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> Mixing, Mastering And Lesson Request
steve25
post Apr 30 2008, 12:52 PM
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Hey all smile.gif. So i have basically a real newbie question related to recording and stuff. Ok so obviously i get what recording is but can anyone help me to understand exactly what is mixing and mastering, what the differences are and when you should apply them?

Second thing is would it be possible to have a video lesson, similar to what Kyle did for FL studio, for recording and all sorts in certain software. Like for me Cubase would be great to have because that's what i use but i don't even know if this would be possible for GMC? Just as a kind of example and guideline on how to do it. Cheers
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DeepRoots
post Apr 30 2008, 01:08 PM
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SI lesson on the way smile.gif

Is a lesson using Reaper okay with you?

And i expect you want to go into MIDI use too?
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superize
post Apr 30 2008, 01:10 PM
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QUOTE (DeepRoots @ Apr 30 2008, 02:08 PM) *
SI lesson on the way smile.gif

Is a lesson using Reaper okay with you?

And i expect you want to go into MIDI use too?


Sounds good with a lesson on reaper i only know how to record with it


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DeepRoots
post Apr 30 2008, 01:14 PM
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QUOTE (superize @ Apr 30 2008, 01:10 PM) *
Sounds good with a lesson on reaper i only know how to record with it

Well i guess i'll go over the basics of recording, and a little MIDI use? e.g adding drums and bass.

Sound good?

Anything else you'd like to see?

><><BTW my mixing skills are bad, but we can go into basics of using reaper <><><
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Andrew Cockburn
post Apr 30 2008, 01:39 PM
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QUOTE (DeepRoots @ Apr 30 2008, 08:14 AM) *
Well i guess i'll go over the basics of recording, and a little MIDI use? e.g adding drums and bass.

Sound good?

Anything else you'd like to see?

><><BTW my mixing skills are bad, but we can go into basics of using reaper <><><


Sounds rocking! Will you get it done in time for the SI competition?

Regarding the original question:

1. Mixing is taking a number of different tracks e.g. lead guitar, rhythm guitar, drums, bass, and working to make the relative volumes pleasing and make sense as a whole. You will also add various effects at this stage such as compression, reverb, and maybe more obvious ones such as echo or chorus on the guitars. At the end you want a track that sounds good, and pulls the parts together as a whole.

2. Mastering is really the next step after mixing., Working on the mixed track, a mastering engineer tries to apply an overall sound to it that matches up with other tracks you are working on for say an album. He uses similar tools but usually in a different way. A couple of things he will do will be to make all the tracks a similar level, an also reflect a common tonal sound (e.g. heavy bass) so that they all sit well when played together.


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Nemanja Filipovi...
post Apr 30 2008, 01:56 PM
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QUOTE (Andrew Cockburn @ Apr 30 2008, 02:39 PM) *
1. Mixing is taking a number of different tracks e.g. lead guitar, rhythm guitar, drums, bass, and working to make the relative volumes pleasing and make sense as a whole. You will also add various effects at this stage such as compression, reverb, and maybe more obvious ones such as echo or chorus on the guitars. At the end you want a track that sounds good, and pulls the parts together as a whole.

2. Mastering is really the next step after mixing., Working on the mixed track, a mastering engineer tries to apply an overall sound to it that matches up with other tracks you are working on for say an album. He uses similar tools but usually in a different way. A couple of things he will do will be to make all the tracks a similar level, an also reflect a common tonal sound (e.g. heavy bass) so that they all sit well when played together.



Well sad Andrew.

Most common fact is that there is no good master with out good mix.So Mix is probably the must important thing when it comes to produce a song/album


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Apr 30 2008, 02:29 PM
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Just to add to what Andrew has said:

Mastering is where you take the mix down of one or more tracks that you want to collect together on a cd/lp/whatever and produce a uniform desired 'sound' to it. Mastering would be where you get all the tracks sounding like they were recorded together. That is that the levels from one track to another are consistent and of comparable sonic quality.

