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yoe91
Aug 16, 2011, 08:48 AM
Hi guys,
my goal for a while now has been to finally get a sound that isn't "demo" for my tracks.
Whatever I do for the guitars, drums, mastering....I always fall short.

It's decent with headphones on - because I make a conscious effort to record well and mix well...
but no matter how sparkling I try to make it sound, on speakers it always sounds rather "cavernous" - like I've recorded in a bathroom or a long tunnel...

And then I go on youtube and hear those awesome qualities.

I've got a PreSonus sound card (AudioBox USB), a MacBookPro, Guitar Rig 4 and Addictive Drums which are all good/to excellent quality.

Why can't I get that demo feel to go away !!


Please give me suggestions, I'm sure you can help and you know what's up.
Little tips, anything !

Many thanks,
cheers.



yoe91
Aug 16, 2011, 09:11 AM
Perhaps it would help if I posted a sample MP3...

http://www.mediafire.com/?vsktltb6lb0cnzb
(cut and upped just for you guys, how nice huh...)

jackerin
Aug 16, 2011, 11:01 AM
A good pair of monitor speakers and lots of practice, I'd say.

zimv20
Aug 16, 2011, 01:15 PM
It's decent with headphones on

then your headphones are lying to you. they're probably artificially boosting some mid frequencies and you compensate for by turning them down. every other system you're listening on is telling you that your headphones are wrong.

this is why there are reference monitors -- the sound they put out is representative of what goes in. the next step is to ensure that room does not fiddle with the sound on its way to your ears. that is why rooms are treated.

once you have a monitoring setup that you can trust, then you get to practice mixing. it takes years to get good.

iow: "i bought this awesome guitar and fantastic amp, put on fresh strings, and paid $125 for a cable. why am i still a crap guitarist?"

yoe91
Aug 16, 2011, 02:37 PM
then your headphones are lying to you. they're probably artificially boosting some mid frequencies and you compensate for by turning them down. every other system you're listening on is telling you that your headphones are wrong.

this is why there are reference monitors -- the sound they put out is representative of what goes in. the next step is to ensure that room does not fiddle with the sound on its way to your ears. that is why rooms are treated.

once you have a monitoring setup that you can trust, then you get to practice mixing. it takes years to get good.

iow: "i bought this awesome guitar and fantastic amp, put on fresh strings, and paid $125 for a cable. why am i still a crap guitarist?"

Well thanks for all the info. But whether the headphones lie or not, the problem subsists.
Please give a quick ear to the 600kb sample and tell me there's clearly a process that can help.
I used "Ambient Sparkling" as a Master track Compressor.

Ever tried Ozone 4 for mastering ? Audiorefurb ? iTunes perhaps for mastering ?
Please give me a hard, concrete task to do, you've got to know better than me, I'm imploring you ! :)

newuser2310
Aug 16, 2011, 06:22 PM
First of all, I wouldn't worry about your mixing/mastering skills quite yet.

I would look at composition and music theory to begin with.

I'm not really into the sort of music you posted, it sounded ok but it was bit short to get a real idea.

yoe91
Aug 17, 2011, 04:50 AM
First of all, I wouldn't worry about your mixing/mastering skills quite yet.

I would look at composition and music theory to begin with.

I'm not really into the sort of music you posted, it sounded ok but it was bit short to get a real idea.

I've written hundreds of compositions from jazz to alternative to technical death metal to Baroque. Creativity is the last of my worries.
Back to the point if you will: someone please give me a quick tip on how to get rid of this shroud over the sound ?

rhythmac
Aug 17, 2011, 11:31 AM
The band sounds good but the sound is shrouded, kind of muffled or dark. If it sounds like that when played back (without mixing) then either your recording gear is not up to snuff or your recording technique needs some tweeking. If it sounds clear but changes after you mix it then its what you are doing in your mixing process...
Track by track- make sure the instruments sound they way they should...have each musician record a short 16 bar riff and play it back.

stating the obvious:

do not mix with headphones

headphones color the tones, get a pair of flat monitors, not speakers

do not record with any effects - including reverb

you can adjust EQ and add reverb in the mixing process

yoe91
Aug 18, 2011, 07:53 AM
The band sounds good but the sound is shrouded, kind of muffled or dark. If it sounds like that when played back (without mixing) then either your recording gear is not up to snuff or your recording technique needs some tweeking. If it sounds clear but changes after you mix it then its what you are doing in your mixing process...
Track by track- make sure the instruments sound they way they should...have each musician record a short 16 bar riff and play it back.

stating the obvious:

do not mix with headphones

headphones color the tones, get a pair of flat monitors, not speakers

do not record with any effects - including reverb

you can adjust EQ and add reverb in the mixing process

That makes a lot of sense. Thanks for actually helping with actual common sense. It's just me though, there's no band.
I'll reduce the effects, good point !
Many thanks.

