Old 06-01-2013, 07:41 PM   #1
hamish
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Default The 'Three Plugin' Mixoff

Following off from the thread 'One EQ, Compressor, Reverb?' started by Billoon, I'm happy to kick off the Mixoff thread based on this premise.

Background: You should be able to mix with just an EQ, a Compressor and a Reverb unit. Most philosophical angles were covered, and a couple of dozen forum members nominated their 'go to' EQ, Comp and Verb.

http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=123459

I found a publicly available multitrack that I think will be possible to get a good result on with this minimalistic approach.

Please watch the following video with Sven Bornemark (Vox, Piano and Gtr) talking with Marco Manieri (producer and recording engineer) http://pearlmicrophones.com/index.ph...ing-techniques about the tracking of the song 'Stop Messing With Me', before deciding if mixing this song with only 1 EQ, 1 compressor and 1 reverb would be something you could go for.

Next: Getting the multitrack, and the rules (more like guidelines) for the mixoff.
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Old 06-01-2013, 07:42 PM   #2
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Default How to download the files

The multitrack is at the Pearl microphones website, and access is via Mike Seniors 'Mixing Secrets' website

1) Go to http://www.cambridge-mt.com/ms-mtk.htm#SvenBornemark

where you should see this:




Click the 'Pearl Mics' link, noting the username and password 'Peal Mics'

2) After logging on you should be here



(download all eight wav files)

Next: The 'Rules'

Last edited by hamish; 06-05-2013 at 04:34 AM. Reason: available again
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Old 06-01-2013, 07:56 PM   #3
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Default The 'Rules'

We want to get mp3 files that are easy to compare. Loudness variations make this difficult. The average loudness of the mp3 file 'preview' on 'Mixing Secrets' website is about -15 dB. Please keep all submissions within +/- 1 dB of this so that we can quickly make comparisons of EQ, compression and Reverb. You can put this plugin http://www.klangfreund.com/lufsmeter as the last one on your master chain, and the figure in column 'I' after one full playthrough is your 'Program Integrated Loudness Units Full Scale'. Another one is http://hofa-plugins.de/pages/start_en/4u_en.php (both are free and available for mac and win)

You use only three plugins (not counting metering). You use any number of instances of your favourite EQ, compressor and reverb, you'll have to use the same plugins for track, bus and master chains. Nominate the plugins you have used when you post your mix. [If using a 'multi-mode' plugin such as Nebula, you only use EQ, compression and reverb libraries and functions]

You can enter as many times as you like. Post with a link to your mix as a high quality (320 kbps) mp3, and tell us which plugs you have used.

You may link/attach your .RPP too, as this could be interesting.

All approaches welcome, even plugless outside the box experimental reamping.

(to be continued, please be patient or see 'One EQ, Compressor, Reverb?' thread for the discussion. Otherwise if you have a mix feel free to post right away, I have a rough one already. It's just a friendly.)

A list of standout mixes is here: http://forum.cockos.com/showpost.php...&postcount=203

Last edited by hamish; 06-07-2013 at 12:03 AM.
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Old 06-01-2013, 08:27 PM   #4
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Not seeing where to log in to dl the files. The Pearl link just goes to their home page.

Nevermind. Was using the 2nd (wrong) pearl mics link.
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Old 06-01-2013, 09:06 PM   #5
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As I mentioned in the other thread, I've only been mixing for fun for the past year or so. This style and some of these instruments are things I've never done before.

Can anyone recommend a good reference track (or tracks) that I can use to get an idea of what to shoot for?

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Old 06-01-2013, 10:13 PM   #6
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IINM, the preview MP3 is the mix Mike Senior did, so probably not a bad reference; unless you mean to say, a mix where the engineer used only 3 plugins, in which case I have no ideas for you.
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Old 06-01-2013, 10:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aste View Post
IINM, the preview MP3 is the mix Mike Senior did, so probably not a bad reference; unless you mean to say, a mix where the engineer used only 3 plugins, in which case I have no ideas for you.
Na, just a general good mix in the vein of the song. I didn't notice that mix until after I posted.

