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Mixing

Mixing

Postby groovyone » Sun May 21, 2006 3:40 pm

What does this mean? A lot of you already understand that mixing is getting volumes and panning sorted out so that the music is pleasing in the stereo space.

Part of mixing is also EQ.

Why EQ?

Think of instruments as frequencies, which need to fit into a jigsaw puzzle together.
EQ
1. Gives character to an instrument
2. Removes clashing frequencies with other instruments so a build up doesn't occur and each instrument has it's own frequency placement in the mix.

Basically what mixing is trying to achieve is placing a sound within the stereo mix. This is done by:

1. Panning - to place the instrument within the stereo field. This also includes mono/wide placement. Use of more wet in a reverb than dry can place the sound "further back" in the 3D portion of the mix. Mono centere can be very "up front" and is good for your lead instruments.

2. EQ - To place the instrument within it's own frequency band so frequencies don't clash when placed in the same area of a mix. Volume is not only one instrument but based on Frequency. Our ears hear in a curve where 1-5kHz is most sensitive (due to human speech being in this range). Sounds outside of this range drop off in sensitivity, even though they may be just as loud when measured electronically. ie 100Hz at 0dB does not sound as loud as 2kHz at 0dB.

3. Volume - Volume is used to control how far in front or behind the sound is in the mix.

Take this into consideration that if your song has a lot of 100Hz in it, the rest of it will sound soft in comparison. There's only a fixed maximum volume so the aim of EQ is to spread the instruments across the frequency range so that the whole song sounds loud.

There's a hell of a lot more on how to achieve all of this, but this is the foundation on why and how to mix.
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Postby Harmony » Fri May 26, 2006 4:27 am

Thanks groovyone! So, to ask a very newb question, in Renoise in the spectrum view we've got:

40 100 200 400 600 1.0K 2.0K 3.0K 5.0K 8.0K 12.0K

And I want to be getting my main sounds / lead instruments in the bolded range of frequences, is that right?


Also with effects, if I add an EQ 10 filter to a channel how do I then correlate between the EQ options of 50Hz to 15000Hz, and what I'm seeing in the spectrum view? I guess what I'm asking is, how many Hz does a K equal for the purposes of using the EQ filter to improve my mix?

I'm not that great at the technical side of producing music so I hope these questions aren't too painful :)
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Postby organic io » Fri May 26, 2006 6:21 am

Harmony wrote:how many Hz does a K equal for the purposes of using the EQ filter to improve my mix?


if i understand your question correctly... 1 K of anything = 1000.... for example, Y2K.
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Postby groovyone » Fri May 26, 2006 12:39 pm

Harmony wrote:Thanks groovyone! So, to ask a very newb question, in Renoise in the spectrum view we've got:

40 100 200 400 600 1.0K 2.0K 3.0K 5.0K 8.0K 12.0K

And I want to be getting my main sounds / lead instruments in the bolded range of frequences, is that right?

I'm not that great at the technical side of producing music so I hope these questions aren't too painful :)


OUCH!

Ok, don't try to "shove" your instruments into a particular frequency band, but rather EQ to ensure that the frequencies that represent them least importantly are not using up bandwidth from other instruments. ie I think it was Sonicades track, has a lot of Sine waves all around 100-800 Hz, it chews up all the bandwidth for the bass and the kicks and snares. So it is better to either compress the lower frequencies and bring them down a bit and give the instrument better definition say around 500-800 Hz.

You don't need to brick wall them, but rather roll off frequencies to blend them better into the mix.

It just happens that most "lead instruments" tend to fall into that 1-5kHz range anyway because that is your ears natural frequency response.

Read up on Phons Curves for how your ears hear at different volumes. It will help you understand what level to mix at.

If your lead guitar frequencies are around 1-5kHz, then you could roll off under 1kHz slightly to make it sit better in the mix, this may only be slight or may be more depending on the sound you want. Perhaps there's 2 instruments in the same frequency band, well, in that case use Panning, or stereo width to separate them out, or use them in harmony so to speak. You could also try EQing one with slightly more higher frequencies and one with slightly less if they're playing the same notes in the same stereo space.

