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> Mixing Advice, New Vocal Tune
Jim S.
post Aug 27 2016, 02:50 PM
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Hi GMC!

I have not been around the forums much but have been working on some original music. IMO this is something very special and when I listen to this beginning of the track I want to hear more, which is a good sign.

The song is very moody and I want to keep it like that until the end but, I have this second part which Im not sure how to fit and or if it even does. The only thing I did not really mess with was the drums. Thats my next goal besides vocal placement. I have 2 different vocal melodies over the first section and If I can mix them together this will sound so cool. Only 1 idea is in the current track below.

Couple questions here, when beginning a project from scratch whats a good way to write?

1.Should you be using EQ and Doubling tracks from the get go or do you get the whole sketch through and then start fattening up everything?

2. Whats a good way to connect 2 pieces together with the drums? Anticipating the next section while keeping beat... I did pick 2 tracks for drums. 1 is a drum groove that I found that fits pretty well. The second track is for midi input from the keyboard or a blank area for copied drum fills but its not fitting nicely. Should I just start from scratch too?

4. Volume seems to change dramatically between different audio systems but 1 thing is sure, the volume is too low or if I boost the entire track its muddy. The track below is a bit loud but its not loud enough which is hard for me to explain. I really would like a more clear, punchy bass, punchy bass drum but Im not creating this. Any help would be very cool... Thanks Guys!Attached File  Strange_First_Vocals_Volume_Up.mp3 ( 2.68MB ) Number of downloads: 61


BTW, The guitar solos are just placeholders, dont think this is anymeans final or even close....



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Mertay
post Aug 27 2016, 06:55 PM
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My approach would be mixing them in the same session as at this point the 2 parts seem very linked, if you'd like it to be a second track you can split them when mastering.

But way before this there are things to be corrected. I'd like you to hit the mono button on the DAW and get the levels right, also on mono it will be much easier for you to eq-wise balance tracks as being able to tell whats muddy or needing enhancement. As for the drums, don't waste time trying to make one part sound like the other, select and use the same tool (vsti) throughout the whole project.

On the early mix stage, everything must be heard like an awesome recording (level and pan) or life-like. EQ'ing, fattening etc. are the extra detailed later steps when mixing.

This post has been edited by Mertay: Aug 27 2016, 06:57 PM


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Chris S.
post Aug 28 2016, 01:40 AM
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This is what my approach would be:

Record any doubles from the beginning - I don't touch an EQ until I have all the tracks I want/need.

Start by using your volume and pan. Once everything is leveled and panned - turn your monitors down really low. Can you still hear everything? Are the vocals too loud? Can you no longer hear the guitars/keys?

This is a helpful tip I learned - because when your monitors/headphones are cranked, your ears can be slightly deceived.

A mix that sounds good and balanced at a low volume - will sound good loud!

After everything is leveled and panned - then I go for the EQ. I cut below 100 hZ on everything that doesn't need it (bass/kick/pianos/low synths I don't touch)

Then what I do is I create a point on the frequency spectrum and boost it obnoxiously - like +12dB. I will slide that band around up and down the frequency spectrum listening for any points that I don't like (too harsh/too muddy) and I will then cut those frequencies.

I make a minimum to have at least two cuts per track - this creates more headroom and helps clean up the muddy-ness (the low and low-mid spectrum is a big culprit for a muddy mix.

After everything is cut - I will then do as Mertay suggested and listen to the mix in mono. I will then play around the with the cuts some more if I still hear a lot of mud.

Then compression - then I go back to EQ to focus on boosting the frequencies I want to stand out (I cut before compression and boost afterwards).



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Jim S.
post Aug 28 2016, 02:46 AM
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Mertay and Chris S Thanks for taking time in giving super detailed notes of instruction! This was exactly what I needed to hear.

I have never heard any words about mixing as no one around me likes making music...wtf. Anyways I learned a big big lesson, less is more esp in the case of my song. In the take you heard there were so many things trying to work against each other. I cut out most of everything and disabled almost every plugin and this is the result...

