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Thread: Mixing tips

  1. #1
    cloudsinanenvelope
    Guest

    Mixing tips

    anybody have any good mixing tricks and technique's?, mainly in regards to ambient music of course.

    at the moment what i have been doing is trying to get a really wide sound stereo image. for example i will have a a stereo synth track or a loop in stereo and i will add a stereo enhancer and pull out some mid's, this is what i do for whatever i have going on in the back ground or chords or whatever. and then pretty much just add some bass and other things and pan them and eq them as I feel.

    really interested in hearing ideas and tips from other people and getting a good discussion going because could really use the help.

  2. #2
    Broken-Robot
    Guest
    EQ EQ EQ EQ EQ

    When panning, especially hard, drop out some of the bass on whatevers being panned. I usually HP quite steeply at about 200 depending on what it is. Volume automation works well too to get things fading in and out left to right.

    Mid/Side EQ and compression is great for stereo enhancing; I find more so when it comes to the master buss. Usually I do a hi-pass at about 35Hz and a broard scoop at about -1dB if that; starting at around about 350Hz up to about 6K... Just to give the bass and percussion that extra clarity within the mix.
    On the side quite a heavy HP going on at about 100Hz or so... Sometimes more. Cutting the bass out of the side can really help remove any noticable unwanted phase in the L+R stereo field at the low end. A slight High shelf boost at about 5-10K to bring out some prescience of the mix.

    Using automation on reverb, filter and volume works wonders with your panning. As things move further away into the distance, sounds loose their high frequency definition with an increase in bass + verb, and likewise when getting closer things have higher frequency clarity and less reflected bass boom.

    So when panning, especially pads and swooshy sounds, when moving them further to the left or right, lower the volume automation, automate a LP filter down to lose that high end clarity and increase the verb amount. This helps give a great sense of depth within the mix.
    There are good ways to play on that eg:
    Automating the panning to the left, as it goes further left it loses high end clarity with a filter, volume lowers and increases reverb amount, so it sound like it's sloooowly fading out to the left, when it's finally about to disappear; throw in another sound also panned left with a load of high frequency content. Just a shimmery 1 shot sound or something. Not only does it sound like your complying with the laws of physics.... It also makes it seem like you can break them

    There's a great plug-in by G-Sonique called Mid/Side Stereo-Phase Filter... It really is rather tasty for stereo modulation effects.

    I hope this is the kind of thing you want... I nearly did a massive ramble on synthesisers and filter modulation :P

  3. #3
    cloudsinanenvelope
    Guest
    by all means ramble as much as you feel, and thank you very much for the advice. Just out of interest, what monitors do you use? I'm looking at getting some.
    Last edited by cloudsinanenvelope; 04-20-2012 at 06:20 PM.

  4. #4
    EJA
    Guest
    For me, it's always circumstantial.

    Depending on the piece, the style, the project overall...I always have a different approach to the overall sound of the piece in regards to the mixing/sound enhancement aspects.

    Here's something I like to do with my Drones:
    I always have at least 2, 3, or more notes contained within a sustained drone. I like to automate the stereo location of each note so that the drone as a whole gradually shifts and floats to different sonic areas in the piece.

    Will post more later...

  5. #5
    Broken-Robot
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by cloudsinanenvelope View Post
    by all means ramble as much as you feel, and thank you very much for the advice. Just out of interest, what monitors do you use? I'm looking at getting some.
    I'm using some Alesis M1 for my main mixing; but I'm lucky and have a house-mate with a set of Adams that I can reference on (when I need it).
    The Alesis are very nice for their price. Lack a bit of oomph in the bass, but if you're not in an actual acoustical treated studio, that can be good to cut down any excess bass bouncing around your room and clouding your mix. Having a decent set of headphones with nice low end can compensate for this also. Although if you have the $$$ to spend, a set of Adams would do the job nicely.

    If you can't afford the 550+ for some Adams; some Alesis will do what you need; or KRKs would do the job nicely.


