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Mixing

Ids Schiere

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I know that the mixing stage typically is the moment where you apply compressors, equalizer and effects like reverb, delay etc. Now Understand why you want to do this with recorded guitar and unprocessed samples but I also would like to get into some electronic music so I got myself a wavetable Synth and a subtractive synth but noticed that a lot of these effects are already in the synth itself. So I was wondering how the mixing process goes with these? Do you just fix take care of the volume levels because since it's an artificial sound all the unwanted frequencies are already gone 😅
 

Radu-Cristian Perde

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No because the way one sound sounds by itself and how it sounds with other sounds is completely different. Let me give you an example:

You have a Synth melody line that is in the bass frequency and you also have a bass line. Now both of them by themselves sound great. But once you put them together, they will both occupy the same frequency range and will therefore interact with each other. And at this point, you will be back with having unwanted frequencies that were triggered by the 2 sounds playing together. So you will have to fix it by mixing them together and making them sound good together and you would have to chose the right tools for that task and that is on a case by case basis but yeah you could still have to EQ and Compress sounds together.

Now one of the first thing I learned and the reason why mixing can be so difficult is that the main goal of it is to make everything sound good TOGETHER. Yes, you can have the best recording in the worlds where whenever you mute any instrument individually, they will sound insane amazing. But once you put them all together, it will probably be a bit of a mess because each of them will enter in conflict in different aspect of the sound and your job as the mix engineer is to take your time and put each instrument at the right place to serve the mix and the overarching goal of said project.

If we look at ''And justice for all...'', the one thing you would hear about the mix is ''where is the bass?''. And it would seem that because Lars and James wanted their sound more upfront, it cut out the bass. Here is a quote from Jason Newsted: “Being in Flotsam, I did not know about playing the bass part yet, I just knew about playing bass really fast like guitar, basically everybody playing the same thing like a sonic wall,” he said in 2013. “So it ended up with everything being in the same frequency – my bass and James’ guitar battling for the same frequency.''

That last line adds to my point.

Anyways, I could go on and on but the end point is that compression and eq and all of that doesnt end with track individually. The more you will learn about mixing and the more you push your mixing skills, the more you will learn how intricate it can be to reach that sweet spot where everything sounds amazing together and how much work it will have to go through! The endgame is to make everything sound good together!

Hope that helps!
 
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Ids Schiere

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No because the way one sound sounds by itself and how it sounds with other sounds is completely different. Let me give you an example:

You have a Synth melody line that is in the bass frequency and you also have a bass line. Now both of them by themselves sound great. But once you put them together, they will both occupy the same frequency range and will therefore interact with each other. And at this point, you will be back with having unwanted frequencies that were triggered by the 2 sounds playing together. So you will have to fix it by mixing them together and making them sound good together and you would have to chose the right tools for that task and that is on a case by case basis but yeah you could still have to EQ and Compress sounds together.

Now one of the first thing I learned and the reason why mixing can be so difficult is that the main goal of it is to make everything sound good TOGETHER. Yes, you can have the best recording in the worlds where whenever you mute any instrument individually, they will sound insane amazing. But once you put them all together, it will probably be a bit of a mess because each of them will enter in conflict in different aspect of the sound and your job as the mix engineer is to take your time and put each instrument at the right place to serve the mix and the overarching goal of said project.

If we look at ''And justice for all...'', the one thing you would hear about the mix is ''where is the bass?''. And it would seem that because Lars and James wanted their sound more upfront, it cut out the bass. Here is a quote from Jason Newsted: “Being in Flotsam, I did not know about playing the bass part yet, I just knew about playing bass really fast like guitar, basically everybody playing the same thing like a sonic wall,” he said in 2013. “So it ended up with everything being in the same frequency – my bass and James’ guitar battling for the same frequency.''

That last line adds to my point.

Anyways, I could go on and on but the end point is that compression and eq and all of that doesnt end with track individually. The more you will learn about mixing and the more you push your mixing skills, the more you will learn how intricate it can be to reach that sweet spot where everything sounds amazing together and how much work it will have to go through! The endgame is to make everything sound good together!

Hope that helps!
Aah ok makes sense. I experienced that in my mix for my diminished challenge. I had incredibly huge sounding drums but there was no space for any other instrument anymore.

I just thought maybe it doesn't make sense to double Eq or compress something, thanks for the insight!
 

Radu-Cristian Perde

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Aah ok makes sense. I experienced that in my mix for my diminished challenge. I had incredibly huge sounding drums but there was no space for any other instrument anymore.

I just thought maybe it doesn't make sense to double Eq or compress something, thanks for the insight!
In a professional mix, its possible that you get to compress or EQ multiple time.

It will always depends on the sound and circumstances needed so my biggest advice about mixing is to not work with a set of rules that you apply to everything. You have to always treat it on a case by case basis. And for that same reason, dont copy by the settings any tutorial because it may be true for the sound in the tutorial but it might not be true for your mix. Sound is volatile and is always unique!

Good luck!
 
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Filip Tomiša

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Just because it's an artificial sound doesn't mean that there are no unwanted frequencies. Most of the time they will always be present and will need to be removed. Also the effects like delay, reverb etc... that are built in the synth can often sound pretty shitty and you'd want to replace them with a much better effect plugins for example like Echoboy and Verbsuite.
 
