Common Mixing Problems and Tricks Part 2
This is what andrew it and I were talking about about changing the drum mix from section a section so opening part of this song is, you know, intense snare kind of pattern with double bass and then it goes into a breakdown the whole snare mix is different once it gets to the to the breakdown it's actually much more sample heavy just to get more of that slamming sound is just a completely different it's just a different sound for different type of part so what were you about to say? But one shops tend to work best when you have a riel a real snare source to blend with it you know? Yeah um if if you're working with strictly midi it's it's harder to make a one shot work and at the very least you need to be triggering some kind of snare that is multi velocity layered but it has been my experience I think it has to have a lot of a lot of samples. I mean a lot of velocities and like a long loop because even if you even if there's only a loop of three hits for a fast roll or something like th...
at you know it's you're still going to start to hear that fakeness I think your round robin uh I think that's what it's called right around robin should be at least five yeah, I think five it would be your minimum and the reason I say five is because for some reason western music seems to be grouped into groups of four yep a lot uh for so that's how we like to hear music so having does everyone know what a round robin is okay say you have ah ah five shot sample you know, five different snare heads for your sample and they're being triggered randomly and you have four hits uh and then four more hits and four more hits so randomly it's going to be a different set of the force and of samples you know what I'm saying every time because otherwise every downbeat every forty four beats you have that same sample and then just starts to sound faking exactly. So it changes which sam cols happen every time but the more of them you have like once you start to have like ten and there then it starts to really get random which snare gets picked because the software is picking it um but you never want to go under five in a round robin. So when you as a making sample sets uh no, never go under five and never pay for a sample set that has less than five of anything I've seen some being so over quite a bit of money where it's like four it's like really for you can at least add one more one other thing I was going to about why I like one shots though is um when you're like, so you're a band practice or something you know and you're listening to a drummer in the room with you you don't really hear all the tiny fine little details up close to someone snare or cake or tom or whatever like like you would listening through a microphone when you in the room with the drummer you know, it just sounds big and powerful and every snare hit sounds about the same and then you go into the studio and then you listen toe you know, just the snare track or whatever something is as subtle as the drummer hitting the snare, you know, an inch apart every now and then, especially under heavy compression you get like, a totally different frequency response out of the snare their you know, so you start to get inconsistent sounding drum hits um even though in the room it doesn't really come across that way, so in my opinion, I think doing oneshots helps kind of bring back some of that that consistency yeah, it brings back consistency that you just sort of gets lost in a way under the microphones it sounds kind of weird, but yeah, that's that's exactly what I'm telling people do not not discount one shots because you need that consistency even if you're using multi layers samples that you still need that consistency in there and that's what that's what the provides so let's talk a little more about the robotic sounds this is some simple stuff, but I like to match like for instance, of printing tom samples matched the velocity to the curve of what the actual performance did if it's a good drummer um so don't don't just don't just say ok soft pitts I mean medium hits on a town filigree one fifteen or like randomly between one ten and one fifteen actually match it to the now she match it to the velocity variations that the rial performance gave and that should get you much more in the ballpark um an ad a room sound always that always helps and I'll show you guys some of that you got to be careful with rooms though with all this stuff that I'm saying you can easily easily destroy your mix it makes a quick room bus this was a different era for me mixing wise before uh before I started doing all these uh he was crazy a routings like I was showing you guys in the temple that we're giving out oh and when you have boxes like this you know, like buses uh like a room bus or whatever a snare whatever solo safe them protest that you know sounds real that's did dude playing in my room now what I'm going to do is I'm going to boost the room sound a lot way too much just give you an idea of what of why this is a good thing so you can hear it ruins the mix some but at the same time suddenly it sounds more like a drummer playing in a room uh that's you have to be super super careful about this when you're adding rooms into a metal mix uh very very sparing with it it's like uh so adding, you know, hot sauce to something you can really really kill a mix very quickly but as you heard, I just boosted it what like nine tb or something and it sounded way more lives so if things there's just sounding a little bit too robotic whatever try playing with the rooms try bringing them up a little bit more so skip forward a symbols being too harsh because this is something that this is something that I get a lot