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Mixing and mastering 101: a collection of helpful links.

Post any tips and tricks you've discovered for using Acoustica software here.

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Mixing and mastering 101: a collection of helpful links.

Postby Acoustica Greg » Thu Jul 05, 2012 9:05 am

Hi all,

Use this thread as a place to post links to helpful info on improving your home recording, mixing, mastering and general audio creation skills.

Here are a couple of links to start:

Optimising The Latency Of Your PC Audio Interface

Easy Home Recording for Beginners

Mixing Rap Vocals

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Re: Mixing and mastering 101: a collection of helpful links.

Postby Arpeggio » Fri Jul 06, 2012 6:23 am

This site has a great forum and some articles and videos full of about everything you need to know about the recording business.
http://homerecording.com/bbs/
"There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself." -- J.S. Bach
http://soundcloud.com/arpeggio-2/

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Re: Mixing and mastering 101: a collection of helpful links.

Postby trevlyns » Sat Jul 07, 2012 1:23 pm

I found this site most useful - tons of videos, a free e-book EVERYBODY should read.

He uses Protools but the principles apply to any DAW.

Well worth a look!

http://therecordingrevolution.com/

Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/recordingrevolution
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Home studio and recording info links 1

Postby Mark Bliss » Sat Jul 07, 2012 9:38 pm

Last edited by Mark Bliss on Wed Aug 08, 2012 11:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Home studio and recording info links 2

Postby Mark Bliss » Sat Jul 07, 2012 10:12 pm

I also found some useful recording tips here:

Free: Musicians guide to recording-
http://www.discmakers.com/request/Special_MPN.asp

And here:

Free: Home studio tips series, 1-5 (I think that's current!)

http://www.discmakers.com/request/

Updated home studio guide 8/18:
https://www.discmakers.com/request/home-studio-handbook-email.asp?utm_campaign=EAP1833B&utm_source=Prospect&utm_medium=Email

Edit: New addition-7/13
Free: Home recording guide
http://www.discmakers.com/request/home- ... ndbook.asp
Last edited by Mark Bliss on Sat Sep 01, 2018 6:33 am, edited 9 times in total.
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Tips on mistakes to avoid

Postby Mark Bliss » Sun Jul 08, 2012 8:19 am

Heres a quick beginners list-common things NOT to do

1. Don’t Record At 16bit If You Have 24

We have 24 bits now, and we want all the headroom we can get. Use 24 bit audio and record at lower levels, that way you don’t have to worry about putting your recording into the “red”.

2. Don’t Record In The Red

In the analog days people used to overload their pre-amps a little. Just to get that sweet sound. Well, there is nothing sweet about digital clipping. Don’t record in the red when you are recording digitally; digital clipping sounds horrible and you can’t fix it. As stated above, record at 24 bit and enjoy recording at lower levels.

3. Don’t Record With bad Cables

They might not matter as much as the microphone or type of pre-amp, but effect the overall sound. Try to avoid using the cheapest cable.

4. Don’t Record Wet

More maximum flexibility and best results, consider recording dry. If Needed, add something to the headphone mix from your software to compromise.

5. Use the Right Microphone

If possible, don’t use a cheap dynamic to record vocals and then wonder why the vocal track sounds so bad. Even though dynamic microphones might work for some vocals and styles, chances are you need a decent condenser instead. Use the right microphone for the job, and if you have access to a few, try them out.

6. Position Yourself Correctly

Acoustic treatment and a great sounding room are a big help, as well as positioning the microphone correctly. Standing in the middle of the room holding a cheap dynamic mic wont get you a good sound!

7. Waves of Phase

Are you recording with two microphones? Make sure they are not causing phase problems. Phase cancelations make your signal sound thin and weak. Most DAWs have an “inverse” setting where you can flip one of the tracks 180°. Try that to see if the signal gets stronger. If it does then you were having some phase problems during recording and should work on your mic setup technique.

8. Don’t Record Tracks In A Hurry

Some artists work well under pressure. Most don’t. Don’t expect to be able to get all the vocal tracks for an album in 2 hours. Don’t plan for efficiency, it never works. Things will go wrong, people will show up late and you won’t be able to record everything you wanted. Get used to it and don’t record in a hurry.

