Hi To All / Some Questions About Mixdown

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by Jak, Feb 11, 2014.

  1. Jak

    Jak Active Member

    Hi to all, I'm Jak. I didn't find an appropriate section where I could introduce myself, so I'm doing it here ahaha
    I'm not a mastering engineer, alas! I've just followed some courses for a fee, but I have experimented for 1 year and 2 months and now I'm here, constrained to ask help, because I can't reach my goals. I'm honest, I've tried everything.
    I've produce electronic music for 4 years, in my spare time. I've produced a Progressive House track, serene and melodic, based on chords.. How can I explain myself? Uhm.. Like "The Veldt" of Deadmau5. Yeah, it's a good example.

    Back to the topic, I find difficulties during sample compression. I'm using iZotope Ozone 5 to EQ & Dynamics.
    I've read that the use of a single band compressor is recommended during mixdown, so I did it.
    After doing this for each sample of a Bus Channel (examples: Kick, Snare, Hi-Hats -> "DRUMS"), I EQ and compress it.
    I use an audio editor (like Audacity, ecc) to do a countercheck and look at the sample peaks after the mix.
    Look to the following screenshots, it's the better way to explain myself:

    W/out EQ & Compression



    W/in EQ & Compression



    It can't be possible ahaha Why after EQ'ing and Compressing I have an undulation of peaks? In theory, should be reduced ahaha
    And I don't tell you about kick + snare & clap.. (snare & clap is a single sample).

    W/out EQ & Compression



    W/in EQ & Compression



    W/in EQ & Compression on BUS CHANNEL


    Here's the samples: Cakewalk - SONAR X3 - What's New

    How do you EQ & Compress all? The comparison might be useful!

    Thank you very much for your patience :redface:


    Attached Files:

  2. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Actually, you can create peaks with a compressor if you put a slow attack and a long release...
    Further more, if you enhance bass with an EQ, it may add to your peaks..

    On a personal taste ; please don't kill the dynamics of your music.. keep it alive..
  3. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Compress with your ears, not with your eyes.

    A peak limiter will limit peaks. A compressor will alter the dynamics but not necessarily reduce peaks. But what matters is how it sounds. Who cares how it looks?
  4. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Are we to understand that you added a limiter to each individual track and then added another limiter to your 2-bus output as well?

    I'm asking...
  5. Jak

    Jak Active Member

    Ok guys, I'm back! Yesterday I had no time and I was in a hurry, to top it all I'm not an expert in English language and I wouldn't write wrong things that make you weep blood out of your eyes ahaha

    "Attack" and "Release". These are the focal points.
    For example, I've set up the compressor's ATK at 15ms to the kick that I have shared to you in the first message..
    They're the firsts 15ms before start the body of the kick, the part of the bass..


    For the compressor's REL parameter, I've set up the whole duration of sample, that is 192ms.


    Because it remains active all the sample time, that is less then the time of 2 hits, so it doesn't compress the second hit of the kick.
    Is it wrong to do? I'm aware it's an escamotage, but maybe it can be valid :)

    We're on the same side, I always try to compress the strictly essential.. Just enough to get this kind of shape:


    Try to reach perfection, without never stopping :D
    Philosophy aside, you can see a very good mastering as well as listen to it. At least I think ahaha

    But, if you look at this:


    And then you look at these:

    1) Basto - I Rave You (Original Mix)


    2) Excision, Space Laces - Destroid 7 Bounce


    3) Skrillex - First Of The Year (Equinox)


    You stick up your nose ^_^"
    I think it's natural to reach those levels when mastering sounds great.

    First of all, I've EQ'ed and Compressed the kick sample and the snare sample, after that I've routed them to a Bus channel and I've done the same thing on it.
    It's almost a rule.. It's a proof the existence of bus compressor, like the SSL G-Master Bus Compressor, the UAD Precision Bus Compressor and the UAD Neve 33609 Bus Compressor.
    Ok, rules are made to be broken (example: Alan Parsons famously put the whole mix of "Dark Side Of The Moon" through a bus compressor, but not the drums), but this is another story :)
  6. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Most bad audio looks almost exactly like good audio. Other than gross errors, like severe lack of dynamics, it's a waste of effort to get as wrapped up as you are in the displays. Oh, well, it's not my problem.
  7. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    In the real world you cannot compress audio by looking at a display. Sorry, it's an aural thing not an ocular thing.

    Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk
  8. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Respectfully, I think you are focusing too much on the appearance - instead of the sound.