    Stereo Synthesis ramble:

    Using a synth like Linplug Albino2 which has 4 oscillators, 2 filters, 4 LFOs, 8 envelopes and a hefty modulation matrix.
    I'll generally set up the oscillators to make some kind of weird pad type thing. For this I'll do something like saw wave for Osc 1 to FM Osc 2 which will be a triangle or maybe a spectral wave (as a basic start). Setting the envelopes for each Osc accordingly.

    What you have doesn't sound very musical at the moment, so I'll route the output of Osc 2 to both Filter 1 and Filter 2.
    Filter 1 will be a 24db/oct bandpass filter at about 1Khz; and Filter 2 will be another 24db/oct bandpass at about 4-6Khz.
    I set the filter envelope amounts on both filters 1 and 2 to about 50%, with a long attack on the envelopes, and invert the 2nd filter envelope.

    Now it's time to start playing with LFO and routings.
    LFO 1 to control Filter 1 cutoff, LFO 2 to control filter 2 cutoff. The amounts set to about 15-20%. SO as the envelopes raise and lower the filter cutoff, the LFOs will add a little wobble. Setting different LFO speeds has a nice effect. Maybe LFO 1 at 1/1 note and LFO 2 at 2/1* note or something.
    Next, assign LFO 1 to Filter 2 Panning and LFO 2 to Filter 1 panning. Each at about 40-60% (and - 40-60%). Now as the filter envelopes raise and lower the filters, the LFOs will be making them both wobble a little, but also panning them against each other.
    This will give you an effect of the high frequencies form filter 2 panning left to right at 1/4 and slowly decaying in frequency and the low frequencies of filter 1 panning right to left at 1/4* raising in frequency. The envelopes should create it so that as they pan, filter 1 will slowly rise up from 1K and filter 2 slowly down from 4k. When this goes right (it may take some playing with) it creates a lush stereo pad phasing from high and lows from side to side.
    In albino you can route each filter to different effects, so having F1 being sent to FX 1 and 2 with reverb and delay on, and F2 being sent to FX 3 and 4 with different reverbs and delays on.

    I also like to set a modulation envelope with a long attack to control the amount that LFOs 1+2 control Filter 1+2 cutoffs, so as the note is played, the wobbling effect of the LFO's come in slowly.

    You can get more creative and do stuff like LFO 3 to control osc 1 pitch, setting a slow setting like 4/1 or something and amount to -24 (semitones) it will cycle the modulating osc down 2 octaves and back up again slowly, which with Frequency Modulation can have a great effect.
    A modulation envelope or LFO 4 on either Osc 1 or Osc 2 PWM can have great results.

    Many of the pads in my music (if you can be bothered to listen :P) are done by some variation of the above.
    In fact
    Quote Originally Posted by cloudsinanenvelope View Post
    by all means ramble as much as you feel, and thank you very much for the advice. Just out of interest, what monitors do you use? I'm looking at getting some.
    I'm using some Alesis M1 for my main mixing; but I'm lucky and have a house-mate with a set of Adams that I can reference on.
    The Alesis are very nice for their price. Lack a bit of oomph in the bass, but if you're not in an actual acoustical treated studio, that can be good to cut down any excess bass bouncing around your room and clouding your mix. Having a decent set of headphones with nice low end can compensate for this also. Although if you have the $$$ to spend, a set of Adams would do the job nicely.

    If you can't afford the 550+ for some Adams; some Alesis will do what you need; or KRKs would do the job nicely.


    Stereo Synthesis ramble (similar to EJA's actually):

    Using a synth like Linplug Albino2 which has 4 oscillators, 2 filters, 4 LFOs, 8 envelopes and a hefty modulation matrix.
    I'll generally set up the oscillators to make some kind of weird pad type thing. For this I'll do something like saw wave for Osc 1 to FM Osc 2 which will be a triangle or maybe a spectral wave (as a basic start). Setting the envelopes for each Osc accordingly.

    What you have doesn't sound very musical at the moment, so I'll route the output of Osc 2 to both Filter 1 and Filter 2.
    Filter 1 will be a 24db/oct bandpass filter at about 1Khz; and Filter 2 will be another 24db/oct bandpass at about 4Khz.
    I set the filter envelope amounts on both filter 1 and 2 to about 50%, with a long attack on the envelopes, and invert the 2nd filter envelope.

