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Huge Longjohns
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MIxing: is it over-rated?
      #1076250 - 25/11/13 05:16 PM
This is meant to be a deliberately provocative title, but I'm genuinely interested in having the debate.

A friend and I, both keen home recordists (?) were discussing whether all the micro-mixing, etc etc that we constantly read about in interviews and tutorials with modern mix engineers are actually making the music better or more enjoyable? I keep reading SOS features about tracks with 80 instruments to be mixed for a single and the mix engineer spending days tweaking every single one with five or six plugins on each in some cases. Vast numbers of EQ tweaks, compression, effects, tiny automated moves and so on.

And then you see Mike Senior's classic mix reviews where a track that has lasted thirty, forty or fifty years of regular radio play and continuing sales, has been recorded with the minimum of equipment and with a mix that was rattled off in an hour or less.

And the oddest thing of all, to me at least, is that on a station like Radio 2, for example, the brand-new stuff sits perfectly happily alongside the old stuff. So you can hear a Beatles track recorded in 67, an Abba track from 77, and a rap track from 2007 in rapid succession and they all sound great. So why spend so much time and money on micro-mixing?

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Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
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Re: MIxing: is it over-rated? new [Re: Huge Longjohns]
      #1076252 - 25/11/13 05:28 PM
As technology becomes available people use it, regardless of whether or not it is actually beneficial, often just because it is fashionable, or because they can, or because it alalows them to compensate for deficiencies elsewhere in the process.

Bands used to play together in a room and do retakes until they optimised the performance. Today, people prefer to track individually and use technology to fix performance flaws....

People can now see on their computer screens and fix things that either went unnoticed, or which they were unable to fix in previous decades. The fashion for precise phase alignment of drum mics is an example of fixing something that looks wrong rather than sounding wrong (usually).

Of course, micro-mixing also wasn't possible before the age of the DAW.

It's certainly very clever, but my personal opinion is that I don't think it's necessary or even desirable in most cases, and often some sense of musicality and energy is lost in the process of micro-perfecting perfecting something that might not actually have been that good in the first place. Or perhaps micro-mixing is necessary now because of the perceived need to maximise loudness -- something else that didn't trouble those making music thirty years ago.

H

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molecular
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Re: MIxing: is it over-rated? new [Re: Huge Longjohns]
      #1076256 - 25/11/13 05:43 PM
Well it must genre-specific to a certain extent. I don't know the exact working methods of Mumford and Sons but their songs should be just performed well and mixed with as little faff as possible (IMHO!), and yet they've managed to create something that sounds (IMHO!) bloody awful and is completely over-thought from a technical point of view. But your Pharrell Williams type stuff is very dependent on being highly polished and is built in the studio from the ground up, so sounds great in an appropriate way as a result...

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hollowsun



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Re: MIxing: is it over-rated? new [Re: Huge Longjohns]
      #1076261 - 25/11/13 06:53 PM
Quote Huge Longjohns:

So why spend so much time and money on micro-mixing?



Good question.

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shufflebeat



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Re: MIxing: is it over-rated? new [Re: molecular]
      #1076262 - 25/11/13 07:02 PM
Quote molecular:

Well it must genre-specific to a certain extent. I don't know the exact working methods of Mumford and Sons but their songs should be just performed well and mixed with as little faff as possible (IMHO!), and yet they've managed to create something that sounds (IMHO!) bloody awful and is completely over-thought from a technical point of view. But your Pharrell Williams type stuff is very dependent on being highly polished and is built in the studio from the ground up, so sounds great in an appropriate way as a result...




Yup.

It's fairly significant that technology fiddling has replaced instrument noodling as well.

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The Elf
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Re: MIxing: is it over-rated? new [Re: Huge Longjohns]
      #1076263 - 25/11/13 07:05 PM
I've made hundreds of commercial mixes and not once automated an EQ. TBH if I found myself considering it I'd kick my own backside, go listen to a Simon and Garfunkel album, then come back and print my mix.

