Mixing SOS

Monkey Allen

Fork and spoon operator
Before I go into my problem I should outline my setup:

(Please skip to the questions under the BOLD font below, if you'd rather not read all the following boring crap)

1. Home recording in small spare bedroom maybe 5m x 4m or so (16ft x 13ft). Wooden floors with a rug on a third of it. Prime Acoustic London 10 system on walls...corners and reflection points...plus DIY deep treatment in front corners, a foot and a half square in both corners floor to almost ceiling. No ceiling traps. Monitors placed well off back wall...basically everything as good as I can get it for that room and with the treatment I have.

2. Yamaha HS8 monitors, a large variety of headphones including Sennheiser HD600, HD280, Beyer DT880, 770, Sony MDR 7506, Audio Technica ATH M50, ATH M70x

3. Lots of great gear...Neumann u87ai, AEA N22 ribbon, RME Fireface UFX II, Daking Fet 3, Daking Mic/pre/eq, UA LA610mkii, Grace m101, Heritage HA73EQ Elite, Studio One...etc...lots of great stuff.

4. What I most often record (all in that room): Vocals, acoustic guitar, shakers, tambourine etc, glockenspiel, electric guitar usually with Amplitube (I simply can not crank my amp), organs and keys with a midi keyboard, drums are Ezdrummer or Addictive Drums. Bass is recorded DI...usually through the LA 610mkii.

5. The type of stuff I do I can link at the end of this post if anyone wants to get an idea.

So that's what I've got and what I'm doing. My issue is with mixing and I'll break down some of my main and observations and problematic challenges I just can't solve...these are in no particular order...I'll just rattle off what I notice...

1. I can get mixes to sound pretty good on basically any of my headphones (main ones are the HD600's - and it is pretty easy for me to make stuff sound agreeable in those). I can also get my mixes to sound good on my Yamaha HS8's in my studio room. However (and no prizes for guessing where I'm going here) if I play my stuff out in my living room (standard living room) where I have some 5 inch M-Audio speakers hooked up to a laptop, I notice particularly that my bass is washy sounding and boomy and ill-defined compared to pro records where the bass sounds tight and has no woolly, boomy, washy bass response. The pro songs have a bass (guitar and general overall bass frequency) that is tight and highly defined. It is deep and resonant and rich...but never boomy, washy or woolly.

2. I'm very often way too scared to listen to my stuff through bluetooth headphones like Samsung ear buds etc (because it's often a bloodbath)...but when I do, all that was washy and woolly and boomy in the bass now seems kind of thin and weak...in addition, the high frequencies are somewhat exaggerated and shrill and spikey. Now, I do think that bluetooth buds are a pretty bad way to listen to music...because I have noticed that some pro songs suffer and can also sound a bit shrill...but not as bad as my stuff, of course.

3. Generally, I notice that pro stuff sounds rich and warm and clear and tight in the low end...compared to mine that is boomy and ill-defined. The pro stuff sounds sweet and musical and pleasant in the high end whereas my stuff can sound annoying and shrill and tinny in the high end.

So, anyway, those are some of the main things...I just don't get how this delicate balancing act is achieved in pro stuff. They seem to be able to make the low end full, deep, tight low and rich...but never boomy, ill-defined and washy...and they seem to nail the high end where everything is sweet and never shrill.

What they achieve (and what makes stuff nice to listen to)....I excel at achieving the direct opposite.

And the kicker is that my stuff sounds good on my HD600s and Yamahas...and so does the pro stuff....but my stuff goes downhill on any other playback medium whereas the pro stuff still sounds essentially the same.

I've been mixing here and there for years...and only in the last year and a half regularly. I know there's a lot of advice that could be thrown my way...it's your room, it's you, it's your ears, it's your musical ability, it's your room treatment, you need to use aural exciters more (or less), you need to accentuate the harmonics, you need to use MaxBass, you need to know your room, you need way better room treatment...etc etc. I appreciate all this, really. I get it.

But there's people on youtube (and I don't mean to sound that I'm complaining or whatever) who record and mix in spaces a lot worse than mine...and their stuff sounds...great.

As far as the bass goes...I dunno...because I go DI maybe I'm capturing far too much low end...I usually roll off bass guitar around 40hz or so. Maybe I need to be cutting much, much more low end than that and getting it to resonate more around 100/ 200hz. I just dunno. I know that Motown stuff was often DI bass...but after that I dunno how they treated it.

So anyway, that's my recording/ mixing SOS. What basic things can I do to tread that delicate line of judgement where I manage to get a more tight, rich low end that's not boomy, and a sweet, pleasant high end that's not shrill?

Thanks for any advice.

