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Old 11-01-2017, 11:55 PM
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Default Consistent mixing and production

One of my biggest issues right now is getting a consistent finished product. Any recommendations for specific videos or series about mixing? I would like more info about eq for vocals and instruments, compression, etc. Right now I'm kind of just playing it by ear and not doing very well.
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Old 11-02-2017, 03:39 AM
Hurricane Ramon Hurricane Ramon is offline
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Originally Posted by BoneDigger View Post
One of my biggest issues right now is getting a consistent finished product. Any recommendations for specific videos or series about mixing? I would like more info about eq for vocals and instruments, compression, etc. Right now I'm kind of just playing it by ear and not doing very well.
Hello BoneDigger :

Good question .

I saw this post , not a bad idea .

http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/f...d.php?t=486196

I thought another way would be to take a pic of your settings on a finish mix with your screen
shot off your computer ot with a smart phone .

EZ :

HR
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Old 11-02-2017, 08:26 AM
MikeBmusic MikeBmusic is offline
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One of the best recording/mixing tips I've received is 'if you get it right when tracking you won't need to spend all your time fixing it!'

So, to consistency, keep notes (if needed) on how you record things. Set up the same each time you do a tracking session. This would include things like what mics you use for what purpose, distance to instrument or amp, position in the room in relation to walls or acoustic treatment. For vocals, set your pop filter a consistent distant from the mic, and stay against it when singing. Gain controls on your interface should be relatively in the same spot each time.
Develop a mixing method that works for you and your music. Most mix engineers start with the drums, then add rhythm instruments, vocals, lead instruments.
I do my initial mixing as I track, level-wise, as I like to hear what I've done before as I add tracks, so the drums are already balanced out (I use templates in my DAW, so I'm not starting from scratch each time).
I use the same reverb IR (room) for every song's instruments and backing vocals (again, part of the template) so there is consistency from song to song.
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Old 11-02-2017, 08:33 AM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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Originally Posted by BoneDigger View Post
One of my biggest issues right now is getting a consistent finished product. Any recommendations for specific videos or series about mixing? I would like more info about eq for vocals and instruments, compression, etc. Right now I'm kind of just playing it by ear and not doing very well.
There are plenty of mistakes one can make but there's no one right way to do any of this stuff. To get consistency, you have to first figure out what sounds good to you. In this regard, reference tracks are important. Find a recorded song you think sounds really great, grab the wav file from the cd, and import it into your session. As you're sculpting sounds, refer back to that wav file and try to get yours close to theirs.

It's also important to understand the role different tools play in getting a mix sounding good.

EQ is where a lot of people get in trouble. Instruments and vocals exist within frequency ranges. It's very easy to muddy up a mix by having various components of the mix stepping on each other. And if you're not recording in a well treated room, that opens to door to all sorts of nasty sounds showing up on a track.

This video explains eq pretty well.


This video explains the issue of overlapping frequencies (the source of muddiness) and how various frequency ranges can affect a mix.


In this video, the same guy shows how to create separation between instruments.


The next most important thing, imo, is compression. Compression is used to reduce the dynamic range of a track or mix by bringing down the levels of the loudest parts. This can be dangerous territory for beginners who often tend to over compress and squash a mix so much that the dynamic range disappears.

This video explains the concept.


This video does a decent job of showing how to use compression.


In this video, Dave Pensado focuses on compressor ratios but he gives a good demonstration of how to use compression for a purpose.


There's a lot more to a good mix (reverb, delay, etc.) but learning better use of EQ and compression is a good starting point.
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Old 11-02-2017, 09:27 AM
KevWind KevWind is offline
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Originally Posted by BoneDigger View Post
One of my biggest issues right now is getting a consistent finished product. Any recommendations for specific videos or series about mixing? I would like more info about eq for vocals and instruments, compression, etc. Right now I'm kind of just playing it by ear and not doing very well.

After an (admittedly cursory ) quick look at the web sight, some possible red flags jumped out . I could be wrong but at first glance is appears to be primarily a midi oriented music production DAW. And unfortunately sometimes "user friendly" can simply mean limited in workflow features, some of which are or can be very very important in learning how to create consistent audio production .
For example the bundled EZQ eq, is completely functionally inadequate for learning about and consistently implementing even simple EQ adjustments, for things like vocal and acoustic guitar . What it claims to be making "simple" by eliminating, is in fact the very things actually really necessary to learn about and understand what the function of EQ is. Unfortunately it takes away the most important aspects of EQ control , the ability to define and select specific frequencies (by actual Hz number) and being able to control the Q (band width ) and being able to cut or boost by specific decibels. And it does not appear to do subtractive EQ arguably the most important EQ method to learn and use

