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Old 12-30-2018, 06:05 PM
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Default What is your order of post processing?

I was thinking that my order of processing should be consistent and I bet there's a order that more experienced do.

I thinking it might be
1. Stereo width
2. Normalization or gain
3. Low pass or high as needed
4. Noise cleanup
4. Eq, reverb at the end?

What do you do?
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Old 12-30-2018, 06:54 PM
Gordon Currie Gordon Currie is offline
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Since I often do multitrack recordings, my workflow is a little different (even when I do a solo guitar).

On each track, I open it in a wave editor and do pop/click cleanup as needed. I will often raise the gain a bit if I feel like the levels are unusually low. If there is extraneous steady state noise I may do noise reduction. All these changes are saved into the file.

For EQ, stereo width, effects I apply them as FX within my multitrack DAW. I do not write them to the file (equivalent to printing effects in the analog tape world) so that I have ultimate flexibility later to adjust an EQ or reverb.

Acoustic guitar ALWAYS gets a highpass filter of some sort. Combining acoustic guitar and other instruments tends to build up in the bass/low mid range area, and it is critical (for me)to keep things from getting muddy by constant use of high pass filters.

I like to use reverb as an aux send (global) effect. This is because I like to hear a consistent reverb sound as opposed to one reverb for guitar, another for voice, another for keys etc.
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Old 12-30-2018, 08:24 PM
midwinter midwinter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordon Currie View Post

Acoustic guitar ALWAYS gets a highpass filter of some sort. Combining acoustic guitar and other instruments tends to build up in the bass/low mid range area, and it is critical (for me)to keep things from getting muddy by constant use of high pass filters.
I've only been recording seriously for a few years, but it is consistently amazing to me how much I have to cut out of the low end/mids of an acoustic guitar. I'll HP at 80hz but then I'm making two or three subtle notches between there and say 600hz.
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Old 12-30-2018, 09:24 PM
DupleMeter DupleMeter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TBman View Post
I was thinking that my order of processing should be consistent and I bet there's a order that more experienced do.

I thinking it might be
1. Stereo width
2. Normalization or gain
3. Low pass or high as needed
4. Noise cleanup
4. Eq, reverb at the end?

What do you do?
There's no one answer for all situations. But I'll give you some insight from years of recording:

Stereo Enhancers should be used sparingly and only at the very end of the process. They can cause all kinds of phase issues if you get too aggressive with them...and too aggressive is surprisingly moderate.

Gain should be dealt with first. I'm not a big fan of just normalizing because you can. Add gain to reach your desired level, but not because you're not hitting -0.3dBFS. Things can always be made louder later. Be gentle.

High pass before anything else because all those unnecessary low frequencies will cause other processors to react to the lows. And low frequencies carry much more energy than high frequencies...so they can overload other plugins.

Noise reduction should not have to be a normal part of the process unless you're doing something else wrong. Capture the sound with minimal noise to start. Even the best noise reduction algorithms (like Cedar or RX) will leave artifacts behind. If you find you consistently need more than a high pass filter for cleanup (maybe EQ in general), than rethink your recording process.

I never put reverb directly on a track...always an aux buss. Probably a carry over from my analog days with real reverbs (like real chambers and hardware plates). I also don't know anyone who mixes professionally who puts a reverb on their audio track directly. I also always EQ & duck my reverbs & delays.

EQ is a definite & so is compression. I like to EQ into my compressor. Some people like to compress into their EQs. That's a taste thing.

If I were handed a solo acoustic guitar recording to mix I would typically do this:

1: Use clip gain to get a good signal, but leaving a good 6-9dB of headroom. Commit track to lock in the new gain.

2: Add a HPF to clean up low end mush.

(I would typically pan instruments at this point, but we're talking a solo acoustic guitar...so it stays dead center).

3: EQ to taste (typically the same EQ used for the HPF)

4: Add some compression

5: I typically add a de-esser after the compressor to tame the harshness, Compressors can exacerbate finger squeaks and string noises and a de-esser can really tame that.

6: setup reverbs and/or delays on AUXs and send the signal (post fader) to the effects.

