ASK THE RECORDING EXPERTS

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trupro
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Re: ASK THE RECORDING EXPERTS

Post by trupro » Thu Feb 14, 2013 2:55 pm

Shay wrote:Hi all

I have a newbie question.

What is the best way to prevent a string sound from dominating the song?
I want the bass, drum and lead sounds to stay in front and the string far in the background.
It somehow blends with them and they become less distinct and clear.

Thank,
Shay
Yeah i will echo what Anthony noted and fill in a bit of color: Volume, EQ and Panning are the key. Firstly, not everything can be the loudest. If everything is equal, nothing stands out. This has to do with the writing and composition, but after that, things should sit relative not only to eachother but also with regard to where they sit in time within the song. Dont ever be afraid of automating volumes, such as turning up the strings during their solo or shining moment, and then having them decrease a bit in other sections. Keep in mind that volume is also how distance on the soundstage is percieved. If i have something alot lower, its going to seem further away intuitively, and so the reverse is true as well. Therfore, dont be afraid to turn it down. When you are concentrating on a particular sound during mixing, it may also seem louder to you. Dont be afraid to then turn it down a little more, to send it to the back. Likewise, reverb will send it to the back of the mix, and when things are desired to seem further away, you also want to take alot of the highs out of that reverb, since the ear does this naturally to reverberations that come from further away.

Panning also plays a big part not only in things having their own sonic space and not overlapping too much, but spacially in terms of where things sound natural. That is, reality often plays a part in the way human ears percieve things, because we are used to space in natural life, so sometimes bowing to convention in this manner can help solve some problems. For example, a guitar players amp, flute player, bass player and keyboard amp cannot (comfortably) occupy the same space on a stage, and this wouldnt often sound great eiether, therefore it's a good idea to pan things where they would sit naturally in space. From this standpoint, even if you will end up creatively bucking convention and panning wildly later in the mix, i pays to at least start with a natural picture of the sounstage in your head, spacially; front to back, and left to right.

EQing is also essential, because many instruments overlap eachothers most prominent frequencies. Viola mite impede guitar, guitar may overlap an organ, electric piano or synth part, concert bass is going to collide with timpani, and so on and so forth. While some of this is good and adds harmonic coloration and a certain something that can only pop out when multiple instruments play together, too much will mask eachother or cause unpleasant phasing. Therefore, this is a game of sacrifice. I might really like the lower stuff that the string parts are giving off, but if they are runing the low mids of a bass track or vice versa, the point is lost anyway. Maybe i do this through composition, removing or changing a bass part to let that shine through. Otherwise, i'll have to eq that lower end of the strings so it is not as prominent.
Likewise, if certain string parts are killing each other, then the eqing must also speak to the 'important' part of what that instrument resonates at and how you want it percieved. Often many many instruments are playing in a stereo recording, we cannot discern alot of each instruments frequencies clearly enough for them to 'matter', in a sense. If the important part of my 808 kickdrum is 60hz in a particular record, then i can't really also make the bass track thump at mainly 60hz, or they will just muddy eachother up. Be willing to sacrifice some of the sonic richness of each of two or more instruments that are overlapping too much.

If we're talking about violin, you may find that in your particular mix you could roll off (ie: basically get rid of) everything below 200hz. Sometimes i roll higher end strings, and even electric guitars, off at 300hz. Sure, they lose some harmonics. But then again, if i can barely hear them, they are not important. If it's Viola, you may want to keep some more down there, Cello needs a little more lows etc. But likewise, if its the mids or highs that are offending, say, overlapping with flutes, guitars, the choppy grit that may be important on an electric bass...whatever the case may be, you've got to pick your poison.