The tools we have at our disposal now are very, very liberating, but you don't have to use them for the sake of it.

As for automation - I avoid it like the plague. When I *do* use it I try to confine it to fader moves only. Once you get into automation you can tie yourself in knots and become hopelessly lost - I've seen it happen to others and I never want to go there.

I'm stealing a (mis-)quote, but IMHO I'd say make your mixes sophisticated enough enough to do the job and no more...

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SafeandSound Masteri...



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Re: MIxing: is it over-rated? new [Re: Huge Longjohns]
      #1076265 - 25/11/13 07:10 PM
Quote Huge Longjohns:

This is meant to be a deliberately provocative title, but I'm genuinely interested in having the debate.

A friend and I, both keen home recordists (?) were discussing whether all the micro-mixing, etc etc that we constantly read about in interviews and tutorials with modern mix engineers are actually making the music better or more enjoyable? I keep reading SOS features about tracks with 80 instruments to be mixed for a single and the mix engineer spending days tweaking every single one with five or six plugins on each in some cases. Vast numbers of EQ tweaks, compression, effects, tiny automated moves and so on.

And then you see Mike Senior's classic mix reviews where a track that has lasted thirty, forty or fifty years of regular radio play and continuing sales, has been recorded with the minimum of equipment and with a mix that was rattled off in an hour or less.

And the oddest thing of all, to me at least, is that on a station like Radio 2, for example, the brand-new stuff sits perfectly happily alongside the old stuff. So you can hear a Beatles track recorded in 67, an Abba track from 77, and a rap track from 2007 in rapid succession and they all sound great. So why spend so much time and money on micro-mixing?




The reason they sound so great is because the engineer recording did "Micro recording".. the sound was largely nailed in the monitor mix, he was considering the mixing of the track when he or she put mics up.

Further back in time, the days of direct to stereo, something I have done a lot in broadcast the recording was the mix ! I made some shockers when I started but you soon sharpen up cause you don't wanna be cr*p at it for long cause it is embarrassing. Nothing gets you tuning things quick like direct to stereo. Mixing desk familiarity is vital cause the one thing you do not have is time.

Most monitor mixes back then would have been very close to usable, you would have had record and mix engineers who were - shock horror - different people specializing in either discipline and absolutely sh*t hot at it. A good mix is a joint effort, the recording and mix engineer combined.

Now many issues tend to be left later in the process and of course how music is constructed and recorded is rather different and has many more possibilities and workflows.


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Richard Graham



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Re: MIxing: is it over-rated? new [Re: shufflebeat]
      #1076278 - 25/11/13 08:35 PM
Quote shufflebeat:


It's fairly significant that technology fiddling has replaced instrument noodling as well.




I'm perfecting the art of doing both. First I noodle, then I fiddle with me noodle!

--------------------
"if you don't have much soul left and you know it, you still got soul" - Bukowski


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Richard Graham



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Re: MIxing: is it over-rated? new [Re: Huge Longjohns]
      #1076281 - 25/11/13 08:47 PM
As someone who has just mixed a recording i made of one of my bands rehearsals a few years ago, I wouldn't be without volume automation: it was essential to make the whole thing sound powerful throughout, because each section needed slightly different levels (3db this way or that makes a lot of difference!) Before I started with the volume automation, I was trying to do a happy medium thing with each track, and the result was that none of the sections other than the one i was currently mixing, sounded right, tempting me to try different EQ and compression settings to compensate... Hopeless. EQ automation? Why not? Roll off the bass from distorted electric guitar until it is completely exposed, then bring it back.

--------------------
"if you don't have much soul left and you know it, you still got soul" - Bukowski


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Huge Longjohns
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Re: MIxing: is it over-rated? new [Re: Huge Longjohns]
      #1076311 - 26/11/13 09:13 AM
Quote:

the sound was largely nailed in the monitor mix, he was considering the mixing of the track when he or she put mics up.




