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Mixing is magic! Basics, tips and tricks.

#1 User is offline   Fealow Icon

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 12:00 AM

Hi everyone, you may have noticed me in a few threads around the site (specifically those that involve discussion of audio processing). For those of you who are unfamiliar with me, I shall give you a quick brief.

So what is it that I do?

Primarily I'm a sound/mix engineer (but my skills also cover composing and producing).

What dose that title involve you doing?

As a sound/mix engineer I take a composition in its entirety and turn it into a finished product that sounds appealing and polished to the ears of the listener. This involves using a lot of computer software to fine tune each individual part of the mix so they work with each other as the composer intended to with out stepping on each others feet and fighting for attention. This is done via audio processing, such as EQ, compression, spacial and time FX etc... I can take a good song and make it great, but I can not turn a bad song into a good one! An easy way to think of it is like this:

"One can not make the element AU from poo"

Now you know a little more about who I am and what I do I shall explain the purpose of this thread. During my time spent on this forum I have noticed a general lack of understanding when it comes to audio processing, due to my personality I can not help but intervene and teach the masses! My intention is to fill this thread with the basics as well as countless tips and tricks on the subject of mixing, be it for instrumentals, vocals or whatever it is you require assistance with. This includes, but is not limited to:

- Dynamics (Compression, limiting, transients, envelope shaping and de-essers. Plus how and when to use them)

- Equalization (This is an important topic to cover as many people find this confusing and a bit daunting at first, however there is a lot to cover so please be very specific with your question regarding this)

- Time, spacial and modulation FX (Reverb, delay and chorus are the basics here, but it goes much further than that if you really want to get fancy)

- Mix structure (Think of it like building a house, it is best to start with the foundations... Rhythmic and harmonic content in this case!)

- Stereo field (The faux space you hear in front of you when listening to a pair of monitors and how and when to manipulate this)

- Automation (Ever wondered why you can only hear that echo after the singer shouts or screams? Or how a particular instrument gets louder over time? This is the reason for it... Most of the time).

- 0db (Why you should not go above this and standard ways of getting your mix to peak at this volume before amplification)

- Arrangement (You may think this is only a concern for the composer, but this can drastically affect your ability to successfully turn a good song into a great one!)

- And everything else!

(IMPORTANT: I could make this list very lengthy, but it is easier in the long run for you to bring your issues and questions here and I will add to the list when something new crops up. Honestly, if you think it is relevant to this thread then please do not hesitate to ask!

If I feel an answer I give is helpful to a number of different situations I will add it to the reserved post below this for everyone as a reference guide so be sure to check there first to see if you can find your answer (Updates to the reserved post can be found at the bottom of this OP). Within your post you may link to what ever you feel relevant to your question, for example; You may have a specific vocal that is giving you problems, if so provide with me a link that allows me to listen to this vocal for a reference to use in solving your issue.

Requests:

I will also be taking requests if you are having particular trouble with certain aspects of mixing and would rather get results coupled with a description of how I achieved those results (Please bare in mind that this can be a very time consuming process so unless I can not answer your question straight up, I will not be mixing peoples songs left right and center). If I have taken a particular interest in your song though I will offer to mix it for you and provide a walk through with the finished piece so you can learn from it.

Lastly, I would like to say that I'm good at what I do and love doing it, but I am human and do make mistakes so please feel free to make suggestions/corrections to help better this thread.

Right then, I look forward to helping you all out. Bring it on! ^^

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Updates:

- Added section on Equalizing muddy or muffled sounding vocals and a basic reference for a vocals frequency content.
- Edited the OP detailing what I mean by "requests".
- Added section on Arrangement and frequency conflicts (masking)
- Added more helpful information to the 600hz-800hz range in the "EQ and muddy/muffled vocals" section.

updates: 04/10/12

- Added section: Frequency and EQ reference for common instruments

- Added A general heartfelt realization I had one day that I wanted to share with you all. (I advise that everyone read this!)

