Best of the Best: Mixing Plug-ins and Techniques

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Best of the Best: Mixing Plug-ins and Techniques

Postby gregwar » Mon Apr 01, 2013 7:22 pm

this is something i'm very passionate about and have gone to great lengths to decipher through reading countless forum posts and years of experimenting. there are countless shoot-outs and everybody has an opinion but i'm trying to figure out for myself the best multi-pronged approaches

in this thread i'd like to cover specific effects like reverb, compression, eq, etc and various ways of achieving the best sound with native plug-ins, uad and proprietary dsp plug-ins, impulse responses vs algorithms, nebula, etc. and basically lay out everything i know about mixing in the box.

if this thread garners enough interest i'll eventually convert it into a series of blog posts relating to specific topics.
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Re: Best of the Best: Mixing Plug-ins and Techniques

Postby MetroSonus » Mon Apr 01, 2013 7:34 pm

It's something i'm interested in as well. I don't have much to add at this point, but I have been looking at the Slate VCC and NI 'verbs and compressors. Of course too then there's all in one programs like ozone.
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Re: Best of the Best: Mixing Plug-ins and Techniques

Postby MetroSonus » Mon Apr 01, 2013 7:52 pm

Currently there's a blind test going on between the NI compressors and The Glue over @ GS.With audio..

http://www.gearslutz.com/board/music-co ... -glue.html
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Re: Best of the Best: Mixing Plug-ins and Techniques

Postby christianrock » Mon Apr 01, 2013 7:59 pm

I will be following this with lots of interest, obviously.

I find it is a lot easier to read stuff in forums when I'm researching a subject. The going backs and forths within one topic are much easier than going through someone's blog, which isn't really as intuitive.
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Re: Best of the Best: Mixing Plug-ins and Techniques

Postby ElectricPuppy » Mon Apr 01, 2013 9:17 pm

I heartily approve this topic. :thu: Please continue!
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Re: Best of the Best: Mixing Plug-ins and Techniques

Postby ClavAnother » Mon Apr 01, 2013 11:45 pm

I do an awful lot of mixing, but I don't even know where I would begin as far as talking about it goes. Also, I have been meaning to showcase my studio in that one thread around here, but for one reason or another I never got around to it.
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Re: Best of the Best: Mixing Plug-ins and Techniques

Postby Plink Floyd » Tue Apr 02, 2013 5:48 am

Mixoring is one of those things that, before you try it, you say "Fssht. This is gonna be easy."

I'm personally at the stage where you say "Why can't I mix anything that doesn't sound like mucksocks?"
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Re: Best of the Best: Mixing Plug-ins and Techniques

Postby ClavAnother » Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:26 am

OK, to begin the serious discussion, I ask that you all consider the following:



1. Subtractive EQ
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Re: Best of the Best: Mixing Plug-ins and Techniques

Postby ElectricPuppy » Tue Apr 02, 2013 4:16 pm

Plink Floyd wrote:Mixoring is one of those things that, before you try it, you say "Fssht. This is gonna be easy."

I'm personally at the stage where you say "Why can't I mix anything that doesn't sound like mucksocks?"

This.
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Re: Best of the Best: Mixing Plug-ins and Techniques

Postby selfinflikted » Tue Apr 02, 2013 6:55 pm

Mixing. Not to say that I'm not weak with everything related to recording/producing, but mixing/mastering is definitely my weakEST.

I will also be watching this thread with teh great interests.
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Re: Best of the Best: Mixing Plug-ins and Techniques

Postby gregwar » Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:48 am

ok well i have 2 lengthy posts/articles started one on nebula and one on mixing and eq'ing. they're going to take time and research to do right, making sure my facts are straight, etc.

ideally this can spawn lots of lengthy posts that i can morph into articles that build and link to eachother like in the technical section and that link back to our discussions

i have to back to work tomorrow but hopefully its my last week for this season and i can throw in the towel. i agreed to help metroid with his blogoshpere and i think a series on mixing in the box would be awesome.

please be a little patient friends

greg


here's a excerpt:
mixing and eq'ing techniques

the main purpose of eq'ing is to carve out a sonic space for each part and to fix common problems like unnecessary bass rumble or hiss. first i'd like to talk about strategies that make eq'ing and mixing easier. this isn't a cop out i think its important to address the big picture before we get into specific plug-ins and techniques.

