#1
I have started recording music, but have come to the realization that I have no idea what I am doing when it comes to mixing the music I have made. All of my recordings are in Audacity, and I don't know how to touch them up, and make them sound like finished songs.

Also I don't even know where to start. Are the tutorials about how to use DAW's and stuff to refine your songs? Every time I try to use one I am just so intimidated by all of the buttons, and what they do? What are equalizers, and filters?

In short where should I start, and what would recommend me using to learn? Are there any free E-books you would recommend?
#2
Think of a recording as a 3D atmosphere. All those knobs and buttons are just how you shape the sound and in what position you put them in.
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#3
Did the recordings forum start charging you to make a thread or something? What is up with everyone thinking they're going to get advice from the pit? We have a forum for this stuff, use it.
#6
Audacity sucks. I'd start with a better DAW. ableton is good if you can spare the money (or, you know...), or reaper is only $50 for the paid version.
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#7
i find logic pretty intuitive but thats after a few years of using it.
and yes. there are a load of tutorials to do almost anything you can think of regarding DAWs. i wouldn't bother too much with e-books, i'd suggest looking at youtube videos so you can hear the changes that are being made rather than just reading what the book says happens. if all else fails just play around with a few things and see what happens.
EQ's allow you to alter specific - somewhat - frequencies, allowing you to alter the sound to your liking, or so it stands out or sits nicely in a mix.
Filters allow or block certain aspects of a sound through. lets say you have a band pass filter. it will allow a certain range of sound through - determined by you.
low cut filters cut the lower frequencies out, you can often change the cutoff. low pass do the opposite. high pass/high cut do the same but with the higher end of the spectrum.
auto filters simply move the band of frequencies you have selected over time.
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Last edited by moody git at Feb 5, 2013,
#8
Quote by JagerSlushy
Audacity sucks. I'd start with a better DAW. ableton is good if you can spare the money (or, you know...), or reaper is only $50 for the paid version.


I gotcha but it is not the DAW that is the problem. I could have the greatest tools in the world, but I don't know what I am doing when it comes to mixing. Is mixing even the right term?
#9
have you already got recordings made? no use mixing with no recordings
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#10
Quote by moody git
i find logic pretty intuitive but thats after a few years of using it.
and yes. there are a load of tutorials to do almost anything you can think of regarding DAWs.
EQ's allow you to alter specific - somewhat - frequencies, allowing you to alter the sound to your liking, or so it stands out or sits nicely in a mix.
Filters allow or block certain aspects of a sound through. lets say you have a band pass filter. it will allow a certain range of sound through - determined by you.
low cut filters cut the lower frequencies out, you can often change the cutoff. low pass do the opposite. high pass/high cut do the same but with the higher end of the spectrum.
auto filters simply move the band of frequencies you have selected over time.


Okay, so low filters would remove low bass sounds, high pass gets rid of high frequency sounds?

Would a EQ sort of be like a pitch perfecter?

What is your favorite DAW, and do you have any tut's, or what would I search for to learn about this stuff?

Sorry if I sound dumb. I have literally no knowledge when it comes to this stuff.
#11
Quote by moody git
have you already got recordings made? no use mixing with no recordings


Why?
#12
nothing to mix
eq doesn't alter notes, rather the timbre of the sound. perhaps you are thinking of autotune? as far as i know, autotune changes the pitch of a note by altering the speed of the sample.
my personal favourite DAW is logic 9. thats what i use at college and thats what i have the most time on and feel comfortable with. it was a bit daunting at first but once you grasp the basics, many things start to fall into place.
DONT RISK IT, BUY A BASS AMP
Last edited by moody git at Feb 5, 2013,
#13
Quote by moody git
nothing to mix
eq doesn't alter notes, rather the timbre of the sound. perhaps you are thinking of autotune?
my personal favourite DAW is logic 9. thats what i use at college and thats what i have the most time on and feel comfortable with. it was a bit daunting at first but once you grasp the basics, many things start to fall into place.


So is mixing more to do with electronic music?
#14
not at all, mixing is a key part of any musical production. it turns the raw recordings into what you hear on cds or on youtube.
EDIT: i know i forgot mastering but i don't feel like rewording the sentence. mastering is the final step in producing and i'm even less clued up on it than i am mixing so i won't touch on it!
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Last edited by moody git at Feb 5, 2013,
#15
Quote by moody git
not at all, mixing is a key part of any musical production. it turns the raw recordings into what you hear on cds or on youtube.
EDIT: i know i forgot mastering but i don't feel like rewording the sentence. mastering is the final step in producing and i'm even less clued up on it than i am mixing so i won't touch on it!