Mastering though isn't just about making sure the levels are consistent. It is also about ensuring a uniform sonic character both with effects and frequencies (and hence eq and compression) and that the Master will sound good on any audio playback device and achieve a particular sonic signature. If the eq between tracks is wildly different it can make two tracks sound like they are played by different groups rather then one. Allan Holdsworth for instance has a very distinctive sonic signature - lots of very smooth mid. Now if the Mastering Engineer on a Holdsworth recording scooped the mid on one track we'd end up with Holdsworth on one track and 'someone else' on the other. Similarly Butch Vig is famous for the raw acoustic edge his recordings have but a Mastering Engineer could make it so different if they added lots of gate and compression to a BV produced track. IN either of these two extreme cases I guess the ME would be sacked pretty quickly btw ;)wink.gif . In a similar vein a Master of a classical piece would aim to achieve a very different sonic signature to a rock album. The latter has a harmonic balance that generally emphasises the lowish mid range whereas the former is more consistently flat across the entire audio spectrum.

Mastering is also about ensuring that the final rendered product makes good use of the dynamic headroom available and so involves issues concerning gain, limiting, dither. Here you can get in to a long debate about the 'loudness wars' where some argue that a Master should be finalised to produce a high spl and so the tracks will jump out, volume wise in a club compared to other tracks that have been mastered with more attenuation. Depending on what the end use is it is possible to compand either a digital or analogue master so as to go above 0dB without nasty distortion setting in - a technique that is (too) popular for radio broadcast. Ideally a ME will ensure that a recording is put out to Red book standards in terms of frequency, bit depth, spl and so on.

Pro Mastering and pro MEs use expensive and very specific, specialist hardware. A good Summing Desk is expensive, similarly speakers for Mastering are again expensive. Lots of people say they are recording engineers (and most of those aren't) but I've met very few who claim to be MEs. Personally I'd say good MEs are worth their weight in gold - it's both a science and an art.

You can certainly master your own recordings and there is now plenty of software available. With this in mind you can master to some extent in a DAW like Cubase or Reaper with a few plug-ins. Plug-ins here can include Ozone, Har-Bal, T-Racks various multiband compressors and limiters and eq. What the software doesn't however get you is the experience that a good ME has. TBH everything I've ever mixed that has gone to pro render has been Mastered professionally. I know the basics of Mastering but I don't have the experience to do a really pro job. Home recording I'm happy to master my own stuff but commercial stuff nope.

Cheers,
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steve25
post Apr 30 2008, 03:11 PM
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Ok this seems to make sense. i was doing a little bit of practice recording the other day and i noticed the tracks just didn't sound right in some way. what i mean is i had about 3 tracks of rhythm guitar and a lead track yet although the 3 rhythm track were perfectly in time with each other, you could still easily tell that there's 3 tracks there they didn't sound like the belonged together they were seperate. I guessed this had something to do with either mixing or mastering. Also the lead track you could barely hear yet it was recorded on high volume. I wondered how you could get the level to be equal without digital distortion. Will there be any lessons on how to do this sort of thing? The sound quality of the lessons here are very good do any instructors do any of this sort of thing in their lessons?
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Hisham Al-Sanea
post Apr 30 2008, 03:23 PM
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i am agree with Andrew for the mixing and the mastering
mixing is to be all the instruments clear by adding the effects and the volume level
mastering to warm sound between all songs if there is an album by using limiter and enhancing


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Nemanja Filipovi...
post Apr 30 2008, 03:37 PM
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QUOTE (tonymiro @ Apr 30 2008, 03:29 PM) *
Just to add to what Andrew has said:



Pro Mastering and pro MEs use expensive and very specific, specialist hardware. A good Summing Desk is expensive, similarly speakers for Mastering are again expensive. Lots of people say they are recording engineers (and most of those aren't) but I've met very few who claim to be MEs. Personally I'd say good MEs are worth their weight in gold - it's both a science and an art.



Cheers,
Tony

That is why so many labels go to so little mastering engineers.
thanks for the explanation Tony.


