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Re: Basic editing and mastering Help wanted!

Posted: Tue Jan 24, 2017 12:29 pm
by sadko4u
About 4 months ago I've completed explaining sound engineering lessons at my work.
All is recorded as 8 video lessons, each 3-4 hours long.
I already offered to publish them but the main problem is that they're in russian language, so require for translations.
I've done a 15-minute snippet from first lection but got no feedback:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JbKvcLdXWY
So I stopped to do the further job.

Shortly: without good understanding the basics of how to record audio, perform montage, apply equalization, compression, reverberation, different kind of distortions and saturation (and actually knowledge about how do they work) no one plugin will help you. You should know what task you're currently solving and what are the ways to solve it. Mastering is the final stage and should be performed when all previous mixing steps were done.

Re: Basic editing and mastering Help wanted!

Posted: Tue Jan 24, 2017 1:30 pm
by sysrqer
There's no short or easy answer to your question, no magic plugin or settings which make things sound good. It depends on what you are trying to achieve, what is wrong with the tracks, and what other tracks are playing and contain.

Youtube is the best way to learn the basics. I recommend recordingrevolution channel, he explains things simply and offers some "shortcuts". If you don't want to do that then get a book on audio engineering and learn the basics of the physics of sound, phase, eq, pan, compression, specialization, gain. It is very complicated and there is no shortcut, every mix is different and every thing is relative to the other tracks in the mix. It takes many years to learn and more to master.

If you don't know this then forget mastering.

Re: Basic editing and mastering Help wanted!

Posted: Tue Jan 24, 2017 3:20 pm
by sadko4u
beck wrote:What i ask is what the basic plugins are to use.

Equalizers, Compressors, Reverbs, Saturators, Distortions, Limiters, Pitch Shifters and different other FXes.
There's nothing special as there is no magic pillow.

beck wrote:I understand those actions and already know a lot about it.

Then why you are asking this question:
beck wrote:Which on the tracks? And which on the master?

If you know a lot, for example, about compression then you don't need to ask where to put compressors and how many of them are needed. Also depending on task you're solving some plugins can behave in one situation good, in other situation bad.

The basic plugins for mastering mostly are the same as for mixing. Mastering requires equalization, compression, mix space processing, possible saturation and peak limiting. All the same things but applied in a bit another way.

Re: Basic editing and mastering Help wanted!

Posted: Tue Jan 24, 2017 5:53 pm
by ssj71
beck wrote:which plugins or implementation of it are best for each job.

I think the challenge there is that there are so many different "jobs" that its impossible to list them all and what plugins would be best. And a lot of it is subjective. There's a lot of ways to skin a cat. 2 different pro producers or mix engineers would turn out some rather different sounding versions of the same track, but they'd both sound great.

I sympathize with you though. I often feel bogged down trying to audition different plugins to find the right one and the right settings for the job. This could be helped a lot with some great presets for each plugin, but I really like to hear others' opinions on what plugins are great for this or that too.

Re: Basic editing and mixing Help wanted!

Posted: Tue Jan 24, 2017 11:45 pm
by ufug
beck wrote:
I need to learn more about the basics! The core tricks you can't do without, and those which do that much that you want to use them.


Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio will get you farther than any plug-in or piece of gear. It is FULL of exactly the information you are seeking. This one book has gotten me farther than years of home recording and time in studios ever did. I refer to it all the time when I am stuck with a mix (AKA every weekend).

Re: Basic editing and mixing Help wanted!

Posted: Wed Jan 25, 2017 5:56 pm
by ssj71
Mixing Secrets is a fantastic book. I highly recommend it to anyone. It does a great job of explaining the principles and basics. I've read a couple others and none of them compared in being as helpful or clear.

That said, I have to disagree on this:

beck wrote:a couple to be named basic. Thinking of: compression, reverb, EQ, saturation, limiting.
Those are jobs which are quite often done. Quite basic.

While you are right that these are basic processes that are done on nearly every project, its still not as simple as you make it. For the easiest example: the eq curve you set up on a track will be completely different depending on what voices are in the mix, what mics were used etc. EQ recipies and presets are absurd. Now, learning what frequency bands a track is composed of, is useful, but how you shape it varies widely. And whether you use a really neutral EQ or a very colorful one can just come down to a matter of taste.

Also in your cat skinning recipe, no, you don't need a knife, or to kill it even, nor am I interested in the meat. There are MANY ways to do it.

I think you'll have much better luck if you go one by one and ask,
"what are your favorite EQs and for what material/situation?"
"What are your favorite comps, for what situation?"
etc.

