Mixing Master Tracks

Bill Lacroix

New member
Does any one out there have a good ABC's to mixing down from a four track to cassette(or VHS) to end up with result that can be played back on a variety of systems and remaining relatively consistant. I'm using Sound Dynamic R-55 reference speakers, an old Sansui amp, a Yamaha MT120(4 track)and a 8 channel Fostex mixer(model 450). My final results tend to end up too bassy or too tinny. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Slight reverb and compression will thicken and the bring the sound alive. However if your products are surprises, go suspect your monitoring department; you are probably not hearing what you are doing. I suggest do a lot of mixing with your present monitors and playback thru your various systems. Find out what's consistently lacking in your mix and the next time you mix deliberately compensate the lack in your EQ.
First step is to run a signal through there
that you know and record it with everything FLAT as you can. Listen to that and reference
any changes you make relative to that baseline value. You need to redo this when you change any part of the signal chain.
A real pain in the ass, but it's not too pricey other than your time..
Excellent advise drstawl!!!

In addition, it would be desirable to do a reality check concerning any production techniques you are using while mixing.

It is so easy to fall back on mixing certain things to sound the way you "think" you want them to sound. The problem here is that what you may have recorded could be a whole lot different than what you really wanted. It truely takes lots of tracking and mixing before you get a good handle on what sounds good in the real world and what doesn't. Once again I will quote a sound consultant that I use from time to time. "Learning good recording techniques is just a matter on doing a bunch of things you will never do again".

It could take you years (as it does many of us. Hell, I have been recording for well over 10 years now) to develope the "ears" for recording. These "ears" are more than just hearing well. It is also knowing when a performance will work. It is intuitively knowing what the performance problems are. It is vast experience with solving these problems that generally destinguish a hobbiest recording person from a professional.

So, the point I am trying to make here is that you should only expect the kind of results that are on the same level of your commitment to the results. Meaning, if you don't spend much time learning to record and all the aspects involved, then you really can't expect your mixes to sound like something done by someone who is professional.

Many times people think that they can achieve professional results with consumer type equipment and a bunch of time. The problem here is that no matter how good of gear you have, if you don't know how to apply it towards getting the kind of sound you desire, the equipment won't make it sound the way you want for you. You have to know how to use the stuff to get the sound you want. The only real way of knowing how to use it to get the sound you want is to experiment a whole lot!!! That is the bottom line my man.

Next, I will revert back to some earlier post's that I have made concerning expecting that the equipment that you have will produce the kind of results that you hear on a CD. Bottom line here is that if you don't have at least say $20k into your setup, you will get demo quality results. You stuff is not going to sound very pro using cassette as your recording formant. Cassette has a very limited dynamic range as well as a somewhat limited frequency response that really limits you to what you can achieve with it. Also, a Fostex console that is worth maybe a couple hundred bucks now is not really going to give you the kind of CMU (central mixing unit.... :) ) that will sound like a big boy console. So, if you are not making constant improvements in the kind of equipment you are using, then you really can't expect the kind of stuff you have to produce anything better than some demo quality stuff. On some systems it will sound alright, on others it will not.

Anyway, I am not trying to bring you down about recording by any means. Just trying to make sure that you understand that your current setup has some serious limitations. As long as you realise what they are, you can work towards maximizing it's potential, and when the time comes for you to purchase some better stuff, you will have a good idea where you should put your money first.

Good luck.

Ed Rei
Echo Star Studio www.echostarstudio.com
Thanks for the feedback and reality check. I guess basically what it come down to is practice practice practice. I think I have been expecting too much from what equipment I have(damn)!
Thanks again!