and this is this is a really tough topic because um on the one hand you don't want to kill you you don't want to kill the sparkle and the shine of your symbols with the same time you don't want them interfering with your guitars and your vocals so you need to be you need to be really really careful about this now this is something where ah getting good at hearing frequencies well, uh we're really help now said check a frequency analyze your here but in reality, what I'd like you to do is, uh go to goal right now and type in hartman h a r t e m a n how to listen? Okay h a r t m a n hartmann howto listen it's a free program downloaded um, no, I know that there's a bunch of different programs that will give you e q training, but what's cool about this one is that you can load in your own tracks into it so as opposed to the ones that, like, we'll just give you white noise or whatever and you just hear no it one k noise and have to recognize it. Uh this one you know, you want to know if you want to do it to like a diehard is murder mix or whatever it was that or whatever your whatever you think is a cool mix uh, you can ahh train your e q hearing with that. And now what's good about that is that you learn how to spot problems that air genre specific and tell you why this is important, especially for metal. If you get this program and you load and say a few metal tracks and then a few pop tracks and then you start doing the exercises what'll happen is it'll play you the track as it is and then will boost a frequency band or drop went out and you're supposed tio basically choose an option so give you higher love at first and then as you keep going you'll start adding more and more frequency bands still you get to like fifteen or sixteen and it gets really really tough at that point in time so you'll notice is that in the way that pop is mixed uh when they're boosting certain frequencies you hear nothing at all happening next stop is so clean and so perfectly mixed that if uh they're trying to boost the frequency that's just not in there you're not going to hear anything but with metal because there's noise on everything harmon harmonics caused by distortion taking up all the entire spectrum and it's on every single instrument a peak in a certain frequency band you will really really hear it and you really start to hear exactly how much noises in this style of music and it'll really help you zero in on what's appropriate for your own mixes and so highly highly recommended and that comes back to aa symbols that are too harsh really the best way to deal with this is to get better at queuing and the best way to do that is to get better hearing so everyone download that before it disappears and do those exercises so now short of that uh you can always use the dsr or a nick you dip in the one to eight k area I would rather use the q tip and uh you can check a frequency analyzer to see where there's random peaks that's one way to do it or you can just hunt around for where it just nasty uh you know, lots of times find it around the three ish range with seven ish range let me see what I've got going on here with these overheads c I've got a three turned down just a little bit see, I guess these were well well recorded I never thought that they were too harsh when we see something else the hat on the other hand I do have a huge cut on you notice right here um we got three point it looks like three point three four brought down seven point four d p with a very, uh very sharp q uh and I also have it rolled off down to about six s o that hat pretty neutered and uh let's listen to it listens into it both ways turned up the volume a little bit it was kind of it's kind of shrill is kind of nasty um and that was really loud it would hurt you have that you guys in here can hear that because of the angle where you're at but is part two here really kind of painful gets right. What I did was I got rid of the nastiness, but I still give it a little bit of that sparkly boost so that it wouldn't be just, you know, very soon just kill the high end to completely but still I found that the nastiness I wanted was it around three point three and they killed and so that's a good example of what I mean there's always in symbols it's going to be some sort of nasty frequency in that range and your goal is to get rid of it, but without killing all the sparkle of the symbol. So you know, it's in the song can still here high down too far, but it makes sense that room cool. We're on this topic of harsh symbols. Uh, one thing about unmasked erred mixes is that you want to under mix your symbols same way that you want to overmix your snares and your kicks. Um meaning turned them up a little bit louder than they should be. You want to bring the symbols down just a little bit more than you think. So you hear this high hat the way it is, it's, not quite loud enough. You know, I like a nice in your face I had driving apart like this was not quite loud enough right here we've got to keep in mind is that when something is getting mastered the middle is getting pushed down in the sides are getting pushed up so with these symbols being on the size they're going to come up and they're going to get loud so if you have them at exactly where you want them uh basically the same way that if you have this snare exactly where sounds right pre master and the symbols exactly where they sound right cremaster more than likely unless if you go with you know mr ninja mastering engineer was going to come back is a mixed with a buried snare and overpowering cz harsh symbols so one way to get around that is definitely turned them down a little bit before they get masters when they are mastered they're just right um so let's