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Hi all...

I've joined the fab team of bloggers for the Line 6 MODEL CITIZENS site.

Have a read: https://blog.line6.com/2020/11/17/five-ways-to-massacre-your-mix/

I hope it's a worthwhile expenditure of your time!

Best to all,
Mike

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Will check it soon, we learn more from mistakes than we do from successes.

Shouldn't that be Mr Editor Boy? laugh


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Well, you didn't really miss much.

You left out getting drunk and high while mixing though, that really helps everything sound great. laugh

Oh, and tuning your guitar by ear, or worse yet, by harmonics on the fifth fret on the lowest string to the the seventh fret on the next higher string and on up. Nothing like using "perfect" harmonics to tune a tempered scale instrument.

There's probably more. "Can't get my tone" unless the amp is cranked comes to mind.


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EQ and Compression are two processes where I live by the maxim "Less Is More," although there are times when "Don't Touch That Dial" is more appropriate.

I have a particular dislike for ambiguous "Tone" controls, that tell you little or nothing about which Frequency bands they're Boosting or Cutting, nor by how much?


"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

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Originally Posted by Winston Psmith
EQ and Compression are two processes where I live by the maxim "Less Is More," although there are times when "Don't Touch That Dial" is more appropriate.

I have a particular dislike for ambiguous "Tone" controls, that tell you little or nothing about which Frequency bands they're Boosting or Cutting, nor by how much?

Since this thread is posted in two forums that I consider valuable and under-used, I will copy and paste this response in the other thread as well. Cheers, Kuru

More than one way to skin a cat, and more than one cat that needs skinning.

First, a disclaimer. In a one-on-one battle to the death you could pit Al Bundy with the finest sword against Bruce Lee with a tree branch that fell nearby. While Bruce has a better chance at winning due to superior technique, it is possible that Al will get in a lucky strike and take Bruce out. I say this because I am going to mention specific operating systems, DAWS, etc. because that is what I have and use. I am probably more of an Al Bundy. Everybody is different, we use what we have and there is no reason one cannot win the fight. In the end, we will grow and our results will show improvement. In the above example, there is an ending. In the real world, a mix may be a death of sorts but we can rise again and do better.

There is an exception to every rule and a rule to every exception. While I agree with the OP that mixing one track at a time is fraught with peril, it's not a bad way to learn what your plugin does. In this case, sometimes more is more. Solo the track, try everything the plugin allows and listen to it. Maybe it does something you really like, then you can leave it where it is and test it in the mix. Maybe it does something that makes you think it might be better on another track. Try that and see, then test it in the mix. Maybe it just isn't something you like at all and never will. I've made a set of custom plugin folders so I can organize them by function. There is one titled "?", that's where I would put that plugin for now and move on with the project. At some point, either that plugin turns out ot be useful (sometimes bad is good) or it gets tossed out forever.

Disclaimer, no affiliation with Native Instruments or metapop.com. I do have some NI plugins, I paid for them. I haven't used all of them yet, I do like some of them. Enough said.
I HIGHLY recommend joining www.metapop.com and entering the remix competitions. You will be remixing (and or producing) other people's music (which speaks to the OP and the mention of some things already being taken beyond the pale), you may or may not like the songs, the style, the recordings themselves or you may only like parts of them and dislike others. It's a mixed bag. I strongly recommend tackling some pieces that you don't care for, do what you can to make them sound their best to your ears. I've done almost 20 remixes there, at first I just played around at mixing and then I started setting goals with regards to learning my DAW - Waveform - and my plugins (all sorts of things).

Push your limits, perform experiments that are doomed to failure, mangle, mash and destroy content. Do stupid stuff and then make it worse. When you post your results, be sure to solicit (and provide for others) feedback. I've been amazed that things I did to be disturbing and or annoying have been singled out for praise often and other times when I thought I was serving the song I was given great advice on improving my results.

Multiple subjective viewpoints can help grow one's own attempts to be objective. Perspective is valuable.

I performed experiments with pitch shifting - Mac OS includes a nifty set of AU plugins which I only discovered because Waveform installed them for me. The New Pitch plugin is a hoot. Super simple interface, simply enter the amount of cents plus or minus that you want to shift the pitch, up to + or - 2000. You can enter 1/100 of a cent if you want (you'll never hear it, even stacked with the original track).

I played with creating loops, stretching and shrinking audio (and then pitch shifting it back to original pitch), delay, reverb, compression, etc.
And then the lightbulb lit up. Parallel processing! Automation tracks!!!!

I started copying and pasting the original track, making several duplicate tracks of the original tracks that the competition provided.
I chose a plugin, set the mix (if there was one) to full effects and started automating my effects tracks.
There are often places in a song where a bit more compression or EQ or reverb would enhance the composition. Maybe it doesn't need to be anywhere else in the mix. I can automate that. It can be subtle, it can be blatant, it can fade smoothly in or out or it can abruptly appear and disappear.

