Cool observation (5k), but does it hold true with other reference tracks?
I'm experimenting with a new idea where I keep a major label production loaded up in Media Player when I mix and every 5 minutes I have to go back to Media Player and hit play for maybe 10 seconds or so.
It was an interesting experience. The only problem was I only had one song loaded up in Media Player. I generally like to reference 10 or more songs randomly just to keep myself from screwing up the current mix by forcing it into the cookie cutter of the other song when maybe that sound isn't perfect for the one I'm mixing.
It DEFINITELY kept me from drifting into no man's land, which is a common problem for me.
I was using August Burns Red as my reference material as that's one of the band's favorite artists. At first I reluctantly thought, "This is gonna be interesting." I expected to get my ass kicked. 2 hours in I thought that switching from my mix to the artists just sounded weird.....very similar to switching mics on a guitar emulator plugin.
One lesson I found highly interesting was how much 5k I had to cut from my mix to match the big boy production. The reference material was so apparently lacking in 5k when I'd switch to it that it just sounded like there was the ENORMOUS undefined hole in the production. Of course, that IS the reference material. The lesson learned there is I'm mixing with too much 5k. Very fun lesson. It would be nice to boost 5k on my monitors so I automatically mix with less.
Cool observation (5k), but does it hold true with other reference tracks?
I'm recently in the habit of having a monitor-enabled track in my DAW that can hear my itunes or other media player and then route that input through ARC, so we're all playing in the same world.
I do this all the time, but I set a folder in cubase, with 2 main reference tracks.
tomorrow when I wake up there's gonna be a brand new mix to fix.
doesn't the fact that you're trying to compare your mix with a reference master introduce any difficulties later at the mastering stage? (E.g. you may overcompress a track to make it sound more like the reference, etc.)
Same lesson here.
I learned I don't mix brightly enough. I don't allow enough high-end through. My mix sounds nice and balanced on the HS80m, but then in reference, other mixes sound louder because there are more highs.
As well, using this reference technique, I mix too much midrange into the vocals, just like you, Brandon!
Just as I've learned to work with the low end, that is, keep it light because these speakers aren't going to produce subs - move around the room, leave the room to hear the real low end....I've learned that I shy away from the super highs as well.
So, I've recently flipped that little -2db switch on the back of the Yamahas...and am forcing myself to mix more high end into productions.
Thanks for the idea, and the reminder. Great article on the speakers!
In any case, even if you try you hardest to make your track sound like the reference, it doesn't. You will have a different snare, kick etc, different vocals, and you have to eq your mix accordingly, so the overall sound of your project is not going to be the same as the refernce.
The most important factors for me are the levels, and the bottom end. Bottom end is sooo difficult to get right, and using a reference track frequently helps a lot with that.
The idea is not apply compression, but to reference levels, eq etc. If you need to make adjustments to match up with the reference track, they are done by faders, eq etc, not compression.
Now, I understand that this is all in theory, and in practice referencing works. But these things may be worth taking into account when making mixing decisions.
It's not something I ever took into account. I just thought it would be a good idea - and it turned out that it was. (for me at least).
There is a widespread opinion that mastering should be left to mastering engineers and that even if you do both it's better to separate the two processes and to keep the corresponding state of mind in each. I personally just use the "pretend" mastering intermittently and for that purpose only.
For me it depends on my mood which workflow I go with. Keep in mind I'm not cranking out mixes everyday or anything. Right now I'm still learning.
Thank you for this overtly complicated, yet super simple insight. I've been struggling with this for years, believe me equipment doesn't solve it. Eventually you get a feel for individuals while you are recording them(or their instruments), and you start getting an idea pre-mix of what you are going to have to do to make it all sit right post mix. Generally what was said here about different microphones, drums, guitar, etc is the first and foremost. You need to use a combination of your ears, your recording skills, TT Dynamic Range Meter, reference tracks, and the cheapest pair of consumer headphones you can find. 100% of the time, I think I'm mixing well, and I'll jump over to those headphones, and boy you can tell where your screwing up haha. But if it sounds balanced there, then chances are it's only going to sound better through a good sound system. IMHO
I am beginning to trust this thing with "if it sounds good, it is good" that I've heard my whole life.
I've gotta say that the tips in KHR Murderous Mixing has really helped out too.
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DEFINITELY! If the recording budget is $50,000, I'd definitely toss $2,000 at the mastering engineer. If the budget was $10k, I'd definitely spend $1k to hire a real mastering guy.There is a widespread opinion that mastering should be left to mastering engineers
If the budget for the album is $3k, it's gonna get used for tracking and mixing. No doubt about.
So if we fill in the quote above with the correct names, "mastering should be left to Brandon Drury". If Brandon Drury has to pretend master it, why should I leave it to him when he already has it.
The problem is everything you read is about mastering. When you make the decision to forgo mastering and utilize PRETEND mastering, the situation changes dramatically.
I've got a full article on this coming up next week.
Yup. When two things are interconnected, it doesn't make any sense to me to put an all-out effort into just one unless you have the magic ability to foresee what the other connected thingy is up to. I don't have that ability even when I perform my PRETEND version of it so I just go ahead and slap all that crap on there and I do it when the mix is about 50% right.these things are intimately interconnected. Compression influences the spectral balance of a track, and on the other hand, EQing you did previously may make you want to change your compression settings differently than if you hadn't changed the EQ. So when referencing to a professional master, even if you don't touch any compressor, you may, for example, overcompensate excessive sibilance with the EQ, instead of tweaking both EQ and compressor correctly.
That's why there isn't a "later"...not really....not unless I want a later.doesn't the fact that you're trying to compare your mix with a reference master introduce any difficulties later at the mastering stage? (E.g. you may overcompress a track to make it sound more like the reference, etc.)
It has. For this particular experiment I only used the August Burns Red album, but it's definitely wise to have a few. With that said, two different references can be radically different. I don't have a problem with ripping off another record's frequency response curve. I'm too sloppy to get it that close anyway. As long as I can listen to August Burns Red and then listen to my mix without feeling like either one is more bad ass than the other, I've won.Cool observation (5k), but does it hold true with other reference tracks?
Also, it was a bit weird mixing with the reference that frequent. I was doing things I normally wouldn't do, but just going with it. I listened to the mix again on my monitors. There's nothing weird about it. It checks out. It's clear my ears were doing the maple syrup/orange juice thing. The tools had nothing to do with it. Luckily this tactic kept me in line.
I'm always amused by my own prejudices. (Not the one that says that all blacks and rap and dunk.) Persistent reference seems to be the solution.Lately I've found myself cutting out WAAAYYY more mid frequencies in my mixes than I ever thought was necessary.