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Flatnine



Joined: 16 Sep 2005
Posts: 8
Location: Buenos Aires

PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2005 5:04 am    Post subject: Hi, new here. Some questions Reply with quote

Hello, I think you do a great job, I liked very much what I heard in the demo page, so congrats on that !

I wonder about this question.

You ask to not apply any effects to the mixdown, I can understand the benefict for you in doing so, but isnīt a common practice to patch all sort of gear/plugins while mixing ? (I mean not only in every track but on the master)

I mean as far as I know is common to apply EQ, compression and else to full mixes, even many enginners place compression somewhat before the "finish" mixing, so they actually mix "thru" a compressor or EQ.

Is that so wrong ?

I guess what I mean is that now is a kind of premastering done right at the mixdown.

Iīm probably wrong and would like to know your thoughs about this.

Many thanks !
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the_real_mccoy
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2005 7:54 pm    Post subject: Isnīt a common practice to patch all sort of gear/plugins? Reply with quote

Flatnine,

of course, you can eq and use compression to your multi-track mix. Effects gallore, no problem, as long as it is part of your music arrangement.

As far as patching every sort of effect to the master (the main 2 outs), I don't think is a good idea (with certain exceptions).

Let's say, you were supposed to ad a flange effect on a vocal overdub at a break down section. You love the mix and don't want to try another. Well, no problem. apply it to that section of the mix, just like in post-production, where you can request the mastering engineer to do so.

Hope this helps.

The Real McCoy
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Flatnine



Joined: 16 Sep 2005
Posts: 8
Location: Buenos Aires

PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2005 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for answering.

Of course I agree.

I know for once "whatever" can be done when it serve to a purpose, and of course I understand the differences between applying a process to individual tracks or to a mixdown.

But my question was headed toward Lorenz asking to not using compression and else at the master inserts, and I was curiouss since it is so a common practice !! Some people even patch subtle reverbs.

Anyway I agree and I preffer to NOT using it, I mean I try to get the results via individual tracks.

But I guess what I was trying to say is many people is doing like a "pre" mastering right when they mixdown.

regards
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Lorenz @ XARC Mastering
Site Admin


Joined: 20 May 2004
Posts: 62
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2005 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Flatnine, hi the_real_mccoy,

nice to see you both on the forums and to see some active talk! Letīs keep it rolling Smile

@Flatnine,

If you use a limiter or compressor during the mixing (which I know is a common practice from some engineers), you are shrinking the possibilities I have during the mastering, especially in these areas. I would then be limited when "shaping" the dynamics of the music, depending on how hefty the limiting/compression during the mixing already was, since they then already have been "taken away". I then canīt use any special compression like tape compression or other creative compression, since adding these on top without a vital dynamic range will quickly lead to distortion and wonīt bring the effect they would on dynamic material. Simply said it would make various parts of my work impossible to do, which does make very few sense since these are very important parts in terms for the end-sound and signature of the song.

So what is best to do if you still prefer mixing this way? If you do mix with a limiter or compressor on the master buss, simply do so and then take it off and lower all tracks of the mix by the same amount until the master buss doesnīt go over ~-2dBFS and bounce it. Then send me this mixdown, even if it might sound somewhat "strange" to you without these effects on it. I will take care of the compression/limiting during the mastering and into the direction you wish (if any). This way I have the full flexibility from a wide range of different approaches to the compression / limiting for the song, especially since the EQ changes I am doing during the mastering will also interact very much with the choice and character of the compression. Every process during the mastering is "connected" with each other, creating a complex netting where a change on one process might require total a different approach at another part of this "chain". E.g. alone a sub-bass-lift might require a complete different type of compression than what worked without this lift.

Hence the conclusion is that it always is best, at least for the way I work and for the flexibility I do like to have during my work, to send your mix completely clean, without "master"-effects on the master buss and without clipping. As the_real_mccoy already said, creative effects are OK ( for example a reverb, though I can also do this during the mastering if you would like to have a read here ), if you believe I cannot re-create these during the mastering. However, since I will evaluate your mix and since we can talk about every aspect of your song before the mastering, we can see if I not possibly can do it as well for the best quality.