That doesn't mean all songs need it. It doesn't mean everybody should do it all the time (I don't). But it is a powerful tool for mixing and a rabbit hole I am glad I plunge down into.
It's been 21 months but here is a mix I submitted that ended up with 66 tracks of parallel processing. I would probably mix it differently now, all of these competitions have deadlines - which is another great lesson to learn.
Done is done, move on!!!!!

https://metapop.com/opossum-apocalypse/tracks/yours-opossum-apocalypse-remix/81308


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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
Originally Posted by Winston Psmith
EQ and Compression are two processes where I live by the maxim "Less Is More," although there are times when "Don't Touch That Dial" is more appropriate.

I have a particular dislike for ambiguous "Tone" controls, that tell you little or nothing about which Frequency bands they're Boosting or Cutting, nor by how much?

There are often places in a song where a bit more compression or EQ or reverb would enhance the composition. Maybe it doesn't need to be anywhere else in the mix. I can automate that. It can be subtle, it can be blatant, it can fade smoothly in or out or it can abruptly appear and disappear.

That doesn't mean all songs need it. It doesn't mean everybody should do it all the time (I don't). But it is a powerful tool for mixing and a rabbit hole I am glad I plunge down into.

@KuruPrionz - Forgive me for truncating your response to get to the heart of the matter.

I view EQ and Compression as useful tools, rather than cure-all's, which is really the problem with overuse or mis-use. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it", certainly applies, but if you do need to "fix" something, "Get The Right Tool For The Job!" as Mr. Natural once said.

Too many Guitarists, in particular, are taken in by the Sustain part of Compressor-Sustainer, and when they've squashed the dynamic range of their signal into submission, "BOB" help us, they're likely to try to fix the problem by cranking up EQ bands; worst of both worlds.

I love Reverb for adding a sense of space around a sound, but drowning a Guitar solo in Reverb means getting washed out in a mix.

FWIW, the most interesting use of Reverb that I can recall is Elizabeth Fraser of The Cocteau Twins having a Reverb mix of her own voice sent back to her in the headphones as her main monitors.


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Originally Posted by Winston Psmith
Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
Originally Posted by Winston Psmith
EQ and Compression are two processes where I live by the maxim "Less Is More," although there are times when "Don't Touch That Dial" is more appropriate.

I have a particular dislike for ambiguous "Tone" controls, that tell you little or nothing about which Frequency bands they're Boosting or Cutting, nor by how much?

There are often places in a song where a bit more compression or EQ or reverb would enhance the composition. Maybe it doesn't need to be anywhere else in the mix. I can automate that. It can be subtle, it can be blatant, it can fade smoothly in or out or it can abruptly appear and disappear.

That doesn't mean all songs need it. It doesn't mean everybody should do it all the time (I don't). But it is a powerful tool for mixing and a rabbit hole I am glad I plunge down into.

@KuruPrionz - Forgive me for truncating your response to get to the heart of the matter.

I view EQ and Compression as useful tools, rather than cure-all's, which is really the problem with overuse or mis-use. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it", certainly applies, but if you do need to "fix" something, "Get The Right Tool For The Job!" as Mr. Natural once said.

Too many Guitarists, in particular, are taken in by the Sustain part of Compressor-Sustainer, and when they've squashed the dynamic range of their signal into submission, "BOB" help us, they're likely to try to fix the problem by cranking up EQ bands; worst of both worlds.

I love Reverb for adding a sense of space around a sound, but drowning a Guitar solo in Reverb means getting washed out in a mix.

FWIW, the most interesting use of Reverb that I can recall is Elizabeth Fraser of The Cocteau Twins having a Reverb mix of her own voice sent back to her in the headphones as her main monitors.

Another R Crumb fan!!!
I don't disagree at all. Over time, I've worked on getting some of my personal guitars modified for the most possible sustain and even response. That means I can still have a full dynamic range, usually adjusted by my pick attack.
Some of my guitars came the way I like them - my Rainsong OM1000 is amazingly even and has great sustain and tone everywhere on the neck.

I was emulating the early Ibanez Artist guitars with their locked down Gibraltar brige system when I bought a Schecter Tri-Lock bridge (locking saddles!) around 1989 and came up with a way to bolt it permanently to the body of my Gibson ES-335 Studio. Now it sings like a bird acoustically.

At the same time, once in a while somebody goes too far and it sounds awesome. Peter Tosh's overcompressed solo on Concrete Jungle is cool, there is a song on the Rolling Stones Black and Blue album where Harvey Mandel plays a very overcompressed solo that I also like.

But mostly, I am with you. Get a great sound with dynamics and tonal variation. Leave it alone and play!

