Your best tips for learning how to mix and master

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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ekord123
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Your best tips for learning how to mix and master

Post by ekord123 » Mon Oct 10, 2011 8:01 pm

Hey everybody,
I've decided that I need to take a break from writing, and really invest some time in learning mixing technique and mastering technique. This is something that I am an ameture at, but I'm sure that some of you guys (or girls) out there know how to get some really impressive results. So far heres where I'm at.

-I bought some decent 8 inch monitors
- I'm currently using waveshell mixing plugins (I've gotten some decent results using my ears and spectrum
- beyond that I usually layer my kicks, throw some eq 8's on my tracks to emphasize certain frequences and cut others. I also use sidechain compression to balance my bass.

.... but this is some pretty basic stuff, what do you all do? When I listen to tracks by Mau5, skrillex (not a big fan, but damn is it well mixed), and other artists I just know that they are probably using some insanely expensive hardware racks. Is there a way around this? What VST's would you recommend? Books? I'll put the time into it, its just hard to figure out where to start.

feel free to reply with a post to some of your own music, to better display your technique

Cheers everyone, thanks in advanced.

condra
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Re: Your best tips for learning how to mix and master

Post by condra » Mon Oct 10, 2011 8:20 pm

Expensive hardware racks my arse. Clean, loud, clear, professional results from a computer have been possible for years already.

Check out "The Art Of Mixing" video if you can find it. It's old, but brilliant, and still relevant.

Also, low cut, a lot. :lol:

3dot...
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Re: Your best tips for learning how to mix and master

Post by 3dot... » Mon Oct 10, 2011 8:27 pm

this will get you going..

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Rave
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Re: Your best tips for learning how to mix and master

Post by Rave » Mon Oct 10, 2011 10:17 pm

Get good active monitors and dac. Invest in acoustic treatment and learn your environment. A/B ing well mixed tracks will help.

Practice , practice practice.

Oh yeah, ditch eq8 and get fabfilter q - checkout YouTube for demo.

ekord123
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Re: Your best tips for learning how to mix and master

Post by ekord123 » Tue Oct 11, 2011 3:29 am

thanks for the replies everybody..

Rave... I know I should know this but what exactly is A/bing?

and contra, by low cut do you just mean cutting my lows?

willdahbe
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Re: Your best tips for learning how to mix and master

Post by willdahbe » Tue Oct 11, 2011 4:19 am

A/Bing in this case would be listening to your track and then listening to an already mastered track back to back.

I keep my itunes on in the background with a track that i'm trying to match some what sonically.

When I want to reference, just hit spacebar to stop Ableton, then F8 on my qwerty to start song on itunes. It's really quick for me that way.

p.s. If you start doing this, make sure your media player has the eq turned off.

condra
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Re: Your best tips for learning how to mix and master

Post by condra » Tue Oct 11, 2011 7:03 pm

ekord123 wrote:thanks for the replies everybody..

Rave... I know I should know this but what exactly is A/bing?

by low cut do you just mean cutting my lows?
By A/B'ing in this case he means alternating between listening to your track, and listening to one of your favourite commercial tracks. It's helpful not only for gauging loudness, but frequency range too. If you've been mixing all day, your ears can get messed up and you might start hyping your high frequencys.

Regarding low cutting. Yes, I mean cutting your lows. A lot of electronic music producers will EQ some or all low frequencies from everything but the kick and bass. Even when it makes things sound a bit thin, they will often still work in the context of the whole mix, while your kick and bass will have room to drive the track.
funken wrote: Found it, all 3 1/2 hours, am currently downloading it in 4 parts. Cheers.
Good stuff. Maybe you could pass the link on to ekord123.


twisted-space
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Re: Your best tips for learning how to mix and master

Post by twisted-space » Tue Oct 11, 2011 7:51 pm

1st learn to listen.

sexface
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Re: Your best tips for learning how to mix and master

Post by sexface » Tue Oct 11, 2011 9:23 pm

+1 on the A/Bing. That is SUPER useful at all steps of making a track.

ekord123
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Re: Your best tips for learning how to mix and master

Post by ekord123 » Wed Oct 12, 2011 2:53 am

I'm definitely going to download that video as soon as I finish studying, and I've never really thought of A/Bing, but that makes a lot of sense. I guess I've always felt intimidated by 'professional' mixes but I feel like that bridge is really being gapped (the ableton community being a testament).

I've actually been reading this book,the Mixing Engineers Handbook. So far its been enlightening, but it keeps mentioning panning effect tracks with dry tracks, or layering reverbs. Have any of you heard of these techniques? I've always slapped my effects onto my track and called it a day (or routed them to a return as a "send only"). I've felt like it would be tough to control volume levels otherwise, but I guess there is a method to everything.

Anyways cheers everyone, I really appreciate the advice.

willdahbe
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Re: Your best tips for learning how to mix and master

Post by willdahbe » Wed Oct 12, 2011 5:24 am

+1 on Fabfilter Pro-Q

Also for compression I just pick up Cytomic - The Glue, and I couldn't be any happier. Really simple Compressor and gives great results IMO.

phonographiq
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Re: Your best tips for learning how to mix and master

Post by phonographiq » Wed Oct 12, 2011 10:59 pm

Simple yet pertinent:
save the bong rips for after.

Real talk, I blaze quite a bit while sketching/arranging but find that the voodoo really throws me of at the final stage. When you're ripped, you just want the hype bits but with mixdowns you gotta act like its just business as usual.

Jus' sayin'.
rhythmic surrealism / philadelphia / $$$
http://soundcloud.com/phonographiq

Angstrom
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Re: Your best tips for learning how to mix and master

Post by Angstrom » Thu Oct 13, 2011 1:42 am

I find that no matter how "sorted" I think my mix is, if I transfer it to my iPhone and play the track out of the one silly little on-board speaker ... I can almost always hear something that I missed. You'd think that it would negatively impact the full range mix if you tweaked according to what you hear out of such a terrible little speaker - but somehow it can really help the mix on any set-up if you use what you hear.

This is actually really a very common (and old) technique of using a very bad 'domestic' speaker in order to hear what the worst bastard of a punter might hear. It's actually why they are called "Reference Speakers", you'd use them as a reference for what a transistor radio might make of your masterwork as compaired to your lovely studio mains (which would be massive full-range things). Of course - people being people they became confused and "reference" was assumed to be "the good speakers", with reference understood as "what we should all aim for". This is quite funny, but there you go. Reference speakers are what you were meant to use as a consumer check (typically using Auratones, NS10s, or whatever was currently typical of a consumer speaker)

Anyway - somehow the technique still works right on down to a little mono iPhone speaker.
I use FilesPro for that. It makes it a quick process.

they still make Auratones
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/apr07/a ... xcubes.htm


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