generally in the plug-in world you should try to subtract frequencies instead of adding them because it can sound harsh, digital, etc. special eqs exist like some in nebula (for example adding 'air' to a vocal) and if it sounds good it is good regardless of best practices but for the most part its better to subtract than to add.

the first thing you should ask is why do you need to eq at all ? ideally you can avoid it or to eq as little as possible. we may not always have that luxury and i'll get into correcting common issues later but just remember you can introduce phase issues, drain cpu and cause other potential problems.

one way to do this is to think about the big picture from the beginning. we can do this with instrument or sound selection, mic'ing techniques, mic selection, arrangement, etc. capturing or selecting a sound to fill its intended sonic space at the source make will make mixing much smoother (ala bruce swedien). obvs this is easier said than done but it doesn't hurt to start thinking that way.

some ways to get a head start in the studio is to consider the arrangement, even at the writing and rehearsal stage. if you have fewer parts but can still make the song interesting then each part can sound bigger and fuller (ala tony hoffer). if you can move a part up or down an octave so it doesn't interfere with something else then it makes mixing easier.

think what parts are going to be layered and what are going to stand out. layering (or masking) is when frequencies overlap and it causes multiple sounds to morph into one sound. for example combining violins, violas, and cellos into a string section or even adding one or more synthesized string sounds underneath to make it sound fuller.

its a lot easier for a lead to cut through if there isn't a huge pad that fills the entire sonic space. use lo-pass, hi-pass, etc filters (especially hi pass on bass elements of pads for example). too many wishy washy stereo effects can turn your mix into mush so i generally turn off the ones that aren't necessary. synth presets are the worst for this as they're trying to make the product seem impressive, not mix your tracks.

a common stumbling block when something's playing on its own it sounds awesome but really you should only consider what something sounds like in the context of the mix. if you're eq'ing a part you should have either everything or at least the other relevant parts playing at the same time to hear it in context.

on the flip side if a pad sounds really thin and weak solo'ed you shouldn't worry about it. often times this happens when cutting out the mushy bass/mid region and excessive stereo effects. if there's a break down later in the song when the bass and/or drums cut out you can have 2 versions of the same track: one 'full' version and one eq'ed to switch back to when everything comes back in.
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Re: Best of the Best: Mixing Plug-ins and Techniques

Postby ClavAnother » Thu Apr 04, 2013 3:13 am

gregwar wrote:
if there's a break down later in the song when the bass and/or drums cut out you can have 2 versions of the same track: one 'full' version and one eq'ed to switch back to when everything comes back in.



This works very well during an intro when a bass player or guitar player start a song on their own for a few bars and then the band kicks in together. I will often cut the track before the band starts and mix it prominently in the middle maybe with a distinguishing mod effect or whatever, then cross fade the original back in with the band.
Last edited by ClavAnother on Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Best of the Best: Mixing Plug-ins and Techniques

Postby Plink Floyd » Thu Apr 04, 2013 3:33 am

I thought it was a good job of presenting an overview.
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Re: Best of the Best: Mixing Plug-ins and Techniques

Postby Veracohr » Thu Apr 04, 2013 6:00 am

I'm confuzzled on the topic. What are you asking for?

I use UAD and some VST and AU plugins. The only UAD plugins I have beyond the basic included ones are LA2A and Dreamverb. I like the emulated EQ's and compressors, I just don't often find a use for them with my music. With almost all synthetic sources, I don't have an option for mic placement to affect the sound, so I often have to get more drastic and surgical than something like the Pultec EQ can give. The compressors are a little more useful for me, depending on the source. I don't use a lot of compression on individual instruments unless some sort of resonance from a sweeping filter is producing a huge peak. For reverb I use Dreamverb; I'm not usually looking for realistic sounding reverbs since my sources are almost all synthetic, and synthetic reverbs just seem to fit my music better. I use the stock channel strip often to combine simple EQ, dynamics and some modulation effects.

I use a free plugin called "Supaphaser" and it's all I could want out of a phaser.

For flange I usually use Digital Performer's stock flanger.

I'm deficient in decent choruses; sometimes I use the modulator section in the stock UAD channelstrip, sometimes DP's, but I'm often unsatisfied.