THis was one of the things I was considering when I was composing the OP. But whilst you could argue that engineers/producers took more care getting stuff to tape back then, I'm not sure that lack of care on the way in is always a reason for micro-mixing. I was listening to some old Faces this morning. Some of the sounds are, technically, decidedly iffy by today's standards. Boomy acoustic guitars, scratchy thin snares, boxy toms, strident strings etc etc. But did these impact on my enjoyment of the tracks? Not one jot. The converse of this is, say, a super expensive Nashville production made today. Where every sound is beautifully played, beautifully considered on its way in. Immaculate. Then it's STILL micro-mixed to death. And them micro-mastered using stems FFS!!!

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Richie Royale



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Re: MIxing: is it over-rated? new [Re: Huge Longjohns]
      #1076318 - 26/11/13 09:45 AM
I found this quote about getting the right sound before recording, I know this doesn't apply to all recordings, but gives an example of the level some people go to to get the right sound, before any mixing comes into play.

http://www.mansonwiki.com/wiki/Interview:1998/11_Drum!

Quote:

They started with Fish's Premier kit as a basic setup and began listening to as many drums and cymbals as they could lay their hands on. "We rented every single snare drum in L.A.," Fish remembers. "We went through every rental company - Drum Paradise, Drum Doctors, we brought in snare drums from Matt Sorum from Guns, he has his own collection of drums. We spent three days going through snare drums to find exactly the one perfect drum."





Quote:

After spending three days testing and tuning drums, experimenting with microphones and heads with Beinhorn and drum tech Rob Coursey, Fish was raring to begin tracking his parts. Then the inevitable happened. "The first day of cutting, I went in and the producer heard a weird sound in the bass drum," Fish says. "None of the mikes had been changed. None of the drums had been changed. I hit it and it sounded the same to me. And he's like, 'I hear a slight overtone and a slight ring.'

"So the tech went in and tried to tune the drum and work on it a little. But the bass drum wasn't cutting it, and they spent ten hours trying to get it to sound the way it did the day before. They totally remiked it, moved it a quarter inch toward the wall. When we did Smells Like Children, we took my tour set that was all beat up from being wrecked all the time - even the front bass drumhead was broken - took the rim off the front head because it was rattling, put a blanket over the front of the drum and then did the whole album in three hours and three days. I listen to it now and I still think it sounds great.

"But back then, I wished that someone would spend the time on my acoustic drums and work with me on my sound. And these guys did it. The only thing that drives me crazy about stuff like that would be when Manson would walk in the room and say, 'What have you done?' 'Oh nothing, we've been spending eight hours trying to get the bass drum to sound good again.' And it's like, 'It's not my fault!' It's just the way it is. We've got to take it slow and get this done. If you start with [ ****** ], you'll end with [ ****** ]. So the drums had to sound amazing."






I expect that the mixing of the album still went to micro levels of tweaking on top of the perfection to get the right sound to start off with.

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Huge Longjohns
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Re: MIxing: is it over-rated? new [Re: Huge Longjohns]
      #1076320 - 26/11/13 09:52 AM
Absurd.

--------------------
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Mixedup
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Re: MIxing: is it over-rated? new [Re: Huge Longjohns]
      #1076324 - 26/11/13 10:11 AM
Some people over-rate it. Some write it off unnecessarily.

1. There seems to be an assumption here that all music is recorded with mics and that all automation is designed to correct mistakes made at this stage. It's not.

2. Remember that some micro-mix stuff is creative, not corrective. Eg automated EQs. I've heard plenty of filter sweeps before they were in the DAW. The old Symetrix noise gate used an automated LPF quite elegantly. Or tweakage of delay or parameters might be done etc.

3. There are plenty of old mixes with tiny level adjustments on lots of channels. They just had to use a lot more hands to do the tweaks in one final pass.

In short... it's not the mixing or the micro mixing — or the lack of it — that makes good or bad tracks. It's why you feel the need/urge to use it and what results you commit to mixdown.

