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My mixes suck...


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I've been working on a project for a while now, and I'm getting close to the mixing phase. I've done a few quick mixes on the stuff as I'm working, and I'm running in to this problem.

 

First, if I get the mix sounding great in the monitors, and am careful not to left the master peak out, and bounce to two track, then listen back on my iPod or in the car, the overall level is way to low comparatively to other tracks.

 

If I get a good sounding volume in the monitors, and try to keep the master level boosted, I end up with mixes that overall sound better/louder, but seem to suffer from clip distortion.

 

Should I not worry about overall levels until I get to mastering, or should I be trying to max out volume during the mixing process? Is there any good place to go for good mixing tips?

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what you need to do is what i like to call pseudo-mastering.

i just made that word up.

basically if you wish to master while mixing, put a limiter on your master bus and bounce that.

 

personally, i like to mix first, bounce, and then spend a few hours with the file for that "fake" master. :)

 

now! before you feed everything into the limiter (see, thats why i like to do the bounce first) try to get rid of all un-necessary peaks. with automation, editing, whatever, so you dont get such peaks already without feeding the limiter, that will make your song louder and still breathing.

 

and an easy way out;

if you really like to make it loud, just do your whole mix with NY Compression

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get this book by Bob Katz and start studying:

http://books.google.com/books?id=EBCmpwGCROMC&dq=bob+katz+mastering+book&pg=PP1&ots=zZN-DqBfLb&sig=qYNQ9qlN5VGhUsrC0ldDYj9Cb24&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=4&ct=result

 

some quick tips for increased perceived loudness:

-don't go overboard with the bottom end

-compress where needed

-use low cuts on everything that doesn't need to have low-end

-put a low cut on your master at about 20-30hz...

-use good plug-ins or hardware (not the logic plugs...try UAD)

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Ploki:

 

Can you give a quick rundown of what you mean by eliminating unnecessary peaks?

 

Thanks.

DB

if two instruments share the same frequency spectrum and are playing simultaneously it could happen that peaks add up, using compressor on such occurences will result in "pumping" where not desired.

its wise to eq such so they dont fight.

perhaps in loud parts snare is creating crazy peaks (6db above your mix), and in "loud" parts, you perhaps dont want your snare to stand out so loud. if you compress such mix, snare will pump the sound there also making it sound squished and less "breathy"

 

just a few examples

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