Macman45
Aug 18, 2011, 08:59 AM
Of Genelex Studio monitors, I use these, they have built in eq controls, and I never ever use can's when mixing.

zimv20
Aug 18, 2011, 09:10 AM
i listened to the clip. there's lots of reverb on the guitar, and you described it as cavernous. the guitar and drums don't sound like they're in the same "space".

one of the tasks when mixing is to build a soundstage, to get the instruments to sound as they're together in one space. feeding some of each signal to a bussed track that has a single reverb on it is one way to accomplish this.

yoe91
Aug 18, 2011, 06:27 PM
i listened to the clip. there's lots of reverb on the guitar, and you described it as cavernous. the guitar and drums don't sound like they're in the same "space".

one of the tasks when mixing is to build a soundstage, to get the instruments to sound as they're together in one space. feeding some of each signal to a bussed track that has a single reverb on it is one way to accomplish this.

Thanks, that helps...I'm on a mission to record my first industrial death metal album so you're helping for the good cause !...

drumsterdave
Aug 18, 2011, 10:57 PM
I agree with many of these guys

1. Headphones should never be used to mix, because you're mixing to a sound source that has no air space between the speakers and your ears... waveforms take time/distance to fullt develop and reverb simply doesn't take effect without walls to bounce off of

2. I agree that the drums do sound rather dry

3. Ultimately creating awesome tracks takes years upon years of mixing experience and thousands upon thousands of dollars in audio gear

4. Train your ears to discover what frequencies characterize different instruments, too much of any given frequency will cause issues with phase and spacial positioning

5. Also, don't just pan everything to the left/right or center, every instrument has a place/home in the mix, find a nitch for them like Bob Ross painting a picture... the stereo spectrum is your canvas, use it to it's full potential

6. Your sample sounds very promising by the way, you're on the right "TRACK"

yoe91
Aug 19, 2011, 05:18 AM
I agree with many of these guys

1. Headphones should never be used to mix, because you're mixing to a sound source that has no air space between the speakers and your ears... waveforms take time/distance to fullt develop and reverb simply doesn't take effect without walls to bounce off of

2. I agree that the drums do sound rather dry

3. Ultimately creating awesome tracks takes years upon years of mixing experience and thousands upon thousands of dollars in audio gear

4. Train your ears to discover what frequencies characterize different instruments, too much of any given frequency will cause issues with phase and spacial positioning

5. Also, don't just pan everything to the left/right or center, every instrument has a place/home in the mix, find a nitch for them like Bob Ross painting a picture... the stereo spectrum is your canvas, use it to it's full potential

6. Your sample sounds very promising by the way, you're on the right "TRACK"

Yeah, what do you know you're from Vegas !?!
Kidding, thanks I think that comment pretty much says it all Dave. Very helpful, thanks for the effort !


Ever heard of the "Audio Technica ATH-M50" ? It's a headphone designed for mixing. Of course they probably mean "DJ mixing", not death metal lol but anyhow people are still skeptical about headphones altogether, no matter the quality.
I suppose I'll look for not-too-bad speakers then...any tips ?

Many thanks to all - for your kind, gratuitous help.

newuser2310
Aug 19, 2011, 08:48 AM
3. Ultimately creating awesome tracks takes years upon years of mixing experience and thousands upon thousands of dollars in audio gear



Complete and utter tripe

You don't need to spend thousands of pounds/dollars on equipment, many people produce/record to a professional standard with very modest setups.

No speaker is perfect, its more important to learn your speakers, ie what they do well and what they don't. Having decent monitors and your room treated is ideal, however mixing on headphones can work as long as you know them(see above). Try your track on a variety of different systems to a/b your mix.

yoe91
Aug 19, 2011, 09:10 AM
Complete and utter tripe

You don't need to spend thousands of pounds/dollars on equipment, many people produce/record to a professional standard with very modest setups.

No speaker is perfect, its more important to learn your speakers, ie what they do well and what they don't. Having decent monitors and your room treated is ideal, however mixing on headphones can work as long as you know them(see above). Try your track on a variety of different systems to a/b your mix.

Thanks for the optimistic followup and info...there seems to be more common sense in your approach.
Of course, what he means is all I have is a sound card and a mac with software; guitarists use racks and physical rigs for a reason...

I'm really looking for an answer on a good set/brand/model/kind of speakers though...

newuser2310
Aug 19, 2011, 01:30 PM
Thanks for the optimistic followup and info...there seems to be more common sense in your approach.
Of course, what he means is all I have is a sound card and a mac with software; guitarists use racks and physical rigs for a reason...

I'm really looking for an answer on a good set/brand/model/kind of speakers though...

