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Old 05-08-2004, 12:11 PM
technician technician is offline
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Detroit, MI
Posts: 339
Default Waves PAZ Psychoacoustic Analyzer-crucial plug-in

Over the years, I've relied on my ears for nearly everything. With a decent knowledge on audio and mix down, cutting frequencies here, there... leveling things out properly.. the norm. I decided to go into the technical side of things and visually guide myself through my last mix, instead of using just my ears.

I started my mix-down (which was all running through a 40 channel A&H, then into my 002r) and ran just a stereo input to protools and loaded up the PAZ analyzer. I listen to a bunch of various recordings from big name artists (no mp3's) that I felt have been mastered/mixed very well so I could get a feel of where things should sit on the PAZ. So, I then started up my mix, I started drastically cutting frequencies depending on the dominant placement of the sounds. After about an hour or two of "sitting" everything in place, I was hitting 0.01- db in protools, and with all my faders at there optimum level, nothing would clip my level. It wouldn't go below about -2db so I was averaging around -1db. I didn't use any compression, no limiting, just extreme eq'ing and proper placement.

I'm guessing this is how things are supposed to be mixed, but using just your ears, getting this technical seems to be impossible. I've never once been able to come even close to this proper placement. I guess I was so suprised with the outcome, I had to post my story hear... maybe you all were already totally aware of this, and I'm in the dark until now? Anyways, I'm off to finalize my proper mixdown...

if you don't have the PAZ stuff, go get it now... amazing tool
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Old 05-08-2004, 06:02 PM
3JDamon 3JDamon is offline
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 896
Default Re: Waves PAZ Psychoacoustic Analyzer-crucial plug

Analyzers like PAZ are a tool, and like all tools their effectiveness varies on the ability of the user. By what you've said, you're either starting to get the hang of it, or you've rendered an unimaginative sterile mix, or you've misread the meters from the very start. No real way for us to know. All that matters is if you and your clients are satisfied with the improvement.

The most dangerous pitfall of using PAZ is the tendency to trust it over your ears, even if your monitors aren't especially good. What I recommend is to start by listening for a problem, then using PAZ to find it. Once you've addressed enough problems, you will start to recognize their PAZ response. I find it's helped me more accurately identify frequencies doing live sound, where I don't have such meters to help me out. Most of my soundboard recordings come out dead flat.

Some more minor problems can be found with PAZ easier than by ear, but usually because there's a bigger problem still unaddressed. And remember that not all problems manifest themselves in PAZ, which is why it cannot be trusted alone, nor can it be allowed to adjust your listening habits.

That being said, I agree that PAZ is an exceptional tool.
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