Skip to these questions if you don't want to read the above boring blog:

1. How to get Fender P Bass D.I recording to sound tight, rich and full but not washy, boomy and ill-defined.
2. How to get tracks sounding sweet and pleasant in the high frequencies without making them shrill and annoying.

Here's a link to my stuff:

I'd suggest that the best/ most successful mix I have ever done was the song called Better Me Better You...and the worst mix on that link (of recent times) is the song Fool Up...but they are all pretty amateur.

https://soundcloud.com/user-186908625
It's kind of a holy grail in this life for me to create the best sounding recordings of my songs, for what they are worth, that I can. It's really frustrating. Any practical advice, based on what you can go on from my info here, is much appreciated.

Thanks
 
Last edited:

Tomeh

Member
Before I go into my problem I should outline my setup:

(Please skip to the questions under the BOLD font below, if you'd rather not read all the following boring crap)

1. Home recording in small spare bedroom maybe 5m x 4m or so (16ft x 13ft). Wooden floors with a rug on a third of it. Prime Acoustic London 10 system on walls...corners and reflection points...plus DIY deep treatment in front corners, a foot and a half square in both corners floor to almost ceiling. No ceiling traps. Monitors placed well off back wall...basically everything as good as I can get it for that room and with the treatment I have.

2. Yamaha HS8 monitors, a large variety of headphones including Sennheiser HD600, HD280, Beyer DT880, 770, Sony MDR 7506, Audio Technica ATH M50, ATH M70x

3. Lots of great gear...Neumann u87ai, AEA N22 ribbon, RME Fireface UFX II, Daking Fet 3, Daking Mic/pre/eq, UA LA610mkii, Grace m101, Heritage HA73EQ Elite, Studio One...etc...lots of great stuff.

4. What I most often record (all in that room): Vocals, acoustic guitar, shakers, tambourine etc, glockenspiel, electric guitar usually with Amplitube (I simply can not crank my amp), organs and keys with a midi keyboard, drums are Ezdrummer or Addictive Drums. Bass is recorded DI...usually through the LA 610mkii.

5. The type of stuff I do I can link at the end of this post if anyone wants to get an idea.

So that's what I've got and what I'm doing. My issue is with mixing and I'll break down some of my main and observations and problematic challenges I just can't solve...these are in no particular order...I'll just rattle off what I notice...

1. I can get mixes to sound pretty good on basically any of my headphones (main ones are the HD600's - and it is pretty easy for me to make stuff sound agreeable in those). I can also get my mixes to sound good on my Yamaha HS8's in my studio room. However (and no prizes for guessing where I'm going here) if I play my stuff out in my living room (standard living room) where I have some 5 inch M-Audio speakers hooked up to a laptop, I notice particularly that my bass is washy sounding and boomy and ill-defined compared to pro records where the bass sounds tight and has no woolly, boomy, washy bass response. The pro songs have a bass (guitar and general overall bass frequency) that is tight and highly defined. It is deep and resonant and rich...but never boomy, washy or woolly.

2. I'm very often way too scared to listen to my stuff through bluetooth headphones like Samsung ear buds etc (because it's often a bloodbath)...but when I do, all that was washy and woolly and boomy in the bass now seems kind of thin and weak...in addition, the high frequencies are somewhat exaggerated and shrill and spikey. Now, I do think that bluetooth buds are a pretty bad way to listen to music...because I have noticed that some pro songs suffer and can also sound a bit shrill...but not as bad as my stuff, of course.

3. Generally, I notice that pro stuff sounds rich and warm and clear and tight in the low end...compared to mine that is boomy and ill-defined. The pro stuff sounds sweet and musical and pleasant in the high end whereas my stuff can sound annoying and shrill and tinny in the high end.

So, anyway, those are some of the main things...I just don't get how this delicate balancing act is achieved in pro stuff. They seem to be able to make the low end full, deep, tight low and rich...but never boomy, ill-defined and washy...and they seem to nail the high end where everything is sweet and never shrill.

What they achieve (and what makes stuff nice to listen to)....I excel at achieving the direct opposite.

And the kicker is that my stuff sounds good on my HD600s and Yamahas...and so does the pro stuff....but my stuff goes downhill on any other playback medium whereas the pro stuff still sounds essentially the same.

I've been mixing here and there for years...and only in the last year and a half regularly. I know there's a lot of advice that could be thrown my way...it's your room, it's you, it's your ears, it's your musical ability, it's your room treatment, you need to use aural exciters more (or less), you need to accentuate the harmonics, you need to use MaxBass, you need to know your room, you need way better room treatment...etc etc. I appreciate all this, really. I get it.

But there's people on youtube (and I don't mean to sound that I'm complaining or whatever) who record and mix in spaces a lot worse than mine...and their stuff sounds...great.

