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Someone keeps changing my mixes when I'm sleeping

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Someone keeps changing my mixes when I'm sleeping

Postby alexis » Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:18 pm

Hello -

This is my first "mix" ever. So, to make it as good as I can, I spend forever listening to the mix, making decisions about what needs to be changed, even taking notes. On multiple sets of speakers!

But ... when I wake up and listen again - someone has gone into Cubase, changed all the balances, EQs, and send levels, done a new mixdown and replaced my .wav file with a new one! It all sounds so different than it did the day before, I can't think of any other explanation!! :beamup:

(In all seriousness, does this mean I need to stop sooner then night before, before my brain starts playing tricks after being subjected to intense listening for so long? If so ... how do I recognize when that magic tipping point in time is (I'd rather be sleeping if I'm not actually making any progress!)?

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Re: Someone keeps changing my mixes when I'm sleeping

Postby Ant Gamble » Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:12 pm

Ear fatigue. At the end of a long mixing session, everything will start to sound good, especially if you're monitoring at high volumes.

The next day, with reseted ears.....rubbish.

I tend to nail one track, then match any others to that. That way I know if the latter tracks aren't sounding as good, is because I'm getting tired.
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Re: Someone keeps changing my mixes when I'm sleeping

Postby Jack Ruston » Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:16 pm

Yeah that's very common. You need to resist the temptation to fiddle with things late in the day, that sounded good earlier on. Build a solid foundation with your fundamental balance of drums, bass, vocal and any other primary instrument (like guitars in rock for instance) and stick with it. Ride stuff, automate, play with fx etc but resist the urge to go round in circles with your original balance. If you listen in the morning and its wrong, start again. When you feel that temptation it might be a good time to stop and get some perspective.

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Re: Someone keeps changing my mixes when I'm sleeping

Postby The Elf » Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:22 pm

Yeah, it happens. I never render a mix on the day I work on it. Tomorrow is soon enough and usually a better result.
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Re: Someone keeps changing my mixes when I'm sleeping

Postby Dave B » Thu Jan 24, 2013 8:14 am

Reference material. I was fiddling with a work in progress and thinking that it was better than I remembered it being. Needs some work but sounding ok. Wanted to patch in a vocoder in Logic and couldn' remember, so saved it, opened the Lilly Allen song and checked the routing. Back to mine and got the vocoder plugged in. Then noticed that everything else was rather dull sounding. Ah...

Pick something that you know well and after a break, have a short blast of that and see if helps reset your ears.

The other thing that I've done recently is invest in a decent pair of headphones. I had some mixes that I thought sounded ok on my main monitors, lesser headphones and inbuilt iMac speakers, but one listen through the new cans and I zeroed in on why some people had made comments about the drum sound - snare was a little brittle and things generally could be smoother. Once I'd heard it, I could understand my monitors better and can improve on it next time.
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Re: Someone keeps changing my mixes when I'm sleeping

Postby Matt Houghton » Fri Jan 25, 2013 4:21 pm

You want to make sure you're monitoring at sensible volumes and take regular breaks. And as others have suggested, spend some time getting used to your monitoring system and build a collection of reference material. Have a read of this article.
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Re: Someone keeps changing my mixes when I'm sleeping

Postby DC-Choppah » Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:16 am

Your ears are adaptable sensors, not absolute. You need a few references (certain mixes heard from the same system) to keep yourself grounded. Your ears will change with the music. That's what they do.
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Re: Someone keeps changing my mixes when I'm sleeping

Postby Mike Senior » Sat Jan 26, 2013 8:24 am

My rule is never to sign off a mix after supper. I can't tell you how often that's bailed me out. Although it is complicated a little when I'm so absorbed in what I'm doing that I forget to have supper...


I think this issue might also be the reason why Bruce Swedien always keeps his first rough mix to hand while doing the final mixdown -- it keeps you in touch with your instinctive balances from before you got the chance to overthink them.
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Re: Someone keeps changing my mixes when I'm sleeping

Postby Martin Walker » Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:09 pm

I'm also a great believer in saving regular backups of your mix as you go.

Even if your 'final' mix ends up being the one you love, it can be a very educational experience rendering some of the older ones down to stereo and then importing them into your final multi-track project file - just mute these other imported tracks and so you just hear your final multi-track extragaganza, then solo the imports one at a time to switch instantly between a handful of mixes chronologically to hear the differences between them.

I guarantee you'll find the results fascinating, but potentially time-consuming when you realise that some of your earlier mixes had a few better aspects than the final mix, even though that may be better overall :headbang:

EDIT - ah, so Bruce Swedien and I have have something in common 8-)

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Re: Someone keeps changing my mixes when I'm sleeping

Postby Dynamic Mike » Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:09 am

The long you spend on one mix, the more the benchmark slips. You lose your reference point, it's like the longer you drive on the interstate, the slower 75mph appears to you. It's only when you hit the exit ramp at 65mph that you suddenly get your perspective back. If I overdo it my mixes are always way too bright in the cold light of day.

Drove on the I-10 once. Satnav said 'In 427 miles, keep right'. You must need good memories out in Texas! Still makes me smile.
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