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Actually, while there are guidelines and recommendations for things like levels, there really are no "standards" when it comes to the actual mix aesthetics.

Just one example - compare the records of the band The Cars. Early recordings (up until Shake It Up) were produced by Roy Thomas Baker, who I happen to like a great deal. The general public seemed to prefer the records that were produced by Mutt Lange, at least if sales figures are any indication. While I like Mutt's work with them (and really like his work with AC/DC), I think I prefer the sound and feel of the stuff the Cars did with RTB.

Same band, same basic instrumentation, same quirky songs - completely different sounding recordings.

And sometimes that's a very good thing. :)

 

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Phil O'Keefe wrote:

Actually, while there are guidelines and recommendations for things like levels, there really are no "standards" when it comes to the actual mix aesthetics.

Just one example - compare the records of the band The Cars. Early recordings (up until Shake It Up) were produced by Roy Thomas Baker, who I happen to like a great deal. The general public seemed to prefer the records that were produced by Mutt Lange, at least if sales figures are any indication. While I like Mutt's work with them (and really like his work with AC/DC), I think I prefer the sound and feel of the stuff the Cars did with RTB.

Same band, same basic instrumentation, same quirky songs - completely different sounding recordings.

And sometimes that's a very good thing.
:)

 

Thank you, man, you`re a weath of information.

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Phil O'Keefe wrote:

Actually, while there are guidelines and recommendations for things like levels, there really are no "standards" when it comes to the actual mix aesthetics.

Just one example - compare the records of the band The Cars. Early recordings (up until Shake It Up) were produced by Roy Thomas Baker, who I happen to like a great deal. The general public seemed to prefer the records that were produced by Mutt Lange, at least if sales figures are any indication. While I like Mutt's work with them (and really like his work with AC/DC), I think I prefer the sound and feel of the stuff the Cars did with RTB.

Same band, same basic instrumentation, same quirky songs - completely different sounding recordings.

And sometimes that's a very good thing.
:)

 

It was an interesting experience when I first started recording. Our first "session" was in a small, 16 track, 2 inch tape studio with an engineer who "spliced" the tape, (much to my amazement), as well as other tricks. The whole session lasted about 1 week for 6 songs. The finished product was quite impressive and was a great representation of how our band sounded.

About 10 years later, we went to a "well known" studio, 24 track, 2 inch tape, with a well known producer and a vastly increased budget. The recording, at least to me, sounded polished and professional.....yet it lacked the "feel" of the that first recording made some years before.

I have since written countless songs, hooks, verses, etc. and if my plan works out, I will record some more next year. This time I plan to be the "producer".

I just feel that a professional "producer" has to much input into another's work and his own likes or dislikes may take the original feel of the music in another direction that the artist does not want to go in.

 

It's like having a guy direct you how to be with your woman. YOU know what your lady likes and how she responds....you don't need someone else telling you what to do.

 

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Well, I read the thread and was about to chime in, but then I saw that Phil said pretty much everything that needed to be said. I just have a couple of things to add:

 

No one has yet to mention the stereo field - it may go without saying, but I will bring it up nonetheless. Personally, I strive to place each sound source in its own "place/space" in the mix, and pan has a GREAT deal to do with that. At times, 5 - 10 degrees of pan can be the difference between two distinct instruments and mush ;) Especially today and especially with sound sources often coming off virtual outputs, typically stereo - synths, samples, loops etc - there is a tendency to just pan the sounds L/R and have done. I find that practice HORRIBLE - the result is often total sonic mush, tons of various sounds just stacked right on top of one another. Unless that IS the desired effect, I work to separate them.

 

Re: Phil's HPF philosophy - I largely agree, but I suspect I do far less if it than Phil does. At times, getting rid of the "room rumble" will take out (to my ear) something essential about the room tone, the elusive "glue" that brings it together - in those cases I try to "tune/shape" the room low end to not get in the way, but still be "felt".

 

As for loudness, I often find that careful multi-band compression:limiting as the last stage of the mix buss will give me the same loudness result as all that HPF f*ckery, but without the "flatness", and with more dynamic range.

