Where to started with mixing and mastering.

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SHall1000
KVRist
360 posts since 13 May, 2015

Post Wed Mar 11, 2020 3:39 am

After a few of years of enjoyable noodling I now have a handful of tracks I am quite pleased with. They have all been created ITB in Ableton Live session view as midi clips arranged using scenes and follow actions which I am now fairly comfortable with.

I am thinking I should maybe progress to Arrangement view and try my hand at mixing and mastering for distribution (even if it is only for playback on my own devices such as iPod and CD). I have no idea where to start.

What would you advise?

PeterP_swe
KVRist
94 posts since 13 Aug, 2017 from Gothenburg

Re: Where to started with mixing and mastering.

Post Wed Mar 11, 2020 7:32 am

1) Drag in a reference track, something commercial in the same genre that sounds good and have the sound you're going after. That is so that you can toggle between your song and the reference. Make sure it's level matched and that it's not running through any master bus effects. It's important that you have something that you can quickly compare with when doing your changes.

2) If you're a beginner, start with the "top down" approach to mixing. The biggest problem when starting out is that your ears aren't developed enough to hear all the subtle details, especially many small cumulative ones. That means that it can be overwhelming to start focusing on the details for each track. Better to go for the "bigger picture" in the beginning.

The general idea here is to start with listening to the whole track and see if adding a little bit of eq or compression to the master bus can get it closer to the reference track. Then you can drill down and focus on just the drums and do the same there, then the vocals, then the keyboards / guitars etc.

3) How to know when you're done: Render out a copy of your track and put it in a playlist with a bunch of commercial songs in the same genre. Wait a day or two, then play this list somewhere away from your daw, maybe the gym or car. If your song don't stand out in a bad way you're done. Otherwise make notes on what needs fixing, then go back fix that and repeat this step.

claudedefaren
KVRist
367 posts since 10 Mar, 2013

Re: Where to started with mixing and mastering.

Post Wed Mar 11, 2020 8:14 am

300hz is the devil

It's really easy to have way too much high frequency content 10khz+, use a reference track for comparison

Voxengo Span is super useful

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thecontrolcentre
KVRAF
27411 posts since 27 Jul, 2005 from the wilds of wanny

Re: Where to started with mixing and mastering.

Post Wed Mar 11, 2020 8:20 am

In Live I would suggest starting with recording a rough arrangement by triggering scenes in the session view. Then you can start editing and mixing from there. Don't worry about mastering until you have learned to mix.

roman.i
KVRist
249 posts since 25 Aug, 2019

Re: Where to started with mixing and mastering.

Post Wed Mar 11, 2020 3:13 pm

I prefer the long term approach. Depending on your level, first you'll need to train your ears. Once you reached a certain level, which can take months/years of training, and you can differentiate between frequencies, delay times, reverbs, saturation etc, continue to the history of gear. Depending on the genre you're making you'll need to choose sound processors, in a plugin or hardware form. Once you've got the relevant gear and a trained ear, then you can continue to mixing. Regarding the mastering, I don't think you can do it anytime soon. Mastering requires years of training, hi end studio with a hi end gear.

Daimonicon
KVRian
1013 posts since 30 Aug, 2012 from Sweden

Re: Where to started with mixing and mastering.

Post Wed Mar 11, 2020 3:46 pm

SHall1000 wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 3:39 am
After a few of years of enjoyable noodling I now have a handful of tracks I am quite pleased with. They have all been created ITB in Ableton Live session view as midi clips arranged using scenes and follow actions which I am now fairly comfortable with.

I am thinking I should maybe progress to Arrangement view and try my hand at mixing and mastering for distribution (even if it is only for playback on my own devices such as iPod and CD). I have no idea where to start.

What would you advise?
What's your goal? I mean when it comes to mixing. Do you want it to have that pro sound even though it's for yourself first and most like you said? There are pro's that have courses about mixing in different genres. Been there and done that I have learned so much I never would have anywhere else. Sure it will cost but doesn't have to be expensive but I tell you it's all worth it. Well it was another genre clearly. And forget about mastering. Until you have learned to mix properly first. Then you might discover that not all tracks need anything than but maybe some limiting.

SHall1000
KVRist
360 posts since 13 May, 2015

Re: Where to started with mixing and mastering.

Post Fri Mar 13, 2020 10:14 pm

Daimonicon wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 3:46 pm
What's your goal?
That’s a good question. So far I have FX as inserts on in individual tracks and nothing on the master. I have not used any EQ or compression. I just adjust levels of tracks. I just feel I must be able to make the mix better with all these tools available.

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vurt
addled muppet weed
65015 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Re: Where to started with mixing and mastering.

Post Sat Mar 14, 2020 1:01 pm

SHall1000 wrote:
Fri Mar 13, 2020 10:14 pm
Daimonicon wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 3:46 pm
What's your goal?
That’s a good question. So far I have FX as inserts on in individual tracks and nothing on the master. I have not used any EQ or compression. I just adjust levels of tracks. I just feel I must be able to make the mix better with all these tools available.
better how?
what is it that you feel is wrong?