I guess it will be a good exercise to try and get as close to Senior's mix as possible.
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Old 06-01-2013, 10:45 PM   #8
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I'm not big on modern blues, maybe Fabulous Thunderbirds? Really this is just a demo track it's pretty basic. Robert Cray is way more sophisticated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ambient View Post
I guess it will be a good exercise to try and get as close to Senior's mix as possible.
I'm not sure the 'preview' mix is by Mike Senior, more likely it's a quicky mix by Marco Manieri.

Last edited by hamish; 06-01-2013 at 11:29 PM.
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Old 06-01-2013, 10:57 PM   #9
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Hey guys
I decided to do a quick mix (about an hour including writing this post) with stock plugins for the mixoff. I even did a lot of it. I used ReaComp, ReaEQ, and ReaVerb (with 2 Bricasti M7 room impulses).
ReaComp and ReaEQ are great and I'm already using them a ton, but not exclusively. The only hard part was making ReaComp work like a master limiter.

Listen Here
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Old 06-01-2013, 11:05 PM   #10
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Default Hey! This is my 'beta' mix. My v.1 is in post #18

Way to go epicsounds! I hear you on using ReaComp as a master compressor. I like your drums there.

I also want to post a quicky mix just to give people a better idea of what to do here.

I used ReaEQ, ReaComp and freeverb3 Hibiki algorithmic

Stop Messing With Me PNO VOX draft mix

In fact that isn't even a mix, just my first go at getting a ballpark vocal and piano treatment. Nothing at all on the drums (and they're way to far back). Nothing on bass or acoustic guitars. Minimal treatment on electric guitar.


Here's the .RPP so far, I could call this my version 0.25
Attached Files
File Type: rpp Stop messing with me - PNO VOX - UPLOAD.RPP (33.5 KB, 250 views)

Last edited by hamish; 06-04-2013 at 09:33 PM. Reason: updated info
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Old 06-02-2013, 12:48 AM   #11
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Cool, thanks Hamish. Workin on mine now.
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Old 06-02-2013, 01:03 AM   #12
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I'm loading the Samples right now. It will be a good exercise i think.


One question:
With average loudness
"The average loudness of the mp3 file 'preview' on 'Mixing Secrets' website is about -15 dB. Please keep all submissions within +/- 1 dB"
you simply mean RMS-Peak right? Anything other would not make sense in my opinion, but i just want to make it clear.

edit:
btw. the song is great.
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Old 06-02-2013, 02:48 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OrkDadin View Post
One question:
With average loudness
"The average loudness of the mp3 file 'preview' on 'Mixing Secrets' website is about -15 dB. Please keep all submissions within +/- 1 dB"
you simply mean RMS-Peak right? Anything other would not make sense in my opinion, but i just want to make it clear.
It refers to LUFS, see post 3.
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Old 06-02-2013, 02:54 AM   #14
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Hello

My mix with only three plugins.

MEqualizer – MeldaProduction
MCompressor – MeldaProduction
Reverberate LE – LiquidSonic
I used Lexicon Ambience and Stage irs and Bricasti Hall and Chamber irs.

For some reason I couldn't upload a MP3 file to my message.
Here is a link for download my mix from Google Drive.
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B8B-...it?usp=sharing

^hamish
I think lead vocal in your mix could use more reverb or ambience and it is a bit loud compared to band.
Not sure about the balance of gtr acgtr and piano. Maybe piano down a bit and both gtrs up a bit.
Will wait your final mix.

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Old 06-02-2013, 04:04 AM   #15
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Hi Moonwrist. I have to say straight off I love your mix! You really got the lead/rhythm sections working off each other to perfection, I just had to tap my foot!

I may have to try the acoustic guitar over on the right side like that, especially the intro, makes perfect sense. Better than the preview mix.

That acoustic guitar track has so much tone, I'm hoping we can do even more with it than what you have here.

Your vocal treatment is perfect imo, mine is definitely too dry. Also I must say I found the preview mix too wet personally.

I haven't got to the rhythm section yet but by crikey I like what you have done there. Thanks very much.
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Old 06-02-2013, 04:07 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Billoon View Post
It refers to LUFS, see post 3.
Uh, that was too obvious for me. Sorry.


