Share a mix tip? Oh wait... !!! MIX TIP CHALLENGE ISSUED !!!

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Contributor Since: Nov 11, 2007

Anyone feel like sharing a favorite mix tip? There's a lot of stuff that we use, but I definitely have favorites...feel like sharing yours? I'll start:

Create an auxiliary stereo bus and put a stereo delay on it, set with long staggered delay times (500-1000ms 'ish for starters). Use a send from the lead vocal to feed this aux input. Invert one side of the stereo delay, while not a 100% mono compatible trick, inverting one side will give the delay a cool 3d effect (like ping pong delay, but with more depth). Different reflection times will change where the delayed vocals are bouncing around (my default delay settings make each repeat sound a little further back and centered).

So now you have a cool sounding delay that sounds horrible because you keep hearing it repeat over itself as the lead vocal plays on.

Just before the quarter note delay, drop in a gate. Adjust the gate so that it closes when the lead vocal becomes audible, and opens when the vocal is nearly inaudible. This will give you long delay when there's space for it, and no delay when there's not.

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Since: Nov 27, 2007

May 18, 2011 10:05 pm


Use a spatula for cake mixes, its much easier to get all the dregs out than using a spoon.

Since: Nov 11, 2007

May 19, 2011 02:26 pm

har har har. How about telling me where your POD settings are, eh? My weakest area in recording so far seems to be guitars, by my estimation. You aren't weak in that area, help a brother out, sucka.

How about that ideal pre-amp setting discussion you had with your SAE buddy? What's the news hombre? Quit holding out on the DIY community you selfish bastard!

I mean...pleeeeease!

Since: Dec 04, 2007

May 19, 2011 02:40 pm

lolz. true tho.

I don't really have any "favorite" tricks I use. I tend to layer orchestral sections/ensembles though. For instance, I'll use a good sounding string ensemble as the base, then mix in sound sets of each string section (cello/contrabass/viola/violin) and finally mix in some solo violin on top. I try to mix them so that no one section stands out more than the others, but I will try to get it so that a hint of the solo violin peaks out over the top. I aim to get a nice lush soundscape. I'll do the same thing with the few choir sounds I have. (I'd kill for the Voxos epic choir library about now though....looks more intuitive than the EastWest word builder.....pricey I'll stick with my wordless sounds for now lol)
Since: Nov 11, 2007

May 19, 2011 02:53 pm

Do you use the Kontakt player? I use the free one, but not as often as I'd like because my computer can't handle a whole lot. Hoping to get some grant money squared away to build a beastly mixing machine, then I'll be able to use all the instrument layers I want to use.

bace135 in the house tonight!
Since: Jan 28, 2003

May 19, 2011 03:03 pm

Man, I wish I had mixing tips... I'm mostly just a one trick pony... compress, eq, reverb, pan on almost everything... just season to taste for each part.
Since: Nov 11, 2007

May 19, 2011 07:39 pm

Considering that I always like how your stuff comes out, that's kind of a mix tip in itself, Coolo. Speaking of which, how do I order a hardcopy of that collab you did with El Rasoul?
Since: Feb 07, 2005

May 19, 2011 07:46 pm

I've been thinking about this for a bit now and I really don't have any tips. I guess I could say always use board tape and not masking tape to label your board with but that is not much help.

I guess one thing I do when I'm mixing is I imagine the band on stage and try to mix visually if that makes sense. Also, I always mix from the audience point of view, not stage view.

I have more tracking tips than I do mixing tips I guess
Since: Nov 27, 2007

May 19, 2011 09:51 pm

hahahah, yeah thought you might really really like my response Quincy. Im so funny its just not funny.

Man im thrilled you think im worthy of these said tips you seek.

I will go right now and get the settings.......1min.....2min.....3min....4....5.....6.......7....7.5..........7.75.....ok, here are a few bruv.

POD Platinum.
Amp = Line 6 Insane
Gain = i go up to silly levels then, back it up slightly till it sounds not too distorted but still has punch. It think alot of people take the less dist thing too far. I still want pump when i mute, not half baked scratch.
Bass = just a little 3 or 4.
Mid = 3 to 4.
Trebs = 7 ish.
Presence = 3ish.

