Thread: The Mixing Learning Curve

Results 21 to 40 of 141

  1. #21
    Has Many Personal Intergritys Expensive Boat Anchor
    Join Date Nov 2006
    Location New York
    Posts 10,659
    Rep Power 536871393

    Default Re: The Mixing Learning Curve

    out of curiosity, Charles, how long DID La Vida Loca take you to mix?
  2. #22
    Join Date Nov 2006
    Location Hollywood, FL
    Posts 2,351
    Rep Power 536871117

    Default Re: The Mixing Learning Curve

    The final mix was about 6 hours of very tweaky automation.

    But it was built on my rough mix, which was in PT. And that mix had been evolving over the recording process. Ya know... I printed a new version of the rough after each day of overdubs, etc.

    Essentially, I had all my sounds + I was just bringing the track alive + making it sound more like a finished record with the automation.
    Facebook | MySpace | eSession

    "Digital banjos sound just as bad to me as analog ones." -Pimp-X
  3. #23
    A mother-in-law's nightmare Bug Tussle Town Dogcatcher
    Join Date Jan 2008
    Location Heaven's Gate
    Posts 2,527
    Rep Power 536871108

    Default Re: The Mixing Learning Curve

    Charles,

    I'd like to know, how long did it take from the beginning of your mixing career to the point where you where realizing the results got satisfying ? How did you get into that biz, did you begin as an assistant and from that on it went its way ?

    Thx!

    Marco.
    "Here ain't there..." - Unfcknblvbl, June 17th, 2010
  4. #24
    Join Date Dec 2006
    Location Vancouver, Washington
    Posts 1,165
    Rep Power 536871076

    Default Re: The Mixing Learning Curve

    Allen 'Big Al' Wagner
    My Recording Studio: http://BigToeStudio.com
    My Bliggity Blog: http://HomeStudioGuru.com
    My Podcast: The Project Studio Network Podcast

    "I don't care if you got 90 tracks, what does it sound like, baby?" - Ray Charles
  5. #25
    A mother-in-law's nightmare Bug Tussle Town Dogcatcher
    Join Date Jan 2008
    Location Heaven's Gate
    Posts 2,527
    Rep Power 536871108

    Default Re: The Mixing Learning Curve

    Damned! Got me...

    I was actually typing iolod in some online urban dictionary thing before I got it....
    "Here ain't there..." - Unfcknblvbl, June 17th, 2010
  6. #26
    President of local Trekkie club. Reprobate
    Join Date Dec 2006
    Location the yoo kay
    Posts 915
    Rep Power 536871068

    Default Re: The Mixing Learning Curve

    Can you describe these Eureka moments in more detail?

    What kinda things do you recall learning while watching someone else?

    Can you be specific with a few examples?
    Sure, I'll try to keep my answers mix specific - there were also lots from an engineering POV.

    So thinking back heres a few...

    1) The discrepancies between plugs and good outboard.

    I'd read all the books saying how compressing this and eq'ing that were good practices. Got my tables of "magic frequencies" down - yet applying that to my stock DAW plugs of the time didn't make a lot of audible difference to me, or at least it didn't produce the results I expected to hear. This sent me into a spin for a good year 'til I started working in a studio.

    The engineer was working on an SSL (G series I seem to recall...) and had some decent outboard - all the usual suspects. A boosting eq on the console suddenly sounded quite drastic in comparison to my DAW plugs. Compressors really contained the dynamics in a very pleasing way. If you started driving the comps the dynamics really sat down, attack and release became the tool I always envisaged it should be and buss compression actually worked! Good reverbs and delays really helped to add perspective and create space around instruments and glue things together.

    I realised from this what plugs should be emulating. I later went out and spent some money on the UAD plugs which I still use. Basically the books were spot on, my plug ins weren't.

    2) Spending plenty of time on getting a good balance.

    The engineer I worked with put ALL the tracks up FIRST and spent a good hour with no processing at all (just levels and panning). He would be adjusting balances, muting and unmuting tracks to focus on what they were bringing to the track sonically and musically, how sections (lead, pads, rhythm etc.) were interacting, identifying where things needed rides etc. He was always pretty systematic about this.

    This was a Eureka moment for me, because prior to this - I'd have a quick listen, then mute everything and dive into compressing the OH's etc. - and building it from there. I noticed when I started to copy his practices that 2 things happened.

    a) I would spend less time fiddling with processing on individual tracks and prettifying everything. It made me aware that I was actually processing alot of stuff without being fully aware of what impact it might have in the big picture. Sometimes a very ugly sounding instrument would sit great in the track because it sounded ugly. You took this away, and it became meaningless and lost its purpose for being there in the first place.

    b) I started to mix quicker. Not necessarily because I was processing less, but because in spending more time with balances, I seriously began to consider the arc of the mix from A to B. All of my processing decisions were formed from this and as a result I became more "on-message" and focused on a particular goal or "script".