Just the same as you can spot imperfect Photoshop work, but rarely notice the good — unless it's obviously a creative effect.


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Sam Inglis
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Re: MIxing: is it over-rated? new [Re: Huge Longjohns]
      #1076327 - 26/11/13 10:44 AM
Quote Huge Longjohns:

I was listening to some old Faces this morning. Some of the sounds are, technically, decidedly iffy by today's standards.




When I read your post The Faces was the first band that sprang to mind. Not sure I agree that the engineering is sloppy (it was Glyn Johns after all) but the whole feeling of it is so relaxed by today's standards. It sounds like a band playing together in a room and having a laugh. The tempos are all over the place, there are bum notes and dropped beats, but it's thrilling to listen to in a way that no micro-edited, comped, overdubbed record ever was.


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johnny h



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Re: MIxing: is it over-rated? new [Re: Sam Inglis]
      #1076332 - 26/11/13 11:06 AM
Quote Sam Inglis:

Quote Huge Longjohns:

I was listening to some old Faces this morning. Some of the sounds are, technically, decidedly iffy by today's standards.




When I read your post The Faces was the first band that sprang to mind. Not sure I agree that the engineering is sloppy (it was Glyn Johns after all) but the whole feeling of it is so relaxed by today's standards. It sounds like a band playing together in a room and having a laugh. The tempos are all over the place, there are bum notes and dropped beats, but it's thrilling to listen to in a way that no micro-edited, comped, overdubbed record ever was.



That only works if the band can play together! Some musicians these days have become pretty lazy and expect the computer to sort out any deficiencies in their performance. Personally I refuse to use autotune or any crap like that. I just hate the sound of it, and its really not hard for a good singer to sing in tune if they make a bit of effort!


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Huge Longjohns
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Re: MIxing: is it over-rated? new [Re: Huge Longjohns]
      #1076334 - 26/11/13 11:24 AM
I think the general public can generally hear when a singer is badly out of tune. Or at least know that 'something is wrong' with the performance. To me, this is a more legitimate use of technology, to create a performance that just wouldn't make it to the mix without it. Obviously the available technology means this is used a lot more than perhaps it needs to be, to create perfection rather than correct howlers but I actually think that's a bit different than putting sixteen eq notches on an acoustic guitar that's in the background for one verse.

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James PerrettModerator



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Re: MIxing: is it over-rated? new [Re: Mixedup]
      #1076336 - 26/11/13 11:46 AM
Quote Mixedup:


3. There are plenty of old mixes with tiny level adjustments on lots of channels. They just had to use a lot more hands to do the tweaks in one final pass.





In the old days, any mixing engineer would know how to ride a vocal level - often making the same micro mixing changes but in a more instinctive and immediate way.

They would also know when to get out the splicing tape and razor blades

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Huge Longjohns
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Re: MIxing: is it over-rated? new [Re: Huge Longjohns]
      #1076342 - 26/11/13 12:23 PM
Quote:

in a more instinctive and immediate way




ie in a more musical way

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johnny h



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Re: MIxing: is it over-rated? new [Re: Huge Longjohns]
      #1076345 - 26/11/13 12:43 PM
Quote Huge Longjohns:

I think the general public can generally hear when a singer is badly out of tune. Or at least know that 'something is wrong' with the performance. To me, this is a more legitimate use of technology, to create a performance that just wouldn't make it to the mix without it. Obviously the available technology means this is used a lot more than perhaps it needs to be, to create perfection rather than correct howlers but I actually think that's a bit different than putting sixteen eq notches on an acoustic guitar that's in the background for one verse.



No its just laziness on the vocalist's performance. If you can't sing in tune you shouldn't be in the studio, nor if you can't play the guitar properly or hit the drums in time. The blandness of modern productions is that character isn't in the real performances anymore and everything has to be moved, stretched and retuned to sound just about passable.