7: on my Master fader I may add a limiter to help me get volume and some sort of harmonic distortion (like McDSP Analog Channel 101 or Metric Halo Character).

This is a pretty typical process for me, but there are situations that require additions (like a 2nd EQ after the compressor or a second compressor in parallel). The track dictates what it needs based on its final purpose.

For instance: I'm mixing a band right now where the bassist taps his string between notes creating an audible "click" in both the amp & DI track. This is when I resort to noise reduction and have be using RX to de-click the bass tracks. It's tedious but it needs to be done. I console myself by reminding myself that they're paying by the hour

So, that's a case where I do have to use noise reduction, but that's not super common for me with music mixes. I use it all the time for dialogue cleanup for video...but that's a totally different mindset.

Hope that helps demystify some of the process.
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Old 12-30-2018, 09:27 PM
DupleMeter DupleMeter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midwinter View Post
I've only been recording seriously for a few years, but it is consistently amazing to me how much I have to cut out of the low end/mids of an acoustic guitar. I'll HP at 80hz but then I'm making two or three subtle notches between there and say 600hz.
I've found that many acoustic guitar recordings can benefit from a cut somewhere around 500Hz and somewhere around 800Hz. Not always both, but usually at least one of them.

315Hz can be a trouble spot too.
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Old 12-30-2018, 09:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DupleMeter View Post
There's no one answer for all situations. But I'll give you some insight from years of recording:

Stereo Enhancers should be used sparingly and only at the very end of the process. They can cause all kinds of phase issues if you get too aggressive with them...and too aggressive is surprisingly moderate.

Gain should be dealt with first. I'm not a big fan of just normalizing because you can. Add gain to reach your desired level, but not because you're not hitting -0.3dBFS. Things can always be made louder later. Be gentle.

High pass before anything else because all those unnecessary low frequencies will cause other processors to react to the lows. And low frequencies carry much more energy than high frequencies...so they can overload other plugins.

Noise reduction should not have to be a normal part of the process unless you're doing something else wrong. Capture the sound with minimal noise to start. Even the best noise reduction algorithms (like Cedar or RX) will leave artifacts behind. If you find you consistently need more than a high pass filter for cleanup (maybe EQ in general), than rethink your recording process.

I never put reverb directly on a track...always an aux buss. Probably a carry over from my analog days with real reverbs (like real chambers and hardware plates). I also don't know anyone who mixes professionally who puts a reverb on their audio track directly. I also always EQ & duck my reverbs & delays.

EQ is a definite & so is compression. I like to EQ into my compressor. Some people like to compress into their EQs. That's a taste thing.

If I were handed a solo acoustic guitar recording to mix I would typically do this:

1: Use clip gain to get a good signal, but leaving a good 6-9dB of headroom. Commit track to lock in the new gain.

2: Add a HPF to clean up low end mush.

(I would typically pan instruments at this point, but we're talking a solo acoustic guitar...so it stays dead center).

3: EQ to taste (typically the same EQ used for the HPF)

4: Add some compression

5: I typically add a de-esser after the compressor to tame the harshness, Compressors can exacerbate finger squeaks and string noises and a de-esser can really tame that.

6: setup reverbs and/or delays on AUXs and send the signal (post fader) to the effects.

7: on my Master fader I may add a limiter to help me get volume and some sort of harmonic distortion (like McDSP Analog Channel 101 or Metric Halo Character).

This is a pretty typical process for me, but there are situations that require additions (like a 2nd EQ after the compressor or a second compressor in parallel). The track dictates what it needs based on its final purpose.

For instance: I'm mixing a band right now where the bassist taps his string between notes creating an audible "click" in both the amp & DI track. This is when I resort to noise reduction and have be using RX to de-click the bass tracks. It's tedious but it needs to be done. I console myself by reminding myself that they're paying by the hour

So, that's a case where I do have to use noise reduction, but that's not super common for me with music mixes. I use it all the time for dialogue cleanup for video...but that's a totally different mindset.

