Need help with mixing down in cubase sx3

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by revival_sounds, Jun 16, 2007.

  1. I'm currenlty having trouble with the quality of mix downs in cubase sx3, their not as powerful as what i'm hearing back during mixing (lacking stero space and power once played on other stereos etc). I also use a set of sennheiser headphones as reference monitors whilst mixing to check placement etc etc

    My setup includes

    2 delta 1010's
    mackie 24 channel desk
    Tannoy monoitors

    Would the mackie desk be colouring the sound in any way???? (the sound is routed back from cubase into the 2 track in on the desk.) Would it help to mix to an external CD writer????

    Could anyone give any advice on this please

  2. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    Are you attempting to do your final 2-track bounce on the Mackie?

    Mackie VLZ or similar boards are not well-known for good headroom. (They're workhorse boards in all rights, but not for gobs of signal mashing together...)

    I would say that the summing bus in Cubase is bound to be better than the one in the Mackie.

  3. The mackie desk is only used as a front end for mic preamps to boost the signals into the delta 1010's

    currently all mixing/ mix down is done via cubase, although the monitored sound i'm listening to is returned from cubase down to the two track in on the desk... i was wondering whether the sound i'm hearing back is coloured by the desk at all so my mixes are becoming biased towards what i hear rather than what they should be.

    I also worked with a rap artist over the last few weeks who supplied me with a backing track that had been worked in logic. After importing the file into Cubase i mixed it straight down to see what effect Cubase has on the wav, i found that the file already sounded alot thinner and the range of frequencies of the whole piece had narrowed quite dramatically, not sure waht this could be

    ANy thourghts??

  4. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2005
    You may be on the right track there. I had to learn my system because I use a Mackie 1604 for monitoring all the computer outputs. I have my Delta 1010 1/2 Monitor Mix plugged into 15 and 16 of the board. I leave all the EQ knobs flat. I leave the channel volume faders set at the unity detent. I never touch my input gain knobs since they were set. Everything on those two channel strips stays untouched. Then I got used to it through my amp and speakers.

    When I first started, I was WAYYYy overdoing the bass, because they sounded good in the KRK monitors. Then I would switch to a small set of JBL bookshelf speakers, and they would sound horrid. Any CD I burned would be way bass heavy anywhere else.

    So, I put on some other CDs to see how they sounded, and started EQing the already mixed stuff to sound more like that. Finally, I started recording stuff IN a little bit better, so I'd have to do less EQing later.

    It took me a while learning the system in its entirety before I could get fairly confident that it would come out punchy, yet clear, on other systems. I also use a pair of Sony headphones that I had to get used to. They let me check for noises, stereo positions, etc., but I also have learned that the right amount of bass in those is close to what I need. When I get it right in those, it's a bit lacking in the KRKs. The KRKs CAN output some decent bass, it's just that when you use what sounds good on them, it's too much for everything else. I do most of the stuff with my L/R output faders on the Mackie at their unity detent. I will bring them down a bit to see how it sounds softer, or I might return them to their unity position, and crank up the amp to see what it sounds like louder. I generally have my amp right at halfway. The point is, my references are now pretty easy to duplicate the settings on, and I had to learn what it sounds like.

    Anyway, knowing all that, I decided that the best course was to just leave channels 15/16 of the Mackie alone. I just press the mute to disengage them, instead of messing with any knobs.

    Rip a few well-recorded CD tunes, put them into Cubase, and play them back out your monitoring path. NO effects...NOTHING. Make sure they are at about the same level as what you usually mix down to. Or, mix what you usually do to those levels.

    Also, depending on how many tracks you have, you may want to watch how they are all getting summed together. If you have followed logicical thinking, and recorded everything at a good level, then mashing them all together may overload things. I record at a good level, then usually end up bringing most things down in the mix. This gives the most robust signal, and the best S/N ratio for all tracks, and bringing them down a bit just brings down any noise further, anyway. Besides, nobody really records all tracks hot and leaves them that way, anyway. That isn't a "mix", as I'm sure you are aware. All those tracks added back up then brings the entire level up. You may need to watch how things are compressed, or not. Also, your individual track EQs may be conflicting, so you may be turning down several things, when all you may need to do is tweak to get one or two things to play around each other.

    Watch the panning situation, and anything recorded in stereo to a track. Is it possible that something is getting out of phase when you mix down, weakening the mix? Is your Mackie panned full left and right for those two Delta Monitor Mix channels? Do you have something patched into any auxiliarys that may collapse the signal, and those two channels routed to it? To start, just perhaps make sure your Mackie is set flat with no possible external routing present, and set the input levels. Yeah, it probably will color the sound a bit. It's another electronics device in the path. Eventually, after you figure it all out, you may even take a bit of liberty with the EQ settings on the Mackie's channels. Perhaps you may find out that a TINY BIT LESS of this, or a smidgeon of mid-freq shift will allow things to translate better. But, it sounds like you need a good starting point, and straight up the middle, unity is usually a good place to start. Again, once you find it, and get used to it, don't let anyone else touch the knobs! That's YOUR reference point...the one you know and can work around. Much like that annoying rotisserie cooker commercial...repeat after me...."SET it, and FORGET it!"

    It could also be something like the effects you are using overall in the main bus of Cubase, or through any number of tracks or tracks buses. You said you ran another tune done on Logic through it, and it sounded weak? Make sure you don't have your default projects opening up with all kinds of effects buses, eqs, and stuff engaged. Maybe theirs actually sounded good in THEIR system because they overhyped something? You KNOW a good CD was done well. What does their CD sound like in other systems? Until you know that, you can't use that as a reference. Simplify everything, and work from there?

    It could be the settings in the Delta Control Panel's Monitor Mixer section. Once you get those set, leave them alone, and get used to them. You have recording and playback level adjustments in the software, you shouldn't need to futz with the Delta stuff once set, unless you plug something different than usual in.

    Once you find the right balance, and get things to come out good, and know what it should sound like IN YOUR SYSTEM to come out good, then it should make things easier.

    Just some caffeine-induced ramblings :shock: As always, open to corrections or debate. :wink:

  5. Thanks for all of the input , its given me a few things to think about... using produced material as mixing reference is an excellent idea, thanks Kapt.... i'm in the studio tomorrow will give that a go with one of the mixes

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