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New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

Support and feedback for Acoustica's Mixcraft audio mixing software.

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Rolling Estonian
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Re: New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

Postby Rolling Estonian » Mon Sep 05, 2016 3:45 pm

Of course there are! They just would never admit it! :mrgreen:

M

Brewsir
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Re: New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

Postby Brewsir » Mon Sep 05, 2016 7:13 pm

Ok, here's another song, hopefully mixed better. Pay no attention to the video, it's my first, and it's a whole lot of checkin' out effects and transitions..........well, and learning to fly...........and edit video..........and use the camera.

https://youtu.be/e4JTHiKCmnE

Oh, the song is a bit rough at the start, I'll fix it eventually...........maybe.

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Mark Bliss
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Re: New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

Postby Mark Bliss » Mon Sep 05, 2016 8:54 pm

After getting a chance to test it, I found the second project file to have a problem related to ease of download/playback and replaced it. If there's still an issue let me know.

Brewsir, I had a listen to "Blues Ballad" and "Sound Check"
Overall sound is far better. Seems the level is about where we have been discussing for mixing levels. Theres more to cover on that, and mix down levels and such, but improvement. Forward steps.

Blues ballad has a nice foundation, my primary critique would be that it seems to be a sax and two or three guitars all playing lead at once... I would suggest deciding who plays lead at the moment.
I wouldn't want to be in a band with those guys all demanding attention all the way through the tune.
No wait, I think I was once......

Sound check has some nice arrangement and interesting content. I think its pretty good, especially for your intended purposes.
Theres what sounds like a rough edit at about 0:30, and the bass content is very loud relative to the rest of the mix. But your on the right path.
Last edited by Mark Bliss on Mon Sep 05, 2016 9:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

Postby Mark Bliss » Mon Sep 05, 2016 9:31 pm

Continuing with the same example project, lets work on it some more:

The organ and electric guitar tracks are too loud, its hard to even hear the acoustic guitar.
I pulled down the track faders roughly to taste, 2 or 3 dB range.

But the organ plays through the second verse, competing with the electric guitar, so I think it needs to be reduced just in that section. Theres several ways to do this. You could use clip level automation or track level automation for example. But working with loops as clips lets us get away with a pretty quick way to get "rough mix" ready results.
I right clicked the desired clip (Organ, second verse) and used the envelopes function to reduce the level of that clip by 50%.

Clip gain editing.png
Clip gain editing.png (96.26 KiB) Viewed 2869 times


I then similarly lowered the electric guitar clips in just the chorus sections by 25% to give the organ its moment.
Now the individual instruments have more defined sections.

*If your a shortcut key user, note the circled area. If you do this a lot its mighty handy. :wink:

Heres the current project for your perusal.

Loop Example project 3.mx7
(84.66 KiB) Downloaded 50 times


It might be a good time to point out that there's a difference in the methods you might use that might not be as critical for using loops, but may be important to know somewhere in the future.....
Clip gain adjustments are pre effect inserts, while track level gain adjustments are post insert. It will come to you. 8)
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Brewsir
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Re: New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

Postby Brewsir » Tue Sep 06, 2016 4:58 am

Mark Bliss wrote:Brewsir, I had a listen to "Blues Ballad" and "Sound Check"
Overall sound is far better. Seems the level is about where we have been discussing for mixing levels. Theres more to cover on that, and mix down levels and such, but improvement. Forward steps.

Blues ballad has a nice foundation, my primary critique would be that it seems to be a sax and two or three guitars all playing lead at once... I would suggest deciding who plays lead at the moment.
I wouldn't want to be in a band with those guys all demanding attention all the way through the tune.
No wait, I think I was once......

Sound check has some nice arrangement and interesting content. I think its pretty good, especially for your intended purposes.
Theres what sounds like a rough edit at about 0:30, and the bass content is very loud relative to the rest of the mix. But your on the right path.


Don't most rock songs have 2 leads, if you consider vocals a lead part? For instance, and I know this is a particularly bad example, but, Muzak, since there is no vocal, you usually hear what was a vocal part, turned to an instrumental lead? Not that I know how to construct using vocals, but lack of vocals, is a foreign concept.

As far as the bass on "Sound Check", you caught me. Just can't leave the damn bass alone. I tried really hard to enhance it, without the resulting problems............not so much. I did finally play one of my songs on my home theater system, it sounded fairly good, but required quite a bit of extra volume to get to my preferred listening level. I think I had too many sliders too low, to make sure the "enhanced" bass didn't cause any clipping. :idea: Why don't I just leave effects alone for now, right?