As an example how a already "hefty" compressed / limited mix sounds after the mastering, you can have a listen to [url=http://www.xarcmastering.com/demos/www.xarcmastering.com-Jonathan_Keren_-_Good_Time_(Zman_Tov)-Unmastered-Mastered.wav]Jonathan Keren - Good Time (Zman Tov)[/url] in my demos section. While you can hear that I was able to do many improvements, for example in the frequency response and stereo-image as well as other aspects of the song, you will hear that the dynamics havenīt changed in their "shape" and "timbre" (e.g., that I had no ability to use any creative compression) at all and are just a bit louder than before.


Thanks and regards,
Lorenz
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the_real_mccoy
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2005 10:06 pm    Post subject: Compression-Limiting Reply with quote

Hi Again,

You wrote:
"But my question was headed toward Lorenz asking to not using compression and else at the master inserts, and I was curiouss since it is so a common practice !! Some people even patch subtle reverbs. "


I think what Lorenz meant is that you should not use compression-peak limiting, the so called "finalizers", which we mastering engineers dread the most.

Once the signal is crunched, you can't uncompress it.

If you are hiring someone to do mastering, you should not worry about loudness but on a balanced mix. This way the output levels can be set correctly and in reference to other tracks in your CD sequence (if any).

Finally, I've applied a little reverb before to a track that had no depth and it helped. But I would never do that to tarck that has good distribution of dry and wet parts.

Hope this helped too,

The Real McCoy
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Flatnine



Joined: 16 Sep 2005
Posts: 8
Location: Buenos Aires

PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2005 10:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Lorenz, for you clear reply.

What is hard to know when mixing is when to STOP !!!!! Rolling Eyes

You know, I guess most of those practices come from trying to get that "finalized" sound when mixing. That in fact of course will Limit Rolling Eyes the mastering stage.

Let me ask you this, what you think about using stereo enhancers on mixdown?

I like to use them on OverHeads, Acoustic Piano etc

What I do ussually is to mixdown to several "groups" instead of to master.

I have a project now like this:

Group 1 Kick & Contrabass
Group 2 Rest of the Drums
Group 3 Percussion Accesories
Group 4 Rest of instruments

Its an instrumental record of course, will you do the mastering if I send you the 4 stereo groups instead of a master mixdown ? (Iīll send a reference mix)

That would be mastering disneyland ! Wink

Best
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Lorenz @ XARC Mastering
Site Admin


Joined: 20 May 2004
Posts: 62
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2005 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are really welcome Flatnine Smile

As for stereo-enhancers on the mixdown, this is again a part you should leave to me for the mastering as for the same reasons as mentioned above. And while it is right that the stereo-image can be modified and basically corrected over and over again, we should avoid any unnecessary phase-distortion/shifting that can occur from such processes. There was also just recently a thread about that over here: http://www.xarcmastering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=80

I currently do not offer mastering from Stems (sub-groups of instruments / drums) because the mix evaluation we are doing together before the mastering should eliminate most serious problems with your mix. Additional I feel that the mixing stage in itīs complexness should best be left to a specialist in this area, a dedicated mixing engineer.

However, we can decide on a individual basis what we best should do, once I have listened to your mix.
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the_real_mccoy
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2005 11:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll take a crack on this one and I am out.

Flatnine, if you are refering to BBE Maxie or the other aural exciter stereo processors (those that play tricks on the mind and affect the low-mid and high frequencies to most instruments), I would say, have a ball with them, but keep 'em out of the mix!

If you "over-excite" it, don't worry Lorenz will adjust the high end or whatever needs adjustment.

No freakin aural exciter will add the emotional delivery of a well frequency balanced master your mastering engineer can deliver.

Hope this helped you man,


The Real mcCoy
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Lorenz @ XARC Mastering
Site Admin


Joined: 20 May 2004
Posts: 62
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2005 12:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Indeed, processors like BBE should be kept away from the master buss, especially since this one introduces extreme phase-distortion/shifting which canīt be undone under any circumstances later on. Unfortunately no trick or EQīing will completely fix a harsh high-end which has been created through overuse of an exciter which created to much or "wrong" harmonics in this frequency area.
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the_real_mccoy
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2005 12:22 am    Post subject: Phase Distortion Reply with quote

Dear Lorenz,

Any musical segment can be decomposed into harmonic components - that is, a sum of fixed frequency tones.

