Author Topic: Mixing/Mastering Tips?  (Read 18829 times)

Offline KrazyKatz

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Mixing/Mastering Tips?
« on: June 28, 2006, 21:59:18 »
The Sound engineering part of composing is not my forte.

I'd like to know any rules of thumb with regard to Panning, volumes and  equalizers.

I primarily compose for orchestra.

Thanks.
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Offline MisterX

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Mixing/Mastering Tips?
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2006, 22:26:19 »
If you are using MPT to create orchestral compositions, you may find this helpful.  It shows the proper panning for each instrument of an orchestra:



Also, you can see if any of this is of use:

http://www.modplug.com/cgi-bin/search/search.pl?Terms=Mastering+Tips
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Offline KrazyKatz

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Mixing/Mastering Tips?
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2006, 23:22:49 »
Bloody hell! Thats more than I bargained for... Thanks Mister X..

Keep those tips coming gents.
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Offline MisterX

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Mixing/Mastering Tips?
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2006, 00:03:05 »
Quote from: "KrazyKatz"
Bloody hell! Thats more than I bargained for... Thanks Mister X..


You're welcome.  I have that printed out and taped to my studio system. ;)
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Offline LPChip

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Mixing/Mastering Tips?
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2006, 09:49:48 »
For EQing, I learned that the basedrum usually has the lowest eq setting. And in most occasions, it sounds best if you put a peak at 100hz. Sometimes I enhance the lower sections like 30~70 a little bit, but a big peak at 100 seems to work quite well.

Snaredrums cover a big range from 200 to 800 and hihats around 1k to 2k.

I also put bass between 150 and 300, but its a matter of exploration.
"Heh, maybe I should've joined the compo only because it would've meant I wouldn't have had to worry about a damn EQ or compressor for a change. " - Atlantis
"yes.. I think in this case it was wishful thinking: MPT is makng my life hard so it must be wrong" - Rewbs

Offline XAVT

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Mixing/Mastering Tips?
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2006, 11:02:03 »
Bloody hell misterX, that was one hell of an inspiring picture you had there, made me think of mixing all music types that way, first drawing yourelf a nice picture of space.

Anyway the-I-Didnt-counf-How-Many comendments:
Use compressors to lower your peaks for a more HeavyVolume overall.. properly set your EQ so that certain "unwanted" freq won`t bother their "wanted" peers [creating a damn peak], avoid playing a kick with a bass [you could compress them, ofcourse, but personaly I never found that sound too much lively],also makes some interesting basses as a result. What else... oh yea, use headphones for the stereo mix and monitors for the general mix, as I always found the headphones much more stereo like, its a far sharper image...try defining your instruments frequencies before creating the track[if you`re one of those who are able to first imagine then create, I know I`m not one :P ]


Well, its all I can say and may be some of it is wrong, but that`s what I learned from experience. It then comes down to quite a lot of technical knowledge to acheive a satisfying result and a lot of patience, practice, fun, disapointment and anger, all who give us the right to call ourselves musicians in the 21st century.

Now you can ask if I`m stoned... :P
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Offline mikosoft

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« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2006, 11:06:30 »
I never mastered an orchestral piece and I think orchestral pieces should not have any mastering except for some slight eqing maybe. Orchestra has a full sound by itself (when the piece is arranged correctly of course!).
Since I don't do orchestrals I can only give som hints on how I do mastering on pop/rock songs which I mostly do. For those I use compressors (simple or multiband). But compressors destroy dynamics which is crucial in orchestra sound which is why I don't recommend mastering orchestral piece.
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Offline LPChip

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« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2006, 11:07:20 »
Quote from: "XAVT"


Now you can ask if I`m stoned... :P


Are you rocked? :nuts:
"Heh, maybe I should've joined the compo only because it would've meant I wouldn't have had to worry about a damn EQ or compressor for a change. " - Atlantis
"yes.. I think in this case it was wishful thinking: MPT is makng my life hard so it must be wrong" - Rewbs

Offline MisterX

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« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2006, 14:36:27 »
Here's some useful information on EQing:

Kick Drum:
Besides the usual cuts in the 200Hz to 400 area, some tighter Q cuts at 160Hz, 800Hz and 1.3k may help. The point of these cuts makes for space for the fundamental tones of a bass guitar or stand up. I have also found a high pass filter at 50Hz will help tighten up the kick along with giving your compressor a signal it can deal with musically. 5K to 7K for snap.
Snare Drum:
The snare drum is an instrument that can really be clouded by having too much low end. Frequencies under about 150Hz are really un-usable for modern mixing styles. I would suggest a high pass filter in this case. Most snares are out front enough so a few cuts might be all that is needed. I like to start with 400Hz, 800Hz, and some 1.3K. This are just frequencies to play with. Doesn't mean you will use all. If the snare is too transparent in the mix but I like the level it is at, a cut at 5K can give it a little more distance and that might mean a little boost at 10K to brighten it up.
High Hats:
High hats have very little low end information. I high pass at 200Hz can clean up a lot of un-usable mud in regards to mic bleed. The mid tones are the most important to a high hat. This will mean the 400Hz to 1K area but I've found the 600Hz to 800Hz area to be the most effective. To brighten up high hats, a shelving filter at 12.5K does nicely.
Toms and Floor Toms:
Again, the focus here is control. Most toms could use a cut in the 300Hz to 800Hz area. And there is nothing real usable under 100Hz for a tom... unless you are going for a special effect. Too much low end cloud up harmonics and the natural tones of the instrument. Think color not big low end.
Over Heads:
In my opinion, drum over heads are the most important mics on a drum kit. They are the ones that really define the sound of the drums. That also give the kit some ambience and space. These mics usually need a cut in the 400Hz area and can use a good rolling off at about 150Hz. Again, they are not used for power.... these mics 'are' the color of your drum sound. Roll off anything that will mask harmonic content or make your drums sound dull. Cuts at 800Hz can bring more focus to these mics and a little boost of a shelving filter at 12.5K can bring some air to the tones as well.
Bass Guitar:
Bass guitar puts out all the frequencies that you really don't want on every other instrument. The clarity of bass is defined a lot at 800Hz. Too much low end can mask the clarity of a bass line. I've heard other say that the best way to shape the bass tone is to roll off everything below 150Hz, mold the mids into the tone you are looking for, then slowly roll the low end back in until the power and body is there you are looking for. If the bass isn't defined enough, there is probably too much low end and not enough mid range clarity. Think of sounds in a linear fashion, like on a graph. If there is too much bass and no clarity, you would see a bump in the low end masking the top end. The use of EQ can fix those abnormalities.
Guitar/piano/ etc.:
These instruments all have fundamentals in the mid range. Rolling off low end that is not needed or usable is a good idea. Even if you feel you can't really hear the low end, it still is doing something to the mix. Low end on these instruments give what I call support. The tone is in the mids. 400Hz and 800Hz are usually a point of interest as are the upper mids or 1K to 5K. Anything above that just adds brightness. Remember to look at perspective though. Is a kick brighter than a vocal? Is a piano brighter than a vocal? Is a cymbal brighter than a vocal?

And here's another reference that I have:


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Offline XAVT

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« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2006, 00:20:43 »
Quote from: "LPChip"
Quote from: "XAVT"


Now you can ask if I`m stoned... :P


Are you rocked? :nuts:


Well, I was at the time .... and come to think of it... I am now > : )
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A joint a week makes him look unique.

Offline XAVT

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« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2006, 00:32:06 »
Quote from: "LPChip"

Snaredrums cover a big range from 200 to 800 and hihats around 1k to 2k.



Y`know chip... I think you should have a look at the picture located two posts above me ;)

Anyway, why not make it sticky?
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Offline LPChip

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Mixing/Mastering Tips?
« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2006, 10:51:50 »
Quote from: "XAVT"
Quote from: "LPChip"

Snaredrums cover a big range from 200 to 800 and hihats around 1k to 2k.



Y`know chip... I think you should have a look at the picture located two posts above me ;)

Anyway, why not make it sticky?


I learned otherwise, but each person experiences something differently than others. In any case, its always up to the person to decide whats best.

And considder this topic stickied :)
"Heh, maybe I should've joined the compo only because it would've meant I wouldn't have had to worry about a damn EQ or compressor for a change. " - Atlantis
"yes.. I think in this case it was wishful thinking: MPT is makng my life hard so it must be wrong" - Rewbs

Offline MisterX

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« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2006, 00:46:00 »
Quote from: "mikosoft"
I never mastered an orchestral piece and I think orchestral pieces should not have any mastering except for some slight eqing maybe. Orchestra has a full sound by itself (when the piece is arranged correctly of course!).


This is true - some EQing based on the Approximate Frequency Ranges of each instrument combined with the panning will do wonders.  Another thing to achieve more "realism" is to apply slight reverbs to the instruments that are in the back of the Orchestra.
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Offline Atlantis

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« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2006, 14:56:21 »
Mixing is not mastering and mastering is not mixing. ::)

Some of you are interchanging two very different processes. Mastering is not the process of mixing your instruments together, panning them, EQ'ing them, compressing them, etc. mikosoft was really the only one who associated it with the right process of effecting the master output, so either this topic has become completely ambigious, or some of you don't realise the difference between mixing and mastering. Seeing the way this topic is going, it should be renamed to "Mixing Tips" to avoid further confusion.

So, is it mixing tips you want, or mastering tips?
Put an end to the loudness war. Don't limit or compress your mixdown until mastering; leave the master channel alone.

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Offline LPChip

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« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2006, 14:59:36 »
Quote from: "Atlantis"
Mixing is not mastering and mastering is not mixing. ::)

Some of you are interchanging two very different processes. Mastering is not the process of mixing your instruments together, panning them, EQ'ing them, compressing them, etc. mikosoft was really the only one who associated it with the right process of effecting the master output, so either this topic has become completely ambigious, or some of you don't realise the difference between mixing and mastering. Seeing the way this topic is going, it should be renamed to "Mixing Tips" to avoid further confusion.

So, is it mixing tips you want, or mastering tips?


Good observation. Based on his opening post, I'd say he's after mixing. I'll edit the topic to mixing tips.
"Heh, maybe I should've joined the compo only because it would've meant I wouldn't have had to worry about a damn EQ or compressor for a change. " - Atlantis
"yes.. I think in this case it was wishful thinking: MPT is makng my life hard so it must be wrong" - Rewbs