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Mixedup
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Re: MIxing: is it over-rated? new [Re: James Perrett]
      #1076348 - 26/11/13 12:55 PM
Quote James Perrett:

Quote Mixedup:


3. There are plenty of old mixes with tiny level adjustments on lots of channels. They just had to use a lot more hands to do the tweaks in one final pass.





In the old days, any mixing engineer would know how to ride a vocal level - often making the same micro mixing changes but in a more instinctive and immediate way.




Yes, that's what I meant. Sometimes on the way in. Sometimes at mixdown. But at the same time as doing a vocal ride at mixdown, you might have an assistant or someone from the band at the other side of the desk ready to 'perform' the essential fader rides or mutes on something else.

Quote James Perrett:

They would also know when to get out the splicing tape and razor blades




Yes... although that being a relative PITA to do, there are plenty who only knew when they absolutely *had* to do that... and plenty of 'orrible mistakes that were let through in order not to hold things up. I don't know anyone who wouldn't rather edit in DAW software!


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Sam Inglis
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Re: MIxing: is it over-rated? new [Re: Huge Longjohns]
      #1076349 - 26/11/13 12:55 PM
Re: jonny h, not sure I agree. I think what's changed is perceptions of what is acceptably 'in tune' or 'in time'. By today's standards the Faces or the Stones were often out of tune and out of time. But it didn't matter because they had something that was more important. In the pursuit of precision -- whether by micro-editing and pitch correction, or by endless overdubbing, or playing to click tracks, or whatever -- that something has often been lost in more recent productions.


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johnny h



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Re: MIxing: is it over-rated? new [Re: Sam Inglis]
      #1076352 - 26/11/13 01:08 PM
Quote Sam Inglis:

Re: jonny h, not sure I agree. I think what's changed is perceptions of what is acceptably 'in tune' or 'in time'. By today's standards the Faces or the Stones were often out of tune and out of time. But it didn't matter because they had something that was more important. In the pursuit of precision -- whether by micro-editing and pitch correction, or by endless overdubbing, or playing to click tracks, or whatever -- that something has often been lost in more recent productions.



The pursuit of perfection was still there in the 1970s, but the musicians were the ones who had to practice enough to achieve this. Much of the character is derived from little noises, tonal drifts and shifting of beats (if done well).

A modern drummer has all his beats quantised and drum sounds replaced these days, so what's the point in learning to play with great groove? People are quite lazy by nature and will do just enough to get over the line, and computers make that much easier to achieve. Personally I refuse to install autotune, or work with anyone who won't practice enough to get it right. I'm not a producer of other people's music though, so I have the freedom to choose to work this way.


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Sam Inglis
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Re: MIxing: is it over-rated? new [Re: Huge Longjohns]
      #1076354 - 26/11/13 01:19 PM
I must say that's not my experience. Of course there will always be lazy musicians, and perhaps the advent of cheap home recording means that lazy musicians get recorded where they previously wouldn't have. However, the better musicians of today have learned to play with remarkably precise pitch and timing, presumably because the benchmarks they're learning from are records that were sequenced, edited, recorded to click tracks and so on. I once recorded a singer who sounded as though she was Auto-Tuned because she'd learned to sing by emulating records with Auto-Tune on them.


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Tim Gillett



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Re: MIxing: is it over-rated? new [Re: Sam Inglis]
      #1076357 - 26/11/13 01:47 PM
Quote Sam Inglis:

I once recorded a singer who sounded as though she was Auto-Tuned because she'd learned to sing by emulating records with Auto-Tune on them.




That made me chuckle...

Tim


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Sam Inglis
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Re: MIxing: is it over-rated? new [Re: Huge Longjohns]
      #1076359 - 26/11/13 01:50 PM
It gets worse. She was French, and had learned English by listening to the Corrs. So her pronunciation was a truly bizarre French-Irish hybrid.


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Jack Ruston



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Re: MIxing: is it over-rated? new [Re: Huge Longjohns]
      #1076360 - 26/11/13 02:00 PM
I've heard that a lot with young female singers. They tend to mimic the abrupt pitch changes.