You should skim through this whole thread if something has not been answered for you in the first few posts as I cover a lot of concepts, tricks and advice through out. Do a search of this thread using a keyword of your problem or interest and you will more than likely find me talking about it somewhere here.
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#2 User is offline   Fealow Icon

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 12:03 AM

EQ and muddy/muffled vocals:

Firstly you should begin with subtractive EQ (removing frequency content by lowering the gain below 0db on your chosen band). The terms muddy or muffled are often related to the mid or low mid frequencies between 100hz and 800hz (Muddyness comes from the lower end of this range and muffled from the higher). A good practice to get used to is to use a bell curve with the Q at default (how wide/narrow the band is) and gain at +12db and sweep through the specific frequency range until you find that offending frequency. Once you find it bring the gain down to -3db to see how it sounds. Still too dark and muddy? Then bring the gain down some more. If you find that you are going below -6db, stop! Bring the gain back up to -3db and widen the Q a little then repeat. Repeat this process until you are happy with the sound. alternatively you can find a happy medium with your first band then bring in a second band with a smaller Q to narrow in on a specific range without affecting the surrounding frequencies too much.

Another thing I should mention is that adding higher frequencies to a muddy sounding vocal to give it more presence (additive EQ) is not a good way to go about this. The problem here is that all you are doing is attempting to mask the offending frequencies rather than removing them. This will result in a less than desirable sound that takes up a lot of the frequency spectrum and will fight with your background music for the listeners attention.

Here are a few rules of thumb when it comes to frequency ranges and how they affect a vocal (There is room for movement outside of the ranges min and max, its always best to experiment).

100hz - 150hz: Adds weight and fullness to a male vocal

200hz: Has the same affect as the above, but for a female vocal

300hz - 500hz: Produces that muddy or sometimes boxy sound in a vocal that can make it sound muffled and dull.

600hz - 800hz: This range is where most of a vocals nasal quality can be found. Increasing or decreasing this is situational and you should rely on your ears here rather than rules. An easy way to think of this range when processing a vocal is to imagine that you are unblocking a singers nose the more you take away, so in theory this should help muffled vocals become clearer when used with subtractive EQ.

900hz - 2000khz: This area is the focal point of a vocal, most of a vocals energy comes from this range. Vowels can be emphasized somewhat by tweaking this range (Do not expect amazing results though)

3000khz - 5000khz: Presence and clarity can be found in this frequency range and additive EQ is okay to use here as long as it is in conjunction with subtractive EQ. Don't overdo it though, you should need no more than +3db if you have tamed your lows and mids properly. Overdoing this range will cause fatigue in the listeners ears.

6000khz - 8000khz: Here you will find your sibilance (Hissing sounds like "S" "Sh" and "T") You will usually use a de-esser to control this range, but a little subtractive EQ here can work well too. The range varies slightly between males and females.

1000khz+: Not a lot of frequency content is produced by a vocal in this range, but there is plenty of air and breathyness (Also know as sparkle) here to be emphasized for a natural sound. I would not go over +6db when tweaking this range as you may end up adding white noise rather than anything the singer produced.

Tip: EQ is about more than just numbers, maths can be applied when it comes to things like harmonics and overtones, but the best thing to rely on is your ears! They are your number one tool in this area of music and mixing!


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Arrangement and frequency conflicts (masking):

Most of the time frequency conflict happens when two instruments are playing something in similar pitch ranges. A good sign that indicates frequency conflict is when you find yourself turning one instrument down so you can hear another and then find you can no longer hear the instrument you turned down. For example a piano playing comp chords in the C4 octave and a vocal singing in the same octave. Both these instruments have large frequency ranges and when played in the same pitch range (pitch = frequency) they will fight for your attention. To deal with this you will need to somehow seperate their pitch ranges, an easy way to do this would be to simply move the piano up an octave or down (up tends to sound better in this case) Or you can get a little more complex and build your chords using individual notes from different octaves E.g a C major using C4,G3 and E3 rather than C4, E4 and G4 which are also known as inversions.

You can play around with the rhythm too , for example Having the piano play more between vocal phrases and having it hold a chord during a vocal phrase. Their are many ways to solve frequency conflicts before you even begin to mix and you should get used to practicing these ideas.

To recap:

- Avoid playing instruments in the same pitch range at the same time if possible.

