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Mixing Help

Discussion in 'Home Recording Studio' started by dalezjc, Mar 22, 2020.

  1. dalezjc

    dalezjc Strat-Talk Member

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    Hello All,

    I've recorded a bunch of songs (using Reaper) and my mixing basically sucks. I've watched a ton of Youtube videos, but I can't grasp the concepts. There was an excellent article posted here about visualizing your mix as a "pie" and while that helps, I still can't get over the hurdle.

    Anyway, just thought I'd ask if anyone here with mixing experience, would mind giving one of my songs a mixing overhaul. I'm more than happy to provide all the Reaper files.

    Thanks,
    Dale
     
  2. nigelr

    nigelr Senior Stratmaster

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    Sent you a message...
     
  3. AxemanVR

    AxemanVR I appreciate, therefore I am... Strat-Talk Supporter

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    A lot of my mixing on Reaper involves “Auto” settings for volume and pan controls.

    Here is a nice tutorial on that:



    Something else to consider when mixing several tracks is this:

    Sometimes even if you crank the volume in a certain section of a track, the audio can still be drowned out by the other tracks and you may need to actually lower some of the other tracks (momentarily) in order to help emphasize that one section for it to stick out.

    Of course this can be very tedious as you can well imagine, but in some cases you may not have much choice.

    For instance, turning the volume up or down on an entire track will effect the whole song. So it’s not unusual for me to "surgically" adjust the volume on dozens of tracks - sometimes second by second - to balance things out to my liking (so that the listener hears things the way I originally intended).

    All I can tell you is that being your own sound engineer isn’t all wine and roses!


    Good Luck...



     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2020
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  4. Seamus OReally

    Seamus OReally Senior Stratmaster Silver Member

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    Go slow and LISTEN.

    Start with bass and drums. Get them leveled so they sound like one instrument.

    Add other instruments. LISTEN. Remember... you don't have to use it just because you recorded it.

    Don't try to mix too many things at once. Turn on automation and record your fader moves.

    LISTEN. Use your ears and your head, and before long you'll have it where you want it.
     
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  5. mjea80

    mjea80 Strat-Talker

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    I would suggest when you’re just starting out to always be thinking “less is more”. Be subtle with any effects, and you don’t need to add 4 lead guitar tracks and 4 synth tracks. The mix just becomes muddy. One of each, its nice to be able to clearly make out each instrument.

    And focus on drums and bass like @Seamus OReally says. Those are the instruments that are going to put the groove into your track. :)

    Mix and listen, mix and listen. Learn new tricks, put them to use. Just keep doing it and you will improve!
     
  6. AxemanVR

    AxemanVR I appreciate, therefore I am... Strat-Talk Supporter

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    `
    If you do decide to have four guitar tracks, they don’t have to all be at the same level and can be panned wide to add ambiance...



    `
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2020
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  7. Dadocaster

    Dadocaster Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

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    No reason to have a zillion tracks just because you can. :D
     
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  8. rafasounds

    rafasounds Senior Stratmaster

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    What everybody said above. I would add - watch a few tutorials on compression and EQ. You can make space in your mix by taking some of the deep low end from bass drums and bass, for example, which may mud your sound. Same for guitars and everything. There are frequencies that you don’t need there. Example: if you used a condenser mic to record something, you may consider a narrow cut around 3k or so.

    You can make cuts or boosts in broad frequency ranges, or very narrow cuts or boosts only on a certain frequency.

    Compression is another very important tool. It helps contain some of the sonic peaks, as well as bringing something to the front without making your track too loud or busy. It may help giving more spacial orientation/depth to the mix.

    But the most important tools are probably ears and patience. I’m no good mixer, these are just basic concepts I tried to learn when I was recording things.
     
  9. Tone Guru

    Tone Guru Senior Stratmaster

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    The most important aspect of mixing is the mixing environment.
    What monitors are you using?
    What is the room like ?
    Has any treatment or damping been done?
    Are you doing mix checks on as many playback systems as possible ?

    Can you post an example of a mix you are working on ?
    What specifically is missing ?
     
  10. fezz parka

    fezz parka Duke of Dilligaf Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Here's the key to mixing.

    Left....center....right.
    Panning. What do you want in the center...what do you want in varying degrees of left and right?

    Front to back. Space. What do you want close to the listener...what do you want farther away? You get here with varying degrees of ambience. Reverb...delay.

    Top to bottom. Top = treble. Bottom = bass. EQ.

    What do you want to thump?
    What do you want to grunt?
    What do you want to snap and sizzle?
     
  11. AxemanVR

    AxemanVR I appreciate, therefore I am... Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Furthermore...

    It really doesn't matter how many tracks you record as long as you're not stepping all over something else.

    "Overdubbing" is when a musician records the exact same part more than once, and is a common practice to accentuate the part. When overdubbing guitar, for instance, I tend to pick the best track to be the primary one, while backing off the other tracks so they basically serve in only a "supporting role", as you will.

    When done effectively it can add richness and dimension, but when done incorrectly everything can turn to mush.

    As long as each part stays more or less within their own frequency range (and doesn't threaten to stifle other parts) then you can normally expect decent separation. But sooner or later something gets a little lost in the mix, which means you either have to record that part over in a different frequency range - so it sticks out better in the mix - or make a compromise if it's something that's not critical to getting the main idea across.


    Panning is certainly one way to separate things, but sometimes the part is exactly where you want it. In that case, the "auto-volume" functions I described earlier really helps to momentarily emphasize a specific part that's seems to be a little buried. But, as I also implied, it does take some patience and a methodical determination to "blend" the tracks together in this manner - especially to keep the changes seamless.

    On the upside; At least we have the option to do things like that, because in the good old days you had no choice but to live with what you got! (unless what you got included having deeep pockets of course)...



     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2020
  12. dalezjc

    dalezjc Strat-Talk Member

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    Thanks for all the replies everyone!
     
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  13. pazman6

    pazman6 Senior Stratmaster

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    Send me a link to download the tracks. I love to mix. I don't use reaper, but if you can dump the tracks to wav files (that all start at 0:00:00) they will import and I will take a shot at it. Message me if you are interested.
     
  14. Dadocaster

    Dadocaster Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Let him do it. It will sound good, you will find out a lot.
     
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