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Basic Mix

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Basic Mix

Postby Dicko » Fri Feb 19, 2010 12:42 pm

How should i start to mix a track ?
I have drums,bass, 2 guitars and vocals.
Should i start with drums and bass adding the others later or maybe drums and vocals ?
I'd appreciate any help please.
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Re: Basic Mix

Postby The Elf » Fri Feb 19, 2010 1:14 pm

There are as many approaches to a mix as there are people mixing.

I change my methods depending on the material I’m working with, and how the artist wants to sound, so I can’t give you an ‘always’ answer, but let me make some sweeping generalisations based on a typical rock/pop mix…

The first thing I like to do is get my drums sounding good as a whole. For that I’d probably leave any other instruments aside until I’ve something that sounds totally convincing on its own. Some engineers like to work from the overheads down, and I do take that approach now when a less intense drum sound is called for, but for a gutsy drum kit I still prefer to work from the kick drum upwards.

Once the kit sounds like it means business I’ll then bring in the bass. Many years ago I would open kick and bass early in the process, but these days I like to hear the drums as a kit, rather than percussive elements. I look for the whole to blend before I open up any more channels.

I’m still one of those guys who prefers to leave the vocal a long way down the line. When I bring the vocal in it tells me a lot about the rest of the mix, whereas if I introduce the vocal early I seem to be forever fighting to find a balance.

Massively generalised, but hope that gives you a thought or two. :D
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Re: Basic Mix

Postby Dicko » Fri Feb 19, 2010 1:26 pm

Thanks for the help
I'll try that sequence for our stuff
luckily our songs have much the same instrumentation and vocals so, as i'm starting out i'll save all the tracks as presets so if in the future i have decent mix i can refer back.
once again many thanks
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Re: Basic Mix

Postby The Elf » Fri Feb 19, 2010 1:50 pm

You're welcome.

If I might add one piece of advice... Don't copy settings wholesale from one song to another.

By all means, create a few basic presets of your own to get you started, but listen to what each mix tells you, rather than thinking 'if it worked last time...'. The trick is to train your ears and the more you go through the process the better you'll get at it. If you create presets right now you'll just be carrying your first attempts with you.

If you're just learning to mix a good tool is to complete a mix, leave it for a week, re-load strip it down totally and have another go from scratch. Compare old and new and see what you're learning - I think you'll be surprised how quickly your mixes will improve.

Good luck!
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Re: Basic Mix

Postby afterworks » Fri Feb 19, 2010 4:31 pm

I generally do the same as Elf, and I nearly always leave vocals until the end. Maybe if it was top 40 style pop I'd work on it first but thats not something I ever work on.

Also its a good idea to do a mix with no processing on, no eq, no compression or anything! Just levels. Once theyre where you think the levels are right, bounce it. Have a listen and see whats wrong. Ie bottom end of guitars masking bass, bass masking kicks. I find it just helps me have long term picture of what I'll need to do. Then I'll start working on drums..bass...guitars...vocals. It's also a good way to check to see how your mix is coming along.

I dont tend to work on things in isolations much, unless for example I'm looking for a rogue frequency.
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Re: Basic Mix

Postby 4TrackMadman » Wed Feb 24, 2010 12:02 am

Elf - you mentioned don't copy settings down the line but if you're mixing a cohesive album of say 8 tracks and you need to have the drums sounds like they were recorded in the same room for the whole project - what do you do in that case?
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Re: Basic Mix

Postby thescientist » Wed Feb 24, 2010 1:15 am

I would say part of the whole mixing process is two parts: the sound of the song, and the sound of the album as a whole. I'm sure that there's no hard and fast rule to mixing ones drums, but certain songs may feature different percussive elements, and not the entire kit my be used on the song or included in the final mix. Some songs may be "heavier" and thus favor lower, bassier frequencies. A fast acoustic song may have "lighter" sounding drums, to dance with the acoustic guitar. I if you wanted the sound of the drums being recorded all at once in the same environment, then recording them all in the same room would certainly add an extra sense of cohesiveness to them. However, within each song, they may be certain preferences of sound that may swing the drum sound down a different round based on sonics, but they would still have been recorded with the same gear and acoustic environment. Listen to what your ears tell you.
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Re: Basic Mix

Postby The Elf » Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:49 am

4TrackMadman wrote:Elf - you mentioned don't copy settings down the line but if you're mixing a cohesive album of say 8 tracks and you need to have the drums sounds like they were recorded in the same room for the whole project - what do you do in that case?
I don't mean this as a general rule - just during the learning process. A couple of years from now he'll have a library of presets, honed by experience, to call on, but at the moment he needs to train his ears.
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Re: Basic Mix

Postby Richie Royale » Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:39 am

Don't forget that there is a wealth of articles on Sound on Sound covering all kinds of productions.

http://www.soundonsound.com/articles/ClassicTracks.php

http://www.soundonsound.com/articles/In ... ecrets.php
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