One of the most important lessons our teachers ever gave was just how important reductive or subtractive mixing really is. This is applicable to not only EQ, but also volume or gain. This simply means that whenever you mix, be it volume faders or in manipulating EQ frequencies on a given instrument track, you should start by taking away what you dislike, long before ever adding anything. The reasoning is simple: because head room is limited. Headroom is the total amount of gain available to you before distortion, and so when all our instruments are playing in the mix, we want this near the top, but not over (at least on a digital meter). Additive mixing, or adding pleasing frequencies and volumes, fills this up quickly, due to the ear candy principle. Lets say there is an offending frequency in that string part you mentioned, and the pleasing part is oh say, right in the middle, around between 300 - 500hz, or something like that. If you boost that, you will get more of what you want. However, now youve increased the volume of that track overall, and used up a little headroom overall. Later, you find pleasing frequencies on other tracks. You start boosting things like 3k on the snare drum, 250 on the kick for the beater, 1k on the flute to give it more presence, and so on, until guess what? Youve got to turn your whole mix down to keep from peaking. But now, youve gone and lowered a bunch of other frequencies, by turning things down, which you may have not wanted to do. The simple way around all of this is, target things in each track which are clearly displeasing, or very succintly in the case of your strings example, overlapping other instruments. Check out some tutorials on notch filtering, tightening and widening the 'Q' (target freqency) of a given eq band, and you will have some of the tools you need to target offending frequencies, for whatever reason you wish to reduce them or even take them out completely. Often only subtle reductions are needed, but dont be shy about drastic cuts or rolling all the highs (research: bass rolloff and bandpass EQing) if you truly need to. Make a big spike in an EQ band with a tight Q, and sweep around (dont listen do loud, you can blow your speakers and/or eardrums!)...you will find that offending frequency and learn alot in the process.

After lowering the volume faders of instruments you want lower, and reducing frequencies of certain instruments you want lower, you then go back and can do subtle boosts. And since you've reduced some unwanted frequencies, the power of small raises in other frequencies will be increased, so you save headroom on both sides of that coin.

I hope some of this is helpful, and please excuse my typical longwindedness; i get excited about this stuff! Plus, i drank a ton of coffee...

By the way, type of song or recording is this string part in?

Cheers,

S.

Shay
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Re: ASK THE RECORDING EXPERTS

Post by Shay » Fri Feb 15, 2013 7:42 am

Thank you trupro and all the other wonderful people who helped me and many others. :D
I learned, used and made a big progress using all the very helpful information you generously provided.
Thank you for that.

This place is truly a home for music creation people and Auria is a great peace of the big Puzzle.
Thank you Rim and the WaveMachine Labs team.

In my youth, I played the Baritone and later connected even more with electronic music.
Most of my music creation is Synth+PC based.
This is the first time I put much effort into the mix part to make it sound more professional and clear.

Besides my all electronics I am conducting some tests, which combine electronic sound and real, none synth instruments.
It's like connecting our past with our future.
I'll see where this journey will take me.

Wishing all to have joy from your music creation.

Shay.

Matt Guitar
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Re: ASK THE RECORDING EXPERTS

Post by Matt Guitar » Fri Mar 08, 2013 4:13 pm

Hi

I just bought an Akai EIE to use with Auria. Works great!! Just want to know if the is any way to connect a USB microphone to it?? I have a yeti blue which I love and it would be great to use with the EIE if there is any way?? Adapters??

Thanks

Matt Guitar
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Re: ASK THE RECORDING EXPERTS

Post by Matt Guitar » Sun Mar 17, 2013 5:40 pm

Anyone?

supanorton
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Re: ASK THE RECORDING EXPERTS

Post by supanorton » Sun Mar 17, 2013 8:05 pm

I don't think the Yeti needs an interface, just a powered hub and camera connection kit.

megaquests
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Re: ASK THE RECORDING EXPERTS

Post by megaquests » Tue Mar 19, 2013 3:44 pm

Hi
I'm new to the forum and mixing in general but v excited about recording in Auria
I'm a vocalist mainly and am echoing an earlier question Jeroen Janssen

What plugins etc would you recommend for mixing mainly vocals?
is there a good reverb with lots of presets? (ie for someone who doesn't know what all the dials do)
i'm probably going to grab a copy of Pro-Q FabFilter tonight
any other suggestions for using inbuilt controls or extra plugins would be great

if it makes any difference im on a ipad 3 /Lexicon Omega which i finally connected yesterday
i play some acoustic guitar and sing, trying to figure out how to get some good recordings/mixes
many thanks
Eugene

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sch
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Re: ASK THE RECORDING EXPERTS

Post by sch » Tue Mar 19, 2013 5:06 pm

megaquests wrote:What plugins etc would you recommend for mixing mainly vocals?
is there a good reverb with lots of presets? (ie for someone who doesn't know what all the dials do)
i'm probably going to grab a copy of Pro-Q FabFilter tonight
any other suggestions for using inbuilt controls or extra plugins would be great
Eugene,

I can tell you that the FabFilter Pro-DS is a life-saver for vocals. I recently did a spoken word (poetry) project and this plug-in de-essed the voice beautifully. That and the Convolution reverb that's part of Auria give a great vocal sound. I recommend purchasing the in-app RetroVerb Auria Edition 1 & 2 IR files for more reverb choice.