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Andrew Cockburn
post Apr 30 2008, 05:13 PM
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QUOTE (steve25 @ Apr 30 2008, 10:11 AM) *
Ok this seems to make sense. i was doing a little bit of practice recording the other day and i noticed the tracks just didn't sound right in some way. what i mean is i had about 3 tracks of rhythm guitar and a lead track yet although the 3 rhythm track were perfectly in time with each other, you could still easily tell that there's 3 tracks there they didn't sound like the belonged together they were seperate. I guessed this had something to do with either mixing or mastering. Also the lead track you could barely hear yet it was recorded on high volume. I wondered how you could get the level to be equal without digital distortion. Will there be any lessons on how to do this sort of thing? The sound quality of the lessons here are very good do any instructors do any of this sort of thing in their lessons?


A couple of things to look at steve -

1. If the lead is too quiet, either boost just that track, or make all the others quiet
2. Check your stereo field - if you have everything panned centrally it will sound a mess. Spread your guitars out over the stereo field (if they are meant to be separate parts playing together) - a good tip is to keep the lead in the center though.


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Juan M. Valero
post Apr 30 2008, 06:57 PM
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well, I do some recording lesson in my own board, you can take a look (follow the link in my signature)... BTW I hope a video lesson would be too much better tongue.gif


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steve25
post Apr 30 2008, 07:06 PM
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Yeah Andrew i did think of lowering the others but then the actual track itself will be too quiet won't it? The tracks are panned hard left, hard right and centre whereas the one lead track is in the centre. If i raise the lead track anymore chances are i'll get clipping
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Andrew Cockburn
post Apr 30 2008, 07:17 PM
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QUOTE (steve25 @ Apr 30 2008, 02:06 PM) *
Yeah Andrew i did think of lowering the others but then the actual track itself will be too quiet won't it? The tracks are panned hard left, hard right and centre whereas the one lead track is in the centre. If i raise the lead track anymore chances are i'll get clipping


Thats what the master is for - decrease the other to get a good balance then raise the master to get a good overall level for the total track smile.gif


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Daniel Robinson
post May 5 2008, 08:17 AM
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Another good rule of thumb when mixing is to first remove EQ frenquencies you don't need first before adding more. The more you can remove the less cluttered the mix will be.

Playing with a parametric EQ on a track by track basis can yield awesome results if you take the time to figure out what is causing it to get cluttered. Perhaps for example your lead track is sharing alot of the same bandwidth area as your rhythm tracks. By adjusting the EQ on the lead track i.e. moving it over a little bit to the right it will pop out more without raising the level because previously its competing for space with the rhythm guitars.

You have to understand that EQ is for shaping if you start adding too much EQ your turning the EQ into a gain box which its not meant to do and your going to create alot of unwanted noise. EQ should be used in as much moderation as can be.


Lets assume for sake of arguement that your rhythm tracks main meat and potatoes is at 450 to 550 then you realize that your lead channel is also pinging that frequency. if you take your lead track and move the meat of it to bottom out at 590 for example you just increased its perceived volume in the mix without adding any gain to the channel at all.

Andrew is also right too adjusting your stereo field makes a huge difference too, when multi-tracking guitars i usually have it panned left and right about 80% but for my lead i dont leave it straight up and 0%, i usually will pan the lead left or right about 10 to 11% so its not competing for virtual realestate with the drums which usually are right around the dead center mark.

A good plugin that i use to see frequency spectrum is Voxengo Span i put it on the master as the last thing in the effects chain and it allows me to see the spectrum frequencies of what ever track i am soloing or to see the mix as a whole.

this allows me to make EQ adjustments to specific tracks with a knowledge of where the meat of that frequency is.

You can get SPAN here its a free VST plugin

http://www.voxengo.com/product/SPAN/

Daniel




This post has been edited by Daniel Robinson: May 5 2008, 08:27 AM


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steve25
post May 6 2008, 12:07 AM
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Thanks for all the replies. I have another question though. I've tried making just some rhythm tracks and when i export them (wave file) in cubase it sounds slightly different and noticeably quieter on my computer outside of cubase how can this be? I'm listening to the same way i max the volume on media player but still nowhere near.
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Andrew Cockburn
post May 6 2008, 12:43 AM
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Theres a few reasons it may be quieter - depends on your setup. I would guess the culprit could be the level for Wav files in your soundcard mixer. Having it quieter also probably explains why it sounds different - levels make a big difference to percieved tonal balance and overall feel.

BTW, some great advice there Daniel - I'm going to check out that plugin right away!


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