Hope that helps demystify some of the process.
Thanks. I have to learn a lot more, including about compression and de-esser, both of which I have no clue I bought Rx 7 Elements and I'm learning as I go along.
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Old 12-30-2018, 09:32 PM
Joseph Hanna Joseph Hanna is offline
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If time permits I just listen. I refrain from any audio changes as long as humanly possible. If itís a week all the better. Iíll listen endlessly if possible, no changes. The problems (and answers) then become progressively easier to identify and fix.

Itís impossible at this point to tell how many things Iíve pitched over the years I just didnít give enough time to emerge and might have been really good. Hundreds if not thousands of takes.

Patience is a virtue here.

In the end itís no different with micís, pre-amps, compressors and even pick-ups, in the live world, given enough time I begin to understand what Iím hearing and find a way to adjust. The rest is pretty easy
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Old 12-30-2018, 10:39 PM
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rick-slo rick-slo is offline
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Usually:

1. Adjust to moderate listening volume (if needed). Avoid peaks near full scale. Some plugins are unhappy handling a signal even well below full scale.
2. R or L track delay (usually in the range of 0.2 milliseconds) if helpful
3. High pass filter and more equalization tweaks if helpful
4. Reverb(s)
5. May go back and change earlier adjustments as I go along.
6. Perhaps add a little more volume at the end or just record with effects that were added and then perhaps add more volume to that.

Mostly though, get a good recording to begin with. Often times recordings are hopelessly immune to satisfactory improvement via post recording tweaks.
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Last edited by rick-slo; 12-31-2018 at 12:39 AM.
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Old 12-31-2018, 06:53 PM
Brent Hahn Brent Hahn is offline
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It took reading this thread to realize that I don't have an order. In fact, sometimes when I'm piecing something together a track at a time and mixing as I go, there is no "mix." If anything, at the end I'll touch up balances in automation.
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Old 12-31-2018, 09:26 PM
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Since I am relatively new at all this studio stuff. Here is my seat of the pants workflow for Drum Covers.

Set up mics. Kick, Snare and 2 overheads

EDIT -- I'll get back to this shortly....
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Old 12-31-2018, 11:50 PM
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I try to get everything as right as I can going in. Mic placement is everything - second only to the instrument and room acoustics. Flow can vary, especially depending on whether I'm just recording audio, or doing video, which is more involved with multiple cameras, etc. Once recorded:

Edit (if necessary and possible)
EQ (if necessary - usually just a little high pass filter)
Add as little compression as possible, just to smooth things a bit and bring the mix forward a hair
Adjust levels to desired point
Add reverb if desired

Sometimes I apply various plugins if it seems appropriate. I kind of like UAD's Ampex tape simulator, just adds a barely noticeable amount of warmth and smoothness.
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Old 01-01-2019, 01:59 AM
GTR1960 GTR1960 is offline
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I make sure all tracks are labeled, and placed in the order and file/group Iím used to workin with.

Then I gain stage every track shooting for -14 average on my meters. Peaking at no more than -6.

I go through and listen to each track, making notes as needed. This is part of my editing process, Iíll clean up noise and make tweaks if needed.

Then I start pulling up faders for static mix ( no eq, no compression, no effects). Iíll listed a few times through making notes on what needs to cleaned up, what needs to be tamed, and any other issues I might hear.

At this point Adding in HPF, EQ, and compression as needed, Iíll recheck the levels, and listen in context of the mix, to make sure my moves helped, and didnít hurt the overall mix ( lots of little moves during this part). I also listen to the mix in Mono for a lot of the EQ and compression moves. If youíre getting good instrument separation in Mono your stereo mix will be fine.

Once I get once I get the mix decisions made , like parallel compression, drum slam, etc. busses, and bus etc. Iíll add in FX routing and start bringing that in. Iím still moving back and forth between stereo, and mono.

I use mixing templates with my signal processors usually ready to go , so this doesnít take as long to accomplish.

After this I start working on my notes, making mute, volume automation, FX automation, panning automation moves as needed.

This is my usual work flow for a full band.