You probably best off looking at some powered monitors. I would avoid the cheap end of the market altogether if possible, brands like Yamaha, Krk, Mackie and Genelec all make decent products available at various price points.

http://www.sweetwater.com/shop/studio/studio-monitors/buying-guide.php

Its very much worth going to a store like guitar centre to have a listen before you buy.

As mentioned before each speaker will have its own pro's and cons.

I know my monitors lack bass response due to the small woofer. It is tempting to turn the bass up but the end result will be crap when playing it in the car or on another stereo.

Learning the speaker is key.

Don't forget room treatment either if you can afford it. Simple bass traps and acoustic foam can help a lot.

If the room sounds crap it won't matter how much you spend on speakers.

Mixing on headphones is far from ideal, but most beginners can afford a decent set of headphones before they decide to spend $600 on some monitors.

Sometimes you've just got to use what you've got to hand and get on with it.

Practise is the key, i bet you could give a professional a wonky old laptop and some ear buds and he/she would still come out with a decent mix.

yoe91
Aug 20, 2011, 05:32 AM
You probably best off looking at some powered monitors. I would avoid the cheap end of the market altogether if possible, brands like Yamaha, Krk, Mackie and Genelec all make decent products available at various price points.

http://www.sweetwater.com/shop/studio/studio-monitors/buying-guide.php

Its very much worth going to a store like guitar centre to have a listen before you buy.

As mentioned before each speaker will have its own pro's and cons.

I know my monitors lack bass response due to the small woofer. It is tempting to turn the bass up but the end result will be crap when playing it in the car or on another stereo.

Learning the speaker is key.

Don't forget room treatment either if you can afford it. Simple bass traps and acoustic foam can help a lot.

If the room sounds crap it won't matter how much you spend on speakers.

Mixing on headphones is far from ideal, but most beginners can afford a decent set of headphones before they decide to spend $600 on some monitors.

Sometimes you've just got to use what you've got to hand and get on with it.

Practise is the key, i bet you could give a professional a wonky old laptop and some ear buds and he/she would still come out with a decent mix.

Yeah I'm not spending anything close to 600 big ones hahaha...I was thinking something around 100 bucks worth of speakers. I just need to know of some brand/model...
Thanks a lot for the info, makes a lot of sense...

sth
Aug 20, 2011, 12:31 PM
3. Ultimately creating awesome tracks takes years upon years of mixing experience and thousands upon thousands of dollars in audio gear
Mostly the first one. It has never been cheaper to build a decent studio setup.
Nevertheless, good monitors are a must and so is "learning the monitors" and room acoustics (see newuser2310).

Ever heard of the "Audio Technica ATH-M50" ? It's a headphone designed for mixing. Of course they probably mean "DJ mixing", not death metal lol but anyhow people are still skeptical about headphones altogether, no matter the quality.
It's a physical problem. With stereo monitors, the sound stage is in front of you, with headphones, the sound stage is literaly between your ears.

I was thinking something around 100 bucks worth of speakers. I just need to know of some brand/model...
I don't think you'll find anything decent for that amount of money. Given the budget constraints, you're probably best off buying a pair of active 5" nearfield monitors (which start at ~$200 for cheap ones). These will not be great at reproducing bass frequencies, so make sure not to overcompensate.

newuser2310
Aug 20, 2011, 03:11 PM
Buy cheap, buy twice.

Audio gear holds is value reasonably well.

I'd rather buy a quality product second hand then by brand new crap.

Maybe look into second hand monitors made by the brands I suggested.

sth
Aug 20, 2011, 05:23 PM
Buy cheap, buy twice.

Audio gear holds is value reasonably well.

I'd rather buy a quality product second hand then by brand new crap.

True.

ChrisA
Aug 20, 2011, 10:38 PM
.I was thinking something around 100 bucks worth of speakers.
...

Oh my gosh. I think your TIME is worth more than that. That is a to ally unrealistic budget. Even if you were to build a pair yourself. Parts cost more the $100. Cheap speakers like that will waste you time and your $100 as you'll just have to do it all over again

I listened to the sample. It has that "made in the studio" kind of sound no now would ever mistake for a live recording. I think maybe you are using different reverbs for each instrument. If I'm right then try recording everything dry. The sound of the basic tracks is good. You must have some decent microphones and so on. Maybe it's time to get a good reverb plugin and run everything through it. If you can get Logic Express it comes with a decent space designer convolution reverb.

But really $100 for a pair of speakers? If that really is your budget then hunt the Goodwill thrift shops for a big pair of home stereo speakers and start there and pick up a 50 to 100 watt stereo amp too. Record some test tones. Just seconds lone sine waves for each octave and try to get flat sound out of the thrift store stereo system.

A more real budget starts at about $500

yoe91
Aug 21, 2011, 06:40 AM
Hey guys, thanks a million for all the effort and valuable help.
I live in Qatar, so I'm actually brutally limited to Yamaha.

