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New to mixing and mastering

Postby JohnSC » Fri Nov 23, 2018 6:48 pm

hi
With the help of a SOS Home Studio I am on my way .
Paul white came to see my home studio problems and put me right.
I am now mixing and mastering a song i had done on my Yamaha Genos.
I want to write my own material and i have got to crack this mixing.
I have been playing music from sheet music and now want to progress.
I am doing a cover of Oxygene 8 and mixing It .
I have got the midi to 12 tracks audio
I then gain stage each track and master to - 18 to -12db and the track sounds great on headphones using open back AKG 701's and Sonarworks which makes a big difference.
Now my room has been treated, i will now look at my mix on the Focal Alpa 50 monitors.
Hopefully the bass end that I had trouble with is now fixed.
Sonarworks does highlight the bass end more on headphones I have noticed.
Taking Pauls advice I am trying my best..

Now my mix is at a great level at -18 to -12db Is it just a matter of limiting to get - 3 db with super quality as I am hearing at the moment. But should it be near 12db slightly hotter. Most people record to hot and my troubles have been not loud enough as well.
I am following mix turorials , the lot..
It is a long learn curve .
Only if mixing was easy as playing!! :lol: :headbang:
I would like to share ideas and take on more advice.
I would like to say to the SOS team that Paul is the best.


all the best
john 8-)
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Re: New to mixing and mastering

Postby blinddrew » Fri Nov 23, 2018 9:25 pm

Hi John, and welcome to the forum. :)
If you've not already read it, this might be a good place to start with thinking about final levels and commercial loudness: https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques ... udness-war
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Re: New to mixing and mastering

Postby JohnSC » Fri Nov 23, 2018 10:54 pm

Hi Blindrew

I will have a good read ,but it is hard getting through the tech jargon.
I am not after loudness like motorhead ( 0 db blow yer ed orf' Lemmy.Vibrate the ceiling tiles!! :headbang: ) but want a decent -3db level.
At the moment I am at - 18 to 10 db and all sounds good at the moment.
I now have to get up to speed with the reference track.
I did have trouble with bass and now with the help of room acoustics i have a better sense of where I was going wrong as a square room is diffficult which tends to make you put more bass on as you lose It In the centre.
Now I am at this stage of -18 to-10 and a good sound mix according to me i am a little confused where to go next.
I could mix down to single track and add a little gloss, but need to bring the track up to a decent standard at the finish
I have never been trained In mixing and mastering , but I will sure have a go.
from the bottom the only way is up!! :lol:
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Re: New to mixing and mastering

Postby zenguitar » Sat Nov 24, 2018 2:09 am

JohnSC wrote:I am not after loudness like motorhead ( 0 db blow yer ed orf' Lemmy.Vibrate the ceiling tiles!! :headbang: ) but want a decent -3db level.

You are confusing volume with loudness.

Motörhead recorded and mastered with plenty of headroom. But live they performed live with a massive PA turned up LOUD.

The article that blinddrew has linked to is talking about something different altogether. It's worth slowly and carefully working your way through that article a few times. And it's also worth exercising your Google-Fu on this site and the broader web to learn about the 'Loudness Wars' in general.

Don't forget that there many years worth of SOS magazines free to read (they are all unlocked after 6 months or so). It's really worth investing some quality time doing your background research and getting to understand the terminology. Hugh Robjohns is a fantastic teacher and his articles are clear and incredibly informative.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: New to mixing and mastering

Postby Eddy Deegan » Sat Nov 24, 2018 3:03 am

JohnSC wrote:Only if mixing was easy as playing!! :lol: :headbang:
john 8-)

You and me both. I can play well, and until I was a regular in the forums here I thought I could mix reasonably well too, but I was wrong.

Although I can play well, my mixing leaves much to be desired but I'm working on it and it gets better as I go. I still have a long way to go.

If it's any consolation, I have a close friend who performs regularly on stage in the lineup of a household name artist with credentials (and 20+ albums) stretching back to the 70s. Neither of my friend or the artist know anything of note about mixing - they are pure performers, but both excel at it. Of course the artist has someone (who is also a talented artist in their own right as it happens) to handle the engineering side of things for them.