J

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hollowsun



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Re: MIxing: is it over-rated? new [Re: johnny h]
      #1076361 - 26/11/13 02:02 PM
Quote johnny h:

If you can't sing in tune you shouldn't be in the studio



Well, that would rule out Bob Dylan, Brian Ferry, David Essex, Steve Harley and many others ...

Which would have been a blessing!

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Tim Gillett



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Re: MIxing: is it over-rated? new [Re: Huge Longjohns]
      #1076362 - 26/11/13 02:02 PM
I'd love to hear her sing and speak. Perhaps for cases like this we need a plugin which makes her sound like she wasnt auto tuned - even though she wasnt auto tuned, if you know what I mean.


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Jack Ruston



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Re: MIxing: is it over-rated? new [Re: Huge Longjohns]
      #1076364 - 26/11/13 02:19 PM
"Outotune"

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fHumble fHingaz



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Re: MIxing: is it over-rated? new [Re: Huge Longjohns]
      #1076365 - 26/11/13 02:20 PM
Interesting thread...

Through my own recent experiences, I can see a correlation between "micro-mixing" and the (relatively recent) division of labour between tracking and mixing engineers.

Strangely enough, although I started out tracking and mixing my own stuff, I pretty quickly got tasked with mixing songs that had been tracked by other engineers/musicians. I found myself doing a LOT of "micro-mixing" on these projects, in an effort to realise the vision of the artist. In retrospect, it seems clear that a "production disconnect" can quickly develop in this scenario - even more noticeable when it is happening at an "independent/self funded" level, where perhaps those doing the recording are less invested in the project as a whole.

I recently started a project both tracking and mixing an album for a band. It has been an incredible contrast to the "specialist mix engineer" role. The mixes come together very quickly, with little in the way of "micro-mixing" and (thankfully) very few revisions. I find being in the room with the band during tracking instantly puts you right at the heart of the song, so the sound that the final mix needs to have reveals itself unmistakably. Once that sound is in your head, there is much less second guessing on the way to achieving it.

The "older" model of the tracking engineer also taking on the role of the mix engineer has definite advantages in terms of seeing a cohesive vision from inception to completion. As has already been noted, many great tracks were effectively "mix-as-you-go" affairs.

Of course, if a project is tracked and produced by professionals who hand in a highly polished "rough" mix, a mix specialist may of necessity, see micro-mixing as the only real course open to him/her to give their clients value for money.

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desmond



Joined: 10/01/06
Posts: 9130
Re: MIxing: is it over-rated? new [Re: Sam Inglis]
      #1076367 - 26/11/13 02:23 PM
Quote Sam Inglis:

Re: jonny h, not sure I agree. I think what's changed is perceptions of what is acceptably 'in tune' or 'in time'.




I've recently been rather amazed listening to classic records how badly out of tune the vocals sometimes are, when I'd never noticed it at all growing up.

Just goes to show how our perceptions change over time... There is an expectation (genre-dependent of course) of an overly polished sound, particularly in contemporary music at least, that's hard to overcome.


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Huge Longjohns
long-serving member


Joined: 10/04/03
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Loc: Where the black rocks stand gu...
Re: MIxing: is it over-rated? new [Re: Huge Longjohns]
      #1076369 - 26/11/13 02:29 PM
Do you think that applies to the music listening public, too, though or just people who record and mix it?

