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Post Post #5848
I know for certain that I'm not tone-deaf, but I feel that I might be "mixer-deaf" -- if there is such a thing. People keep telling me: "listen to this composer X and his wonderful mixing in the songs". I do that, and gain no wisdom from it whatsoever. Composing music is easy for me, melodies and such just fly by and I grab them and nail them down. But mixing... that's another issue. Frankly, I see it as boring, time-consuming, difficult, annoying and very frustrating.

In short, I find it VERY difficult to see, or rather to hear, the "trees in the wood" -- or the instruments in the mix. But I can somewhat SENSE that my mixes appear quite crappy compared to the published songs of many other spacesynth artists. The stereo-image, bass depth, loudness, EQ, panning, reverb, etc -- most of the stuff that a mixer engineer could handle I can't really touch. I have no vision nor understanding, I just go forward at random or intuition until my ears say "this sounds pretty OK". But any engineer would probably say I have a pool of mud rather than a coherent mix.

Now, I am really tired of having this ridiculously limited knowledge in regard to mixing. I have decided to do something about it. There must be some good learning resources out there to start with, such as some theory books or interactive courses. Does anybody know? How did the rest of you become skilled in mixing (and mastering) anyway?

Just tell me if I go in the right direction, because I honestly have no idea. I post as an example two versions of my latest TeamTracks melodic motive (for TD Mak's background clip).

Here's the first version:
http://www.speedyshare.com/314536195.html

Here's the second version:
http://www.speedyshare.com/334885519.html

Does the second version sound BETTER (mixologically speaking) than the first? Thanks for your help.
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[Retired Droid]



Post Post #5850
Just a very short comment on your clips:

The first one lacks presence. Second one has presence but where's the bassline? I would also try get that bassdrum snappier.
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Master Droid



Post Post #5851
Some of the mixing problems I think would come from from the background, seeing as I'm at least as clueless as you are with regard to mixing/mastering. You can't really hear the bass in the clips, and the snare drum is barely audible, which is probably not a good thing. So I would imagine in the final mix one would need to have access to raw versions of everything in order to adjust the volumes properly.

A question for people who are good at this sort of thing: Is it better to listen to good mixes, to hear how nicely things gel together, or to listen to a bad mix so you can notice the things wrong with them and avoid such problems in your mix, or to listen to unmastered and mastered versions of a song to hear what's changed?
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Post Post #5853
Prometheus wrote:
... loudness...

I think it's best to forget about it. Let the listener use the volume knob instead.

Prometheus wrote:
Does the second version sound BETTER (mixologically speaking) than the first? Thanks for your help.

Personally I like the first better. I don't know exactly why. Maybe because it have a better balance between drum/bass and melodies. In the second the drums/bass is too much in the background. The first also gives a more natural impression regarding frequencies. Even if it's a bit muddy, I think there's no problem with the muddiness. It sounds more interesting than the more clinical second version.
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[Retired Droid]



Post Post #5855
I have the same kind of problems with mixing.

Some notes I have made when I've mixed my songs:

- Mixing is making changes to and listening your song all over again... Rest your ears for a while.
- Listen hi quality and great mixed songs- and compare them to your mix. Any common?
- Balance is the keyword. Balance of volumes, pannings, hi and lows...

....
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Post Post #5869
About mixing, yes, the same question here. will it be the best way to just make it atfirst
so that it will be together in mono, and it must sound good at first in mono, just adjusting
those levels. After it will be fine then its ok to make pannings and so that all instruments
can be heard well.
?


Well, my question will be about EQ. When its supposed to use it mostly so far?
1. its used as compensation when there is used VSTs. Recommended as highpass filter,
becouse they sometimes make unwanted low frequencies as I have read from this forum.

*2 as lowpass filter for some digital instruments becouse perhaps someone is complaining
about "those melodies beyond 15kHz frequency makes hurt to my ears"
(just listen the Laserdance - Hypermagic). Very Happy
I mean CD, not mp3, becouse mp3 makes cutoff for those high frequencies. There is
actually those bell melodies going up at very high frequency which are audible only
for those who have ear for so high frequencies. Smile Smile

But so far it seems that the __less__ (or atleast not at all) to tweak those frequencies the
more natural it sounds. When I tried also _the_ tutorial song then there was not so much complains
about that it needs eq or so...?


..well, perhaps its another isssue which can be only heard and not so so described?


Last edited by SX001 on 2007-06-01, 14:44; edited 1 time in total
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Post Post #5870
ST ARTS wrote:

- Listen hi quality and great mixed songs- and compare them to your mix. Any common?

....


Will the greatly mixed Fasttracker modules also classify? For example Elwood.
I suggest the trackersongs becouse its easier start to notice how much instruments are
actually in use and how they are mixed together actually just by adding one by one channels
after muting all. With mixed down stereo track its harder to listen it as tutorial becouse cant
see details of actual process.
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Post Post #5871
Prometheus wrote:

Here's the first version:
http://www.speedyshare.com/314536195.html

Here's the second version:
http://www.speedyshare.com/334885519.html

Does the second version sound BETTER (mixologically speaking) than the first? Thanks for your help.


I also just turn the knobs that "this is almost ok for my ears".
The background melody is ok level with D50 alike bells, but does those both versions sound better of to adjust the flute melody to lower volume so the bassline is also heard better with its own background so the sharp melodies do not cover background? (aprox 6 dB).
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Post Post #5872
it also depends on what speaker or Headphones you use. Some have a bright sound some have more bass.
That can fault the mix, sound's good in some places...good studios have nearfield monitoring like Yamaha NS10 (hypersound use them) they are very "clean" in sound.
But to tell you the truth we are talking about Electronic sound not classic orch..
i don't think you need a massive speaker system to make good spacesynth. But i don't make music so sombody who does could answer that question better.
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Master Droid



Post Post #5879
I think the second one is too wide in highs. First one is mudded. Hard to say what it's problem here, obiviously you don't have access to all instruments separately to do proper mixing. I don't know if it makes any sense but think mixing as adjusting instruments in 3D space.

Here's how I define the axis:

X -- left to right is the pan. That's easy, but use it wisely. ie. basses rarely sound good panned - there are exceptions of course.

Y -- this is up down in the space. This is the frequency range/spectrum of the sound. Down is bass, up is highs.

Z -- this is the depth, how far some sound is from you. Obiviously this is the volume.

Now mixing is then just placing these instruments in the "3D box or sphere" to proper places so that they don't mix up too much each other. Ie. for panning this is easily done, but you could think the frequency and volume a bit same way.

Example:

Two melodies fighting over same frequency space panned center - quite mess. You can then pan them left and right. They are now much easier to listen separately. So, to do same without panning, adjust the Y axis - the frequency. Another could be EQed to dominate 3500-4500Hz range, another 2500-3000Hz range. Same can be archived with transposing the sounds - which is why bass line and melody mixes "well" without EQing.

Ie. on your clip the stabs and the melody are quite close. And then with the panflutes there seems to be another layer of sound too which is quite close the panflute.

Visualization example:

Yellow hihats, violet bassline, blue kickdrum, red/green melody and pad. You see how "muddy" the lowend and mids are.

Here's fixed mix with the X/Y/Z thinking (Z is opacity):
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