The main mixing process for me is still the same for single instruments though.
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Old 01-01-2019, 03:35 AM
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I only record for personal use and donít have the skills / experience to do much to something I didnít Ďcaptureí well. I believe my recording room is luckily good to start with. My order varies but usually:

Pan and gain
Edit - if needed and possible
High pass filter if needed
Reverb if required
Final check of gain

I donít compress, or EQ (other than HPF) and just in a few instances have had to reduce a noise.
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Old 01-01-2019, 09:45 AM
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Lots of good advice so far
And as some have advised so much depends on the specific session Solo guitar - multi track etc. etc.
Given that those of us who only record ourselves have one advantage.... we can perhaps utilize a routine or specific order. (with the understanding that we can also experiment as well )

Another nice advantage of only self recording is we can have very specific session/project templates already to go, with everything done --all routing and FX already in place

So in general terms as has been mentioned

Get the raw recording and the performance as good as possible, it is hard to over emphasise this aspect AND should definitely be considered as the most important part of " Post Processing "

NOTE: with that in mind, make sure you are not clipping/distorting the AD converters on the way in.

Two things that kill the presence, space, and clarity of the initial recording, are possible low end distortion from the instrument/s itself , and the build up of mud in the lows and mids from bad reflections and also ambient room or system noise.
The better you can make your room and the raw recording, the further ahead you will be at mix time.


Also as has been stated avoid any FX processing until you get the mix balanced , panned, and the levels set , and the mix is cleaned up with things like with High Pass Filter, and any specific Narrow Q subtractive EQ .

After this is when to possibly consider any time domain FX and only at the very end consider trying to boost the mix beyond raw level.
Think of it this way panning, levels, eq , compression and noise reduction are all ways to balance a mix and should be done first, and then consider FX's and any overall gain boost, so that with only rare exception, Balance first then Effect...Understanding that sometimes ( especially with multi instrument sessions ) you may have re adjust one or more of the balance elements or FX a slight bit.
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Old 01-01-2019, 12:15 PM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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The mixes I work on usually consist of acoustic guitar, vocals, & bass at a minimum, and depending on the project, there may be other tracks in the mix as well... background vocals, sax, cello, harmonica, a synth pad, etc. are all possibilities. There's no one way of doing things but typically I'm following this path to some extent...

If no drums are involved (if there's a drum track, that's always first), my usual process starts with the acoustic guitar. I'll eq that to get it sounding right and roll off the bottom end to make room for the bass. Then I'll compress just enough to tame the dynamic range so I don't hear any big swings in volume.

Next up is the bass. I'll roll of the top end first and then I usually use Waves CLA Bass if I want to do some tone shaping. I treat the bass differently depending on the job it's doing in the song. If the bass is basically rhythmic, I want to give it some thump and I'll tend to roll of more of the top. If the bass is doing some counterpoint stuff, I'll want a wider frequency range depending on the notes in play.

At this point I'm concentrating on the balance between bass and guitar. I'm also listening for any muddiness that might be happening on the low mids and I'll adjust what I'm rolling off according to what I hear.

Once the bass and guitar are playing together nicely, I move onto the vocal track. I'll usually eq first to get the vocal sounding its best and then look to see where I can pull the eq down on the guitar to create a little more sonic space for the vocal. If necessary, I'll add a de-esser. Then I'll compress enough to control the dynamic range.

At this point I'll go back to the acoustic guitar track and create a reverb aux track and do the same for the vocal. I'll work the tails, the predelay, the aux faders, and roll off the top and bottom until it sound right to me.

If there are background vocals tracks, those come next and basically it's the same process as the vocals but I'll usually roll a lot more off the bottom and some off the top. If there's more than one voice, I'll get the balance right and send them all to an aux reverb as with the lead vocal. I'll sweep for a sweet spot for the bkgrd vocals and carve out a place for them in the mix.

The order of any remaining tracks will usually go in order of importance to the overall feeling of the song.

After that, I pan what needs to be panned and I adjust levels that are affected if I haven't done that to any particular track when I worked on it, or I want to change how I panned something.

The last thing I do is to listen through several times to hear where there may be some issues. It's usually at this stage that I'll employ some volume automation if needed in a spot or two. Other tweeks can happen here as well. If needed, I may put an eq on the masterbus if I feel it's needed.

I think that about covers it.
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