Also with effects, if I add an EQ 10 filter to a channel how do I then correlate between the EQ options of 50Hz to 15000Hz, and what I'm seeing in the spectrum view? I guess what I'm asking is, how many Hz does a K equal for the purposes of using the EQ filter to improve my mix?


The question keeps changing before my eyes.. perhaps I need coffee.

I'll answer like this. Use the EQ 10 filter to notch out frequencies that are too prevelant in the particular sound you're using. I'll bag on MickRip for now with his 3kHZ ear bursting rim shot. If that particular sample is 3kHz savvy then I'd put that into a separate channel and dip the 3kHz EQ. EQ doesn't need to be heavy, just enough to get the desired effect.

SEND all the drum channles back into a single Drum BUS and then do a final compress there.

Keep in mind that each time you compress something, it gets more and more compressed with every other compression so keep things as subtle as you can initially. Only compress as much as you need.

When mixing, turn off other channels to make sure you have the right sound and mix for different instrument combinations too.

If you want to send me a track that you want some help with I'd be glad to give it a shot to help mix it and then you can see what I did.

If anything get yourself a good pair of studio mixing headphones. Sennheiser HD565s are what I use, Mick said he got some AKGs so perhaps get him to let you have a play. They will set you back about $200-350 but are worth it if music is your passion. Just make sure they're comfortable to wear and sound right to your ears. Bring a CD that you are familiar with and like the mixing of to test it on every pair of headphones you try. You'll hear the difference and be able to choose the right headphone for you.



Oh.. I just re-read the question.

The individual EQ frequencies in the EQ10 are like curves. Pull a point up and it pulls the other frequencies around it in a curve. Think of it like a flat piece of string. Put 3 points on the string pull the middle point up and the other points are at ground level. You'll see the string move up in a curve. That's what the EQ5 and EQ10 do. You can always turn off all other tracks and just watch the Analyser on your individual track and see what it's doing there.
Last edited by groovyone on Fri May 26, 2006 1:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Sonicade » Fri May 26, 2006 1:00 pm

Interesting notes, especially regarding my track. :twisted: I will have to try some of these ideas out in future tracks. :)
Your comments on the entries have also been very informative Groovyone!
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Postby dilvie » Fri May 26, 2006 3:30 pm

I think a key tip here is not to try to force a sound into a particular range -- rather, find the frequencies that really make that sound what it is, and cut the other frequencies a bit.

I tend to roll off low frequencies on most of my sounds, so that, say, the hihat isn't trying to compete with the kick and bass.
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Postby Harmony » Tue May 30, 2006 2:03 am

Thanks again for the detailed info Groovyone! It's all starting to make sense. If you get the time also just keep telling me where I'm going wrong with frequencies on my compo entries as I'll learn pretty fast that way :)

If anything get yourself a good pair of studio mixing headphones. Sennheiser HD565s are what I use


I've got a pair of Sennheiser HD 280 Pro's for $350 (can't post the link and still post this reply for some strange reason) which do a much better job than my speakers of representing sound correctly. They also have brilliant noise-reduction which I need in a computer room with another person typing away and chatting on teamspeak ;) I currently use them for tracking, will they suffice or should I be looking to upgrade?
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Postby groovyone » Tue May 30, 2006 3:13 am

I've got a pair of Sennheiser HD 280 Pro's for $350 (can't post the link and still post this reply for some strange reason) which do a much better job than my speakers of representing sound correctly. They also have brilliant noise-reduction which I need in a computer room with another person typing away and chatting on teamspeak ;) I currently use them for tracking, will they suffice or should I be looking to upgrade?


As long as they're flat response is what matters most.

Have a read of this site: http://www.dansdata.com/hd280.htm

It seems they're quite acceptable for mixing. I prefer open back earphones myself. Unless you're a pro at mixing I wouldn't waste money buying more. The ones you have are pretty good and I'd learn how to use them by learning how they sound.

