Overall mix loudness? How do I know?

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by geeknik, Aug 17, 2005.

  1. geeknik

    geeknik Guest

    I am new to recording. In fact I have only recorded 1 band with my DAW equipment. I feel like I have got some good results from my recording, however, after comparing it to other CD's of the same genre mine seems to be a little lower in volume. I know this is a mastering technique but I can't seem to figure out how to boost my volume of the overall mix without clipping something. I think I have a little too much lowend on this mix as well.

    What do you guys do to get the sound you are looking for? I think I am going to have to get the bands to bring in a CD and try to match it as best I can on my monitoring system, but I don't know if that is the best method.

    When I track my instruments I try to adjust trims to get them in the red on my sonar meters, in fact the kick drum and snare are usually around -0.5db. I read on here that tracking instruments loud captures a lot more dynamics. Then when I mix I try to get the overall mix right at -0.0db. I still seem to have a low level.

  2. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    welcome to level maximising

    don't try to make Green Day in your first attempt at mixing OR mastering that mix

    it takes much practice to squash the hell out of something buit still make it seem like that is still some sort of dynamic left

    limiting and compression are the basic tools of trade with variations of a theme ... look to multiband and side chain tricks
  3. geeknik

    geeknik Guest

    I guess I am looking for advice to achieve the maximum level from the start of a session. Does it make any difference how I track the recording and get the initial levels?
  4. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    not from the point of view of the final mix
    for you,
    tracking should be done in it's simplest form.

    make a good sound from the start,
    and record it in through the interface such that the signal lands with some spare margin or headroom
    say 6dB to 10 dB is a good result
    if it goes above -3dBFS BUT does not clip then it's a keeper.

    Then when you come to mix down ... the individual tracks and sub groups can be compressed.

    it is the mastering is where that RMS really starts to lift.

    It all takes practice and small steps one at a time.
    With experience you can start to record individual tracks with a specific sound or compression in mind ... it is dangerous to attempt this without the experience.
  5. roguescout

    roguescout Guest

    I would recommend a certain plug-in...

    But then you wouldn't be learning things properly.

    So no recommendation for you! :p
  6. geeknik

    geeknik Guest

    I've started remixing the demo for the band and am getting much better results. I compressed the guitar tracks, bass, kick, snare a lot better and was able to boost things. I raised the guitars in the mix to match the loud kick and was able to get the vox out a lot more with some good compression. Once I get this wrapped up, I will post my results so you guys can tell me if I am ready for the plug-in!!!! hahaha
  7. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    Apr 7, 2001


    Opus :D
  8. geeknik

    geeknik Guest

    I've went back and did a little more mixing and lowered the master on my mix, so I have about -4db headroom. Then I start a stereo master in sonar and compress the frig out of the track till it is loud enough. It might be pumping a little bit much though.
  9. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    Apr 7, 2001
    Never lower the master fader in any cirmustances within the application. At that point you are reducing your bandwidth and resolution which in turn degrades the mix.

    Here's a basic trick.

    Setup a group channel for drums/beat. Insert a multiband compressor. I use the Waves L3 Multimaximizer and set it to Track Slammer! :D
    I set the output to go no higher than -10 and threshold depending on the level of the entire beat. I try not to slam it too hard though. Just enough to get it pumping.

    After that I get the bass going. The bass should ride along with the kick. The bass should be just equal in volume compared to the kick but obviously a different frequency range. This way they don't kill each other and cause cancellation.

    After that it depends on the rest of the instrumentation.

    Vocals I tend to do two things to:
    Rvox from Waves and then use a very slight delay to make the vocals stand out more. You can use a heavy reverb as well but make sure that the freq response of the reverb isn't too muddy.

    After all that's done I will at that point reference the mix in my car. Once I am happy I'll add a limiter/compressor to my master fader and adjust it accordingly.

    One main trick to always do is to set your speaker levels in the beginning to the loudest you want to mix to. Try not to mix too loud as your ears will fatigue very quickly the louder you mix. Also don't mix for too many hours at once as well as again, your ears will fatigue and start to make you think you are mixing ok!

    Good luck!

    Opus :D
  10. geeknik

    geeknik Guest

    I'll have to play around with how to setup a group channel in sonar...haven't gotten that far yet ;)
  11. geeknik

    geeknik Guest

    I hate to be such a newbie but you guys are helping me out so well and I appreciate it!

    Should I get the desired volume level with my mix before exporting to a wave file? or export the mix I want then compress it to get the volume i am needing?
  12. geeknik

    geeknik Guest

    WOW! I just ran my drum mix through subgroup1 and put sonitus multiband on there with a default setting. Compressed guitars,bass,vox, and put a brickwall limiter on the master....it sounds frickin awesome.

    THANKS a ton for your advice.
  13. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    Apr 7, 2001
  14. geeknik

    geeknik Guest

    Hey check out this new mix.

    http://eastkentuckysound.com/mp3/somegaveall/04_-_Some Gave All_-_My Own Conquest.mp3
  15. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    Apr 7, 2001
    SLAYER! lol

    I remember back in my high school days headbanging to that type of music!

    Have to say it's a fairly decent mix. My only comment is on the drums...they don't sound very spatial...sounds like they're all centered. Toms should be panned accordingly as well as overheads to give it that huge sound..I know guitars are more important in styles like that but they may need a little more spacing.

    Otherwise...ROCK ON!

    Opus :D
  16. geeknik

    geeknik Guest

    you know i didnt even think to pan the drums and in fact i only had one overhead mic because i didnt have enough stands! hahaha

    next session i will be sure to do that.

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