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Author Topic: Getting the Mids Right - Your Tips and Techniques  (Read 9712 times)

  • *****
July 10, 2011, 03:28:59 PM
I have a tendency when mixing to 'contour' my mixes, so that the upper mids, from 1k to 3k or so, are a little soft when I compare to reference mixes. I think this is a result of my monitors being a little too mid-forward (I use Event TR-5s), as even commercially mastered CDs sound too mid heavy to me.

My question is, in a situation like that, do you put a master buss eq in, to pull down a couple of dbs, then, pull it off before printing, or just mix the way it sounds good, assuming the mastering engineer will adjust the contour.

The first method (eq on the master buss) allows me to reference other tracks more easily, without getting too fatigued, but I'm a little hesitant to mix through an eq, only to pull it off before printing!

The second methods works, but I find that I have to put an eq on my mix buss and boost the mids a touch before printing a reference mix, or it'll sound too scooped in comparison to commercial stuff.

Does anyone else have this issue? How do you deal with it?

  • ****
July 10, 2011, 07:52:38 PM
I used to have habit EQ:ing the 3-5kHz area down just a little bit pretty much in every single track of a session. That always resulted in this "upper-mid
contour" sound. Nowadays I only do it for fizzy high-distorted guitars and occasionally Overheads if there's a bad sounding cymbal.

I guess the only real cure would be getting another set of monitors.
I own two (older) High quality headphones: Beyerdynamic DT 250 and Sennheiser Hd 540.
I'm using the Sennheisers exclusively because of the same reason: that 1-3 kHz boost in the Beyerdynamic (making them fatiguing in time) and have been
happy with that :) (although I have a feeling that the DT 250 might be otherwise better headphones).
With Sennheisers I have a problem that they won't give that much of the lowest octave, which resulted in my earlier mixes in a way too much of 60 hZ.
So I started using spectrum analyzers to get the bottom right and in time gotten used to what it's suppose to sound.

I guess the point here is that, just keep using your monitors and since you are aware of the situation you'll get (hopefully) used to their mid boost.
If that doesn't feel comfortable idea, just start looking for some more mid-contoured monitors.

Regarding the mix buss EQ: I use that all the time, especially in the final stages of mixing: After more precise referencing I might add little top end
or remove some mids and would do it even when it's going to be sent for a mastering engineer. It's something I kinda learned from my mentor:
Really do your best and the mastering engineer (with another set of ears) will do the final, final adjustments to make it even better. I would leave
something undone with the idea of "I'll leave that for the mastering engineer" (apart from limiting)
In time one kinda starts to learn from his "mistakes"; lately I haven't needed to EQ that much in the mix bus; Mix by mix I'm getting it more "Right" sooner.
I guess I'm trying to say here that if you have a habit of removing some of 1-3 kHz from all of your tracks, then don't :D "It's okay". I'm doing the same
with kick and bass: never adding 60 hZ to them (unless there's something wrong with them) because "It's okay" ;D   

Sorry if this sort of spilled out to be almost like some parenting advices ;D
 
"You don't go to a record school to go to courses, you go to record school to record there!"
http://soundcloud.com/spede-1

  • *****
July 10, 2011, 09:33:10 PM
Thanks for the reply, Spede!

I've only recently started adding eq to the 2 buss, and just for fixing the symptoms I described. I basically mix as best I can, then add a final little tweak with the eq on the whole mix.

Referencing frequently helps, and it's another habit I've only recently tried to practice in earnest. I was just curious to hear if this was a common issue!

Do you put your master buss eq after a compressor? I've heard people say that if you want to lift the highs, you should do that after the comp, whereas cutting lows should be done before the comp (to avoid pumping, etc.)

  • ****
July 10, 2011, 09:48:42 PM
Thanks for the reply, Spede!

I've only recently started adding eq to the 2 buss, and just for fixing the symptoms I described. I basically mix as best I can, then add a final little tweak with the eq on the whole mix.

Referencing frequently helps, and it's another habit I've only recently tried to practice in earnest. I was just curious to hear if this was a common issue!

Do you put your master buss eq after a compressor? I've heard people say that if you want to lift the highs, you should do that after the comp, whereas cutting lows should be done before the comp (to avoid pumping, etc.)