- You have a large amount of note timings to play with in each bar, but that does not mean you have to fill all that space with notes. If two instruments are playing in the same pitch range try playing one off beat and the other on beat. If you have them both on the same beat playing similar melodies/chords they will essentially act as one instrument which is considered layering and can be used to make some very robust and interesting sounds

- If you are forced to change the octave of an instrument, but cant get it to sound right, try another instrument. You may be surprised at the positive affect it has on your song. This tends to work better going up in octaves rather than down.

You can find more on arrangement by doing Google searches, I suggest you look into it more before you decided that mixing is your issue. I could go into a lot more detail, but it would require a lot of space and such articles and guides already exist out there and are very professional and easy to follow. You could quite literally just start by searching "How to arrange music". Lastly do not confuse composing with arrangement, a lot of amateur songwriters/composers often don't learn about arrangement as they consider it to be very similar if not the same thing as composing, but this is quite far from the truth of the matter.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Frequency and EQ reference for common instruments:

Below Is an image detailing the common frequency ranges of typical instruments:

Posted Image

Here is the link to the site I pulled this image from: http://www.independe...ain_display.htm

If you scroll over the image on the site you will notice different information pop up on the right depending on which instrument and frequency range you currently have your mouse on. It provides descriptive words for the characteristics of that instrument and/or frequency range as well as the specific frequency value (approximately) you will need to edit in order to achieve more or less of that characteristic e.g.

Female vocal

Fullness: ~240hz

Presence/Recognition: 2khz - 4khz

Sibilance: 4khz - 9khz

Breath/Air: 10khz - 16khz

This should be a great help to those of you who are new or confused about EQ, I personally used this while I was learning and found it to be of great help!

Have fun experimenting ^^

(The interactive image on the site also details harmonics,overtones and fundamentals of the selected instrument. If you are not familiar with how these work with EQ and why you would use them then please ignore them for now. If you do understand what they are for then it can be useful when you have a particular note that is strongly perceived compared to the rest of the melody/chord, using the harmonics/overtones you can increase or decrease the power/resonance of a particular note using EQ).

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

A heartfelt realization:

Hello again everyone, It's been a while since I last posted any kind of tips or tricks regarding mixing. However today it's going to be a bit different and I will be sharing some general advice rather than anything specific like how to compress or EQ.

*warning: long post, but i promise it will be worth your time*

So lately I've been having some inner conflict with a mix that I was working on and this mix was actually for a project of my own. The fact that it was my own project is the main factor in what I wanted to talk about today as well. It actually helped me come to a realization and outlined what it is that makes a mix engineer who they are and shapes what they do.

The problem I've been having with this mix is that I just keep going round in circles with it, I found myself getting to the mastering stage and then finding something I wanted to change, something I was not happy with etc.. (I'm sure a lot of you know the feeling.) So by the time I got to opening the save files titled "mix 9.rpp" and "final mastering.rpp" It was quite clear I was encountering a problem that needed addressing (That final mastering file clearly not being true to its name *ahem*.)

What was the problem then? At first I had no idea either and left it for several weeks, thinking this project would never see the light of day. It felt quite liberating not being concerned with it anymore, so I just went about my normal daily life without going near it for quite some time. During that time I decided to check out some videos about the worlds top engineers and producers (CLA, Tony maserati, Dave Pensado etc...) as well as general mixing advice as I like to keep on top of what's happening in the world of audio. While watching a particular interview with one of these guys a few things were said that really stuck with me and reminded me of that project I had apparently abandoned, at the same time the answer to my question dawned upon me!

"What was the problem?"

And the answer to that was (regrettably) me...

Now what am I saying? I'm bad at what I do? I can't get any better than I currently am? I should just give up? Thankfully no and this answer would still be applicable to any body else in my position. You see the problem was me, but it was also partly that the project I was working on was MY project. So why is that a problem you might ask? Well the answer is simple and at the same time defines the one thing that allows a mix engineer to do what he/she does... And what is that thing?

The first impression!

You see a mix engineer has one trick up his sleeve (Or at least should have) compared to anyone else who worked on a project, but what is this trick you might ask?

