Tuesday, August 14, 2012

iZotope Alloy 2.  I’ve had mixed results using all-in-one style plug-ins on my recordings.  With that said, the level of detail and tweaking available with Alloy 2 looks impressive.  I used a demo of Alloy 1 a few years ago but didn’t stick with it.  Guess I was too stubborn and kept using individual plug-ins to shape my sounds.  Curious.  Have any home studio people had success creating professional sounding mixes with Alloy?  Would love your feedback.  Feel free to post your recordings.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Interview with Fab Dupont: Great video that Graham Cochrane posted of his interview with legendary mixer and engineer Fab Dupont.  Terrific insights.  Thanks Graham!  Check out his site, The Recording Revolution, for more mixing and recording tips.

Friday, June 22, 2012
Rest Your Ears!  Creating Time Limits for Your Mixing Sessions: Every done this?  You mix until late in the night, go to sleep, and then the next morning re-listen to your mix only to discover  within a few seconds that much of the previous night’s efforts sound like complete garbage.  Personally, I’ve done this too many times to count.  For me there are two causes for this:
Mixing too long.
Ear fatigue.
I’ve found that if I work on a mix for longer than 60 minutes consecutively that I loose perspective.  I need to walk away (or go to sleep) and come back later, regardless of how well the mixing session is going.  The good news is that once you come back with fresh ears you’re listening to the mix as a whole, not independent instruments, and you can quickly determine what needs to be altered.  Creating time limits for your mixing sessions might actually speed up the completion of the mix!

Rest Your Ears!  Creating Time Limits for Your Mixing Sessions: Every done this?  You mix until late in the night, go to sleep, and then the next morning re-listen to your mix only to discover  within a few seconds that much of the previous night’s efforts sound like complete garbage.  Personally, I’ve done this too many times to count.  For me there are two causes for this:

  1. Mixing too long.
  2. Ear fatigue.

I’ve found that if I work on a mix for longer than 60 minutes consecutively that I loose perspective.  I need to walk away (or go to sleep) and come back later, regardless of how well the mixing session is going.  The good news is that once you come back with fresh ears you’re listening to the mix as a whole, not independent instruments, and you can quickly determine what needs to be altered.  Creating time limits for your mixing sessions might actually speed up the completion of the mix!

Monday, June 18, 2012
Mix at Lower Volumes: Who doesn’t love to crank-up the studio monitors and listen to all the finer details of a mix?  It’s fun, it’s loud, but it might also be dangerous to your mix.  Similar to headphones, you can hear too much if mixing with the monitors at a high volume.  If every instrument is blaring away at your ears you can lose focus of the most crucial elements of your music.  For me that’s the lead vocal, snare, and guitar melodies.  I often will turn down the speakers to the point that I can barely hear my mix.  That way I can make out what will get noticed by the listener. This technique took me a while to learn but once I did I noticed I was achieving much better final results.  Try it yourself.  And if you really want to listen to your tunes with the knob turned to “11”, do so after you’ve mixed at a lower volume.

Mix at Lower Volumes: Who doesn’t love to crank-up the studio monitors and listen to all the finer details of a mix?  It’s fun, it’s loud, but it might also be dangerous to your mix.  Similar to headphones, you can hear too much if mixing with the monitors at a high volume.  If every instrument is blaring away at your ears you can lose focus of the most crucial elements of your music.  For me that’s the lead vocal, snare, and guitar melodies.  I often will turn down the speakers to the point that I can barely hear my mix.  That way I can make out what will get noticed by the listener. This technique took me a while to learn but once I did I noticed I was achieving much better final results.  Try it yourself.  And if you really want to listen to your tunes with the knob turned to “11”, do so after you’ve mixed at a lower volume.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012
When is mixing with headphones OK? I wouldn’t recommend mixing your music with just a pair of cans on your ears.  In my opinion, headphones provide a great sense of stereo spacing but don’t provide a reliable reference of how the music will sound in a room, car, etc.  However, there are two instances when I rely on headphones to mix: reverb and delay.  I do this after I’ve already set the levels through my stereo monitors.  Then I listen to the mix through my headphones to determine if the amount of wetness I used is too distracting or too dry.  In case you’re curious, I use Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO headphones.