Alright. So what did you do to learn all of this? Books? School? Just winging it?
#16
Add a shitton of compression, set the ratio to at least 8, cut everything below 500 Hz, add some reverb and you're good to go!
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#17
If you don't know what mixing is, how to mix is going to be the least of your problems. Also, we have a recording forum.
#19
i started with AS level music technology i think 4 years ago? i resat the year because i had no idea about editing audio presets or making my own 'presets' - so that was a big kick in the right direction. from there i've done live sound a few times for friends gigs and a few at college. i'm doing a music technology 2 year course at college - in my last year of that now, with intentions of going to tech music school next year for either bass performance or music production.
i'll learn something at college and google the shit out of it and play around with it until i feel comfortable. alternatively, i'll waste time at college just playing around on logic with all the plugins and other stuff.
so in summary, books school and just winging it
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#21
Quote by moody git
i started with AS level music technology i think 4 years ago? i resat the year because i had no idea about editing audio presets or making my own 'presets' - so that was a big kick in the right direction. from there i've done live sound a few times for friends gigs and a few at college. i'm doing a music technology 2 year course at college - in my last year of that now, with intentions of going to tech music school next year for either bass performance or music production.
i'll learn something at college and google the shit out of it and play around with it until i feel comfortable. alternatively, i'll waste time at college just playing around on logic with all the plugins and other stuff.
so in summary, books school and just winging it


Thanks. I am pretty sure I follow about that same route
#22
Quote by Cavalcade
For real though, what's this doing in the Pit instead of Recording? Is it because you got excommunicated for using Audacity? I made an article about why you shouldn't be mixing with it; start with that.


Very good article. I downloaded Reaper, and it is intimidating, but I will try my best to learn.
#23
Quote by damian_91
Add a shitton of compression, set the ratio to at least 8, cut everything below 500 Hz, add some reverb and you're good to go!



hahahaha I see what you did there.
#24
Quote by toBetheVeryBest
I have started recording music, but have come to the realization that I have no idea what I am doing when it comes to mixing the music I have made. All of my recordings are in Audacity, and I don't know how to touch them up, and make them sound like finished songs.

Also I don't even know where to start. Are the tutorials about how to use DAW's and stuff to refine your songs? Every time I try to use one I am just so intimidated by all of the buttons, and what they do? What are equalizers, and filters?

In short where should I start, and what would recommend me using to learn? Are there any free E-books you would recommend?



I would recommend checking out Jamesmsv's youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/Jamesmsv

He has got an entire series on mixing metal! I'm not sure what type of music you're recording, but there is still useful information you can gather from his tutorials.
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#26
Quote by toBetheVeryBest
In short where should I start, and what would recommend me using to learn? Are there any free E-books you would recommend?

A decent place to start is by reading the stickies in the Recording forum.

I would also recommend checking out "The Systematic Mixing Guide" by Ermin Hamidovic, which is $20 (Australian, ~$21.50 US). Not too bad a price for the good content.

Quote by toBetheVeryBest
Very good article. I downloaded Reaper, and it is intimidating, but I will try my best to learn.

Reaper's actually fairly simplistic, once you get used to it. Do yourself a favor and set up some track templates. You'll save SO much time doing that.

Quote by damian_91
Add a shitton of compression, set the ratio to at least 8, cut everything below 500 Hz, add some reverb and you're good to go!

Other than the 500Hz thing ('cause where to cut depends on the vocalist), can I steal this?
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Feb 5, 2013,
#27
Ok, ignoring the fact this should be in the forum I actually mod, I'll answer as this has seemingly been missed by everybody else.


Quote by toBetheVeryBest
Okay, so low filters would remove low bass sounds, high pass gets rid of high frequency sounds?

Nope, I'm afraid the key is in the word 'pass'. Low pass = allows lower sounds to 'pass' unaffected while cutting the stuff above; high pass = allows higher sounds to 'pass' unaffected while cutting the stuff below. If the word after low or high is 'cut' then obviously it does the opposite and cuts below or above, respectively.

Would a EQ sort of be like a pitch perfecter?

Not really, though you can make non-pitch specific sounds have a tonal pitch with aggressive EQ (sounds terrible, pretty much never try this), try to think of it more as a tool to bring out different character in a sound. You boost or cut different frequencies to bring out different things. For example, I might boost the 500-650Hz range of a vocal track to increase the intelligibility and natural sound of the voice, as this is the rough area where our ears focus on voices and many things. I may then cut the guitars in that same spot to allow a little space for the vocals to sit in and increase the effect. I may then boost the 4-8KHz range of a kick drum, to increase the volume of the beater hitting the skin, because I want to make it more obvious when the impact is, and add definition to a fast double-kick pattern.

What is your favorite DAW, and do you have any tut's, or what would I search for to learn about this stuff?