As far as the bass goes...I dunno...because I go DI maybe I'm capturing far too much low end...I usually roll off bass guitar around 40hz or so. Maybe I need to be cutting much, much more low end than that and getting it to resonate more around 100/ 200hz. I just dunno. I know that Motown stuff was often DI bass...but after that I dunno how they treated it.

So anyway, that's my recording/ mixing SOS. What basic things can I do to tread that delicate line of judgement where I manage to get a more tight, rich low end that's not boomy, and a sweet, pleasant high end that's not shrill?

Thanks for any advice.

Skip to these questions if you don't want to read the above boring blog:

1. How to get Fender P Bass D.I recording to sound tight, rich and full but not washy, boomy and ill-defined.
2. How to get tracks sounding sweet and pleasant in the high frequencies without making them shrill and annoying.

Here's a link to my stuff:

I'd suggest that the best/ most successful mix I have ever done was the song called Better Me Better You...and the worst mix on that link (of recent times) is the song Fool Up...but they are all pretty amateur.

https://soundcloud.com/user-186908625
It's kind of a holy grail in this life for me to create the best sounding recordings of my songs, for what they are worth, that I can. It's really frustrating. Any practical advice, based on what you can go on from my info here, is much appreciated.

Thanks
Hi

I have some time to spend while in Mexico so I took your first song that I considered "muddy" and went through some basics with it with the limited tools I have with me.
You have a nice sound that reminds me of John Lennon BTW.

I'll attach what I did with it not knowing anything about you or your instruments.

If you like it, fell free to ask me anything while I have the idle time. I'm just charting some songs in between margaritas.

Cheers,

Tom eh

 

Monkey Allen

Fork and spoon operator
Hi

I have some time to spend while in Mexico so I took your first song that I considered "muddy" and went through some basics with it with the limited tools I have with me.
You have a nice sound that reminds me of John Lennon BTW.

I'll attach what I did with it not knowing anything about you or your instruments.

If you like it, fell free to ask me anything while I have the idle time. I'm just charting some songs in between margaritas.

Cheers,

Tom eh

Thanks man...so that file you linked is like a modified version of that song? What did you do?

You know, I've been using Sennheiser HD600's as a tool to mix and I think they are problematic. I had read so many thousands of times online that they are flat and great for mixing. But in reality, for my ears, I find that they tend to veil things in a nice warm blanket almost, where everything sounds good. Kind of like they have a large sweet spot where you can get away with a lot of mixing errors. I use them mainly and my Yamaha HS8s...and they are the same in many ways...in my room, on those monitors, there seems to be a large sweet spot again, where mixing errors can hide. In other words, you don't identify with enough accuracy what is going on.

But I remixed the song Company Stranger using Sony 7506...and I think those headphones force you to be a lot more critical in mixing...they give you a better start...a better focus on the nature of the sounds recorded. THEN I go to my Yamahas and HD600's....and things sound better. So, I think I'm going to start using the Sony 7506 headphones to get more accurate intel on sounds. I'm also starting a new song using the 7506's instead of the HD600's. I'm hoping things will translate better as I hone in more accurately on the recoded tracks.
 

Monkey Allen

Fork and spoon operator
What's the situation with your P-Bass? Did you buy it new.. does it still have it's factory setup? Roundwounds or flats?
Hi, yeah, I bought it new about 14 months ago. It has the original rounds on it. The setup is basically factory but I have given it something of a setup myself to intonate. String height is as per factory...which is a tad high. I'd like a tick lower. All components are all factory stock. It's the Mexican made P-Bass...not the real good ones. But it is a nice guitar.

I think I'm going to change my approach to tracking it. I go D.I and don't use amp sims or anything. I think I need to start putting an eq (I have a couple of hardware pultec clones or I could use the eq on the LA610mkii) on to roll off a lot of the woolly bass that a DI would pick up below, geez I dunno, 80hz or even 100hz). And to make sure the frequencies from say, 100 to 1khz are doing well. I feel like DI bass captures far too much low end and it muddies entire mixes.

I'm aiming for mix translation across a general range of listening situations. Most the people who will eventually listen to my stuff (friends and family) will listen on phones, bluetooth earbuds, bluetooth speakers, laptops, basic speakers. So, I don't need low, low bass. Most of the music I am into was mixed for very midrange speakers and all that old music translates excellently.

Anyway, with the P-Bass...yeah, that was my plan...track with an eq rolling off a fair bit of low, lows.

Anyway, that's where I'm at with the P-Bass
 

Gtoboy

Well-known member
Hi, yeah, I bought it new about 14 months ago. It has the original rounds on it. The setup is basically factory but I have given it something of a setup myself to intonate. String height is as per factory...which is a tad high. I'd like a tick lower. All components are all factory stock. It's the Mexican made P-Bass...not the real good ones. But it is a nice guitar.

