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Thread: mixing ~ use you eyes

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    mixing ~ use you eyes

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    "Use your ears" is a phrase repeatedly read in mixing posts.

    I'm going to suggest that an additional aid to mixing is to use your eyes.

    I recently listened to a track in the MP3 clinic. The musical ideas were good, but the mix was a washing machine full of mayhem.

    I suggested to the poster that he draw his virtual band (i.e. all the instruments and vocals that have been tracked) on a bit of paper as a mixing guide.

    This is, in effect, asking him to visualize the stage.

    I think this might be a useful way of keeping a mix under control and cohesive. I'd go to the extent of using a chessboard to represent the stage, and using chess pieces to represent the players.

    When you mix, the mix should have enough spatial dimension to let you look at where an instrument is placed.

    Thoughts?

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    I totally agree, but one should be mentally advanced enough to be able to do this without having to actually draw it out.

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    Well, yes . . . you'ld hope that they would be mentally advanced enough.

    But I think that some beginners to mixing are not thinking spatially. I think they are thinking in terms of where they can fit something in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gecko zzed View Post
    Well, yes . . . you'ld hope that they would be mentally advanced enough.

    But I think that some beginners to mixing are not thinking spatially. I think they are thinking in terms of where they can fit something in.
    I suppose. Panning is important. I'm a big fan of it.

    I'm pretty blown away simply by how bad some people's ears are. Or maybe it's their monitoring situation, or lack of one.

    I'm sure we all listen to something that's professionally done. We all have our favorite sounding album or single. People need to listen to their own stuff honestly, and preferably on a good system, and figure out where they suck compared to the stuff that they like. I'm all for helping people, in the clinic for example, but sometimes I'm like "WTF are you doing? How can you think this sounds okay?"

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    One of the reasons why they think it is okay is because it is new.

    I do the same thing. I finish the song and think "hmm that's not too bad", and play it over and over while basking in the warm glow of achievement, not realising that the wish-fulfilment part of my brain has hi-jacked my ears, and I'm not listening properly at all.

    A couple of months later I revisit the song and think "how on earth did I think that was good?"

    That particular thought is immediately followed by "this new song is so much better" . . . and so it goes in this circular kind of thing.

    However, it's not an exact circle. With a bit of luck it's more of a slowly ascending spiral, where each time around you get just a little bit better.

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    I guess that's it. I only have myself to compare things to. When I got started, my stuff sucked really bad and I realized it. I slowly got better, but I never sat there and thought "man this is good". Even compared to the obscure poorly recorded punk stuff I listen to, my crap was still bad. Lol. I totally understand the learning curve, but I guess I just never fell into my own trap. I've just recently felt like I can sit back and say to myself "yeah, that's pretty good".


    P.S. - Panning or EQ was never my problem. I just recorded shitty sounds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gecko zzed View Post
    "Use your ears" is a phrase repeatedly read in mixing posts.

    I'm going to suggest that an additional aid to mixing is to use your eyes.

    I recently listened to a track in the MP3 clinic. The musical ideas were good, but the mix was a washing machine full of mayhem.

    I suggested to the poster that he draw his virtual band (i.e. all the instruments and vocals that have been tracked) on a bit of paper as a mixing guide.

    This is, in effect, asking him to visualize the stage.

    I think this might be a useful way of keeping a mix under control and cohesive. I'd go to the extent of using a chessboard to represent the stage, and using chess pieces to represent the players.

    When you mix, the mix should have enough spatial dimension to let you look at where an instrument is placed.

    Thoughts?
    Thoughts ? A book came out about it. Here's my thread.
    The Art of Mixing: A Visual Guide to Recording, Engineering, and Production by David Gibson

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    I thought I was onto something new! Ah well, looks like I've got some reading to do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gecko zzed View Post
    I thought I was onto something new! Ah well, looks like I've got some reading to do.
    You already have it figured out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg_L
    I never sat there and thought "man this is good".
    I would go as far as to say I still listen to my stuff and think "man this is bad", and then work on ways to mitigate the crappiness. In fact, whether what I've done is good or not, I will always use the same method of attempting to mitigate the crappiness. I find it helpful to look at what I do in a negative light.

    I think the problem with a lot of beginner recordists accepting stuff that sounds so bad is that, apart from that fact that the music they listen to sounds awful, they aren't naturally cut out for making music and are just the product of the sort of marketing that promises fame and fortune from cheap gear. They aren't musicians, and never will be. They don't know what they're looking for or at musicially or sonically because all they're really looking for is money and kudos. Ever notice how the guys who sound like crap are often the same guys asking how to sell their shit on itunes?

    It's to some extent the DIY version of xfactor in this place sometimes.

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