I think I'm lost LOL

pcstudios

New member
You've got to admit, when it comes to mixing using plugins, the combinations of ways to mix is infinite. There are different orders for each chain, different eq's, different compressions, and what I found out tonight is there are tons of different ways to saturate. I didn't have any saturation plugin, and I bought the Waves Abbey Rd Saturator which was on sale. Lots more than I need but it was on sale and I can use it sparingly.

But it opens a whole new dimension to mixing stems. At this point, I'm kind of lost on how to use it - or at least I haven't gotten a handle on it yet. Like I mentioned before, I'm using it sparingly, and really only using it for acoustic guitar to bring it out into the mix better, and on the mix bus to experiment a little with it there.

The new plugin has something on it I've never used before, called a compactor. I'll have to read up a lot before I tackle it. It has a pre and post EQ. And a saturation gain knob, along with a compactor blend and a saturator blend knob. Plenty to learn!!
 

CrowsofFritz

Flamingo!
When it comes to a saturator, there are basically no general rules as to where in the chain you should place it. Some people put it first, some people put it after EQ and compression, and some people even put it after reverb!!
 

Mickster

Well-known member
You know....I hate to admit it....and I've been recording for decades now...but saturation is one effect I still don't truly understand. I'm not saying I can't hear it's results. I've always seen it as a sort of tone "fattener"...but I'm sure I'm way off.

Maybe some of you can educate me?

Mick
 
You know....I hate to admit it....and I've been recording for decades now...but saturation is one effect I still don't truly understand. I'm not saying I can't hear it's results. I've always seen it as a sort of tone "fattener"...but I'm sure I'm way off.

Maybe some of you can educate me?

Mick

I use it on drums, sometimes I smash the hell out of drums with it, sometimes just the snare to shape the sound while reducing peaks and making the snare more present, if you go over the top with saturation then the snare WILL poke out of the mix and actually become distracting so it's good to find that sweet spot, it does a lot of work for you, doesn't always go to plan though, the snare can lose it's tone.

I use it sometimes on an over clean (spiky) recordings of acoustic guitar, just generally very tiny amounts to emulate tape, and round off those transients, it also compresses for you a touch without becoming noticeable.

I use it on the master to further help with shaving off those transients without squaring them off, no more than 5% wet. (tape emulations mainly)

For me it's better to go on the end of the chain, but I don't think too much about it.

I don't use saturation to hear it as saturation, I use it to tame highs (sometimes), add some low end warmth(sometimes), compress the signal and tame those transients(a lot), Getting a track that is buried quite low in the mix, like a vocal that is supposed to be buried inside a bunch of heavy rhythm guitars, trick is to add a lot of saturation to the vocal so you can have it lower in the mix but much more percieved clarity as saturation also adds harmonics.

It's used in lots of different ways, probably why it's so confusing to understand. (I'm still learning)
 

JonTheMixEng

New member
Hey Mickster! Saturation is SuperCoooool.

Academically, its when a wave form becomes warped in such a way the causes 'soft clipping'(rounding off of the waveform peaks), which is a form of distortion that doesn't add as many higher order harmonics (added frequencies) that cause brightness. Rounding off these peaks also is a natural form of compression. Saturation as a digital effect is a way of introducing these harmonics through software rather than overloading a piece of hardware (classically tape machines) to cause the effect.

These added harmonics that come from the warping of the waveform you can think of as 'harmonies' of the original signal. Imagine a choir of 1 person and then imagine a choir of 10 and 20 and 100 and you could imagine the sound gets more 'full' and 'lush'.
 
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