--------------------
"The man who questions opinions is wise. The man who quarrels with facts is a fool." Frank Garbutt, inventor & industrialist

Edited by Huge Longjohns (26/11/13 02:30 PM)


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Richie Royale



Joined: 12/09/06
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Re: MIxing: is it over-rated? new [Re: Huge Longjohns]
      #1076370 - 26/11/13 02:29 PM
I was reading this the other day, an example of struggling to get the mix right, partly because compression wasn't used when tracking:

Quote:

You lose any objectivity when you've been listening to something that long, and so it needed Alex to come in and get the thing mixed properly. When we'd recorded it, I hadn't overseen this young engineer who was really just a tape-op, and he'd recorded the drums without compression and with no consistency of level. That's why nobody was able to mix it — we did a mix at Good Earth, one at Eel Pie, one at the Gallery and one at the Power Station in New York with Bob Clearmountain, before Alex and Phil Thornalley finally did the job at RAK by replacing the drums with samples triggered out of AMS's. Well, can you imagine how much all that cost?





And with regard to singing in tune:

Quote:

"There are some vocalists — including Ferry and, at the most extreme, Bob Dylan — whose voices aren't very tuneful but have plenty of character, and Simon falls somewhere between the two. He doesn't have a very characterful voice although it's certainly recognisable as him. It's a bit nasal and a bit forced, but I admire the way in which he stuck at it. He had to really work hard to develop a style, and eventually people grew used to him — he knew what he could and couldn't do. He is not a naturally gifted singer, and as I'm sure he himself would admit, he doesn't have great pitch. It's not unusual for him to sing out of tune, so when I worked with him we would use quite a lot of effects on his voice; mainly Eventide Harmonizer with a very small percentage pitch-shift up or down or both, in addition to the normal step delays and reverbs and possibly even some chorus. Remember, these were the days before Auto-Tune. By making the pitch ambiguous, the Harmonizer helped disguise the fact that his singing was flat.






http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jul04/articles/classictracks.htm

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hollowsun



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Re: MIxing: is it over-rated? new [Re: Sam Inglis]
      #1076372 - 26/11/13 02:31 PM
Quote Sam Inglis:

I once recorded a singer who sounded as though she was Auto-Tuned because she'd learned to sing by emulating records with Auto-Tune on them.



Indeed.

The trouble is with good singers is that when they can sing properly, people automatically assume 'Autotuned'. Lady Gaga and Michael Bublé are two that spring to mind who have been wrongly accused of it - those two buggers, whatever you may think of them, can damned well sing.

A friend of mine engineers for Her Gaganess and she does not use it - she can belt it out (and the band she takes out live are as tight as a duck's chuffer). And anyone who's seen Bublé live will know he has a fine set of pipes (and extraordinarily long arms ... dunno what that's about - perfectly normal when down by his side but as soon as he extends them Vitruvian Man stylee in a performance, they seem to grow an extra foot ... as in 12" - growing an extra foot would be silly!).

But it must be demoralising for people who CAN play and sing with skill to be accused of being fixed up in a 'puter. I know plenty of people who can ... they turn up, plug in, tune up, quick run through, a couple of takes and it's off down the pub. Properly classically trained types even more so - they don't even get to Take 2 ... can often rattle it off in one take!

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hollowsun



Joined: 20/01/05
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Re: MIxing: is it over-rated? new [Re: Huge Longjohns]
      #1076373 - 26/11/13 02:41 PM
But back on topic...

I'm a great believer in getting it right at source with good musos ... it can pretty much mix itself with no need for 'micro-mixing'. Otherwise it can just be turd polishing!

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hollowsun



Joined: 20/01/05
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Re: MIxing: is it over-rated? new [Re: Huge Longjohns]
      #1076375 - 26/11/13 03:07 PM
Quote Huge Longjohns:

Do you think that applies to the music listening public, too, though or just people who record and mix it?



Well quite.

I imagine discussions such as this take place on all sorts of forums ... people on a wine forum earnestly getting in a flivver over an '83 Merlot with grapes grown on the south side of the vine when to most of us, it's just a.n.other f'k'n bottle of wine.

The number of times I've been to non-muso's places and their (ahem) 'stereo' hi-fi (which is likely some £150 Sony midi system, whatever) with out of phase speakers side by side on some bookcase or shelf (the lady of the house doesn't want cables on show!) and so on. Micro mixing and nudging the hi-hats down half a dB just isn't going to matter in those circumstances, arguably more so with people listening on 'puters and tinny earbuds.

