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  #1  
Old 03-03-2007, 09:53 AM
tomdiek tomdiek is offline
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Default Dull Mixes

My PT 002 Rack version 7.0 mixes sound like there is a "film", or the proverbial "blanket" over the speakers when I compare them to CD's I use for reference. And it seems to lose punch and presence. When I listen to the mix during playback it sounds big, punchy, full and clear. It seems that once I bounce it to disk and burn a CD it really loses fidelity, clarity and punch. Can someone give some causes and suggestions to correct this?
Many Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 03-03-2007, 09:57 AM
cfb25 cfb25 is offline
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Default Re: Dull Mixes

Are you using a big compressor or limiter on your mix as a whole to ensure your bouncing as close to 0db as possible? Do a search for dither as well if your not sure about that...
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  #3  
Old 03-03-2007, 10:26 AM
tomdiek tomdiek is offline
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Default Re: Dull Mixes

Thanks...No, I haven't been compressing the mix. Are there some techniques you can share for compressing the stereo mix? I should have mentioned before, I am using power dither.
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  #4  
Old 03-03-2007, 11:08 AM
grindx grindx is offline
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Default Re: Dull Mixes

Are you using your current monitors to reference the CD's as well? Is there any difference in your signal chain while mixing vs. listening back to your bounce?

Are you you mixing at 24 bit (48 or 96 kHz) and then converting to 16 bit 44.1 kHz? Are your bounced files uncompressed (wav, Aiff) or mp3?
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  #5  
Old 03-03-2007, 11:57 AM
tomdiek tomdiek is offline
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Default Re: Dull Mixes

I am using the same monitors for referencing and the signal chain is the same and it is apparent there. It seems even more apparent when I compare in an alternate sound source such as the car or portable CD player.
I'm mixing at 24/48 and converting to 44/16 and the bounced files are AIFF.
Thanks!
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  #6  
Old 03-03-2007, 12:40 PM
tclash tclash is offline
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Default Re: Dull Mixes

At the risk of opening up a new in/out of the box mixing debate....

Every record that I have mastered that was mixed inside PT has this same quality. Some mix engineers are better at overcoming it than others, but even the best still have at least some of what I call the "Pro Tools Fog". It usually requires a substantial amount of boosting in the 4-8k range to open up. The other weird thing is there tends to be this weird clogging up in the 300hz range, but attempts to cut much in this range to compensate don't usually work well for some reason. It's really odd.

This is why I mix on a Ghost. Even if it's not the best sounding board ever, I still prefer it to mixing in the box.
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  #7  
Old 03-03-2007, 12:52 PM
Naagzh Naagzh is offline
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Default Re: Dull Mixes

Quote:
At the risk of opening up a new in/out of the box mixing debate....

Every record that I have mastered that was mixed inside PT has this same quality. Some mix engineers are better at overcoming it than others, but even the best still have at least some of what I call the "Pro Tools Fog". It usually requires a substantial amount of boosting in the 4-8k range to open up. The other weird thing is there tends to be this weird clogging up in the 300hz range, but attempts to cut much in this range to compensate don't usually work well for some reason. It's really odd.

This is why I mix on a Ghost. Even if it's not the best sounding board ever, I still prefer it to mixing in the box.
What are you printing your mixes to?

Tomdiek - your reference CDs have been mastered, no? Why don't you try sending one of your mixes to a legit Mastering Engineer? Most MEs will give you a 30-second or 1-minute sample of the mastered version of your song for free (in an effort to earn your business, of course). An especially hard-working ME will critique your mix and let you make small adjustments before they begin their processes. This would shed a very bright light on just how much of your comparison depends on the 002R.
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  #8  
Old 03-03-2007, 01:26 PM
grindx grindx is offline
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Default Re: Dull Mixes

I was going to mention that the CD's were pro mastered, but it was said that the Reference CD's were fine when played back throught the same monitoring system, and I am assuming the 002 is part of that chain.
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  #9  
Old 03-03-2007, 02:44 PM
blackmacdaddy blackmacdaddy is offline
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Default Re: Dull Mixes

Tom,

YMMV, but here's my 3 cents about getting better mixes in your project studio There are no 'rules.' These things have helped me.