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Re: New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

Postby Mark Bliss » Tue Sep 06, 2016 9:42 am

Brewsir wrote: Don't most rock songs have 2 leads, if you consider vocals a lead part? For instance, and I know this is a particularly bad example, but, Muzak, since there is no vocal, you usually hear what was a vocal part, turned to an instrumental lead? Not that I know how to construct using vocals, but lack of vocals, is a foreign concept.


Often yes, but if you listen carefully you will notice its common to have one lead instrument (or vocal as you point out) demanding primary attention at any given moment. The "Everybody solo" thing generally creates a chaotic mess.
Structured arrangement.

Listening to examples, you will usually find that when one is playing a melodic lead riff or singing a phrase, the others are playing a rhythm part. An instrument may then play a lead or in another example do little riffs that fill in the gaps between vocal phrases.
A common example of an exception would be the lead section of The Eagles- Hotel California, where the guitars of Joe Walsh and Felder or Henley (sorry, senior moment, cant remember this detail :lol: ) take turns playing lead riffs, then join together, playing similar riffs in harmony (one up the neck, the other lower) to nice effect.
And another thing, though vocals don't apply for you, you will learn that it is common to subtly duck even rhythm instruments and pads just a little during the vocal phrase to make it stand out better. Done properly, the casual listener should never notice. But as your ears become trained (tortured) by mixing, you begin to notice things........

Brewsir wrote:As far as the bass on "Sound Check", you caught me. Just can't leave the damn bass alone. I tried really hard to enhance it, without the resulting problems............not so much. I did finally play one of my songs on my home theater system, it sounded fairly good, but required quite a bit of extra volume to get to my preferred listening level. I think I had too many sliders too low, to make sure the "enhanced" bass didn't cause any clipping. :idea: Why don't I just leave effects alone for now, right?


Its not that the bass sounds bad, its just too loud in proportion to the other tracks. But also, all that heavy extra low sub bass can translate poorly on many playback systems, and isn't really appropriate for the music's style IMO.

I was going to come around to mix-down levels and loudness after we covered some more mixing basics. But in essence, you rendered the track at mixing level, which is going to be too low. Your getting ahead of me. :lol:
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Re: New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

Postby Mark Bliss » Thu Sep 08, 2016 12:27 am

OK, no questions on anything so far, and I see no one has downloaded the last two project files. Maybe its best to stick to the pretty little pictures. :lol:

I was going to try to show some more very basic mixing of the project, then move on to some thoughts on mixing down. Any questions, input, suggestions welcome.
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Brewsir
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Re: New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

Postby Brewsir » Thu Sep 08, 2016 8:12 am

Mark Bliss wrote:OK, no questions on anything so far, and I see no one has downloaded the last two project files. Maybe its best to stick to the pretty little pictures. :lol:

I was going to try to show some more very basic mixing of the project, then move on to some thoughts on mixing down. Any questions, input, suggestions welcome.


Hey Mark, sorry, I've been buried in Mixcraft, trying to improve. I am awaiting the next lesson :)

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Re: New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

Postby Mark Bliss » Thu Sep 08, 2016 10:12 am

All right, just wanted to make sure I wasn't killing time....... :wink:
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Re: New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

Postby AHornsby » Thu Sep 08, 2016 12:48 pm

Hey Mark. I did download the file and played it fine. Don't know exactly why it doesn't show it. -h

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Re: New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

Postby Mark Bliss » Thu Sep 08, 2016 4:09 pm

Thanks for that Harry. Maybe the counters are meaningless.
Of the three project files I added, the first shows three downloads, the second none, and the third and latest version shows one download.
I'll be back. 8)
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Re: New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

Postby Rolling Estonian » Fri Sep 09, 2016 8:20 am

I downloaded it and love the guitars, good stuff! Appreciate the tutorial as always Mark, above and beyond once again!

These are the kinds of threads that are so useful to newer hobbyists like myself, really reinforces and helps to understand the concepts.