talk a little bit more about that uh sometimes a little bit of tape style saturation helps um I feel like saturation can be your best friend or your biggest enemy with symbols um you just helped it helps to smooth things out sometimes we'll just try that real quick um I know I said tape style but uh I think decapitate er's pretty cool for it sometimes but I'll show you an example of also how it can make things just way worse because that's what we're in the business of doing is making things way worse but there's already decapitate her on here on the one hand uh with the way I had a set here it actually made the symbols pop out a little more um I think I may have may have elected to not have that in the mix just because after it was getting master is coming out just a little more but check out the difference in the tone between having the decapitate err on the symbols adding just a little bit of drive and without so you know it's really a matter of personal taste there was a reason for why didn't use it I don't remember but in a way I kind of feel like they sounded better with the decapitate err on anybody have any questions about d harshing symbols we did have one question about how to make a more aggressive what do you do? Do you just reverse everything that you just talked about um well by one by making things more aggressive uh that shouldn't mean make things more painful to listen to right? Um the thing that they need to realize is that if your symbols are too outfront it's going to decrease the listen ability of the album because you're putting forth a lot of painful frequencies and uh people will not listen quite as much so bear in mind that it's not the opposite what I was talking about here is removing things that hurt toe listen to so once you've done that though there are some things you can do to make the mix on more aggressive and, uh just get forward. A couple of a few slides will go back and ah, one way to do it is, uh, you can compress the room's really hard, okay, cut out a lot of lows so that you don't screw with the compressor cause sometimes compressors react strangely, toe low end or they'll react to the low end before they react to the high end. It just every compressor reacts a little and differently, but you need to be aware of that. And so if you're putting a room mike into a compressor and you've got full frequency and there don't be surprised if it does some really weird stuff. So first of all, hi, pass it to where it's mainly symbols and ah, compressed the hell out of it to where it sounds, you know, just nasty, you know, in real life and hard orland decapitate er is really, really good compressor for that, but in software land uh, you know, age camp has been really good. Uh, you peek a saturate er compressor is really good for that. Ah, saturation compression plug ins are really good for that and justus, long as you are making sure it and not be adding in like those six k three k nasty frequencies be careful of that boost some of that so yeah so the way to do that would be once again I passed your rooms compress compress the hell out of them saturate them someone turn him up a little but just be careful with with all that because because what you don't want to be doing is bringing forth all the harsh frequencies and then get it mastered and you're mixes unlistenable so I hope uh over that helps make about things being more aggressive way have another question tio ari about how to deal with washing symbols anywhere waited clear them up or make them sparkle more washi symbols man it's washing symbols are really bummer um I say that because sometimes the only thing you could really do is replace them um washy symbols typically happened when they're not tightened down enough and so there's kind of solution all over the place and and so what's going to the was going to the microphone is a big metal plate that's not only vibrating and all these crazy random ways but it's also just moving around like a flying saucer and it it's not good there's not a really good way to fix that uh that I know of this besides replacing the symbol so that's something that really should be handled at production level and when you're dealing with super washy symbols um one thing that might be good to look for is if those symbols exist and other microphones that you wouldn't exist wouldn't think of like, for instance, uh sometimes it's hard to get like a good ride tone from the ride like like you know say you get a mix and the ride tone sucks and they didn't get a good ride tone of the overheads start hunting around to see if maybe there's ride bleed and another mike that sounds good. I've noticed sometimes that in floor tom mike's because floor tom's and rides or so close together sometimes your floor tom mike will have a better ride tone then you're right, mike so of your ride mike a super washed out or whatever, which happens a lot because a lot of guys like to crash on the ride and it just solutions all over the place and just sucks um for some reason your floor tom mike and save the day and so yeah, you have to start being a detective and, uh, turn down the overheads and turn up what you find three other mike's but then the other problem with that is that phase starts to become an issue too, so you need tio check for that a lot, but, uh, I believe it can be your friend at that point also in the in the tom mike's also odds are that if people did a really bad job miking up their symbols, they probably did a bad job miking up the rest of the drums too so there's probably bleed all over the place, so you probably have more symbol mikes and union realize what whenever I get tracks that air super washed out usually the symbols or just as loud as the drum