I've read great reviews about the HS80M and MPC5 or 7.
I'm probably gonna spend around 350 bucks in the end on those monitors.

Anybody know whether it's fine to buy just a single unit ??...

sth
Aug 21, 2011, 12:45 PM
Hey guys, thanks a million for all the effort and valuable help.
I live in Qatar, so I'm actually brutally limited to Yamaha.

I've read great reviews about the HS80M and MPC5 or 7.
I'm probably gonna spend around 350 bucks in the end on those monitors.
The HS80M are okay once you "learn" them. Again, make sure you don't overcompensate for the perceived lack of bass.
Can't comment on the others models.

Anybody know whether it's fine to buy just a single unit ??...
Noooooooooooooooooooooo!

zimv20
Aug 21, 2011, 02:16 PM
Noooooooooooooooooooooo!

i think he's having us on.

yoe91
Aug 21, 2011, 03:41 PM
i think he's having us on.

You guys are great btw, thanks so much for the feedback !
No lol I wasn't kidding ! I know stereo's important, but the price made me ask !
lol at the "Nooooooooo!" hahaha....sorry, I iz n00b.

I just got the MSP 5. The guy actually let me take it home while waiting for the HS80 to be back in stock lol. They go for the same price here.

It's fkn heavy, and they look soooooo badass in real life haha...


Do you guys think you can be kind enough to let me know how I should set them up ?

My room's a rectangle, with an opening. It's crowded too...would a picture help, for the sake of accuracy ?

Many thanks again, interesting and kind responses on here...
Alright, gotta go try these babies now !

yoe91
Aug 21, 2011, 04:10 PM
Their being suspended over the ground is important yeah ?...They're fkn heavy though, like 10kg...

jmacnash
Aug 21, 2011, 04:46 PM
You should avoid your listening position being in the dead center of the room.

Which orientation in the rectangle are you ?

sth
Aug 21, 2011, 05:12 PM
Their being suspended over the ground is important yeah ?
Don't.

yoe91
Aug 22, 2011, 04:45 AM
You should avoid your listening position being in the dead center of the room.

Which orientation in the rectangle are you ?

ahhh yes...good point. I'm just about 1.5meters from the bottom left corner, and the opening is right in front of me.
And no suspension ay ?

Alright, here are 3 pics I took to give you a clear idea:

http://i1232.photobucket.com/albums/ff377/yoe1986/Room1.jpg
General view through the entering door.

http://i1232.photobucket.com/albums/ff377/yoe1986/Room2.jpg
View from sitting on the couch as if taken by the Mac on pic 1. This is the 'opening'.

http://i1232.photobucket.com/albums/ff377/yoe1986/Room3.jpg
A close look at where I sit to record.

newuser2310
Aug 22, 2011, 12:04 PM
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/mar02/articles/monitors.asp

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/images/triangle_mar2007.gif

So you need a desk and some monitor stands to begin with.

paolo-
Aug 22, 2011, 02:04 PM
Hi, I think you're well on your way. You have the most important, writing skills and good playing skills. Recording is a lot like creating the music, there is some theory to be learned and a lot of practice.

Having a good listening environnement is the basis. If you aren't sure if what you're hearing is the speaker or the sound source, it's practically impossible to mix like you want it to sound.

Consider reading this http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=29283 it's a very well written thread intended for people with some experience recording but can't get what they want quite nailed. It holds a lot of theory but is very very well explained. Having read a books myself, I'd say that forum is mile above, nothing happens by magic.

yoe91
Aug 22, 2011, 02:24 PM
Thanks a lot of the equilateral triangle scheme there...
what kind of stands for 10 kilo monsters though ??...

And Paolo, I hate sound engineering and mastering and all that bs, I'm an artist (I know many ppl say so, but it's just objectively true) - but I suppose one rule in this world is - you want something done well, gotta do it yourself.


Anybody master with ozone 4 from iZotope ?
I'm having hair-pulling moments as we speak with the clipping when I BARELY even touch the EQ; save the EQ setup I really want...

And it's funny, but comparing the mastering setup I assembled before getting Ozone with purely native GB stuff (AUFilter, visual EQ, compressor) I seem to get a better sound than my best (and at least fairly competent) effort with Ozone !!!
Goooooooooooddaaammmmmnnnn this is annoying the fk out of me !!

I might just use my personal GB Master preset for all songs and send the wretched copy to some CD labels...
perseverance, perseverance, what a bitch...

newuser2310
Aug 22, 2011, 02:49 PM
Thanks a lot of the equilateral triangle scheme there...
what kind of stands for 10 kilo monsters though ??...

And Paolo, I hate sound engineering and mastering and all that bs, I'm an artist (I know many ppl say so, but it's just objectively true) - but I suppose one rule in this world is - you want something done well, gotta do it yourself.


