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 Forum index » Discussion » Composition
Mixing Difficulties
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JShu



Joined: Nov 25, 2009
Posts: 8
Location: Chevy Chase, MD

PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 5:17 pm    Post subject: Mixing Difficulties Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hey all,
So, I've had Ableton Live for about a month. Because I'm a perfectionist, I'm coming up on finishing my first song. However, my big problem is that I don't know how to properly adjust volume levels and frequency levels. I'm assuming this is called "mixing". This is especially tough because the song sounds different in my computer versus through headphones versus through car speakers, and so on. Is there an "accepted" way to do this? Should I just rely on a good pair of headphones or a pair of speakers to do this? By the way, this song is a trance song with multiple layers. Thanks,
JShu

EDIT: "Anyone...Bueller?...Bueller?" haha
I'm sure the answer to this question is simple. This certainly is a vital question for all musicians, right?
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Sir Nose



Joined: Jan 09, 2010
Posts: 19
Location: PA

PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 5:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I am not an expert but this might help

http://www.tweakheadz.com/guide.htm

lots of mixing tips
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nobody



Joined: Mar 09, 2008
Posts: 1687
Location: Not here

PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 7:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

What you ideally need is a good set of studio monitors. They can be expensive new, but they don't need to be new or expensive. Just good quality from a good company. Mix based on what you hear in an acoustically padded and quiet room, with the monitors a few feet away and your hear centered between them.

Adjusting sound levels is mixing. Adjusting frequencies is EQing. Do your mixing first, then add some EQ. In the final mix, you want to roll off frequencies below 20 Hz by setting one (usually more) bands to about 10 Hz, lowpass or peak (sometimes you need one or two bands of peak to kill really heavy ELFs) and turning it all the way down. By cleaning up this low end, the overall mix will sound cleaner. Even in loud situations, you don't want all this stuff at those low frequencies, even though it might "feel" good when it's loud.

Every sound system will sound different. There's nothing you can do about that. However, appropriate use of final mix compression will help your composition sound reasonably good on different playback systems by bringing the dynamics a little closer together. This, of course, depends on what kind of music you're playing. Too much compression will kill a good classical, baroque or romantic recording. Too little compression on techno and it could sound flimsy on some systems. You can also apply compression to individual tracks prior to final mix compression - especially drums, where compression can be cranked up and used as an effect.

Dig around online for "mixing tips" and "mastering" and set aside lots of time for reading. Even those of us who've been doing it for a while still need to read up now and then.
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telstarmagikistferrari



Joined: Jun 16, 2008
Posts: 275
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
Audio files: 43

PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I haven't read it yet, but this month's Music Tech magazine includes a separate guide on the topic of mastering. It looks like it might have some good info on a topic I know little about.
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DES



Joined: Feb 28, 2003
Posts: 783
Location: New Jersey
Audio files: 8

PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Something I might add would be whatever monitors/speakers you end up purchasing, listen to your favorite CD's (mp3's if you must) preferably in a similar style to what you are trying to mix. You also want to listen to them flat if possible. This way you get an idea what your speakers sound like in your particular room.

As you mix, try emulating the sound you get from the 'reference CD's' you used.

Dave

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nobody



Joined: Mar 09, 2008
Posts: 1687
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 5:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

++ to Dave.

Also, get a plugin such as Voxenga Span and analyse the waveform characteristics of songs in the style you want to use.
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t00nz



Joined: Jun 19, 2010
Posts: 1
Location: uk

PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2010 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I've tried a few times with spectrum analysers and such, and never had much luck 'looking at the spectrum' or doing comparisons that way..

If that doesn't work for you try getting the best mix you can, and bouncing it to a track so you can do an AB test (swap back and forth between them as they play) with a commercial mix..

It might be worth getting together half a dozen reference tracks, and when you've done a mix swap between them and your own while they are playing (spend some time adjusting the volume by ear to get the perceived volumes similar, so the swap does not seem to change volume).. and then see if you can hear where your stuff needs work.

Can take many months to get the hang of it.. another thing I found helpful was to get some half decent monitors/headphones and stick to them until your ear 'dials in' to how a well balanced mix sounds on them.. thumb up
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