Newbie - In need of Mixing/Mastering help

Discussion in 'Tracking / Mixing / Editing' started by Megatran, May 3, 2006.

  1. Megatran

    Megatran Guest

    Hi I'm a newbie when it comes to mastering/mixing, I'm hoping someone here can give me some advice or put me in the right direction. Any help appreciated as I don't even know where to start......

    So to explain, I'm recording a heavy rock album, guitars (distorted and clean), bass, drums, vocals. I'm using Cubase SX 3. I've just started recording digitally recently and I've learnt how to record, edit and all that in my couple of months.

    Ok so I know how to record and I've got 3 songs edited and I want to complete a song. I don't know how to proceed and don't know anything about mixing and mastering. The song sounds good when it's played back in Cubase but when I export the song using the "Audio mix down" option, it sounds crappy and only about 50% as loud volume wise as it needs to be. Upping the volume in the "Level Control" in cubase results in clipping. Obviously I'm clueless in that regard

    Apart from the Distortion Guitars there are no effects whatsoever and the clean guitars are clean. I know I can add reverb to the guitars and use the compressor for the vocals and know how to change the EQ for all tracks but I don't know any of ther other things such as inserts and sends. I know what some of the plugins do but not sure what I need to use. Anyone recommend other effects that are mandatory for a heavy rock album?

    With the compressor I have no idea what the ratio does or how much to use for vocals or any other instrument. Plus there seems to be 2 compressors in Cubase, a multiband compressor and one called "dynamics" which has a compressor, limitor and Auto gate. I'm not sure which one to use for what purpose.

    What else do I need to do in the mixing stage? I only know of the editing, panning and fading in and out.

    I guess basically I've got tracks recorded and edited for a song and I don't know how to continue. If someone can outline how I would go about to complete a song (what needs to be done in the mixing and mastering stage) and how I export it from Cubase, that would be excellent. I'm guessing that Cubase is no good for mastering? I've spent a lot of money on the equipment and software but maybe I need other software to complete the songs?

    I'd like to get the best possible sound I can, though this is my first time doing any mixing/mastering so there will be a lot of months spent doing this no doubt which is okay. I'm determined to get the sound I want from my music. Sorry for all the questions.

    Thank you for your time
  2. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    There is so much information on this forum. Suggest you do a search for specific items. I would also purchase Bob Katz's book on Mastering it is the best money you will spend.

    (Dead Link Removed)

    After reading that book if you have any specific questions you can post them here and I am sure someone will answer them. What you are basically asking for is for someone to hold your hand in learning mastering which is hard to do if you are not in the same room and using the same equipment and if you have no background in using audio equipment for mastering.

    Here is another place to learn about mastering on the web.

    It's a secret so don't tell anyone else where you found it. <GRIN>

    Best of luck!
  3. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    There is a ton of info on these forums like Thomas said. There is so much to go over, I would recommed picking up some books, read the forums google search. It's important for you to get the basic concepts under you belt first.
  4. Megatran

    Megatran Guest

    Thanks for your replies. It's reading time for me :)
  5. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    I'd chime in here to say you're getting a bit ahead of yourself. You say you want to learn Mixing/Mastering. Mastering is something that's going to take you years, if not decades, to properly learn.

    Right now, what you really want to do first is learn to mix. (The mastering part comes later). By all means, it's in your best interest to keep the mastering step in mind, but first things first.

    I'll second the advice already given here and suggest you crack a couple of books on the overal subject of digital recording, mixing, etc. It already sounds like you're well on your way, so don't get discouraged or frustrated. It'll take a while, but you'll surely learn as you grow.

    Good luck, and keep digging around here, there's a lot of good stuff already written and posted about just what you're looking for.
  6. popeye

    popeye Guest

    if i have a deaf left ear< is it posible that i will have bad mastering all the time?
  7. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    well I wouldn't say it's impossible but you are definately at a disadvantage.
  8. pingu

    pingu Guest

    i only have half a testi, will i have problems concieving.
  9. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    I think you would have a problem even if you had 4. :-?
  10. pingu

    pingu Guest

    thats not nice.

    Cause its true.
  11. Zilla

    Zilla Active Member

    Sorry in advance for being picky and pedantic, but...
    I would argue that mixing takes years or decades to learn properly, as well. It is just as difficult to be an excellent mixer as it is a mastering engineer. Does it take longer to be an excellent brain surgeon as compared to a heart surgeon? Both are doctors, right?

    All of the top-grade mastering engineers I work with have negligible mixing experience. Being a ME is not the natural progression after being a mixer. One does not "graduate" from mixing to mastering. Nor is mixing a prerequisite for mastering. They are simply two separate specialties in the audio engineering field. What is important is focused, determined study and practice of the techniques relevant to each specific craft.
  12. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Zilla, I think you're uniquely qualified to make these statements, and I admit they're good food for thought.

    I don't necessarily agree, however, that one can't progress from mixing to mastering (or vice versa); IMHO learning one skill only enhances and prepares you for the other. But again, I can't agrue with your experience out there.

    Where I DO agree with you is that ANY discipline in the arts takes years, if not decades, of never-ending learning ones craft. When we stop learning, it's time to hang it up.
  13. Zilla

    Zilla Active Member

    Of course. But I think you may have misread my statement. I did not make the claim that first learning mixing is a barrier to becoming a ME, only that it is not a necessary prerequisite.
  14. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    The doctor analogy is a good one, but I'd take it in a slightly different direction...

    I think just about every audio engineer should have a working knowledge of tracking, mixing and mastering - Just as a general practitioner would in medicine. They're all M.D.'s - But some of them choose to specialize in different areas.

Share This Page