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Topic: How do you mix?

  1. #1

    How do you mix?

    Hi guys

    Just looking for some perspectives. I was wondering how some of you guys mix your compositions, after all is said and sequenced(?). I hardly use anything other than eq and reverb for my GPO stuff. Occasionally I might use a mixer. I EQ a ton *shrug.

    \"I drink beer to forget that I drank beer.\"

    - Junk

  2. #2

    Re: How do you mix?

    Sorry I have no answer but I can give this interesting thread a bump. I also would like to know how orchestral stuff is mastered. You can\'t compress it because that distroys the dynamics...but often orchestral stuff done with libraries tends to sound weak and lifeless in piano/low volume passages. Is there a way to vitalize that decently without destroying it?

  3. #3

    Re: How do you mix?


    Any decent compressor will let you boost the quiet passages without affecting the loud ones. I do this from time to time.

  4. #4

    Re: How do you mix?

    It really depends on the situation. If the cue is going to be competing with dialog and foley, then I almost always put a bit of squeeze on the mix before putting everything in Vegas. Whereas when creating a purely audio mix, I usually leave the compression to very minimal settings. The Loudness Maximizer in iZotope\'s Ozone has a nice sound to it at a variety of settings, and their dither is in the same module - so I use it on almost every mix, but never with the same settings twice. Mixing is an art and craft in and of itself, and I have a degree in audio engineering since nearly 10 years ago *and*still* consider myself a novice.

    For the most part, if I hear a problem in the mix, I usually go back to the sequence/track level and make adjustments there, and bring everything forward by remixing. Most of the EQ\'ing that I do ends up on the \"nudge\" end of adjustments of the overall mix. I\'ve not had reason to do very much EQ\'ing of individual instruments in GPO yet, but I think that may change when I start really zeroing in on certain instruments and sections like the upper registers of the strings sections.

    As a general rule, sample library developers try to give you every frequency that you might need in a sample, and expect you to make adjustments for context. I just had an experience with an oboe part where one note stuck out. I tried to make adjustments to the track, but then the part completely disappeared when I ducked things down enough for the resonant note to blend. So, I ended up notching down the single offending note in the final mix - in apparent contradition to what I describe in the first paragraph. It allowed the one \"sore thumb\" to mesh with the rest of the mix while allowing the rest of the melodic line to sit as orginally played. So, to every rule there is the exception.

    Technologies like VST automation and plug-ins such as iZotope\'s Ozone allow you to do things to mixes that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. So, to a certain extent I think that we\'ll see a gradual \"falling away\" of standard recording and mixing practices as the technology continues to blur the lines between composing, tracking, and mixing.

  5. #5

    Re: How do you mix?

    [ QUOTE ]
    I think that we\'ll see a gradual \"falling away\" of standard recording and mixing practices as the technology continues to blur the lines between composing, tracking, and mixing.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    What an interesting thought. The mixing should definitely get easier as well. It\'s only a matter of time until everybody goes 5.1. Which makes me think. Physically, is there any drawback to selling say, two speaker shells which have two speakers within them, a sub (with a speaker in itself), for a total of 6? I know it wouldn\'t be as engaging as a 5.1 \'surround\' setup (putting the speakers where they should be), but if we had that many speakers to choose from, sooo much less would get lost in the mixes and most importantly less space would be taken up! People might consider going the 5.1 route then! *shrug, in any case

    I use very little effects when manipulating GPO because the sounds are really good. Some of the best dry samples I\'ve ever heard. Gotta use a lot of makeup for other libraries... *sigh

    - Junk

  6. #6
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    West Seneca, NY

    Re: How do you mix?

    I don\'t know. The last time I mixed something I couldn\'t get up the next day. Ooops!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Kauai, Hawaii, USA

    Re: How do you mix?

    Mixing orchestral things is a challenge. People come to \"classical\" and \"orchestral\" things expecting to find certain things in certain places -- witness all those \"instrument placement\" charts (including that kindly reproduced in the Garritan products).

    I am just beginning to get into mixing for 5.1 and I\'ve purchased a number of SACD/CD (hybrid) commercial offerings to use as \"yardsticks\". (If you\'ve got a relatively recent DVD/CD player in your home theatre 6-channel setup, chances are it will handle SACDs as well if it was made in the last 2 years, but check your receiver/amplifier/DVD player specs.) As a footnote, the other really \"right\" thing about SACD/CD hybrids is that they play just fine on normal CD players, too (except all you get is 2 channels of normal 44.1 kHz. The SACD \"Direct Stream Digital\" standard (Sony/Phillips again), by contrast, can go to an amazing 2,822,400 samples per second [don\'t try this at home!].

    As usual, there are \"experts\" standing in the wings lamenting this or that technical decision that Sony/Phillips made, but in all candor, all of the SACD orchestral performances I\'ve heard rival that of the BEST DTS recordings (including a wonderful Simon Rattle Berlin Phil/ Mahler #7 in your choice of DTS/Dolby Digital 5.1 or LPCM 2-channel).

    Final Note: Really professional orchestral mixing (at least the best of it) has been done by probably 20 to 40 highly talented individuals around the world, working for the 4 or 5 commercial enterprises who do serious orchestral recording. Don\'t expect that you are going to be able to reproduce this in your first 2 weeks of playing with GPO or other samples.

    Personally, I\'m up for breaking a few rules. I\'d like to incorporate a bit more \"dynamism\" and excitement into twenty-first century symphonic recordings. It’s been about 100 years since Gustav Mahler started to change the shape of the concert hall with his offstage instruments (particularly in the Second symphony and the Eighth). One of the most riveting live performances that I ever attended was a Mahler Eighth with the San Francisco Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas. When the conductor turned to the upstairs back of the hall and cued a 20-piece brass section for the final bars, I have to admit that it was one of the most influential moments in experiencing music.

    Fwiw … my $0.02 … kev [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif[/img]

  8. #8

    Re: How do you mix?

    Orchestral libraries have been moving towards sampling instruments in place so \"accurate\" panning becomes less of an issue. But I don\'t compose and mix strictly by the rules either. For example, sometimes a string passage can wrap around a VO nicely by panning and doubling 1st violin lines (with different samples of course) left and right.

    As for compression, I tend to avoid it because all of my compositions end up in the hands of other sound designers and mixers who love to add their own compression. Since I almost always compose to rough-cut picture and/or sound (VO, SFX, etc.) I used to try to outguess the final mix by pumping the music between sections of existing dialogue and VO. But when the rough-cut soundtrack was changed at a later stage (which happens often), this became a limitation in the final mix.

    If there will be VO and SFX over your music, it is best to compose \"under\" the track if possible. Otherwise you will spend too much time fine-tuning orchestral textures that will be lost when the music is mixed under. Or, you may end up not being able to hear a key instrument passage that sounded fine before VO was added. In fact, many times you will realize that in the final mix, the VO and SFX actually become the lead instruments, with your composition offering support. In these cases it is best to paint with broad strokes rather than writing and mixing the music as one would for a stand-alone performance piece.

    I used to have a fairly large home studio (multitrack tape, mixers, tons of outboard effects, etc.), but now I am in a minimalist mode - and I love it! I perform all of my mixes now in Cubase SX 2 and render the mix-down to a 48k file for delivery to clients. My clients are very happy with the mixes I produce, but I am sometimes amazed at how different my work sounds when I hear the final product. There are a lot of sound designers and mixers out there that consider the original music track to be a starting place for their own version of your music. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/mad.gif[/img]

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