Part of the trick of mixing and mastering also is "knowing your reference speakers". Listen on your reference monitors to a well produced piece of music similar to the 'sound' you're trying to achieve with your mix and style. Then compare that to how you're mixing. You'll soon hear what sonic characteristics make up your headphones and can learn to compensate correctly for them.

Back in the day, lots of people flocked to the Yamaha NS10 reference speakers which were horrid little tinny trashcans, but because they were so well receieved on the market they became a commonplace, and people "learned" how they sounded and were able to mix on them.
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Postby Guest » Tue May 30, 2006 5:20 am

Cool, yep reading that review they seem to have as decent a flat response as I can expect in that price range combined with the closed aspect I'm always going to need in room with another talking / typing person and 3 noisy PC's.

I'll try to learn their characteristics, sadly I don't have monitors, only Creative Inspire surround speakers which are great for gaming but pretty poor for tracking. Good monitors are definately on the to-buy list!

Thanks again :)!
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Postby Harmony » Tue May 30, 2006 5:21 am

Sorry that was me, I was logged out on this pc.
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Postby organic io » Tue May 30, 2006 9:01 am

lately when i've been doing all of my mixdowns (not for my sdcompo songs, i haven't spent that much time on them :( ) i have rendered the mix to wav, popped it on a CD, and listen to it on as many sets of speakers as i can -- several headphones, boomboxes, car stereos, crap computer speakers @ work, etc... and kind of get an "average" idea of how the levels sound and then make my adjustments for the final mix based on that. i pretty much have to because i've noticed that if i just use my monitors (fostex ps 2.1) or my sennheisers, the mix will sound just fine... and then i take it out to the car and it's got like waaay too much high end
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Postby dilvie » Tue May 30, 2006 11:57 am

dj io wrote:lately when i've been doing all of my mixdowns (not for my sdcompo songs, i haven't spent that much time on them :( ) i have rendered the mix to wav, popped it on a CD, and listen to it on as many sets of speakers as i can -- several headphones, boomboxes, car stereos, crap computer speakers @ work, etc... and kind of get an "average" idea of how the levels sound and then make my adjustments for the final mix based on that. i pretty much have to because i've noticed that if i just use my monitors (fostex ps 2.1) or my sennheisers, the mix will sound just fine... and then i take it out to the car and it's got like waaay too much high end


I got my Behringer Truth B2031A's for pretty cheap. They normally retail for less than $400/pair. I got mine for less than $300. The only issue I've noticed with them is that they tend to pick up and amplify certain types of radio signals -- particularly in busy metro areas. If you live outside a big city, you should be fine. I live in downtown Salt Lake City, and it's rarely an issue.
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Postby groovyone » Wed May 31, 2006 1:25 am

Harmony wrote:I'll try to learn their characteristics, sadly I don't have monitors, only Creative Inspire surround speakers which are great for gaming but pretty poor for tracking. Good monitors are definately on the to-buy list!


Well, by monitors I am not speaking speakers per say, but what you're using to monitor on which in this case is your groovy HD280s.

DJ Lo wrote:i pretty much have to because i've noticed that if i just use my monitors (fostex ps 2.1) or my sennheisers, the mix will sound just fine... and then i take it out to the car and it's got like waaay too much high end


Perhaps it's your room absorbing high frequencies. You may over compensate for that by adding more highs. Try multiband compressing the highs for better control. Perhaps your car picks up the transients a lot.

Also check the levels you mix at too, try to be as close to say 85db SPL when mixing. That way you'll mix as flat as is physically possible.
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Postby organic io » Wed May 31, 2006 7:50 am

groovyone wrote:Perhaps it's your room absorbing high frequencies. You may over compensate for that by adding more highs. Try multiband compressing the highs for better control. Perhaps your car picks up the transients a lot.

Also check the levels you mix at too, try to be as close to say 85db SPL when mixing. That way you'll mix as flat as is physically possible.


it probably is. it's a mess in here, and the floor and walls are covered with fabric. i doubt it's anything close to an ideal mixing environment. i'll try those suggestions
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