The FabFilter Pro-Q is an exceptional EQ, so much easier to use than the channel strip EQ (although they are acoustically quite good EQs too).

So far I'm using Auria's channel strip and master strip for comp/limiting. I split the Limiting/Compressing duties between the channel and the main busspressor.

Using the PSP MicroWarmer on the mains also gives a nice analog warmth.

Hope this helps!

Cheers,

Stackatrack
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Re: ASK THE RECORDING EXPERTS

Post by Stackatrack » Thu Mar 21, 2013 7:28 pm

Hi,
I've got thousands wrapped up in a PT HD system and it's good...but this little app is great !
The only issue I'm concerned with is external storage....when you're at the gig recording, you really do need a live way to move the files to an external HD IMHO.
Given that my iPad is home to all sorts of large video files, I'd prefer to park live recordings to an external drive.
Not sure a wi fi drive is gonna hold up to transfer rates of a 16-24 track live recording.
firewire was marginal in a PT plus system I used a few years ago.....In any event, I'm sure I could get through a few multitrack sessions on the ipad before stopping to go back home and copy to the Mac Pro or iMac I have there.
If there's no way presently to change that....it's still all good considering what it costs and what it does....I think it's just amazing.

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Anthony Alves
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Re: ASK THE RECORDING EXPERTS

Post by Anthony Alves » Tue Mar 26, 2013 11:00 am

Hi Stackatrack, currently the only solution is the new iPad 128gb model. You could also back-up everything on your iPad and go into the recording session with an empty iPad just loaded with Auria and the basics. Cheers.~~_/)~~~

supanorton
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Re: ASK THE RECORDING EXPERTS

Post by supanorton » Sun Apr 07, 2013 12:31 pm

I've been trying to get a good mix with Auria since its release with less than stellar results. I have no background with mixing/engineering/producing. In my band days, I wasn't interested in much that was happening in the control room.

After tracking, I'm only EQing slightly to get the sound I want for each instrument. After that, I tweak the individual tracks EQ, pan, and level so that I can hear them nicely in the mix. My mixes sound pretty good on my monitors, but are terribly boomy, muddy, and harsh on the system in my car. My monitors are a pair of inexpensive M-Audio BX5a deluxe speakers. Pretty good sounding speakers, but I think they accentuate the highs and hide the lows. They are what they are and what I can afford.

I think EQ is my main nemesis and am trying something new to get a better sound. I've inserted a Tom Petty track on my project in Auria and set up Pro Q as an insert with channel strip bypassed. I've been trying to roughly create the same spectrum in my project's master Pro-Q insert as the one on the Tom Petty track. I'm getting close, but not there yet. I do think my mix sounds a lot better, but that's without doing a mixdown and testing it on other speakers.

To the experts: does this sound like a useful approach to achieving a better mix as far as EQ is concerned? I'm using similar instruments and I love the overall sound of the mix I'm attempting to emulate.

Any suggestions with regard to EQ would be appreciated.
Thanks,
Artie

Phil999
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Re: ASK THE RECORDING EXPERTS

Post by Phil999 » Sun Apr 07, 2013 3:23 pm

it's not a bad idea, but an audio spectrum can only be a rough indication of a mix. Investing in a decent pair of speakers and room treatment is always the best thing you can do.

I bought a pair of Dynaudio BM5A mkII a year ago, and this changed everything. All my mixes I've previously done in Cubase or on a desk are bad. Now I know why. I didn't hear what I was doing.

Checkrath
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Re: ASK THE RECORDING EXPERTS

Post by Checkrath » Mon Apr 08, 2013 2:57 pm

Now that Auria's Audiobus integration is sorted in 1.7, it's meeting almost all of my daw needs beautifully .

