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Author Topic: Definition of a Balanced Mix  (Read 1624 times)

Eliott James

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Definition of a Balanced Mix
« on: June 21, 2004, 02:49:34 pm »

How would you define a balanced mix - a perfect mix? What do you listen for to be in the correct place, volume....

What are some of the most common challenges you run into when mastering a mix?

The idea here is to make us mixers more aware of what to do and not to do.

Thanks
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Re: Definition of a Balanced Mix
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2004, 09:05:24 pm »

Ellot, I have your CD and the balance on it is good.

What I strive for in the mixdown stage is to listen to each instrument as if they were being performed live in a "suitable" sized room for the type music. Your music being acoustic guitar, harp and vox should appear as if it were totally unplugged with the vocal riding on top...but never masking the rhythm.

In other mixes such as 26tk instrumentals, the kick and bass line are matched first, followed by the snare riding close to the kick amplitude. All cymbals should be heard clearly but not masking the kit with too much top. I do panning so each instrument has a "place" to be and the kick and bass usually rides center, as well as the lead vox. I cannot emphasize enough on how much vox power is needed so that a mix will lay right. This is where compression on the vox comes to play. One major reason (besides hearing all the words) to have the vox ride pretty hot is because consumers have a tendency to turn the bass and treble way up to balance the vox in the mix to the liking of the particular consumer. Usually the strict audiophiles listen to music with tone controls either off or out of the circuit and the folks who generally buy quantities of music for the music sake use tone colonization in the playback. If you look at most peoples car audio systems (not the boom boom systems) you will notice the smiley faced eq curve. I did an "audiophile" CD not long ago that had sufficient bottom for the controls to be out of the circuit. In the case of playing that disc on someones system that has a large tilt on their bottom or top..they would be met with exaggerated dynamics on the bottom and top and an unmusical quality.

More of the audiophile loudspeakers are bottom heavy around 50hz to begin with and this would simply not do for a disc like this to have bottom end boost and it is noted in the liner sleeve.

If the mix is well balanced, the vocals clear and understandable and the instrumental has "mojo" and makes your foot tap...you are pretty darn close. If you crowd too many instruments in the same space, masking will be the result. Sometimes careful individual eq on each track can help and do wonders for this crowding.

Remember, the EQ also controls dynamics. Use it as such.
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MASSIVE Mastering

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Re: Definition of a Balanced Mix
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2004, 11:30:02 pm »

A simplified definition to me would be a mix that doesn't have anything in it that "tugs at your ear" - Frequency spikes, strange panning and phase problems, audible noise gates, etc.

The mix should be transparent of the technology used to create it.  That sounds corny I guess, but that's the best way I can explain it.  

In theatre, the mood of the best performance can be quickly ruined by seeing someone's foot behind a wing back stage.  It "tugs at your eyes" so to speak.  

A well-balanced mix, to me, is free of the reminders of reality.  ALTHOUGH, as with many things, a truly superior and inspired performance can rise above almost anything, including a poor mix.
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John Scrip
Massive Mastering - Chicago (Schaumburg / Hoffman Est.), IL - USA

lucey

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Re: Definition of a Balanced Mix
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2004, 01:02:57 am »

EJ wrote on Mon, 21 June 2004 13:49

...What do you listen for to be in the correct place, volume....

What are some of the most common challenges you run into when mastering a mix?


-poor monitoring at mixing, making for low-mid and low end mud ... or thinness and mud combined

-digitalus.  poor tone separation.  flatness.

-harshness in some high end range

-over abundance of a certain frequency (from the room and/or monitors)


Quote:


The idea here is to make us mixers more aware of what to do and not to do.

Thanks


buy some monitors that translate like ADAM S3As and make it sound good to you with a balance of L, M, R, Front, Mid, Rear, bright, moderate, dark, etc ... all to suit the music.
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Brian Lucey
Magic Garden Mastering

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lincolnhwyguitarman

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Re: Definition of a Balanced Mix
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2004, 10:46:42 am »

To me it's the mix that says 'What Mix?' The music performance is paramount. You shouldn't hear 'The Mix'.
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Thanks,

Mark
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