Thread: MiX iT! 1e – Discuss It: The Big Picture

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    Default MiX iT! 1e – Discuss It: The Big Picture

    The discussion threadz are NOT just for the mixers. Everyone is very much encouraged to participate. This event is for EVERYBODY.


    MiX iT Event #1 - Discuss It: The Big Picture

    This thread is where you bring it all together, discussing the overall balance, stereo buss processing, + automation in your mix. Essentially, explaining how you took your sounds from the other threads + turned them into a cohesive mix. This is also where you can post misc stuff that didn't fit elsewhere.

    Anything you want to say about your overall sound or concept of your mix, or a detailed description of how + why you processed your stereo buss, or an explanation of how, why + where you applied automation in your mix, or any lessons you learned from this mix about the big picture concepts of mixing. Post it all here.

    This thread is also the where you can post your 1 line critiques of all the mixes.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    Discuss It Threads

    There are potentially 79 different mixes for us to discuss + if we tried to do that all in one thread it would probably be very hard to follow. Our solution is to create category threads to keep the discussion somewhat organized + more focussed.

    Here are the threads:

    Drums + Bass

    Guitars + Keys

    Lead + BG Vox

    The Big Picture (overall balance, stereo buss processing, automation + misc.)


    Timeline

    We will be discussing the mixes for approx 3 weeks, until Monday, September 24th 2007.


    Discuss It Guidelines

    We want to emphasize the educational value of the MiX iT #1 Event. A learning experience for all participants--whether you're a seasoned mixer doing this 24/7, or this is actually your very first mix--you're here to learn. Or even if you didn't mix the song. We're convinced that everybody can learn something from this event. These discussion threads are not for MiXiT #1 event participants only. We would like to hear from all of our forum members.

    - Share thought / opinions / feelings / emotions / tips / techniques.

    - Show us how you did it but also tell us what you think of the Mixes.

    - Disect them, analyze them, tell us what you think is right and tell us what you think is wrong.

    - Positive & constructive critisizm or opinions is, more often than not, of more value to both the mixer and the listener then negative comments.


    Please share with us your thotz + let's all learn more about mixing!!

    Thanx,
    Chris + Charles
    Last edited by Charles Dye; September 5th, 2007 at 05:30 AM.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: MiX iT#1 - Discuss It: The Big Picture

    Moved from Original Post:

    All,
    Here is my Mix and Info. The Info part has photos attached and a description to the in the photo. This was mixed on my HD3 Accel / API DSM summing system. Lots of analog gear was used on this so the session file will not be of much use. I also rename a lot of the tracks to better suite my mix needs. If you are interested in the session files let me know and I can put them up on my server. I would rather NOT link it right now as everyone and their mother will down load a 300 meg file that will slam my server and monthly bandwidth. ;-)

    I took the approach with this that the tune had lots of dynamics to start, and lots of tones going on. I start my mix by importing my session into my Pro Tools rig and then deleting the I/O and importing my own template in with a custom I/O setup for my rig. You will see that in the photos how each track goes out to the summing setup, etc. I then import my FX template that is a hodgepodge of my own and some idea I use from Charles. (Thanks!)

    The first thing that I then did was clean up the drums and gets them to sound like I wanted. Not being limited to editing, I cut all the bleed out of all the tracks when they are not needed. You could have mixed the drums with the floor tom track it had enough bleed in it. I then went through and found the best SNARE and KICK hit for the verse and chorus parts and copied it and pasted it thru the track. Call it replacement? I call it fixing it and standardizing it for typical radio rock. It worked for me and I was not using any "alien" samples in this mix. All material is what I was given, minus the cymbal swoosh that I added to clean up the bad edit point that was "written" during the breakdown. Just smoothed it out to my ears. I also added a kick there as it needed it and again helped the poor edit point in the mix.

    So once the drums were done I then sent all the fx, and hardware inserts that I use typically in a mix. My Trident 80B 2 channel was used on the drum overheads to filter out the junk and get that sheen. Then I boosted that level some with the pre and then shot it thru a stereo-strapped pair of Distressors. Crushed em a bit and then brought up the overheads. Worked.

    Various FX were used for the drums, layered reverbs, etc.

    The VOCALS: Main Vox went thru my Vintech X73i or EQ, then an outboard 1176. I hit it with a few stages of Compression back in the box. LA-2A and the RVox (love it) Then again, various FX. (Ensonic DP4, Eventide H-3000, TL Space, Lexicon, Delays) all to build space. Background vox the same. During the break down I then duplicated the Main Vox track and cut out parts that I wanted for the filtered effect and delay sound. It was all cut into place for that desired effect. Built a cool space and enhanced the transition I think.

    Bass: Vintech 73i for EQ, RComp for Compression.

    Guitars: All in the Box EQ with the URS N and A series bundle. All EQ's in this song were URS mainly except for the drum 1 band eq's which were DIGI.

    I sum it all through a API DSM setup consisting of 2 x API 8200 line mixers, a API 2500 buss compressor and monitored thru a API 7800 Master Module. I set the master module Master Fader to -6 to -7. The buss compressor is hit very lightly with no more than -2db of gain reduction. Then it is written back into Pro Tools thru my Benchmark ADC-1 2 channel A to D converter. Love this thing as it too has a staged db increment per channel so I can really get my mix level going back in to what I want. I make certain that I do not peak over the level that the master fader on the API is set to and then record the stereo summed track back into Pro Tools. This helps me better retain my dynamics for mastering.

    All of this was mixed thru Blue Sky monitors, and all APOGEE converters, Digi 192 Converter (Compressors for delay compensation) and Benchmark Converters.

    Enjoy, and again, if you want the session let me know via Email. Will be happy to send it to you.

    Best,
    IntelDoc
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: MiX iT#1 - Discuss It: The Big Picture

    i unfortunately disagree with the decision to replace the snare hits. to me it sounds decidedly inorganic.
    i'm on myspace. werd.
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    Default Re: MiX iT#1 - Post It: Mixes + Files Only

    I am not able to get the AAC files of Brendo and DirtyGirth to open. I tried importing them into iTunes and that didn't work either. I'm on Mac, any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks

    I'm sorry, I thought I was posting this in the comments section. My Bad
    Last edited by badboymusic; September 3rd, 2007 at 08:46 PM. Reason: Wrong post
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    Default Re: MiX iT#1 - Discuss It: The Big Picture

    i unfortunately disagree with the decision to replace the snare hits. to me it sounds decidedly inorganic.
    And that is why we are two totally different mixers... Rock tunes to me are not organic but loud and proud. Take any modern record and tell me that it is not done that way. That is what I decided for this tune. Not a jazz tune.

    Just my decision and opinion of it.

    Respect your opinion though as this is what the whole thing was about.

    Doc
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    Default Re: MiX iT#1 - Discuss It: The Big Picture

    Here's my mix notes from the ZIP:

    Let me start off by explaining my "mixing" style: I started out (back in the stone age) mixing local musicians on a local TV show, on an old console that didn't have things like individual channel EQ, or dynamics other than the program limiter on the mono mix bus. So I learned to take "mixing" literally - move the faders till it sounds the best.

    I enjoyed mixing this song. The song itself is well-written, and the singing, playing is sincere and skillful. I didn't have too many problems with the tracks themselves; there was an issue with the bass tracks "quacking" when the bassist really laid into his strings. A combination of EQ and sidechain limiting straightened that out to my satisfaction.

    I split the tracks out into 16 stems which I sent out my 2 Echo Layla24 interfaces and mixed through a console (ADM1600 series, ex-broadcast). I didn't use any outboard boxes though I did dial in a couple of dB shelving boost at 15k on the drums using the console EQ.

    All other FX were DAW plugins. I used the controversial and oft-maligned REAPER application, running on my dual-core Intel system - Windows XP Pro.

    Here's what prominent Philadelphia recording engineer/producer/chef Curve Dominant has to say about REAPER:

    "Reaper's "Amatuer(sic) Open Mic Night" approach to GUI development and workflow architecture has pretty much doomed it from ever making a foray into the "pro" world. It's nice that a bunch of hobbyists who otherwise would never have spent the $$$ on a PT system finally have a free(sic) program to toy with. But the fact of that very group of people having a hand in Reaper's development, makes it a verry(sic) unattractive product for pro users...I fail to see how (REAPER's word-of-mouth marketing is) going to convince an industry that a cheap software download developed by amatuers(sic) should take the place of the pro system it knows it can rely on. I mean, it's quite absurd when you stop and think about it: Imagine telling Jay-Z, 'You should book Beyonce in my studio, because my rig only cost me $40!!' Good luck with that one, kidz."
    I used plugs sparingly: a little EQ here and there, about 4 instances of a convolution reverb called ReaVerb which comes with the DAW. I used the reverb impulses from our friend chrisj (thanks, Chris!). One exception: I used a somewhat-involved parallel processing chain on the lead and harmony vocal tracks. I include an MSPaint diagram of that in this ZIP. Oh, and some creative "ducking" on the bass DI track.

    I mixed it down to Analog Tape (so old-school). Using my trusty Studer A810 at 30ips on 499 tape. Then I dubbed it back to digital to produce the file you now have.

    I like my mix, though it really sounds like an old fart mixed it. It's not "modern". Bite me.


    Also, the monitors I used are my self-built UGLYTM Monitors. (6.5inch Philips woofers and Philips tweeters in ported enclosures, biamped using the active crossover I designed and built myself and driven by 2 nice old Crown D150A amps) It's an unusual system but sounds good to me.
    Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by magicchord; September 3rd, 2007 at 09:07 PM.
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: MiX iT#1 - Discuss It: The Big Picture

    And that is why we are two totally different mixers... Rock tunes to me are not organic but loud and proud. Take any modern record and tell me that it is not done that way. That is what I decided for this tune. Not a jazz tune.

    Just my decision and opinion of it.

    Respect your opinion though as this is what the whole thing was about.

    Doc

    agreed. i apologize for the terse tone of my post. i came off kinda wrong.


    rob
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    Default Re: MiX iT#1 - Discuss It: The Big Picture

    agreed. i apologize for the terse tone of my post. i came off kinda wrong.


    rob
    No worries Rob, it is all how ones ear hears it. I hear a rock tune, with a rocking snare (organic or not) It is their snare ya know. I wanted drive, with dynamics. I wanted a mix that built up the tones given and feel that I did just that.
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    Default Re: MiX iT#1 - Discuss It: The Big Picture

    Yeah, each to their own.
    For me I could really only find a couple of hours to work on this, which shows in my mix.
    So I certainly didn't have time for replacing any drum hits.

    I'm just looking forward to reading how everyone else went about it and learn some tricks.
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    Default Re: MiX iT#1 - Discuss It: The Big Picture

    i unfortunately disagree with the decision to replace the snare hits. to me it sounds decidedly inorganic.
    Hey Doc, did you replace, or augment??

    If i were doing this 'for real', i would have tucked in some
    samples underneath without even thinking about it.
    Havin the comparison of mixes with real snare, and the
    "sampled" one, my first reaction was similar to Robs above.

    I was unnervingly struck by how the snare stuck out
    as being 'inorganic'. But generally my tastes are prob
    similar to yours, loud/consistent drums turn me on.

    Maybe you replaced, rather than augmented though?

    But the mix i did for CapeV didn't have samples either.
    So now i'm gonna try follow the "samples are a last resort"
    mindset a lot more.

    MiXiT_Lesson#1 done for me.
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    Default Re: MiX iT#1 - Discuss It: The Big Picture

    If you are talking about Kenny's method of "enhancing" no I did none of that. As you wil see in the session, there are the two original tracks. Like I said what I did was find a snare hit in the verse that I liked for the two, Selected that, then went thru and put that same hit for each hit on the verse. The same goes for the chorus, etc. I was tod NOT to use samples as a "replacement" so that is what I did... not use samples at all, but rather use the tracks hit to "enhance" what I was after.

