Mixing, Mastering, Compressors, and SNARES

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by illimmigrant, Aug 13, 2013.

  1. illimmigrant

    illimmigrant A Different Logic

    Messages:
    627
    Likes Received:
    120
    Joined:
    May 13, 2009
    Location:
    Houston, Tx.
    Hey guys, I have a couple of issues and questions regarding mixing, mastering and the use of compressors for different purposes.
    I always have trouble maintaining the snare as clear and punchy in the mastering stage as in my mixing stage. I have to keep my levels around 3db or so below industry levels in order to not completely squash it. I use mostly Ozone 5 during mastering.
    Doing some research, I have found people using soft clippers and very transparent compressors with pretty fast attack/release times in the mastering stage. They do this in order to reduce the tall peaks in the waveform that hit your limiter before anything else. This also makes the waveform look more uniform. In my case, the snare typically hits the limiter first, so it gets killed when I raise the volume with the loudness maximizer, even at a transparent setting.
    I know maintaining transients is an issue for a lot of less experienced guys like myself, so what approaches do you take to deal with this, what compressors do you use and where do you use them?
    I often see very transparent compressors stacked on the master in order to reduce the peaks, but if the issue is on drums, can you apply this approach to the drum bus during the mixing stage and deal with it there?
    Also, is there a point to keeping the transients punchy in the mix if you’re cutting them off in mastering? Is this working against yourself?
    Looking forward to seeing some techniques! Post samples if you have any. I’ll try to upload one tonight.
    Thanks. Carlos.
     
  2. nojyeloot

    nojyeloot SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    2,672
    Likes Received:
    512
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    Location:
    Mansfield, TX
  3. Tyler

    Tyler SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    2,365
    Likes Received:
    500
    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2011
    Location:
    Northern VA
    I can attest to that guide. Its fantastic and you can use it as a template every time you open up your DAW. $20 is a steal for info in it
     
  4. illimmigrant

    illimmigrant A Different Logic

    Messages:
    627
    Likes Received:
    120
    Joined:
    May 13, 2009
    Location:
    Houston, Tx.
    Yup, I have the guide.
     
  5. Narrillnezzurh

    Narrillnezzurh Sir Clipsalot

    Messages:
    821
    Likes Received:
    14
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2012
    Location:
    Syracuse, NY
    I would avoid using bus compression on your drum bus, it'll just cause your cymbals to start pumping. Getting the snare to cut through at the mastering stage for me is usually a matter of leveling and limiting; the snare will have to be a little louder than you want it during the mixing stage, and you'll have to cut off a few dB (6ish in my case) with a fast release limiter.
     
  6. Alphanumeric

    Alphanumeric SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    309
    Likes Received:
    19
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2013
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    As a prefix. Maximizing = everything loud and smeared, not just 1 thing like the snare. Its the opposite of what you want.

    1. To keep it exactly the same is pretty much impossible, only mastering houses can get close I think :(
    2. Use them on the channel inserts instead, especcially the softclipper, this is more of a Sturgis style thing where he clips individual drum channels rather than on the masterbus, which yes along with all the other compression/limiting would make it squashy.
    3. Don't use the maximiser haha, Limiting and upward compression is far superior here. Mixes that are really loud and have been maximised don't have any dynamics and the idea is that there isn't one thing popping out like the snare instead everything is loud. If you really must use it then try putting something like a transient shaper on it. Flux Bittersweet is free. If your snare is defined and has all its character in the body/tail, envelope shapers will help preserve that some more, a pure transient shaper will just add more perceived crack.
    4. Massey L2007 is amazing. Stillwell event horizon. If you have an 1176 emulation try it with all buttons pushed in.
    5. Yes. But compressing and limiting a bus is going to completely wash the cymbals up. Any dynamic processing on a drum bus is really used for gelling sounds, so smearing them, rather than making something poke out more.
    6. Yes! Its always recommended that you should keep stuff like the snare, toms and possibly kick too loud in the mix before mastering if you are going for a loud master. If its going to get squashed down, then make it loud by soft clipping it over 0db so when it gets pushed down it won't get pushed too far down by multicomps.

    I think this is a general issue with ITB digital mixing. With analog gear you can drive things a lot further, and any negative stuff is more musical sounding. If you get digital clipping this is bad and sounds bad. However a common technique with drums is to clip the inputs of adat converters, or even clip the preamps going in. Rather than any nasty digital distortion you get nicer sounding saturation.
     
  7. Kurkkuviipale

    Kurkkuviipale Another Sinking ....

    Messages:
    3,996
    Likes Received:
    959
    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2010
    Location:
    Helsinki, Finland
    Use a clipper before the mastering chain. Best advice I've been given this year.
     
  8. sear

    sear SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    681
    Likes Received:
    24
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2012
    Location:
    Canaderp
    Sounds to me like your mix is being over-compressed and you're going too hard on the loudness maximizing, if you run into these kinds of problems in the first place.
     
  9. Narrillnezzurh

    Narrillnezzurh Sir Clipsalot

    Messages:
    821
    Likes Received:
    14
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2012
    Location:
    Syracuse, NY
    It doesn't take very much at all to start losing the snare and kick, especially if you're trying to get anywhere near commercial volume.
     