    3) The use of multing or parallel compression to achieve "natural" sounding biggenation.

    After fixing any problem spots on individual tracks (usually with subtractive eq) my engineer would pretty much leave his initial balances alone - not exactly set and forget, but they would definitely be the backbone of the mix that he could always refer back to. He would then only do some farily subtle eq and compressing of individual tracks, to accentuate or manage what was already there from tracking.

    Where an individual track might need some serious biggenation he would mult it (make a copy) and get what he needed from the copy and blend it back in with the original. Example - if a kick needed to be super clicky he would make a copy of the kick track - isolate the click part of it with hpf and lpf, then eq the snot out of it / compress it heavily / use a transient designer - whatever it took then blend it back in with the natural kick track. Voila - a super clicky kick that still sounded "natural". Walls of guitar in the choruses, click getting lost? - Turn up the clicky kick track!

    He would also use parallel comp to acheive biggenation of a part of the whole track's frequency range. For the bottom end he would sometimes bus the kick, bass, snare to a group track, compress the snot out of it and use the "Neve bass trick" to get a super fat compresssed low end and feed it back in to taste. Result - big ass low end with no effect on the "natural" sounding stuff still beating in the heart of the track.

    Before this I would process the crap out of my individual tracks to try and acheive the same result and wonder why my tracks sounded so hyped and unnatural....

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

    Still practices I employ as a matter of course. All learned within a few months of being on the job.

    I could go on all day, but there's only so much you can read in one go and besides, I gotta' go and do some work now.....

    All the best.

    Paulie.
    Cheers,

    Paulie.
  7. #27
    once played a seventh chord in a folk song Utterly Superior Cocksmanship
    Join Date Feb 2007
    Location Ireland
    Posts 195
    Rep Power 316459150

    Default Re: The Mixing Learning Curve

    Nice post Paulie. thanks for sharing.

    When you mention the "neve bass trick", is this just basically the name for this parrallel compression of bass, kick & snare together?


    thanks
  8. #28
    President of local Trekkie club. Reprobate
    Join Date Dec 2006
    Location the yoo kay
    Posts 915
    Rep Power 536871068

    Default Re: The Mixing Learning Curve

    Glad to share.

    When you mention the "neve bass trick", is this just basically the name for this parrallel compression of bass, kick & snare together?
    No. "The Neve bass trick" is an Eq setting employed on the parallel bus (usually after some severe limiting comp) using a Neve 1081 Eq module.

    Basically the HPF (fairly steep) is set at 47hz and a hefty 55hz shelving boost (say +9db or more) is applied at the same time giving you a great big fat but controlled (because of the compression) subsonic/ low bass hump.

    I'm sure you can get comparable results with other EQ's. The UAD emulation of the 1081 actually has a preset called "Neve bass trick", which is what I use sometimes.

    With a little experimentation, it's a great trick if you don't overdo it...

    Paulie.
    Cheers,

    Paulie.
  9. #29
    Tainted Love Potion Number Nine Mallory's missing camera
    Join Date Jul 2008
    Location Mars Colony
    Posts 5,049
    Rep Power 536871186

    Default Re: The Mixing Learning Curve

    The parallel/blending concept is a great idea, which seems to me to be essentially the same as a wet/dry effect mix control. Seems that this approach allows you to go for the jugular in creating the desired base effect (severe EQ, compression, or some other effect) without having to worry about getting in the way of the original track sound, then save the balancing act of getting the effect level just right for later in a simple act of blending the effected and uneffected tracks. Very smart.
    Hating Nickelback is the new liking Nickelback.

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

    Current status: Ignoring everybody on Facebook.
  10. #30
    President of local Trekkie club. Reprobate
    Join Date Dec 2006
    Location the yoo kay
    Posts 915
    Rep Power 536871068

    Default Re: The Mixing Learning Curve

    The parallel/blending concept is a great idea, which seems to me to be essentially the same as a wet/dry effect mix control.
    Exactly.
    Cheers,

    Paulie.
  11. #31
    Tainted Love Potion Number Nine Mallory's missing camera
    Join Date Jul 2008
    Location Mars Colony
    Posts 5,049
    Rep Power 536871186

    Default Re: The Mixing Learning Curve

    I think we are seeing the value of breaking complex operations down into separate parts then assembling them, rather than trying to do too much at once, which is a great approach for most complicated tasks.
    Hating Nickelback is the new liking Nickelback.

