#1
Hey guys this is my first UG thread. The site seems really useful so I thought i'd give it a go. Anyways, so I have a 7 song e.p. that I've recorded myself for my band. As of right now i'm in the mixing stage, trying to get everything even and leveled, fixing panning and figuring out automations for certain parts. This alone is difficult and tbh im not even sure if im doing that great of a job myself since I lack the experience that an engineer or someone with more practice in the field would have. So I have a couple questions as of now.

Is there a page out there with certain guidelines/information on what my mixes should sound like before i send them off to get them mastered? (If i decided to not do them myself)
e.g.

1.I need to know what level my instruments should be reading on the meter.

2. How exactly do I make them a stereo track?

Basically any information that I can use to get a good mix would be extremely helpful.

then if anyone could point me to mastering info that would be great.

I would also like to know if anyone could do this for me? At least the mastering that is.
Some links to your work would be great so I can see what my mixes can possibly sound like and then we can talk $ if tthat's what you're in to.

Thanks ahead of time to anyone who reads all of this, and is actually able to help me.
#2
If you don't know these things and are actually wanting to put an EP out for people to listen to there are two options you have:

Spend the years learning to do these things and spend the money needed to pay for all the equipment you need.

Or just pay someone to mix them.

Unless it's a passion project that's only for your consumption those are your choices.
All I want is for everyone to go to hell...
...It's the last place I was seen before I lost myself



Quote by DisarmGoliath
You can be the deputy llamma of the recordings forum!
#4
@chemicalfire

I've known this but considering how much time/money i've already wasted.
I can't pay anyone too much to do all of this. this e.p. was supposed to be out about a year ago. Unfortunately a local recording studio in my area ended up ****ing us over and now we have nothing. I just want to learn to do the mixing myself as to save some cash and im willing to work with someone on the mastering.

To everyone:


So if anyone can master this e.p. let's talk
#5
Right okay, what equipment are you using? How much time do you have to learn? How much do you know how to do already? Mixing isn't really something that can be taught peace-meal over a forum. It'd be like trying to explain step by step how to paint a picture.

Because honestly it's likely going to waste you more money and potential money (man hours) to learn to do it all yourself.

It's like a triangle.



You can choose one side, you can't have all three.
All I want is for everyone to go to hell...
...It's the last place I was seen before I lost myself



Quote by DisarmGoliath
You can be the deputy llamma of the recordings forum!
Last edited by ChemicalFire at Mar 6, 2014,
#7
I think it might be better for you to pay someone to do the mixing and forego the mastering than botch the mixing yourself and then have someone trying to pull dynamic range and quality from an already destroyed product.

What happened with the studio? Is the situation irrepearable?
My reasoning being that you could possibly take whatever was done there and have a freelancer finish it.

I guess give us one of your songs completed, as in mixed by you and let us discuss it, this will give us an idea what you need to work on. In and of itself, mixing is something that takes a really long time to master, so if you're just starting I am not sure you can set a realistic goal to do it fast.
#8
What form are your tracks in? WAV files or something else? What did you record on and what are you using to play it back etc. Was it recorded on a stand alone DAW (what kind) or a computer and if was a computer what software was used (Pro Tools, Cuebase, Sonor, Audition etc.) Lots of details would be good.
#9
Quote by ChemicalFire
Right okay, what equipment are you using? How much time do you have to learn? How much do you know how to do already? Mixing isn't really something that can be taught peace-meal over a forum. It'd be like trying to explain step by step how to paint a picture.

Because honestly it's likely going to waste you more money and potential money (man hours) to learn to do it all yourself.

It's like a triangle.

/Good\
/ \
/ \
Quick- - - Cheap



You can choose one side

I have
an old but decent pc
reaper, a decent amount of plugins, (old waves, tls max, drum kit from hell, drumagog etc.)
I have a tascam 1800 for an interface
shure sm57 at2020 (which is kinda dying) drum micing set
Floor pod x3 live
carvin 100w tube head, b52 4x12 cab, and a few different guitars to choose from.
I know how to record tracks somewhat okay, I know some basic mxing techniques like (side chaining, bussing, parent tracks, and a basic understanding of eqing and compressing.)
Im just a little stuck for now on how things SHOULD sound and what I SHOULD be aiming for.
#10
Quote by rickplaysguitar
I have seen lots of mixing books for sale before..
wh these particular books though? Any experience with them?
I have considered it before but I think I need some more convincing to buy a certain book.


