New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

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Brewsir
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Re: New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

Post by Brewsir » Sun Sep 04, 2016 11:58 am

One thing I noticed, the electric guitar in this country rock song, has the same "chirp" sound, that occurs in the classic rock song kit. (Rythym guitar Riff 1)

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

Post by Mark Bliss » Sun Sep 04, 2016 1:48 pm

Brewsir wrote:Was unaware of the pan law. Are you saying that if you have some tracks panned, even if you compensate with the slider, it's still a problem?
Not at all. I was just pointing out one of the reasons to mix at lower levels and leave some headroom.
For example, if you have a project where the main bus level is near clipping, and you make a mix decision to pan something hard, or even possibly something like boosting an EQ setting, you could conceivably now have a project that is peaking high enough to be a problem.
This is why I suggest at this stage, getting used to mixing at lower levels.

Another common misconception about stereo tracks and panning:
If the track is stereo, it is easy to mistakenly think panning turns up one channel and turns the other channel down. That is not panning, but "balance" much as you would do with your car or home stereo for example.
Panning on the other hand, is shifting the R/L mix of the track more to the right or left side of the main bus. There's a difference.
Brewsir wrote:That might explain why that bass I had, never quite fit the song, no matter where I put the slider? Well, actually, it would be the extra effects on the bass part. Is it like, the gain, is way too high, causing distortion, even though through adjustment of the slider, it doesn't "appear", to be clipping, and it's actually having the effect of clipping, even though it may not be as pronounced?
Probably not related. I would suspect it is/was other things. Effects on bass can be tricky, and monitoring and setting bass mix levels is notoriously difficult with home studio equipment/environments. I certainly find it to be a challenge.
The place to start is probably with a decent sounding sample or loop to start with, and learning how to EQ either the bass, or other instruments that cross over into the same frequencies.

Have you done any studying or taken any mixing tutorials yet? Done any reading in the tips and tricks mixing thread of this forum?
Suggested step one, if you really want to accelerate your learning is to get a copy of the book "Mixing tips for the small studio" by Mike Senior. I highly recommend getting it, reading it and keeping it handy for reference. There's a lot of resources out there, some good, much mediocre or just flat out bad. This ones the best place to start I have found.
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Mark Bliss
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Re: New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

Post by Mark Bliss » Sun Sep 04, 2016 2:39 pm

Continuing along with our rudimentary example project, I have added a bass track and drum track from the same country rock song set. As before, starting out with the track levels pulled down to an arbitrary -12 dB.
mix rudiments.png
mix rudiments.png (55.9 KiB) Viewed 3974 times
Now reassessing our level we find that the cumulative three tracks are already creeping up.
mix rudiments level.png
mix rudiments level.png (17.75 KiB) Viewed 3974 times
Adding more tracks may begin to push us too high, so now is a good time to suggest considering a backward mixing axiom.
If a track level seems too low, it is a good idea to adopt the habit of turning everything else down a little instead of turning that track up a little. :wink:

There are other ways to address the track level issues, but we are going to stick to basics for now.

Next up, some basic EQ tips for making these three tracks work together a little better. 8)
Last edited by Mark Bliss on Mon Sep 05, 2016 3:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

Post by Mark Bliss » Sun Sep 04, 2016 9:58 pm

Ok, I feel the need to point out at this time, what I am presenting is very generalized and very simplified. And even beyond that once you learn more you will likely learn to do things very differently than what I have shown.
This is specifically intended to address your specific questions and to help get you to think about things with a better understanding, not to imply that this is necessarily the only way to do things.

At this point we have shown that even turned down 12 dB, three loops are again adding up to the point where overall level would be a concern if we added say, a guitar melody, synth pad, vocal track..... I think you probably get the point.
With some practice and experience you can probably expect to learn better to anticipate and deal with this, as well as likely learn other ways to address it.
Furthermore, you will likely learn more about gain staging and discover reasons you might consider different target levels for different reasons.

But going back to our simple three track loop example, tracks set to -12 dB as previously shown-
Since you asked specifically about the bass, lets explore some possible EQ methods that might pertain to that area.

If we look at some frequency spectrum data for visual aid, we can clearly see that there is bass content in each track, which can potentially crowd the sound in that area, causing a lack of definition, or muddy sound.
SPAN Drum.png
SPAN Drum.png (231.57 KiB) Viewed 3961 times
SPAN guit.png
SPAN guit.png (256.84 KiB) Viewed 3961 times
SPAN Bass.png
SPAN Bass.png (234.63 KiB) Viewed 3961 times
In the drum track of course, the kick drum has some low end. The guitars lower notes get down there, and then of course the bass guitar.
Lets see what we can do to clean that up a bit.

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

Post by Mark Bliss » Sun Sep 04, 2016 10:29 pm

The first thing to consider is "whos in charge"? What instrument should clearly be in charge in the bass area?

Depending on the style, or personal taste, this would usually be a question of bass guitar or kick drum.
For this style I would go with the Bass guitar, so lets start with that.