The engineer does not know anything (audibly) about the song until that first time they dump all the tracks into their DAW and hit play! This makes a huge difference to the mindset involved in mixing. Without having this first impression at that exact stage in the project we would be weighed down by all the little details and things that really don't matter to us in the bigger picture and that we can't change (Or at least should not be able to without more money and time being put into the project than was originally allocated.)

The problem with not having that initial blank slate with which to record that first impression of a raw, unmixed song on is that we will often have a predetermined bias about it. This is especially true when the song is in fact our own and we worked with it and molded it from the ground up. Simply by being the person who created the project you are robbing yourself of that invaluable first impression and replacing it with a bias for the song to be a certain way and how you want every little thing to fit that description. You see with that first impression, it becomes very easy to quickly analyze potential areas of the mix that require attention because you're not swamped in tiny details, to be honest if you're in the position where you can create a first impression you probably won't even notice all these minuscule details the creator knows about, you will instead focus on the bigger picture that is "what needs to be done to get this song where it wants to be?". When we are the original creator of a project it becomes very hard to view a song from this POV because we grow attached to it and end up burning ourselves out because we think we know what's best and end up trying to do hundreds of tiny moves and edits in order to get there, when really that's not what the song needs.

Now I know a lot of you are not in the same position as me and consider yourself or at least advertise to be a mix engineer, so you might be thinking how does this relate to you and why would you need to know it? And the answer to that question is as follows.

If you are truly passionate about your songs and want the best for them the most relevant advice I can give you is to pass them on to a person who can truly see what is best for the song based on that precious first impression. It could be a person like me, a mix engineer, it could even be a friend or someone you know here on VO, it does not really matter either way (Although I would recommend approaching a mix engineer if professionalism is your goal) the point is it would be better for you and your song if it receives the tender loving care of a genuine first impression. You will save yourself time ( and grey hairs) that can be spent working on your next hit track! As well as knowing your song will have been given every chance it could have to sound the best it possibly can! Not only does it benefit you, but it also provides valuable experience to the person you so kindly passed on your precious song to. I'm aware people already post WIP threads and such, however this still leads to the same problem, you end up with a lot of little things that a lot of people point out that get in the way of the bigger picture. Keeping the first impression numbers down to just one dramatically improves the chances of your song getting exactly what it needs, rather than what everyone else wants. On the contrary you'll often find that what the song needs is what people will want when they finally do hear it and guess what? What they want will already be there.


*phew* glad I got that one of my chest and relieved I could share (what I consider to be) such valuable knowledge with you all. I hope this helps open up new paths for you and your music and allows you to get involved with people you may not have considered approaching before. Venture forth and seek out those willing to lend you their first impressions!

As a closing note I would like to make it known that I am now considering offering my first impression and mix experience to any member of VO (For free!) that creates an original song. If you would be interested in working with me please do not hesitate to send me a PM and we can discuss your original song.

Take care everyone and have a lovely day ^^

Fealow.
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Posted 07 September 2012 - 12:08 AM

I shall probably be spamming the heck out of this topic. I guess my first question would be on Eqing correctly. I know from what you, a few other members have told me, and attempting to read some guides that EQing is basically making certain frequencies not as strong and making others stronger. However, No matter what I do my vocals always sound like they are muffled and non-understandable no matter what setting I use. (Though I am using Sonika and she is just kind of know for this.) Any help for this?
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Posted 07 September 2012 - 12:48 AM

Really glad that you decided to make this thread, Fealow. I and many others will defintely benefit!

I'd like some help with my mixing, but rather than throwing random questions at you it might be better for me to tell you what I already do, as a start point from which you can then elaborate.

I compose instrumentals in FL Studio 9. Once I've written all the parts and chosen my sounds, I send all the individual instruments to separate channels in the mixer. Once they're in there, I do some basic EQ using either the multiband or parametric equaliser tool. My basic understanding of the principle of EQ is that you remove the frequencies that aren't essential to the instrument, thus opening up those frequencies to other instruments. Other than that, I pretty much guess.

So what I usually do is start by muting everything but the drums, take some of the top end off the kick, take some low end off the hihat, cymbals, etc. There are some presets such as "snare enhace" which I usually use because they're there. Then I go on to the bass (I remove the high frequencies but this doesn't usually make much difference to my ears) and other instruments, and once it's sounds roughly listenable I pan things (for the drums I base it on the position of drums on a real kit, for the other instruments it's pretty much random). Further to this, I have no real system, and even after EQing every instrument to what I think is an appropriate setting, I can hear that there's still a lot of "toe-stepping" going on that I don't know how to deal with.

