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Sound sweetening! What's it all about?

Hi there,

first I want to say that I'm new in this forum and it's the very,very,very best forum i've ever visited.

You're really doing a great job here. The first real "discussion" forum, no "lame, very subjective i know it all statements".
Real help from people with real credits and knowledge. Thank You.

Now back to my question.
After various investigations on the net about mixing, mastering, etc. I'm still very confused.

I,ve started doing various compositions on my PC-DAW at home. 10 out of 10 times, the answer to "that pro sound" is the input (recording), how you place the mics and so on.

But I don't use mics to record, my weapons of choice are two synths, a Yamaha workstation and a va-synth both connected directly with a cable (no loss i think?).

My problem is that when I record all the tracks to my DAW, mix it well and master it as good as I can (good comprise between loudness and dynamic range). It sounds good but not quite like the pro sound.

The major statement in mastering is always (apart from maximizing loudness, etc.) the best you should do is next to nothing.

But what's wrong then? Do I have the wrong Instruments? I don't think so! I got no problems with frequencies, it's just the overall sound.

And from time to time I hear this phrase "sound sweetening"!
- What is it all about?
- How can I achieve this on a PC-DAW, or is it impossible.
- Which steps to be taken to achieve a good result?
- Is "sound sweetening" the reason for the pro sound, or am I totally wrong?

I hope I can get some good advice from you.

Thanks in advance

Willi E.


joe lambert Thu, 12/12/2002 - 06:13
This is more of a mix question. There are many different reasons great sounding records sound the way they do. First if your dealing with keyboards as your sole source of instrumentation you may want to try some reverbs and delays to create a sense of space for them. Panning them so they aren't on top of each other, and then there is the creative use of effects which can mean a thousand different things only limited to your own imagination.
When you have mixes that you are happy with then the proper mastering will give it any final touches to make sure it's as good as it can be.

Check out the recording/mixing forum.

Michael Fossenkemper Thu, 12/12/2002 - 09:58
There are many factors that comprise the final product but I'll just focus on the mastering stage. Just because something says mastering eq, doesn't mean that it does the job well. A well built dedicated mastering eq is not the same as a plugin, just as a ford is not the same as a ferrari. (i'm going to continue with this analogy) so if you were to put a race car driver in a race car and a commuter in a ford, you can guess who's going to win even though both are drivers driving cars. If your just going to and from work, you won't notice a big difference in the amount of time both arrive, it's only when you push each to the limits is when it becomes clear which is better. This is a little over simplified, but the same thing with audio. If i'm eq'ing something with a slammin mastering eq and i'm going for the big prize, and then I launch my $200 plugin and try to squeaze the same performance out of it I will be disapointed with the plugin even though I'm able to achieve the same eq spectrum and balance. The mastering eq will have higher resolution, less phase shift, better algorythms, more attention to detail. Now if you apply this to the entire mastering process and to all the gear, cables, monitors, recorders, room, and last but not least the operator, you can begin to see the differences between the 2. Maybe this answers your question, maybe not, but it did allow me to daydream about racing a car down the westside hwy for a few moments.

Don Grossinger Thu, 12/12/2002 - 11:02
One more factor might be called "apparent loudness". It's the result of having enough midrange in the proper place to have impact & make the mix POP. Compression might help also. Try renting a good stand alone mastering EQ & compressor from one of the rental houses & see if you can get any better result sthan withplug-ins




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