Mixing is an art and a science, as is mastering. Mastering has the added complication of requiring a seriously good physical environment to do it in - to the point I've concluded that if I ever achieve mixing nirvana (hey, I can dream!) I'm still going to have to outsource mastering if I want to do it justice. The more I've learned about both the more I realise I need to learn. It's humbling, because as a player you think you have it cracked ... and you do, as far as the performance goes but there is so much more involved in the production of a consumable studio recording.

When the engineering kicks in you're back at square one. The great thing about this forum is that there are any number of people who can mix as well as, or better than, you can play. Asking the right questions and working on the guidance they provide in the answers will serve you well.

And if you decide it's too much work or you don't want to get onto that aspect of things, you can budget (or save) for some expertise in the matter. Never underestimate the enormous impact someone who does musical engineering for a living can have on the quality of your output.

Personally, I eschew loudness in favour of dynamics. I want to hear the quiet bits quietly ;)

JohnSC wrote:I will have a good read ,but it is hard getting through the tech jargon

Well, if you want do achieve 'the knowledge' then the tech jargon is unavoidable. It's there for a reason. Most 'tech jargon' is perfectly normal language for those who understand what they are doing in any field, and it's the most effective way to communicate knowledge and important information. Embrace it!
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Re: New to mixing and mastering

Postby Eddy Deegan » Sat Nov 24, 2018 3:15 am

zenguitar wrote:You are confusing volume with loudness.
Yeah-but-no-but-yeah-but-no-but-yeah-but I-turnedupthevolumeknobREALLYloudlikeanditwasSERIOUSYloudmanlikeREALLYloudright!

(In absolutely no way taking a poke at the OP, I just couldn't resist the opportunity to reference Vicky Pollard :D)
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Re: New to mixing and mastering

Postby JohnSC » Sat Nov 24, 2018 7:52 am

Hi Andy
I know what you are saying and for me I will study what Blindrew has said.
There is no shortcuts to this and It will take me time to get there.
At the moment I am trying to get the balance between headphone use and monitors.
I am very grateful for being put right on room acoustics as bass was my big problem.
I noticed when i tried on a stereo system it droned quite a bit and in my room It sounded ok. To me bass on a pro cd seems to stay at the speaker, but mine radiated outward droning. I could hear that more when standing to one side behind where I sit in my room. I am starting to understand that there is loads to learn.
That was using a modern type bass as In Jarres music like oxygene 8..
The bass Is easier to handle on 60s and 70s music. I am definitely not an EDM fan.
Yes, Motorhead had the right treatment to produce a record , but boy oh boy, they were loud like Judas Priest. The grandson took me once to a Motorhead concert.
Took me a day to get over the ringing in the poor ol' lug holes!! :D . They still cannot beat Floyd, Deep Purple and Manfred Manns Earthband.
My main Interest is Instrumental rock based music. Also love Boz Scaggs High Seirra style of music and Chris Rea 's on the beach long version style.
You can tell I am getting on a bit now but want to learn more.
My only regret Is, I wished I started earlier In life.
I is all about sliding doors. Which fork do you take? :wave:

I will get down and read


All the best
John
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Re: New to mixing and mastering

Postby blinddrew » Sat Nov 24, 2018 11:02 am

JohnSC wrote:Hi Blindrew
I will have a good read ,but it is hard getting through the tech jargon.
There is a lot to take in, and a lot of potential areas for confusion (dB, dBU, LUFS etc.) but as Andy mentions, it's important to keep clear in your head what you're trying to achieve.
If the only change you want to make is to raise the overall output level then you could just stick another 9dB of gain on your stereo bus. Job done. But I suspect there might be more to it than that? ;)
Which probably raises another question. Are you going to be sending this mix off to someone else for mastering or are you doing your own 'finishing'?
Whilst I'm at it, do you have a plug-in(s) that give you a good range of meters (peak, true peak, short term and integrate loudness, etc)?
Also, you may not have reached it yet because it's a chunky article, but there is a glossary right down at the bottom of the page. Might be worth having that open on another tab for quick reference whilst you're getting your head round it.
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Re: New to mixing and mastering

Postby JohnSC » Sat Nov 24, 2018 3:52 pm

Hi Blindrew

I will take all of this onboard and go through slowly with this and thanks for your help.
Much appreciated.
I will come back when i get some results.
Got to sort the different types out and get it in the bonce. :headbang:

All the best
John
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Re: New to mixing and mastering

Postby Martin Walker » Sat Nov 24, 2018 6:39 pm

JohnSC wrote:At the moment I am trying to get the balance between headphone use and monitors.
I am very grateful for being put right on room acoustics as bass was my big problem.
I noticed when i tried on a stereo system it droned quite a bit and in my room It sounded ok. To me bass on a pro cd seems to stay at the speaker, but mine radiated outward droning. I could hear that more when standing to one side behind where I sit in my room. I am starting to understand that there is loads to learn

Hi John!