Or better still, "I have this situation with this track and my mix sounds like (link) and I want it to sound more like (mix reference). Anybody have advice on what I need to change or add?"
"I'm having a hard time getting results from (plugin)? anybody have tips or good alternative plugins?"

I'd guess though you could use more practice, just like I could. This will help you realize what plugins are working for you and which aren't. Mix experience is what I'm missing the most.

Fwiw I use the x42eq extensively, the A-comp for sidechains, SC4 for general workhorse clean compression, CS10q in feedback for a little more charactered compression. Saturation, I don't do often enough I guess, but I'll use tap tubewarmth when I do. Occasionally even something like the rakarrack distortion set to a low gain just to brighten it a little. Limiting, I'm still shopping around for, but swh's fast lookahead is as good as I've found. Reverb I use M-verb, Rev-1, or CAPS plate kind of just randomly picking which per song.

Re: Basic editing and mixing Help wanted!

Posted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 8:40 am
by sadko4u
beck wrote:Great ssj71. Now were talking. :mrgreen:
Anyone else too?

Relatively to your case, you should learn principles of equalization, compression, distortion/saturation and reverberation first.
And of course, setting balance between instruments.
I know what I'm talking about because there was a case when you've PM'ed to me with one of your recordings.
I've wrote about basic problems in the mix and performed quick mastering of your recording (that as you told 'was mastered').
That means that you don't know basic mixing techniques well. All sound engineers pass three mental stages:
1. I don't know everything. I should use plugins accurately and mix accurately. At this stage they get bad or not so bad sound of their mix and go studying basic mixing instruments and techniques. Mostly mix is done by using some already prepared by somebody else presets.
2. I know everything! All knobs turn right! At this stage people overrate their knowledge and have low experience, so get things even worser than at the first stage.
3. Finally, they see that all that they've done is wrong. They learn all techniques again, understand HOW IT WORKS and what effect gives EACH PARAMETER of instrument (not HOW TO SET UP to make it working in some way but HOW TO SET UP to make it working in NECESSARY WAY). Then they find and determine problems in the mix and find solutions by applying different techniques in different cases. They don't need presets more. They can tune the right processing in 2-3 minutes from zero settings.

So there are basic steps of mixing:
1. Prepare the project. Import/record all tracks, add busses and perform routing between them.
2. Set-up initial balance between all instruments. You should hear all instruments in the mix even if the loudness of your monitoring is set nealy to the zero. Ensure that threre are no clipping on all tracks/busses.
3. Perform cleaning equalization for each instrument. Cut-off annoying masking frequencies by High-Q filters. LSP Parametric Equalizer will help you to do this by applying resonance and bell filters.
4. Perform timbral correction of all tracks. Cut-off unneeded low and high frequencies by lowpass-hipass filters. Add range of frequencies by shelving filters. After timbral correction check the balance between instruments again. If there is still something annoying, try to mute individual tracks/busses until you find what track/bus adds problem to the whole sound.
5. Perform compression of individual tracks and groups. You should know here different compression techniques and their application to the source material. After compression, check balance between instruments.
6. Colorize the sound by adding more bass to bass and kick (Calf Bass Enhancer). Add high frequencies to distorted/overdriven guitars (Calf Exciter). Add tube sound to the vocals (Calf Saturator), etc... You should know here how to use distortions and saturations. Again, check the balance between instruments.
7. Perform spacial processing. Split instruments into plans, add additional reverberation busses and set-up reverberation plugin on each bus. Send different instruments to different reverberation busses. DO NOT USE reverbs on each track of the instrument, that's silly. Additionally cut-off low and high frequencies for far instruments, add some presence to near instruments. Check the balance of the mix.
8. Now you can add some automation to tracks/busses and put additional effects (Flanger, Chorus, Wah, etc..). Always check the balance!
9. You've got your mix. Check again that it doesn't have annoying masking frequencies. Fix the final problems you've noticed in the mix.
10. Export your mix to perform mastering. Do not master your mix in this project.

There also should be montage stage before starting mixing.

Re: Basic editing and mixing Help wanted!

Posted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:18 am
by jonetsu
ufug wrote:
beck wrote:
I need to learn more about the basics! The core tricks you can't do without, and those which do that much that you want to use them.


Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio will get you farther than any plug-in or piece of gear. It is FULL of exactly the information you are seeking. This one book has gotten me farther than years of home recording and time in studios ever did. I refer to it all the time when I am stuck with a mix (AKA every weekend).


I back up this claim. Excellent book. Goes along with the numerous multitrack projects available for free at Cambridge MT fo rmixing practice.

Re: Basic editing and mixing Help wanted!