For delay I use DP's Echo and Delay plugins, which usually get the job done. There are some aspects of Live's delays I like, but since I usually finish songs in DP and I don't like bothering with ReWiring, I usually do without Live's effects. I have a free plugin called "ValhallaFreqEcho" which does frequency shifting on the delay. It's interesting, but of limited usefulness except when I want extreme sounds.

For distortion I use a free plugin called FuzzPlus. It's useful for a lot of things, although I've started experimenting with hardware distortions for some things, especially for the x0xb0x.

I also occasionally use the free version of Massey's TapeHead plugin, usually at more extreme settings.

As far as mixing techniques I think I've evolved away from doing anything by routine, at least intentionally. I do usually do subtractive EQ, but sometimes additive is OK especially if I'm combining the two to make some drastic tone shaping. I usually do significant EQ changes and I'm OK with it because of my sources. If I mixed more acoustic music I'd want to change it via mic placement more. I suppose one routine thing I do is to highpass many instruments to a reasonable degree. It may not always be needed, but I think I just got in the habit long ago, and at least it doesn't hurt anything. I also almost never listen to any instrument soloed these days, unless I'm trying to cut out a particularly annoying frequency that other instruments are interfering with identifying it.
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Re: Best of the Best: Mixing Plug-ins and Techniques

Postby MetroSonus » Thu Apr 04, 2013 12:45 pm

PBS for a while had Scott Houston, The Piano Guy on and I used to like to watch his show for tips. Very nice guy actually.. I emailed him or a while about stuff. But anyway, in one of his shows he gave as an aside as a sort of best practice to understanding the keyboard. He said that the lower octaves were for bass, the middle octaves were for chords and the higher octaves were for leads.

I thought that made a lot of sense and if you're doing synth or dance music or anything, you can easily translate those octaves into audio frequencies. I thought that was a good tip for both helping you write your music and for also helping keep the timbres separate and getting an over all "cleaner" mix.
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Re: Best of the Best: Mixing Plug-ins and Techniques

Postby christianrock » Thu Apr 04, 2013 1:31 pm

I agree that when a lot of people say "my mix sucks!!!" they should fix the arrangement first and most of the mixing problems will take care of themselves.

Of course there's some of you that just say "my mix sucks" but it doesn't really suck, you're just not done with the song yet. I'm looking at you SI.
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Re: Best of the Best: Mixing Plug-ins and Techniques

Postby MetroSonus » Thu Apr 04, 2013 2:20 pm

One thing I found that works too (YMMV) is to EQ the mids out of the drums. I"ve been doing that and found that if you EQ them down to taste, the lows and highs have a little more pop to them and it also frees up room in your overall midrage.
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Re: Best of the Best: Mixing Plug-ins and Techniques

Postby selfinflikted » Thu Apr 04, 2013 2:58 pm

christianrock wrote:I agree that when a lot of people say "my mix sucks!!!" they should fix the arrangement first and most of the mixing problems will take care of themselves.

Of course there's some of you that just say "my mix sucks" but it doesn't really suck, you're just not done with the song yet. I'm looking at you SI.


Stop looking! I can't take the eyes. THE EYES
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Re: Best of the Best: Mixing Plug-ins and Techniques

Postby Plink Floyd » Fri Apr 05, 2013 3:17 am

MetroSonus wrote:One thing I found that works too (YMMV) is to EQ the mids out of the drums. I"ve been doing that and found that if you EQ them down to taste, the lows and highs have a little more pop to them and it also frees up room in your overall midrage.
Sounds legit. Duly noted & pinned to cork-board.

:thu:
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Re: Best of the Best: Mixing Plug-ins and Techniques

Postby gregwar » Sat Apr 06, 2013 11:48 pm

excellent posts every1

verachor sounds like u know a thing or 2 about a thing or 2. that's pretty much the kind posts I was hoping for

ya eq'ing is really hard to explain. you can make a video or explain a specific technique but its only going to apply to those specific circumstances

ideally we can lay out best practices and our favourite plug-ins so people can find what their song needs without just saying 'boost the bass guitar at 110hz, cut 1000 hz on the guitar', etc.

compression is going to be hard to explain too. after a while you just kinda do stuff and the song is mixed. so getting people to the point where they can do what needs to be done requires explaining why certain tools are used and not only how IMHO

in the end I'd like to clean up the posts and organize them into distinct logical entries so they're not all 'overview' in nature
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