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Author Topic: How to mix ?  (Read 20597 times)
Martin E
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« on: October 05, 2007, 08:43:34 PM »

This thread is about mixing and track mixing in particular. Wyatt asked me a while back to share some tips and tricks. I feel funny doing this because I have been asking other guys for tips and tricks in the past few years myself. That's why I put a question mark behind the subject title. I don't claim to be a know-it-all so if you have any comments or other remarks feel free to share them here.

Maybe we should have a seperate Mix and Recording Forum to discuss such matters.

I'm working on a new song called "I remember you" at the moment and I will use sections from this song as mp3 examples to show what I'm doing.

We will start off with the drums.

FIRST PART

DRUMS

I've been using a drum vst called Addictive Drums from XLNaudio as my main drum plug-in for about 10 months now. I bought it almost immediately when it was released after having used the demo for a while. It really fulfills all my needs to get the drumsound that I want.

The first example  is the drumpreset Acoustic Pop from AD which is also included in the demo. This is what it sounds like straight out of the box

Drums Example 1       Straight out of the box

http://www.martin-e-music.nl/mp3/Drums%20out%20of%20the%20box.mp3


The sound of the preset is pretty nice but you will notice the kick is a bit boomy. Once we start adding the bass this is bound to be a problem area. So I've chosen to tweak the kick in AD itself with less low end and more of a kick sound. To this end I've cut the kick at 50 Hz. I cut the snare a bit at 5000 Hz to make it less bright. I've routed the toms to a seperate group channel which gives a bit more depth to the sound. Originally I wanted to give them some seperate reverb as well but that didn't sound right at all.

Now it's time to do the trackmix

On the drumtrack channel I've put an EQ, a plug-in called Puncher and a Reverb.

The EQ I use is a freebie by Slim Slow Slider called LinearPhaseGraphicEQ
The plug-in Puncher is as far as I remember an old Cubase plug-in
The reverb I use is a new one by Virsyn called Reflect (demo available but needs a dongle)

EQ        there's a lowcut at 85 Hz and a highcut from 12000 Hz
            (tip courtesy of Max) It gives a more compact sound.

Puncher         It does what the name suggests. More punch. I've selected
                    the soft compressor option.

Reverb      I've selected the drumchamber preset. Adjusted the gain 3db plus
                and wet level 38%

Example two is the the trackmix

Drums example 2              Trackmix

http://www.martin-e-music.nl/mp3/Drums%20track%20mix.mp3


To finish things off here's the drumtrack with compression on the stereomaster.
The compressor I use is the Golden Uni-Pressor by Kjaerhus: Preset "Mix Down".

Drums example 3            Master compression

http://www.martin-e-music.nl/mp3/Drums%20master%20compression.mp3


SECOND PART


BASS

Here we go with the Bass

I use a twenty year old Westone Thunder I Bass. It belongs to my wife. I don't know what she was thinking at the time. Roll Eyes Anyway she never learned to play the bass. We might have had a career, who knows.  Grin

The bass is recorded through a Toneport UX1 by Line6. There are some bass amp models you can choose from. I've selected a 1989 Amp model with a 4x10 silvercone cab model (whatever that means) The eq is set to: lowcut -2dB at 60 Hz, peak 6dB at 250 Hz and peak 4dB at 2500 Hz. Some light compression. You can select four different mics. I'm using a tube 47 close at 47% range. That's the distance of the mic to the cabinet. Which will give a more roomy sound than when the mic is set at for instance 10%.

Here's the first example of Drums and Bass. The bass is straight from the toneport, no further FX

Bass Example 1            Straight from the Toneport 

http://www.martin-e-music.nl/mp3/Bass%20Toneport.mp3

As you might notice the bass is a bit undefined and boomy. We're gonna fix that in the track mix.

On the Bass track I'll be using the LPGEQ again, the Puncher plug as well and the W1 Limiter, which is a freebie.

