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Author Topic: starting method...  (Read 2280 times)

j.hall

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starting method...
« on: June 29, 2004, 03:35:26 pm »

i was thinking the other night while mixing a single about approach and method to mixing

it seems that A LOT of engineers approach a mix with some sort of unspoken formula

drums first, then bass....and so on

i have a few different "methods" i've started using over the past few years that help shape the outcome in different ways that i use as i see fit for specific songs.....

what is your "method" to mixing?

how do you first approach the song?
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spankenstein

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Re: starting method...
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2004, 04:10:23 pm »

I work on the drums and bass first. Get those sounding together and balanced. If the vocals are a standout I'll go for them next then bring in the if the vocals are less than stellar I do guitars first then vocals.
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Fibes

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Re: starting method...
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2004, 04:56:20 pm »

I guess I'm a dumbass, it's always a bit different for me. In most instances I start with the major elements at unity and begin balancing, panning, eq, and compression with everything rolling. Once that gets settled the other minor overdubs and "events" become a part of the equation. The verbs and delays are usually set up early on and come in and out as I work.
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weihfool

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Re: starting method...
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2004, 05:16:33 pm »

I find that I usually bring up everything to unity.  Then do a quick balancing amongst all tracks.  Then, I move to tweaking the drums, then guitars, then bass, and finally tweak the vocal last.  

There have been a few times (RARE) that I start with the vocal and drums together because I find them to be the 2 loudest elements in the mix and the vocal track is really slammin'.  More often than not, I'm trying to "repair" the vocal so I do what I can then try to convince the band that the vocal should be "audible" in the mix, as opposed to completely buried and covered in effects, because it's what 99% of their listeners will identify and latch onto upon first listen.    

Hmmmm that gives me an idea for another thread as it's the situation I'm currently dealing with, with my most current project.....
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redelephant

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Re: starting method...
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2004, 10:07:05 pm »

What I normally start with depends heavily on what the first element of the song is. Say for instance there are 8 measures of acoustic guitar I will begin there and then go to the drums, bass, guitars and vocals. In normal instances I start from the left of my board all the way across. So room mics, then kick & snare, overheads, toms, bass, guitars and then vocals.

I have a lot of trouble starting with vocals or guitars first. It just doesn't work for me.
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redfro

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Re: starting method...
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2004, 10:19:34 pm »

It's all about balancing for me. Whatever the main elements are, try to get those happening. Then add in the rest.
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j.hall

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Re: starting method...
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2004, 02:28:30 am »

anybody ever start with the "naked" lead vocal?

how do you approach "arranging" the song

i use a lot of muting to shape what comes and goes

i've found that when bands know they will come to me, they just overdub to death, and i get piano, guitars, bass, vocals....that just run through the whole tune

i have to shape the song, or have the tell me how to shape it

in that case, where do you start?
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drumsound

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Re: starting method...
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2004, 04:08:00 am »

I put all the faders up ad do a quick balance.  This helps me to realize where the song wants to go.  Lately at this point I try out a couple buss comps to see which one is gonna work best for the record.  After that decision is made I start to get specific.  I lower al bet the drums.  The other tracks aren't muted, just lowered in volume.  I like to keep them there for a reference.  I add elements as I go.  EQ, compression panning and relationship are addressed as an instrument or group is added.  Mutes are usually programmed in soon after everything's up.   Sometimes earlier if there are really obvious things I don't want to have to think about.  When the mutes are for arrangement, I usually try a few things and discover what works best for the song.  For me that part is really instinctual.  Effects, and their mutes are usually creeping in along the way.

From there its just tweak, tweak, tweak.  Listen through different speakers, Walk around the building, listen from the sidewalk etc...
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stickman

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Re: starting method...
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2004, 10:20:04 pm »

start with the most interesting thing in the mix. say, the thing that you could listen to by itself over & over that gets in rhythm. even if that sounds silly, it gives me the feeling of building something. its feels like im writing the song in a way.
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Bivouac

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Re: starting method...
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2004, 01:09:39 am »

As a guitar player, I feel it's best for me to rhythm instruments out of context of my instrument.  So, I'll start drums and bass like most others I'd assume.  I just feel this would eliminate certain biases I might inflict upon the mix.

Anyone else run into these problems?

Of course, every song is different and might require a different approach, so I don't rule anything out...

I'm still very much learning too so I'm always looking at everything differently every time I sit down to record/mix...
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j.hall

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Re: starting method...
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2004, 09:54:37 am »

biases are tough

i like the drums to be up front, but now "on top"

people tell me that my kick drum is great but he snare is too quiet.....i don't get that, but hey, i'm working on it.....

other then that, for a big rock mix, i push those guitars up as hard as i can get em......
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Beezoboy

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Re: starting method...
« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2004, 11:21:38 am »

I normally start with Kick and Snare. For this I leave the toms muted. Once those start cutting through in a pleasing manner, I move to bass, then guitars, then vox.

After the mix is coming together I add the toms back in to see if they mess with the kick or snare soujd. Also I check to see if they mess up the overall drum image. If everything is kosher. I start adding in buss compressors, and at the end I try a mix buss compressor to see if it helps solidify the mix.

The exception is if a song starts with a tom heavy drum break or they (drums/toms) are the main focus of the song. Then I start with toms and work the rest of the song around them.

The way I mix is normally dependant on the arrangement of the song overall.  

Beez
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