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  #1  
Old 09-07-2017, 12:48 PM
crazy_jorgito crazy_jorgito is offline
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Default Final Mixing Chain doubts

Hello to all!

I've been using this forum and many other sources to learn about mixing during the last 8 months. I've been a musician for 10+ years and I really want to be able to put out my own material with a good quality.

Im conscious that Mastering is an important part of the process, but I tend to think that with a very good mix, it's more than enough for most of the people that listen to music on their headphones. Therefore, right now im focused in mixing.
Let me give you some context.

My basic setup is:
- DRUM BUS (stereo aux input), GUITAR BUS (stereo aux input), SYNTH BUS (stereo aux input), VOCAL BUS (stereo aux input), FX BUS one for each effect (stereo aux input), MIX BUS (stereo aux input), PRINT BUS (stereo audio track) and MASTER FADER.

I route all my DRUMS/GUITAR/VOCAL/SYNTH BUS to the MIX BUS. When the mix is ready, I print the MIX BUS into the PRINT BUS. After, I select the printed track in the PRINT BUS and bounce it.

My questions are the following:

1) The method of printing my MIX BUS into the PRINT BUS and then bouncing the track recorded in PRINT BUS makes sense? Am I doing more steps than I should?Or would it be enough with exporting the track in the PRINT BUS? Is it better to directly bounce the track without printing it in the PRINT BUS?

2) Normally plugins that go into the MIX BUS would be: an eq with very minor tweaks, a compressor to give the mix some life/punch, a tape machine to give it some color and a limiter to raise the volume (if needed) or to control that there are no peaks over -0.3db. Right?

3) Here is something that I just can't get my hear around; what is the use of the Master Fader? I know that it raises the volume of the output, but normally I've seen that if you have a mix that needs more volume, plugins like the Waves L2 Ultramaximizer are used for this purpose in the MIX BUS as the last plugin of the chain. Does it make sense to use this plugin In the Master Fader track?

4) I've read that if you need to raise your mix volume by more than 2 or 3 dB, its better to chain limiters each one raising the volume of the track by a maximum of 2/3dB (rather than using one limiter to raise the volume directly by 6dB) and that the last limiter (L2 Ultramaximizer is the one I use) on the chain should be the only one with dither settings. Is this actually right? I've uploaded a pic of my MIX BUS; PRINT BUS and Master Fader.



Take into account that I'm new but im trying to make a big effort to keep improving and learning each day.

Thank you for your time!
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  #2  
Old 09-07-2017, 04:54 PM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: Final Mixing Chain doubts

You're likely to get several opinions on this, so take mine as just that....one opinion
Do you really need all that routing trickery to get a good mix? I understand that some mixers swear by this method, but many of them are mixing stuff they did not record, so they have developed a method that covers a huge array of circumstances, while you are dealing with your own tracks. With that in mind, I think you could simplify(sometimes the best thing to do) and get a good mix going to L&R. I would(and do) add parallel compression to drums with 1 stereo AUX, but that's usually all I do for "extra routing".

Moving to the final mix, I understand the appeal of routing thru a mix bus before the master, but(the big BUT), that is usually tied to trying to MIX and MASTER at the same time, which is not something I like to do. I will do "quick and dirty" mastering for a reference mix, but my final is usually done with the plan that I want the best MIX I can make(and leave the MASTERING for later, or better yet, for a real mastering engineer). When I do need to master my own mixes, I find I get better results if I make the best mixes I can and bounce those out at the session's sample rate and bit depth. Then I import all mixes for a project(assuming an album/CD) into a mastering session and then I can easily work all the songs against each other(which tends to make for better consistency anyway). I do believe in routing thru a MIX aux track, applying mastering plugins there because that processing happens before the master track/fader(master track plugins are all post-fader, so a fadeout can result in inconsistent limiter action).

Re the idea of multiple limiters, I agree and usually run 2(3 if the 2-mix is really soft). As with all this stuff, YMMV
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The better I drink...the more I mix.....

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  #3  
Old 09-08-2017, 12:33 PM
crazy_jorgito crazy_jorgito is offline
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Location: Madrid
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Default Re: Final Mixing Chain doubts

Quote:
Originally Posted by albee1952 View Post
You're likely to get several opinions on this, so take mine as just that....one opinion
Do you really need all that routing trickery to get a good mix? I understand that some mixers swear by this method, but many of them are mixing stuff they did not record, so they have developed a method that covers a huge array of circumstances, while you are dealing with your own tracks. With that in mind, I think you could simplify(sometimes the best thing to do) and get a good mix going to L&R. I would(and do) add parallel compression to drums with 1 stereo AUX, but that's usually all I do for "extra routing".

Moving to the final mix, I understand the appeal of routing thru a mix bus before the master, but(the big BUT), that is usually tied to trying to MIX and MASTER at the same time, which is not something I like to do. I will do "quick and dirty" mastering for a reference mix, but my final is usually done with the plan that I want the best MIX I can make(and leave the MASTERING for later, or better yet, for a real mastering engineer). When I do need to master my own mixes, I find I get better results if I make the best mixes I can and bounce those out at the session's sample rate and bit depth. Then I import all mixes for a project(assuming an album/CD) into a mastering session and then I can easily work all the songs against each other(which tends to make for better consistency anyway). I do believe in routing thru a MIX aux track, applying mastering plugins there because that processing happens before the master track/fader(master track plugins are all post-fader, so a fadeout can result in inconsistent limiter action).