    Now it's time to start playing with LFO and routings.
    LFO 1 to control Filter 1 cutoff, LFO 2 to control filter 2 cutoff. The amounts set to about 15-20%. SO as the envelopes raise and lower the filter cutoff, the LFOs will add a little wobble. Setting different LFO speeds has a nice effect. Maybe LFO 1 at 1/4 note and LFO 2 at 1/4* note or something.
    Next, assign LFO 1 to Filter 2 Panning and LFO 2 to Filter 1 panning. Each at about 40-60% (and - 40-60%). Now as the filter envelopes raise and lower the filters, the LFOs will be making them both wobble a little, but also panning them against each other.
    This will give you an effect of the high frequencies form filter 2 panning left to right at 1/4 and the low frequencies of filter 1 panning right to left at 1/4*. The envelopes should create it so that as they pan, filter 1 will slowly rise up from 1K and filter 2 slowly down from 4k. When this goes right (it may take some playing with) it creates a lush stereo pad phasing from high and lows from side to side.

    I also like to set a modulation envelope with a long attack to control the amount that LFOs 1+2 control Filter 1+2 cutoffs, so as the note is played, the wobbling effect of the LFO's come in slowly.

    You can get more creative and do stuff like LFO 3 to control osc 1 pitch, setting a slow setting like 4/1 or something and amount to -24 (semitones) it will cycle the modulating osc down 2 octaves and back up again slowly, which with Frequency Modulation can have a great effect.
    A modulation envelope or LFO 4 on either Osc 1 or Osc 2 PWM can have great results.

    Many of the pads in my music (if you can be bothered to listen :P) are done by some variation of the above.
    In fact at about 1.40 in this song you can hear a similar thing but using 4 oscilators.
    http://soundcloud.com/axion-mi/11010001011-headphones-mix&auto_play=false&show_comments=true&color=81a8cb&g=bb">
    Quote Originally Posted by cloudsinanenvelope View Post
    by all means ramble as much as you feel, and thank you very much for the advice. Just out of interest, what monitors do you use? I'm looking at getting some.
    I'm using some Alesis M1 for my main mixing; but I'm lucky and have a house-mate with a set of Adams that I can reference on.
    The Alesis are very nice for their price. Lack a bit of oomph in the bass, but if you're not in an actual acoustical treated studio, that can be good to cut down any excess bass bouncing around your room and clouding your mix. Having a decent set of headphones with nice low end can compensate for this also. Although if you have the $$$ to spend, a set of Adams would do the job nicely.

    If you can't afford the 550+ for some Adams; some Alesis will do what you need; or KRKs would do the job nicely.


    Stereo Synthesis ramble (similar to EJA's actually):

    Using a synth like Linplug Albino2 which has 4 oscillators, 2 filters, 4 LFOs, 8 envelopes and a hefty modulation matrix.
    I'll generally set up the oscillators to make some kind of weird pad type thing. For this I'll do something like saw wave for Osc 1 to FM Osc 2 which will be a triangle or maybe a spectral wave (as a basic start). Setting the envelopes for each Osc accordingly.

    What you have doesn't sound very musical at the moment, so I'll route the output of Osc 2 to both Filter 1 and Filter 2.
    Filter 1 will be a 24db/oct bandpass filter at about 1Khz; and Filter 2 will be another 24db/oct bandpass at about 4Khz.
    I set the filter envelope amounts on both filter 1 and 2 to about 50%, with a long attack on the envelopes, and invert the 2nd filter envelope.

