#1
Hey folks,

I am getting close to completing my first song using Presonus Studio One Artist. Admittedly, I have learned a TON in the last year, but still consider myself a novice.

My song has quite a few tracks; drums, three guitar tracks running simultaneously (and for a minute or so 4 guitar tracks), two bass tracks, and a pre-recorded wav. file during an interlude.

The song has an ambient passage in the middle, which is EQ'd and tweaked very differently than the heavier parts at the beginning and end.

Anyway, to make a long story short -- this song is complex with lots of layers. As I laid down my tracks, I applied various plugins to each track individually. Mostly, I've just used EQ and reverb. I've used a compressor on a few of the clean tracks and the bass.

My question is this: Is it bad to have different plugins or effects on each track? I've come to learn that it's pretty standard to "bus" all guitar tracks onto one bus, drums to a separate bus, etc.; and then apply the plugins to the busses, not to the individual tracks.

Am I going to have any problems mixing this down? It sounds great the way it is in my DAW, but I want it to sound as close to that as possible when I convert it into a wav. file. Thanks for your input!
Atmospheric dark metal w/ black and death metal influences:
(My Soundcloud page):

Pestilential Flood
#2
About the busses thing, there's no problem using different signal processors on each track.
Mind though that if you process everything differently the result is gonna sound less cohesive, less natural.

If it sounds good to you then def keep it that way, no reason why you should do something "because it's seems to be common practice to do that".

The thing won't sound any different when you convert it to wav.
wav is a container for a PCM audio stream, which is exactly what comes out of your DAW.
Name's Luca.

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#3
Whatever you want to do with the processing...there are no limitations as longas your PC can handle it!

It is useful sometimes to group reverb and delays as fx busses so you can have the sends send to the same effect, which in turn gives the illusion that they are in the same space.
#4
Cool -- thanks guys! It does sound pretty cohesive as it is. Mostly, I set my reverb levels in the context of the whole mix and copied the settings from track to track -- so for example on the main riffs, each guitar track has the same exact reverb settings. But during the interlude I've got longer reverb decays and what have you. If it comes out sounding how it does on my DAW, then I'll be very happy indeed.

One other question though --

How do you guys decide how much overall bass/treble content to have in the final mix? I've been listening to my mix with several different headphones and obviously it sounds different with each set. My recording headphones are fairly cheap but have a relatively flat EQ. It sounds pretty good on those with a nice balance of bass and clarity. I've got another pair of headphones (Sol Republic) that have a fair amount more bass. My mix sounds pretty good on those too, but possibly a little too bassy. Yet when I listen with standard earbuds, there doesn't seem to be enough bass/too much high-end. I'd like to be able to listen to it in my car stereo, but that won't happen until I mix it down.

So, how do make your decisions about how to tailor the sound for a variety of listening sources?
Atmospheric dark metal w/ black and death metal influences:
(My Soundcloud page):

Pestilential Flood
#6
Quote by KailM


How do you guys decide how much overall bass/treble content to have in the final mix? I've been listening to my mix with several different headphones and obviously it sounds different with each set. My recording headphones are fairly cheap but have a relatively flat EQ. It sounds pretty good on those with a nice balance of bass and clarity. I've got another pair of headphones (Sol Republic) that have a fair amount more bass. My mix sounds pretty good on those too, but possibly a little too bassy. Yet when I listen with standard earbuds, there doesn't seem to be enough bass/too much high-end. I'd like to be able to listen to it in my car stereo, but that won't happen until I mix it down.

So, how do make your decisions about how to tailor the sound for a variety of listening sources?


Reference tracks, use em. This is the secret sauce of pro engineers. They will A/B their new song with a favorite hot selling track in a similar style. This takes different monitors out of the equation and you end up with tone and balance similar to a well known, well produced track. I never mix without them because our ears will often fool us after long mixing sessions.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#7
Quote by Cajundaddy
Reference tracks, use em. This is the secret sauce of pro engineers. They will A/B their new song with a favorite hot selling track in a similar style. This takes different monitors out of the equation and you end up with tone and balance similar to a well known, well produced track. I never mix without them because our ears will often fool us after long mixing sessions.



So do you import one of those reference songs into your DAW before A/Bing it with your song? That is a great idea -- I hadn't thought of that before.

I hear you about our ears fooling us. I've been working on this song for over a year now (I never seem to have time to get much accomplished in one session). There have been times recently where I sit down and listen to it start to finish and get super stoked about how it sounds, and other times I'll listen to it and then feel the need to go in and tweak stuff endlessly. All I have left to do is re-record a volume swells track and this thing will be done! (At least, if I don't let me perfectionism get the better of me...)
Atmospheric dark metal w/ black and death metal influences:
(My Soundcloud page):

Pestilential Flood
#8
Quote by KailM
So do you import one of those reference songs into your DAW before A/Bing it with your song? That is a great idea -- I hadn't thought of that before.