transients and a lot of the drum like so uh so yes oh you've got to think outside the box and see him the other mikes are your solution short of that turned them down and programmed them or delete them and program them or if you have a drum room like I do replay them, uh we do that stuff frequently, any other questions? Ok, cool, so I'm going tio skip back a few slides because we jumped into talking about aggressive stuff. Okay, so talk about your mixed sounding harsh because you're talking about symbol sending harsh, but ah, lots of times. What can happen is people don't even realize, but while they re cuing over the course of an entire mix and turning up, they want to hear a little bit of this more a little bit one instrument a little more, another instrument little more and, you know, got a boost the middle more here so that this cuts you end up getting this buildup in the nasty mid range it happens it happens over time through a bunch of small moves and if you remember I've said this before uh and I think josh noel said as well that it's best sometimes when you're making mix improvements to make a bunch of little improvements over a bunch of plug ins well, lots of times when something major is majorly wrong with your mix it's the same thing it's a bunch of little things over a bunch of plug ins that add up to make the mix harsh so you have again, you have to start becoming a detective and to start looking like, ok, so one of five k's just killing you somehow, but you're not sure how so start looking maybe what what the problem is that, like you've got three a little a little bit too much three and the guitars and you also have a little too much three in the hats and you also have a little too much three in the vocals and put together you just have way too much three k in there and the solution isn't to just got all those tracks of three k or maybe bump it down like half a dvd in each so that three kids just tamed over the whole mix um and so yes, oh just like the way you would go hunting for harsh frequencies and the symbols you go hunting for harsh frequencies across multiple tracks so kind of like if it is just sounding harsh uh I I would first take a look a tw the overheads and the uh the guitars together and just kind of like start checking that out and seeing maybe even put a spectrum analyzer on those four tracks and just see if when they play together there's some strange peak happening better of you download the harmon who would listen and spot this for yourself but if you're not there yet maybe just use a spectrum analyzer to help theo those instruments right they're going to give you a lot of your harshness so so I'm saying that you put them together and use the spectrum analyzer um you confined where there's a build up and then like I said, you make small moves uh like let's just make this easy like and what I mean by small moves to say that three k is the problem that's a small move okay but if you make this small move across multiple tracks well then so I just dropped this point seven uh let's see what that point seven does the guitars you quick really noticeable I mean I could notice it but it's not that bad and even if I made it even less of ah dropped like point for okay not that big of a deal like just point forty b down pretty wide q three three kilohertz it's not going to kill my guitar tone but if I do that point for on both guitars and then on the symbols center lead that's lots of dbs down in that frequency range and then the mix suddenly will be a lot less harsh but you're didn't you didn't kill all your individual instruments in the process you know as opposed to doing this which a lot of guys try to do immediately you know find the problem frequency and just this way too extreme so he has got that idea of why doing small moves over a bunch of tracks is good it's uh it's because you can make a change of the whole mix without actually messing up your tracks in the process there questions sure room mikes on a drum kit can sometimes at a lot of harshness as well especially when they're heavily compressed so that's another place that's worth looking and sometimes it's only like one of drummers hitting one specific symbol where it will excite some really harsh sounding stuff in the room and as soon as they switch to a different symbol you don't hear it as much so if that's the case you can use like multi band compression just to have a duck down on lee won that symbols being hit and I e I mean sometimes that means that may be the uh maybe you need to choose a different room mike scheme like you've uh like for instance I like put reuters behind the drum set a lot a kind of wide like three feet to this side and three feet to this side but with some drummers this royer will explode when they start to hit their china's and it's to the point where it's like cool cool cool terrible yeah and in that case I was figure it's probably better idea just get a better positioning however if you don't record it then yeah you're right that is a good way to do it or just automated down right whatever whatever whatever works um I figured people would have more questions about how to fix harsh mixes because that's one of the biggest problems out there he just wants to know howto I soften the attacks on high hats arrives to have extra punch here sharp transients they poke out mawr after using master bus compression uh that's exactly what I was saying what happened in mastering all rights exactly what I'm talking about master bus compression is like diet mastering basically uh I can't think of another word of put it it's like you know it's like it's like your own when you put everything through a master bus compressor you're kind of like preempting the a little