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Topic Starter Topic: Do any of you have experience recording/mixing music?

Cool #9
Cool #9
Joined: 01 Dec 2000
Posts: 42660
PostPosted: 02-07-2018 03:19 AM           Profile   Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


And I mean this in the most basic way possible, where you start a song from scratch, record your instruments, mix the whole thing and be proud of yourself.
Thing is, I got a nice audio interface to connect my instruments to my PC (a Tascam US-122L), as DAW I got REAPER to record the whole thing, I got a paid for version of EZDrummer to lay down some basic drum tracks. I got my guitars and a bass guitar, so I got the recording side down well enough I guess.

The thing is, when it comes to mixing, I don't really know what to do. The whole thing sounds very raw and unpolished so there's work to be done there. I've watched a bunch of videos from this guy called Graham Cochrane. His Recording Revolution channel has quite a number of interesting and helpful video outlining the process. He makes the whole thing seem very logical and easy, but when I'm at the knobs behind my own PC, I have no idea what to actually listen for and whether or not something sounds better or just different after turning some EQ or compression knobs up or down. So I get the process, just not the actual application of it.

Has anyone ever been in the spot where I am now and progressed beyond that? Did you have any resources that were really helpful? Or do you have any hints or tips?




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Blockheaded Blubberboy
Blockheaded Blubberboy
Joined: 16 Apr 2000
Posts: 20429
PostPosted: 02-07-2018 10:16 AM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


You should probably in-box Kracus.




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Elite
Elite
Joined: 25 Mar 2000
Posts: 9870
PostPosted: 02-07-2018 07:11 PM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Just takes practice, like anything else worth doing. Mixing is an art form unto itself. Writing the music is one thing, recording it is a separate thing, and mixing it is a separate thing again (although closely related to recording). I do it as a hobby, have been doing it for about 15 years. EZDrummer / DKFH / Superior Drummer, Cubase, etc. Basically the best advice I can give you without writing a 50 page essay is this:

1. Don't agonize over a single song. Get it down, record it, mix it, move to the next one. Doesn't sound so hot? Too bad, better luck next time. As you progress you will discover areas where you faltered in the past and you can fix it on the new project. It's better for your sanity, your progress, and your sense of fulfillment to look back at 10 tracks in a year that are decent, rather than 1 good one that you slaved away at for 6 months and re-recorded 9 times.

2. Realize that a finished product is the combined result of the music itself, the calibre of the player, the sonic quality of the raw tracks, and the mixing process. If your music sucks, you suck, and you're playing through a shitty $50 amp on a Walmart guitar, the best mixer in the world will still only get you so far. Instead of leaning on any one part of the puzzle to fix everything, garner a respect for the entire process and see it through from start to finish. Of course top-shelf equipment does help, but don't expect it to solve everything. You still have to play properly, place the mics properly, set the gain staging properly, and get recording interfaces, mixers, pre-amps and microphones that actually do your other equipment justice.

3. Less is more. This applies to basically everything. Less gain, less compression, less EQ, less tracks. Microphones and pre-amps add their own form compression, ergo - dial it back on the amp. Become aware of proximity effects and how they can muddy your signals. If you are EQ'ing your tracks any more than +/- 6dB in a specific band, you should consider that it was not properly recorded from the get-go. It is way easier to slightly massage a track than it is to try and put it under the knife and totally mutilate it with EQ and compression. There are exceptions, such as EQ shelf filters and such, but for general EQ'ing, you want a light touch. As you progress, you will begin to hear the most minute change, like +0.2dB at 2.2kHz Q=10. This just takes practice and ear training. Try to get the sound you want in as few takes or multi-layering of the same take as possible. Playing the same guitar rhythm track 3 or 4 times over just sounds muddy unless you are *really* tight. Nail it in 1 or 2 takes (pan hard left or right). It will sound better. This doesn't necessarily apply if you are playing a harmonized line.

4. Learn stereo mic'ing techniques - X-Y, Omni, Middle-Side, binauraul, 3-to-1 spaced pair, etc. This is the single best way to get a convincing and realistic sound, for basically any instrument. An exception is drums because you need more mics to get a good sound, but even a well placed pair of overheads can net a really good drum sound.

5. Learn the basics of the physics of sound, and digital audio systems. It's impossible to place a microphone properly if you don't understand how sound waves interact with the room you're in. Learn about and apply microphone equalization and cancellation. Learn how the analog signal is interpreted by your soundcard and digitized by the ADC and fed into the software. Learn about buffers, sample rates, clocks, phasing, all that shit. Ideally you want to be working in your DAW at 96kHz 32-bit, then bounce out to 44.1kHz 16-bit or maybe 48/88.2/96kHz 24-bit for hi-fidelity. 32-bit in the DAW is good for precision during digital effects like reverb, delays, etc., because they can and will process the audio signal with 32-bit depth. Of course CD's are 44.1kHz 16-bit but it's better to "compress" a super high fidelity source than it is to work with low fidelity effects. Learn about total bandwidth and specifically how it affects your master bus.

6. If you want to go deeper, read about the human perception of sound and how it affects mixing - such as high-frequency shadowing, stereo spacing and phasing, and bass tone "simulation" via proper presentation of instrument timbre.

7. Get some half decent studio monitors. You don't have to go all out, but at least spend a few hundred bucks on a good stereo pair of powered monitors, isolation pads, and a decent sub woofer.

8. Lastly - save yourself and start putting a low-shelf (-12 to -30dB) at ~30Hz or so. Anything below this is not audible to humans, but the frequencies will chew up bandwidth which can muddy the track and sap available headroom for the other frequencies.

It's a big subject... depends how far you want to go but it will honestly take years.




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Cool #9
Cool #9
Joined: 01 Dec 2000
Posts: 42660
PostPosted: 02-08-2018 01:48 AM           Profile   Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Thanks for the post mrd. I guess I'll just have to play around and not be too hard on myself. My first mix ever probably won't sound as good as the shit Pharrell Williams puts out on the radio.




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