    You mentioned that you like to compress things so that they look like a particular wave form... instead of that, how about basing your settings on how it sounds ?

    If you are relying on the appearance of a waveform as the touchstone to a perfect "whatever" -be it kick, snare, vocal, etc., you are neglecting how they actually sound, and that will change greatly depending on many things... one of which is the sound of the mix as a whole. It's one of the reasons that I rarely EQ or compress any instrument in solo mode. When you work that way, you can get what you feel is the "perfect sounding snare"... then you drop it into the mix and it doesn't work at all when put in context of the song as a whole. And, what worked on one particular mix might not work for another, yet if you are relying on the physical appearance of a waveform, you are locking yourself into a pre conceived notion based on past appearances.

    The rest of that story was that he didn't really want to use any compression at all. Engineer Chris Thomas talked him into compressing just the instruments and vocals other than the drums. On this, the drums, Parsons wouldn't bend.

    And...You're not using a 33609 Neve. You're using an emulation. The same goes for the SSL G series processing and the Uni Audio stuff as well.

    So, yeah, Parsons strapped a compressor across the 2-Bus. It was common practice then, and still is today, for guys who use real consoles.

    But he was using the real thing, not emulations. He had a real console (probably a Trident or EMI or other British-built desk) with very nice preamps and EQ, and when he pushed the mix through a compressor, it was a real one... something like a Fairchild, perhaps, because they were very popular gain reduction models in British studios at that time. These processors were real.... they weren't arbitrary 1's and 0's converted, they had Pots and Switches and Relays and Circuits and Wiring... things that got hot.

    And he was tracking to TAPE. All these things make quite a bit of difference in the sound of a recording.

    Every engineer has their own individual way of doing things. If your mixes sound great, then far be it for me to suggest that you should change your methods... but in the end, no one cares what a song looks like.
  9. Jak

    Jak Active Member

    Can you imagine that in your comments there's nothing concrete?
    Your words mean all or nothing and you're not helping me.
    In the courses that I have frequented, teachers have told me that the spectrum of the track will look like a "laser beam" (metaphor), when the mastering sounds great.

    You're telling me that I don't have to act with the eyes, but with the ears, as if I din't know it already.
    Let's just stop and reflect.
    Mastering, in the end, is the activitity where you try to reach as close as possible the 0 dB of an audio product's volume.
    Look at the spectrum of the track that I said that's not good: it reaches -3 dB in the max peak and -7 dB in average, while the other tracks that I've posted reach the maximum gain that can be achieved today, in 2014, and they sound amazing .
    So, it's clear that, good as it may sound, the track with -7 dB of average peak is not at the maximum level of mastering I'm just trying to get closer.
    Are you agree?

    Welcome to the loudness war: it refers to the tendency of the music industry to record, produce and distribute music, year after year, with progressively higher levels of volume, to create a sound that exceeds in volume competitors and records of the previous year.



    Established, I'm not crazy :)

    I know. To set the ATK of the compressor, I haven't looked only at the spectrum of the sample from that VSTi, I have also heard, of course, and 15ms is the point where the kick's low-freq begins, exactly the part I have to compress.

    Now, my question is: how do I know what is the release time to be set?
    As a rule, the release is whole duration of the kick, I think by logic way, because it's his "tail" that I would like to compress ("tail" = body, composed of the lower-frequency part).
    Am I wrong?
    Can you correct me with the correct way that should be applied?

    Sure, it's easy to put a limiter or a maximizer in the master channel and raise up to get a spectrum such as those ("laser beam"), but you have everything in distortion, obviously.
    The tracks, that I've suggested, aren't distorted in sound:

    1) Basto - I Rave You: Basto - I Rave You (Give It To Me) [Official Video HD] - YouTube
    2) Excision - Bounce: Excision & Space Laces - Bounce (Destroid) - YouTube
    3) Skrillex - Equinox: First Of The Year (Equinox) - Skrillex [OFFICIAL] - YouTube

    Things should be done thinking.
    I assure you that I'm not the first fool who asks you for help: before signing here, I've consulted all the existing material on the web (or almost) and I might almost say that I haven't missed a single article, from blogs to magazines, from tutorials to users' manuals, etc.

    For this reason, I ask you to be more available to me.
  10. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    When a commercial mastering engineer makes things "as close to 0db" as possible they are using analog gear and not compressing inside the computer. Additionally, in the learning stages there is a great deal more mistakes than successes. You learn by doing and understanding what a compressor is doing and what each individual setting is altering. You cannot alter one without affecting the others. If your English is good enough there is a sticky here that breaks down the different functions in regional US English and then it is up to you to experiment with honest ears. You cannot fight the loudness war and have the music sound good without a lot of expensive equipment.
  11. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    As I state, this uses idiomatic US English so I am not sure if this will help or not. Once you understand, then experiment.

