GB - a pollished sound ? Please help !

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by yoe91, Aug 16, 2011.

  1. macrumors member

    Aug 7, 2011
    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,
  2. yoe91, Aug 16, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2011

    thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 7, 2011
  3. macrumors 6502a

    Jun 29, 2008
    A good pair of monitor speakers and lots of practice, I'd say.
  4. macrumors 601


    Jul 18, 2002
    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?"
  5. thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 7, 2011
    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 ! :)
  6. macrumors regular

    Feb 16, 2010
    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.
  7. thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 7, 2011
    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 ?
  8. macrumors 6502


    Mar 29, 2009
    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
  9. thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 7, 2011
    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.
  10. macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    Buy A Pair

    Of Genelex Studio monitors, I use these, they have built in eq controls, and I never ever use can's when mixing.
  11. macrumors 601


    Jul 18, 2002
    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.
  12. thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 7, 2011
    Thanks, that helps...I'm on a mission to record my first industrial death metal album so you're helping for the good cause !...
  13. macrumors newbie

    Aug 18, 2011
    Las Vegas
    all too true

    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"
  14. thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 7, 2011
    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.
  15. macrumors regular

    Feb 16, 2010
    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.
  16. thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 7, 2011
    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...
  17. newuser2310, Aug 19, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2011

    macrumors regular

    Feb 16, 2010
    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.

    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.
  18. thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 7, 2011
    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...
  19. sth
    macrumors 6502a

    Aug 9, 2006
    The old world
    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).

    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 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.
  20. macrumors regular

    Feb 16, 2010
    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.
  21. sth
    macrumors 6502a

    Aug 9, 2006
    The old world
  22. macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    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
  23. thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 7, 2011
    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 ??...
  24. sth
    macrumors 6502a

    Aug 9, 2006
    The old world
    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.

  25. macrumors 601


    Jul 18, 2002
    i think he's having us on.

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