SHall1000
KVRist
360 posts since 13 May, 2015

Re: Where to started with mixing and mastering.

Post Sun Mar 29, 2020 9:48 am

Thanks for the suggestions. You have made me realise that I don’t actually have a goal. I have tried comparing to some reference tracks and think my little sketches don’t actually sound too bad.
I have also tried Izotope Neuton Elements AI track assistant on tracks and the master but the results so far are subtle to say the least.
Think I’ll concentrate on having fun with sound design and composition and forget about mixing for a while.

SparkySpark
KVRAF
1863 posts since 30 Aug, 2004 from Lancaster, UK

Re: Where to started with mixing and mastering.

Post Sun Mar 29, 2020 2:55 pm

SHall1000 wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 9:48 am
Thanks for the suggestions. You have made me realise that I don’t actually have a goal. I have tried comparing to some reference tracks and think my little sketches don’t actually sound too bad.
I have also tried Izotope Neuton Elements AI track assistant on tracks and the master but the results so far are subtle to say the least.
Think I’ll concentrate on having fun with sound design and composition and forget about mixing for a while.
First, I think you got great insight (in your lack of goal). And since you don't have a certain goal in mind, I agree you could just as well enjoy your time sequencing and recording musical ideas.

Maybe mastering isn't for you in the end. There are always people willing to do that (for money) for any great song you write.

Meanwhile, I think you should buy a copy of Ozone. I use it all the time to set a rough sketch of what the mix should sound like. Like you I care more about song-writing, harmonies/sequencing and sound design than mastering. ...and so, I start with Ozone on the master track and follow some of the same advices as others here have proposed.
Last edited by SparkySpark on Sun Mar 29, 2020 2:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Computer scientist: There is no number between 1 and 10.
Go MuLab!

vitocorleone123
KVRian
531 posts since 30 Jun, 2014 from Pacific NW

Re: Where to started with mixing and mastering.

Post Sun Mar 29, 2020 2:55 pm

If nothing else, a tool like Mastering the Mix: Reference would help you A/B compare in very useful ways with tracks already mixed. It would also help you train your ears.

A few books could help, such as The Mixing Engineers Handbook, Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio, and Mixing Audio. Don't over-index on books (har har har), though. But a couple could really help.

Finally, YouTube videos or, better yet, some online courses on Mixing 101.

And, then, practice.

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thecontrolcentre
KVRAF
27411 posts since 27 Jul, 2005 from the wilds of wanny

Re: Where to started with mixing and mastering.

Post Sun Mar 29, 2020 3:05 pm

SparkySpark wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 2:55 pm
Meanwhile, I think you should buy a copy of Ozone. I use it all the time to set a rough sketch of what the mix should sound like. Like you I care more about song-writing, harmonies/sequencing and sound design than mastering. ...and so, I start with Ozone on the master track and follow some of the same advices as others here have proposed.
I don't put anything on the master until I've got a mix that I'm totally happy with. I'll usually just get the mix as loud as possible (without clipping) and export that. I prefer to do any post production editing and mastering in Sound Forge.

SparkySpark
KVRAF
1863 posts since 30 Aug, 2004 from Lancaster, UK

Re: Where to started with mixing and mastering.

Post Sun Mar 29, 2020 3:10 pm

thecontrolcentre wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 3:05 pm
SparkySpark wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 2:55 pm
Meanwhile, I think you should buy a copy of Ozone. I use it all the time to set a rough sketch of what the mix should sound like. Like you I care more about song-writing, harmonies/sequencing and sound design than mastering. ...and so, I start with Ozone on the master track and follow some of the same advices as others here have proposed.
I don't put anything on the master until I've got a mix that I'm totally happy with. I'll usually just get the mix as loud as possible (without clipping) and export that. I prefer to do any post production editing and mastering in Sound Forge.
Yes, I see I was a bit unclear. I meant I first do the mix, THEN add Ozone on the master track. One thing I like about it in particular is the multi band stereo feature, which lets one get bass in mono and widen the stereo effect without artifacts.
Person 1: Say a number between 1 and 10.
Computer scientist: There is no number between 1 and 10.
Go MuLab!

User avatar
thecontrolcentre
KVRAF
27411 posts since 27 Jul, 2005 from the wilds of wanny

Re: Where to started with mixing and mastering.

Post Sun Mar 29, 2020 3:16 pm

:tu:

I think when you're still learning to mix its better to forget about mastering. As said earlier, if you write something really good you can always pay a professional to master it for you. Possibly cheaper than buying Ozone too. ;)

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vurt
addled muppet weed
65015 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Re: Where to started with mixing and mastering.

Post Sun Mar 29, 2020 3:52 pm

SHall1000 wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 9:48 am
Thanks for the suggestions. You have made me realise that I don’t actually have a goal. I have tried comparing to some reference tracks and think my little sketches don’t actually sound too bad.
I have also tried Izotope Neuton Elements AI track assistant on tracks and the master but the results so far are subtle to say the least.
Think I’ll concentrate on having fun with sound design and composition and forget about mixing for a while.
:tu: sounds like s good idea at the minute :)

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