I think I'm going to change my approach to tracking it. I go D.I and don't use amp sims or anything. I think I need to start putting an eq (I have a couple of hardware pultec clones or I could use the eq on the LA610mkii) on to roll off a lot of the woolly bass that a DI would pick up below, geez I dunno, 80hz or even 100hz). And to make sure the frequencies from say, 100 to 1khz are doing well. I feel like DI bass captures far too much low end and it muddies entire mixes.

I'm aiming for mix translation across a general range of listening situations. Most the people who will eventually listen to my stuff (friends and family) will listen on phones, bluetooth earbuds, bluetooth speakers, laptops, basic speakers. So, I don't need low, low bass. Most of the music I am into was mixed for very midrange speakers and all that old music translates excellently.

Anyway, with the P-Bass...yeah, that was my plan...track with an eq rolling off a fair bit of low, lows.

Anyway, that's where I'm at with the P-Bass
I DI bass either through and active DI or a compressor. When I DI straight into the interface I end up with mud. I think that sucker is better for standard electric. I have an old PROCO passive DI that also works, but most of the time I go through a DBX or if I am using my mobile rig I have two powered cheap ass Nady DI's that are super clean for bass.

I dont care for Pultecs on bass but that is a personal thing. The best thing is to remember that the frequency that you hear more than feel in bass guitar tracks is usually in the 7-800 hz area and the second thing is decide whether the kick or the bass is going to be the lowest instrument and eq them accordingly. Trying to get both to boom is an exercise in futility.

Top end harshness usually comes from cymbals or distorted guitars and high frequency shelving can do a world of good. You can always add a bit of 20 k air if needed.
 

Tomeh

Member
Thanks man...so that file you linked is like a modified version of that song? What did you do?

You know, I've been using Sennheiser HD600's as a tool to mix and I think they are problematic. I had read so many thousands of times online that they are flat and great for mixing. But in reality, for my ears, I find that they tend to veil things in a nice warm blanket almost, where everything sounds good. Kind of like they have a large sweet spot where you can get away with a lot of mixing errors. I use them mainly and my Yamaha HS8s...and they are the same in many ways...in my room, on those monitors, there seems to be a large sweet spot again, where mixing errors can hide. In other words, you don't identify with enough accuracy what is going on.

But I remixed the song Company Stranger using Sony 7506...and I think those headphones force you to be a lot more critical in mixing...they give you a better start...a better focus on the nature of the sounds recorded. THEN I go to my Yamahas and HD600's....and things sound better. So, I think I'm going to start using the Sony 7506 headphones to get more accurate intel on sounds. I'm also starting a new song using the 7506's instead of the HD600's. I'm hoping things will translate better as I hone in more accurately on the recoded tracks.

"Modified?" Yea, just your original stereo track adjusted.

I'm certain you will get lot's of advice here but I'll give my advice.

Our ears and brain rebalance what we are listening to very quickly just like lighting conditions with the eye and brain. If you go under a blue canopy on a sunny day everything will have a blue cast for a few seconds and then our brain rebalances our "white" balance and there isn't a noticeable blue cast anymore.

I would buy a cheap measurement mic, install REW, measure your Monitors from the listening position in the classic 60 degree, near field setup and use the psychoacoustic smoothing on the graphs it generates to see what major bumps or valleys you have for each speaker above 30 hz. $80 for the mic and donation to the REW writers and maintainer is cheap for the huge improvement and confidance in what you are hearing. Or find someone who has the mic and REW to measure it for you, stillhuge improvement for low $$$

Use EQ on the final buss to smooth them out (hit the highest nail, next highest... until you have about 5 PEQ's for each), remeasure after ever PEQ is applied and fine tune. Don't go over 6 db to start with on each.

Check against your original measurements, then import a known commercial track that you believe is a great recording in your style and play it through the monitors averaging around 83db (you can use a phone app to get in the ballpark, C rating, slow response.) A well recorded James Taylor or something like that.

Turn the eq off part of the way through and then back on to hear what your smoothing has done.

The idea is to get the cheapest but most effective, balanced playback that you can trust. You can't do this with headphones (measure and correct),

You can use this Master Buss EQ for mixing but turn them off before bouncing your final mix or you will be embedding your bumps from your HS8's and room.

Compare your mix then to the headphones, play it on everything you have, laptop or phone (nothing below 250hz), home stereo, car, bluetooth smart speaker...

Now for your Modified version.

I treated your muddy track just as I would if you brought it to me for mastering, but I only have a Macbook here with very limited plugins, a $100 pair of Sony headphones and a Bose, small , bluetooth speaker.

Once again our brain re-balances things as best it can and also very importantly we hear things "relatively." What do I mean? You Bass is heard relative to the midrange and high end. Changing the mids and highs changes the complete balance and therefore the bass as well, even without it being adjusted directly.