9. Don’t Record At The Highest Possible Sample Rate

Higher sample rates mean more space and the difference between 30 tracks at 48kHz or 30 tracks at 192 kHz is a whole lot of hard disk space. The highest sample rate and the most ideal sample rate might not be the same. Being reasonable wont hurt your results in a home or portable studio setting.

10. Don’t Record Bad Instruments

Drums with new heads and guitars with new strings sound much better. Replace them and tune them before you record for better results.

And a tip I feel really helps me from time to time:
Sometimes you need to focus on listening and become too focused on your DAW's screen. Turn off the video monitor or turn away from it and listen to your mix. Quit focusing on the curser and waveform or meters and just listen to your mix. Let your ears tell you the truth.
Last edited by Mark Bliss on Wed Aug 08, 2012 11:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Recording/Mixing tutorials

Postby Mark Bliss » Sat Aug 04, 2012 8:44 am

Here is a link to a (approx 1 hour total) seminar produced by Puremix where Fab talks you through mixing a live recording step by step in 4 videos.
It is Pro Tools based and uses some high end studio equipment, but I still feel it contains some great insight and tips and considerations. (You may have to sign up for a (free) membership to view.) The Puremix.net site has some other free content you might find interesting as well, Including an excellent set of 6 videos on recording/tracking the band for the mixing tutorial session.

http://www.puremix.net/video/othering/e ... ng-up.html
Last edited by Mark Bliss on Wed Aug 08, 2012 11:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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DAW recording levels

Postby Mark Bliss » Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:51 pm

One of the best pieces of advise of all time!

The short version: Stop recording so hot. Instead of trying to get your tracks to peak at -2dBFS, have them peak between -20 and -12dBFS and your recordings will almost undoubtedly sound better. Mixing will be easier. EQ will be more effective. Compression will be smoother, more manageable and predictable. You're in the age of 24-bit digital recording - Relax and enjoy the headroom. Even if your only concern is the volume of the finished product (which would be a shame, but it happens), recordings made with a good amount of headroom are almost undoubtedly better suited to handle the "abuse" of excessive dynamics control. QUIETER recordings have more potential to be LOUD later. It's because they're usually better sounding recordings in the first place.

John Scrip - MASSIVE Mastering

The long version:
http://www.massivemastering.com/blog/in ... Levels.php
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What sampling rate should I use?

Postby Mark Bliss » Wed Aug 08, 2012 11:25 pm

Some in depth information on sampling rates

http://www.lavryengineering.com/pdfs/la ... _audio.pdf
Last edited by Mark Bliss on Sat Aug 25, 2012 2:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Acoustica Greg
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Re: Mixing and mastering 101: a collection of helpful links.

Postby Acoustica Greg » Thu Aug 09, 2012 8:44 am

trevlyns posted this in another thread:

Eminent Technology's Multimedia Speaker Test

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The loudness wars

Postby Mark Bliss » Sat Aug 25, 2012 2:28 pm

Sound engineer Bob Katz has several videos on youtube that should be considered required viewing.

Start here, but there are more, (4 I think.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCd6MHlo ... re=related
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Audio Myths workshop

Postby Mark Bliss » Sat Aug 25, 2012 2:31 pm

Another long seminar style video (1 Hr?), but worth watching twice. (or more)

Audio Myths:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYTlN6wjcvQ
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Re: Tips on mistakes to avoid

Postby Scythe » Sun Aug 26, 2012 6:41 am

mbliss wrote:Heres a quick beginners list-common things NOT to do

1. Don’t Record At 16bit If You Have 24

We have 24 bits now, and we want all the headroom we can get. Use 24 bit audio and record at lower levels, that way you don’t have to worry about putting your recording into the “red”.

2. Don’t Record In The Red

In the analog days people used to overload their pre-amps a little. Just to get that sweet sound. Well, there is nothing sweet about digital clipping. Don’t record in the red when you are recording digitally; digital clipping sounds horrible and you can’t fix it. As stated above, record at 24 bit and enjoy recording at lower levels.