Anybody master with ozone 4 from iZotope ?
I'm having hair-pulling moments as we speak with the clipping when I BARELY even touch the EQ; save the EQ setup I really want...

And it's funny, but comparing the mastering setup I assembled before getting Ozone with purely native GB stuff (AUFilter, visual EQ, compressor) I seem to get a better sound than my best (and at least fairly competent) effort with Ozone !!!
Goooooooooooddaaammmmmnnnn this is annoying the fk out of me !!

I might just use my personal GB Master preset for all songs and send the wretched copy to some CD labels...
perseverance, perseverance, what a bitch...


I use a set of samson monitor stands, they are rated at 18kg(per stand).

http://s3.amazonaws.com/samsontech/related_docs/MS200.jpg

They do the job, but are easy to push over with larger speakers. However I don't charge around knocking things over around my studio so its not a problem.

I chose them mainly because of the adjustable height, although they are cheap compared to similar products

I haven't used any of the izotope plugins but never put anything on the master anyway.

Try and get your mix sounding good without using any plugins on the master bus.

Look into gain structure and subtractive eqing as well.

Have a look at the chart below, it shows what frequencies different instruments play at. This will help when making "space" for the different instruments in your track.

http://obiaudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/frequency_chart_lg.gif

yoe91
Aug 22, 2011, 04:02 PM
Yeah, I don't rely 100% on the mastering, I hear you.

But mastering is also a necessity.

Gain structure: I've worked my ass off for my distortion on Guitar Rig, I've gotten to something reasonable/even pretty good. But the really cool distortion on GR 4 ("Big Monster") always carries that shroud, reverb-like aspect that prompted me to start the thread in the first place.

I've just never found a truly great disto out there.
Of course, guitar 1 and 2 play different plugins so put together you've got a homogeneous, clear sound even for fast riffing...

apw100
Aug 22, 2011, 04:15 PM
First, I would add a little reverb to the drums. I know that death metal drums tend to be dry, but I'd still add a little. Second, I would analyze your tracks and see what frequencies are common. Mixes can sound muddy if two different instruments are using the same or similar frequencies.


1. You MUST have flat, neutral monitors for mixing. Also, do a mix, then burn it to CD and play it in various audio systems.

2. Despite what some people say, hardware does matter. I would advise you to buy a better audio interface such as an Apogee Duet or RME Fireface when you can afford it. They have much better A/D conversion and preamps than the lower end stuff. Sure, they might not have as many inputs as other interfaces, but they are better. I would rather have two inputs of pro quality sound than eight mediocre ones. Quality over quantity.

3. How are you recording guitar? Using a mic'd cab or with a POD(or similar)? I have found it hard to get a good sound from PODs.

4. If you want very good, quick results, buy the Chris Lord-Alge plug-ins by Waves. They are a pretty penny but produce excellent sounds with very little tweaking. I would start with the guitar and drum plug-ins first, you can download the demo versions from Waves.com.

yoe91
Aug 22, 2011, 04:41 PM
First, I would add a little reverb to the drums. I know that death metal drums tend to be dry, but I'd still add a little. Second, I would analyze your tracks and see what frequencies are common. Mixes can sound muddy if two different instruments are using the same or similar frequencies.


Yeah that's a very good point. But it would be hell to find which ones...I used to put reverb on the drums, but then again, the least the better...makes the whole mix so foggy. But a little at times, yes I do.

1. You MUST have flat, neutral monitors for mixing. Also, do a mix, then burn it to CD and play it in various audio systems.
Yeah I keep doin that haha...I try one mix/mastering setup then another, and another and on about 3 different sound systems. I've got a nice pair of flat monitors right now (Yamaha MSP5), will trade em for HS80 when they get here...

2. Despite what some people say, hardware does matter. I would advise you to buy a better audio interface such as an Apogee Duet or RME Fireface when you can afford it. They have much better A/D conversion and preamps than the lower end stuff. Sure, they might not have as many inputs as other interfaces, but they are better. I would rather have two inputs of pro quality sound than eight mediocre ones. Quality over quantity.

You mean the PreSonus Audiobox ain't good enough ?...I'm pretty sure I'd get the same sound out of this software. I mean, GRig wouldn't sound substantially better, would it ??...

3. How are you recording guitar? Using a mic'd cab or with a POD(or similar)? I have found it hard to get a good sound from PODs.

Dunno what those are. I've got my extremely-old-but -still-workin Ibanez, the USB AudioBox sound card and that's it.

4. If you want very good, quick results, buy the Chris Lord-Alge plug-ins by Waves. They are a pretty penny but produce excellent sounds with very little tweaking. I would start with the guitar and drum plug-ins first, you can download the demo versions from Waves.com.