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

    Current status: Ignoring everybody on Facebook.
  12. #32
    once played a seventh chord in a folk song Utterly Superior Cocksmanship
    Join Date Feb 2007
    Location Ireland
    Posts 195
    Rep Power 316459150

    Default Re: The Mixing Learning Curve

    Thanks for the explanation Paulie
  13. #33
    Join Date Nov 2006
    Location Long Island, NY, USA
    Posts 11,591
    Rep Power 536871425

    Default Re: The Mixing Learning Curve

    I think posts like Paulie's (#26) are particularly helpful.

    The learning curve generally stays steep a lot longer when you don't have a mentor and are left to the DIY trial and error method, so any helpful hints that can be passed on speed up the process.

    I was looking at my notes from the early 80s and signal flow itself was quite a bit to get a handle on, and we had to learn about different types of mics, their properties and how they worked, the properties of sound, the history of recording, and back then, basic tape head alignment, splicing, calibration, etc.

    Also, since we just had an 8 track machine, we mixed the drums live through an 8x2.

    It's easy to forget how much we didn't know starting out.

    Of course now, I just set it on the Charles Dye preset
    Man! You have GOT to try a hit of this RANGE SUNSHINE!

    IMTBO = In My Thoroughly Biased Opinion
    CMIIW = Correct Me If I'm Wrong
    Never underestimate the amount of contempt a failed musician has for those of us who are still trying.
    If the party's good enough, you can actually suck to a remarkable degree.

    Greedle
  14. #34
    Middle Handicapper...short game needs work Real purdy mouth
    Join Date Nov 2006
    Location the music room
    Posts 1,205
    Rep Power 536871079

    Default Re: The Mixing Learning Curve

    I think now would be a great time for a few of our moderators and and more seasoned mixers to weigh in on this discussion as this has the potential to be a real eye opening thread.

    I wouldn't expect any trade secrets to be divulged unless of course they come in the form of a plug-in preset

    wtf do I know...I hit mixes with sticks
  15. #35
    Quantum Psychic Thinks Milli Vanilli is ice cream
    Join Date Feb 2008
    Location Los Angeles
    Posts 246
    Rep Power 246403369

    Default Re: The Mixing Learning Curve

    Charles thanks for the post !

    Something that really stuck out is the fact that mixing is a bunch of accumulated techniques that you learn over time and refine. That’s very true and the checklist idea is great and I’m starting on that today. Sometimes it’s hard to see the progress that you’ve made over time.

    Weedy’s post was also helpful the point about simplicity and not over tweaking. One of my best mixes…well most “Commercial” sounding mixes was done with my trusty Sony head phones on my lap top sitting at the DMV waiting for my Girlfriend. I was low cutting, and balancing a few things. Bounced a copy down for reference plugged in the USB stick on the way home and was really surprised at how great it sounded. (It was recorded well also)

    Learning to mix has been one of the most satisfying journeys of my life.
    Last edited by Justin Greed; July 21st, 2008 at 05:55 PM. Reason: None of ya : )
    20 years from now we’ll look back on the rampant pitch correction done during the 2000’s and say: “What the f*ck were we thinking?” Time Life box sets of the era will feature “un-pitch corrected”, “un-compressed” versions of our favorite songs.
  16. #36
    Join Date Nov 2006
    Location Birmingham, UK
    Posts 1,583
    Rep Power 536871091

    Default Re: The Mixing Learning Curve

    IMO it's not so much a learning 'curve' - it's more of a straight line. A day doesn't go by where I don't learn something new, and I've been at it for a while now. Granted, probably not as long as most on here, but still enough to know I'm well out of n00b territory.

    I think the DIY approach does have it's merits as well, in that you are not indoctrinated into a certain way of thinking (you hear stories around here of people 'breaking out' of the way they've been taught to think), but at the same time you miss out on some valuable info. I think it's great to taught the very basics objectively, and then be informally taught bits and pieces here and there while you fill in the rest of the gaps.

    The other thing about DIY is that you quickly realise WHY you do certain things a certain way - your only guide is your ears, so you do what sounds good, not what 'should' sound good. You don't waste time trying to get some technique you've been taught is the ONLY way of doing it to work. You just fuck around until you find what works, then apply it. If that takes too long, you call a friend and get some pointers. Or post on the womb

    I guess a lot of it is down to HOW you are taught as well. I think a lot of the real intern-type educations are good because it's a real-world scenario, and I guess you'd get to experience a variety of different approaches (depending on the shop in question), whereas a traditional formal education, not so. You get taught mostly from books and one person's experience from what I hear. Maybe that's not the case, that's just what I've heard.
    I'm probably talking shit.