Well, now that you said it, it's somewhat actually what I usually do :D: First I'll have a linear-phase EQ for a very steep high pass in the 30 hZ to remove
the extra rumble, then I'll put some 2-bus compression for some glueing and finally some EQ (or depending the genre an exciter) to add some high end
content if necessary. I've rarely needed to remove low end in the bus (except I might put tiny amount of multi-band for just the low end without adding
makeup gain...). If the mix is too low-end heavy I'll just lower the actual bass and kick channel or remove any boosted lows (If I was stupid enough to
add any) from those. 
"You don't go to a record school to go to courses, you go to record school to record there!"
http://soundcloud.com/spede-1

  • No avatar
  • *
August 26, 2011, 02:37:06 AM
i got some mixcubes a few months ago. they are supposed to be a very good way of judging mids. when i go back to my mains hr824 you sure can hear the rest...hiss and rumble. i sum my master buss to mono and listen out of one mixcube.

the mixcubes do not flatter, and don't sound nearly as smoove as the mackies, so you have to expect that.

i think using some eq on your master is fine. maybe a few db in a 1 octave band or 2. but more then that makes me think something is wrong so i go back to the tracks.

and make sure you pay attention to getting your track levels just right. that's an eq itself.

  • ****
August 26, 2011, 02:19:55 PM
"and make sure you pay attention to getting your track levels just right. that's an eq itself."  8)

I also conceive of EQ as level-changing.

Me, I'm one of those dreaded high-pass addicts.  Unless I have a specific reason not to (ex., solo acoustic guitar, certain leads, certain vox) I high-pass about everything, even if only at 30Hz or so.

Right there I find I get more evident mids.

I'll do much less but some low pass, typically on bass and guitars and the odd keyboard, or a vocal I wanna round off.

After that, for me, it's a question of source sounds and mic'ing.  Altho' I'll sometimes adda few dBu on a bass; I'll more often notch out something like, say 400Hz on toms ...

  • No avatar
  • *
August 26, 2011, 04:02:04 PM
Me, I'm one of those dreaded high-pass addicts.  Unless I have a specific reason not to (ex., solo acoustic guitar, certain leads, certain vox) I high-pass about everything, even if only at 30Hz or so.

i think that's a good idea. digital can accumulate tons of useless information very low. this can muddy everything up. one trick from mike seniors book is to put the high pass on and raise it until you hear it. then back it off a bit. and even though my speakers are hyped for the lows, mackie hr828s, i still like to watch a spectrum meter to see if things like 30hz are out of balance (also in his book).

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  • ****
September 11, 2011, 10:44:02 PM
Do you sit nearfield?  Is the room hurting you? Do you hear this on other systems, with headphones etc?  I want to make sure you know if it is your speakers.  if so then try a parametric EQ or get new ones?

Personally I think that a parametric EQ is a good idea anyway.  No speaker is perfect, no one hears perfect and once the room is right they van be helpful for that last little tweak - especially in the bass.  To keep the cost down try one of the Behringer Feedback Destroyer units. They are cheap, easy to find used and don't hurt the sound too much while trying to help it.  If you get one compare your hearing to running sweeps with a microphone and looking at the results.  Finally I would have several sources to listen to. Maybe a good set of phones, your monitors, a half decent stereo, boombox, car etc. Its good to know what a good compromise  that will work for most is.  And double check your hearing and system against something recorded very well tonally. Try Cowboy Junkies Trinity Sessions. That should sound full top to bottom, very alive and very clear. Actually compared to most recording it should stand way out in those areas
Equipment-Trends Micro amp w/ Paradigm Export speakers ports covered.  Use Fx EQ for  studio room issue fix.  Also use Klipsch S4 & Sennheiser HD-280 phones - home stereo= AMC 3030 tube amp, Triangle Celius 202 speakers & Behringer para EQ for room nodes-laptop=HP 8430 w/Digigram VXPocket & Reaper

September 13, 2011, 10:37:23 PM
I listen to my mixes in at least 5 different speaker systems, or more

Right now, it's this :

Midfields - JBL LSR4328 - self powered speakers
Nearfields - YAMAHA MSP5s - self powered speakers
Car - Chevy Traverse
iPod - through its internal speakers
Old boombox - this varies according to what I can get my hands on.
Auratones - passive speakers
Logitech computer speakers
Mac laptop speakers

  • No avatar
  • ****
September 16, 2011, 09:07:26 PM
Without someone being there to point out what they hear this might be difficult.

What might work is to bring down the ranges people suggest by a lot. Slowly bring it up until you get to a point is starts to stick out. then drop it back until you hear a hole.  That in between range - which I bet is within 2 db - is where the right spot may be assuming your hearing is around average and you don't have a huge personal bias for midrange in either direction.  Doing this you may surprise yourself. And do it without looking so you are not biased by the setting.
Equipment-Trends Micro amp w/ Paradigm Export speakers ports covered.  Use Fx EQ for  studio room issue fix.  Also use Klipsch S4 & Sennheiser HD-280 phones - home stereo= AMC 3030 tube amp, Triangle Celius 202 speakers & Behringer para EQ for room nodes-laptop=HP 8430 w/Digigram VXPocket & Reaper