There are a number of other issues that I noticed do not contribute to what I think is an organized workflow but for now. I would recommend that if you feel you are absolutely committed to Mixcraft, at the very least if they do not offer an EQ with selectable multiband (at least 4 band), with, Q adjustment, high and low pass filters, and input and output gain controls. And a compressor with adjustments for attack , release, threshold , and makeup gain ...then find some 3 rd party plugin's that do

That said:


Like any endeavor consistency starts with organization.
If it is possible in Mixcraft
#1 set up one or more user defined templates for your session/project and always start with them. In those templates always have specific tracks organized in your preference of recording order, from left to right or in the case of mixcraft it appears to be limited to up and down and already routed . Have the EQ and compressor FX I mentioned above, already instantiated on your audio tracks and bypassed .
Have groups defined with group control selected.
Have group bus tracks defined and routed .
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Old 11-02-2017, 10:44 AM
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Al Acuff Al Acuff is offline
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If you've been playing it by ear and getting inconsistent results, you might consider giving your ears better info. Room treatment and high quality monitors don't have to break your budget. IMO they are essentials.

Recording and mixing is all about listening and making good decisions. Nothing wrong with doing it by ear. Without a good room and honest monitors you can spend bags full of money on hardware and software hoping for better recordings but why bother?

Another poster here said that the key to good mixes is tracking your source the way you want it to sound. It's true. I'd add that good arrangements make good mixes a whole lot easier too. My home recording experience has taught me the importance of starting with a good arrangement even if it's only voice and guitar. Also, dynamics are very important. If you play with good dynamics then you won't need to compress.
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Old 11-02-2017, 04:31 PM
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We all struggle with recording. I have struggled mightily over the years, but here is what has helped me to somewhat overcome my lack of talent:

The best eq is mic choice and positioning. I spend most of my time here. I know it is a cliché but it is true.

The best compression is no/very little compression. Playing dynamics are very important. Easier said than done, I know.

Singing? Use the right mic. It's best to have more than one mic type. Mics do not like my voice, but dynamic mics are more forgiving. One trick I've learned is to clone my vocal track (now I have two) and gently nudge one a few cents forward. This tends to smooth out the rough edges.

Good luck, and have fun!
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Old 11-02-2017, 07:42 PM
runamuck runamuck is offline
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Bonedigger,

When asking for advice regarding consistency, I take that to mean that sometimes you get good recordings and mixes and sometimes you don't.

Is that right?
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Old 11-02-2017, 09:04 PM
DupleMeter DupleMeter is offline
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One of my biggest issues right now is getting a consistent finished product. Any recommendations for specific videos or series about mixing? I would like more info about eq for vocals and instruments, compression, etc. Right now I'm kind of just playing it by ear and not doing very well.
It's hard...no two ways about it.

The best thing you can do for yourself is to use a reference mix to gut check everything you're doing. By that I mean, choose a commercially released song in the same general style & same general feel as the one you are mixing and go back & forth between it & your mix to highlight the differences. It will help you keep a target clearly in sight as you mix and let you know when you begin to approach it.

Check out these 5 videos put together by Izotope & Berklee: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0Gtbt2oxso (this is 1 of 5, the other 4 should be in the sidebar as related). In one section they go in depth into the reference mix process.

And. Use a spectrum analyzer (FFT) to see what your EQ looks like vs what a commercial release looks like. That will help you train your ears to know what you're hearing and to know how to get to what you want to hear. Here's a very nice free one that also is a great meter plugin: http://www.voxengo.com/product/span/
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Old 11-03-2017, 12:37 AM
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Bonedigger,

When asking for advice regarding consistency, I take that to mean that sometimes you get good recordings and mixes and sometimes you don't.

Is that right?
In a way yes. If you go to my webpage and just listen to a snippet of each song, you would hear a wide variety of screw-ups. In some the vocals are too out front, some not enough. Some sound too treble-y and some sound too bass-y. Three of the songs (2, 3, and 4) were recorded with a different setup and could be ignored. In many of these, it's a single take, guitar and vocals with separate mics but recorded simultaneously. With Thief in the Night, I did layering, but still did the acoustic rhythm concurrent with vocals. My plan is to separate each out in the future.

By choosing better keys for my singing, working on clearer recordings for each layer, and EQing and compression, I hope to get a much better recording.

