#1
Hello people, the truth is I posted something similar before and I tried wot people told me but I still dont get it to sound the way i want! Is it a matter of eq'ing, compressors? the mix, the mastering? I dont know what to do. Im am honestly new in the whole thing and actually learning as i go!!

I want a more powerful sound on the kick drum and bass, and a clearer sound on guitars and everything in general, Im aiming to get something like the latests albums from lamb of god, trivium, in flames, machine head (Im aware I wont probably get that, but its good to have high expectations, right?) But, is this something that has to or can be fixed at the mixing? or at the mastering stage? I dont really know now!

To get a more deep and powerful sound I tried eq'ing the kick and the bass with a boost on the bass frequencies, I tried eq'ing the same way again in the whole mix, and again in the mastering,

To get a clearer sound I tried eq'ing the cymbals with a boost in the high frequecies, i eq'ed the guitars so they have a boost in the mids, and high mids, the vocals in the mix sounded quite clear but after it all they didnt sound very clear!

Please guys if could tell me wot you would do to this mix at the mixing and mastering stages, or what you would do to the instruments, vocals, the whole mix, and the mastering given this situation, I would really appreciate it!
Please dont criticise me too much, I know i might have neglected loads of things, and I wouldnt be asking this, if i didnt want to learn from you!
Thanks!

Here's what I have
http://soundcloud.com/damienro0
#2
Your top end is pretty good.

Try take more of the low out. It's what's clouding the mix. Take your kick and scoop the mids. Metal kicks have very little low end. Crank the 5k on the kick will give more of click.

Then filter the top end off the bass to make more room for the guitars. That should give you a good start.

Mastering doesn't do that much it's about ten percent of the process. It's all about carving space for individual elements in the mix and arrangement.
#3
Quote by Wild Hopkins
Your top end is pretty good.

Try take more of the low out. It's what's clouding the mix. Take your kick and scoop the mids. Metal kicks have very little low end. Crank the 5k on the kick will give more of click.

Then filter the top end off the bass to make more room for the guitars. That should give you a good start.

Mastering doesn't do that much it's about ten percent of the process. It's all about carving space for individual elements in the mix and arrangement.


thanks for replying man, sorry, for the questions am gonna ask if they are too basic
whats the top end?
when you say to take the low out? what frequencies are we talking about?
How do i Filter the top end of the bass?
Really mastering doesnt do that much? For the amount of money some companies charge for it, i though it really was a big part of the whole thing!
#4
Personally I don't think it's a bad effort if you've only been doing this for a year or so, there are certainly issues with the way you've mixed (and, most likely, tracked) this but it isn't something you'd listen to and go 'Oh my god, my ears!". I think you're definitely on your way beyond that stage of being a beginner and approaching a more experienced mix engineer.


First of all, the reason a lot of it sounds weak/has little impact is mainly because it is fast and cluttered (arrangement-wise) and there is also a lot going on at once at the same rhythm. I'd cut some of the low end off the kick to reduce the muddiness it can cause with fast double-kick patterns (a little snippet of info - I've read in a few places that the guy who mixed one of, maybe more, the Dimmu Borgir albums HPF'd the kick at around 60Hz because the patterns were so fast that there was an unmanageable build-up of low frequencies eating away at the headroom). I'd then consider putting some heavier compression on the bass (literally compress the fcuk out of it!) in the low end (can be done with a multi-band comp. or my favourite way is to duplicate the bass track to another track and filter all the highs out with a LPF at maybe 150Hz or lower and compress the living crap out of it, and bring the fader up to blend with the original track) and bring the bass volume up with that a little - then, with the bass tracks bussed to one fader, put a compressor with a low ratio on that group, and have the sidechain input triggered by the kick drum. Once you have the track playing (maybe just drums, bass and guitars at this point) play around with the threshold of the compressor so you're only getting between 1.5-3dB of gain reduction... 4.5dB at the most, or you'll get audible pumping). You want the comp. to have a very fast attack and a fairly quick release but not so quick that you notice the volume pump back up.


That should have your bass sounding a bit thicker and more powerful (remember to add in the high freq. of the original track for more attack/definition if you are struggling to get separated notes ringing out), so now I'd suggest bringing the guitars down a little - they're a bit overpowering, beyond the point of a sensible balance. Then maybe scoop the upper mids out a little, so that there is still the meat of the guitar (low mids of around 350-500Hz) and the treble for definition/intense distortion from a lower gain signal (i.e 1-2k and higher), and you should get a more stereotypical 'metal' sound. Then just adjust the size of the scoop depending on how it sounds with the rest of the mix... don't let it get too thin or tinny, but you should find a nice point where there is a lot of presence but still clarity and power. You may also want to boost the 'airiness' above 8-10kHz, to give a bit more depth and space without eating up too much headroom, and this should gel with the drum OH's better.

And then the vocals are a bit low in the mix for my liking - I know it's not metal, but think of a pop mix for a minute... to most people, the vocals are the main focus of a song/band, and they want to hear them clearly. Just because heavy guitars and drums are cool to musicians, doesn't mean the average listener wants that to be too high relative to the vocalist. With their lower volume, and the fairly flat and narrow-band sound, the vocals sound distant. I like to boost the vocals around 400-600Hz a little, cut the upper mids if required, and like the guitars I'd boost the trebley 'presence' zone to give a more biting, metal growl feel. You can also exaggerate the low end too, but be sure to HPF all tracks at a sensible point so you free up more headroom - you don't need vocals below 150Hz in most mixes, regardless of what low note a death metal vocalist may be hitting.


Other than that, it's a case of learning how to choose the right reverbs and compression settings, as well as other advances on basic techniques, and I can't be bothered to try and teach someone who may already know this anyway (in which case I've waffled on pointlessly ).