I personally use Logic Pro, and there are thousands of tutorials out there, but your choice of DAW isn't a huge thing these days - they're all fairly similar and copy from each other, apart from the 'oddballs' like Ableton Live which is partly aimed at electronic musicians who wish to perform their songs live with the recording. I would recommend learning the ropes with Reaper as it is the cheapest commercial DAW out there.

Sorry if I sound dumb. I have literally no knowledge when it comes to this stuff.

Not a problem, but you'd seem more intelligent if you posted in the Recordings forum instead of trusting your fate to The Pit
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#29
Quote by Cavalcade
Moderators can't move threads to different subforums? Whaaaaa-

Can, but only if it's in a forum you moderate - I'm not a Pit mod so can't move this to Recordings for TS, if that's what you were wondering
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#30
Mixing is very important regardless of what's recorded or what genre it is. In simplified terms, think of it this way:

You have recorded four separate tracks to one song. Track 1 contains all of the drum sounds. Track 2 has the bass. 3, the guitar. 4, the vocals.

Now, because when you recorded all of these instruments their volumes and dynamics differed quite a bit for each other, if you play them all at once it's going to be pretty difficult to hear each instrument to its full effect.

So one of the things mixing attempts to do is to make every sound work well together within a stereo (or, occasionally, surround sound) space. So if the drums are too loud "in the mix," you turn them down. Can't hear the bass? Raise the volume slowly until you can. Vocals are too quiet? Bring them up too until everything sounds good and balanced.

That's the very basic goal of mixing. However, you can (and eventually should!) go much deeper. Since we hear from two ears, utilizing the stereo spectrum is a good idea. That means that you can move sounds to be exclusively in the left ear, right ear, or anywhere in between. That means something could be 100% left, and if you were wearing headphones you would ONLY hear it in the left speaker. Something panned 50% to the left would be significantly louder in the left speaker but still come through a bit on the right.

What this allows you to do is to space instruments out even more and create a wider, more interesting soundscape. Let's go back to our basic recording mentioned above. Instead of having everything panned at 0% (or "in the middle"), let's create a more interesting soundscape.

So, for example, we might pan the hi-hat 25% to the left, the ride cymbal 25% to the right, and spread the toms across the entire spectrum. We'll keep the bass drum and snare in the middle, or close to it. Crash cymbals can be panned around as well.

Generally, the bass guitar and main vocals want to stay right in the middle.

Guitar, however, can really benefit from being panned out to the sides. So if you double tracked your guitar part (which simply means recording the same part on guitar two SEPARATE times), one trick is to pan one to each side. So "Guitar Track 1" would be panned to maybe 80-100% to the left, while "Guitar Track 2" would be 80-100% on the right. Minor differences in the two recordings give your recorded tracks enough dissimilarities to create a "wide" sound.

And then you can begin to use EQ (equalization), compression, and limiters, for example, to smooth things out. These things are best learned by experimenting, and I am by no means an expert at them. Equalization can be used to smooth tracks out, highlighting frequencies that you want and eliminating frequencies that you don't (think of EQ like your guitar amp: you have a Low, Mid, and High knob to shape your tone with; that's a simplified EQ). Compression will smooth out the volume of the tracks, so there aren't giant leaps from quiet to soft. Don't overuse it though, or your music will sound dull and lifeless. Limiters simply stop your track from going over a certain volume and clipping, for example.

There are tons of tutorials online for this kind of stuff. Find a DAW and play around with it. I use Logic, something like Reaper is an excellent and cheap alternative. You can find free plug-ins for just about anything you could want these days. Just head to YouTube and type in something like "How to record (In [DAW])" or "How to mix."

I've found that while tutorials are helpful, nothing is more effective than actually working hands on. Start recording some music and assess what you like and don't like about the sound. Try to get every instrument where you want it to be, with nothing overly muffled or loud. You'll begin to understand sound a lot better this way and how to tackle different scenarios. Plus, asking "How can I get my bass to sound more fat?" or "Why don't my guitars come through well in the mix?" are much better, specific questions to ask that people can directly aid you with.

Does this all sound overwhelming? It is a bit, but take it slow! And try to enjoy it! Mixing can be a lot of fun. Every time you make a song and try to mix it you'll develop a better ear for how things sound. It will also force you to listen to songs by other people more critically, and you'll understand that mixing is truly an artform and there is no one strict way to do it. Be creative!
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Last edited by InfiniteRain at Feb 5, 2013,
#32
Quote by toBetheVeryBest
Very good article. I downloaded Reaper, and it is intimidating, but I will try my best to learn.

Good. Reaper is much better, and it'll get you a lot farther.

Really, though, becoming better at mixing is a process that can't be completed overnight. Read articles online and watch video tutorials, and gradually apply what you learn. It's true that practice makes perfect.