    Hope that helps? Again, NOT looking for an organic drum kit to this rock tune. If that was my goal I would have left it. My goal was to have the snare consistent.
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    Default Re: MiX iT#1 - Discuss It: The Big Picture

    (Moved from the other thread)

    Lots of editing in my session - splitting up the guitars into more manageable chunks, and trying to improve the drums as much as I could (I started late and only had two days on this!)
    I decided not to repeat the 'best' drum hits and just settled on replacing the worst ones instead

    To create a dynamic feel, I had the song start with just the lead vocal and a solo guitar alone, and then gradually added more elements before the 1st chorus.
    (Waves C4/RVox/Massenburg EQ on the Lead Vox dry in the verses but with an automated 1/2 note and 1/4 note delay in the chorus.)

    I duplicated and staggered the distorted vox in the middle eight to make it a bit more interesting, and I muted the bass and drums on the section after - bringing everything back in again before the last chorus so it had a greater impact.

    I also felt the reference mix was too 'roomy' sounding, so I went for a drier drum sound overall.

    I don't get to work with real drums (or such crash-happy drummers!) too often so this was great practice for me.
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    Default Re: MiX iT#1 - Discuss It: The Big Picture

    Like I said what I did was find a snare hit in the verse that I liked for the two, Selected that, then went thru and put that same hit for each hit on the verse. The same goes for the chorus, etc. I was tod NOT to use samples as a "replacement" so that is what I did... not use samples at all, but rather use the tracks hit to "enhance" what I was after.

    Hope that helps?
    Sorry, didn't make my question clear and i dont have PT
    on this laptop to check your session.

    When you found the snare hit(s) you liked, did you then copy
    OVER the existing snare hits? Or create a new track for your
    chosen hits to play alongside the original?

    This is the difference i meant between replace or augment
    if that makes any sense. I know you didn't use 'samples' and
    that you weren't going for organic. Just curious if the original
    snare performance is still playing back with your chosen
    hits or not..?
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    Default Re: MiX iT#1 - Discuss It: The Big Picture

    No worries man. I know what you are asking. I wnet over the original and did the snare fixes (replacement whatever you want to call it) so as to not add to the session file size. If I was to enhance it I would have added more snare tracks, etc. I also go thru and cut all the bleed dout of the tracks too. Just my thing. I like clarity and am not a fan of gates, so I cut what is not needed.

    I am actually uploading my session now to my server and will put the link out. The only problem is that the I/O will be jacked as I sum it, but you can at least play the summed file and see what I did. I consolidated the track too so it is jus the useable files and not all the cuts, though they are there in the consolidated file.

    I will post it when it is loaded. 300 meg file.... whew.

    Doc
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    Default Re: MiX iT#1 - Discuss It: The Big Picture

    Hey guys ... I'm going to copy a couple of these last posts over to the Drums & Bass thread. Great discussion going on about the snare replacements etc ... think it fits more the D & B thread though if you're going to put your teeth into the subject. Thanks.


    Chris
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    Default Re: MiX iT#1 - Discuss It: The Big Picture

    Oh okay, Cheers Doc.

    No worries Chris!
    This IS the totally wrong thread for this discussion.
    Sorry..
    "Art is the expression of imagination, not the reproduction of reality." - Henry Moore

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    Default Re: MiX iT#1 - Discuss It: The Big Picture

    This song has a beautiful melody and I wanted that to stand out right from the start. I made some production changes, especially to the beginning by editing what instruments and parts were played to get the feel and dynamics I wanted. I also wanted the song to keep building from start to finish so I brought down the distorted guitars during the first half chorus build so as not to tip off the first time listener as to how heavy the song was going to get. That way, when the distorted guitars hit right before the second chorus, they would have more surprise and impact. I also added a small section of guitar picking to the second half of the build during the first chorus to keep the tension rising. Since I backed down the distorted guitars I needed something to replace them and found a nice part in a later section of the song.