I scoop mids out once more on the DAW channel's eq, not much tho, its a matter of taste, tho i try to nip of the ends off the really high end, up to 10k, 8 and 7 even. depending how you go into the pre or your amp setting to start with.
I notch out 1 to 1.5k straight away and down the other end, roll off bass feq's up to 100HZ. Guitars dont require any bass before that.

Thats for one of 4 of the guitars, i use different amps a similar approach tone wise but i try to change everything about them ie; setings, mics, amp posi in the room, and mic posi.

send the whole lot to a group channel and fiddle with irratating freq like 1k 1.5 etc there too some more as a collective, and i might throw a smidge of compression on the peaks sometimes on this channel, but you tend to lose some of that fluctuating pump in the vol if you do that so choose settings accordingly. Or just dont use it.

I dont always shoot for the ultimate sound i can get tho for any guitar track,or after 3 other layers of ultimate, its sounds too high end, too distorted, too everything. I go for more a reserved sound for all, which makes it big at the end.

I go thru my pre amp flat and DI for PoD.
I would really like to try a nice clean sound micd thru an amp, then into POd.

My real guitars are thru a 6505 100watt tube amp and quad.
Same principal tho, not too much frilly stuff.
Using a sm57 on one and a Sm7 on another.

Panning, anywhere from 80L/R 30L/R to
80L/R 100 L/R.

I dont feel im even close to the sound i want tho yet, but ive learnt from my last recording, or i have an i dea how to get it next time, that inlcudes taking alot more shiz outta the real amp first and then driving it alot harder.

its long but you did ask, hope someone can use the info....better still i hope someone can give me some pointers.

Czar of Turd Polish
Since: Jun 20, 2006

May 20, 2011 12:58 pm

Emulation wise I always (almost) use the AC30 and JCM800 model amps. The V30 or V75 4x12 cab (blackface for more jangly riffs). I use the condensor and a healthy dose of room mix.

I find getting the right guitar tone makes the mix happen almost by itself.

Since: Dec 04, 2007

May 20, 2011 01:14 pm

Quincy: Yeah, I just use the freebie stuff. I couldn't really afford the kontakt stuff, but the stuff they give you in the freebies is very very usable.

My freebies:

Cutter Music Revitar 2.0 (pretty good for emulating strums/chords)

NI Komplete 7 players bundle (kontakt player, reaktor, guitar rig 4, kore2, and some choice instruments.

NI Kore2 player + a 2nd bundle of sounds they put out for free

IK Sampletank 2 + Amplitube 3.5 which has some choice models

EastWest Symphonic freebie

Of course, I always keep my ear out in case they decide to put out any more free stuff hehe. But out of that stuff, and a few choice soundfonts, I can build some pretty nice soundscapes.

The only VST I've really paid for is Jamstix 2 and 3 since they were pretty cheap compared to similar software, and IMO would help me more than similar software. (I can't stand programming drums, so I let the AI do it, then go back and tweak)
Since: Nov 27, 2007

May 20, 2011 07:43 pm

Hey J-bot, i got the EW symphonic softy too, its fantastic eh?

Since: Dec 04, 2007

May 21, 2011 02:16 am

Yeah, I really like some of the sounds in the freebie. Particularly the trumpet and strings sounds they included. The solo trumpet sounds pretty nice for lyrical music.

I revamped my old Spring Wind Quartet using the EW sounds, which you can hear over on I'm slowly moving away from thesixtyone and uploading some higher quality versions (after touching them up a bit of course) I originally wrote the piece to use the players' actual positions on the stage.

The reverb on the quartet might be a little strong, but I was aiming for a nice hall sound using epicVerb. I did need to adjust the EW velocity curve a bit since the original velocities had a few odd spots, but I think I managed to smooth them out pretty well.

bace135 in the house tonight!
Since: Jan 28, 2003

May 22, 2011 08:17 pm

Hmmm, I only have a couple copies left of the hard copy (only duplicated about 150). If you want one quincy, send me your address, and I'll do my best to send you one before too long (I'm really bad about putting things in the mail...).

