I am recording.

    :agreed:

    Leaving reverb off of the individual tracks lets you put them all in the same space during mastering. I understand, that you will still want different types of reverb for different parts but I find that its not to the extent I would have thought.

    I got serious about recording when I found this website. Even then, I am still an amateur and are just trying to share ideas. I dont want to come across like I actually know how studios do it. :yesway:
     
  15. tr0n

    tr0n djent n00b

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    With regards to EQ in general (and I suppose all tasks in mixing for that matter), I believe there are 2 scenarios in which you employ it. One being technical/corrective, the other creative. Corrective eqing would be using filters (high/low-pass and notch) to remove unnecessary content and troublesome resonances. I think this kind of stuff is best done to tracks individually before you even start mixing, although there's no harm in doing it at the start of the mix. From then on EQ decisions should purely creative and experimental:

    "Maybe the snare could benefit with some extra body with a boost around 250Hz...but that seems to get in the way of the bass...maybe if I cut some 250Hz from the bass and use less of a boost on the snare...that seems to work. I think it could use some extra snap too, I'll try a boost around 6-8kHz...ah that doesn't really work, but was worth a try."

    I would advise caution with putting plugs on the master bus. Remember that what you're hearing through your speakers is the master bus itself and has been guiding your mixing decisions thus far. To stick plugs on it half way through a mix can be like switching to a different set of speakers altogether - not a good idea. Compressors and EQs on the master bus will change the balance of everything and you could end up going round in circles. For compressors, either stick it on the master bus before you start mixing, or wait until you get to mastering. I would never stick an EQ or reverb on there during mixing, only in the mastering stage.

    To me, the 2 golden rules of music production are:

    1. Less is more.
    2. You can't polish a turd.

    Al Schmitt, who mixed a lot of Steely Dan records, used compression and EQ very conservatively, and I think they're the best sounding records ever made, but they benefited by being record by Roger Nichols who is an amazing recording engineer. I know metal is a different deal but the same rules still apply.

    Kinda straying off topic a little here so I'll stop. :)
     
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  16. PhilC

    PhilC SS.org Regular

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    some things you might try ...

    Ozone's mastering stereo widener, or one that can widen separate freq bands, what you want is to widen the highs, never, ever widen the bass freqs. This is not going to instantly make the mix huge but it does make a subbtle difference.

    and thats what the 'huge' ness you are talking about comes from, it's subtle differences in the waveforms of your guitars distortion, the stereo verb on your snare, the OH's panned hard LR, and of course TONS of compression to bring out the details. Obviously you probably know that so i don't know why i typed that

    it's not like i dont have this problem ever but recently i rarely ever think my mix .. isn't 'huge'

    i just listened to your TSE x30 test.. from what i hear it's either the guitars not being panned hard LR or there is some stereo reverb on them ... hard to pin down. But yea that track is definatley not 'huge'

    ive never panned guitars anything other than 100% L/R. if you quad track, stop doing that

    umm and i disagree with putting verb on the master, thats a really really bad idea. good mixing, and especially limiting wil glue things together, not reverb


    but yea i would avoid stereo wideners on everything, exept a multiband one when you master the track
     
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  17. ChuckLee

    ChuckLee R.I.P. Chuck

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    I must say that in my 6 months of recording this is probably the most useful post I've ever read!!!
    Thanks a lot sir
     
  18. Antenna

    Antenna Oh God Damnit!

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    Thanks For this. I'll upload my progress I've made from using a multiband widener on my mastering. I think I've made some pregress. Alot of the advice I've received from everyone else hasn't exactly helped me much, although all of it is good advice! I hope everyone who is starting out with mixing and eventually working towards mastering gets to read this thread.

    as far as the TSE X30 test track... I've got it quad tracked (not my cup of tea btw!) with two guitars panned 100% LR and two more at 75% LR and then I tried to widen them in the mixing stage with stereo separation which made them looser and gave me a headache and I said "Fuck this GOD DAMN SHIT!!!" and threw it out to make a hasty mastering job on it and uploaded it :lol:.

    I'm starting to believe the wideness of the track that I'm looking for though is definately coming from using the GMulti plugin in my chain during mastering, and good use of panning during mixing. I do have the question of why not to widen the bass freqs and are there some standard do's and don't's when it comes to Multiband Wideners?
     
  19. Antenna

    Antenna Oh God Damnit!

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  20. munky27

    munky27 steabag27

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    man that expansion has so much more power behind it then the original. I think you did a good job. that's a sic riff too. Overall great job.
     
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