Are those for metal distortion ? Could you recommend anything besides GRig 4 ? I've tried a bunch before. Red Skull, but way too dry. "Trash" they said was good but I found ridiculous. There's really just GRig... :(

sth
Aug 22, 2011, 05:50 PM
You mean the PreSonus Audiobox ain't good enough ?
I don't think it's a limiting factor at the moment.

IMHO setting up a good listening environment (see newuser2310's posts) and reading a bit about mixing (paolo-'s link looks like a good place to start) will get you there rather quickly since you don't start from zero (the sample you posted sounds better than some postings might suggest).

yoe91
Aug 23, 2011, 05:29 AM
I don't think it's a limiting factor at the moment.

IMHO setting up a good listening environment (see newuser2310's posts) and reading a bit about mixing (paolo-'s link looks like a good place to start) will get you there rather quickly since you don't start from zero (the sample you posted sounds better than some postings might suggest).

Yeah I think so too...I'm reading Paolo's article, hope it gives me concrete solutions...

ChrisA
Aug 24, 2011, 12:32 AM
First, I would add a little reverb to the drums. I know that death metal drums tend to be dry, but I'd still add a little. Second, I would analyze your tracks and see what frequencies are common. Mixes can sound muddy if two different instruments are using the same or similar frequencies.


Yeah that's a very good point. But it would be hell to find which ones...I used to put reverb on the drums, but then again, the least the better...makes the whole mix so foggy. But a little at times, yes I do.

1. You MUST have flat, neutral monitors for mixing. Also, do a mix, then burn it to CD and play it in various audio systems.
Yeah I keep doin that haha...I try one mix/mastering setup then another, and another and on about 3 different sound systems. I've got a nice pair of flat monitors right now (Yamaha MSP5), will trade em for HS80 when they get here...

2. Despite what some people say, hardware does matter. I would advise you to buy a better audio interface such as an Apogee Duet or RME Fireface when you can afford it. They have much better A/D conversion and preamps than the lower end stuff. Sure, they might not have as many inputs as other interfaces, but they are better. I would rather have two inputs of pro quality sound than eight mediocre ones. Quality over quantity.

You mean the PreSonus Audiobox ain't good enough ?...I'm pretty sure I'd get the same sound out of this software. I mean, GRig wouldn't sound substantially better, would it ??...

3. How are you recording guitar? Using a mic'd cab or with a POD(or similar)? I have found it hard to get a good sound from PODs.

Dunno what those are. I've got my extremely-old-but -still-workin Ibanez, the USB AudioBox sound card and that's it.

4. If you want very good, quick results, buy the Chris Lord-Alge plug-ins by Waves. They are a pretty penny but produce excellent sounds with very little tweaking. I would start with the guitar and drum plug-ins first, you can download the demo versions from Waves.com.

Are those for metal distortion ? Could you recommend anything besides GRig 4 ? I've tried a bunch before. Red Skull, but way too dry. "Trash" they said was good but I found ridiculous. There's really just GRig... :(

You are talking about the general case. Yes a better A/D would be nice but in this specific case listen to the sample recording I just don't hear a problem with a raw recording quality. Same with some of the other suggestions they are good if you were writing a book but is this specific case his problem is not these things. Except the last suggestion. Yes that software has good mastering presets. But then Logic's are not bad either.

I'm pretty sure in this case the problem is work flow related. It sounds to my ears as if the tracks were mastered before they were combined. The result sounds like what it is, a bunch of tracks put together on a computer, not like a band recorded live. I think this is just an order f operations thing.

BTW until you can spend big $$$ for a microphone the Audio Box will not be the weak link in the system and will be better than you need if the end product is a CD recording

yoe91
Aug 24, 2011, 08:23 AM
You are talking about the general case. Yes a better A/D would be nice but in this specific case listen to the sample recording I just don't hear a problem with a raw recording quality. Same with some of the other suggestions they are good if you were writing a book but is this specific case his problem is not these things. Except the last suggestion. Yes that software has good mastering presets. But then Logic's are not bad either.

I'm pretty sure in this case the problem is work flow related. It sounds to my ears as if the tracks were mastered before they were combined. The result sounds like what it is, a bunch of tracks put together on a computer, not like a band recorded live. I think this is just an order f operations thing.

BTW until you can spend big $$$ for a microphone the Audio Box will not be the weak link in the system and will be better than you need if the end product is a CD recording

Cool !
I don't even know how microphones work on a guitar...you stick them on the bridge ??....
Anyways, yes I'll get a decent sound for the album for sure. It won't sound "demo" as much now.