When is mixing with headphones OK? I wouldn’t recommend mixing your music with just a pair of cans on your ears.  In my opinion, headphones provide a great sense of stereo spacing but don’t provide a reliable reference of how the music will sound in a room, car, etc.  However, there are two instances when I rely on headphones to mix: reverb and delay.  I do this after I’ve already set the levels through my stereo monitors.  Then I listen to the mix through my headphones to determine if the amount of wetness I used is too distracting or too dry.  In case you’re curious, I use Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO headphones.

Monday, June 11, 2012
Master Your Own Mix? If you’re like me, you record and mix your own music.  Many people wouldn’t recommend this and suggest having a separate pair of ears for mixing, but that’s not always possible (or affordable).  But should you also master your own tunes?  My opinion is “no”.  Personally, by the time I’ve spent countless hours recording and mixing I’ve heard the songs so many times that I’ve lost any sense of objectivity.  That’s when I need a professional mastering engineer to take my mixes and sweeten the sound I’ve already created.  However, if you have enough knowledge and skill to master your own music you can use software like iZotope’s Ozone to get a professional, loud mix.  Unfortunately, I don’t know enough about mastering to take full advantage of this kind of software.  I’m trying to confine my training and education to recording and mixing.  Learning how to master would be too much for my simple mind.

Master Your Own Mix? If you’re like me, you record and mix your own music.  Many people wouldn’t recommend this and suggest having a separate pair of ears for mixing, but that’s not always possible (or affordable).  But should you also master your own tunes?  My opinion is “no”.  Personally, by the time I’ve spent countless hours recording and mixing I’ve heard the songs so many times that I’ve lost any sense of objectivity.  That’s when I need a professional mastering engineer to take my mixes and sweeten the sound I’ve already created.  However, if you have enough knowledge and skill to master your own music you can use software like iZotope’s Ozone to get a professional, loud mix.  Unfortunately, I don’t know enough about mastering to take full advantage of this kind of software.  I’m trying to confine my training and education to recording and mixing.  Learning how to master would be too much for my simple mind.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Bundled Pro Tools Plug-Ins: How well do you know how to work these three plug-ins that come bundled with Pro Tools?  If you’re unsure but are considering purchasing other plug-ins to overcome your lack of mixing knowledge, you are going to be disappointed.  The Compressor/Limiter, the De-esser, and the Expander/Gate can work wonders on so many tracks.  Snare, kick, vocals, guitars and more.  Yes, they are basic.  Yes, they come free with Pro Tools.  But that doesn’t mean they aren’t extremely effective.  Confession: I was one of those people that was lazy about mixing and didn’t take the time to understand the power of these controls.  A few years later I realized I could nearly mix an entire song with just these three plug-ins.  I just had to learn to use them properly.  If I had understood this earlier I could have saved a lot of money on other plug-ins I purchased that rarely get used now.

Bundled Pro Tools Plug-Ins: How well do you know how to work these three plug-ins that come bundled with Pro Tools?  If you’re unsure but are considering purchasing other plug-ins to overcome your lack of mixing knowledge, you are going to be disappointed.  The Compressor/Limiter, the De-esser, and the Expander/Gate can work wonders on so many tracks.  Snare, kick, vocals, guitars and more.  Yes, they are basic.  Yes, they come free with Pro Tools.  But that doesn’t mean they aren’t extremely effective.  Confession: I was one of those people that was lazy about mixing and didn’t take the time to understand the power of these controls.  A few years later I realized I could nearly mix an entire song with just these three plug-ins.  I just had to learn to use them properly.  If I had understood this earlier I could have saved a lot of money on other plug-ins I purchased that rarely get used now.