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Messages - joethfc

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Mixing Talk / Re: Loudness Wars
« on: April 14, 2011, 07:15:39 PM »
I think alot of it is the way that we listen to music has changed.

I see people listening to music on tiny mobile devices using the little speakers built in......maybe the mastering engineers are reducing the dynamic range to make things sound more balanced on todays listening devices.


It's a theory, but it seems daft as those things have no low end, so do we start mixing without low end?

Mixing Talk / Re: Compression Philosophies
« on: April 14, 2011, 06:39:41 PM »
I've been adding a little bit of EQ + compression (as I don't have multiband compression) on my final mixes lately to bring up frequency ranges that my analyzer tells me are low on average in the mix - this is almost always the hi- or mid-hi, as I'm usually OK for bass frequencies. I then use a limiter on the compressed EQ'd track.

I'm becoming a fan of // compression on snare and kick for sure, its been good for bringing those up in a mix when they are hidden. Compression works well on electric bass also, or really any instrument that has a lot of variation in its recorded signal volumes (due to playing style etc.) from moment to moment. Like John, I also use a limiter (which is really just a form of compression) on a lot of stuff instead of compression - definitely do this for vox.

John, can you recommend any freeware tape saturation VST's? This is something I've never played with but expect would be helpful for my style of music (mostly heavy rock/metal/punk type stuff).

free tape saturation plugin

the free version never saves your settings which is crummy but it's free, I've just chucked it on a master track a couple times and set it to ear having never used such a plugin, think I used it on the mix of your song actually.

I have gone off using compression on my final mixes (I'd rather use saturation now) I generally tend to be low in mid hi to hi zones as well, using a reference track usually gives it away, I tend to prefer summing the drums, guitars and vox and then EQing the groups so the guitar parts maintain the same relationship with each other, this way you aren't bringing up reverb and doing the mastering engineer's job.

Totally agree with you on kick, snare and bass, I usually find myself compressing those, I almost always compress lead vocals but I often leave backing/harmony vocals dry so they sound further back. I don't really like compressing acoustic instruments but I am sure there are occasions that call for it.

Mixing Talk / Compression Philosophies
« on: April 13, 2011, 11:47:14 AM »
All performances being well and good what things do you compress and what things do you leave natural sounding?
Which things depend on the instrument?
Do you compress acoustic instruments?
Do you compress the whole mix?
Do you use the New York technique on drums a lot?

Interesting questions and very subjective ones; I know people will say it depends on the sound source (spot on IMO) but can you just tell me what you do on average.

Mixing Talk / Re: Adding Harmony Parts at Mix Time
« on: April 12, 2011, 06:20:53 PM »
I think it's a good idea, I've done it occasionally, that and double tracking is a good idea. I usually sing by ear and don't worry about it being in tune or not, just make sure it sounds "right".

Mixing Talk / Re: Mixing the Drum Kit - share your method?
« on: April 08, 2011, 02:19:58 PM »
I like the tom sound I'm getting with that overhead setup - I'm a lefty if that makes a difference.

I posted a mixoff that I tracked with this setup here if you want to check out the dry drum tracks:,77.0.html

I just hard panned the OH's L & R and compressed the kick (didn't gate on my original mix). Think I comp'd the snare too and maybe limited both (sometimes I do one or the other or both, forgot to mention this in my first response) and EQ'd everything on my original mix and was quite happy with it. Think i had a reverb FX channel that I sent everything too as well.

Comp'd and limited the final mixdown on the "sample" mix at that link to get volume to 0.1 dB

As for mixing, I always start with the kick and proceed further down the track list as I go muting
and un-muting as needed to hear what I need to hear.

Same here - kick, snare, OH's in my case - I also usually track the snare from the bottom with my Shure 58 and rely on the OH's (Apex pencil condensers with omnidirectional heads) to catch the top sound. I'm not digging my current kick drum sound, using a medium dia condenser for it, which bleeds like mad and peaks if I put it too close.

I need to get some more microphones... AKG D112 and a couple of SM57's are next in the queue :)

OK - now I promise not to talk about gear any more in this thread

When doing your mix, two things did grab my attention, your OH set-up did seem to capture everything and generally sound good but it left the snare sounding off centre, well of top the right which bothered me a bit but that may be a question of taste and I would also have preferred it if you miked the snare from the top, I often dump the bottom mic personally.

Mixing Talk / Re: Depth of field in mixing
« on: March 30, 2011, 09:56:39 AM »
For me I found that there was very little I could do front to back depth wise on lower end gear.  The biggest things that made the difference for me are.

1.  A good room to record in.  Moving the mic's back a little so that some natural room gets into the recording does wonders.

2.  High end mic pre's.  Good mic pre's stop source's from smearing.

3.  A console.  Summing is the biggest scam ever.IMO  However the sound of a console (depending on the console) does improve the depth of the image.  Recording each track separately back into your DAW retains the depth of the track and leaves you free to use DAW automation. 

I'm just learning that one, I used to be a bit conscious of how many different room sounds were getting into a mix but I did a vocal in my bathroom yesterday [because everyone sounds great in the shower ;) ] and mixed it with a fairly dry vocal it really produced the feel I was after. I also use a bathroom reverb when monitoring as it makes me more confident about the sound of my voice, does tie up why everyone is compelled to sing in the shower though.

Mixing Talk / Re: How is this wonderful guitar sound achieved?
« on: March 29, 2011, 09:30:36 PM »
To me it sounds like what you get when you play the guitar by putting your flat hand on the strings, like patting the strings, instead of picking. Left hand frets chords, right hand mutes and 'pats' the strings. I could show better than describe!

That makes sense to me actually, possibly with the side of a plectrum or even a whammy bar though, sounds too twangy to be a bare hand. I think you've solved it.

Mixing Talk / Re: Loudness Wars
« on: March 28, 2011, 05:30:54 PM »
John, I agree on relative volume, confuses me with effects (including a lot of compressor) which boost the volume by default which is annoying but my argument is on the side of keeping the dynamic range of the original mix whilst effectively normalising it.

Mixing Talk / Loudness Wars
« on: March 25, 2011, 07:49:06 PM »
Why do people do it? so many albums these days are compressed at the mastering stage including ones that I like, I just don't see it as very musical to have no dynamic variation in an album. I think one of the reasons "The Seldom Seen Kid" is one of the best albums of the last 10 years is because it has dynamics, which made it one of a few.

Why is it desirable to treat music in this way? Why does it need to be loud? If people like it surely they will turn it up if they like it and if it's on the radio they will compress it anyway.

Mixing Talk / Re: How is this wonderful guitar sound achieved?
« on: March 24, 2011, 08:22:40 PM »

Sounds like a combination of an echo/delay and perhaps a filter...Im referring to the beginning of song.


Thanks but what about in the breakdown at 2:11?

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