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Autumn

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    There are A LOT of ways to use a compressor.

    By far the most common is to make sure that the levels in an audio recording are consistent (so you can hear the quiet parts and don't get your ears blasted out by the loud parts)

    In the context of guitar: a harmonic is quieter than a power chord. If they're next to each other but you want to be able to hear both reasonably well in a mix, you would use compression.

    A compressor works by COMPRESSING signals that go above a THRESHOLD that you set.
    Instead of compressing it by a fixed amount (as if had you turned down the gain), it compresses it based on how far above the threshold the signal goes.

    The RATIO of compression is how far it down it compresses the signal.
    A 6:1 compression ratio means that for every 6dB the signal goes above the threshold, it will compress the signal by 1dB.

    You can play with compression (like with a pedal or plugin) or add it in post.

    In the end, it's a matter of personal preference where and how you use it.

    edit: formatting
     
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    Ed Seith

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    I watched this video the other day, and it was very enlightenting. Going into something you don't get often, which is how to HEAR a compressor and what it does. Very informative.

     
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    Ids Schiere

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    I watched this video the other day, and it was very enlightenting. Going into something you don't get often, which is how to HEAR a compressor and what it does. Very informative.

    That's guy is good, I watched some more videos and I think I need more space to set up my speakers correctly
     

    William Byerley

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    I think I need a compressor pedal to go with my distortion one.
    Hey, if the frequencies are the same they don't sound well. So it's like playing all the same note on guitar, doesn't make a chord.
    Slightly change the frequency out of tune maybe? like 2 hrz? 2 frequencies vibe the same so can't tell the difference.
    I don't know what I'm talking about, just guessing. I think if you compress the audio, save it, you can compress it again. I think it was possible on GarageBand. Oh yeah, so the 2 frequencies meld and form a new one, that may sound bad.
     
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    Ids Schiere

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    I think I need a compressor pedal to go with my distortion one.
    Hey, if the frequencies are the same they don't sound well. So it's like playing all the same note on guitar, doesn't make a chord.
    Slightly change the frequency out of tune maybe? like 2 hrz? 2 frequencies vibe the same so can't tell the difference.
    I don't know what I'm talking about, just guessing. I think if you compress the audio, save it, you can compress it again. I think it was possible on GarageBand. Oh yeah, so the 2 frequencies meld and form a new one, that may sound like bad.
    As far as my knowledge on compression goes it really only does something to the amplitude of the wave i.e. the volume. Like, it does bring the maximum and minimum amplitude closer together. It doesn't do anything to the frequency of the wave.

    I think distortion itself also already adds some compression to the signal. I personally don't own and have never owned a compression pedal even tho I'm considering buying the cheap tc electronic one at the moment.
     
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    William Byerley

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    As far as my knowledge on compression goes it really only does something to the amplitude of the wave i.e. the volume. Like, it does bring the maximum and minimum amplitude closer together. It doesn't do anything to the frequency of the wave.

    I think distortion itself also already adds some compression to the signal. I personally don't own and have never owned a compression pedal even tho I'm considering buying the cheap tc electronic one at the moment.
    I tried my distortion pedal last night, it was nice a loud. When I turned it off to the clean, it wasn't loud enough. I think it will fix that without having to play with the volume knob so much. Also I probably won't have to hit the strings so hard sometimes. Probably tricky, maybe it's possible to be able to turn both on/off at the same time, with a stick perhaps.
     
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    Ids Schiere

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    I tried my distortion pedal last night, it was nice a loud. When I turned it off to the clean, it wasn't loud enough. I think it will fix that without having to play with the volume knob so much. Also I probably won't have to hit the strings so hard sometimes. Probably tricky, maybe it's possible to be able to turn both on/off at the same time, with a stick perhaps.
    Does you distortion pedal have a volume knob? Because usually that's really what creates the difference in volume between the clean and distorted guitar. The compressor pedal will compress the signal that goes into it and even out the pick sound but won't change the difference in volume between clean and distorted signal, that's a different setting.
     
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    William Byerley

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    The Level knob is a bit ambiguous as to where the actual zero point is, as there's no middle marking like there is on the other knobs. The manual says "Set the LEVEL Knob so there will be novolume difference between the effect sounds and the straight guitar sounds"
    I should probably the manual
     

    Ed Seith

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    I tried my distortion pedal last night, it was nice a loud. When I turned it off to the clean, it wasn't loud enough. I think it will fix that without having to play with the volume knob so much. Also I probably won't have to hit the strings so hard sometimes. Probably tricky, maybe it's possible to be able to turn both on/off at the same time, with a stick perhaps.
    For this, you don't want a compressor. You want to adjust the output volume on your distortion pedal. Make it so the change from clean to dirty tones is at a volume you want.
     

    William Byerley

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    For this, you don't want a compressor. You want to adjust the output volume on your distortion pedal. Make it so the change from clean to dirty tones is at a volume you want.
    I learned the Level knob is the Volume :D Got to make more adjustments, the thing is scary loud and I barely put the volume up on my amp. I'm really happy with it

    He's gone :'(
     
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    Ids Schiere

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    I found this channel recently and think it's a great teacher. He explains everything very well and in a calm manner which I like because it makes it easy to follow
     
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