  12. Jak

    Jak Active Member

    First of all, I EQ and compress the essential that allows me to to have a good sound, and then I look at the spectrum, to see how it results :)
    However, I know that several samples have to be EQ'ed and compressed, among these the kick and the snare, the need EQ and compression.
    Not to mention that each low sample's frequency have to be cutted with high-pass filter or something like that, below 40 Hz.
    We need to free frequency for the kick, for the bass, for every sound.. It's correct?
    Because, it's useless maintain Hi-Hat's low frequency, which subsequently will be in contrast with kick's low frequency, or with the bass, or whatever sample which body is situated in low frequency band.. Also in mid frequency band, in the case of Hi-Hat.
    I'm just wondering if what I know is correct :)

    I had the suspect that hardware do so much difference ^_^"

    Thank you for this beautiful words, you've reassured me, but I try to reach certain levels for me, for a my satisfaction, so I'm trying to get as much as I can get with the tools I have :D
  13. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    `Not that I am right or have all the answer's but I never mix or master audio based on visual appearance but I may look at the wave to see how much I am crushing the transients and/or lifting softer sections of audio compared to other versions in an A/B comparison occasionally when I am testing an analog compression setting on the master bus prior to capturing the master on a mastering DAW. Its not something I get too caught up on either.

    Are you looking at audio from a clinical process where the object is to get every sample as loud as possible before its even mixed into music? Like samples are sold in libraries?
    Are you aware that the magic in music lives in the transients? The transients are what give music its uniqueness and excitement? The object is to preserve these ( or re create them too) , use transients to your advantage. Taking them out of an entire mix is like standing in sqaure room of glass looking out at nature and trying to feel the air, smell the tree's etc.

    Do you have audio example of the music you've done that looks "visually" good like this?
  14. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Jak, go research "dB LUFS".
  15. Jak

    Jak Active Member

    BANG, hit and sunk.
    However, thank you for reporting the TheRealShotgun's post, but I already knew the things written on it.
    The hard part for us newbie is that we haven't a comparison method, the touchstone, that allows us to identify what is right from what is wrong, because there is always a better setting then another one..
    And that's why I'm here :) to compare expert compressor's setting choices (yours) in relation to mines.

    It's the best way to understand. It's useless to continue experimenting here, there, up, down, if I have no idea of what is correct and not.. It's like driving a car to go to Paris without knowing the road without never having seen that city, starting from Moscow: trying different combinations you can reach that city, but they can be infinite.

    So, how you set the compressor for the kick and the snare I have posted?
    Here's my set-up:

    Threshold: -15.5 dB
    Ratio: 4:1
    Attack: 15ms
    Release: 192ms

    Threshold: -13 dB
    Ratio: 3:1
    Attack: 7ms
    Release: 24ms


    As you can hear, I apply myself to keep as nice clean sound as I can :)
  16. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    If you can't make that decision for yourself you're in the wrong business.

    Using someone else's formula for compressing something is like following directions from someone else's home to their workplace and expecting it to get you from your home to your workplace. Unless your start and end points are the same as theirs it's futile.
  17. Jak

    Jak Active Member

    I know, for this reason I try to keep the attack of one sample (transient resides here often).

    Ehm, I don't understand ^_^"
  18. Jak

    Jak Active Member

    I'm going to loose my patience with this kind of comments. I don't need them, they are USELESS.

    That "it's futile" is your opinion, not mine. In this world, in the our social environment, doesn't exist only my idea, or your. There are too many ideas, and many of these are awesome.
    I know what to do with the comparison of some choice of compressor settings of a single sample, if you don't know what to do with them, I don't know what to say to you.

    I know what can be helpful for me, I ask you to trust me.
    If I'm wrong, I'll find it out.
  19. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    I dial in a composite different every time for each individual track or instrument. There's odd no recipe. There is a video on YouTube of George Massenburg demonstrating using his compressor but it applies equally to all. The setting will never be the same one time to another.

    Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk
  20. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    You are wrong. I'm giving you cold, hard facts. Unless your start and end points are identical to someone else's start and end points you won't arrive at your goal using their directions. I can't trust you because you've demonstrated clear signs of inexperience. Your surprise that compressors don't act like limiters undermines any claim to dynamics processing expertise.

    It's starting to look like we have a troll.

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