1   The eq has a low cut at 85 Hz to decrease the boom of the bass. A shelf from 200
     Hz to 800 Hz with a peak of 5dB at 500 Hz to add clarity and punch to the bass.
     And  a high cut at 2000 Hz

2    The puncher uses soft compression.

3    W1 limiter: Threshold -3.9 dB, Ceiling - 1,7 dB, Release - 242 ms



Bass example 2              Track Mix

http://www.martin-e-music.nl/mp3/Bass%20Track%20Mix.mp3

As you might notice the Bass sound is tighter and more defined in example 2



Example 3 is the Bass and Drums with Compression on the stereo master

Bass example 3              Master Compression

http://www.martin-e-music.nl/mp3/Bass%20Master%20Compression.mp3


THIRD PART

GUITARS

I finished the guitartracks. There's a total of nine tracks used in this song. Now I won't feature all the tracks here cos that would make it too long and unpractical. The basic treatment for the tracks is very similar however.

In this song I've used an Indie Electric Twelve String which is a remake of a Rickenbacker. The sound and action of this guitar is surprisingly good considering it costs a fourth of a real Rickenbacker.
Secondly I've used a Hagstrom Super Swede.

The guitars are recorded through the Toneport UX1 by Line 6. Amps and Cabinets are selected in the Gearbox which is the software that accompanies the Toneport.

I won't go into the details of the presets I've used because that's a whole different story on its own. (delays, reverbs and other effects are all done inside the Gearbox of the Toneport. Which means that they are recorded with the guitartracks themselves)

Suffice to say I used a very clean set-up with some delay and reverb for the Indie Twelve String. Amp and Cabinet are called "Jazz Clean". The twelve string really shines when it's recorded clean. Any attempts at any sort of light fuzz or distortion ends up in a muddy undefined mess. Heavily distorted it can have some use in single note phrases though. (which I used in the song Goddess)

The Hagstrom has a set-up resembling a Marshall Amp kind of sound with some delay and reverb.

The section of the song that has been featured so far has a verse and a chorus. The verse is played by two instances of the twelve string panned left and right. In the Chorus the Hagstrom is added. At the end there's two solo guitartracks added played by the Hag and the Twelve string simultaneously.

Here are the guitars straight from the Tone port.

Guitars Example 1        Guitars straight from the Toneport

http://www.martin-e-music.nl/mp3/Guitars%20only%20from%20Toneport.mp3

Sounds alright one would say. But what happens when we start adding the drums and the bass.

Guitars Example 2       Guitars straight from the Toneport with drums and bass
     


http://www.martin-e-music.nl/mp3/Guitars%20from%20Toneport%20with%20Drums%20and%20Bass.mp3

You may notice, and it's very apparent in the choruspart, that the bass is drowned out by the low frequencies of the guitars. We will try to fix that in the trackmix.

What I've done is that I've treated the guitars on their tracks but I also routed them to one  seperate group channel.

I will start with the track set-up.

For all the basic guitarparts (so not the soloparts) I've used the internal eq of Cubase (could have used the LPGEQ again but this way I'll save some computerresources) and the W1 Limiter.

In the verse on the twelve strings I've used

1     EQ             cut at 500 Hz and 120Hz both of -5dB.


In the Chorus on the twelve string playing the backbeat I've used

1     EQ             A high pass from 80 Hz.
                        A peak at 500 Hz of +2dB and a peak at 5
                        kHz of +4dB. This guitarpart needed a bit more brightness

2   TW1 Limiter   Threshold of -10 dB, ceiling -8 dB and release 200 ms.

The other twelve string in the chorus, playing the rhythmic groove

1 EQ                 Highpass from 80 Hz

The Hagstrom in the chorus has:

1 EQ                  Highpass from 80 Hz
                        A peak at 3kHz and 5Khz of +3 dB

2 W1 limiter       Threshold -10 dB, ceiling -11 dB release 200ms

Now these are a lot of numbers and figures. The common factor to look out for is the EQ with a highpass from 80/100 Hz which will clear the mud from your guitartracks to make room for the bass. One or two tracks have additional peaks at 3kHz or 5kHz  to add some more clarity and attack. The limiter is used to ensure a more constant level of the tracks.