 

And I agree with Phil 100% that the only time I master my own mixes is when there is no other option. I've gotten pretty good at it, I dare say, but still prefer to give it to a good mastering engineer.

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Personally, I strive to place each sound source in its own "place/space" in the mix, and pan has a GREAT deal to do with that. At times, 5 - 10 degrees of pan can be the difference between two distinct instruments and mush :smileywink: Especially today and especially with sound sources often coming off virtual outputs, typically stereo - synths, samples, loops etc - there is a tendency to just pan the sounds L/R and have done. I find that practice HORRIBLE - the result is often total sonic mush, tons of various sounds just stacked right on top of one another.

_____________________

 

Preach it brother! :D I'm not a fan of hard-panned Big Mono stuff either. Panning is absolutey crucial... I do like to work on the mix levels in mono sometimes (and occasionally EQ too), and then seperate things out even further with the stereo placement and then fine-tune the levels if needed, but unless I'm trying to blend things or create a composite sound from two or more elements, I usually don't like to stack things in the same location in the stereo soundfield.

 

 

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Red Ant wrote:

Well, I read the thread and was about to chime in, but then I saw that Phil said pretty much everything that needed to be said. I just have a couple of things to add:

 

No one has yet to mention the stereo field - it may go without saying, but I will bring it up nonetheless. Personally, I strive to place each sound source in its own "place/space" in the mix, and pan has a GREAT deal to do with that. At times, 5 - 10 degrees of pan can be the difference between two distinct instruments and mush
;)
Especially today and especially with sound sources often coming off virtual outputs, typically stereo - synths, samples, loops etc - there is a tendency to just pan the sounds L/R and have done. I find that practice HORRIBLE
- the result is often total sonic mush, tons of various sounds just stacked right on top of one another. Unless that IS the desired effect, I work to separate them.

 

Re: Phil's HPF philosophy - I largely agree, but I suspect I do far less if it than Phil does. At times, getting rid of the "room rumble" will take out (to my ear) something essential about the room tone, the elusive "glue" that brings it together - in those cases I try to "tune/shape" the room low end to not get in the way, but still be "felt".

 

As for loudness, I often find that careful multi-band compression:limiting as the last stage of the mix buss will give me the same loudness result as all that HPF f*ckery, but without the "flatness", and with more dynamic range.

 

And I agree with Phil 100% that the only time I master my own mixes is when there is no other option. I've gotten pretty good at it, I dare say, but still prefer to give it to a good mastering engineer.

that's what i do, the rest of what you guys are talking about is all greek to me. 

i wish i could do better/learn this stuff but i need to see and hear what does what, before i can actually use what i have, to the fullest. 

just playing around with knobs doesn't get me too far as a template for all my tunes. 

i like a "you are there listening" sound. like a live concert, so to speak. 

it's really hard for me to get. 

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"And what's up with mixing on crappy speakers?"

 

Once upon a time, most people's sound reproduction equipment left much to be desired. And so, in order for the records to "translate", engineers would simulate a crappy home stereo or car stereo to get a better idea of what their mixes might sound like "in the field". Most studios, in addition to large and near-field monitors, would also have either a stere pair or one mono-bridged Auratone tiny 3'' speaker, for those purposes (and also to check phase coherence of a mono-bridged stereo mix).

 

These days even crappy computer speakers are capable of fairly decent reproduction, so it isn't as much of an issue.

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Red Ant wrote:

 

"And what's up with mixing on crappy speakers?"

 

 

 

Once upon a time, most people's sound reproduction equipment left much to be desired. And so, in order for the records to "translate", engineers would simulate a crappy home stereo or car stereo to get a better idea of what their mixes might sound like "in the field". Most studios, in addition to large and near-field monitors, would also have either a stere pair or one mono-bridged Auratone tiny 3'' speaker, for those purposes (and also to check phase coherence of a mono-bridged stereo mix).

 

 

 

These days even crappy computer speakers are capable of fairly decent reproduction, so it isn't as much of an issue.

 

I have a vintage pair of Auratones from the 70's,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

 

 

 

 

just laying around, not being used for exactly this reason.