Mastering's a bitch though, a big fat fkn bitch ! You're never satisfied with it, and by the time you take an hour break and get back to it, you feel like "wait, there's still too much high mid !"

zimv20
Aug 24, 2011, 08:27 AM
Mastering's a bitch though, a big fat fkn bitch ! You're never satisfied with it, and by the time you take an hour break and get back to it, you feel like "wait, there's still too much high mid !"

can you describe what you do at mixtime, and what you do at mastering time?

yoe91
Aug 24, 2011, 12:42 PM
can you describe what you do at mixtime, and what you do at mastering time?

Well mixing to me is going through the little details (like specific instrument sound and tone, removing/adding a sample or notes), adjusting the volume of every respective instrument, trying to make them all homogeneous and cohesive.

Mastering is a mild EQ control, and then 3 multiband modules (harmonic exciter, dynamics and spacing), a tiny touch of reverb...

zimv20
Aug 24, 2011, 05:50 PM
(like specific instrument sound and tone, removing/adding a sample or notes),
i call that composition and arrangement.


adjusting the volume of every respective instrument, trying to make them all homogeneous and cohesive.
yes.


Mastering is a mild EQ control, and then 3 multiband modules (harmonic exciter, dynamics and spacing), a tiny touch of reverb...
yes EQ and compression/limiting can occur at mastering, and yes song sequence and spacing will occur there.

"no" to reverb. it happens, but that should happen at record/mix time.

imho there should be more EQ and compression happening at mix time, to get the song's dynamics correct, get the soundstage built, get the instruments to play together in stereo.

any EQ at master should be to get the songs to sound uniform to one another and translate across systems. dynamics are to get songs to have uniform volume relative to one another and (controversial) to make it as loud as possible.

these 3 are mostly distinct from one another, require different skills, and should be treated as such. i mostly work in the arranging/recording/mixing realms, i wouldn't dream of mastering anything.

yoe91
Aug 24, 2011, 07:42 PM
i call that composition and arrangement.


yes.


yes EQ and compression/limiting can occur at mastering, and yes song sequence and spacing will occur there.

"no" to reverb. it happens, but that should happen at record/mix time.

imho there should be more EQ and compression happening at mix time, to get the song's dynamics correct, get the soundstage built, get the instruments to play together in stereo.

any EQ at master should be to get the songs to sound uniform to one another and translate across systems. dynamics are to get songs to have uniform volume relative to one another and (controversial) to make it as loud as possible.

these 3 are mostly distinct from one another, require different skills, and should be treated as such. i mostly work in the arranging/recording/mixing realms, i wouldn't dream of mastering anything.

Yeah, it's a bitch. A big fat, ugly bitch. Not as insanely complex as people make it, but still an array of skills to...'master'.

All valuable info...helps me structure my take on the whole thing...thanks !
I honestly feel with the material I have I've done a decent job, even pretty good I'm sure people with experience would say...I just want it to sound homogeneous, un-demo like, and at least hear the riffage going on clearly considering the effort recording it.

I don't know how I'll get all the songs at the same volume level, and I've used different mastering setups for almost each of the songs !...I hope it'll somehow "work".
But it was a necessity. Some songs just NEED more treble, high-mid etc....and some songs have way different instruments...

zimv20
Aug 24, 2011, 11:28 PM
i don't master my own stuff. i mix it until it sounds right to me. then the mastering guy listens and adjusts it to compensate for deficiencies in my room and ears.

that's important -- if i mastered my own stuff, i wouldn't change anything because it already sounds right. mastering should be done 1) by someone else, and 2) by someone who's listening to the material fresh. you're way too close to the material to make such decisions.

paolo-
Aug 25, 2011, 12:27 PM
zimv20 said it properly. It can be broken down into three main sections, recording, mixing and mastering. Working with a method will help you get things done instead of running around in circles. Here's kind of how most people do it.

Compose and arrange, I think you're already good at that and know what it means. Make the music and decide what will play what and when.

Record: record to tracks with as little effect as possible and as cleanly as possible. For your guitar just use a preset that's close enough, don't really bother for now. This means laying down your midi tracks too.

Clean up: this means making sure that all your dubs sound nice, set a noise gate if you need one, use a high pass or low pass filter if need be (for example on a flute the low frequencies aren't useful so you would cut them out). And set automations to volume to make sure it stays consistent, this is usually for vocals that are done in many takes, sometimes you get some parts that are way to soft compared to others.

Mixing: this is the core of it but if you're methodical it can be easier. Now is the time where you will choose the sounds that you will use. This means setting up your amp effects, choosing your drums sounds... Then, it's all about making the sounds work with each other: compressors and eq but most of all relative volumes! Don't solo things to much during mixing, it's not unusual to have tracks that don't really sound good on there own but make the mix come together, like rhythm guitars sometimes sound thin when you solo them but they fit between the bass and lead. Then there's space design, you'll want to send your tracks to a reverb bus, you make a sound stage by putting some things in front and others further back. Usually drums will get more reverb than guitars for example. I personally pan my track near the of the mixing, when I'm trying to make my sounds work together, eq-ing and setting the levels.