On the short solo passage at the end (more solopassages are of course present in the full song) I've additionally used, besides the EQ and Limiter, a little bit of the plug-in Mda Detune (tip courtesy Max) This sets the sologuitars nicely apart from the backing guitars.

As said before all the guitars are routed to one group channel where I run them through the LPGEQ once more before they are finally sent on their way.

Group channel

1 LPGEQ        A lowcut from 200 Hz
                    Highcut from 10kHz


Guitars Example 3                Trackmix guitars only

http://www.martin-e-music.nl/mp3/Guitars%20mixtrack%20and%20group.mp3

The sound is a lot brighter and less muddy. This will even be more apparent once we start adding the Bass and Drums

Guitars Example 4               Trackmix Guitars with Bass and Drums

http://www.martin-e-music.nl/mp3/Guitars%20mixtrack%20and%20group%20with%20Drums%20and%20Bass.mp3

As you may notice the bass is no longer drowned out by the Guitars. (well I hope you do  Grin)
And the mix is transparent and clear.

Finally, here are the guitars, drums and bass with compression on the stereo master

Guitars Example 5                Guitars, bass and drums with master compression

http://www.martin-e-music.nl/mp3/Guitars%20Master%20Compression.mp3



That's it as far as the instrumentation is concerned. Next we'll do the vocals.



FOURTH PART

VOCALS

In the last part of this recording session we'll have a look at the vocals. The vocals are recorded with an AKG Perception 200 condenser mic. It runs through a pre-amp by Presonus called the Bluetube which also provides the phantom power. Next the signal is fed to the Line 6 Toneport where I have selected another pre amp model in order to shape the sound to my liking.

This is what the vocals sound like straight from the Toneport.

Vocals Example 1                  Vocals straight from the Toneport

http://www.martin-e-music.nl/mixthread/Vocals%20straight%20from%20toneport.mp3

Now this is a very basic, rudimentary sound. Lets try to get some life into it with the track mix.

The trackmix is done first of all at vocalchannel level and then all the vocal tracks are routed to a groupchannel for further fx

The lead vox and doubled vox in the chorus                  W1 limiter
                                                                              Threshold  -6.4 dB
                                                                              Ceiling      -5.5 dB
                                                                              Release     200 ms

Backing Vox in the chorus                                           LPG EQ
                                                                              High Shelf 100 Hz
                                                                              Cut at 300 Hz   -3dB
                                                                              Peak at 3kHz    +4dB

The backing vox is set apart from the lead vox by the eq settings. In this case it's also necessary to cut the lows because the backing is sung fairly low in pitch.

Next the Vox go through the group channel for some heavy processing.

Vocals Group Channel                                            1   GUP1 Compressor by Kjearhus
                                                                              I use the vocal preset and that
                                                                              works fine for me

                                                                          2  LPG EQ
                                                                             Shelf from 80 Hz to 300 Hz with a
                                                                             peak at 200 Hz of 2 dB
                                                                         

                                                                          3  Reflect verb
                                                                              Vocal Plate   60% wet
                                                                              Gain - 10 dB

Here's the trackmix

Vocals Example 2                  Track and Groupchannel Mix

http://www.martin-e-music.nl/mixthread/Vocals%20track%20and%20group%20mix.mp3

Now we add the instrumentation

Vocals Example 3                  Vocals and instruments with compression
                                                  on the master


Note:
Of course the vocal track and groupmix were done in relation to the instruments. From the order in this thread one might get the impression it was done the other way around.


http://www.martin-e-music.nl/mixthread/Vocals%20and%20instruments%20and%20Compression.mp3

That concludes the session. I hope it was useful.

I'll be doing some mastering on the song this week and after that the full song will be up for you to listen to.

Thanks

Martin
« Last Edit: November 01, 2007, 12:58:25 PM by Martin E » Logged
Wyatt
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« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2007, 08:58:31 PM »

Wow, Martin, that's great.

