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#311872 - 09/27/15 05:47 PM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] What is 'sheen'?
dcuny Offline
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Registered: 09/27/10
Posts: 2366
Loc: Sacramento, California
The question of sheen/gloss/polish/air/sparkle came up in Kevin's thread, and I figured I might have a go at it here. Assume that you've got a process like this:

Arrange -> Record -> Mix -> Master -> MAGIC!

  • Arrange: create a musical setting that highlights the ideas of the song.
  • Record: capture a clean and accurate recording. In pre-digital days, this meant getting a high enough signal-to-noise ratio. Post digital, it means recording without clipping, so the tracks can later be mixed without adding artifacts.
  • Mix: Adjust the tracks so each part is clear, relative to their importance, and will play back well on a variety of devices. What needs to be heard, and what is important changes over the course of the song. Ways of achieving this can involve something as simple as adjusting the volume to adding complex effects chains.
  • Master: Adjust the EQ, compression and reverb so the songs sound like the belong together, preferably by using expensive analog gear too expensive for hobbyists.

I assume that the process of mastering goes something like:

  • Listen to it with ears and a brain that's had years of experience.
  • Perform focused multi-band EQ adjustments.
  • Add final compression and reverb to unify the songs.

So there's a lot going on in mastering. But for the purpose of this thread, the question is: what is sheen, and where does it come from?
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Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?

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#311873 - 09/27/15 05:56 PM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: What is 'sheen'? [Re: dcuny]
Janice & Bud Offline
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Complete lack of mud smile

Only slightly tongue in cheek.

Bud
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#311914 - 09/28/15 12:34 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: What is 'sheen'? [Re: dcuny]
gibson Offline
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Registered: 08/25/03
Posts: 3069
Loc: wales
Achieving true air and sheen to your mixes is the next step to truly pro results.

Janice and Bud are correct in saying complete lack of mud, and IMHO that is probably the most difficult thing to achieve!! Well I find it difficult anyway crazy.
The above link may help, I've just read it and linked to it myself for future reference.

hope this helps a bit

Alyn
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#311927 - 09/28/15 04:12 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: What is 'sheen'? [Re: dcuny]
Guitarhacker Offline
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Registered: 04/03/09
Posts: 5797
The process is :

Arrange -> Record -> Mix -> Master


When done properly, the mastering is the final stage. We could argue of the exact Webster's definition of "mastering" for days...whether it can be done to a single song or if it refers to a group of songs..... but essentially it means to finish the process of recording and mixing. EQ, reverb, and compression tend to be the foundation of any good mastering job.

There's no "magic" in the process or after the process but the process when done correctly is "magical".

The sheen, the sparkly, the air will all be there as will the thump, richness and fatness. When I refer to mastering an individual song, I speak of it as small "m" mastering. And, if you recall many of my conversation posts on this, I don't use the word "mastering" very often when referring to this process. I use "polish" as the word.
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#311934 - 09/28/15 06:12 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: What is 'sheen'? [Re: dcuny]
Kemmrich Offline
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Registered: 02/27/07
Posts: 1815
Ya know, I think I was using the term "sheen" incorrectly -- it looks like it is actually a "technical" term in mixing -- a high-end "sheen". I guess my thoughts on that JB song I posted over in the other thread had to do with the unmistakable "presence" that the song had (which, unfortunately, you can't really hear in the youtube video as well as I hear it on the wav file).

Now that I cleared that up with another wishy-washy word (ha, ha), I think you get that from great songs, tight arrangements, excellent players, excellent equipment, excellent room, great mixing and great mastering. I don't think there is one magic bullet -- but great mixing and mastering can probably bring out the best qualities of what happened during recording.

Plus I think the analog recording of JB's early albums contributed to that also.
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#311940 - 09/28/15 07:40 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: What is 'sheen'? [Re: dcuny]
Kemmrich Offline
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Registered: 02/27/07
Posts: 1815
Interesting thing popped in my inbox this morning.

Originally Posted By: Graham_recordingrevoultion
I had a “formula” for making records but it was completely backwards. It went something like this:
Quick Recording + Long (i.e. Complicated) Mixing = Sonic Success
I would literally record as swiftly as possible.
Not wanting to “kill the vibe” I would pick a mic placement and go. ...
Then when it came time to mix, I would brew some coffee and prepare to dig in for many hours. Mixing (in my mind) was where the song came to life, and I was determined to give it all the time it needed to really shine.


His new process:
Originally Posted By: Graham_recordingrevoultion
... But one day I was watching some interview with some famous mixer and he had opened up a Pro Tools session of one of his mixes. He bypassed all the plugins so we could hear the raw, naked tracks.
My jaw dropped.
These tracks sounded amazing without any plugins!
In fact, they didn’t sound much different than the final mix.
....
These days I have a very similar (yet completely different) formula. It looks something like this:
Slow, Intentional Recording + Quick, Big Picture Mixing = Sonic Success
Do you see the change?
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#312038 - 09/28/15 04:54 PM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: What is 'sheen'? [Re: dcuny]
rharv Offline
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Registered: 05/30/00
Posts: 18958
Loc: Marysville, Mi. USA
IMO reverb is a last resort in Mastering .. usually you are trying to re-reverb a song with reverb in the mix .. so 'unifying the songs' can be problematic this way.
Also, IMO, when I hear 'sheen', 'sparkle' and 'air' I think of the two aspects pointed out below as concerns how it relates to mastering, along with a clean mix (as mentioned above; no mud!). Used prudently they add life to cymbals, vocals, guitars (especially acoustic) and the mix in general. They help things sound more 'live' as opposed to a narrowed bandwidth recording.

/ducking before the puritan firing squad starts






Attachments
Sheen.jpg


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#312207 - 09/29/15 09:00 PM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: What is 'sheen'? [Re: dcuny]
dcuny Offline
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Registered: 09/27/10
Posts: 2366
Loc: Sacramento, California
I guess the question I was trying to ask what specifically is sheen. I ran across this in a Sound on Sound article which aaid:

Originally Posted By: Sound on Sound
Prior to mastering, you might be surprised at just how ordinary some mixes sound. Mastering often involves nothing more than compression, limiting and equalisation, but it has a disproportionate effect because of the quality of the equipment being used and the expertise of the person using it.

...

One popular mastering technique is to apply an overall boost of just one or two dBs at around 15kHz with a wide bandwidth setting. This is what people mean when they talk about 'air EQ', 'sheen' or 'gloss'.
So although people use this term in various ways, in the audio mastering sense, this seems to refer to a brightness the mix has, often achieved by correctly applying an EQ boost.

Does that sound right?
_________________________
-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?

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#312304 - 09/30/15 05:08 PM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: What is 'sheen'? [Re: dcuny]
rharv Offline
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Registered: 05/30/00
Posts: 18958
Loc: Marysville, Mi. USA
I've always took it to mean this. Probably not done with only EQ boost though.
Sheen, Gloss and Air, to me, imply upper frequencies.
Warmth implies certain mids
etc.

It's kind of a basic definition, but these would be assumed by me when hearing the terms. Warmth also has to do with even VS odd harmonics in my eyes, but even these carry over to the other definitions.. even harmonics, while pleasant, mix in with the other even harmonics more .. again, this is all just my take on how I hear things.
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Make your sound your own!

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#312357 - 09/30/15 11:43 PM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: What is 'sheen'? [Re: rharv]
dcuny Offline
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Registered: 09/27/10
Posts: 2366
Loc: Sacramento, California
Originally Posted By: rharv
It's kind of a basic definition, but these would be assumed by me when hearing the terms.
Thanks for clarifying that.
_________________________
-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?

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