1. Register NOW and become part of this fantastic knowledge base forum! This message will go away once you have registered.

My mixes. What would have...

Discussion in 'Recording' started by dkrausz, Aug 26, 2001.

  1. dkrausz

    dkrausz Guest

    ...a greater impact on them in my case?

    I’m not using any ‘real’ instruments.

    a. Having very good (better than I have) pre amps or,
    b. Would it be more important to get something like the Finalizer or Masterlink.
    I compose and produce instrumental music and have done some aired TV work.

    To me, my mixes are sounding pretty good but I was wondering if there would be a marked improvement over all if I spent some cash on some high end pre’s. Like maybe more space or depth?

    The stuff I’m doing now goes write to air the way I master it and the clients seem to like the results but I’m always after a bigger better sound.

    Any thoughts?
    Here is a link if you are interested in giving some constructive criticism...
    http://www.sonicimagery.com/sonicimagery/MP3Files/

    -Mackie 1604VLZ pro (this is where my sound sources go into first then direct out into Digi 001)

    Sound sources-->

    -E-mu e-synth Sampler
    -Roland A-90ex
    -Korg NS5R

    dk
     
  2. RNorman

    RNorman Active Member

    Originally posted by butterhead:
    ...a greater impact on them in my case?

    I’m not using any ‘real’ instruments.

    a. Having very good (better than I have) pre amps or,
    b. Would it be more important to get something like the Finalizer or Masterlink.
    I compose and produce instrumental music and have done some aired TV work.

    To me, my mixes are sounding pretty good but I was wondering if there would be a marked improvement over all if I spent some cash on some high end pre’s. Like maybe more space or depth?

    <snip>
    Any thoughts?
    Here is a link if you are interested in giving some constructive criticism...
    http://www.sonicimagery.com/sonicimagery/MP3Files/

    <snip again>
    dk


    Is there a reason you feel you're not getting as good of tracking as you'd like? Something that says "hey, I don't sound like this so what the hell are you doing?"

    In other words, if you like the sound of your instruments as recorded, then probably an expensive mic pre wouldn't be the trick (especially if you don't use mics although some mic pres work really well as DIs). So where else could you look for the medicine for what ails you?

    Sorry, I just believe in determining the problem specifically before I start looking for solutions. There's so much money spent on hardware solutions to software problems, and so much money spent on software solutions when the problem is the person. I liken it to a network. Networks would be great if we didn't have users. Networks are even greater when we have knowledgable users, but a user complaining about their system when it's a network problem (or vice versa) usually expends a great amount of time chasing the wrong problem.

    I think, by your statements, that you might be chasing the wrong problem so any solution you come up with will be suspect, unless for some strange reason it actually fixes the problem. And that's cool, until you have a problem again, because you won't really know if you fixed the problem, or it just happened. Good problem determination (whether in technical aspects or sonic ones) means you KNOW how you fixed it and WHY you fixed it.

    So what I'd do is go back through what you have and the way you work and pinpoint the weak points. Perhaps it's an accumulation of a bunch of weak points that would give the appearance that there's a single solution when in fact it's a series of small solutions.

    I realize that this probably isn't what you want, but I do think it's an answer to your question.
     
  3. dkrausz

    dkrausz Guest

    Thanks for taking the time to respond. Good insight and advice well taken.

    The question I am posing however is not exactly rooted in the thought that I think there are major problems with my productions but rather what would be the most effective way in improving upon the sound I’m already getting. In other words, should I concentrate more on what's going in or more on what's going out (mastering).

    I’m generally pleased with the results that I’m now getting but I think it would be foolish of me to NOT want to strive for and learn more about things that can improve the craft. :)

    dk
     
  4. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Roger makes excellent points. But to reiterate- since you make no mention of microphones (which would be another obvious upgrade point) I'm assuming that you are doing all synthesized instrumental music. That being the case, mic pres might not be the most cost-efficient way to improve your mixes.
    Maybe you could try this experiment: Sequence a typical short piece in the style of music you usually record - then do an A-B test of hearing the virtual midi tracks played "live" through the Mackie compared with the same tracks recorded through your Digi system (perhaps then burned onto a CD). If the difference is significant, then maybe looking into better converters might be a way to go.

    But I suspect the problem is more likely one of mixing technique rather than hardware. Try to compare your mixes with commercial recordings in the same style. What seems to be the differences? The obvious culprit might be choices made in selecting sounds/presets from your synths. Sometimes the whole is less than the sum of it's parts - presets that sound great when soloed don't necessarily add up to great sounds. Try turning off some of the built in effects and add in your own with a dedicated fx box orplug-insafter you have a well balanced basic mix. Try using subtractive EQ to scoop out some of the competing frequencies, and, of course, try panning sounds with similar frequency content to different locations.

    Sometimes the little "icing on the cake" moves are what grab the ear and create extra "spaciality". For instance, delays can be added at a few key points, (perhaps treated with special eq or fx), and given special panning. Or slow filter sweeps or panning moves can be put on certain basic sounds so that they "evolve" over time. Some sounds might benefit from being dry on one side and wet on the other. I'm sure everyone has a whole laundry list of similar tricks.

    Good luck.
     
  5. Mixerman

    Mixerman Active Member

    dk,

    Maybe I just can't judge an MP3... but I think your music sounds great. I think the only thing that's going to improve upon this is a real orchestra. These are really well done midi productions.

    MP3's are not really acceptable for critical listening. So I can't really know for sure from an MP3 if it's missing something on a pure sonic level (although it sounds pretty good to me from what I've heard of MP3's). But I can tell that your mixes are killer, your balances and placement of instruments make the compositions come alive. That's what I find so striking.

    Forget about mic pre's and keep it up. A higher grade console might make things easier for you.