I hear you about our ears fooling us. I've been working on this song for over a year now (I never seem to have time to get much accomplished in one session). There have been times recently where I sit down and listen to it start to finish and get super stoked about how it sounds, and other times I'll listen to it and then feel the need to go in and tweak stuff endlessly. All I have left to do is re-record a volume swells track and this thing will be done! (At least, if I don't let me perfectionism get the better of me...)


You can import the track to your DAW if needed or just select the WAV file from your laptop. Depends on your setup, but as long as they run through the same monitor system the reference track gives you a baseline to work with.

Tweaking endlessly is the bane of every engineer. We are never completely satisfied and at some point you just have to say "enough!" There is a great story somewhere about the tribulations between Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson over the mix for Thriller. They nearly killed each other and in the end it turned out great.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#9
I've got another quick question (and probably a very dumb question):

In Studio One Artist (or any DAW for that matter), if I export the project to mixdown, can I still go back in to the original mix and tweak it and then do a second mixdown?

Sorry if this is a ridiculous question -- I would assume that you can go back and make edits. I just want to hear the track in my car stereo so that I can make the best possible decisions on my mix.
Atmospheric dark metal w/ black and death metal influences:
(My Soundcloud page):

Pestilential Flood
#10
Of course.

Exporting a project means bouncing all of the tracks into (usually) two tracks and saving them into a wav/aif file, so the project will still be there when you've bounced and saved everything to another file.
Name's Luca.

Quote by OliOsbourne
I don't know anything about this topic, but I just clicked on this thread because of your username :O
Quote by Cajundaddy
Clue: amplifiers amplify so don't turn it on if you need quiet.
Quote by chrismendiola
I guess spambots are now capable of reading minds.
#12
Thanks for the help guys! I've mixed it down twice now and can easily go back and tweak. On my first attempt, it wasn't loud enough; I had to turn my car stereo up to "50" where normally "35" is kind of my limit. After tweaking it in the DAW, the next mixdown was quite a bit louder, but still not quite enough. It's now pretty loud at "40."

I've read that my master fader should not go above -3db before doing a mixdown, but I don't know how else to make it louder. Any suggestions? I more or less want it to be comparable to the sound levels already on my ipod.
Atmospheric dark metal w/ black and death metal influences:
(My Soundcloud page):

Pestilential Flood
#13
The process where you make it louder is called mastering and it is a separate and last step before the song is released, S1 (pro version) has special mastering menu, the manual describes how to use it.
You can also do it in the regular tracking project, you'd have to import the mixed wav file into a new project and apply compressor (or multiband compressor) and limiter after it, limiter has to be set to cut everything above 0db. I usually set the compressor for a mild setting to just squash the peaks down a touch and then you can bring up the input gain on the limiter. You'll have to use your ears.
There are presets on both and there is also a mastering chain in S1 that you can load in the presets, careful with the volume once you load it as it has some fx that can boost it up loud on some of these presets.
You final product has to be below 0db, I usually set the limiter to cut at -0.1db to be on the safe side.
#14
You mentioned that it has been more than a year that you have been working on this song and sometimes you get discouraged. We have all been there and experienced that. The hardest part of recording for me is to just let go and realize that the song is finished. It was easier when I first started recording on my four track Teac 3340 because it only had four tracks and in order to get everything I wanted on the song a lot of mental pre-planning had to be done before you hit record for the first time. You had to know where to start and where to end to get it all on four tracks. There was a lot of pre-mixing of tracks going on and once you pre-mixed there was no going back and redoing things. If you pre-mixed the first three tracks to track four and added reverb to the drums, you had to live with that reverb and when the four tracks were full it was over. Mix the four tracks and you are done.

Now we have unlimited tracks and we can add as much as we want and redo anything we want. For me this actually makes things harder (better but harder) because we put off making decisions that come back to haunt us when it comes time to mix. My biggest challenge is to get that final mix and walk away. It's our obsession to get exactly what we hear in our heads into a final mix. As Jimmy Dugan said, "It's the hard that makes it great."
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
Last edited by Rickholly74 at Jun 19, 2015,
#15
^^Yeah, it seems that the more time I spend on it, the pickier I get about how it sounds. But it has been an immensely enjoyable experience; and I have a deep respect for anyone who tries to make a living through music -- it's an exhausting process.

After burning it to a CD yesterday and listening to it in my car multiple times, I can say now that I'm 95% happy with how it sounds. But it was very revealing to listen to it in that setting, because I do a lot of driving and love listening to music while doing so. I can see just a few areas now that I want to go back and tweak, which shouldn't take long.

I actually got a bit emotional yesterday after I finally got it burnt to a CD and listened to it cranked in my car -- I got the chills. Part of it is that I can't believe I was able to produce something all by myself that sounds this good (it is an all-instrumental black metal song, so opinions will be varied on whether it sounds good or not ). But it is a brutal, grim, yet strangely beautiful song -- and I'm excited to share it with people.
Atmospheric dark metal w/ black and death metal influences:
(My Soundcloud page):

Pestilential Flood