    The singer has a wonderful voice and I wanted to bring it up out of the mix while keeping all of the other instruments prominent throughout. All the musicians in Aces High did a great job of recording interesting parts and I wanted them all to be heard. I did a lot of fader riding to bring up each instrument as they played their dynamic parts and then moved them out of the way so there was room for another instrument to cut through. I did not cut and paste any kicks, snares. etc... and no beat detective or alignment of parts. To get the snare as loud as I wanted, I put a high frequency shelf on the snare track to reduce cymbal splash so I could crank the snare up.

    I really enjoyed working on this song and thanks to Aces High for providing it for us. If this was a normal project, I would ask to have some more guitar parts overdubbed in the chorus to round out some frequencies in the second guitar that I would still like to have. I think working together, we could get the choruses even fuller. Naturally, at this point, the band would give input and we would adjust (more distorted guitar that I backed down etc...)

    If you look at the last chorus I am muting the heavy guitar between hits and slamming the volume at the start. That way, the guitar goes from zero to sixty instantly at the start of each chord. The volume comes back down, then mutes, volume goes up during the mute and then another chord hits. Watch the fader and you can see it pump.

    For Master buss processing, I started with AC1 with an SSL setting then AC 2. Next was DUY's Wide and Waves SSL Compressor. Last was Waves L316. I am not mastering this, I mix through the L316 on from the start. I am leaving room for the mastering engineer to work with at the end. I am using the L316 as I would any other plugin to mix. If you listen to the original mastered reference mix from within my session you will hear there is room to master my mix. I do end up with a very present sounding mix with a healthy volume, but that is how I mix. You can always bypass the L316 to hear it without if you like.

    I played my finished mix in the car and my 14 year old daughter loved the song and asked if she could put it on her Ipod? She also asked if they had an album out? When she played it for her friends they also loved it. Very good sign.

    Thanks to everyone for letting me participate,
    Bad Boy
    Last edited by badboymusic; September 4th, 2007 at 05:24 AM.
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    Default Re: MiX iT#1 - Discuss It: The Big Picture

    Ok .. I wish that I could say that I only had a couple of hours to work on my mix - but that would be a lie. I have worked on this mix (off and on) since we were first able to download the files.... what can I say?? I have no excuse. My stuff sucks squirrel balls. I had 4 different versions, each sucking as much as the next. It basically came down to: 'which has the best shot at sucking the least?!' I will tell you that I was trying to go for that Led Zepplin sound: kinda Raw, but controlled. On my system, I got the sound that I was going for ..... but I know the real world is going rip this mix apart!

    Not that anybody has asked (or will even care) how I did my mix - but I am going to go over a couple of quick things so you good folks know what not to do with your future mixes.

    First thing that I did in Logic Pro was get my screen-sets together. By getting all of my screen-sets dones, I was more efficient when it came to destroying a really good song.

    After the screen-sets, came the importing of the Audio. After I brought the audio files into the session, I then named each track. I made sure to group all of the instruments together in the Arrange window, in addition to color matching each of the groups, and then applied icons (guitar icons to guitar tracks; drum icons to seperate drum tracks; etc.). I find that this is something that helps in the long run.

    Once the organizational stuff was out of the way - came the mutilation. I began this mix by listening to the drums. I recall reading somewhere - that starting with the drums is ususally a decent way to go. I have tried this in the past, and it has worked for me (believe it or not!).
    I sent the bass drums to a bus, and had a little processing on there.... an EQ, and a Compressor (both were stock plugins from Logic).

    Next I setup a bus for the snare drum. I placed a Limiter on the Snare Top & Bottom, and some EQ - before bussing. Once on the bus, I added a little more compression.

    I moved on to the Toms, which were EQ'd slightly, then limited (stock plugins), and the High Hats were EQ'd a tad bit. When it was said and done, all the drum tracks had their own EQ .... a couple of them had their own limiter. Don't ask me why I thought this would be a good idea .... trial and error, I guess.

    Next came the Bass. This required the least effort from me. The Bass (IMHO) sat in the mix rather well. I had to do very little to it, to get things where they sounded good .... on my computer speakers! Just some compression on both the DI and Mic'd tracks. Done.

    Next I wanted to add the other guitars. This was fun for me. Mostly started as a game of "pan this way and that." For the most part, I didn't do a whole lot to these either. Just added a little EQ, compression, and some 'verb (stock plugins). They sounded pretty good to me, so I figured why mess up a decent thing!?