Hope that helps, and it was just my quick analysis and opinion - it's too late for me to crank my monitors at the moment.


Edit: and to answer some of the above, that I haven't already covered by reading your mind, mastering is really only there to put on some polish - if it sounds any further from releasable than 'a few minor tweaks' then mastering will not get it to the level of a typical commercial release. In fact, many mastering engineers are quick to point out that the main thing they're paid for is to give a final mix a second opinion, with their ultra-critical trained ears and high-end, purpose built gear/rooms to show up any possible translation issues across systems.

In some cases, a mastering engineer at even the top level may receive a mix and literally just knock 0.5dB off a couple of small points, or boost the volume a little, and send it back saying "it's great - needed almost no work, well done " and that still doesn't mean they did a poor job as a mastering engineer.

Mastering is as much about knowing what the song needs, as making corrections and adjustments. You pay mainly for the seal of approval that tells you your product is ready to release.
Hey, look. Sigs are back.
Last edited by DisarmGoliath at Oct 20, 2011,
#5
Quote by DisarmGoliath
Personally I don't think it's a bad effort if you've only been doing this for a year or so, there are certainly issues with the way you've mixed (and, most likely, tracked) this but it isn't something you'd listen to and go 'Oh my god, my ears!". I think you're definitely on your way beyond that stage of being a beginner and approaching a more experienced mix engineer....etc....



Hey man! Thank you thats an incredible reply, the thing is I didnt understand some things:

Whats HPDF'ing?
How do you filter all the highs out? whats an LPF?
Whats a side chain imput?
Whats HPF'ing?

Hope you can help me with this! Thank you for your help!
#6
Quote by damienro0
Hey man! Thank you thats an incredible reply, the thing is I didnt understand some things:

Whats HPDF'ing?
How do you filter all the highs out? whats an LPF?
Whats a side chain imput?
Whats HPF'ing?

Hope you can help me with this! Thank you for your help!

No problem, occasionally people (in this case, you) catch me in a generous mood where I'm happy to go into detail about things people ask


Anyway...

HPF = High Pass Filter. It's usually at the far left end of an EQ plug-in, and slopes downwards (towards -infinity dB) from a corner frequency, typically taken as the point where the signal drops by more than 3dB. This corner frequency is the 'HPF frequency' people will refer to. Essentially a HPF is just a sloping brick wall that gradually reduces (and eventually, stops) all the frequencies below a certain point from being audible... this gradually steepening curve is an 'exponential curve' and is something you probably don't need to know to understand what a HPF is.

They're used to cut out the low end from a track (or a whole mix/group of tracks summed together) below that point, so it isn't wasting space in the mix and making the sound muddier. It is a good idea, in my opinion, to put a HPF on the master output of your mix at 31.5Hz or higher (not too high or you'll lose the glorious low end thump when playing through club and venue PA's/large subs) as most speaker systems will not produce much below 31.5Hz and it is hard to hear distinguishable notes below that point. I also believe it is just below the frequency of a low C on a downtuned bass guitar.


LPF = the opposite end. It's a filter that cuts out frequencies above the given corner frequency. So if you applied a 'Low Pass Filter' at 150Hz on the bass, you would be cutting out everything above 150Hz gradually. I should have already mentioned, but the steepness of the filter curve is determined by the 'roll-off rate/speed' and is usually stated in dB per Octave (or db/Oct.). A typical HPF or LPF will probably range from 12dB/Oct. to 24dB/Oct. though many go from 6dB/Oct. up to 48dB/Oct. This just means that for every Octave (full scale note-to-note using the western 12-tone scale) you travel beyond the corner frequency, the volume will reduce by ______ dB (so 12dB/Oct. at 150Hz will make the frequency content at 300Hz approx. 12dB quieter than that at 150Hz if the levels were the same originally.


Sidechain Input = also called a keyed sidechain/key input/sidechain key. It's a way of telling a compressor when to kick in with compression... every outboard compressor has one in its circuitry, it just doesn't necessarily have one that can be triggered externally. Unfortunately, software compressors are digital simulations, so fewer of the freeware ones (or those coming with a fair few DAW's) allow you to select an input source for the digital sidechain. In essence though, you would select the kick drum track as the sidechain's input, and whenever the kickdrum played a strong hit and broke beyond a set threshold, the compressor would kick in and start lowering the gain of whatever track the compressor is acting on (in the example I gave earlier, that would be the bass group fader).

So basically, you can tell the compressor to lower the volume of the bass guitar by a small amount whenever there is a kick drum hit, so that they aren't fighting with each other quite so much, and the compressor makes a bit of space for the kick to sit in when it needs to, while keeping the bass louder and more powerful when the kick isn't there.
Hey, look. Sigs are back.
Last edited by DisarmGoliath at Oct 21, 2011,
#7
I'm not going to go to deep as Disarm already got most of it I am guessing from the length of his post. So a quick comments that really stand out.

-Kill everything below 35hz with a parametric EQ (high passing will work). You will get more sound and get rid of some mud on bigger speakers.

-Vocal need to go up for sure. This is low even for metal.

-Low mids and bass frequencies are for sure cluttered. Go through and cut every frequency you don't need on every single track. Then, as I am sure was mentioned above...its 1:30 am so I didn't read them...go through and notch your frequencies a lot of cutting can be done in the low mids that isn't needed and you will see a big improvement in clarity.

-Also some EQing needs done on the vocals. I can tell you need some highs for sure, but the rest I can't really tell unless I played with but they have a very "dull" sound to them.
#8
The above three posts are all on the money. If you want more of a walk through on filter stuff. (it's not that hard it just might seem a bit confusing) lets us know. I'm sure one of us will help you out.