Re the idea of multiple limiters, I agree and usually run 2(3 if the 2-mix is really soft). As with all this stuff, YMMV
First of all, thanks so much!

I must admit that routing all to buses makes my workflow a lot easier right now, I'm a person that loves to have everything organized and this method is working both visually and functionally good for me.

When you talk about L&R mixes, do you mean panning all hard left, center and hard right? I do have a slight idea about panning but I find impossible to give my mixes a surround feel. Any help on this? Also, I think that doing a good EQ is vital so that instruments stand out in their right place and don't mess the spectrum where they shouldn't.

It makes sense to do the mastering in another stage rather than at the same time as mixing. Obviously, as I've got so much to learn, first I want to get my mixes sounding good and then get into mastering little by little.

I would also love to hear to any other ideas from other users!

Thanks!
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  #4  
Old 09-08-2017, 09:15 PM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: Final Mixing Chain doubts

Here's my take on panning(and I admit that I am still working on this myself so maybe I'm only barely ahead of you). You won't get "surround" feel out of stereo, but some tricks are worth trying(giving a stereo mix "depth" or a "3D feel" is what separates the good from the great). Yes, there are widener plugins and I use Waves S1 and Vitamin a fair amount, BUT, as much as you might be tempted to slap that on the master, don't do it. Because(I know you just asked why) they work by messing with the phase, so using it on the master has the potential to do as much damage as it might give the illusion of sounding bigger/wider/better/etc. When I use wideners, I tend to stick it on a reverb AUX track or some VI that is more of a texture than an "instrument" sound. Getting "depth" is tricky and some are better than others(I consider myself closer to the "other" category). My best advice there is; dryer signals will seem more forward and wetter signals will seem more distant, so start with that concept and see what you can make happen.

Last 2 cents for those that are newer to this stuff, just because you CAN do something, doesn't mean you should. Example; its easy to stack tons of tracks when you have (essentially) unlimited tracks in the digital world. I had a client send me a session to mix and it had 8 guitar parts, and each part was done with 4-6 tracks(different cabs, different mics, close and far....) so it was around 30 tracks of guitar I pared it down to 1-2 tracks for any given part and ended up with a mix that blew the client away(sometimes less really IS more, and this can be a valuable lesson).
__________________
Asus x99, Intel i7 6800K, 32 gig DDR4, GeForce 750 Ti, HD/Native, HD IOx2, PT11HD, UAD Quad, preamps from Vintech, Five Fish Audio, Miktek, Focusrite, Chameleon Labs and Midas..............................
https://www.facebook.com/search/top/...0sound%20works
www.capricornsoundworks.com

The better I drink...the more I mix.....

BTW, my name is Dave, but most people call me.........................Dave
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  #5  
Old 09-15-2017, 02:33 PM
crazy_jorgito crazy_jorgito is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Madrid
Posts: 9
Default Re: Final Mixing Chain doubts

Quote:
Originally Posted by albee1952 View Post
Here's my take on panning(and I admit that I am still working on this myself so maybe I'm only barely ahead of you). You won't get "surround" feel out of stereo, but some tricks are worth trying(giving a stereo mix "depth" or a "3D feel" is what separates the good from the great). Yes, there are widener plugins and I use Waves S1 and Vitamin a fair amount, BUT, as much as you might be tempted to slap that on the master, don't do it. Because(I know you just asked why) they work by messing with the phase, so using it on the master has the potential to do as much damage as it might give the illusion of sounding bigger/wider/better/etc. When I use wideners, I tend to stick it on a reverb AUX track or some VI that is more of a texture than an "instrument" sound. Getting "depth" is tricky and some are better than others(I consider myself closer to the "other" category). My best advice there is; dryer signals will seem more forward and wetter signals will seem more distant, so start with that concept and see what you can make happen.

Last 2 cents for those that are newer to this stuff, just because you CAN do something, doesn't mean you should. Example; its easy to stack tons of tracks when you have (essentially) unlimited tracks in the digital world. I had a client send me a session to mix and it had 8 guitar parts, and each part was done with 4-6 tracks(different cabs, different mics, close and far....) so it was around 30 tracks of guitar I pared it down to 1-2 tracks for any given part and ended up with a mix that blew the client away(sometimes less really IS more, and this can be a valuable lesson).
Thanks for your answer, and sorry for the delay!

I find really great the idea you say of using for example the S1 Imager in the aux effects to give them more depth. Im going to try this asap!
And yes, sometimes we want to do too much and that ends up messing up the sound of the whole mix.

Hope to hear more ideas from more users!

Thanks!!
__________________
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16 GB RAM @ 2.133 MHz
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- Apollo Twin Duo MKII (2016) Thunderbolt
- Pro Tools 12.8.1
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