I know we all enjoy the quality of your music very much.

You don't have to know everything there is about it..the
things you *have* learned are going to shine a light into
a dark corner for a lot of folks..me included.

Thank you for sharing that. I appreciate your generosity.


Wyatt
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Fred S
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« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2007, 09:18:34 PM »

Great explanation and examples Martin!! Nice of you to illustrate.

My process is not all that much different than yours, of course it varies depending on the source...velosity vs. Battery. With battery I'm able to make most of those fx adjustments (eq, reverb, etc) inside the vst per perc and less fx on the track. With Velosity I must use multiple outs (usually 4) for the different percs and then fx on the track.

Your puncher might serve the same purpose for which I use Vintage Warmer. Really brings drum sounds to life. As VM also functions sort of like a compressor, I don't use one till I master (and only then if needed)...at that point its a 4-band and I usually punch up the bass a little along with the kick.

Of course, your drums do sound really good Roll Eyes
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Martin E
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« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2007, 08:14:12 PM »

Well thanks, guys. Hope it will be useful.

@ Fred. There's a lot you can tweak inside AD as well. Reverb, EQ, Compression, Saturation. The lot. The track mix just gives it something extra. Especially the Reflect verb is way better than the reverb that comes with AD. And also the puncher plug-in, which is indeed more or less a track compression plug-in, works better than the AD compressor.
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Martin E
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« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2007, 08:59:22 PM »

Ok I finished the bass part as well this evening. I´ve edited the first part of this thread and added the bass.
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kara
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« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2007, 09:16:22 PM »

This a very interesting, well explained, and the examples help a lot
Can't wait for the next episode

Thanks for sharing this here

k
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Wyatt
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« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2007, 10:32:45 PM »

Cool..great episode!

Wyatt
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MarioD
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« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2007, 11:00:25 PM »

This a very interesting, well explained, and the examples help a lot
Can't wait for the next episode

Thanks for sharing this here

k


Ditto

The examples allow me to hear what you’re talking about.

Thanx again - MarioD
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Martin E
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« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2007, 09:58:44 AM »

Thanks, Kara, Wyatt and Mario.

I'll be adding the guitarparts next. The next few days however I won't have much time so that's gonna be the end of the week or during the weekend.
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magmavander
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« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2007, 08:01:25 PM »

Yeah! Great and verrrrrrry useful  Grin Thanks a lot Mart!!
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Wyatt
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« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2007, 08:11:22 PM »

Thanks, Kara, Wyatt and Mario.

I'll be adding the guitarparts next. The next few days however I won't have much time so that's gonna be the end of the week or during the weekend.

Cool..your audience will be waiting patiently. Smiley

..gotta love those guitar parts!

Wyatt

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Martin E
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« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2007, 08:58:49 PM »

Thanks Mag

Hi Wyatt. I'll be putting up the guitars tomorrow. There are nine guitar tracks in total in this one. Not playing simultaneous all the time of course  Grin I decided not to have any other instruments in it so after the guitars it will be time to record the vocals. But I seem to have misplaced the lyrics  Roll Eyes Or the wife has been a bit too thorough cleaning. Oh, well
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Wyatt
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« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2007, 09:01:33 PM »


Hi Wyatt. I'll be putting up the guitars tomorrow. There are nine guitar tracks in total in this one. Not playing simultaneous all the time of course  Grin

Great!!  That sounds like it is going to be my cup of tea alright!

Wyatt




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Martin E
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« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2007, 08:27:23 PM »

The third part of the mix session has been added. This time it's all about the guitars.  Grin

See the the first post of this thread.

Hope you'll find it useful.

Martin
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Wyatt
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« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2007, 08:46:46 PM »

The third part of the mix session has been added. This time it's all about the guitars.  Grin

See the the first post of this thread.

Hope you'll find it useful.

Martin

I am just going to download now..thanks a lot Martin!

Wyatt
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