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Author Topic: Mixing <--> Mastering, different heads  (Read 4475 times)

Viitalahde

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Mixing <--> Mastering, different heads
« on: February 04, 2011, 02:44:45 am »

Sometimes it's interesting to read what the mixing engineer recommends to do in the mastering.

"I experimented a little and looks like some dynamic EQ around this part, multiband compression here and X dB's of EQ there, there, there and there sounds pretty good"

Very often I react to this with sheer terror, especially when the mixes sound great and really only need a tad of top end and some gain. Sometimes, as I compare the master to the mix (level matched), I find out it doesn't really sound too different to the mix and wonder if it will come back, asking for more of everything. Usually it doesn't.

It's understandable though. In the mixing world you need to do big moves for small improvements, and vice versa for mastering.

I've got to say I have the ultimate respect for the tracking/mixing engineers. Sometimes you just need to sit down and wonder how the hell did they manage to put all that stuff in there, and it still sounds great.

Quite different from our souped-up tone controls.
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Jaakko Viitalähde
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urm eric

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Re: Mixing <--> Mastering, different heads
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2011, 02:50:47 am »

Viitalahde wrote on Fri, 04 February 2011 01:44



I've got to say I have the ultimate respect for the tracking/mixing engineers. Sometimes you just need to sit down and wonder how the hell did they manage to put all that stuff in there, and it still sounds great.

Quite different from our souped-up tone controls.


Absolutely - I was thinking the same thing just recently. I work regularly with a mix engineer and for our mutual education and the hell of it we swapped roles for a week-end. I mixed, he mastered.

His mastering was not really good - everything all too hyped; my dullard mixing was even worse ...


Cheers,

Eric


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Bonati

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Re: Mixing <--> Mastering, different heads
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2011, 08:35:28 am »

Viitalahde wrote on Fri, 04 February 2011 02:44


Very often I react to this with sheer terror...

Especially when they ask for reverb.
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Josh Bonati
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philip

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Re: Mixing <--> Mastering, different heads
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2011, 10:30:36 am »

IMHO everything after tracking is post production. So I use the same head for mixing and mastering.

Gold

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Re: Mixing <--> Mastering, different heads
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2011, 12:32:54 pm »

Over the years I've noticed how different I think about EQ and compression than mixers. That's why I like talking in vague terms that made me squirm as a young pup. Like "more green".
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Paul Gold
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Jerry Tubb

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Re: Mixing <--> Mastering, different heads
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2011, 03:41:33 pm »

Totally different perspective.

Most real mastering engineers are specialists, with few exceptions.

Had many offers to mix, but I always refer them to one of our mixing clients.

JT
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SafeandSound

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Re: Mixing <--> Mastering, different heads
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2011, 04:42:59 pm »

Quote:


Sometimes you just need to sit down and wonder how the hell did they manage to put all that stuff in there



And sometimes you realize having a room full of musicians who are excellent at their craft is 90pct of the job already done.

When I record music (occasionally as a freelancer) I am a recording engineer, the intensity is much, much higher than mastering IMO. When I do it these days I realize how good I was, takes me much more time to get a mix balance together, though this tends to be a technical thing (forgetting how the desk works etc.  through lack of familiarity/recent use) rather than a balance perception issue.

Yes, different hats but both have a relationship with each other.
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Patrik T

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Re: Mixing <--> Mastering, different heads
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2011, 01:06:01 am »

Viitalahde wrote on Fri, 04 February 2011 08:44

It's understandable though. In the mixing world you need to do big moves for small improvements, and vice versa for mastering.



I think the small moves of mastering should be applied much more in the mix process. Layers of small moves rather than those big moves. Every major move seems to be a source of disturbance to me, regardless the quality of the sound or the processor.

I also think that 'ear fatigue' doesn't come so much from the final level of things, but in the big processing moves during mix.

Best Regards
Patrik
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MoreSpaceEcho

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Re: Mixing <--> Mastering, different heads
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2011, 02:46:20 pm »

SafeandSound wrote on Fri, 04 February 2011 21:42


When I record music I am a recording engineer, the intensity is much, much higher than mastering IMO.


for sure. mastering's a relaxing day at the beach, tracking is like going into battle.
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dave-G

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Re: Mixing <--> Mastering, different heads
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2011, 05:08:28 pm »

Though my sustaining business and focus is on mastering, I still do the occasional mix project, and still love it.

Of course they do require a completely different mindset, skillset and approach, but I think each serves as good mental exercise for the other.  Mastering's critical-listening perspective and exposure to the work of many different mix engineers adds to my mental library of sounds and balances and fuels my understanding of the qualities of a good mix.  