So to get a quick listen I swept a fairly wide boost at about +3.5db through the midrange and highs while listening. Then I narrowed the Q and did it again to see if there was any real stinker bands.

Based on experience I ignored the mids and highs for a while and placed a multiband processor in the bass region, I bypassed all bands but the lowest and started working on only the lowest that I set 20 to 50 HZ. I brought it under control and verified it using metering that has narrow bands so I could also see it while turning it on and off (I'm only listening on $100 headphones so I want to verify it), then I turned on the second band and repeated this (50 to 120hz). I kept adding bands by adjusting the next's upper limit to match what band I had to control and I kept stacking bands until 20 to 20khz was covered and I saw and heard a nice smooth average in the slow meter response mode and it matched what I was hearing.

Why do it this way?
I wanted to get you a possible sample of "What basic things can I do to tread that delicate line of judgement where I manage to get a more tight, rich low end that's not boomy, and a sweet, pleasant high end that's not shrill?" using the tools at hand and then find out if this was moving towards what you were meaning by your statement?

Now if you were someone that had submitted this for mastering you would hear details that you had not heard in your own mix earlier (the muddy version). This is very normal because mastering should be making things clearer with a better feeling of instrument (and vocal) positions and depth and you'll even hear noises like string slap, clicks and the like as well.

Most mixers then being able to hear these clearly and identify them, as well as hear a truer balance (here is the hearing things relatively coming back to us) would go back to their mix, hunt down the noises etc and edit them out and tweek their mix values in a fine tuning mode, then re-submit it for final mastering.

It is truly cutting the diamond (you have chosen your prefered pattern), have it polished, being able to see smaller imperfections, tweaking it, and getting the final polish done.
Or in another way, you washed off the first layer of dirt from the new car and now can see some more streaks and missed spots, you rewash and then get it polished.

Cheers,

T eh
 

Monkey Allen

Fork and spoon operator
"Modified?" Yea, just your original stereo track adjusted.

I'm certain you will get lot's of advice here but I'll give my advice.

Our ears and brain rebalance what we are listening to very quickly just like lighting conditions with the eye and brain. If you go under a blue canopy on a sunny day everything will have a blue cast for a few seconds and then our brain rebalances our "white" balance and there isn't a noticeable blue cast anymore.

I would buy a cheap measurement mic, install REW, measure your Monitors from the listening position in the classic 60 degree, near field setup and use the psychoacoustic smoothing on the graphs it generates to see what major bumps or valleys you have for each speaker above 30 hz. $80 for the mic and donation to the REW writers and maintainer is cheap for the huge improvement and confidance in what you are hearing. Or find someone who has the mic and REW to measure it for you, stillhuge improvement for low $$$

Use EQ on the final buss to smooth them out (hit the highest nail, next highest... until you have about 5 PEQ's for each), remeasure after ever PEQ is applied and fine tune. Don't go over 6 db to start with on each.

Check against your original measurements, then import a known commercial track that you believe is a great recording in your style and play it through the monitors averaging around 83db (you can use a phone app to get in the ballpark, C rating, slow response.) A well recorded James Taylor or something like that.

Turn the eq off part of the way through and then back on to hear what your smoothing has done.

The idea is to get the cheapest but most effective, balanced playback that you can trust. You can't do this with headphones (measure and correct),

You can use this Master Buss EQ for mixing but turn them off before bouncing your final mix or you will be embedding your bumps from your HS8's and room.

Compare your mix then to the headphones, play it on everything you have, laptop or phone (nothing below 250hz), home stereo, car, bluetooth smart speaker...

Now for your Modified version.

I treated your muddy track just as I would if you brought it to me for mastering, but I only have a Macbook here with very limited plugins, a $100 pair of Sony headphones and a Bose, small , bluetooth speaker.

Once again our brain re-balances things as best it can and also very importantly we hear things "relatively." What do I mean? You Bass is heard relative to the midrange and high end. Changing the mids and highs changes the complete balance and therefore the bass as well, even without it being adjusted directly.

So to get a quick listen I swept a fairly wide boost at about +3.5db through the midrange and highs while listening. Then I narrowed the Q and did it again to see if there was any real stinker bands.

Based on experience I ignored the mids and highs for a while and placed a multiband processor in the bass region, I bypassed all bands but the lowest and started working on only the lowest that I set 20 to 50 HZ. I brought it under control and verified it using metering that has narrow bands so I could also see it while turning it on and off (I'm only listening on $100 headphones so I want to verify it), then I turned on the second band and repeated this (50 to 120hz). I kept adding bands by adjusting the next's upper limit to match what band I had to control and I kept stacking bands until 20 to 20khz was covered and I saw and heard a nice smooth average in the slow meter response mode and it matched what I was hearing.