I inserted the TB Para EQ in each of the three tracks.
On the bass track, I used a low cut to roll off a little of the lowest sub bass and rolled off the top as well, reducing the clicky sounds of slaps and perhaps strings striking the pickups, to give a cleaner, rounder sound. A little cut at about 500 Hz reduced a little bit of a "honky" tone as well.
SPAN Bass EQ.png
SPAN Bass EQ.png (184.41 KiB) Viewed 3958 times
Next on the guitar track, I cut the bottom end pretty heavily so the bass guitar could stand out a little more.
SPAN Guit 2.png
SPAN Guit 2.png (172.19 KiB) Viewed 3958 times
On the drum track I rolled off the low end where the lower kick drum frequencies are, and added a little high shelf to accent the cymbals a little.
Span Drums 2.png
Span Drums 2.png (165.91 KiB) Viewed 3958 times
The result is a project that has a little cleaner low end with more clarity.
Last edited by Mark Bliss on Sun Sep 04, 2016 11:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

Post by Mark Bliss » Sun Sep 04, 2016 10:47 pm

Here's a copy of the project for you to open and experiment with what I have shown so far:
Example project..mx7
(20.95 KiB) Downloaded 121 times
Suggestion: Download and open it and toggle the EQ plug in off and on in each track to see the difference. Turn them all on and off to assess the overall change.
You will likely hear a bigger difference if you solo one track at a time and disable/enable the plug in. The overall change may seem pretty subtle, but sometimes the better mixes are the result of a lot of subtle changes.
The low end cut example on the drum track is also pretty exaggerated, you wouldn't likely want to reduce the kick that much.
All intended as food for thought. Let me know what you think.

*It just occurred to me that the version of SPAN I used is an update from what is included in Mixcraft, so it wont load with the project. You can ignore that and substitute the older version, or if interested, go to Voxengo's website and download the newer version. (Free and recommended.)
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aj113
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Re: New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

Post by aj113 » Mon Sep 05, 2016 1:05 am

Mark Bliss wrote:.... Red is a no go...
I disagree. Red simply means that the the signal is at (or approaching) 0db. Nothing wrong with that, in fact it's a requirement IMO, otherwise your final export file will be too quiet.

Certainly you should avoid clipping (going over 0db) but that is best done using compression and/or limiting on the master effects. I'm not advocating hypercompression here, I'm saying that getting your signal to reach 0db but not go over it is pretty tricky without compression or limiting.

Brewsir
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Re: New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

Post by Brewsir » Mon Sep 05, 2016 5:54 am

Mark Bliss wrote:
*It just occurred to me that the version of SPAN I used is an update from what is included in Mixcraft, so it wont load with the project. You can ignore that and substitute the older version, or if interested, go to Voxengo's website and download the newer version. (Free and recommended.)
That newer version of Span was the first VST I installed ;) Speaking of, any other good free VST's I should know about?

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

Post by Mark Bliss » Mon Sep 05, 2016 6:21 am

Brewsir wrote:That newer version of Span was the first VST I installed ;) Speaking of, any other good free VST's I should know about?
OK, good choice.
There's tons and tons of freebies out there, some good, many many mediocre, or even bad. Plenty to be a distraction.
My personal opinion? This situation is a distraction, especially for the beginner. Avert your eyes and use what you have until you discover you really need something else. Good results can be had by learning to use what you already have.
The best discoveries are when you see someone using something and realize it would be helpful because it exposes a limitation you have already discovered from being familiar with what you have. (As opposed to just thinking it must be something you need because you see someone else using it......)

So, you with me on basic mixing with loops so far?
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Brewsir
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Re: New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

Post by Brewsir » Mon Sep 05, 2016 7:17 am

Mark Bliss wrote:
Brewsir wrote:That newer version of Span was the first VST I installed ;) Speaking of, any other good free VST's I should know about?
OK, good choice.
There's tons and tons of freebies out there, some good, many many mediocre, or even bad. Plenty to be a distraction.
My personal opinion? This situation is a distraction, especially for the beginner. Avert your eyes and use what you have until you discover you really need something else. Good results can be had by learning to use what you already have.
The best discoveries are when you see someone using something and realize it would be helpful because it exposes a limitation you have already discovered from being familiar with what you have. (As opposed to just thinking it must be something you need because you see someone else using it......)
I just thought maybe there was another plug in or 2 that you would recommend. I get what you're saying.
Mark Bliss wrote:So, you with me on basic mixing with loops so far?
Yes sir

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Re: New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

Post by Mark Bliss » Mon Sep 05, 2016 7:28 am

OK, now that we have a basic rhythm idea to work with, and some basic sculpting of the sound, lets add some melody and arrangement to make it a song, then we will come back to some basic mixing ideas.

I added some more tracks from the song kit, created some basic structure and variety, edited in some drum fills, etc. Unfortunately this little song kit doesn't give us much to work with for an ending or outro. I whipped up something very simple and crude for an example idea.

You can explore it and see what I mean.
Loop Example project 2.mx7
(84.54 KiB) Downloaded 130 times
Keeping an eye on main levels, it looks like we are OK. SPAN shows we are just over my nominal -6 dB guide, so we are still safe for now.

*Edit, fixed this version of project file to make it download properly. I think. :D
*Oops, one more try? :roll:
Last edited by Mark Bliss on Mon Sep 05, 2016 9:14 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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outteh
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Re: New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

Post by outteh » Mon Sep 05, 2016 8:54 am

Great beinning mixing tutorial! I recommend this be edited and posted so others would be able to download the sample file and follow along. Good sticky! :D

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Re: New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

Post by Mark Bliss » Mon Sep 05, 2016 10:04 am

Thanks Tom, 8)
That's likely to happen at some point. I am just throwing this together on the fly in little increments as time allows.
And a reminder, it is largely loop user specific.
Not done- but there will likely to be some time gaps. Many other things going on here.......

And if there's any problem running the project files I supply, speak up. Ya'll my testers!
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Rolling Estonian
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Re: New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

Post by Rolling Estonian » Mon Sep 05, 2016 12:16 pm

Above and beyond Mark, well done! I know that it'll be appreciated, so let me be one of the first to convey thanks. You da man!

M

Brewsir
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Re: New to Mixcraft Help an old guy out

Post by Brewsir » Mon Sep 05, 2016 2:46 pm

Mark Bliss wrote:Thanks Tom, 8)
And a reminder, it is largely loop user specific.
Wait wait wait, you mean, there are more people out there like me? 8)

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