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Red Ant wrote:

Well, I read the thread and was about to chime in, but then I saw that Phil said pretty much everything that needed to be said. I just have a couple of things to add:

 

No one has yet to mention the stereo field - it may go without saying, but I will bring it up nonetheless. Personally, I strive to place each sound source in its own "place/space" in the mix, and pan has a GREAT deal to do with that. At times, 5 - 10 degrees of pan can be the difference between two distinct instruments and mush
;)
Especially today and especially with sound sources often coming off virtual outputs, typically stereo - synths, samples, loops etc - there is a tendency to just pan the sounds L/R and have done. I find that practice HORRIBLE - the result is often total sonic mush, tons of various sounds just stacked right on top of one another. Unless that IS the desired effect, I work to separate them.

 

Re: Phil's HPF philosophy - I largely agree, but I suspect I do far less if it than Phil does. At times, getting rid of the "room rumble" will take out (to my ear) something essential about the room tone, the elusive "glue" that brings it together - in those cases I try to "tune/shape" the room low end to not get in the way, but still be "felt".

 

As for loudness, I often find that careful multi-band compression:limiting as the last stage of the mix buss will give me the same loudness result as all that HPF f*ckery, but without the "flatness", and with more dynamic range.

 

And I agree with Phil 100% that the only time I master my own mixes is when there is no other option. I've gotten pretty good at it, I dare say, but still prefer to give it to a good mastering engineer.

I'm not real big into mixing.  I just want a clean sound where everything is heard, roughly where it might be on a stage.

So my model is, believe it or not, the Beatles' mono mixes from the old days. They were slammin', they were awesome. My stereo field is just slightly about panning. And I do that because my frame of reference is the live experience. If you go see a band in an arena and the lead guitar is panned all the way over on stage left where he is, how do the people on the other side of the hall ever hear him?

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Red Ant wrote:

 

 

^ PF mixes are like Valium to me - there's this pastel wash over everything, all the corners are rounded, etc... Everything is "perfect", but there is little excitement. And I say that as a PF fan.

 

 I don't think Pink Floyd is trying to be exciting.

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For an interesting comparsion between mixing styles and approaches, put on Pink Floyd DSOTM sometime, and then put on Steely Dan's The Royal Scam... Roger Nichols and Alan Parsons definitely had different styles and approaches. I'm a huge fan of Pink Floyd, but I was definitely more influenced by Roger's work than Alan's.

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Red Ant wrote:

 

^ PF mixes are like Valium to me - there's this pastel wash over everything, all the corners are rounded, etc... Everything is "perfect",
but there is little excitement.
And I say that as a PF fan.

 

Really? You must be listening to a different band than I.

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Ime, phone ins can work fine, if you're prepared to be flexible in your aesthetic outlook and accept that you will end up re-editing and taking a different approach to the mix in order to accommodate any magic that may happen in someone else's music room/studio/kitchen/wherever.

 

If you start dictating your artistic vision to collaborators on the other side of the country, or the world, you are indeed going to end up with something fairly stiff and soulless. The trick is to accept and showcase the various ideas into a coherent whole.

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gubu wrote:

 

Ime, phone ins can work fine, if you're prepared to be flexible in your aesthetic outlook and accept that you will end up re-editing and taking a different approach to the mix in order to accommodate
any magic that may happen in someone else's music room/studio/kitchen/wherever.

 

 

 

If you start dictating your artistic vision to collaborators on the other side of the country, or the world, you are indeed going to end up with something fairly stiff and soulless.
The trick
is to accept and showcase the various ideas into a coherent whole.

 

The "magic" happens when the band records the music.

"The trick", is what happens in the mixing.

 

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I understand what you mean, Quickie. There is no substitute for the vibe of a good band in a room. But since the dawn of multitrack recording, records don't always get made that way. And in the age of drum modules and synths, even less so.

 

Tell me that Detroit House music sounds 'sterile', or that Sgt Pepper's sounds soulless, yet both rely heavily on multitrack 'construction' techniques.

 

Ime, plenty of magic can arise from someone playing along with your backing track, or from making a completely new arrangement out of your basic song tracks. You just have to be open to it.

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