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Re: New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

Postby Mark Bliss » Sat Sep 10, 2016 7:17 am

OK and thanks for the input!
Just a heads up, I didn't intentionally turn this into an open ended "work in progress" type of tip thread, it just evolved that way unplanned I guess.
I suspect Greg may want to move us to the "tips and tricks" section so this doesn't keep popping to the top of the main Mixcraft forum. If he makes that decision, we can continue there, though less people may see it. But its his call of course. :wink:

But in the meantime:

Lets back up for an editing/arrangement tip.
continuing in the example project, lets say you decide verse 2 is to short at 8 measures, and you want it to be 16 instead.

With snap set to measure or grid, you can quickly add the desired space by highlighting the 8 measures after verse 2 like this:

V3 extension1.png
V3 extension1.png (115.89 KiB) Viewed 2740 times


And add the space like this:

V3 extension2.png
V3 extension2.png (41.01 KiB) Viewed 2740 times


Next, we want to copy the existing verse 2 so we can duplicate it. Highlight the section and it selects all the clips.
*Note, to work smoothly the clips need to be split into sections as they already are in this loop based project. In other cases, you may need to add that extra step.

With Verse 2 highlighted, you can simply right click within a track and select copy:

V3 extension3.png
V3 extension3.png (84.87 KiB) Viewed 2740 times


(Continued)
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Re: New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

Postby Mark Bliss » Sat Sep 10, 2016 7:22 am

Now simply place the cursor at the beginning of the blank space with a right click and select paste:

V3 extension4.png
V3 extension4.png (81.09 KiB) Viewed 2740 times


And now the second verse plays through twice!
If you like it, its time to click on save. If not, hit undo until you are back where you were.
(Or simply reload the old version.)

V3 extension5.png
V3 extension5.png (97.02 KiB) Viewed 2740 times


Be wary that this kind of addition can sometimes cause your tune to become repetitious.
But sometimes repetition is good! Use your judgement. 8)
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Re: New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

Postby Mark Bliss » Sun Sep 11, 2016 8:20 pm

A couple of new things:

I have kind of jumped around topically from some tips on working with loops, arranging and editing and some thoughts on basic mixing. To be clear I would suggest working out the basic arrangement and editing long before being too concerned about mixing beyond working out rough levels. After that is pretty well sorted out, you will be able to better work on the way tracks sound relative to each other.
The reason I mention this will likely become apparent later as I undo some of what we already did here. :wink:

I also changed around the marker names to better suit where this was going. What I was originally calling the chorus's actually evolved into more like the verses, and that center section I was calling verse 2 really started to feel more like a chorus or lead section. Verse 1 and 3 began to seem more like an intro and outro. Its still a short little ditty, but......
Evolving.

And this is probably a good time to point out a few more things.
One, I got sidetracked on other thoughts and neglected to consider the organ track had the same kind of stereo processing as the acoustic guitar that I decided was best switched to one mono track. I have since done the same to the organ track because I was noticing it just wasn't really as clear as it could be.
[Right click on the organ track header. Select all clips. Right click on a clip header, properties/channel/right (or left as you wish.)]

I also wanted to remind that as of yet, I haven't touched a pan setting. We will get there, but its important, especially for the novice IMO, to get the levels, then any major EQ decisions sorted before that step. Reminder, all panning is centered yet.

One last thing before moving on, the project now would require sharing as a folder (instead of a simple project file) due to the next set of changes I will show. So I am thinking I may just post occasional links to the current audio version, and when we decide to move on from this example project, I will supply a copy of the project folder to anyone who requests it, if anyone wants to study and review this.
Saves time and space.

Now back to where we left off, when we changed what was verse 2 from an eight bar section to 16.

I mentioned things might become repetitious. Also, one of the original questions was about changing things to make the tune a bit more "your own".
So here's a simple example of an edit that may give ideas about both.

Since the section become two copies of the same 8 bars, lets change one a little'

I split the last two bars of the first half.

Variety1.png
Variety1.png (31.22 KiB) Viewed 2696 times


And edited the first of those bars with a level fade, copied it and replaced the last bar with that copy like so:

Variety2.png
Variety2.png (32.79 KiB) Viewed 2696 times


Now, not only is the first half of the section different from the second, but there's a bonus-

Because of the edit, there is added tension, as the sequence feels "unfinished" and the second half of the section finished with a resolve, to relieve that tension.
Cool! 8)

(Refer to about 0:54)
https://soundcloud.com/mbliss01/example-project-4

*Its not very loud, but we'll work on that after throwing a few more ideas out.
Last edited by Mark Bliss on Mon Sep 12, 2016 8:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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