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Thread: Multitrack Mastering

  1. #1
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    Multitrack Mastering

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    I recently read an article online about "Multitrack Mastering", and how in the old days before automation, there was a "premixing" stage. This stage included spot muting coughs and the areas before and after guitar solos, riding levels, or boosting a guitar solo, creating effects tracks and creating composite tracks of say, vocals. This was all done before mixing, to make the mixing engineer's job easier. The article can be found here:

    http://www.recordingeq.com/REQ4-98.h...G%20TECHNIQUES

    I linked there from the article Beck posted.

    I don't have any automation, and I am about to start mixing my first analog project in about 5 years. I was planning on doing the mutes, effects, and level riding all on the fly. I have practiced a little bit and think I can do it. My question is, is this a process that you all use? Do you do as much editing as possible before the mix? There is the prospect of potentially screwing up some of my tracks....and there is also the issue of being able to get back that exact echo 20 years down the line...so I might have to make room for effects tracks.

    I don't see any way of viably making a backup of my reel either...

    What do you all do?

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    During my mixdowns, I usually have my buddy and band mate over and we make a two man job out of the mixdown task. Each of us rehearse what we will do during the actual mixdown and make some pretty complex adjustments on the fly, having 4 hands available to handle all the intricacies of the transfer to two track.

    For those that must work alone, comping tracks, pre eq'ing, spot erasing and rehearsing are your best bets at performing a smooth mix.

    This is where the art of engineering really comes into play and the more you do, the better you will get at doing it. Expect mistakes and have the patience to redo your mixes until you are satisfied with your results.

    Cheers!

  3. #3
    Beck Guest
    As a solo ďjack-of-all-tradesĒ recording musician, Iíve always gone it alone recording and mixing. Iíve done spot erasing of undesirable sounds as part of premastering clean up since my early cassette portastudio days. Iíve always made good use of noise gates as well. Since MIDI automation has been part of my setup since the mid-80ís there are some things that Iíve never really had to do manually. However, I do ride levels and handle acoustically recorded instruments and vocals on the fly.

    Global compression and gating have become pretty standard for me on mixdown. It all depends on the dynamics of the piece and how it starts.

    I spend a lot more time with MIDI programming and setup than I do on the actual mixdown.

    Iím usually limited to seven analog tracks (track 8 is almost always a sync track). When following a conventional pop song structure my lead tracks are punched in on one or two vocal tracks, so those get a lot of attention on mixdown. Delays and reverbs are switched automatically via MIDI, but I adjust levels, eq and panning manually.

    Often I record rhythm guitar dry, fatten it up by bouncing with a second take, and then give it a stereo spread through a chorus. Iíve always had fewer analog tracks than I wanted, so I have learned to layer and fatten after the fact with processors and a generation of bouncing.

    -Tim

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    Delays and reverbs are switched automatically via MIDI, but I adjust levels, eq and panning manually.
    Hey Beck, I've got a question for you. I own two ART fx units that every patch and parameter are midi accessable for assignment to a sequencer in the computer. Trouble is I havn't got a clue how or what to enter data wise or whatever wise onto the sequencer tracks. I have my MSR's synched to each other, via a midiizer, and the midiizer hooked up via midi to a midi distribution device, as well as the computer AND the fx devices. I've got every sequencing software imagineable, yet I've never been able to add the fx parameter and patch change info to the sequencer. How is this achieved? The manual is really useless about this. Midi stuff yea, but it doesn't tell me how to sequence the midi information...man do I feel old. Kids do this stuff...but me....its like.....wha the f.
    fitZ
    alright breaks over, back on your heads!

  5. #5
    Beck Guest
    Basically, you set your ART processor to a certain MIDI channel and set a track on your sequencer to the same midi channel. You then program your sequencer to send a program change message at a predetermined point in the song.

    With MIDI mapping you can kill two birds with one stone by having the device change to one program number when it receives another. That way you donít have a MIDI channel doing just one thing or controlling one device.

    Sequencers and processors are all different in what they can do and how they do it so itís not easy to explain an across the board way to accomplish your objectives.

    Paul White had a nice series of articles in 1995 Sound-on-Sound Magazine below. I hope itís not information overload for a simple question.

    http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/1995...1c91dda8184259

    http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/1995...1c91dda8184259

    http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/1995...1c91dda8184259

    http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/1995...1c91dda8184259

    http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/1995...1c91dda8184259

    Do you have the manuals for your ART processors? Iíve never owned any of the ART stuff so I donít know how well they explain things.

    -Tim

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Ghost of FM
    For those that must work alone, comping tracks, pre eq'ing, spot erasing and rehearsing are your best bets at performing a smooth mix.
    It all makes sense now.

    If I can avoid doing that stuff, I probably will. I dont want to accidently erase anything, and my mixes are supposed to sound raw anyway.

    I did a run through last night, took about an hour and a half once everything was hooked up. Everything seemed to go fine.

    Do u all think it is important to back up a reel somehow?

    I was thinking about getting an adat to expand my digital system to 16 tracks and feed the reel into the machine.

    is this overkill?

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    I know (knew) including myself where I'd have all the tracks on 2" 24 Track then do sub mixes to a 1" 16 Track (over multiple tracks - ie - sub mix 2 track drums to the 1" 16 track over four tracks using tracks 7 thru 10 then sub mixing for other parts on outer tracks accordingly).

    I've also done more than just one instrument sub mixes. It's been a good 5 years or more since I've CUT tape for a mix... it's both exciting and satisfying (if I don't f it up).

    Having a hybrid system now makes things much easier especially if I need to do a 6 track mix of a bands song for film.

    I didn't read the article you posted so I'm talking about a mixing session even before it gets mastered. I know at least one person that likes to master with sub mixes via Analog anymore. There's not a huge demand for it but once someone asks for it, he's ready... that's if you have the money to pay for such services. It's a "speciality" these days if you can actually find someone that knows how to do it.

    I do KINDA miss it cuz it always impressed me when I pulled it off but it's such a pain in the a$$ if I mess something up. There's no "undo" button an an Analog tape or linear destructive ADAT machines for that matter. If I cut a tape too soon I'm screwed... at least for another hour or two. Also the cost of a 2" tape plus a 1" plus a 1/2" tape (for Mastering) isn't worth it unless someone is an absolute purist and it's going to be released on vinyl.

    -- Adam Lazlo
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    Analog Electric Studio
    Minneapolis, MN, USA

  8. #8
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    Also the cost of a 2" tape plus a 1" plus a 1/2" tape (for Mastering) isn't worth it unless someone is an absolute purist and it's going to be released on vinyl.
    Absolute purist? I thought that was the POINT of good recording. Otherwise you might as well poke a 57 anywhere, and record to a cassette. Whats the difference if not the level of quality. What determines the....."we don't need THAT level of quality" "in fact, we don need no stinkin quality at all"........

    fitZ
    alright breaks over, back on your heads!

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