    Mixerman
     
  6. dkrausz

    dkrausz Guest

    Wow. Thanks for taking the time to listen and especially for the kind words Mixerman.
    I’m really quite flattered. I guess it boils down to the old “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
    I guess I have a tendency of being way to hard on myself :eek:

    dk
     
  7. planet red

    planet red Active Member

    Maybe you could get one of those avalon direct boxes (M5?)and a lucid 2 channel converter. This would give you a really nice clean path into your 001.
     
  8. Ang1970

    Ang1970 Well-Known Member

    Excellent work! Looking to get into movie sountracks? You could use these songs to shop a deal.

    Now for the criticizm... Understand that this will be very nit-picky $*^t, and entirely based on my personal tastes. It may be totally irrelevant to the sound you're actually looking for. So here goes.

    The makee is definitely not helping to de-emphasize the non-organic vibe component of the midi sounds. But using a pre that colors the audio to such an extent would be a risky trade off. You could end up with a bunch of mush at the end of the day. Better to focus on the midi sounds themselves, using sounds that don't sound like they obviously came out of the same box - if not adding actual live performances. One or 2 live instruments in the mix could be enough to give it that special "somethng".

    A couple of times you used some interesting eq's to mess up the sound of the piano and make it dirty. That really helped to remove the "I came out of a keyboard module" quality. More dirt! Distortion is not the enemy, don't be afraid to use it.

    Maybe some more sample based sounds... A few times I felt the strings were missing the "tubby" or (Beavis alert) "woody" quality you get with live strings. If you're planning to buy another module, the emu virtuoso has some of the best strings I've ever heard coming out of a box.

    What do you have for reverbs? It felt like you picked just one reverb per song to run all your percussion thru. Break it up a bit. Try to keep items which share the same frequency ranges and which hit close to each other out of the same verb. Don't be afraid to leave more elements completely dry. The contrast to the wet parts will emphasize their wetness.

    Hope that's what you were looking for.
    Keep rockin!
     
  9. dkrausz

    dkrausz Guest

    Thanks for the great advice Ang1970.

    As far as my verbs are concerned, I’m a little weak in that department right now.
    Mostly I use the ones that live inside of my e-mu E-Synth sampler. It’s got two 24bit fx processors built into it with lots of choices however I find that there are only a few of them that are really worth using, going back to the same ones repeatedly. The only external reverb box that I own right now is a twelve year old ProVerb 200 made by ART. Know one has probably ever heard of it though and I’m almost embarrassed about it. It does have a few great presets though. LOL

    In reading your response it dawned on me that you have probably exactly pinpointed the areas which need improvement. HQ Sounds and HQ SP.

    Guess my next two big investments will be on a killer orchestral sound library (good ones are about $1000 and my piggy bank isn’t quite full yet) and a high end external reverb box of some sort. I was toying with the idea that I might just plunk down the cash for a good software plugin bundle for SP but I think I’m leaning more towards external hardware. At least with a hardware solution I won’t have to worry that it won’t be compatible with some of the new DAW stuff down the road.

    Regards and thanks again,

    dk
     
  10. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    Good Stuff!!

    I would pay a little more attention to how an actual orchestra (full scale) is laid out in the stereo image...if you were on the podium.

    Those trumpets could have gone about 3:30 o'clock toward the right.

    Here is something that really makes a difference but it is hard to do;

    When on the stage of an orchestra, at low levels you have stage ambience, at higher volumes (more instruments) you have less stage ambience...No Joke. When sound waves are really moving on the stage, this will block sounds from reverberating the same way they do when soloed. I know this concept is hard to grasp but this is how stage acoustics work. Sure you will get more hall when the orchestra is fuller, but less stage ambience.

    Don't be afraid to go even quieter on your low level sounds. Careful attention to an actual orchestral layout (seating) and you are there!

    Check your mono balance for dead center, not just on the monitors (room acoustics in your control area can play tricks) but for levels post. All of the tracks could use a slight more 2 mix to the right...but only 0.75 dB. Watch the percussion during low level passages...during high level, let it rip. More 1.3K on the final would meke it larger...but it is nice. Nothing a fatter console would not take care of.

    Practice. You are very close.
     
  11. RNorman

    RNorman Active Member

    Originally posted by butterhead:
    Thanks for taking the time to respond. Good insight and advice well taken.

    The question I am posing however is not exactly rooted in the thought that I think there are major problems with my productions but rather what would be the most effective way in improving upon the sound I’m already getting. In other words, should I concentrate more on what's going in or more on what's going out (mastering).

    I’m generally pleased with the results that I’m now getting but I think it would be foolish of me to NOT want to strive for and learn more about things that can improve the craft. :)

    dk


    Well, I moved over to my audio computer and am listen to the second of your cuts. As the others have said, it's really quite good. Quite good indeed. Might I ask what you're listening to when you monitor? What's the size of your work environment? Perhaps what you're not totally satisfied with is something extraneous to the process of writing? You should hear the tympani hits on the Mackie SR1530s. Big booms. But the balance (as well as can be construed from an mp3) seems fine, both frequency wise and spatially. Damned nice instrument samples. Great piano sample too, and that's a hard one to get (been looking REAL hard at the Gigasampler).

    Personally I find nothing wrong with your music even via mp3, although I'd love to have the actual CD going out my converters via s/pdif.

    So what, was this just a vainglorious post or we're you really thinking about some type of hardware to make a difference? Not picking on you, but if you want exposure then just ask! <g> I have no doubts you could shop this as a demo for film. Or if you like an even more hectic schedule than perhaps for TV. Depends on if you can compose at the drop of a hat.

    Anyway, 'nuff said. You do good work. Just keep plugging. As Mr. Massenburg says "It takes a lifetime just to get a LITTLE better!"
     

Share This Page