FIRST, many factors, including your listening environment's acoustic anomolies, mixing too loud (or on headphones) can cause you to print a mix which doesn't translate well to "the stereos of the world."

Listening to your mixes on all 3 of your systems is a great start. I use 2 home stereos, my car and an AIWA jambox.

Only work on 1 song at a time for now.

Having a reference track (as Naagzh pointed out "it's mastered") that you're 'very familiar with' next to your mixes is a great idea too for your "CD-R mix ref checking."

As you listen, make notes about the 'pro & cons' of each element/instrument/effect & general qualities of your mix. (you mention dull)

In the dull case, you could start with a program EQ like a Pultec (URS, BF, Nomad Factory, UAD or a Real one--pick your poison) and see if you can brighten the mix more to your liking. Ofcourse there are many other great EQs: URS A, N, S, Waves SSL, AIR, Equim, Sony Oxford etc.

The program EQ can go either:
ON the master fader (keep in mind all inserts are POST fader on the Master fader)
OR bus all channels to a Stereo Aux which then feeds the master fader
OR re-import the mix(if you re-import you should use a full res 24bit bounce)
OR you may realize just certain elements are 'too dull.'
IE: The vocal must shine in pop music, it's "the money shot" ;-)

Go listen to your new mix on all your systems again.

Your main goal is to 'turn up & feature' the good stuff and turn down the average/bad stuff.

Don't be afraid to make something "pop out" of the mix, that creates excitment.

Mixing on small bookshelf speakers around 82 - 85 dB will let you work on a mix for long periods, like 8 - 12 hours.
Also, as they move less air, your Room's acoustics effect the sound much less.

Auratones, R. Shack Minimus 7s, the powered Fostex & Sony speakers are all good choices. Really anything will do. I use some little stereo speakers 90% of the time when mixing.

Only use bigger nearfields (8" woofers & up) for checking your low end 20 - 120 hz stuff. Some people have Subs for this.

Next, tweak your mix (making sure to save with a new name) and THEN listen at all of your "stations" again. Make notes about what you did as you go.

Last, keep in mind that a great mix takes often takes a lot of tweaking and listening. Your trying to give all the elements their own space (prevent them from masking each other) and giving the listener 'contrasts' For example: having something tiny makes big elements HUGE. Bright vs. Dull, Legato vs. Staccato, Busy vs. Ringing, Natural vs. Artifical, Dry vs. Wet, Panning changes in sections, Muted except for Chorus, consonance vs. dissonance, Tension vs. Resolution, etc.

End result = Exciting MIX

However, a recording can be like a hastily snapped photograph--sometimes they're nearly perfect at conception. Like a great live band can often do when they nail a take.

Other times, it's an 'average photograph' that's going to need a lot of "dodging / burning / photoshop" work to shine. Personally, in my local 'scene' I have to work on plenty of 'it's good enough' tracks from musicians who are somewhat 'lackadaisical' about their "career."

I could go on & on (I guess I have!) Hopefully there's at least one 'fresh idea / technique' in there for you!

Good luck and here's to some brighter mixes in your future!

PS: These are all things I have learned from many other engineers & producers
about getting good mixes that translate well on many systems. Credit where credit's due.
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  #10  
Old 03-03-2007, 04:04 PM
tomdiek tomdiek is offline
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Default Re: Dull Mixes

Thanks everyone for the great input. It's very much appreciated!
I will put your advice into action and see what I can come up with.
It is interesting to me that tclash as a mastering engineer seems to be experiencing this with all of his in the box Pro Tools mixes. I would love to hear from a DIGI rep on this.
Thanks again!!!
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