Boxy...Causes And Fixes?

How to do this, that and the other. Share, learn, teach. How did X do that? How can I sound like Y?
Reefius
KVRist
441 posts since 7 Dec, 2013 from Belgium

Post Fri May 25, 2018 12:57 pm

There are only 2 major changes:
  • The big EQ cut took out most of the boxiness, you can use any EQ for that.
  • I've put the low frequencies in mono and also narrowed down the stereo field for the other frequencies because it sounded all over the place. Low end should always be mono.
    Here's a screenshot of the stereo imager:
    Stereo.jpg
    As you can see, the first band is all the way down, which results in mono.
The rest are just minor changes like some compression and limiting.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Reefius
KVRist
441 posts since 7 Dec, 2013 from Belgium

Re: Boxy...Causes And Fixes?

Post Fri May 25, 2018 1:07 pm

Here's a video where I enable each module in Ozone 8 one by one:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c745GrAfDt8

User avatar
wagtunes
KVRAF
13267 posts since 8 Oct, 2014

Re: Boxy...Causes And Fixes?

Post Fri May 25, 2018 1:10 pm

Reefius wrote:There are only 2 major changes:
  • The big EQ cut took out most of the boxiness, you can use any EQ for that.
  • I've put the low frequencies in mono and also narrowed down the stereo field for the other frequencies because it sounded all over the place. Low end should always be mono.
    Here's a screenshot of the stereo imager:
    Stereo.jpg
    As you can see, the first band is all the way down, which results in mono.
The rest are just minor changes like some compression and limiting.
So then technically I can do this with the tools I have? I've never done the convert lower end from stereo to mono. Can Neutron 2 even do that?

Reefius
KVRist
441 posts since 7 Dec, 2013 from Belgium

Re: Boxy...Causes And Fixes?

Post Fri May 25, 2018 1:39 pm

wagtunes wrote:So then technically I can do this with the tools I have? I've never done the convert lower end from stereo to mono. Can Neutron 2 even do that?
Did you use some stereo widener on the master track? Don't ever do that, unless it's multiband. Use stereo widening in your mix only on the tracks that need to be widened.
A stereo widener can usually also do the opposite, thus narrowing down the stereo field all the way down until it's mono. Use something like that on low end tracks like kick and bass.

Izotope has a free stereo widening tool, which is basically the same as in Ozone except that it's not multiband.
https://www.izotope.com/en/products/mas ... mager.html

Fabfilter Pro Q (and Pro Q2) also has the ability to EQ the mid and side bands separately. Here's a great video about it:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NilfCElGJ2c

I also found this free plugin called GStereo, which is a three band stereo imager: https://www.gvst.co.uk/beta.htm
I just tried it and it works quite well to put the low end in mono and adjust the stereo field for mid en high end.

sjm
KVRAF
1696 posts since 17 Apr, 2004

Re: Boxy...Causes And Fixes?

Post Fri May 25, 2018 2:44 pm

wagtunes wrote:OMG. What a difference. Okay, what did you do, EXACTLY? If I have to get Ozone 8 (I have Neutron 2) I'll get it.
In essence, the EQ is an inverted version of your frequency spectrum. Where you have a lot of energy, the frequencies have been cut with the EQ. Where you were lacking volume it's been boosted.

But the real way to fix this in not with EQ on the master, but going in and working on the individual tracks themselves. As I said, the piano is a good place to start to tame things. Another thing to do can be to look at your choice of instruments/patches and see if you can make changes there. In your case, you want less mids and more high mids/highs. That is something that you can achieve simply by choosing sounds that contain those frequencies.

It can also be worth trying to transpose parts up an octave if you are suffering from this issue.

You can make your low end largely mono by making sure your bass and kick are mono, and making sure you don't have reverb rumble from the low frequencies on the sides. Or you can use plugins to make everything below a certain frequency mono. I would recommend high passing and low passing the reverb in any case. Unless you are going for a cinematic effect, the low end rumble just muddies everything. The highs tend to result in too much brittleness in the sound, making it "sharp", for want of a better word. Better to have those frequencies coming from the dry tracks instead.
Voted KVR's resident drunk Robert Smith impersonator (thanks Frantz!)

User avatar
wagtunes
KVRAF
13267 posts since 8 Oct, 2014

Re: Boxy...Causes And Fixes?

Post Fri May 25, 2018 3:54 pm

Thanks for all the tips guys. I'm thinking of remixing this one. The biggest problem is with her vocals. Unlike the other Vocaloids that are very thin in the mid range, her voice is very fat and thick. It has a naturally muddy sound. If you EQ it out, then you have the problem with the d's and t's as you can hear in this recording. I simply have no clue how to fix her so that she sounds good in a mix. I've tried going to the main Vocaloid forum to ask you but it's been closed down due to advertising issues. So I'm kind of stuck. She has me totally stumped.

User avatar
wagtunes
KVRAF
13267 posts since 8 Oct, 2014

Re: Boxy...Causes And Fixes?

Post Fri May 25, 2018 6:03 pm

Okay, I completely gutted the whole thing. I remixed the volumes, changed the EQs and was even able to tame the t's on the vocals.

Tell me if this is better. If it is, I'll replace the original with it.

https://soundcloud.com/steven-wagenheim ... wall-remix

MogwaiBoy
KVRAF
2729 posts since 26 Nov, 2015 from Way Downunder

Re: Boxy...Causes And Fixes?

Post Sun May 27, 2018 8:00 pm

The original mix sounds like some serious phase shift is happening, like the mids have been hollowed out a lot. I wondered if the voice was actually generated or human.

The new mix (just above) sounds a lot more real and natural. Good work!

User avatar
wagtunes
KVRAF
13267 posts since 8 Oct, 2014

Re: Boxy...Causes And Fixes?

Post Mon May 28, 2018 2:54 am

MogwaiBoy wrote:The original mix sounds like some serious phase shift is happening, like the mids have been hollowed out a lot. I wondered if the voice was actually generated or human.

The new mix (just above) sounds a lot more real and natural. Good work!
Thanks. I worked really hard on it. Because of this issue, I think I've finally turned a major corner with my mixing skills. Oh, and the voice is generated. Avanna by Vocaloid.

garryknight
KVRian
1099 posts since 6 Jan, 2015 from London, England

Re: Boxy...Causes And Fixes?

Post Mon May 28, 2018 2:23 pm

Thinking outside the boxy. Nice.

User avatar
do_androids_dream
KVRAF
2769 posts since 26 Oct, 2007 from Kent, UK

Re: Boxy...Causes And Fixes?

Post Mon May 28, 2018 2:38 pm

Mushy Mushy wrote:Boxy typically means the lower mid frequencies.

Waves do a great deboxer: https://www.waves.com/plugins/manny-marroquin-triple-d
I'm loath to recommend that plugin because it messes with phase at crossover points. Their F6 plugin is a better alternative to perform the same task.

Musicisbest
KVRist
206 posts since 6 Sep, 2004

Re: Boxy...Causes And Fixes?

Post Wed May 30, 2018 7:09 pm

It usually refers to low-mid frequencies that do not reproduce well on small systems.
Those frequencies result in a "boxy" characteristics that can make the mix sound muted, murky or dark.
You can notch those frequencies to clarify the sonic quality of the mix.

Return to “Production Techniques”