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Multi Bus, mix & master confused!

Discussion in 'Recording' started by and44, May 9, 2011.

  1. and44

    and44 Active Member

    Multi Bus, mix & master (clip isnide)

    Hail from London.

    First post here, and what and entrance.
    But really need some advise here.

    Apolgies if in wrong place, but forum is so vast.

    Im producing/mixing/engineering our bands album currently, but whilst ive gotton several scratch mixes out of some of our demo stuff its time to get a lil more serious with the album seeing as its being funded by ourselves instead of the label.

    Anwyay. ive been mixing for years but not in a total "DAW envorinment". Cubase 5. but I hope to learn a few things here.

    Ok, so here goes.

    All instruments down, Drums, guitars/bass, vox/BV's and keys. good recording quality no problems in this feild.

    I assigned all parts to differnt buses, i.e Drums to the "drum" bus, bass to "bass" bus so on and so forth. - for right or wrong reasons, this was a great way for me to couple my tracks to an assigned bus for greater control. (or was it?)

    My mix sounds good but not brilliant as I expected, so natrually im not doing something right somewhere. - and to be honest, Ive had my head in this mix for so long that not sure what sounds good right now.. let alone knowing the ins and outs of it all.. bigger job that I would imagined. but we live and learn.. right? so taken a few days break to prepare and attack it with more knowledge that I hope to gain here.

    Anyway, the general norm things I suppose, EQ, compressors, limiters etc etc.. and happy with what Ive got thus far(basic mix). - I did buy "Blue tubes" products, that contains "stereo width" plugin, and this is great for what it is as long as you dont overdo it. - but thats my first question. - at mixdown, do you use this before master? or at master.. cant use it twice obv. so just wonderd the best way.

    2nd question, when I mixdown, becasue Im using lots of buses. and ntrually they are all mixing down to i.e 7 differnt stereo wav files. - do you take those 7 and master from them? or is it best to have a single stereo wav file to master with?

    3rd question. - Im not a fan of double tracking things. - but the main vox (female) although amazing voice. and when track is solo'd sounds big. but in the mix its just thin. tried to warm the vocal with eq but to no avail.. and the drums are sounding a bit too "big in the mix overall. but they are at the right volume.

    So maybe Ive mixed the drums just right. but the rest is not fat enough. although ive always belived in less is more. but I still think ive somthing a miss somewhere. just not sure how to beef anything up without it sounding muddy.

    Anwyay, so sorry to rant on. its late here, tired and getting a bit stressy. so please if you have any advise on the above please feel free to chip in.

    Take care.
  2. jimmys69

    jimmys69 Active Member

    Wow man, that is a lot to digest without a sample of your mix to actually give an opinion from. In my experience, drums are the toughest thing to get 'big' in the mix. It seems our definitions may be different on this. Big to me, will not be all consuming. A big drum sound is only 'big' when supported by other instruments in a mix. If the drums are dominating the other instruments, then the space they are occupying is too much for the rest to come through. Volume may seem fine, but it is probably taking up too much of the frequency range to enable other instruments to shine through. Without a sample of your mix, I can only hypothesize that your drums are overwhelming the ability of speakers to correctly produce the energy of everything else.

    I would suggest that you try to pull out some of the wasted energy in the kit. 'Boomyness' is wasted energy. Cutting a bunch around 500hz on most all of the kit, and HPF most of the kit around 200hz (kick excluded and toms are always different) can be a decent start is some cases. Every kit, room, music style, lava lamp age, spicy-ness of the green chili, is different. There is no easy cookie cutter way to make it all work.

    I myself, would only use a 'stereo width' plug as a last resort or for a special effect. Never on a whole mix. Unless I was trying to polish a turd that I had no mixing or tracking control over.

    I don't understand your 2nd question. 7 buses all go to the 2-bus master at mixdown (separate wav files?) eventually. And so do the effects that you apply to the groups of FX channels you have 'bused' to. They are not separate 'mixes' really. Just a way to consolidate tracks/effects/volume/automation before the final output. Applying reverb, or parallel compression to/from a bus can expand the way an instrument is presented in a huge way. You would 'master' from the exported stereo output of the '2-bus(master)' mix.

    In my opinion (IMO), you should reconsider your thought on 'doubling' vocal tracks. Even when using just a smidgen of the double track, a world of fullness is added to the vocal. It is not something you necessarily hear, unless that is the effect you desire. Keep the doubled track just below where you can actually identify that there is a second (doubled) track. The body of the vocal will be enhanced in a very satisfying way. (it does require a performer that can duplicate the original quite closely). You can use a delay as a doubler, though it never gives the 'full body' sound that really cannot be described until heard.

    Good luck A. I hope this helps a little.

  3. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    A bit rambling mate. Post a sample on soundcloud and we can go from there.

    I agree with whats been tendered. Drums have a way of sounding great and in the meantime excluding everything around them. HPF the overheads and if you are compressing the drum tracks as a 2-bus, then separate the overheads from this and give them their own sub-master. Sometimes the compressed wash from the cymbals can cover a lot of presence in the instruments.

    Definately double the vocal tracks. Maybe even more. It doesnt hurt to have a lot of width with a focus in the middle of things. And if you have the tracks, then you can always mute what doesnt work. Depending on the style, I like the leading vocal track to sit upfront with a bit of a fast plate with no tail on it and a transparent compression. Then the secondary tracks can be widened in the stereo field with some judcious EMT verb filling in the corners and the sides while pushed back from the instruments. These you can use your EQ as a tone control rather than a repair tool and bring in the clarity with small steps. HPF these tracks also so you dont have a build up in the low mids and bass and mask the guitar punch as well as the bass clarity.

    I like making the vocals sound like they are almost dry but the spatial relationship with the added verb and the EQ in a panned position is otherwise.

    Post it up and lets hear what cha got.
  4. and44

    and44 Active Member

    Ok cheers guys for the replies so far.
    I have uploaded the track for more of a better idea.
    although this is still WIP with a ton of errors. but thats nothing to do with the problems anwyay so can saftly ignore those.

    This is mixdown only.. (as I need to learn about mastering correctly yet)

    As I said above. - I exported this from cubase (each bus to a seperate WAV file) - then re-imported them and exported through a single stero master track to create the mp3 (with dithering though)

    I'd like to get this to sound commercial as possible..(although I need to remain optimistic) in that its very hard with the bear bones unless you have a extreme talent for this.. and im just the guitar player not a full engineer. so please feel free to strip me down, becasue I can only learn from it :)

    here is the link.. I added a comment about 1:44 as the first verse needs re-recording sybilisssss errors, and not pleasent to listen too.

    Six6C by and44 on SoundCloud - Create, record and share your sounds for free
  5. and44

    and44 Active Member

    bump anyone?
  6. jimmys69

    jimmys69 Active Member

    Sounds pretty good man. A bit much reverb for my taste. What sticks out the most for me is the snare. Kinda 'whispy'. And the reverb tail on it is really strong on the left side making it feel out of place. I'm diggin the Geoff Tate sounding high notes tho!

    Really good performances! I like it!

    I would be willing to take a closer look if you want to send the project folder via yousendit or something. I still have Cubase 5 installed.

  7. jimmys69

    jimmys69 Active Member

    Oh, and I could replace that snare for ya. :)

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