bit of compression to the mastering engineer can get to it uh and what's happening is like I said that the sides are getting pushed up so one of the ways to deal with that is to turn your symbols down before you hit any sort of any sort of dynamics processing in your on your master bus that's so yeah, if it's and that's just sort of a master bus compressor how does he how is it going toe reactor one a mastering engineer gets on it and limits it and like really compresses it high that's going to be ridiculous so but also if there's really harsh stuff coming out when he compresses the when he compresses his mix and really bad stuff starts coming out of the high hat maybe he needs to address those frequency specifically in the hats like we were saying earlier u d s them or hunt down what the frequencies are and notch them out if it's specifically that the hat starts doing that well, maybe you've got too much seven k or something and that hat bring that down a little and then turn down the volume of the hat so that it doesn't just explode once you compress it well let's take a let's talk about a little bit too now I think we cover low end pretty well yesterday um let's ah see what how about you was one thing that seems to plague you very much because I could talk about ten million different things boy was as a beginner this it's like in this world it seems just about everything so that's why I've taken like a hundred pages of notes so far but I know this is all very awesome stuff um well, I don't know that I think as a guitar player I think a lot of my frustrations came through make trying to get my guitars to sound the way I felt like they should, but I've learned that the mixing has a lot to do with like, you know, the big picture and what I had it picture in my mind like how a guitar supposed to sound or whatever on its own boy isn't necessarily the way it needs to sound isolated in the mix because it's relative to so many other things. So what do you find that your guitars or to wolfie or too harsh? Uh, you know, not too harsh I like a getting the right amount of articulation like I think like finding the right gain settings things that you know where it sounds aggressive enough in the media enough but not. But you know, if you get the game to it sounds too lost in washing your like finding that bright sweet spot where you can get the articulation and when you're getting your own guitar tone, are you sitting there playing too yes that's the problem, huh yeah I mean, some guys do that but like how can you really be listening? First of all when you're in the room you're and you're getting guitar tone often times you're not just hearing was coming out the speaker you're hearing your pick stuff you're hearing the guitar acoustically in the room unless of your blasting yeah I guess I do a little bit of both but I found as a guitar player I would find that for us frustrating and once in a while I'd find something when you know you queuing stuff or whatever they would work but it it was never consistent we'll try this try to play something perfectly like play it right the way you know the guitar supposedly played and recorded die and then re amp it without a guitar there right that's that's that's a good and uh then try to get the tone right because it's ah you're here and gets split and your your attention gets split between when you're playing something and then sure if you even playing something tweaking is kind of weird that's me speaking as a guitar player yeah or your guitar player also yeah, you know, just like we said mix and prep to be two separate processes I think that for guitar players that record themselves that should be two separate process sure so are there any real quick? Are there any like really common problem areas when you're when you're queuing rhythm guitars for instance and metal like there's some go to frequencies you immediately look at like like I'm going to find some some issues here I'm going to need to scoop this out or yes, definitely that would be interesting for me to know ok, so write this down you go you're gonna and this might be common knowledge to a lot of you guys you're gonna want toe uh hi pass for sure so it depending on the tuning and depending on the mix somewhere between sixty and one hundred uh just depending you know, if it's a lower tuned stuff like reflections, you might go all the way up to like one hundred it just depends. So uh you want to keep that stuff in check? Then you're going to want to keep the two hundred to four hundred range in check because you're going to get wolf coming in there may be down a one fifty even so that's where the multi banning compression comes in that's in palm utes and just a little bit too much roundness of the tone right around four hundred to six hundred four fifty range you're going to get a lot of note that's a happy frequency area so you can also make it sound a little too boxy if you get too loud but look around there under one k area, uh, you'll get a lot more of note. But you can also make things harsh, and you can make things a clash with the vocals, and you could make things sound like they're in a phone booth. But look for enough of that now in two to six. Seven that's, where stuff gets nasty. So that's, where you're going to do the majority of your sharp cuts, and not just and stuff, but you don't want to neuter it. So, that's. Why? I was saying a b two other guitar tones and make sure that you're not just being crazy, because guitar you can get crazy because hartmann howto listen, listening. Guitar tones with that. And then from basically eight and up you go one decide where to low pass, depending on where the fizz is coming from. So there have fun by yourself about