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#378490 - 11/30/16 07:45 AM [Beginners Forum] Mixing tip: "How high is too high?" is asking the wrong question.
Registered: 11/11/12
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Icelander Offline
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Registered: 11/11/12
Posts: 3952
Loc: Iceland
Just some of my own fundamental mixing tactics that I had placed in the designated "Mixing" section earlier, which I was advised might fit well here too since I had written it out anyway.

My "Elementary" Mixing Tip:

Here's my simple approach to limit the risk of that cumbersome "this part is too loud" issue we all face at some point, starting with this fundamental statement:
Asking "How high (or much) is too high?" is asking the wrong question!
Instead, ask "How high is high enough?" and you'll have a much more successful strategy on your hands.
Think of it like any time you've had to calibrate a monitor, or a video game. Those instructions always apply the "Bring it all the way DOWN and slowly turn it up until.." kind of scheme, don't they? And this approach is just as helpful when it comes to sound. When you apply this method, you might even be surprised how little you often need to raise a level of things to get to the desired spot.
And of course the properties of the sound can make all the difference in this respect, pitch & (especially) frequency and all that. A mid-range sax can sound louder on your system than the bass in spite of what the numbers read. So going by the digits or graphics on your mixer screen is absolutely never the reliable way. Always let the ear be your master and final judge, not your eyes!

I realise that all this is very basic & general (hence the term "Elementary" at the top), but adopting this simple approach has served me well for a very long time cool
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#378621 - 11/30/16 04:03 PM [Beginners Forum] Re: Mixing tip: "How high is too high?" is asking the wrong question. [Re: Icelander]
Registered: 12/18/06
Posts: 1422
Loc: Hong Kong
lambada Offline
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Registered: 12/18/06
Posts: 1422
Loc: Hong Kong
I've been taking the volume of everything to zero,then raising the drums to 90 and then matching (By ear) everything else to that. Often the solo instruments are down at eg 80-83. I find I like the base usually at about 87-88 and backing piano /guitar in the 80s. It varies from song to song. I sometimes then take the whole mix up using the bottom fader in that nifty mixing window in BIAB. I've set up my pans as per the advise previously with the drums and bass at -5 to -10 or + 5-+10. Guitar and piano around + or - 35 and solo instruments either + or - 50-65. I've also put Nutrino or nearly everything. There's something about Neutrino that adds a bit of clarity, but I'm still experimenting with the settings on it. All in all, I'm very happy with the results so far and I'm starting to play around with a few effects on tracks (eg compression on a bass line). If I'm doing anything fatal to my live mix, please let me know. My vocal effects are all covered by my voicelive 2 processor. whistle It's peculiarly addictive...... wink


Edited by lambada (11/30/16 04:04 PM)
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#378817 - 12/01/16 10:41 AM [Beginners Forum] Re: Mixing tip: "How high is too high?" is asking the wrong question. [Re: lambada]
Registered: 11/11/12
Posts: 3952
Loc: Iceland
Icelander Offline
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Registered: 11/11/12
Posts: 3952
Loc: Iceland
There's lots to like here, for me this is your top pointer:
Originally Posted By: lambada
It varies from song to song.
BINGO!! cool

Other than that, and since you ask - In my view there's never anything "fatal" about mixing, it either works or it doesn't.
Just don't get too caught up by the illusions of numbers (you listed a good deal of digits in your outline). Your ear is your friend, your eyes not so much wink
And lastly, I had never heard of these plugins you mentioned, so now this information highway we got here has become a two-way street, the best kind there is! Thank you smile
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#378828 - 12/01/16 11:00 AM [Beginners Forum] Re: Mixing tip: "How high is too high?" is asking the wrong question. [Re: lambada]
Registered: 08/29/14
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Loc: North Carolina
David Snyder Offline
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I could almost ditto, everything you just said. Here is the order I do it in, I guess the same.

1.) Starting with everything down, get the drums as good as I can get them.

2. Bring up the bass so it sits perfectly with the drums.

3. Bring up the vocals so they sit on top of all of this but not too much. EQ as is necessary with just these three.

4. Start folding in other stuff with about the same levels as you mentioned.

5. Render with sufficient headroom to fiddle later in post production or "mastering." (Whole 'nother thread on that going on in Beginners Forum.)

It is easy to get this wrong. An electric guitar mix that was just a little too high but sounded great when your face was in front of the speakers or you were wearing headphones sure can sound horribly loud when you play it in the car.

smile

Those numbers you cited are excellent base reference points.
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#378984 - 12/01/16 05:38 PM [Beginners Forum] Re: Mixing tip: "How high is too high?" is asking the wrong question. [Re: Icelander]
Registered: 12/18/06
Posts: 1422
Loc: Hong Kong
lambada Offline
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Registered: 12/18/06
Posts: 1422
Loc: Hong Kong
Thanks Icelander and David. Yes, I'm finding I'm moving more and more to ears rather than numbers on the dial. Neutrino was the free giveaway from Izotope
https://www.izotope.com/en/products/mix/neutrino.html

I think it was to publicise the Neutron mixing platform. I decided to forgo the Waves Gold $169 deal, deciding to play around more with what I have first. I've started reading the giveaway mastering book from Izotope and watching /reading as much as I can.

Edit

Now listening on my computer speakers. Amazing how different the sound is from my headphones. Tonight I'll try the new mixes on the studio monitors.

Just wondering, do you guys use the built in BIAB Reverb or use an external one? I'm thinking I might use an external one. I took it right down on my mixes, but I'm not happy with the drums on some tracks. A bit boxey sounding. I should say, that generally, I dislike instruments, particularly vocals, awash with Reverb.


Edited by lambada (12/01/16 06:14 PM)
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