Problem with a mix

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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GrooveNinja
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Problem with a mix

Post by GrooveNinja » Mon Sep 14, 2009 8:14 pm

I have completed a song using mostly loops from a sample disk. When I compare the mix to a commercial track in my studio, it sounds fine. However, when I play the track on my stereo system, it sounds like there is too much ambience on the track. The puzzling thing is that commercial tracks do not sound this way on the same system. I tried rendering the song without any additional reverb, buss compression, and limiting, but it still sounds like there is too much ambience. What could be the cause of this?

Tone Deft
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Re: Problem with a mix

Post by Tone Deft » Mon Sep 14, 2009 8:17 pm

post a sample clip or the whole track.
"Obsession is a great substitute for talent." - Steve Martin on learning the banjo

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ikeaboy
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Re: Problem with a mix

Post by ikeaboy » Mon Sep 14, 2009 8:19 pm

How does it sound in your studio over your headphones?

GrooveNinja
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Re: Problem with a mix

Post by GrooveNinja » Mon Sep 14, 2009 8:53 pm

Tone Deft wrote:post a sample clip or the whole track.
Ok, I put it here:

http://www.myspace.com/dotorb

GrooveNinja
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Re: Problem with a mix

Post by GrooveNinja » Mon Sep 14, 2009 8:55 pm

ikeaboy wrote:How does it sound in your studio over your headphones?
I didn't think of comparing it to a commercial track over the headphones. I'll try that tonight. I find that my headphones have too much bass, though.

Tone Deft
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Re: Problem with a mix

Post by Tone Deft » Wed Sep 16, 2009 2:43 am

GrooveNinja wrote:
Tone Deft wrote:post a sample clip or the whole track.
Ok, I put it here:

http://www.myspace.com/dotorb
sorry man, I totally forgot about this, wanted to wait until I was home to hear it on the Adam A7s rather than the headphones at work.

nice track!

maybe try the Utility plug in set to nearly 200%. make a rack in the master track, one with a chain with nothing in it (passthrough) another chain with the Utility plug in in it.

with the width set to 200% the utility plug in will only pass the audio through the left channel that's 100% unique to the left channel, same for right. I find this can work to widen a mix, make the differences in left and right more distinct.

you should go through and identify which tracks are holding you back and work on those first. overall the mix is pretty good, it just needs some polish. it does seem to be pretty heavily mixed towards the left channel, or my setup is a bit wonky right now.

if you'd like I can take a crack at it. I'm a little backed up with other projects but it'd be fun to spend a few hours on this track, I like it. send whatever you want (like a link to a download) to tonedeftsucks at yahoo dot com, all respect to the original author, of course, I'll delete it when I'm done.

nice work. 8)
"Obsession is a great substitute for talent." - Steve Martin on learning the banjo

Dell Inspiron 15 7000, Live 10.1, Win10 Home, Edirol UA101, APC40, Remote SL, SPD-SX, mic, POD500HDX, JX305, Nova
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GrooveNinja
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Re: Problem with a mix

Post by GrooveNinja » Wed Sep 16, 2009 10:10 pm

Thank you for the response! I have gone over the song a couple more times, and I think that I was mistaking muddy low end for ambience; I'm still fairly new to this. I high-pass filtered most of the tracks, and that seems to have really cleared it up. I think that the puzzling difference that I was hearing between my monitors and my stereo system was simply the difference in frequency response of their respective speakers. The monitors go down to 55Hz, but the stereo goes down to 25Hz or even lower. As a result, the stereo could play all of the boomy crap that the monitors couldn't. Also, the loudness button on the stereo receiver was engaged, making it even boomier.

I will experiment with your suggestion about the utility plugin, but I am not sure about what you are saying. Do you think that the stereo image needs widening? If I do that, won't it introduce phase issues, like cancellation, if it is played in mono? Or is this a technique to help identify potential panning problems?