    "Mixing most 'heavy' records is like trying to find order and lucidity in a recording of a Cathedral Pipe Organ, all stops out, randomly veering between Handel's Messiah, Ginestera's 2nd and a coupla Bach Fugues, in a Titanium kitchenware foundry, while a gaggle of enraged PCP snorting gorillas with bullhorns conduct a demolition derby with cement mixers against the soothing cacophony of a nearby landslide/tsunami/heavy artillery exchange."- Slipperman
  17. #37
    Tainted Love Potion Number Nine Mallory's missing camera
    Join Date Jul 2008
    Location Mars Colony
    Posts 5,049
    Rep Power 536871186

    Default Re: The Mixing Learning Curve

    So much of mixing technique is contextual so there is a limited extent to which you can be coached/schooled outside of the given session that you are working on at the moment.

    Someone on KVR asked for guidelines for compressing different parts (oh dear, sounds like someone starting a thread asking if there are any "rules for panning" ) and he pretty much got a wall of refusal from people to give any specific answer because the assertion was that there are too many different compressors and too many different possible situations and you just have to take it as it comes and work through your own situation at the time.

    So therein lies the necessity for self-teaching and the trial and error method. Taking compression as an example, you have to have your tracks up and start seeing how the compression settings will strengthen, soften, pull forward, push back, tighten, loosen, etc, etc., and how this is going to affect the mix balance as you apply these variables to each track. This is fully hands-on training.

    Someone could be sitting there helping you notice the difference as you try different things, but it still comes down to being in the specific project setting and learning directly from all the little tweaks, then assembling the whole picture to understand what your tools are doing and how they empower you to realize a better overall mix.
    Hating Nickelback is the new liking Nickelback.

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

    Current status: Ignoring everybody on Facebook.
  18. #38
    Tainted Love Potion Number Nine Mallory's missing camera
    Join Date Jul 2008
    Location Mars Colony
    Posts 5,049
    Rep Power 536871186

    Default Re: The Mixing Learning Curve

    Although, I should clarify my last post and say that the person who wanted compression advice was looking for specific settings. Of course you can give general advice and that's what school is for and that's what this forum is also for so I'm not denying the value of those resources (or I wouldn't be here). And then there is also something like the DVD Charles put together where he can give direct examples of the effect each device/tweak has on the mix.
    Hating Nickelback is the new liking Nickelback.

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

    Current status: Ignoring everybody on Facebook.
  19. #39
    Join Date Nov 2006
    Location Birmingham, UK
    Posts 1,583
    Rep Power 536871091

    Default Re: The Mixing Learning Curve

    Although, I should clarify my last post and say that the person who wanted compression advice was looking for specific settings. Of course you can give general advice and that's what school is for and that's what this forum is also for so I'm not denying the value of those resources (or I wouldn't be here). And then there is also something like the DVD Charles put together where he can give direct examples of the effect each device/tweak has on the mix.
    I think what you're trying to say is that it's easy to explain what bits of gear/software DO, and HOW to make them work, but not necessarily WHEN to use them, and WHAT to try and achieve with them. The second two come from a lot of listening and twiddling because they are somewhat subjective; the first two can be pretty easily taught because they're not quite static, but are broadly similar across the spectrum of various bits of gear/software.
    I'm probably talking shit.

    "Mixing most 'heavy' records is like trying to find order and lucidity in a recording of a Cathedral Pipe Organ, all stops out, randomly veering between Handel's Messiah, Ginestera's 2nd and a coupla Bach Fugues, in a Titanium kitchenware foundry, while a gaggle of enraged PCP snorting gorillas with bullhorns conduct a demolition derby with cement mixers against the soothing cacophony of a nearby landslide/tsunami/heavy artillery exchange."- Slipperman
  20. #40
    Tainted Love Potion Number Nine Mallory's missing camera
    Join Date Jul 2008
    Location Mars Colony
    Posts 5,049
    Rep Power 536871186

    Default Re: The Mixing Learning Curve

    Right, you can read about compression curves and thresholds and so forth but what we are all in this to accomplish is a sound that is complimentary to the music, which, ultimately is aesthetic and case dependent.

    With the exception of something as basic and utilitarian as peak limiting, use of compression really relates back to the art form of the music itself because, like most other aspects of mixing, it directly shapes the creative impact that is ultimately made by the final mix.

    IMO, this is the kind of thing you have to be in specific situations with direct interactive involvement in order to really learn. With enough of that kind of interaction, you can get to the point that you are prepared to make future decisions on your own that will result in mixes that successfully convey the music as intended by the artists, and as desired/enjoyed by the audience.
    Hating Nickelback is the new liking Nickelback.

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

    Current status: Ignoring everybody on Facebook.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts