Need general to expert tips on creating solid mixes?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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zjqQqES2
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2009 8:39 pm

Need general to expert tips on creating solid mixes?

Post by zjqQqES2 » Sat Apr 05, 2014 2:56 am

Hey guys/gals?

I've come here to seek advice bc I'm troubled as when to use certain devices or plugins.
For example here are some questions...

Can/should I use limiter on all my tracks? Bc it tend to do so. Any drawbacks to this?
I always put a limiter on my master track. Is that good? bad? common?
I use compressors on a lot of individual tracks. Rather than that, should I bus it instead?
How do i effectively use the "spectrum" tool? Where do I even place the spectrum tool?
All of my routed audio drum hits are below 0. Why is it peaking into the red on the group?
Should I even begin to use waves plugins on my tracks? Or should I leave this alone for the engineer?

I could go on....
Thanks in advance.
zjq

clydesdale
Posts: 350
Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2013 3:28 am

Re: Need general to expert tips on creating solid mixes?

Post by clydesdale » Sat Apr 05, 2014 4:31 am

There are literally hundreds of resources available on those topics where you'll get a better more thorough and detailed answer, more so than this forum at least. For mixing and mastering take a look at Tarekith's website:

http://tarekith.com/helpandsounds/

You should also take time to read the Live 9 manual concerning Dynamics. You may need to read some of this stuff multiple times.
LIVE 9.1.7 x64, PUSH w/PXT, APC40, KEYSTATION PRO88, Radium61
Win8.1 Pro, 4820k(4.5GHz)/32GB/840ProSSD/RME Babyface

zjqQqES2
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2009 8:39 pm

Re: Need general to expert tips on creating solid mixes?

Post by zjqQqES2 » Sat Apr 05, 2014 5:41 am

clydesdale wrote:There are literally hundreds of resources available on those topics where you'll get a better more thorough and detailed answer, more so than this forum at least. For mixing and mastering take a look at Tarekith's website:

http://tarekith.com/helpandsounds/

You should also take time to read the Live 9 manual concerning Dynamics. You may need to read some of this stuff multiple times.
+1 for providing the link (ill def check that out)
i should set aside time to do further research on mixing and mastering but because i have little time to focus on music, I'm normally just creating it.
and honestly i just want to be able to have all my tracks at an optimal place for someone else to mix/master.
ive spent countless hours just tweaking segments of a song and realizing i still have to finish 3/4 of it.

H20nly
Posts: 15838
Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2007 9:15 pm
Location: The Wild West

Re: Need general to expert tips on creating solid mixes?

Post by H20nly » Sat Apr 05, 2014 6:35 am

^^
i do the same thing.

i much prefer making music with people (maybe because I started off playing bass). so i actually get a lot more done when someone else who is around contributes. even people who just play a little guitar or something but have a general understanding of how things should sound... when someone comes over i'll end up making more in a few hours with that person (or those people) than i will in a month on my own... even when i'm really trying. hell, especially when i'm really trying. i've found that mixing someone else's parts and mine together to make something new is much more liberating for me and i don't get overly critical with them like i do with myself. i stay positive. the worst is trying to record vocals by myself. it can be very tedious.

to address some of your questions:
putting a limiter on all your tracks is your choice... if you think it sounds good... ok, but it's not recommended. typically using one on the master track if you're mixing down your final copy and trying to get it as loud as possible but you have a few frequencies that cause the master to go over zero is where you would use one. or, if you are worried that the tweaks you are making are going to suddenly spike really loudly like when playing with feedback loops and such. short answer... IMO only for a final mix down - if sending to be mastered then just lower the master volume.

if you're seeing a group of tracks go over 0dB but not the individual tracks, then you probably have some sounds on those tracks that are sharing the same frequency so together they make it spike. example, lets say you have a group of drums... maybe a kick is on one track and you have a tom on another track that both hit hard around 70 Hz. so when you look at them on the individual tracks you see nothing out of the ordinary... but when you add the 2 sounds together they cause the group track (and the master) to spike into the red.

compressors... again you can use them as you wish. understanding why you are using them could answer your question though. if all you want is the increased volume... turn up the track or the saample/clip (they have their own volume if you double click them) or use something simpler like Utility from Live's effects.

place Spectrum on tracks to see the audio and help identify muddiness from too many sounds sharing the same space... like the kick and tom example i used above. you could then fix the problem with an EQ by adjusting the frequency of each sound slightly to make them compliment each other rather than just amplify that particular frequency.

if you don't know why you're using a plug like Waves offers... don't use one.
at the very least it will save you CPU

this stuff is mostly in the manual to some extent.

i don't know what kind of music you're making but tarekith.com, as clydesdale mentioned, is a great resource. he's very objective and doesn't go on and on in an effort to make himself more relevant by being overly verbose.

i found trying to take the time to read through older books that are truly about sound and audio can be a lot more helpful than newer stuff that focuses on gadgets and software (and presets) more than the sound itself. too much emphasis on trying to sound like some artist and not enough knowledge of how the sounds the artist is making are coming together contributes to making soulless music in my opinion. i guess that's okay for some people, but at the end of the day i would like for music i had a hand in to mean a little something...

anyway... for some some reason i'm blathering on and on...

this is what i was trying to suggest: http://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Audio-T ... 0240808371 i know you said that you are not trying to master your own music but this book has a lot of useful information about how audio works. i recommend reading chunks of it, if not all, and then keeping it as a reference close by to help grasp concepts as they come up in various places along the way.

btw... creating the music and chunks is composing and arranging... but all that tweaking you're doing is getting into mixing. take some time out and understand the process... before the DAW. then, when you go back to the DAW it will make more sense.
rinse, repeat.

good luck and I hope I didn't just type all of this because you're trolling.

zjqQqES2
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2009 8:39 pm

Re: Need general to expert tips on creating solid mixes?

Post by zjqQqES2 » Sat Apr 05, 2014 7:32 pm

H20nly wrote:^^
i do the same thing.

i much prefer making music with people (maybe because I started off playing bass). so i actually get a lot more done when someone else who is around contributes. even people who just play a little guitar or something but have a general understanding of how things should sound... when someone comes over i'll end up making more in a few hours with that person (or those people) than i will in a month on my own... even when i'm really trying. hell, especially when i'm really trying. i've found that mixing someone else's parts and mine together to make something new is much more liberating for me and i don't get overly critical with them like i do with myself. i stay positive. the worst is trying to record vocals by myself. it can be very tedious.

to address some of your questions:
putting a limiter on all your tracks is your choice... if you think it sounds good... ok, but it's not recommended. typically using one on the master track if you're mixing down your final copy and trying to get it as loud as possible but you have a few frequencies that cause the master to go over zero is where you would use one. or, if you are worried that the tweaks you are making are going to suddenly spike really loudly like when playing with feedback loops and such. short answer... IMO only for a final mix down - if sending to be mastered then just lower the master volume.

if you're seeing a group of tracks go over 0dB but not the individual tracks, then you probably have some sounds on those tracks that are sharing the same frequency so together they make it spike. example, lets say you have a group of drums... maybe a kick is on one track and you have a tom on another track that both hit hard around 70 Hz. so when you look at them on the individual tracks you see nothing out of the ordinary... but when you add the 2 sounds together they cause the group track (and the master) to spike into the red.

compressors... again you can use them as you wish. understanding why you are using them could answer your question though. if all you want is the increased volume... turn up the track or the saample/clip (they have their own volume if you double click them) or use something simpler like Utility from Live's effects.

place Spectrum on tracks to see the audio and help identify muddiness from too many sounds sharing the same space... like the kick and tom example i used above. you could then fix the problem with an EQ by adjusting the frequency of each sound slightly to make them compliment each other rather than just amplify that particular frequency.

if you don't know why you're using a plug like Waves offers... don't use one.
at the very least it will save you CPU

this stuff is mostly in the manual to some extent.

i don't know what kind of music you're making but tarekith.com, as clydesdale mentioned, is a great resource. he's very objective and doesn't go on and on in an effort to make himself more relevant by being overly verbose.

i found trying to take the time to read through older books that are truly about sound and audio can be a lot more helpful than newer stuff that focuses on gadgets and software (and presets) more than the sound itself. too much emphasis on trying to sound like some artist and not enough knowledge of how the sounds the artist is making are coming together contributes to making soulless music in my opinion. i guess that's okay for some people, but at the end of the day i would like for music i had a hand in to mean a little something...

anyway... for some some reason i'm blathering on and on...

this is what i was trying to suggest: http://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Audio-T ... 0240808371 i know you said that you are not trying to master your own music but this book has a lot of useful information about how audio works. i recommend reading chunks of it, if not all, and then keeping it as a reference close by to help grasp concepts as they come up in various places along the way.

btw... creating the music and chunks is composing and arranging... but all that tweaking you're doing is getting into mixing. take some time out and understand the process... before the DAW. then, when you go back to the DAW it will make more sense.
rinse, repeat.

good luck and I hope I didn't just type all of this because you're trolling.
Hey I appreciate you taking time to reply with all that insight.
And I assure you that trolling is not a part of my character. 8)
I agree with you in regards to learning the core basics of sound/audio rather than technical shortcuts on creating certain ubiquitous sound. But there will always be those who learn to be great and those who learn to imitate (i just made that up).
I spent a great deal of time learning piano, bass and theory because I got sick of sampling.
And now that I'm confident with my instruments, I've goto learn how to make it mix and sound good.....its a struggle indeeds.
I just purchased colortone by tritone and real want to incorporate that into my overall sound. Still tryna figure how to use that software effectively.

Ill probably buy that book you referenced. The reviews appear to be all on the positive note :mrgreen:
You got any music online btw?

H20nly
Posts: 15838
Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2007 9:15 pm
Location: The Wild West

Re: Need general to expert tips on creating solid mixes?

Post by H20nly » Sun Apr 06, 2014 6:37 am

:) glad it helped a little.

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