Posted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:20 am
by jonetsu
sadko4u wrote:2. Set-up initial balance between all instruments. You should hear all instruments in the mix even if the loudness of your monitoring is set nealy to the zero. Ensure that threre are no clipping on all tracks/busses.


Question: have you used pink noise for setting the balance ? If so, what do you think of it ?

Re: Basic editing and mixing Help wanted!

Posted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:26 am
by jonetsu
sadko4u wrote:Split instruments into plans, add additional reverberation busses and set-up reverberation on each plugin.


Taking care of tails. They can muddy up a mix. What I experiment with now is the use of short delays, similar to slap back, a bit here and there, and their combination to produce a general sense of space. The benefit with using delays is that there are no tails to manage. Also, those delays can be colorized by EQ (dull is farther, bright is clsoer) and adjusted accordingly with compression. The compression has to work in the same way as the EQ, not against.

Re: Basic editing and mixing Help wanted!

Posted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:59 am
by sadko4u
jonetsu wrote:Question: have you used pink noise for setting the balance ? If so, what do you think of it ?

It's a very good method, especially when there is huge timbral difference between instruments.
I also recommend to take a rest every 30-40 minutes just by listening pink noise for 2-3 minutes.
The main problem of our hearing is that it adopts to the loudness of different frequencies, and some time ago we don't mark problems in frequency domain. Pink noise will reset our internal equalizer located in ears to default position.

jonetsu wrote:Taking care of tails. They can muddy up a mix. What I experiment with now is the use of short delays, similar to slap back, a bit here and there, and their combination to produce a general sense of space.

Or you can just apply sidechain compression on the reverberation bus. For example, when we get the hit of the snare, the reverberation tail becomes silenter. When the hit has gone, it becomes louder again. So reverberation (and delays) don't disturb the main sound of the instrument.

Re: Basic editing and mixing Help wanted!

Posted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 10:32 am
by sadko4u
jonetsu wrote:The benefit with using delays is that there are no tails to manage. Also, those delays can be colorized by EQ (dull is farther, bright is clsoer) and adjusted accordingly with compression. The compression has to work in the same way as the EQ, not against.

Your explanations helped me to understand what another plugin we are currently missing in linux audio. I think that plugin that allows to simulate set of slap back delays combined with equalization will be very helpful while doing spacial processing. What do you think about it?

Re: Basic editing and mixing Help wanted!

Posted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 11:19 am
by jonetsu
sadko4u wrote:I also recommend to take a rest every 30-40 minutes just by listening pink noise for 2-3 minutes.


I will try that.

sadko4u wrote:Or you can just apply sidechain compression on the reverberation bus. For example, when we get the hit of the snare, the reverberation tail becomes silenter. When the hit has gone, it becomes louder again.


To make place for the instrument itself, ducking the reverb, yes. But it comes back after that and this is the tail (or plural, tails) that can mess up a mix and has to be managed.

Re: Basic editing and mixing Help wanted!

Posted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 11:34 am
by jonetsu
sadko4u wrote:Your explanations helped me to understand what another plugin we are currently missing in linux audio. I think that plugin that allows to simulate set of slap back delays combined with equalization will be very helpful while doing spacial processing. What do you think about it?


The combination of various processors into one can be interesting although one can simply combine various processors eg. a delay followed by an EQ. Then it is possible if one wishes to have a vintage EQ like a Pulltec instead of the EQ that would be inside the delay.

I do not use Open Source plugins that much since I had bad experiences with Calf plugins crashing Ardour (Mixbus). And they do not work in Bitwig (Bitwig will not crash itself when a plugin misbehaves). I would like to use some Calf plugins, though, but I hesitate.

I have a basic question regarding the Triggersensor MIDI plugin - sorry, I haven't tried it before asking. Can it be used with a drum loop (kick, snare, hithats) sample to detect a snare hit and output a MIDI signal accordingly ? Can you say something about a practicaluse case ?- thanks.

Re: Basic editing and mixing Help wanted!

Posted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 11:44 am
by sadko4u
jonetsu wrote:I have a basic question regarding the Triggersensor MIDI plugin - sorry, I haven't tried it before asking. Can it be used with a drum loop (kick, snare, hithats) sample to detect a snare hit and output a MIDI signal accordingly ? Can you say something about a practicaluse case ?- thanks.

Triggersensor performs level-detection mechanism to find out note-on and note-off event. If you want to split drum mix into triggered events using Triggersensor, then you should probably first split the mix into instrument bands: the basic tone of kick, the basic tone of snare, the basic tone of hi-hat, etc, and then apply to each band an individual trigger.