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Old 09-26-2014, 02:11 AM
turtleworld turtleworld is offline
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Richmond
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Default trouble Creating a crisp clean,universal mix

I am having trouble creating a mix that sounds anywhere near professional. First when the volume is low, things sound good but you can barely hear the mix, on one set of headphones it will sound great, on another pair completely blown out and too loud. Im trying to find a way to create a universal mix. One that sounds good no matter how you listen to it. Crisp snares, kicks and hats and sample loops and so forth. But everything either is coming out muffled or is sounding blown out. it doesn't have that studio like quality. i understand I'm not in a studio but I'm not getting the clear high definition sound I'm looking for and that i know is possible. Everything sounds like its been compressed for the internet, using no compression. I've tried eq's and almost every plug in I'm still not getting the clear sound I'm aiming for. instead of professional equipment it sounds like I'm using a cell phone or something. any help is appreciated. i don't know if I'm starting from the beginning wrong or what. also i notice when exporting to places like sound cloud my mixes sound terrible when i notice other songs on the site sound perfect.
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Old 09-26-2014, 07:03 AM
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YYR123 YYR123 is offline
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Default Re: trouble Creating a crisp clean,universal mix

Your supposed to mix at 75-80 db's iirc

Soundcloud will compress your songs FYI

You need a nice pair of headphones and use those exclusively- different phone have different ohm's and therefore different db levels at the same amp output

I have some dt-770's and they sound great - but if I use the cheaper AT cans I can hear dramatic differences in HF material. Go with the nicer phones

Room treatment- nice studio monitors
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Old 09-26-2014, 08:26 AM
Drew Mazurek's Avatar
Drew Mazurek Drew Mazurek is offline
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Location: Maryland, USA
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Default Re: trouble Creating a crisp clean,universal mix

Originally Posted by turtleworld View Post
I am having trouble creating a mix that sounds anywhere near professional.
That's because this is difficult. It often takes YEARS to get good at it.

How long have you been working with audio? Have you had any sort of instruction? Have you read any books or watched any how to videos?

Don't be so hard on yourself. If you could do this "thing" awesomely in a very short period of time, it wouldn't be the "cool thing" that it is!!

Mixing and Mastering click here to get started.
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Old 09-26-2014, 10:04 AM
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Tom Graham Tom Graham is offline
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Default Re: trouble Creating a crisp clean,universal mix

Monitors (speakers) and room setup is a very important starting place. If you aren't hearing things properly, it's hard to achieve good results. There's a bunch of good things written about flattening your room out that can help. There are also speaker with analysis/tuning that are not too expensive that can help adjust to any room issues.
I've switched away from near fields to a more mid-field approach.

Do you spend time A/B'ing your mix against other mixes/songs that are in a similar vein? This can help you focus on what's different with level balances, EQ, panning, compression, etc.. It's easy to import those mixes into the same session if you don't have a console with multiple inputs.

Good luck to you…
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Old 09-26-2014, 04:02 PM
AINSLIE's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Nashville
Posts: 771
Default Re: trouble Creating a crisp clean,universal mix

It's like asking a great musician how they got so good. Education then Practice, practice, practice. There's no shortcuts. The most inspired person without skills is usually frustrated and fruitless.

That said - What Tom said is a great idea regarding ref mixes esp when you are starting out. I often pull in a couple of great refs as given to me by producer or artist and route them to alternate outputs for quick switching. For example
A 1-2 main mix
A 3-4 producers rough
A 5-6 ref 1
A 7-8 ref 2

Route them to stereo monitoring sources to quickly switch. Contrast / compare. I often slice the refs up so choruses / vs line up.

The other thing to be aware of is level - refs will usually be mastered and loud. I often drop them 3db or so to leave something for mastering in my mix. Beware tho loud usually wins / seems better. That takes some experience and maturity to hear past.

Ok - so now you have a target - how you get there is something only those open to endless experimentation and persistence in learning the tools will achieve. Basic tools like dynamics (gate, expander, compression), EQ / filtering are where you should focus first. Assuming you have decent audio / song of course :).

Good luck!
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Old 01-25-2015, 11:25 AM
Bookerv12 Bookerv12 is offline
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Default Re: trouble Creating a crisp clean,universal mix

Above is correct.

Headphones can be a can of worms as your brain plays tricks on you after a few minutes.
One thing you may want to try, and I know this is not sexy.....
Start with the best sounding individual tracks that you can.
If they require it, do some basic EQ cuts...
Mids, low mids, shrill highs etc.
(Don't delve into EQ boosts until after you start understanding the cuts)
Pay attention to the boomy tracks and filter them.
Most of your instruments and all of the vocals do not need any boomy frequencies.
Once you get familiar with what frequency ranges each instrument and vocal occupy, only let them occupy that spot.
This is the difficult and time consuming part to learn.

If you just have everything occupying the same real estate, the mixes will sound pretty lifeless everywhere.
(Except on headphones after you have been cranking them for 7 minutes)
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Old 02-25-2015, 01:49 PM
recordingrevolution recordingrevolution is offline
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: United States
Posts: 24
Default Re: trouble Creating a crisp clean,universal mix

One thing that completely changed the way I work years ago was making all my EQ decisions while listening in mono. It's as close to a magical hack as I can get because it always forces me to make better EQ decisions. Which helps your mix sit well on multiple different speakers.

Once I went that direction I have never gone back.

This video might help explain what I mean: http://therecordingrevolution.com/20...-part-5-of-31/

Graham Cochrane
"Make better music in your home studio with weekly tips, tutorials, and videos."
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Old 02-25-2015, 07:17 PM
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albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: trouble Creating a crisp clean,universal mix

Lots of great suggestions already. When you really break this down, there are so many ways for things to sound bad, I lose count. Starting at the source, which means the singer/instrument, the mic, the room acoustics(a bad room can spoil the signal on the way in, even with a great singer, mic, preamp), poor gain staging(clip the mic or the preamp and its ruined before it hits the converter). All this can happen before it even gets to PT.

I suggest some critical listening to the raw tracks. Since this requires an accurate listening setup, remember that even great monitors can sound bad/inaccurate in the average(IOW untreated) room(if you can't hear accurately, you can't make good choices). For this purpose, I would get ahold of the best headphones you can(the least hyped). That leaves out Sony 7506's and the like. Beyer DT770, ATM50, Sennhesier hd380, Shure 940's...this level of headphone will give you a "fighting chance" at critical listening(combine with listening over speakers at a fairly low volume, like 82-85db. If the raw sound is bad, fixing it at the source is best(doing damage control on bad recordings is a LOT tougher than mixing good recordings).

Its all part of the learning experience(IOW, don't beat yourself up over this) I have a friend that records killer raw tracks, but he still can't mix for beans
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Old 02-25-2015, 08:01 PM
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SpinningDisk SpinningDisk is offline
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Default Re: trouble Creating a crisp clean,universal mix

Less is more.

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