3. Don’t Record With bad Cables

They might not matter as much as the microphone or type of pre-amp, but effect the overall sound. Try to avoid using the cheapest cable.

4. Don’t Record Wet

More maximum flexibility and best results, consider recording dry. If Needed, add something to the headphone mix from your software to compromise.

5. Use the Right Microphone

If possible, don’t use a cheap dynamic to record vocals and then wonder why the vocal track sounds so bad. Even though dynamic microphones might work for some vocals and styles, chances are you need a decent condenser instead. Use the right microphone for the job, and if you have access to a few, try them out.

6. Position Yourself Correctly

Acoustic treatment and a great sounding room are a big help, as well as positioning the microphone correctly. Standing in the middle of the room holding a cheap dynamic mic wont get you a good sound!

7. Waves of Phase

Are you recording with two microphones? Make sure they are not causing phase problems. Phase cancelations make your signal sound thin and weak. Most DAWs have an “inverse” setting where you can flip one of the tracks 180°. Try that to see if the signal gets stronger. If it does then you were having some phase problems during recording and should work on your mic setup technique.

8. Don’t Record Tracks In A Hurry

Some artists work well under pressure. Most don’t. Don’t expect to be able to get all the vocal tracks for an album in 2 hours. Don’t plan for efficiency, it never works. Things will go wrong, people will show up late and you won’t be able to record everything you wanted. Get used to it and don’t record in a hurry.

9. Don’t Record At The Highest Possible Sample Rate

Higher sample rates mean more space and the difference between 30 tracks at 48kHz or 30 tracks at 192 kHz is a whole lot of hard disk space. The highest sample rate and the most ideal sample rate might not be the same. Being reasonable wont hurt your results in a home or portable studio setting.

10. Don’t Record Bad Instruments

Drums with new heads and guitars with new strings sound much better. Replace them and tune them before you record for better results.

And a tip I feel really helps me from time to time:
Sometimes you need to focus on listening and become too focused on your DAW's screen. Turn off the video monitor or turn away from it and listen to your mix. Quit focusing on the curser and waveform or meters and just listen to your mix. Let your ears tell you the truth.


Thanks thats quite helpful :)

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Re: Mixing and mastering 101: a collection of helpful links.

Postby Mark Bliss » Sun Aug 26, 2012 7:52 am

Glad you could appreciate it.
I was beginning to be pretty sure I was just storing this stuff here for my own use.....
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Compression

Postby Mark Bliss » Mon Aug 27, 2012 3:43 am

In response to a request, heres some stuff on compression.

Added 5/15- Compression 101:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2CxMCkvml8

This video is rather badly shot, grainy and poorly lit, but its short and covers the basics of how compression works pretty well actually. Its a place to start.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1TbtOWG9rY

Next is a much better video with some examples of how compression might be used, when it might be used, pros and cons, etc. I wasnt sure about Fab at first, but after seeing a few of his tutorials and seminars I have become a big fan of his presentations. I think he is a good sound engineer and a good teacher. Rare combination! Puremix.net is a treasure trove of great information!
(Here is an interview with Fab Dupont, where he explains some of his doctrine and ideas. About half way through he explains some ideas that show why I think so highly of him and the site he is building.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=p ... 247OyOzAM4

Compression overview:
http://www.puremix.net/video/tooling/co ... rview.html

Edit: One further tip. Although videos can be useful for instruction, many of them are just plain bad in my opinion, and youtube uses so much audio compression in their format that its hard to hear the difference in a/b comparisons and such. The puremix video for example is very useful viewed on their site, but nearly useless viewed on youtube.
So maybe use the information and experiment on your own.
Eric made a good comment elsewhere, that if you can hear it you are probably using too much. I recommend using it as a processor more than an effect as it were. Unless you are going for some totally molested/mangled sound, but thats a whole other subject. This is meant to be advise in the context of mixing.

Edit 8/28/12:
Heres a useful article I just found!
http://audio.tutsplus.com/tutorials/mix ... mpression/
Last edited by Mark Bliss on Thu May 07, 2015 4:02 am, edited 5 times in total.
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