Mixing/mastering/production

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Mixing/mastering/production

Post by Driven on Sun Feb 26, 2012 2:29 pm

Share tips relating to recording/producing, mixing, and mastering music. What gear, what optimal settings?

This is a very wide topic so suggest pretty much whatever works. Razz
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Re: Mixing/mastering/production

Post by Driven on Thu Mar 15, 2012 8:58 pm

…no one wants to share any information. Selfish people. Mad 1

Razz
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Re: Mixing/mastering/production

Post by Tobi Elektrik on Thu Mar 15, 2012 9:38 pm

For guitars: use compression.
For bass: use compression.
For drums: use compression and more compression.
For vocals: use autotune.
For mastering: use a compressor, a limiter, a multiband compressor.

Result: You've won the loudness war !!!
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Re: Mixing/mastering/production

Post by Driven on Fri Mar 16, 2012 6:32 am

Tobi Elektrik wrote:For guitars: use compression.
For bass: use compression.
For drums: use compression and more compression.
For vocals: use autotune.
For mastering: use a compressor, a limiter, a multiband compressor.

Result: You've won the loudness war !!!

What a Face

What if I don't want to win the loudness war? Evil or Very Mad
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Re: Mixing/mastering/production

Post by Tobi Elektrik on Fri Mar 16, 2012 8:48 pm

Then...use less compression. Laughing

Hmm, I guess this thread would make a bit more sense if you start with some more specific questions.

I do a lot of recording / mixing but I'm still pretty bad at this. Most important thing: you need "good ears" - you need to "feel" what's right and what's wrong.
My way to mix things is very experimental: I change settings and tweek knobs like crazy till it sounds all right - - - just to realize that it sounds like crap a day later... Laughing
It's VERY unprofessionell what I'm doing so I don't know if I'm in the right position to give advices.

Especially for beginners software is the best choice. Maybe it's a wise decision to spend some money on a good sequencer like Cubase. It already contains some effects like equalizers and reverb. If you need more: there are TONS of GOOD freeware programs out there. Paying for hardware processors is the more expensive way - I would recommend this only to pros.

A lot of people seem to believe that mastering is the most important part of producing an album. Sure: it is important and can make the music really shine. But it's nothing without good recordings and a solid mix. And it can even destroy an album like Metallica's Death Magnetic.

So it all starts with the recording: Try to get the cleanest signals possible. If the recording is too quiet the ambient noise level can become a problem. If it's too loud you risk distortion.
Especially drum recording can be quite difficult: you need at least 4 mics (kick, snare, overhead stereo). Crosstalk is a main problem: You need the right microphones, angles and positions to avoid massive crosstalk on the kick and snare channel.
A gate processor is a very helpful tool to "isolate" kick, snare or toms: it cuts out any noise between the snare (etc.) hits. Especially if you want to use a lot of compression on those instruments it's helpful to use a gate processor first cause the compression will accentuate the crosstalk even more.
An equalizer (hi cut / low cut) can remove a good portion of crosstalk too.

Recording bass / guitar isn't such a big deal. You just have to decide if you want to use a real amp, a real amp + speaker cabinet or an amp emulation software.
A pretty smart solution is to have a real amp + cabinet but splitting the signal to record "the real thing" and a dry and pure guitar signal for reamping or amp software if you are not pleased with the initial amp recording.
It can also work to plug the DI-Out of your amp into your mixing board / computer / interface. But most time you need a speaker simulation (soft- or hardware) to make it sound less artificial.

Normally you need two guitar parts for a stereo effect. One panned right, one left. How far left or right is an individual decision. Most times I choose 70 degrees.
Multitracking is a very common thing these days: Instead of just recording the guitar one or two times you record it several times to mix several overdubs. Important: don't use too much distortion. Turn down your Gain knob more than usual.

Normally vocals are the most dynamic part. Compression is nearly indispensible ! Putting some reverb on the vocals is very common too.
Voices can be very different and often a de-esser is needed to eliminate excess sibilance.

The equalizer is the most important tool and normally you need it on EVERY channel and instrument. A hi or low cut can eliminate superflous frequencies. An equalizer is also important to shape the sound of an instrument and to make it cut through the mix by accentuating specific frequencies.

For mastering I use only an equalizer and a multiband compressor.


So this is my list of essential tools / processors (you can download them ALL for free):

- gate
- equalizer
- reverb
- compressor
- multiband compressor

The most essential things you can / need to spend your hard earned money on:

- sequencer software
- audio interface (if you want to record drums at least 4 input channels !)
- good headphones
- solid studio monitors
- 2 good dynamic microphones (for kick, snare, e-guitar...) + stand / clamp
- 2 two condenser mics (as drum overheads or for vocals) + stand
- popscreen for vocal recordings
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Re: Mixing/mastering/production

Post by Driven on Sat Mar 17, 2012 7:11 pm

Hmm, I guess this thread would make a bit more sense if you start with some more specific questions.

Like I said, this is kind of a "general tips" thing.


One of my bass guitar sounds is achieved by adding a lot of EQ at 1.5 kHz and a tiny bit in the bass range, and adding a splash of overdrive.
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Re: Mixing/mastering/production

Post by Tobi Elektrik on Sun Mar 18, 2012 6:30 pm

I always like my bass with overdrive too. Ibanez Tubescreamer.... schweeet !!! Laughing
I have an Orange Terror Bass amp now that has enough overdrive. But I still use the Tubescreamer in Guitar Rig at home.
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Re: Mixing/mastering/production

Post by bassdude on Sun Mar 18, 2012 6:37 pm

I'm not big on bass distortion myself......I want my bass to sound clear and punchy, I want it to sound like the low notes of a grand piano being played loudly.
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Re: Mixing/mastering/production

Post by Driven on Mon Mar 19, 2012 7:16 am

The thing is that I don't use much distortion, and it's hardly noticeable. Tony Franklin told me he used overdrive on Menchen - Red Rock, and you can hardly hear that.
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Re: Mixing/mastering/production

Post by @All4Himdino on Mon Apr 16, 2012 3:15 pm

A nice set of studio speakers is essential.
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Re: Mixing/mastering/production

Post by Leviathan's burning on Sat Oct 24, 2015 1:32 am

Well you guys pretty much covered the essentials My advice would be this...Make sure you playing in time..I've recorded stuff that sounded pretty good at the time. Only to find out that I was rushing and slowing down a little bit.
You can get away with that in a live situation,but on recordings it really shows up. Usually folks track the drums first. But yeah if you can play to a click track and it get it time so when you put it in the DAW. it's gonna grid out..then putting drum loops or whatever is a breeze.

Like I said I had some songs that were out of time, but a still a decent performance so when I  made a drum track for them it was grueling having to piece together the drum track piece by piece. So yeah in hindsight I should of just started over from scratch.. If it's out of time throw it away and rerecord the part or you are wasting time.

Also once something is mixed and finalizing there's no undoing it unless you saved the session and all the stems So yeah keep all those separate files in their own folder for remixing purposes.

My last tip would be this..lets say you record a song but you messed up..just let the recorder keep rolling and you keep playing several takes on the same recording and then you can go back and "punch in and fix a part" or you can copy and paist a patch over the mistake as well. It's easy to mess up.. but with today's software it's easy to splice pieces together. But let's say you only record a little bit then get distracted and you tell yourself I'll do it tomorrow..well the mic placement could change. Your amp setting could change..lots of variables and you may have trouble duplicated the guitar tone.. Best to get it recorded the first time even if you have to do several takes. Trying to match guitar tones on an uncompleted track  you recorded days earlier really sucks and you may not ever get it right.
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