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  #1  
Old 07-02-2007, 04:44 AM
SoundReplay SoundReplay is offline
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Default Mixing & Mastering in Pro Tools: Getting Professional Result

Hi All,

I am using PT now since 1999. The quality, user interface and newly added features are outstanding (Currently PT HD 7.1).
In addition I am using WAVES DIAMOND TDM as my major plugin farm, Dynaudio Near Field Monitors, Digidesign PRE, 192 I/O interface, Neumann microphones etc. I assume the quality of this equipment and software is on average better compared to midrange market.

I have read and studied a lot of audio related books from industry recognised authors like Bob Katz (Mastering Audio, the art and the science), bought some Video Tutorials (Mix It Like A Record from Charles Dye) etc. and did some trial and error for the past few years on mixing and mastering.

The quality of my mixes are OK I guess, BUT I am missing that extra punch. What am I missing or doing wrong? I have read articles about STEM (Separation) mixing. I have tried it, but it doesn't make a big difference.

Do I need more or other plugins, an analog console, ... Are there any unwritten secrets about mixing & mastering ?
As mentioned several times in a lot of articles, it's better to prepare the final master of your songs by a different person than the mixing engineer. Besides maybe a better ear for detail, what equipment is mostly being used to get that big and fat sound ?

I am keen to learn and practise more, so any suggestions are welcome !

Thanks for sharing your experiences !

Dirk
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  #2  
Old 07-02-2007, 06:56 AM
NickH NickH is offline
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Default Re: Mixing & Mastering in Pro Tools: Getting Professional Result

Quote:
As mentioned several times in a lot of articles, it's better to prepare the final master of your songs by a different person than the mixing engineer. Besides maybe a better ear for detail, what equipment is mostly being used to get that big and fat sound ?
A different room can be just as important as the equipment they have…

With the stuff you have listed there you should have no problem with your mixes equipment wise, but posting a track up would really help us to help you …

Cheers



N
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  #3  
Old 07-12-2007, 04:36 PM
BusyBoxSt7 BusyBoxSt7 is offline
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Default Re: Mixing & Mastering in Pro Tools: Getting Professional Re

things we need to have any clue what you mean

1) samples of your mixes
2) references to what you consider a "big" "fat" "punchy" etc mix, the words mean different things to different people.
3) a link to a website if you have it w/ pics of your room, list of other equipment, etc.

you covered the "central nervous system" of your studio but you left many questions at the very START of the recording chain.

possible factors/things that = small/bad sound to me:
-bad room? have you addressed control room acoustics?
-instruments- are you using tube amps, real drums etc or modeling/imitation stuff?
-instrument maintenance- are the guitars intonated properly
-pres- anything other than the PRE? i find preamps and converters to be more important than microphones often.
the list goes on and on, need some samples.
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  #4  
Old 07-13-2007, 01:32 PM
SoundReplay SoundReplay is offline
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Default Re: Mixing & Mastering in Pro Tools: Getting Professional Re

Hi,

thanks for helping me! You can take a look at www.soundreplay.com for some pictures of my home recording studio room, acoustics and equipment. Go also to the Artists Showcase section to hear some songs I've recorded. Feel free to give your comments, postive or negative ! I just want to improve my recordings!

In the mean time, this week, I experimented with another tool from iZotope and results were better. (for the mastering part although)

But still, I am somewhat new in the world of acoustic instrument mixing and mastering, so any help would be more than welcome !

Greetings !

Dirk
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  #5  
Old 07-13-2007, 07:17 PM
bashville bashville is offline
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Default Re: Mixing & Mastering in Pro Tools: Getting Professional Re

Hi Dirk-

Some quick comments. I went to your site and did some listening. There's a lot to digest here--I think the best thing I can suggest for you is to reference other commercial CD's as you're working to compare the sound you're shooting for with what you've actually got. It's easy to get trapped in the mechanics of mixing, become seduced by the sound in front of you, and forget where you're headed.

My main impression is not a problem with recording per se, but with the method you have of assembling the elements of the rhythm section. It seems like all your drums and bass need to be brought forward and put in a position where they drive the performance more. Primarily I think it's about controlling the bottom and not being afraid to push the drums up. By doing the CD comparisons, I think you'll hear how far forward the drums are in modern mix styles.

I can hear you emphasizing the ambience of your room, which is certainly nice, but for many of the styles of your artists, the use of room sounds could be more selective. It seems like many of the instruments in these mixes are just lined up side by side and treated in a similar fashion, instead of the bass playing the role of a bass, the snare allowed to be a snare, and the voice a voice. Does that make sense?

You also have to be fearless about going in and cleaning up musical parts--the sounds themselves seem OK, but if the playing isn't there to begin with you're in trouble. The more locked things are, the better it will be when you start pumping them up. I'd also look at EQ-ing and compressing more as methods of control, vs. methods of enhancement. It's really too much to try to say all in one posting here, but sometimes you need to spend more time getting the lumpiness out of the tracks than worrying about adding a nice sheen to everything. These are all relative statements--you don't want to make things lifeless, but you could stand to tighten up the sounds.