At the same time, I find the occasional mix project enriches my mastering skill-set, and refreshes my perspective.  At the very least, my experience with both has enhanced my ability to communicate well with mix engineers and has made for some great professional friendships.

Also, though in past occasions I've mastered my own mixes, I prefer not to, not because of any 'taboo', but .... well, I've had the good fortune to have a few of my mix projects mastered by the likes of Brad, Doug Sax, Ted Jensen and others. Those projects have added invaluable perspective to my approach in both disciplines.  

SafeandSound wrote on Fri, 04 February 2011 16:42

And sometimes you realize having a room full of musicians who are excellent at their craft is 90pct of the job already done.

Agreed completely.
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jackthebear

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Re: Mixing <--> Mastering, different heads
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2011, 06:36:16 am »

I'm a master at getting mixed up........
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masterhse

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Re: Mixing <--> Mastering, different heads
« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2011, 11:34:59 am »

When possible I like having the mix engineer be part of the process along with the client. It's nice having someone minding the trees while you're landscaping the forest.

It's all about balance and perspective, client controlling the artistic vision, mix engineer controlling the elements, mastering engineer making certain that both translate across an album.
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Tom Volpicelli
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SafeandSound

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Re: Mixing <--> Mastering, different heads
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2011, 03:10:19 pm »

Well it's apt timing as I have a rare mix job Wednesday afternoon so I am brushing down my best hat for it.

It's going to be a funny one as it's in PT9 as well, it's not my favourite application, but thats Jazz for you.
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Gold

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Re: Mixing <--> Mastering, different heads
« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2011, 03:38:49 pm »

I've never done much studio mixing because I don't like it. I've done a lot of live sound mixing. I like that. Every once in a while I'll do a gratis gig for something I like but my chops keep getting worse. They are so bad now that I don't even want to do it.

If I liked the road (which I don't) I would have liked to work in a remote truck. Now that sounds like fun. High pressure, it happens fast and then it's over.
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Paul Gold
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dave-G

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Re: Mixing <--> Mastering, different heads
« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2011, 05:21:02 pm »

Gold wrote on Mon, 07 February 2011 15:38

High pressure, it happens fast and then it's over.


[/Michael Scott]


Seriously though ... I could never get into live sound, as I don't even enjoy it much when it's done well.

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DAVE GREENBERG
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Gold

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Re: Mixing <--> Mastering, different heads
« Reply #15 on: February 07, 2011, 07:32:29 pm »

The first time I had to punch and comp vocals for six hours I felt like killing puppy dogs. I couldn't do it.
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Paul Gold
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masterhse

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Re: Mixing <--> Mastering, different heads
« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2011, 07:52:48 pm »

Gold wrote on Mon, 07 February 2011 19:32

The first time I had to punch and comp vocals for six hours I felt like killing puppy dogs. I couldn't do it.


Being able to solo Pete Townshend and hear every nuance of what he played at a live show that you were at when you were in High School? Priceless...

I wouldn't have traded the time that I spent mixing for anything.
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mcsnare

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Re: Mixing <--> Mastering, different heads
« Reply #17 on: February 08, 2011, 08:54:48 pm »

I enjoy mixing MORE since I started mastering full time. Mastering has definitely helped my mixing. Knowing mixing helps me communicate with mixers better. I always loved tracking, hated overdubs.
Dave, I'm with you as far as live sound. I did quite a bit in my younger days. I think I enjoyed like 5 nights out of hundreds.... but those 5 nights were doozies.

Dave

bblackwood

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Re: Mixing <--> Mastering, different heads
« Reply #18 on: February 09, 2011, 04:24:49 pm »

mcsnare wrote on Tue, 08 February 2011 19:54

Mastering has definitely helped my mixing.

And that's saying something - your mixing skills were pretty sick to begin with...
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Phil Demetro

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Re: Mixing <--> Mastering, different heads
« Reply #19 on: February 09, 2011, 07:42:04 pm »

For sure!
Dave's mixes sound like finished masters - except without the added 90dB of gain
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mcsnare

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Re: Mixing <--> Mastering, different heads
« Reply #20 on: February 09, 2011, 09:42:16 pm »

Thanks y'all, my head is blushing.

Dave

SafeandSound

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Re: Mixing <--> Mastering, different heads
« Reply #21 on: February 10, 2011, 02:06:16 pm »

Well I was pleased the mix job was 45 mins of stems (albeit for some "sticky outy" toms that did my head in.

I had to balance it on a single VDU which sucks but I have a few tricks up my sleeve for pro tools when thats the case, after the first track things got a lot better, band had warmed up, record engineer warmed up, I warmed up, popped back to the first track to tweak some after doing the rest

It was a nice afternoons work, no where near as chilled as mastering work is but sometimes being put out of comfort is just what you need.
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