Why do it this way?
I wanted to get you a possible sample of "What basic things can I do to tread that delicate line of judgement where I manage to get a more tight, rich low end that's not boomy, and a sweet, pleasant high end that's not shrill?" using the tools at hand and then find out if this was moving towards what you were meaning by your statement?

Now if you were someone that had submitted this for mastering you would hear details that you had not heard in your own mix earlier (the muddy version). This is very normal because mastering should be making things clearer with a better feeling of instrument (and vocal) positions and depth and you'll even hear noises like string slap, clicks and the like as well.

Most mixers then being able to hear these clearly and identify them, as well as hear a truer balance (here is the hearing things relatively coming back to us) would go back to their mix, hunt down the noises etc and edit them out and tweek their mix values in a fine tuning mode, then re-submit it for final mastering.

It is truly cutting the diamond (you have chosen your prefered pattern), have it polished, being able to see smaller imperfections, tweaking it, and getting the final polish done.
Or in another way, you washed off the first layer of dirt from the new car and now can see some more streaks and missed spots, you rewash and then get it polished.

Cheers,

T eh

Thanks very much, that's great info. Now you mention it, I do in fact have a measurement mic. I even used REW 4 years ago...trying to get into that whole room measurement thing. But I gave up on it because, from memory, I didn't understand the graphs and I didn't understand what I was really doing with REW. So...first thing I'll do is get on REW and do some measurements and try to work that out.

So in REW I generate psychoacoustic graphs? Or the graphs are generated and then there's an option in REW to use psychoacoustic smoothing on them?

At that point, I am looking at the graph for bumps or valleys...and then I target those areas with an eq on the masterbus in order to raise the dips and lower the bumps so as to produce a flatter response? What do you mean by 5 "PEQ's"? Parametric EQ? And what do you mean by 5 PEQ's "for each"? For each what?

If I use the masterbus eq that has been set to account for the bumps and valleys in my room...and if I mix through that but turn it off before the final mix...wont the song now sound bad in the room it was mixed in? I mean like...say I'm mixing with that masterbus eq on...and a turn it off...isn't the whole thing now going to sound worse/ bad/ different once it's mixed down?

On to the tweaking you did. Yeah I see that it sounds better. I'm going to have to get more familiar with multiband. I didn't mention in my original post that I have a very rudimentary skill set when it comes to mixing. I know very few tricks or strategies, methods or approaches.

Anyway, thanks again. I think I should focus on the first thing you mentioned...measuring the room.

But that "take the eq off the masterbus" before mixdown...that confuses me. If I do that then the only way to hear the mix properly in that room will be with that eq strapped in front, right? What am I missing here?
 

Tomeh

Member
Yes, "psychoacoustic is an option from the pulldown menu under the title "Graph" at the top. It will apply smoothing to the measurement that you made and as the name indicates focuses on the way we hear it while at the same time gets rid of the very fine bumps that are not important to our hearing of the sound.

Yes, use 5 parametric EQ's on each side, 5 on the left speaker (measured by itself), 5 on the right speaker ( measured by itself). More can be applied but usually five address the worst while making a large difference in the sound.


Yes, turn off these "speaker/room" EQ's when bouncing it and then turn them on for all your listening with your speakers in your room.

If you left them on while bouncing the mix and I listened on my very flat mastering system in my studio, I would be listening to your adjustments for your room and speakers. I wouldn't want that and no one else would.

"Tricks", no.

"strategies, methods or approaches", yes.
A strategies to have my speakers and room let me hear the balance captured in the recording, instrument, microphone when recorded.
A method to have my speakers and room reproduce it accurately.
An approach to mixing with a clear playback so that I can make better decisions on EQ, balance in the mix.

Cheers,

T eh
 

Monkey Allen

Fork and spoon operator
Yes, "psychoacoustic is an option from the pulldown menu under the title "Graph" at the top. It will apply smoothing to the measurement that you made and as the name indicates focuses on the way we hear it while at the same time gets rid of the very fine bumps that are not important to our hearing of the sound.

Yes, use 5 parametric EQ's on each side, 5 on the left speaker (measured by itself), 5 on the right speaker ( measured by itself). More can be applied but usually five address the worst while making a large difference in the sound.


Yes, turn off these "speaker/room" EQ's when bouncing it and then turn them on for all your listening with your speakers in your room.

If you left them on while bouncing the mix and I listened on my very flat mastering system in my studio, I would be listening to your adjustments for your room and speakers. I wouldn't want that and no one else would.

"Tricks", no.