I don't really know anything about the dynamics stuff you mentioned. I use compression sometimes but I don't really understand it. Limiting stops things from clipping, right? :S Envelope shaping is a mystery to me (could be origami for all I know). So yeah, before I even touch on any of the more advanced topics, I'd like to know what basic tools, system and principles you use for EQing instrumentals, and it'll become apparent whether I have the right general idea or the wrong end of the stick entirely. :P
I look forward to your response, and I hope you don't regret making this thread XD

[EDIT] I thought it might be an idea to link you to one of my tracks so you can better assess where I'm at: http://soundcloud.co...ironic-original
My hope is that by using this track as reference you can point out specific things to me and it'll be less abstract.
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#5 User is offline   Fealow Icon

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 12:48 AM

View Postsleepysheep7, on 07 September 2012 - 01:17 AM, said:

I shall probably be spamming the heck out of this topic. I guess my first question would be on Eqing correctly. I know from what you, a few other members have told me, and attempting to read some guides that EQing is basically making certain frequencies not as strong and making others stronger. However, No matter what I do my vocals always sound like they are muffled and non-understandable no matter what setting I use. (Though I am using Sonika and she is just kind of know for this.) Any help for this?


This is often a problem with low quality vocal recordings, but seeing as you are using a Vocaloid this should not be an issue which makes me think this is something that needs fixing in the Vocaloid software (specifically in pronunciation and phonemes). However when it comes to lifting the veil of muddy and muffled sound off of a vocal there are a few simple things you can start with.

Firstly you should begin with subtractive EQ (removing frequency content by lowering the gain below 0db on your chosen band). The terms muddy or muffled are often related to the mid or low mid frequencies between 100hz and 800hz (Muddyness comes from the lower end of this range and muffled from the higher). A good practice to get used to is to use a bell curve with the Q at default (how wide/narrow the band is) and gain at +12db and sweep through the specific frequency range until you find that offending frequency. Once you find it bring the gain down to -3db to see how it sounds. Still too dark and muddy? Then bring the gain down some more. If you find that you are going below -6db, stop! Bring the gain back up to -3db and widen the Q a little then repeat. Repeat this process until you are happy with the sound. alternatively you can find a happy medium with your first band then bring in a second band with a smaller Q to narrow in on a specific range without affecting the surrounding frequencies too much.

Another thing I should mention is that adding higher frequencies to a muddy sounding vocal to give it more presence (additive EQ) is not a good way to go about this. The problem here is that all you are doing is attempting to mask the offending frequencies rather than removing them. This will result in a less than desirable sound that takes up a lot of the frequency spectrum and will fight with your background music for the listeners attention.

Here are a few rules of thumb when it comes to frequency ranges and how they affect a vocal (There is room for movement outside of the ranges min and max, its always best to experiment).

100hz - 150hz: Adds weight and fullness to a male vocal

200hz: Has the same affect as the above, but for a female vocal

300hz - 500hz: Produces that muddy or sometimes boxy sound in a vocal that can make it sound muffled and dull.

600hz - 800hz: This range is where most of a vocals nasal quality can be found. Increasing or decreasing this is situational and you should rely on your ears here rather than rules.

900hz - 2000khz: This area is the focal point of a vocal, most of a vocals energy comes from this range. Vowels can be emphasized somewhat by tweaking this range (Do not expect amazing results though)

3000khz - 5000khz: Presence and clarity can be found in this frequency range and additive EQ is okay to use here as long as it is in conjunction with subtractive EQ. Don't overdo it though, you should need no more than +3db if you have tamed your lows and mids properly. Overdoing this range will cause fatigue in the listeners ears.

6000khz - 8000khz: Here you will find your sibilance (Hissing sounds like "S" "Sh" and "T") You will usually use a de-esser to control this range, but a little subtractive EQ here can work well too. The range varies slightly between males and females.

