How to make things louder in the Mix

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
Nevar
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How to make things louder in the Mix

Post by Nevar » Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:30 am

Hi I am currently mixing a song. There are some instruments (eg Keys) that I want to stand out. How do I go about making things stand out? Are there any audio effects within Live to help with this? (eg Dynamic Tube, Saturator)

(PS - Users might tell me to read the Live manual on audio effects but I don't get half the stuff on it!)

Thanks

d.reamonn
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Re: How to make things louder in the Mix

Post by d.reamonn » Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:59 am

When I want to make things louder, I like to use Utility. Utility is a great plugin that features a very simple "Gain" control, which when turned clockwise will help increase amplitude, and consequently presence. I love Utility and use it daily.

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ian_halsall
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Re: How to make things louder in the Mix

Post by ian_halsall » Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:17 am

You can turn it up and/or turn the rest down!

Or choose other sounds that don't clash in the frequency range of the piano.

Or boost the piano with some eq and cut the other stuff.

Or compress the rest of the mix using a side chain compressor off the piano - group all the rest of the mix and put the compressor on the group maybe.

XSIMan
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Re: How to make things louder in the Mix

Post by XSIMan » Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:38 am

Compressor and a saturator is all you need. There are far better thirdparty plugins for this such as Soundtoys Radiator and DMG Audio Compassion.

ian_halsall
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Re: How to make things louder in the Mix

Post by ian_halsall » Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:43 am

I don't think saturator is the way to make a piano sound louder - it's basically a mild distortion and IMO this does not sound good on a piano.

MarksBasementRecords.com
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Re: How to make things louder in the Mix

Post by MarksBasementRecords.com » Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:09 pm

If you're trying to bump up keys in the mix- use the 8 band eq to find favourable frequencies in the piano sound and then turn them down in similar instruments

Ex: if my snare is huge and my keys are being suffocated by it, I can remove some of the overlapping frequencies- the kick drum or cymbals aren't likely to be taking up the same space, so leave them be.

Achieving a balanced mix is like cutting up magazines to make a collage- only put in what you can fit, and remove parts to make space


Chances are your mix might b too crowded in the mid sectiono

yur2die4
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Re: How to make things louder in the Mix

Post by yur2die4 » Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:42 pm

Saturator sounds amazing on pianos!!!!!!!!

ian_halsall
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Re: How to make things louder in the Mix

Post by ian_halsall » Mon Feb 11, 2013 5:24 pm

Hmmm - gonna try this - if it doesn't work I am going to be very upset.

Saturator indeed - next you will be suggesting a big muff or something....

yur2die4
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Re: How to make things louder in the Mix

Post by yur2die4 » Mon Feb 11, 2013 5:51 pm

If I didn't have a basic understanding of guitar pedals I'd be very offended.

Edit: it does depend on the piano though. Works great on 'quieter' pianos. It is basically like using old tape. I just drag in Sat with default setting, push the knob 3 or 6 db, MAYBE add reverb. Big maybe. I particularly liked it with this free piano set that I got with some sforzando vst.
Last edited by yur2die4 on Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

tintala
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Re: How to make things louder in the Mix

Post by tintala » Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:25 pm

turn everything else down, as well use a utility plug.

Z3NO
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Re: How to make things louder in the Mix

Post by Z3NO » Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:46 pm

XSIMan wrote:Compressor and a saturator is all you need. There are far better thirdparty plugins for this such as Soundtoys Radiator and DMG Audio Compassion.
Worst. Advice. Evarr.

ian_halsall
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Re: How to make things louder in the Mix

Post by ian_halsall » Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:52 pm

Z3NO wrote:
XSIMan wrote:Compressor and a saturator is all you need. There are far better thirdparty plugins for this such as Soundtoys Radiator and DMG Audio Compassion.
Worst. Advice. Evarr.
Harsh!

d.reamonn
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Re: How to make things louder in the Mix

Post by d.reamonn » Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:53 pm

Z3NO wrote:
XSIMan wrote:Compressor and a saturator is all you need. There are far better thirdparty plugins for this such as Soundtoys Radiator and DMG Audio Compassion.
Worst. Advice. Evarr.
Most. Hyperbolic. Comment. Since my next one.

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jestermgee
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Re: How to make things louder in the Mix

Post by jestermgee » Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:15 am

AH, the good ole debate "how to make it loud".

I am no expert in anything, nor is anyone here, but there is more to making things louder than just "turning it up" or applying a compressor or EQ. It is sometimes column A, sometimes B and sometimes a little of everything. I have done a lot and read a lot and studied a lot and am going back to engineering school again to study more. It's a continuous learning process and desire to hunt that perfect mix but since I am really bored at work and this forum is damn quiet today here is some basic info:

Frequencies - Know them. The audio spectrum is split into the 3 main categories (Bass, Mids, Trebles). There ar4e then different levels within these sections (Bass has Sub bass down around the 60Hz, Low bass/Mid Bass etc). Guys more experienced than me can elaborate on the whole frequency band but many times when things sound muddled or flat may be simply because there is too much competing for the same space. Find the Spectrum analyser and place it on every track to see how each one is performing. Find out what range the frequencies are playing in and try and picture where you need it to sit then trim off the space you don't need on each instrument (the highs off a bassline, the lows off a lead synth etc)...

Levels - The most basic way to make something louder is just to turn it up more, obvious, but this doesn't always work. In many cases especially if your levels already look pretty good you are better to turn other things DOWN that are in the same audio space than to push something harder.

EQ - Especially the graphic equalisers, these should be added to every track to make your tweaks. Instruments such as a bassline or sub bass probably don't need much in the higher end so you can trim off what you don't need with an EQ leaving the space empty for other instruments. Some bass may have overtones in the higher ends though so you may choose to just dip in the middle a bit (your ear helps)

Compressor - These deserve a whole topic alone as they can be used to just limit the sound, pump the sounds or as an effect with drastic sidechain compression etc but compressors can be used to stop audio clipping or peaking too hard. They deserve a lot of attention to get the hang of and I would recommend reading up and following some videos.

Reverb - Reverb can be used to add space and depth. Some reverb may just help to tail off the notes and create a nice vibe which without it would sound too static

Just experiment and play around because as the educated here will tell you it's an ongoing process and each time you should be learning more and more. Also, save incremental versions so you can go back and compare.

If all that seems too much/hard, just talk to someone in Mixdowns and Mastering because they will have a much better idea.

XSIMan
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Re: How to make things louder in the Mix

Post by XSIMan » Tue Feb 12, 2013 7:08 am

Unless you have tried piano on Soundtoys Radiator or other high end tube warmer you cannot say I'm wrong. It works for me it adds subtle saturation and fatness which makes it stand out of the mix more without crushing the dynamics adds more character like running the track through a 70s console input amp. I'm not talking about adding a tube screamer or Engle Powerball.
You should lower the other tracks and turn up your amp volume
Use only one reverb for all the tracks that must have reverb = less muddy
The bass track always overwhelms the mix so cut it's lowest frequencies with an EQ this also makes the bass track more punchy less muddy.
If that is not enough use a compressor ideally with a vintage emulation compressor. The free IK T-Racks has a Fairchild 670 compressor demo you can try. Compassion has a few vintage compressor mods built in this plugin covers all types of dynamics. Live 9 includes Cytomic The Glue compressor.

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