"strategies, methods or approaches", yes.
A strategies to have my speakers and room let me hear the balance captured in the recording, instrument, microphone when recorded.
A method to have my speakers and room reproduce it accurately.
An approach to mixing with a clear playback so that I can make better decisions on EQ, balance in the mix.

Cheers,

T eh

Ok, thanks again.

So...this means that I can never listen to any of my music in my studio without somehow having the corrected eq settings applied?

But if the purpose of applying corrective eq to mix into is to achieve a mix that will translate widely...couldn't I play my mix in my studio on VLC media player or something without the application of the corrective eq I mixed into? Wouldn't my mix hold up in all sorts of listening environments, including my studio room?

There's just really no way I can apply corrective eq in my studio room in ever scenario...VLC media player, youtube etc.

The absolute best way, I assume, is to treat the room until REW shows the kind of response required for a mixing space. But that is another massive can of worms.

I think you're right and your advice is great.

But I also think there's something fundamentally wrong with my current approach to listening and of my entire understanding and interpretation of sound and what I'm listening to. Somehow people on youtube produce great music in rooms much worse than mine, with gear half as good. Check out this guy for example:


This guy has no room treatment...he tracks in standard household rooms, even the garage. And his songs sound way better than mine. He doesn't use REW or eq adjustments to mix into. He just records stuff and mixes and that's it. And they sound great. Now, I'm the first one to put my hand up and say that this guy's songs kill mine, hands down. His songs have an effervescence that mine can't touch. They are super rhythmic, extremely well written and arranged. He's also a way better musician. And along with that he likely has an ear that leaves mine for dead.

If those are the very things holding me back...if that's my Achilles heel...then I concede. But...I STILL should be able to make recordings of my songs that sonically sound OK. Even if the songs suck.

So, while I get your advice and I know you're right and can tell you know what you're talking about...there's also the example of this guy...who just gets great results.

Anyway, I'm rambling. I'm just making lousy recordings. They sound crap and I don't seem to be making any breakthroughs.

I'll be doing the REW thing as you suggest first.
 

mjbphotos

What?!?
1) You have to LEARN your mixing set up. The way to do this is with reference mixes - pick a pro-released track similar in style/instruments to your music. Put it into your DAW and listen. Put a spectrum analyze (I use the free Voxengo SPAN one) on the pro mix and compare it to yours. The pro one, most likely is fairly smooth (in stereo mastering mode) across the frequency spectrum. Now look at yours.

2) Why are you mixing with headphones when you have monitors? You mention lots of room treatment - is any of it rockwool or compressed fiberglass, or it all foam? Doing a room analysis with REW will help determine if you have low end issues.

3) Bass - you can't judge your low end in an untreated room with 5" M-Audio monitors, the low end drops right off in them and you're probably hearing more harmonics than true bass. I didn't read every post, are you adding a VST to this track? With 'busy' mixes (lots of instruments), having a bass part an octave above the current part can help define the bass - play the same part on an electric guitar or use an octaver to add to the existing part.
 

Monkey Allen

Fork and spoon operator
1) You have to LEARN your mixing set up. The way to do this is with reference mixes - pick a pro-released track similar in style/instruments to your music. Put it into your DAW and listen. Put a spectrum analyze (I use the free Voxengo SPAN one) on the pro mix and compare it to yours. The pro one, most likely is fairly smooth (in stereo mastering mode) across the frequency spectrum. Now look at yours.

2) Why are you mixing with headphones when you have monitors? You mention lots of room treatment - is any of it rockwool or compressed fiberglass, or it all foam? Doing a room analysis with REW will help determine if you have low end issues.

3) Bass - you can't judge your low end in an untreated room with 5" M-Audio monitors, the low end drops right off in them and you're probably hearing more harmonics than true bass. I didn't read every post, are you adding a VST to this track? With 'busy' mixes (lots of instruments), having a bass part an octave above the current part can help define the bass - play the same part on an electric guitar or use an octaver to add to the existing part.

Thanks man...

1. Yep, I'm trying to learn my mixing setup. I've put pro songs into my DAW and run them through frequency analysis and noted the spectrum. I've noted a range of facts...one thing that surprised me was some pro songs that have a lower overall RMS level than a song of mine but that sound easily louder and more clear than mine. I've noted that there are some general frequency curve similarities in pro songs...and that I can usually get my songs there or there abouts...but that the pro songs, while sounding awesome, often have all sorts of irregularities in the frequency response...like large spikes in the high mid range or significant dips in other areas...and you'd think oh boy it should be really crazy in the 1k-2k region with all these crazy looking peaks...but nope, the song sounds awesome.

I've done the pro measuring stuff in my DAW with commercial releases. Looked at a of of freQ graphs etc. And that's all good...but I don't know what that can teach me. I don't know how that can help me to make wise mixing decisions. The main thing I learn is that commercial releases sound awesome in my studio. But they don't tell me why.