The one problem I have is when I want to sequence a virtual midi track(s) along side some audio. Currently, I bounce down the audio and copy paste to Beatmaker2 (urghh..) to sequence my track, then copy paste the resulting audio back to Auria.

This process is a little painful. Any suggestions for sequencing against audio tracks?

I have also used Nanostudio in the past but the audio track needs to be triggered I.e. I can't start playback half way through the song. I have considered buying cubasis for this but it feels a bit pricy to just use as a sequencer.

supanorton
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Re: ASK THE RECORDING EXPERTS

Post by supanorton » Mon Apr 08, 2013 6:56 pm

Phil999 wrote:it's not a bad idea, but an audio spectrum can only be a rough indication of a mix. Investing in a decent pair of speakers and room treatment is always the best thing you can do.

I bought a pair of Dynaudio BM5A mkII a year ago, and this changed everything. All my mixes I've previously done in Cubase or on a desk are bad. Now I know why. I didn't hear what I was doing.
@Phil999
Thank you. I was afraid that someone would tell me that. I know I'll eventually have to spend serious money on monitors, better mics, etc. I will say that the comparative spectrum analysis has definitely helped get me a lot closer, and I have to make do with what I've got for now. I appreciate you taking the time to answer my question.

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Anthony Alves
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Re: ASK THE RECORDING EXPERTS

Post by Anthony Alves » Wed Apr 10, 2013 12:35 pm

supanorton wrote:I've been trying to get a good mix with Auria since its release with less than stellar results. I have no background with mixing/engineering/producing. In my band days, I wasn't interested in much that was happening in the control room.

After tracking, I'm only EQing slightly to get the sound I want for each instrument. After that, I tweak the individual tracks EQ, pan, and level so that I can hear them nicely in the mix. My mixes sound pretty good on my monitors, but are terribly boomy, muddy, and harsh on the system in my car. My monitors are a pair of inexpensive M-Audio BX5a deluxe speakers. Pretty good sounding speakers, but I think they accentuate the highs and hide the lows. They are what they are and what I can afford.

I think EQ is my main nemesis and am trying something new to get a better sound. I've inserted a Tom Petty track on my project in Auria and set up Pro Q as an insert with channel strip bypassed. I've been trying to roughly create the same spectrum in my project's master Pro-Q insert as the one on the Tom Petty track. I'm getting close, but not there yet. I do think my mix sounds a lot better, but that's without doing a mixdown and testing it on other speakers.

To the experts: does this sound like a useful approach to achieving a better mix as far as EQ is concerned? I'm using similar instruments and I love the overall sound of the mix I'm attempting to emulate.

Any suggestions with regard to EQ would be appreciated.
Thanks,
Artie
This is a common problem when mixing to small speakers even if the speaker is of high quality it still will not represent a frequency that it can not produce so the mix engineer thinks the bottom end is under control when in fact they are not and all he low frequencies are still too loud. To cure this matter simple set a LowCut filter in ProQ and dial it to 25Hz to 30Hz essentially removing any frequencies in the lower sub bass range that truly affects the muddiness of the mix. Then set the ProQ to midside mode and select another LowCut filter and set the frequency to 90 Hz in the side channel (select the S to the right of the sizers) and this eliminates any subharmonic frequencies and most subwoofers are crossed over at 100Hz. This will fix your problem forever and no matter what speakers you play your track on the bottom end still sounds under control. there are of course variations on this method but as a general rule this works. cheers

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sch
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Re: ASK THE RECORDING EXPERTS

Post by sch » Wed Apr 10, 2013 1:01 pm

Anthony Alves wrote:To cure this matter simple set a LowCut filter in ProQ and dial it to 25Hz to 30Hz essentially removing any frequencies in the lower sub bass range that truly affects the muddiness of the mix. Then set the ProQ to midside mode and select another LowCut filter and set the frequency to 90 Hz in the side channel (select the S to the right of the sizers) and this eliminates any subharmonic frequencies and most subwoofers are crossed over at 100Hz. This will fix your problem forever and no matter what speakers you play your track on the bottom end still sounds under control. there are of course variations on this method but as a general rule this works. cheers
Anthony, you do this on all channels (presumably other than the bass)? Or is this a Sub or Master treatment?

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