On a weird note I came back to my computer after a few hour break and somehow everything in my loop parameter go deleted so my song which I worked really hard on today dissappeared. So the takes are scrap because it cut off the last 2 bars off of every track and Ill have to rerecord it all...

https://soundcloud.com/jim-seekford-music/surround

Chris I will absolutely eat up your advice and on my next take Ill have been very careful not to go overboard. The low frequency cut I did kinda find when eq my guitar. I did the slider thing and moved it around and the frequencies that did not get disturbed I would cut them. Obviously I did not do that in that take but Ill keep it in mind always. Thanks GuyS!
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Darius Wave
post Aug 29 2016, 01:35 PM
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QUOTE (Chris S. @ Aug 28 2016, 12:40 AM) *
A mix that sounds good and balanced at a low volume - will sound good loud!


With all due respect Chris, unfortunately this is not true, especially for a guitar based genres. Notice how high mids are being removed at both mastering and mixing stage in a commercial, professional audio productions. That's because those high mids are annoying at high volume at when you mix on a low volume they are freindly and juicy. Also at high volume our perception of frequency levels changes. The conclusion is we always move aroud a some kind of compromise, recheking at different volumes, including loud, outdoor P.A.

That's more complex


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Chris S.
post Aug 29 2016, 01:46 PM
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QUOTE (Darius Wave @ Aug 29 2016, 12:35 PM) *
With all due respect Chris, unfortunately this is not true, especially for a guitar based genres. Notice how high mids are being removed at both mastering and mixing stage in a commercial, professional audio productions. That's because those high mids are annoying at high volume at when you mix on a low volume they are freindly and juicy. Also at high volume our perception of frequency levels changes. The conclusion is we always move aroud a some kind of compromise, recheking at different volumes, including loud, outdoor P.A.

That's more complex

True, but it's a good practice (from everyone I've learned from - I'm only on my second semester though) to do as another step in the mixing stage.

The low level check is for levels and panning, no for EQ'ing - wasn't clear for that I apologize smile.gif

I learned that from a gentleman named Graham, Emmy award winning mixer at the Recording Revolution


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Mertay
post Aug 29 2016, 02:14 PM
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QUOTE (Darius Wave @ Aug 29 2016, 12:35 PM) *
Also at high volume our perception of frequency levels changes.


This is it, actually on mix stage we must always work at the same room loudness. Many engineers use stickers on their monitor output controller so if needed an increase for individual tracks during tweaking they can get back to the same listening levels.

The low level listening is actually a mastering stage trick if the producer wants a loud/compressed master. Amounth of "harshness" is also an element of acheveing loudness aside compression.


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Darius Wave
post Aug 29 2016, 02:38 PM
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QUOTE (Chris S. @ Aug 29 2016, 12:46 PM) *
True, but it's a good practice (from everyone I've learned from - I'm only on my second semester though) to do as another step in the mixing stage.

The low level check is for levels and panning, no for EQ'ing - wasn't clear for that I apologize smile.gif

I learned that from a gentleman named Graham, Emmy award winning mixer at the Recording Revolution



Of course! All engeneers repeat to check the mix at low volumes as well. We only deny that low volume is good for whole mixing process smile.gif


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Todd Simpson
post Aug 31 2016, 10:56 PM
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This may sound odd but you are both correct smile.gif Darius brings up the points to keep in mind when mixing soft and loud. And Chris brings up the time honored tradition of testing a mix at low volume to see what is actually loudest in the mix. It's a very oft used technique in mixing. When you turn down low, you can hear what is actually loud in the mix. As you turn it louder, the characteristics of the speakers actually change a bit and so does the sound of the mix. Ideally, the mix should sound good at low volume and high volume on both small speakers and big speakers.