1000khz+: Not a lot of frequency content is produced by a vocal in this range, but there is plenty of air and breathyness (Also know as sparkle) here to be emphasized for a natural sound. I would not go over +6db when tweaking this range as you may end up adding white noise rather than anything the singer produced.

Hopefully this should apply to more than one person on this forum, hence the in depth wall of text haha!
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Posted 07 September 2012 - 01:15 AM

You're a pro engineer - you do this for a living?


#7 User is offline   Fealow Icon

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 01:31 AM

View Postnewtypefag, on 07 September 2012 - 02:24 AM, said:

You're a pro engineer - you do this for a living?


I do not do this for a living so I am not a "Pro engineer", but I do earn an income from it here and there. This is my main source of media output when it comes to music though and perhaps one day I will be able to say I am a "Pro engineer". What I am sharing with you all is what I have gathered from experience over the years doing what I do and countless hours of my own research and trial and error. It is entirely up to you to use this guidance and advice I do not endorse it as gospel, but simply a hand to hold while finding your way.

@ Antares

I'll get round to answering you in a bit mate.
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#8 User is offline   Fealow Icon

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 02:22 AM

View PostAntares, on 07 September 2012 - 01:57 AM, said:

Really glad that you decided to make this thread, Fealow. I and many others will defintely benefit!

I'd like some help with my mixing, but rather than throwing random questions at you it might be better for me to tell you what I already do, as a start point from which you can then elaborate.

I compose instrumentals in FL Studio 9. Once I've written all the parts and chosen my sounds, I send all the individual instruments to separate channels in the mixer. Once they're in there, I do some basic EQ using either the multiband or parametric equaliser tool. My basic understanding of the principle of EQ is that you remove the frequencies that aren't essential to the instrument, thus opening up those frequencies to other instruments. Other than that, I pretty much guess.


Your understanding of basic EQ is good, as this is primarily what it is used for. Although I would avoid guessing and take up the practice of frequency sweeping like I explained in my Vocal EQ section.

Quote

So what I usually do is start by muting everything but the drums, take some of the top end off the kick, take some low end off the hihat, cymbals, etc. There are some presets such as "snare enhace" which I usually use because they're there. Then I go on to the bass (I remove the high frequencies but this doesn't usually make much difference to my ears) and other instruments, and once it's sounds roughly listenable I pan things (for the drums I base it on the position of drums on a real kit, for the other instruments it's pretty much random). Further to this, I have no real system, and even after EQing every instrument to what I think is an appropriate setting, I can hear that there's still a lot of "toe-stepping" going on that I don't know how to deal with.


How much of the kicks top end are we talking? and what kind of EQ band are you using to do this? Hopefully a low pass filter? Same questions for Hi hat. Presets are fine to use and will save a lot of time, but you should tweak them to the sound of your specific instrument. Are you putting the snare, kick and bass in the center of the stereo field? I assume you are. You should avoid randomly panning, everything has a place where its best suited, but this is very situational again. An easy way to vision it and something you can generally follow as a guide line is: The lighter the instruments sound feels the further away from the center you can pan it. That is subject to change though due to things like compression and native stereo sounds like piano and synths.

My first impression from what you are telling me is that your issue stems from the arrangement, if you are properly EQing unnecessary frequencies and still finding your instruments fighting for attention, you may need to go back to the composing stage. Usually we do not have to do anything to drastic though. Most of the time frequency conflict happens when two instruments are playing something in similar pitch ranges, for example a piano playing comp chords in the C4 octave and a vocal singing in the same octave. Both these instruments have large frequency ranges and when played in the same pitch range (pitch = frequency) they will fight for your attention. To deal with this you will need to somehow separate their pitch ranges, an easy way to do this would be to simply move the piano up an octave or down (up tends to sound better in this case) Or you can get a little more complex and build your chords using individual notes from different octaves E.g a C major using C4,G3 and E3 rather than C4, E4 and G4.

You can also play around with the pianos rhythm, Having the piano play more between vocal phrases and having it hold a chord during a vocal phrase. Their are many ways to solve frequency conflicts before you even being to mix and you should get used to practicing these ideas. To recap:

- Avoid playing instruments in the same pitch range at the same time if possible.