There is universal agreement that changes in the relative amplitude of these components are audible. The "frequency response" of a sound system is normally understood to mean the amplitude response vs. frequency. But the relative phase of the harmonic components can also vary. Technically this is distortion, and it can have a huge effect on the time-variation of sound pressure on Flatnine's eardrum.

Having said all that, I assume that our friend Flatnine has an ear for sound and he will not insult you with a mix that presents a distorted high end for you to adjust, but possibly render a mix that sound on the 'thin" side.

This would be a piece of cake for a guy like you to fix, right?

I already knew the answer.

Regards

The Real McCoy
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Lorenz @ XARC Mastering
Site Admin


Joined: 20 May 2004
Posts: 62
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2005 12:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For sure it can be decomposed and recreated to/from plain sine-waves, no question - though at this stage, especially in the high-end area where such harmonics are very "close together" and where the ear reacts the most sensible, no notch-filter or other "trick" would be steep and small enough (in terms of BW) to fix that.

But yes Wink, me and the cakes - I am wondering why I donīt work together with a bakery yet! Laughing Laughing Laughing
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Flatnine



Joined: 16 Sep 2005
Posts: 8
Location: Buenos Aires

PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2005 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ey thanks to both of you!

The real McCoy, Iīm not using any aural exiters. I was just talking about the stereo image.

Sometimes I like to put a enhancer to overheads or piano which seems to make room so I can mix everything else more "centered". Mostly I will use a PSP Stereo Enhancer or Waves Shufler.

But Iīm just learning, I mean Iīm not saying Iīm any kind of expert, just experimenting things.

Lorenz, it make sense what you say about that previous stage where we analize the mix for problems. I guess nothing replace a good mix, thatīs clear when listening to the demos you posted.

Like I said, thing is to know when to stop mixing!

In other words, how to realize the "potential" of a mixdown for being mastered, I mean specially when you are mixing material that have problems to star with, poorly recorded, a lot of crosstalk etc...


I have to split now, many thatnks for all your attention, Iīll comeback later to check your replies deeply.

Best!
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Lorenz @ XARC Mastering
Site Admin


Joined: 20 May 2004
Posts: 62
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2005 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your are welcome Flatnine and maybe you just sign-up and I can have a listen to your mix. From experience we (or I) can then determine pretty easy if the mix "is there" already or needs more work before mastering.

Btw, the usage of such processing on single tracks of the mix is perfectly fine, we were just talking about the master buss mixdown here, where nothing should be applied too.

Let me know if I can do anything else for you and I hope to speak to you soon. Cheers and thanks for your questions.
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the_real_mccoy
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2005 4:11 pm    Post subject: Hi end distortion Reply with quote

Being corrected

Last edited by the_real_mccoy on Tue Sep 20, 2005 4:51 pm; edited 1 time in total
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the_real_mccoy
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2005 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Lorenz,

You wrote:

"no notch-filter or other "trick" would be steep and small enough (in terms of BW) to fix that. "

I never said that you could fix distortion.

The technology right now may not allow to separate the components at such high frequencies. But maybe with today's digital tools (and I don't mean some plug in) some sort of phase re-alignment can be applied to middle range and lower freq.

In fact I would not be surprised if there is already in some audio lab, a processor capable of doing the very thing I am talking about.

But, if today people are recording at a sampling rate of 192k with a word of 24 bits. What if some day is like 192Mhz at a word of 24kb? That chip is not that far in the future.

Having said all that, a notch filter with a narrow BW has helped me correct some distortion including HF distortion problems to a few recordings that naturally, where made by amateurs. The difference is that the processor was not an equalizer but a narrow-bandwidth compressor. It made the recordings sound more pleasant to the ear, but that's all.

I am not saying that you can correct distortion. Distortion is undoable, but same as the fellow with stereo image problem, if he can't go back to do another mix, this is the compromise.

Now, what if you could correct phase/distortion with some ultra-processor? The answer I think is, it would not be cost efficient. The time to separate components at a nano frequency level would be so time consuming you would probably have to ask your client, do you want me to be your mad lab scientist or your mastering engineer?

Finally, your statement :
"I am wondering why I don't work together with a bakery yet!"

My answer is: I don't know, maybe because I like to have my cake and eat it too?

Wink

Regards,

The Real McCoy

PS: It's not the "master buss" but the master bus (in English that is)
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