  10. illimmigrant

    illimmigrant A Different Logic

    Messages:
    627
    Likes Received:
    120
    Joined:
    May 13, 2009
    Location:
    Houston, Tx.
    Lots of good info guys, I appreciate it.
    The soft clipper in cubase has no indicators to tell me how much is being clipped, so it's a little hard to judge with just the ears. Any soft clippers you guys can recommend?
    I never really thought my mixes were over compressed, but I can definitely back off a bit and see if it'll help without completely losing punch on the drums.
    I have tried the L1 limiter, but have not had the same success as when using the maximizer in ozone as my last step in my mastering chain.
     
  11. Kurkkuviipale

    Kurkkuviipale Another Sinking ....

    Messages:
    3,996
    Likes Received:
    959
    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2010
    Location:
    Helsinki, Finland
    You don't want to use a soft clipper. You want a clipper with a hard knee. GClip is a really handy tool, it's free too. Use that on snare, maybe on kick if you're having too much punch (not an issue too often) and on your master bus. Also if you want your toms to be a little more transparent, GClip is a good way to cut some early attack off. On master bus, just set it to clip out the very highest peaks off.
     
  12. illimmigrant

    illimmigrant A Different Logic

    Messages:
    627
    Likes Received:
    120
    Joined:
    May 13, 2009
    Location:
    Houston, Tx.

    Thanks for clarifying. I've heard of GClip, but I am on a MAC. Is there anything like it not restricted to Windows. I have had no luck finding something similar.
     
  13. Kurkkuviipale

    Kurkkuviipale Another Sinking ....

    Messages:
    3,996
    Likes Received:
    959
    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2010
    Location:
    Helsinki, Finland
    Doesn't Cubase use VST's on Mac based OS'es?

    E: Any hard clipper will do I suppose. I think L1 should work too, just don't go too crazy with it. You're not suppose to hear a tremendous difference, more like do yourself a favor and control your mix a little more.
     
  14. illimmigrant

    illimmigrant A Different Logic

    Messages:
    627
    Likes Received:
    120
    Joined:
    May 13, 2009
    Location:
    Houston, Tx.
    Thanks, I'll give it a shot with the L1. I was wondering if a compressor with a super high ratio and supper fast attack and release times would have the same effect.
     
  15. illimmigrant

    illimmigrant A Different Logic

    Messages:
    627
    Likes Received:
    120
    Joined:
    May 13, 2009
    Location:
    Houston, Tx.
  16. Krullnar

    Krullnar SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    421
    Likes Received:
    25
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    ^nice work!
     
  17. shredfiend

    shredfiend SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    104
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2009
    Location:
    over There....
    Ordered that Ebook for myself. Has already helped with a mix I'm doing at the moment for myself, and I've only read the first 1/3 so far. Definitely worth it!
     
  18. Kurkkuviipale

    Kurkkuviipale Another Sinking ....

    Messages:
    3,996
    Likes Received:
    959
    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2010
    Location:
    Helsinki, Finland
    There's a tad too much high end on almost everything (especially the snare). The guitars could use a little more steep filtering from the high end and maybe some tight notches to clear it up. As for what comes to audibility, everything comes through in the right manner (drums are audible in the way they should) so if you keep working on that, it should work out.
     
  19. cyrilMYAIM

    cyrilMYAIM SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    119
    Likes Received:
    33
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Location:
    Belgium
    Sounds already pretty dope to me! I don't think I'll be able to help you more than the others did, but I have a question though: I have been searching for such a huge snare sound forever. In vain. Can you tell me which snare (sample?) you used and how you processed it?

    I'm digging the mix by the way! :hbang:
     
  20. illimmigrant

    illimmigrant A Different Logic

    Messages:
    627
    Likes Received:
    120
    Joined:
    May 13, 2009
    Location:
    Houston, Tx.
    Thanks for tip, Joel. I do tend to make everything too bright sometimes and not notice until I listen on some other systems. I'll mess around with the highs on guitars and snare and see what turns out.


    Thanks a bunch!

    Kurk is actually the guy with some of the best snare sounds I've heard around here. Always fat, punchy and with really sweet and audible room reverbs. I wish I knew how to carve that much room in my mixes for my snares to sound like that. :wub:

    Anyway, I used the Ludwig Supraphonic snare from Metal Machine on this mix. I had never used it before, but it is very clean sounding and needs little eq compared to other snares. I added some compression and eq to the top and bottom snare mics, then split the top snare mic into two busses. One buss for parallel compression and one for the reverb. The parallel compressor is doing a heavy amount of gain reduction. The reverb buss has no compression and only takes the snare top mic. Then there's the "snare room" mic. I typically choose either the middle or far room mic's in Superior and take everything out of them except the snare. I compress some there as well to get the snare breathing a little. Then blend those channels to taste into a single snare buss to control the volume. The reverb on the snare reverb buss needs to be pretty loud and very wet for it to come through, since you have another two channels to fight for that space.

    This is probably by no means the way to do it. It's just how I did it in this clip, but I hope it helps you.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.