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Johnbee58

Space In Mixes

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5 hours ago, Chuck E Baby said:

This happens to all of us once in a while. We mature as engineers and realize we need improvement. Every few months I go through similar growing pains and I've been mixing for years.

Just strip it down, restart from square one and remove all FX and EQ and go back to work. Try not to use too many built in VST-I FX, Choose track FX instead.

I probably haven't mixed near as much as you and I feel the same way. I hear mixes that I basically ruined. In fact pretty much everything I've done could be improved on.  Another problem for me is accepting that less is usually more.

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5 hours ago, Starise said:

I hear mixes that I basically ruined. In fact pretty much everything I've done could be improved on.

Another place you can hear bad mixes: on the radio. Mostly on older pop records, it can get pretty bad, with buried vocals, missing bass, guitar solos that jump out of the speakers. The thing is, some of these bad mixes are on recordings that were on the charts for weeks and made the artists famous. Not saying you shouldn't do everything you can, but sometimes you should probably resist trying to "perfect" your mix, especially if you've got a good song, a great performance and the right energy.

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1 hour ago, Larry Jones said:

Another place you can hear bad mixes: on the radio. Mostly on older pop records, it can get pretty bad, with buried vocals, missing bass, guitar solos that jump out of the speakers. The thing is, some of these bad mixes are on recordings that were on the charts for weeks and made the artists famous. Not saying you shouldn't do everything you can, but sometimes you should probably resist trying to "perfect" your mix, especially if you've got a good song, a great performance and the right energy.

Yeah, but for once it would be great for me to come up with a great song and a great recording.  I have many songs that I'm proud of, but most of the mixes suck big time.

🙂JB

 

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2 minutes ago, Johnbee58 said:

Yeah, but for once it would be great for me to come up with a great song and a great recording.  I have many songs that I'm proud of, but most of the mixes suck big time.

🙂JB

 

JB--

I completely understand. My older mixes, (and sometimes not so old) make me not want to let anyone hear them. The one thing I can attest to is, the average listener (fan, etc) can't tell the difference between a good or bad mix. They just know if they like it or not. Yes, if the mix is really bad by everyone's standards, then the average listener is probably not going to like the track -- but here is the advice I've heard many times from pros all over -- never apologize for your work. That is just bad form and those negative comments end up being the listener's first impression of your track.

What's my takeaway? I try to do better on my next track. Each one I try to do better than the last one. Over time, I can hear that my mixes are way better than they used to be. What else? Step away from your mixes for a while. Give them time to sit and go work on something else. You might be surprised when you do listen to them again that they weren't so bad after all.

Q: "What's the best mix you've ever done?"
A: "I don't know. I haven't done it yet!"

 

Cheers!

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On 5/31/2019 at 5:34 AM, Craig Anderton said:

Less is more. Just ask Miles Davis :)

One of my favourite Miles Davis lines was on how to start a solo - "Think of a note, then don't play it."

Dave Stewart (Hatfield & the North, Egg, Bruford et al) says he worked out which note not to play, but wasn't sure which of the other 11 he should choose..

 

I think he decided it was "B♭" that Miles meant.. 😊

 

I also loved his advice to Coltrane about how to stop soloing - "Just take the ####### horn out of your mouth."

 

Just a few more lovely lines -

“If you don't know what to play, play nothing.” 

“It’s not the note you play that’s the wrong note – it’s the note you play afterwards that makes it right or wrong.” 

“Don't play what's there; play what's not there.” 

Sorry to run off topic, it's been a long day.

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One of the things that can add space is a nice “live” recording or two mixed in with the soft stuff.  I know, many of us do that.  I guess any one doing  vocals.  But VA only instrumentation  makes it hard to add air to a soundscape naturally.  Unlike a lead guitar with some room tone,  or a persistent backing horn, or thick backing vocals.  The better the room the better the gear and better the engineer makes for a better capture of your real, personal air, but  most rooms can be arranged to be fairly neutral and most modern recording equipment is up to the task.  We have all heard home produced stuff that sounds radio ready.

just as Craig has advised to add a live cymbal to virtual drums, loops etc for rhythmic purposes, a live capture track or two can provide real tone and air.

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I saw a "master class" video where it was suggested a "trick". To solo your midrange instruments or better yet a buss for them. slap an eq on it and setup a sharp Q peak filter and sweep it until you hit the resonant frequency of that instrument. Then change the peak to a dip and relax the Q. Do this for all the midrange contesting / masking instruments. Then see if doesn't clear it up.

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