I recommended the 1st one to my interns when I worked in a studio as engineer. At the time it was 2nd edition. It has both theoretical knowledge as well as a collection of interviews and 'artistic" knowledge from world class engineers.

The second one (Hamidovic) is something that I recently picked up and I think it explains in a very detailed fashion how to create a mix.

If you can hardly be convinced to pick a book to learn something you don't know much about, I don't see how anyone could possibly get you to pay for a session. That triangle diagram that was posted above will pretty much describe your experience.
#11
Quote by rickplaysguitar

Im just a little stuck for now on how things SHOULD sound and what I SHOULD be aiming for.

Are you an artist? I'm assuming yes. You wrote an E.P.

The record should sound how you want it too. Mix it to how you want it to sound. Listen to how records you like sound, and listen to records in your genre sound (particularly the most successful ones). It's just an extension of the writing man. Sound writing.

And it appears you have some knowledge of mixing, which is great, for the next recordings you'll be better at mixing and can do it yourself. But if you have a time constraint you'll have to pay a professional to mix it ... or just keep practicing mixing until your confident you can do it well!

#13
Quote by Rickholly74
What form are your tracks in? WAV files or something else? What did you record on and what are you using to play it back etc. Was it recorded on a stand alone DAW (what kind) or a computer and if was a computer what software was used (Pro Tools, Cuebase, Sonor, Audition etc.) Lots of details would be good.

Their in wav.
I used a pc.
I "think" these monitors http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/MAudioBX5D2.html
And reaper for my daw.
#14
Quote by kahleesi
Are you an artist? I'm assuming yes. You wrote an E.P.

The record should sound how you want it too. Mix it to how you want it to sound. Listen to how records you like sound, and listen to records in your genre sound (particularly the most successful ones). It's just an extension of the writing man. Sound writing.

And it appears you have some knowledge of mixing, which is great, for the next recordings you'll be better at mixing and can do it yourself. But if you have a time constraint you'll have to pay a professional to mix it ... or just keep practicing mixing until your confident you can do it well!


Thanks for the encouraging and helpful reply man!
I'm considering hiring someone to Mix and master for me if the price is right, anyone know someone or some place that is home studio budget friendly and yields good results?
#15
Depends on how you define "good results" and what your actual budget is, and what style of music. There's plenty of people here (including myself) who would probably do a decent job of it for a reasonable price given it was in a style they're familiar with.
#16
I'd suggest you find someone local so you can be present and fixes will be easy to apply. It could be done over the web but it is easier to work with someone who you can meet in person and get to his location.

If you're looing budget - look at local bands and see one whose mix you like and go from there - find out who worked on it, etc...
#17
Friend of azkaban, stop it before you spend a single dime on recording !

Guess what my friend of azkaban ! You can do everything for free and still get great production !

However you will be needing to dig deep for some cool free vsts.

For your guitar, you just need a clean input, you don't even need an audio interface, but one would be better to avoid having some problems with the mixing hissing and stuff.

Then, you need some impulses for them guitar sounds!

Then for the bass, same thing!

Drums : Find yourself a nice drum vst, I personally use superior drummer, but it's not free. Haven't found anything free worth using.

Synthesizers : Many free vsts out there, all of them are great.

Vocals : You just need a microphone and a compressor.


As for the mastering, I suggest you start practicing the mixing first friend, when you have accomplished that, do another thread and I ll be glad to help you out.
The symphonizer
#19
Good luck processing the vocal tracks without some sort of compressor !
The symphonizer
#21
Lol no, they call faders the small things you lower and you higher for the volume

But for signal peaks, faders won't really help you
The symphonizer
#22
Quote by Sympho
Lol no, they call faders the small things you lower and you higher for the volume

That's what compression is used for a lot of the time. Automating is used in place of compression, strangling dynamics. That's not to say compression helps for other reasons.
Point is. You do not need compression if you work in a daw.
#23
Quote by kahleesi
That's what compression is used for a lot of the time. Automating is used in place of compression, strangling dynamics. That's not to say compression helps for other reasons.
Point is. You do not need compression if you work in a daw.