This usually requires lots of back and forth between your small monitors and big monitors (assuming you have both, if you don't, you should at least eventually) and making some sonic compromises so that the mix sounds good soft/loud, on big and small speakers smile.gif That means it will "Travel" well. E.G. sound good on a variety of playback systems. This is part of what I learned as well as in audio production school during my associates degree at Art Institute of Atlanta which was run by an old studio guy who worked on a lot of big records.


Todd


QUOTE (Chris S. @ Aug 29 2016, 08:46 AM) *
True, but it's a good practice (from everyone I've learned from - I'm only on my second semester though) to do as another step in the mixing stage.

The low level check is for levels and panning, no for EQ'ing - wasn't clear for that I apologize smile.gif

I learned that from a gentleman named Graham, Emmy award winning mixer at the Recording Revolution


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Jim S.
post Sep 8 2016, 04:24 PM
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Hi everyone! Here's an update with my song. Taken many things into consideration I have simplified much of this and the only real effect is vocals. Before mixing I need to finish the song and here's where I'm stuck a bit. About 32 bars is where I want a climatic "I was born with this strangeness that now surrounds me!" Lyric but I can't seem to figure out what gets played behind it. Im hearing powerful guitars with drums smashing. Speaking of drum smashing, connecting these two parts would be a first for me.

In this track there are vocals to set the place, after its complete I'll sing it again in a different environment. Give me you thoughts about what your hearing! Thanks all! https://soundcloud.com/jim-seekford-music/strange-update
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Jim S.
post Sep 9 2016, 02:23 AM
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Sorry I posted the wrong version... Here's the one
https://soundcloud.com/jim-seekford-music/strange-small-mix
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Mertay
post Sep 9 2016, 11:20 AM
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Cool you started to get the idea, now I can hear everything I want when focused so the separation is good.

I'm not really into giving musical ideas but you could switch to a different (a tad more open sounding) cab. ir where the new drums begin and use the stereo field more effectively on the guitars like adding hard left-right guitar tracks. I've never done this (as its an electronica trick)but an alternate thing could be plaicing a high-cut at the master channel and disabling it where you want that blooming feel happens.


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Jim S.
post Sep 9 2016, 12:41 PM
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QUOTE (Mertay @ Sep 9 2016, 06:20 AM) *
Cool you started to get the idea, now I can hear everything I want when focused so the separation is good.

I'm not really into giving musical ideas but you could switch to a different (a tad more open sounding) cab. ir where the new drums begin and use the stereo field more effectively on the guitars like adding hard left-right guitar tracks. I've never done this (as its an electronica trick)but an alternate thing could be plaicing a high-cut at the master channel and disabling it where you want that blooming feel happens.


Hey Mertay I am starting to get the idea! It's fun making small changes and seeing how it changes it affects the other tracks. Your right, you need good recordings to start with. That's what I'm aiming for. Thought out recordings. That section when the new drums start is all new and I'm trying different chords/ instruments to see what sounds good. That section is the first set of recordings that kinda worked.

This will be my first finished tune with all instruments so it's fun seeing it come together, plus it gives me good reasons to continue vocal training. I just started with the vocal lessons and am making improvements. Thanks for your help Mertay!
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Mertay
post Sep 9 2016, 12:49 PM
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Cool, yeah keep experimenting but also don't hang on it for too long, recently posterboy shared this video which is very true; https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/guitar_fo...c=57401&hl=


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Jim S.
post Sep 9 2016, 04:13 PM
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QUOTE (Mertay @ Sep 9 2016, 07:49 AM) *
Cool, yeah keep experimenting but also don't hang on it for too long, recently posterboy shared this video which is very true; https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/guitar_fo...c=57401&hl=


Wow! That is so true. "Get r done"
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Todd Simpson
post Sep 11 2016, 05:24 PM
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Songs are never "Finished" they are abandoned at some point so you can go make something new smile.gif

QUOTE (Jim S. @ Sep 9 2016, 11:13 AM) *
Wow! That is so true. "Get r done"


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