I will add that parallel effects will allow me to take a good sounding non-effected track and add just a bit of compression without changing the sound of the original track. Dynamics AND sustain is possible but not with the usual means.
Cheers, Kuru


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Re: Garageband. Be aware that Garageband is not a professional recording application. The good: it is free. The bad: fixed sample rate, fixed bit depth (and it's NOT fixed at 24-bit), not able to consolidate tracks at the file level, (any track consolidation has to pass through the mix bus, & due to lack of user expertise this usually means getting tracks with unwanted effects processing.) Plus many other limitations. But it's free, & I have received projects built in Garageband which were pretty decent, but it's so much more work to get around the built in limitations. It's intentionally limited because Apple has a fully professional DAW which they won't allow Gargeband to compete with.

Re: Mic technique. I just finished mixing an opera CD project which included a 1960s era sample of blues singer JB Lenoir in its overture. At one point I heard, through the mix of strings, electronic texture & Vietnamese folk instruments a clearly discernible thump. Soloing the backing track it was a popped P in Lenoir's vocal part. Somehow this got through the original recording, mixing & mastering process back then, as well as several dozen live performances we did of the opera, but it didn't get past my studio monitors.


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Hi Scott...

Surprising. But it just goes to show that humans are humans and mistakes are a part of life. I had to quit listening obsessively critically to '60s and '70s hits that I loved, because the "miscues" you sometimes hear from the engineering or performances can be a bummer. I remember the first CDs of SGT. PEPPER betrayed some fizzy distortion on the horns? Not exactly sure where the glitch was introduced, but it shocked me. Hahaha.

Got ya on GarageBand and agree. That said, a lot of artists are using it to make music during the pandemic, and I actually dig the audio quality, production, and performances of many of them. It's also nice that so much music is finally coming out of this depressing thing. Stay safe and healthy!

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KuruPrionz — Ha. I doubt I've earned a "Mr." yet!

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Winston Psmith — Agree. Back in the day, I remember engineers slapping your hand whenever an artist tried to grab a knob or fader on the board. Hahaha. Now there's that very strange habit of some mixers LOOKING at waveforms and making adjustments, rather than LISTENING to what is in front of them. Had to giggle the first time I was confronted with that situation. But, yes, there is no rule that any artist or recording professional HAS to touch a certain quota of knobs. Hahaha.

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@ Editor Boy, great article. I'm glad to hear you putting the artist(s) back in the mix. Without them there would be no live performance or recording. Engineers should always listen and work with the artists in a fun and cooperative endeavor to present their best sound. They tend to know how much vocal, reverb, comp, snare, bass, guitar, keyboard, highs, lows, mids, etc., they want to hear. I want to hear what the audience hears in my monitor and I especially want to hear myself. cool


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What I want to know now is how to mix a massacre? laugh


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This part made me feel better: " One of the first shocking lessons I learned from a platinum-selling producer was that he didn’t touch the EQ while recording, and barely reached for EQ while mixing. I thought he was an alien, but, wow, his tracks sounded all kinds of delicious. Many home mixers love love love to EQ everything in sight—often without evaluating whether a sound actually needs tonal enhancement or not."

I only ever touch the EQ to fix something that was too boomy or to harsh in a mix. Often I mix it with multi-band compression when that happens. I would say that less than 25% of my songs end up with an EQ on any track. I was starting to wonder if maybe I just lacked a discerning ear.


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Originally Posted by Music With Marky
This part made me feel better: " One of the first shocking lessons I learned from a platinum-selling producer was that he didn’t touch the EQ while recording, and barely reached for EQ while mixing. I thought he was an alien, but, wow, his tracks sounded all kinds of delicious. Many home mixers love love love to EQ everything in sight—often without evaluating whether a sound actually needs tonal enhancement or not."
I only ever touch the EQ to fix something that was too boomy or to harsh in a mix. Often I mix it with multi-band compression when that happens. I would say that less than 25% of my songs end up with an EQ on any track. I was starting to wonder if maybe I just lacked a discerning ear.

No, it's not a lack of discerning ear at all. For me, the EQ is the initial microphone choice. If I don't like the sound of something, rather than it being an EQ issue, I see it as a mic choice error. Use the right mic first & you don't really have to EQ later. Sometimes.
Further, often I will add an EQ to a track, turn it on, and leave all the controls at zero. But only with certain types of EQ where the circuit being modeled does something harmonically interesting without adding or cutting anything, like Pultec & Neve models. And even more often I just add a compressor & set it so that it just ticks over maybe a half dB of gain reduction on peaks, and that can be all the "EQ" I need. Again, when using certain types of compressor models which impart their own specific color, like a Fairchild or LA2A type of circuit.
Sometimes. Because the thing about having rules is that you always have to break them when necessary.


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The primary thing I am seeing regarding EQ is HPF. Some of my mics and mic pres have preset HPF but I question if those are always the best choices for the final result.
I don't use them, would rather see if I even need them and adjust accordingly when all the tracks are up and running.


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