That's like saying you don't need a shovel if you work at a farm. Sure, you might do just ok without one, but it's handy to have around with all the other basic tools.
#25
I don't think you understand the importance of artistic free will as part of the creative act of music production.
All I want is for everyone to go to hell...
...It's the last place I was seen before I lost myself



Quote by DisarmGoliath
You can be the deputy llamma of the recordings forum!
#26
Quote by ChemicalFire
I don't think you understand the importance of artistic free will as part of the creative act of music production.

I don't think i understand what you're trying to say here.
By artistic free will do you mean an artist can use production technique to hit their music into a ballpark they want to go? If so i completely agree.
#27
Rick,

Aim to finish just one of your tracks first of all, pick one which you think best represents the overall vibe of your EP. Get it up on soundcloud and post it on here and any other good recording forums - (sound on sound + Gear slutz are a good bet, but very different crowds to UG).

The good thing about starting with one track is that we will have an idea of what you sound like, what genre you're going for, and how good you are at mixing, once you have this to show people we'll be able to offer a bit more practical advice.

A set of drum mics and an SM57 are a good starting point for getting your rhythm section and guitars down, do you have any access to a condenser microphone for any vocals?
#28
Quote by EatShreddies
Rick,

Aim to finish just one of your tracks first of all, pick one which you think best represents the overall vibe of your EP. Get it up on soundcloud and post it on here and any other good recording forums - (sound on sound + Gear slutz are a good bet, but very different crowds to UG).


+1

+Forum: Killer Home Recording

Get feedback from people. If you are struggling with the mix you can send me the wav files and I'll have a go at one track for you.

P.
#29
Hey rickplaysguitar, I'm no expert whatsoever in mixing, but I'm going to tell you real fast how I mix my band's demos. You can have a listen to this one for reference, and tell me if you think this approach would be effective for you. Again, I am no expert, I haven't studied this. The little knowledge I have on mixing comes from le internet. (Also, I should tell you that I did that demo with barely no equipment. Only my really-low-budget guitar and my computer).

I would advice you to look up Joe Gilder. He is a dude who runs some sort of "email lessons" on mixing, I don't remember his web's url but look it up and suscribe for emails. He sends a lot of good info, tips and stories about mixing.


______________________________

So first of all, I start with drums. Since we're just talking about mixing and not recording, I shall tell you that, even though my drums come from EZ Drummer, I don't take mixing drums any less serious, all the opposite, I try and make them sound as natural as I can.


In a mix, you would usually leave the lower frequencies (the lower-sounding instruments) to the bass guitar and the kick drum. You're going to be using a lot of EQ to make this work. Why? Because having two instruments in the same frequency can result in you being unable to tell them apart clearly. This is when EQ comes in handy. Look at these pictures:





The first one is the EQ for my bass guitar. Reading it from left to right (from the lower frequencies to the higher ones), I decided to cut on the low freq a little bit because I wanted the kick drum (the other pic) to cut more through the mix. See, I had two things in the same frequencies, and by cutting a little bit of one of them, I'm making "space" for the other. This is not only a matter of personal taste, as some would drown me with a pillow for cutting lows from a bass guitar, but this is how I found that it sounded better. That's all that matters when you mix.

So, kick drum on the lows. You can give a little high boost so you will hear it pop more.
Toms usually take some of the low frecuency as well, but playing a bit with the mids can also give you interesting results.
Snare takes barely a little low freq, depending on how you want it to sound. Adding a bit on the low-mid gives it more depth, but I usually stay in the mids and highs, since those frecuencies can make it sound brighter.
Cymbals, hi-hat, ride, those are usually recorded ith overhead mics, and they take the higher frecuencies in your mix. Since I use virtual drums I can't really advice you much on how to mix these, but I don't usually need more than a little boost in the highs.