2. I'm not mixing completely with headphones. I have Yamaha HS8 monitors which I use as well. The room treatment is low density fibreglass in the Primeacoustic London 10 stuff. Other stuff is Acoustic Polyester a foot and a half square in the front corners floor to almost ceiling. I'll be doing the REW analysis soon.

3. The 5 inch M-Audio speakers , yeah, are in my lounge room and all I'm saying about them is that pro stuff, on those pretty crappy 5 inch speakers doesn't sound out of control in the bass in that room...my stuff does. And that's the point of me making this thread really...to try to learn how to achieve something closer to a pro mix so that my stuff doesn't sound so lousy. I'm not adding any VST to the bass. I attempt to eq it and compress it. I don't use amp sims. All I want is a tight sounding bass track that's not washy, boomy, too loud etc.
 

Tomeh

Member
Ok, thanks again.

So...this means that I can never listen to any of my music in my studio without somehow having the corrected eq settings applied?

But if the purpose of applying corrective eq to mix into is to achieve a mix that will translate widely...couldn't I play my mix in my studio on VLC media player or something without the application of the corrective eq I mixed into? Wouldn't my mix hold up in all sorts of listening environments, including my studio room?

There's just really no way I can apply corrective eq in my studio room in ever scenario...VLC media player, youtube etc.

The absolute best way, I assume, is to treat the room until REW shows the kind of response required for a mixing space. But that is another massive can of worms.

I think you're right and your advice is great.

But I also think there's something fundamentally wrong with my current approach to listening and of my entire understanding and interpretation of sound and what I'm listening to. Somehow people on youtube produce great music in rooms much worse than mine, with gear half as good. Check out this guy for example:


This guy has no room treatment...he tracks in standard household rooms, even the garage. And his songs sound way better than mine. He doesn't use REW or eq adjustments to mix into. He just records stuff and mixes and that's it. And they sound great. Now, I'm the first one to put my hand up and say that this guy's songs kill mine, hands down. His songs have an effervescence that mine can't touch. They are super rhythmic, extremely well written and arranged. He's also a way better musician. And along with that he likely has an ear that leaves mine for dead.

If those are the very things holding me back...if that's my Achilles heel...then I concede. But...I STILL should be able to make recordings of my songs that sonically sound OK. Even if the songs suck.

So, while I get your advice and I know you're right and can tell you know what you're talking about...there's also the example of this guy...who just gets great results.

Anyway, I'm rambling. I'm just making lousy recordings. They sound crap and I don't seem to be making any breakthroughs.

I'll be doing the REW thing as you suggest first.


Well you could be like me and purchase these, fine tune with the 8 eq's per speaker available and add four sub's from 15 to 34hz. (for large pipe organs only)


Or you could purchase an single rack, stereo EQ like the old Behringer DEQ2496 and have several eq's per channel and insert it just ahead of your speakers.

Good luck.

T eh
 

Monkey Allen

Fork and spoon operator
Well you could be like me and purchase these, fine tune with the 8 eq's per speaker available and add four sub's from 15 to 34hz. (for large pipe organs only)


Or you could purchase an single rack, stereo EQ like the old Behringer DEQ2496 and have several eq's per channel and insert it just ahead of your speakers.

Good luck.

T eh

Thanks again man. I think the key words here are "good luck".

It's out of the question that I'm throwing any more money at speakers, eq units etc. I'm not going to be perpetually strapping eq correction in front of my speakers. None of that is viable. And frankly, none of that appears to be my problem. There's dudes out there in crap rooms, smashing out great sounding songs. They have no or little treatment, the don't strap eq correction before their speakers. I could go and get the links of handfuls of youtube fellas who get great results...just nice natural sounding stuff where all the instruments sound nice in and of themselves and the mixes are just honest, decent, nice to listen to. I could show you these guys. But I don't think people would watch.

So, at the end of the day, I think the issue here isn't the room, the gear, the software, the hardware...the issue is me. I clearly just can't hear stuff properly. My ears can't pick up or hone in on what needs to be done.

So, thanks. I guess that's about all there is to say.

Cheers (y)
 

mjbphotos

What?!?
You have to learn to listen, pretty much everyone does. I did it by frequenting the MP3 Clinic here, listening to others' mixes, and reading what the people with more experience here commented on - then listening specifically for those things.
 

R D Smith

Member
Here's my room for what it's worth...
Very nice and tidy.

I'm in a similar boat. I've been spending a lot of time listening to songs that are the same style as I play. I look at them with a spectrum analyzer to see what the different frequencies are doing since I don't have the skill or the ear to know what I'm hearing yet. After many months I am starting sort things out and finally think I'm starting see how mixes should work. It's a long process that you just have to work though.
 
Top