I will see what I can do to share the Live project. This song was really just something that I whipped up after listening to the various samples on a demo sample library disk that I got. Some of the samples struck a fancy, and I thought that I could make a cool song from them. Then, I was just playing around with a new microphone that I bought when my girl came home from shopping, all excited about some sale at Victoria's Secret of some such place... I guess the lesson is to be careful about what you say near a microphone!

Tone Deft
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Re: Problem with a mix

Post by Tone Deft » Wed Sep 16, 2009 10:33 pm

GrooveNinja wrote:Thank you for the response! I have gone over the song a couple more times, and I think that I was mistaking muddy low end for ambience;
forget the idea about the Utility plug in then.
I'm still fairly new to this. I high-pass filtered most of the tracks, and that seems to have really cleared it up.
what I do is find tracks that occupy similar parts of the sound spectrum, similar timbres. then I listen for spots where they clash. then I take an EQ 8 with a notch filter to remove that notch of frequencies where the clash is. Spectrum can help with this, but use that second to your ears, maybe third. that can clear up muddiness.

careful with using too much EQ all over the place, the loops were produced to sound good to begin with, that's why you picked them.


I think that the puzzling difference that I was hearing between my monitors and my stereo system was simply the difference in frequency response of their respective speakers. The monitors go down to 55Hz, but the stereo goes down to 25Hz or even lower. As a result, the stereo could play all of the boomy crap that the monitors couldn't. Also, the loudness button on the stereo receiver was engaged, making it even boomier.
monitors are designed to sound flat, you buy speakers attached to an amp, they're made for each other. home stereos are separate components and have those big f-ing Tone and Bass knobs on the front. seriously, would you put a big ass Tone and Bass knob on your Master output in Live? home stereos are made to color the sound on purpose.

I will experiment with your suggestion about the utility plugin, but I am not sure about what you are saying. Do you think that the stereo image needs widening? If I do that, won't it introduce phase issues, like cancellation, if it is played in mono? Or is this a technique to help identify potential panning problems?
start breaking down the song into tracks of similar timbre, get them happy together. do that for however many groups. then mix the groups together. rinse and repeat.
I will see what I can do to share the Live project. This song was really just something that I whipped up after listening to the various samples on a demo sample library disk that I got. Some of the samples struck a fancy, and I thought that I could make a cool song from them. Then, I was just playing around with a new microphone that I bought when my girl came home from shopping, all excited about some sale at Victoria's Secret of some such place... I guess the lesson is to be careful about what you say near a microphone!
I love it when a plan comes together.
"Obsession is a great substitute for talent." - Steve Martin on learning the banjo

Dell Inspiron 15 7000, Live 10.1, Win10 Home, Edirol UA101, APC40, Remote SL, SPD-SX, mic, POD500HDX, JX305, Nova
soundcloud.com/tone-deft

GrooveNinja
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Re: Problem with a mix

Post by GrooveNinja » Wed Sep 16, 2009 11:10 pm

Tone Deft wrote: what I do is find tracks that occupy similar parts of the sound spectrum, similar timbres. then I listen for spots where they clash.
How can I tell if they are clashing? Is there a certain sound, or quality of sound? Or does it just come down to ear training and experience?
careful with using too much EQ all over the place, the loops were produced to sound good to begin with, that's why you picked them.
That's what I thought, too, so I didn't use any EQ at all. I found that almost all of the tracks contained quite a bit of stuff in the < 250Hz range, and the resulting muddy mess at first sounded to me like too much ambience.

I will go over the tracks one more time with all of this in mind. By the way, I stuck the HPF'd version on that myspace page, if you are interested. Thank you for your help!

Superchibisan
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Re: Problem with a mix

Post by Superchibisan » Thu Sep 17, 2009 12:24 am

listen to your parts individually a lot. and then bring back the whole mix (aka solo a channel, unsolo). listen for what changes in the sound you are listening to. if it seems to get duller, that means something is masking it. if it seems to sound fine, you're good. its really just experimentation and the ability to listen to one single sound at a time.

Superchibisan
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Re: Problem with a mix

Post by Superchibisan » Thu Sep 17, 2009 12:45 am

p.s. sounds good to me. could use some spit shine, but other than that i think you're alright!

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