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How to add 'air' to your mix

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How to add 'air' to your mix

Postby mjfe2 » Sat Oct 02, 2010 10:36 am

Just wondering what software or hardware, freebie or high-end, you guys find helps adding some air to a dull mix? Or is it more of a technique thing, clearing up mids/lows in the mix?
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Re: How to add 'air' to your mix

Postby ROLO46 » Sat Oct 02, 2010 6:42 pm

Way back in time when Radio Luxemburg ruled
Multi Track analog mix downs sometime lacked the 'air' you speak of.
They were rendered with a harmonic device (Aphex aural exciters) to enhance upper top, some DAWs now include something in similar phase/chorus manipulation.
The original Aphex rented at $30 per finished minute, used by loads of LA/Hollywood types (Fleetwood Mac,Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstad etc etc.
Behringer now make one too...... :angel:
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Re: How to add 'air' to your mix

Postby Bossman » Sun Oct 03, 2010 11:07 pm

well, it kind of depends on, if your talking about fixing a dull mix at the mastering stage, or fixing the mix itself.... and what do you mean by 'air', do you mean shiny top end and sizzle, or do you mean clarity in the mids..

If its at the mastering stage, you can add harmonic exciters and EQ the top end/high mids.

If its at the mix stage, then theres is all sorts of things that can help.. getting the effects just right, getting the level balance and panning of everything just right so that some instruments sit behind others, creating depth. Its about creating a convincing 3D soundstage.
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Re: How to add 'air' to your mix

Postby . . . Delete This User . . . » Mon Oct 04, 2010 1:34 am

18KHz hi shelving on an audient console solves a LOT of airless problems....


just wish i owned one :frown:
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Re: How to add 'air' to your mix

Postby Zukan » Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:01 am

You can boost the 'air band' which is about 16kHz onwards which should add a little top end to the mix, but this is program dependent and not a one stop solution.

A bit more info and maybe a link to the audio would help.
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Re: How to add 'air' to your mix

Postby James Perrett » Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:28 am

Another old trick is to use a Dolby A encoder.

James.
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Re: How to add 'air' to your mix

Postby The Elf » Mon Oct 04, 2010 10:14 am

I don’t believe that ‘air’ is something you ‘add’. If it isn’t in your sources then you’re not going to find it with EQ later.

Careful, sympathetic tracking coupled with sensitive mixing will get you most of the way there. Any EQ or other tricks you try later will then simply let you bring out something that is hopefully already there.
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Re: How to add 'air' to your mix

Postby tim_obrien » Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:13 pm

Yup, you never boost. CUT the MUD.

Get down in every track that isn't bass/bassdrum and EQ out everything below 200-400hz and things will magically open up.
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Re: How to add 'air' to your mix

Postby Zukan » Tue Oct 05, 2010 12:30 pm

tim_obrien wrote:Yup, you never boost. CUT the MUD.

Get down in every track that isn't bass/bassdrum and EQ out everything below 200-400hz and things will magically open up.

Mmmm, so vocals and just about anything else that has harmonics that lie in this frequency range won't be affected?
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Re: How to add 'air' to your mix

Postby Zukan » Tue Oct 05, 2010 12:35 pm

The Elf wrote:I don’t believe that ‘air’ is something you ‘add’. If it isn’t in your sources then you’re not going to find it with EQ later.

Careful, sympathetic tracking coupled with sensitive mixing will get you most of the way there. Any EQ or other tricks you try later will then simply let you bring out something that is hopefully already there.

Like I said: program dependent. You can't eq what's not there.
However, it is an old practice that we sometimes use to 'sparkle' mixes.
Of course, it's far better to treat at source than to 'add' later.
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Re: How to add 'air' to your mix

Postby Mixedup » Tue Oct 05, 2010 1:10 pm

hmmm... 'air' can mean different things to different people. But, assuming the frequencies are there in the first place (right mics, right instruments, right placement, right rom etc), a subtle shelving boost somewhere above the 8-16kHz region to the side signal using an M/S EQ (or a dual channel EQ with an M/S matrix either side) *might* give you what you're looking for.
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Re: How to add 'air' to your mix

Postby MadManDan » Tue Oct 05, 2010 1:19 pm

Zukan wrote:
tim_obrien wrote:Yup, you never boost. CUT the MUD.

Get down in every track that isn't bass/bassdrum and EQ out everything below 200-400hz and things will magically open up.

Mmmm, so vocals and just about anything else that has harmonics that lie in this frequency range won't be affected?
I think it's more reasonable to say "reduce as necessary" using bell curve rather than "everything below" 200-400. But the principle is sound. For vox I'd boost the heck out of this band, and sweep the freq up slowly through this range - 200 to 400. When it sounds really horrible, that's when you know what freq to cut.
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Re: How to add 'air' to your mix

Postby nickcameron » Thu Oct 07, 2010 12:47 pm

You can boost whatever frequencies you want i.e creative eq vs corrective / sculpting eq.

There's pop mixes out there with epic proportions of eq boost on them, check out some of the waves artist videos (mix engineers)on you tube.

In terms of the original question, I'd be mindful of the fact that you don't necessarily want tons of air on everything, contrast is usually consideration in mixing. Meaning that adding air to your vocals will be less effective if you've got air added to everything else.

The standard eq's you get in most DAWs are pretty good, if you want something a bit posher you'd have to spend a few quid. Waves are pretty popular as are UAD, Focusrite Liquid Mix. You check some of them out on demo (need an ilok for waves) Then it's just a matter of taste, bit like choosing between Mcdonalds and Burger King ;)
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Re: How to add 'air' to your mix

Postby Eric B » Thu Oct 07, 2010 8:47 pm


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Re: How to add 'air' to your mix

Postby puremixOnline » Wed Jan 29, 2020 3:59 pm

Hello folks, I thought I could share this excerpt with F. Reid Shippen about Vocal Air Trick! super cool tip to improve a top-notch pop vocal

http://bit.ly/312DyLR
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