    Last came the Vocals. This guy can sing his ass off. I really think that this dude has a marketable tone, and could be sold with little, or no effort. Hats off to him. With that said ... I added a shit ton of effects to the vocals. Hell... I don't even know why I added as much as I did .... but once I reached my 6th plugin on the main vocal, I just said: 'fuggit! what's one more gonna hurt?!' So there it is ... I said it: I have 7 effects on the main vocal. EQ, DeEsser, Comp, 'Verb, Gate, Limiter, and more 'Verb. And on my system, his vocal sounds really good with all this shit stacked on top of it! The other vocals don't have that much stuff on them. EQ, comp, Delay, etc. All of these plugins are stock in Logic, too.

    On the master channel I placed an EQ, Comp, Plate Reverb, Graphic EQ (to roll off the highs), and a Multi-Band Comp. Those are all stock plugins. I did have one other plugin on the master: Color-Tone Free. Thanks to Big Al for mentioning that Free plugin on his radio show!

    That pretty much covers all of the things that I can think of (at the moment!). I expect that I will be getting tons of hate mail, so please be patient if it takes me more than a few minutes to answer your many questions on how to make a mix suck as bad as mine. I also expect that I will be hearing from some big, what-to-do record label wanting me to mix "The Sound A Turd Makes When Hitting The Forest Floor!" I probably have to go on location, and record some bear taking a dump or something!

    This was fun. I look forward to humiliating myself again. I did learn a lot from doing this. Thanks to Charles Dye and Chris Lambrechts for going through all of this. It is a very, very cool thing of y'all to do! Take care!



    Edit: I forgot to mention that I looped the Wind-Intro thingy for the first verse. I thought it sounded pretty cool while running behind the intro vocals. I repeated this process again at bar 65. There was also another little thing that I did: on the Left OverHead channel, I made a copy of the very last cymbal hit in the song. I then took that file, and reversed it. Once reversed, I then placed it on the 4th beat of the 96th measure, so it would swell into the drum fill (just before the 98th measure). You have to listen pretty close, but you can make it out ... I left in the back - or at least I tried to! Take care!
    Last edited by waterboy; September 4th, 2007 at 05:07 AM. Reason: forgot to add something!
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    Default Re: MiX iT#1 - Discuss It: The Big Picture

    Rushed this mix out in the 2 hours after the "post your mix" thread appeared (including a meal break). First time mixing into the DAD plugins so experimenting with how hard to hit them - Valve on the 'mix' preset pushed about halfway, Tape on 80's 2 track 30 ips and Wide on 22% with a 13% boost at 589Hz. Using Muse's "Black Holes And Revelations" as mix reference, but I don't know how well I matched this. Only reverb is D-verb on the medium Room 2 setting.
    Gearwire.com Drum Mixing Tutorial: The best way of course is an oscilloscope... but, we don't have that, we don't have that here, so we have to use our ears...
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    Clown Re: MiX iT#1 - Discuss It: The Big Picture

    I'm going to post a total crit but it's not happening until the submission thread is closed, and then it's only going to be what's loaded up in the thread itself (get the embed link and then put the word 'mix' or something in between the link tag and its close tag)

    It was throw-away day at Airwindows! I had no freaking time and was too stressed, and my methodology involved throwing stuff away a lot. I started by bringing in just main drum tracks, along with the rooms etc. and the loop tracks, and the bass tracks. I ended up throwing away bass amp, all the loop tracks, all the rooms... I brought in guitars and kept all of them so far as I know. Vocals, again there was a doubled vocal that I just didn't like the performance as much as the main vocal track, *foop*... bits of tracks like hi-hat and smash track got automated down to full attenuation at different places in the track, again throwing stuff away, and lastly I imitated Mixerman and threw away the harmony vocal over the first verse, except I snuck it in drowned in reverb just to be different.

    Now that I've finished, we can throw my horrible MIX away and we'll really be getting somewhere

    Massive crit thread coming once the submission thread closes.

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