- You have a large amount of note timings to play with in each bar, but that does not mean you have to fill all that space with notes. If two instruments are playing in the same pitch range try playing one off beat and the other on beat. If you have them both on the same beat playing similar melodies/chords they will essentially act as one instrument.

- If you are forced to change the octave of an instrument, but cant get it to sound right, try another instrument. You may be surprised at the positive affect it has on your song. This tends to work better going up in octaves rather than down.

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I don't really know anything about the dynamics stuff you mentioned. I use compression sometimes but I don't really understand it. Limiting stops things from clipping, right? :S Envelope shaping is a mystery to me (could be origami for all I know). So yeah, before I even touch on any of the more advanced topics, I'd like to know what basic tools, system and principles you use for EQing instrumentals, and it'll become apparent whether I have the right general idea or the wrong end of the stick entirely. :P
I look forward to your response, and I hope you don't regret making this thread XD



The problem here is that compression tends to go before EQ otherwise all your doing is squashing all the frequency changes you just made into one flat level. I will go into compression another time though as it requires a detailed explanation for this scenario and how it fits in with arrangement and EQ.

I've not listened to the track yet by the way, but will do soon.

EDIT: One other thing to add, are you putting individual parts of the drum on separate tracks? e.g kick, snare, hi-hat and cymbals on separate tracks and processing them individually?
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#9 User is offline   Antares Icon

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 02:41 PM

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How much of the kicks top end are we talking? and what kind of EQ band are you using to do this? Hopefully a low pass filter? Same questions for Hi hat.


I like my kick to be punchy, so I usually don't take off that much, or any at all, depending on the specific drum sound. I don't use a filter to do it though, I use the little built-in frequency curve thing in the mixer. It never occured to me to use a filter. >_<

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One other thing to add, are you putting individual parts of the drum on separate tracks? e.g kick, snare, hi-hat and cymbals on separate tracks and processing them individually?


Yes, I put each drum to a separate track (or group them appropriately e.g. toms in one track together, crash cymabls in another), but everthing else is split into different channels.
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#10 User is offline   Fealow Icon

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 04:30 AM

View PostAntares, on 07 September 2012 - 03:50 PM, said:

I like my kick to be punchy, so I usually don't take off that much, or any at all, depending on the specific drum sound. I don't use a filter to do it though, I use the little built-in frequency curve thing in the mixer. It never occured to me to use a filter. >_<


If you want a punchy kick drum you need to get your hands dirty with some well tuned compression! Using a high pass filter on the kick drum would only really be to remove anything above 10000khz, basically information that is not there for the most part. As for the high pass filter, your EQ should have it built in?



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Yes, I put each drum to a separate track (or group them appropriately e.g. toms in one track together, crash cymabls in another), but everthing else is split into different channels.


Ok thats good. The basic way to process drums is to do what you have already done then route all those individual channels back to one track and apply some compression on that track to really get the drums pumping and sounding big! You then also have the ability to adjust the drums level as a whole and use a single instance of an FX like reverb to save CPU usage.

I am actually fairly interested in having a little play with your song if you're okay with that? I think I could take it from good to great if i put enough time into it ^^
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#11 User is offline   Mini Icon

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 02:50 PM

This sire. Is a hell of a thread.
Thank you
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#12 User is offline   Fealow Icon

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 03:48 AM

View PostMini, on 13 September 2012 - 03:59 PM, said:

This sire. Is a hell of a thread.
Thank you


You're welcome ^^

Although I would like some more questions as I need to fill out the reserved post with some more topics, for example: Compression and reverb.
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#13 User is offline   newtypefag Icon

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 04:16 AM

What are your favorite mastering plugins?


#14 User is offline   Hightower Icon

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 05:15 AM

This thread is awesome. I'll be using it as reference when I attempt again at mixing.
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Posted 14 September 2012 - 06:49 AM

So I know that you explained EQIng in the post above but this video also seems to be pretty interesting as well. Though I noticed that he mentions 2:1 while you mention 4:1 and the other article I showed you it mentioned 8:1 for the ratio. Is ratio usually just a guess an check or would it be something particular for vocaloid?


Also is this a good EQing strategy that he mentions? Because I am still having trouble with that.


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