OK? I hope this helps--I think the mics and pre's are less of a worry for you right now than balance and dynamics. Good luck.
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  #6  
Old 07-13-2007, 11:15 PM
Naagzh Naagzh is offline
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Default Re: Mixing & Mastering in Pro Tools: Getting Professional Re

Quote:

My main impression is not a problem with recording per se, but with the method you have of assembling the elements of the rhythm section. It seems like all your drums and bass need to be brought forward and put in a position where they drive the performance more. Primarily I think it's about controlling the bottom and not being afraid to push the drums up. By doing the CD comparisons, I think you'll hear how far forward the drums are in modern mix styles.

I'll second this opinion! Modern music does (for better or worse) tend to have a more aggressive sound w.r.t. bass and rhythm section.

But I noticed something: when I really cranked my monitors, things sounded quite good! Yet at quieter volumes (and it may be that I was prejudiced by the above post), I wished for a little "thump". Could it be that you're mixing too loudly?

On a psychological level, increasing the low end of the bass and kick, or the punchiness of the snare, relative to melodic elements (mainly the vocals) encourages the listener to turn the music up, so that the whole song can be heard. To a certain extent, the listener becomes more engaged. Intrigued (hopefully) by the melody, the magnified beat and rhythm now have an opportunity to stir our primeval, subconscious, dancing-around-a-fire heritage. What opinions and judgements are made after this is almost irrelevant; we all just want a song to given a fair chance.

But if a listener can get all of the necessary information at a quiet volume, well, that's not very exciting, is it?

Sorry for the new-age-y-ness. It's the whiskey, I swear.
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  #7  
Old 07-14-2007, 12:23 AM
SoundReplay SoundReplay is offline
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Default Re: Mixing & Mastering in Pro Tools: Getting Professional Re

Thanks Bashville and Naagzh for your honest opinions. I certainly will take into account things like rhythm section, mixing not too loud, EQ and compression next time.
I am working now at a new mix where I indeed try to compare things against existing commercial CD's. Comparing the EQ (in RMS) most of the time I can see a lack of bass and even high in my mixing. I am trying now a DEMO of iZotope Ozone where I can match my song's EQ against an existing commercial CD. And it makes already a difference. So I'll try now to mix in the first place better.

Thanks,

Dirk
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  #8  
Old 07-14-2007, 12:36 PM
bashville bashville is offline
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Default Re: Mixing & Mastering in Pro Tools: Getting Professional Re

I'd say set your final stereo plug to a very mild setting (a little rise on the high's, a little compression on the bottom), then leave it alone, and work on your mix with that plug always active. That way you're always adjusting within the boundaries of the character of that plug, if you're sure you'll be leaving it in.

Regarding the soft-loud question: search the web for information on the Fletcher-Munsen curve. That will help illuminate some of what Naagzh was talking about. Also, sometimes when you mix too loud you tend to think things are in balance when they're not, because with everything loud you can usually pick out the part you're focusing on. Listening softer, each element needs to occupy a narrower dynamic range to be heard properly in balance throughout the full length of the song. That means each thing not being too soft when it's at its softest, and not being too loud when it's at its loudest. It takes experience to find out what you like to do on each kind of part, because it won't be the same for everything.

You can almost mix softer as you go along. When you start you may find yourself bringing things up slightly to hear details of individual parts, but the more you get the blend, it helps to bring the volume down to hear that all the parts are making themselves heard. Strangely enough, fans and other ambient noise sources have a similar effect by raising the noise floor, instead of turning your mix down.
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  #9  
Old 07-17-2007, 11:36 AM
HearInc HearInc is offline
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Default Re: Mixing & Mastering in Pro Tools: Getting Professional Re

I checked out some pics on your site. The Sonex on ALL the surfaces of your room is going to give you a VERY dead room with no hi-frequency reflections at all, but plenty of lo-frequency info is going to be bouncing around, unless you have a ton of bass trapping that I didn't see in the pics. I would guess it's really hard to get a mix that translates out of your room... the low end must be very difficult to judge. And in the tracking room, you must have to EQ out tons of low-end and lo-mids because all the hi end is getting sucked out by the Sonex and leaving the low stuff to bounce around and build up. One general rule of thumb for absorbtion vs. reflection (or diffusion) is to aim for about half of the surfaces should be hard and reflective and half should be absorbtive. And you want those absorbtive areas set where you'll catch the first reflections from your speakers... i.e. the side walls and ceiling above your listening position, and the back wall (unless your room is big enough that diffusion on the back wall is helpful).
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  #10  
Old 07-17-2007, 02:13 PM
SoundReplay SoundReplay is offline
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Default Re: Mixing & Mastering in Pro Tools: Getting Professional Re

Hi HearInc, I believe this is very useful information for me indeed. So you suggest to remove 50% of the Sonex and replace it by hard material (like wood).

I just have to find out exactly where I need to remove some of the Sonex. How can I judge this most accurately or who would be able to tell me? I can take more pictures from studio and control room and put it on my site of course...

Anyway, thanks for the info... that leaves me of course with another sleepless night..and another challenge besides mixing and recording...

Thanks,

Dirk
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