Mastering happens afterwards and is usually done to a bounced track. Working strictly with the whole mix. Usually it's not much more than eq and compression. Making sure that the mix sounds good on any speaker and that it can be plenty loud. Also for albums, it's making sure that the sound between the tracks is consistant.

There's a million different ways to go about it but it's important to remember that some things impact other so doing them in an order keeps you from going back and around to the same stuff. Say at the very end of you mixing you decide that the low frequencies in you original guitar signal not good and mainly your palm hitting the strings, you put a high pass filter. Since the sound isn't as loud, you're not getting as much distortion so you raise the gain on the amp. But since there are more high frequencies in the original sound, after the distortion, you're getting even more high frequencies so you'll probably have to take look at the eq and level as well. So that's one step that if you did first would have saved you like ten steps later on.

I know you're starting out and probably learn a lot as you go along but when you start running around in circles, it's a good time to take a break. I'm not saying that I completely follow a plan either, it's a creative endeavour it's good to change your mind half-way. Actually, I make electronic music so I spend most of my time running around in circles :p.

yoe91
Aug 28, 2011, 09:14 AM
zimv20 said it properly. It can be broken down into three main sections, recording, mixing and mastering. Working with a method will help you get things done instead of running around in circles. Here's kind of how most people do it.

Compose and arrange, I think you're already good at that and know what it means. Make the music and decide what will play what and when.

Record: record to tracks with as little effect as possible and as cleanly as possible. For your guitar just use a preset that's close enough, don't really bother for now. This means laying down your midi tracks too.

Clean up: this means making sure that all your dubs sound nice, set a noise gate if you need one, use a high pass or low pass filter if need be (for example on a flute the low frequencies aren't useful so you would cut them out). And set automations to volume to make sure it stays consistent, this is usually for vocals that are done in many takes, sometimes you get some parts that are way to soft compared to others.

Mixing: this is the core of it but if you're methodical it can be easier. Now is the time where you will choose the sounds that you will use. This means setting up your amp effects, choosing your drums sounds... Then, it's all about making the sounds work with each other: compressors and eq but most of all relative volumes! Don't solo things to much during mixing, it's not unusual to have tracks that don't really sound good on there own but make the mix come together, like rhythm guitars sometimes sound thin when you solo them but they fit between the bass and lead. Then there's space design, you'll want to send your tracks to a reverb bus, you make a sound stage by putting some things in front and others further back. Usually drums will get more reverb than guitars for example. I personally pan my track near the of the mixing, when I'm trying to make my sounds work together, eq-ing and setting the levels.

Mastering happens afterwards and is usually done to a bounced track. Working strictly with the whole mix. Usually it's not much more than eq and compression. Making sure that the mix sounds good on any speaker and that it can be plenty loud. Also for albums, it's making sure that the sound between the tracks is consistant.

There's a million different ways to go about it but it's important to remember that some things impact other so doing them in an order keeps you from going back and around to the same stuff. Say at the very end of you mixing you decide that the low frequencies in you original guitar signal not good and mainly your palm hitting the strings, you put a high pass filter. Since the sound isn't as loud, you're not getting as much distortion so you raise the gain on the amp. But since there are more high frequencies in the original sound, after the distortion, you're getting even more high frequencies so you'll probably have to take look at the eq and level as well. So that's one step that if you did first would have saved you like ten steps later on.

I know you're starting out and probably learn a lot as you go along but when you start running around in circles, it's a good time to take a break. I'm not saying that I completely follow a plan either, it's a creative endeavour it's good to change your mind half-way. Actually, I make electronic music so I spend most of my time running around in circles :p.

Thanks a lot for all the effort there. It all makes sense, and I must say I follow almost everything you say. The high/low pass filters I haven't tried...I should.

And what you're both saying about mastering being too subjective, I agree with. We're like a fish in a bowl, and can't see outside it.
But I'm still confident about my ears :)

The problem is as you've mentioned, every song needs to be coherent with its mastering among the rest for an album...and I'm actually mastering every single song differently !
I'm sure the difference won't be humongous in the end, but still noticeable if attended to.

But I can't help it: some songs have loads of samples/industrial synths, others are pure death metal and don't need as much treble...

TheRdungeon
Aug 28, 2011, 08:15 PM
Complete and utter tripe

You don't need to spend thousands of pounds/dollars on equipment, many people produce/record to a professional standard with very modest setups.

No speaker is perfect, its more important to learn your speakers, ie what they do well and what they don't. Having decent monitors and your room treated is ideal, however mixing on headphones can work as long as you know them(see above). Try your track on a variety of different systems to a/b your mix.

x1000, knowing your speakers/headphones and where the lack/flatter sound will help