But I'm honored you want one!
Since: Nov 27, 2007

Jun 19, 2011 09:19 am

thought i would dig this back up.

I guess this is more of a log of what ive been doing but is good info to reunite some with this basic fundamental that can thrash your brain and kill your mix.

Had a real big break thru this last week clarity, mix wise.
Been doing some slight mastering myself as no one wants to pay for it in the band so i had no choice.

Doing so totally has changed my perspective on things so much its ridiculous.

Anyway just wanted to share my tip on guitars, mainly in metal, but definatley is an issue across whatever genre.

The things you do to get a good guitar sound, could seriously limit the ability to do a good master and achieve clarity in your end product.

Maybe this is well known, but i dont think, judging by what i hear,
that its put into practice hard enough or with enough confidence.

Too much top end on guitars, and too much crunch, can/will force you to do things to your mix, that in the end will make it sound like ****.
Scratchy, topy, a smear of mess destroying the clarity of everything and making it a nightmare to listen to.

By thinking the guitars need more, and more and more top end crunch to break thru, youre killing the drums clarity.
then they follow suit (by your own hand) to try to get over the guitars again by adding more of those freq again!.

Thats all fine after you balance it out again, sounds br00tal right? cookin and heavy?

already though, and you dont know it yet, you have added way too much eq on everything for it to sound natural, and then there's the mastering.

hahaha well,
this is where you find out how much you suck balls.
If you do it yourself (not real mastering), you find out instantly that all that excessive eq etc, now sounds 100000 times worse, your drums are gone, your guitars sound like broken glass and your medium to top end on them, is smearing everything. The only option now is to leave the mix as is raw, with no volume and little to zero attempts at volume rising or tweaking.

If you get a pro to do the master, then you get it back sounding not that much different from what you gave them.

Not their fault, yours. The whole turd polish thing.

I have found, and it sounds so obvious, that the drums hold the up front clarity, the click, the snare crack, the toms punch, etc etc. The moment you up the guitar crunch...all thats gone and you have a fight on your hands.

I guess im talking really really getting serious with your mix here, not just the basic slap and tickle.

Back to guitars,
In actual fact, there is bugger all clarity with heavy guitars in the sense they need to be breaking thru, they need to be transparent but there.

Use the bass guitar to give the illusion the guitars have kickass low end, and the drums top end, to gauge where the guitars sit in that region. Listen for the loss of any clarity in the drums on the top end of things.

You'll be suprised how much freq you can back off before you even notice youve taken any off. But it needs to come off if it's over done, and for the most part, especially if your a guitarist, its way overdone believe me.

The mix then comes together with every notch out you do, next thing you know, the drums are too clicky and the cymbals are WAY too topy.
This tells you in no uncertain terms, you were heading for a train wreck.

Hope this helps someone one day.

Make everything sound sweet not just YOUR instrument you insensitve selfish bustarrrd. :-)

Since: Nov 11, 2007

Jun 20, 2011 10:16 am

really getting serious with your mix here, not just the basic slap and tickle.

haha! Looking forward to hearing what you come up with after having discovered these tricks.

Since: Apr 03, 2002

Jun 20, 2011 10:21 am

Is somebody knocking a well placed slap and tickle?
Since: Nov 11, 2007

Jun 20, 2011 12:33 pm

Not at all. Though I must admit, I'm exclusively a tickle and slap kind of guy. I'll kinda lead you on like "Hey, it's gunna be ok...Its just a bit of a tickle..." then... WHAM! IN THE FAAAAYCE!
Since: Nov 27, 2007

Jun 20, 2011 08:49 pm

im more a tickle and slap kinda dude, in that order or it doesnt work.

yeah Quince, more attention to that horrid area of freq, starting about 800/ 900 and thru to 6/7k.

Yuk! feril to the ears, you wont know it till its backed right down, then you go ahhhhh! so nice now, but still has nuts.

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