You may also find this article of mine helpful, as it describes how to mix under headphones with only occasional reference to loudspeakers:

https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques ... headphones

This of course helps you remove the sound of the room from your mixes, which seems to be a significant part of your current problem (fitting some acoustic treatment is always the best solution, to make your room sound better, but switching to headphones can help your mixes translate better to other systems if your room sounds bad).


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Re: New to mixing and mastering

Postby ConcertinaChap » Sun Nov 25, 2018 9:34 am

JohnSC wrote:You can tell I am getting on a bit now but want to learn more.

Don't worry, you're not alone in not being a spring chicken. I'm in my late 60s and ef37a gives us to understand he started doing sound with Joshua back at the battle of Jericho.

I can really relate to starting late but wanting to learn to do it right now you've started. Story of my life, really.

CC
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Re: New to mixing and mastering

Postby JohnSC » Mon Nov 26, 2018 2:06 pm

Hi CC

YES, it is an uphill struggle but a battle I must win at 67.
Yippee , today I have learnt about the control room in Cubase 10 and comparing your own track to the reference. After gain staging this is going to be useful switching back and forth comparing.
I am also starting to get my head around Lufs, Rms, and Huff'n Puffs.
The biggest challange now is to match the finished reference track without going Into the red.
One day it will be bingo. Hopefully before the reaper gets here. It has got to be one hell of a nice :angel: "I hope"!! or It's :evil:
Well. Mr punch do not choke on that Swatchel!! "That's the way to do It"!!! :round1:

all the best
john :headbang:
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Re: New to mixing and mastering

Postby James Perrett » Mon Nov 26, 2018 3:12 pm

JohnSC wrote:The biggest challange now is to match the finished reference track without going Into the red.

If the reference track is a fully mastered commercial release from the last 20 years I'd be tempted to turn it down by 6dB before trying to match it.
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Re: New to mixing and mastering

Postby JohnSC » Mon Nov 26, 2018 3:46 pm

Hi James

That is what I would of hoped you would say as The reference track can blast your ears off whilst your track is way down.
Is it best to turn the volume down or the gain then for levelling as I am just getting Into this .??


all the best
John
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Re: New to mixing and mastering

Postby Humble Bee » Mon Nov 26, 2018 4:16 pm

The first thing to do would be to buy and read The book "Mixing secrets for the small studio" by our one and only Mike Senior. It's a great way to quickly get to grips with what it takes to get commercial grade mixes with a simple setup.
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Re: New to mixing and mastering

Postby blinddrew » Mon Nov 26, 2018 4:52 pm

Another +1 for Mike's book. :)
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Re: New to mixing and mastering

Postby James Perrett » Mon Nov 26, 2018 8:30 pm

JohnSC wrote:Is it best to turn the volume down or the gain then for levelling as I am just getting Into this

I don't know Cubase but I'd find some way of changing the level of the clip so that you don't have to keep changing the volume control whenever you switch to the reference and back.

Once you get to the mastering stage you can set the level of the reference back to normal (unless you deliberately want to go for a lower level).
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Re: New to mixing and mastering

Postby JohnSC » Mon Nov 26, 2018 9:48 pm

Hi james

I will do that and thanks for your advice. Much appreciated.

All the best
John :thumbup:
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Re: New to mixing and mastering

Postby The Elf » Mon Nov 26, 2018 9:49 pm

You can adjust the level of the audio clip, or you can simply use Cubase's Gain control to turn it down. I use the latter method. You may need to switch on the 'Pre' part of the Cubase mixer if you can't see the Gain control.
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Re: New to mixing and mastering

Postby Wonks » Mon Nov 26, 2018 11:26 pm

Wot The Elf said. The 'Pre' section of the Cubase mixer is normally not shown in the Cubase default views, which is a great shame as it's very useful and apart from an input gain control (as on an analogue mixer) also includes high and low pass filters with various selectable slope values. I always have it turned on.
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