An advice I have seen many people give for mixing drums is using a high-pass filter on everything but the kick drum. This is, doing the lows cut you see on the bass guitar, but on every single track of your recorded drumset, except for the kick. I tried this, but I felt it was killing the tone of the toms, so I added those to the kick exception.


After doing drums, I move on to guitars.

There are different techniques for getting certain guitar sounds. What I to give the guitar a deeper, stronger sound is: I record the rhythm guitar first. Once I nail it, I record it again. yeah, I play the rhythm section again as accurate as I can. As I record in mono, I always duplicate tracks and pan them hard left and right (this means that one will sound through the left speaker and the other through the right), or say, the first track I recorded will be hard left and the other one will be 75% left. Why? To make the guitar sound thicker. You do this for left and right and you'll most likely get a good guitar sound. BUT, remember, this is no hard rule at all. It depends on the kind of music that you're playing. If you listened tothe song I posted before, the main riff consists in octaves, and that sounded really thin in the mix, so I did this trick to make it sound better.

Look at this screencap of my worksplace:

Open in a different tab.

You will see four light blue tracks called "Oct GTR". That's the guitar playing the octaves in the verses of my song. Why are there four of them? Look down to where the faders are and find those tracks. You will notice they have like little switches. I wanted to have two tracks on the left and two tracks on the right (with a little space between each other). By posting that pic I just realized I made a mistake there, since the tracks on the left are not spaced, they are both panned hard left, but I'll fix that later.

Now, for EQing guitars, you must be really careful and do subtle tweaks. A guitar's voice dwells between the mid-high ranges, so could start to add or take from the mids and see how it affects the tone. Remember, with EQ you're not aiming to CHANGE the sound, you're aiming to ENHANCE it, and of course, make room in the mix for other instruments.

About distortion, gain, etc, the less is better. If you have four different guitar tracks (2 left and 2 right) and all of them are cranked to 11 with gain, it's going to sound terrible. But if you turn it off a bit and you end up having cleaner tracks (it doesn't have to be totally clean, of course) you could further enhance the sound by adding distortion/overdrive/amp simulator plugins. But you'll learn to find a sweet spot when it comes to gain and distortion while mixing/recording.


After this, I do bass guitar, I can't tell you much about this, because mixing bass is not, to me, something easy. What I do, I try to make the bass pop out a bit by enhancing the low-mids (see the first picture I posted. On the bass guitar EQ, there's a little lump in the EQ line on the right) and also enhancing mid-highs (the lump to the left where it has a green point). By enhancing the mid-highs, you get to hear sounds such as the hit of the pick against the strings, the friction of your fingers when fretting, etc. Notice how I cut a little bit in the mids so the guitar could cut through.

Finally, vocals.

Never mind the horrible vocals in my demo because I did them in a hurry and didn't have much time to warm up.

I don't dwell much into vocals, I throw in a compressor, tweak it around a little bit to bring up my voice on the quieter parts and tame it a bit on the louder parts (you can do this for any instrument, specially guitars. If you don't have a compressor pedal, try and use a comp. plugin on a guitar track, and try to hear the difference in the sound). For EQing vocals, cutting the lows will take the depth of the voice away a bit, but it can help making space for other instruments. It all depends on your ears, you have to find a sweet spot. Enhacing the higher frequencies (look at the picture of the bass EQ, what I call higher freq. would be everything from the green point to the right) will give more "air" to the sound (literally, you'll feel like there's air coming through the speakers. It makes the sound brighter, more natural).


After you get everything sounding right, find the perfect volume level among all of the tracks you have, and voilà.

Again, I'm no expert, and this is baaaaarely acceptable advice for mixing, BUT I'm just trying to tell you how I do it. Don't take any of this as hard rules. I can't dwell much more into things like compression because I myself don't know the theory of how it works and what everything in a compressor does, so I'm sorry. But try things out. Experiment. I hope any of this bull**** is of use to you. Good luck.
Last edited by GMx at Mar 13, 2014,