    Now it's time to start playing with LFO and routings.
    LFO 1 to control Filter 1 cutoff, LFO 2 to control filter 2 cutoff. The amounts set to about 15-20%. SO as the envelopes raise and lower the filter cutoff, the LFOs will add a little wobble. Setting different LFO speeds has a nice effect. Maybe LFO 1 at 1/4 note and LFO 2 at 1/4* note or something.
    Next, assign LFO 1 to Filter 2 Panning and LFO 2 to Filter 1 panning. Each at about 40-60% (and - 40-60%). Now as the filter envelopes raise and lower the filters, the LFOs will be making them both wobble a little, but also panning them against each other.
    This will give you an effect of the high frequencies form filter 2 panning left to right at 1/4 and the low frequencies of filter 1 panning right to left at 1/4*. The envelopes should create it so that as they pan, filter 1 will slowly rise up from 1K and filter 2 slowly down from 4k. When this goes right (it may take some playing with) it creates a lush stereo pad phasing from high and lows from side to side.

    I also like to set a modulation envelope with a long attack to control the amount that LFOs 1+2 control Filter 1+2 cutoffs, so as the note is played, the wobbling effect of the LFO's come in slowly.

    You can get more creative and do stuff like LFO 3 to control osc 1 pitch, setting a slow setting like 4/1 or something and amount to -24 (semitones) it will cycle the modulating osc down 2 octaves and back up again slowly, which with Frequency Modulation can have a great effect.
    A modulation envelope or LFO 4 on either Osc 1 or Osc 2 PWM can have great results.

    Many of the pads in my music (if you can be bothered to listen :P) are done by some variation of the above.
    In fact at about 1.40 in this song you can hear a similar thing but using 4 oscilators.
    http://soundcloud.com/axion-mi/11010001011-headphones-mix&auto_play=false&show_comments=true&color=81a8cb&g=bb" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="48%">


    There is a high tonal pad sound at about 1.40, and sounding like another sound there is a gritty something else going on. It's not, it's all 1 pad just shit loads of modulation moving it around and control of oscillator volumes.

    Also at about 4min here there's a similar thing going on, sounds like 2 pads but it's just the 1 being modulated loads.


    With Albino you can have 4 layers too, so the above would all be in Layer 1, Layer 2 would be a totally blank instance of Albino. Utilizing this with the above can create some proper mental and crazy modulated stereo effects throwing different frequencies all over the place but in a way that works.

    Stuff like this can really help fill out space in a very subtle way, especially with a thin sounding synth sitting underneath everything else. It can just keep everything interesting in a very subtle way.

    In this episode of Computer Music you can get a copy of Synapse audio Dune which is an excellent modular synth.
    http://www.musicradar.com/computermu...ale-now-536963
    Last edited by Broken-Robot; 04-22-2012 at 09:29 PM.

  6. #6
    Broken-Robot
    Guest
    If you can find one, get a stereo analyser too. Waves do the PAZ Analyser; it's very good but costly, I'm sure you can trial it somewhere if you want. But they're very good for being able to see what's sitting where.



    If you can find a free one... Link me

  7. #7
    cloudsinanenvelope
    Guest
    Ok, cheers I'll have a look around for some stereo free analyser's, I'm gonna keep coming back to this thread as i will have trouble remembering all this, thanks your your help .

  8. #8
    theothergreenman
    Guest
    Hey guys,

    I've not used them myself (The native Logic Goniometer/Correlation meter is fine for me), but this has been recommended:

    http://hofa-plugins.de/pages/start_en/4u_en.php

    I hope it helps....

    Keeping an eye on the stereo correlation is, I think, very important as you mix. I know this'll sound like nonsense, but have you tried panning in mono? It really works. If you sum your main buss to mono and pan parts around what you end up doing is adjusting the phase relationships within the mix. You'll find a pan position for the parts where the mix becomes clear and the parts distinct in mono. When you return to stereo you'll have a lush 3D sounding mix, where each part is isolated in it's own part of the soundstage, and (most importantly) the phases are working together.

    A good spectrum analyser is crucial too: Bluecat Audio have a decent one in their freeware bundle.

    .....oh, and 'hello!' :-)

  9. #9
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Colorado, USA
    Posts
    2
    This is all great information! I have a constant problem when i am recording amd mixing my volume swells through delays and verbs. I get so much dang bass eq that it drives me nuts. Ive tried a couple different eq pedals on my board to cut the lower frequencies, even decreased my amp sim bass freq control, to the point of making my guitar sound very thin, but still to no avail.

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