Please understand, I am certainly no professional player, singer, or mixer. I just do this for family and friends to "enjoy".

www.mcmakinmusic.com
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Old 11-03-2017, 12:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevWind View Post
After an (admittedly cursory ) quick look at the web sight, some possible red flags jumped out . I could be wrong but at first glance is appears to be primarily a midi oriented music production DAW. And unfortunately sometimes "user friendly" can simply mean limited in workflow features, some of which are or can be very very important in learning how to create consistent audio production .
For example the bundled EZQ eq, is completely functionally inadequate for learning about and consistently implementing even simple EQ adjustments, for things like vocal and acoustic guitar . What it claims to be making "simple" by eliminating, is in fact the very things actually really necessary to learn about and understand what the function of EQ is. Unfortunately it takes away the most important aspects of EQ control , the ability to define and select specific frequencies (by actual Hz number) and being able to control the Q (band width ) and being able to cut or boost by specific decibels. And it does not appear to do subtractive EQ arguably the most important EQ method to learn and use

There are a number of other issues that I noticed do not contribute to what I think is an organized workflow but for now. I would recommend that if you feel you are absolutely committed to Mixcraft, at the very least if they do not offer an EQ with selectable multiband (at least 4 band), with, Q adjustment, high and low pass filters, and input and output gain controls. And a compressor with adjustments for attack , release, threshold , and makeup gain ...then find some 3 rd party plugin's that do

That said:


Like any endeavor consistency starts with organization.
If it is possible in Mixcraft
#1 set up one or more user defined templates for your session/project and always start with them. In those templates always have specific tracks organized in your preference of recording order, from left to right or in the case of mixcraft it appears to be limited to up and down and already routed . Have the EQ and compressor FX I mentioned above, already instantiated on your audio tracks and bypassed .
Have groups defined with group control selected.
Have group bus tracks defined and routed .
I appreciate the feedback! I should have also mentioned I have Ozone 7 and use it as a plug in and it has great EQ abilities, or at least seems to.

I also just bought the FL Studio DAW and hope to start working with it some soon too. Reaper never did it for me. I haven't tried anything else yet. Is there a different daw you would recommend that's user friendly but also good? I am hoping FL Studio meets this requirement. It consistently seems to get good reviews by users and music websites.
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Old 11-03-2017, 12:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Acuff View Post
If you've been playing it by ear and getting inconsistent results, you might consider giving your ears better info. Room treatment and high quality monitors don't have to break your budget. IMO they are essentials.

Recording and mixing is all about listening and making good decisions. Nothing wrong with doing it by ear. Without a good room and honest monitors you can spend bags full of money on hardware and software hoping for better recordings but why bother?

Another poster here said that the key to good mixes is tracking your source the way you want it to sound. It's true. I'd add that good arrangements make good mixes a whole lot easier too. My home recording experience has taught me the importance of starting with a good arrangement even if it's only voice and guitar. Also, dynamics are very important. If you play with good dynamics then you won't need to compress.
I have pretty good monitors (Yamaha HS8 pair) and I've done some room treatment. It's not perfect but it's not bad by any means. Yes, I agree that starting with something very usable would be a great first step!
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Old 11-03-2017, 12:47 AM
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I appreciate all the great advice and video links! I'll be going through these this weekend. Thanks again!
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Old 11-03-2017, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by BoneDigger View Post
I appreciate the feedback! I should have also mentioned I have Ozone 7 and use it as a plug in and it has great EQ abilities, or at least seems to.

I also just bought the FL Studio DAW and hope to start working with it some soon too. Reaper never did it for me. I haven't tried anything else yet. Is there a different daw you would recommend that's user friendly but also good? I am hoping FL Studio meets this requirement. It consistently seems to get good reviews by users and music websites.
Don't misunderstand Mixcraft may be fine I don't know enough about it to render an accurate judgement. I just happen to go to the video tutorials and found that the EZQ EQ in my opinion is not conducive to learning about EQ, and it is something I would not use in my projects .
iZotope products are rated top notch I use RX but have not used Ozone

Quick note as far as EQ goes and as a general rule of thumb, there is no doubt that the better the initial recording is, the easier it is going to be to get a good mix result. In all cases.
BUT also be aware that as far as EQ and and even Compression there is a vast difference between recording a solo acoustic guitar, and recording multiple instruments .
The notion and that if you get the recording right from the beginning you won't really need EQ or compression can work quite well and may even be optimum (depending on some variables like room and accuracy of recording chain ) in a solo recording....... BUT it is also true it may work increasingly less well, the more instruments you throw into the mix .
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Old 11-04-2017, 09:56 AM
runamuck runamuck is offline
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Bonedigger,

I just listened to a bit of each of the songs posted on your site. They sounded much more consistent than I was expecting based on what you've written here. although I'm listening through cheap headphones (Sony 7506).

In my experience there are no easy answers to your questions but just more hands-on experience needed.
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