That's not to say we should relinquish our responsibility to making the best 'product' possible just that it's maybe not worth worrying about silly details and going up our own arses over stuff no-one but us nerdy types will notice.

It's a bit like cooking, perhaps. I've laboured over stuff all day to create - I dunno - the perfect spag bol or con carne; other times, I've just thrown stuff in a pan and knocked something up quickly ... and no-one can tell the difference. Now, I might but those I am feeding will clear their plates and be perfectly happy and satisfied! But then again, to continue the analogy, cook with good ingredients and you have a head start ... get it right at source!

Worth a thought perhaps.

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grab



Joined: 08/07/07
Posts: 2931
Loc: Cambridge, UK
Re: MIxing: is it over-rated? new [Re: Huge Longjohns]
      #1076377 - 26/11/13 03:09 PM
Thing is, we use these old songs as benchmarks. So if you're judging by "how much does it sound like the Stones?" then clearly the Stones are going to score highly.

Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. And sometimes there's things which could easily have been done better, even at the time, and almost certainly would be now.

Classic example: "All right now". Great song. But listen to the guitar - it's pretty gutless and it's seriously stranded out on its own. A modern production (or even a lot of productions at the time) would have double-tracked it, or chosen a gutsier amp setup, and IMO just about every covers band I've seen do it live have been better than the recording because they've fixed this instinctively.

As for EQ automation, I was listening to some mid-80s track the other day (exactly which one escapes me now) and spotted how the guitar was automated up and down to stay out of the way of the vocals. The guitar playing clearly wasn't changing, only the level. And then I realised that actually the low end of the guitar *wasn't* changing much - only the midrange. So best-guess, they had the guitar multed to a full-range track side-chained off the vocal so that it only came in when there was space and a track with all the mids heavily cut so that the track didn't lose the guitar's drive.


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Elephone



Joined: 11/02/09
Posts: 1097
Re: MIxing: is it over-rated? new [Re: Huge Longjohns]
      #1076382 - 26/11/13 03:43 PM
I've witnessed so much fanatical editing and digital manipulation of tracks, that the music ended up sounding like it was done with MIDI via sample libraries ...even though it was performed. Tragic.


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Huge Longjohns
long-serving member


Joined: 10/04/03
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Loc: Where the black rocks stand gu...
Re: MIxing: is it over-rated? new [Re: Huge Longjohns]
      #1076383 - 26/11/13 03:49 PM
Quote:

Classic example: "All right now". Great song. But listen to the guitar - it's pretty gutless and it's seriously stranded out on its own. A modern production (or even a lot of productions at the time) would have double-tracked it, or chosen a gutsier amp setup, and IMO just about every covers band I've seen do it live have been better than the recording because they've fixed this instinctively.




But it sold gazillions and is globally considered a classic. So what's 'wrong' about that? Maybe it's quirkiness was part of its invisible charm? All those terrible covers band who do it down the pub won't have noticed any of these nuances regardless of whether they instinctively 'correct' them!

--------------------
"The man who questions opinions is wise. The man who quarrels with facts is a fool." Frank Garbutt, inventor & industrialist


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Exalted Wombat



Joined: 06/02/10
Posts: 5831
Re: MIxing: is it over-rated? new [Re: grab]
      #1076386 - 26/11/13 04:17 PM
Quote grab:

As for EQ automation, I was listening to some mid-80s track the other day (exactly which one escapes me now) and spotted how the guitar was automated up and down to stay out of the way of the vocals. The guitar playing clearly wasn't changing, only the level. And then I realised that actually the low end of the guitar *wasn't* changing much - only the midrange. So best-guess, they had the guitar multed to a full-range track side-chained off the vocal so that it only came in when there was space and a track with all the mids heavily cut so that the track didn't lose the guitar's drive.




Were multi-band compressors with a sidechain in mainstream use by then?


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