Here is my first version with ReaEQ, ReaVerb with Pipeline Impulses and ReaComp
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/...1_OrkDadin.mp3

Its not the final version and needs more work in the stereo-field i think.
It was hard to reach the -15 dB without compressing to much in the master. I'm now at ~ -16,5 dB so that needs more work, too.

@Moonwrist
Great mix, but your bassdrum has very dominant bass on my setup. Maybe too much?
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Old 06-02-2013, 05:31 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OrkDadin View Post
It was hard to reach the -15 dB without compressing to much in the master. I'm now at ~ -16,5 dB so that needs more work, too.
I'm havin the same problem, got it about -19LUFS which i'm happy with, got a bit of work to do to get it up there.
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Old 06-02-2013, 05:53 AM   #18
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Default Hamish v.1. Mix

5th June, updated v1 mix and .RPP

Here is my v1 tweaked mix

For this one I put in more bass and put the piano back (thanks Moonwrist). I have kept the vocal right up though, and dry as that is still my preference with the track (love all the different versions though)


I'm not being too precious with this I hope?

Here's my v1 mix that comes in at -15 LUFS. It is a bit of faffing around to get there, but it will make comparing mixes easier.

I have done something like Moonwrists panorama, cause it's great ; ) I need to do a bit more automation, but this will do for now.

Interested in what people do with that acoustic guitar. I've rolled off the top end and put in a fair bit of lower mids, it's very rich in that range.
Attached Files
File Type: rpp Stop messing with me - HAMISH v1 tweaked UPLOAD.RPP (34.2 KB, 202 views)

Last edited by hamish; 06-04-2013 at 09:32 PM.
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Old 06-02-2013, 06:07 AM   #19
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@OrkDadin - nice dynamics there, and very crisp drums cutting through. That scored about -16 on the LUFSMeter.

I now have a project with 7 mp3s, 2 of my own plus one off 'Mixing Secrets' (Where you can use as many plugs as you like, luxury eh?). The cool thing is they are all very close in average rms and it does make comparisons easy.

Already we have some different ideas on bass weight, reverb depth and so on, which is great. Bad news is we are unlikely to get much of a comparison of plugin sound unless we get HEAPS of mixes posted.

Still, it's educational so far. Keep them coming!
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Old 06-02-2013, 07:17 AM   #20
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Isn't time allowed a factor also? How long should I spend on the "mix"?
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Old 06-02-2013, 07:53 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FKAB View Post
Isn't time allowed a factor also? How long should I spend on the "mix"?
We decided not to have a time factor,...at your leisure.
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Old 06-02-2013, 08:13 AM   #22
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Thank you for feedback.
I don't know how should I give feedback about only using three plugins.
I mean I can't hear that one sound is wrong or bad because of a plugin used.
So this is just a general feedback about mixes.

^OrkDadin
Nice mix.
Maybe little dry in reverb and there could be more low end in the drums but if my mix has too much that might be a problem in my monitors.

^Hamish
Nice work.
I like the gtr sound and its space but acgtr is left kind of behind when piano comes in.
Gtr and piano balance is good in the solo part but other than that I think piano is still a little in front of both gtrs.
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Old 06-02-2013, 09:23 AM   #23
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Here's a first attempt. I didn't listen to other entries yet, so I have no idea how it compares. I thought the preview mix sounded overly aggresive and overcompressed. Mine is more laid-back:

https://www.box.com/s/15m4wwmapwpkx9sk0kdl

I ended up using different plugins from those listed in the desert island thread. I used FabFilter Pro-Q, Cytomic The Glue and 2C Audio Breeze.

LUFS Meter at -15.3.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Mixer.jpg (65.2 KB, 370 views)
File Type: jpg Tracks.jpg (64.2 KB, 271 views)
Attached Files
File Type: rpp Stop Messing With Me.RPP (63.3 KB, 192 views)
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Old 06-02-2013, 10:31 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FKAB View Post
Isn't time allowed a factor also? How long should I spend on the "mix"?
It's a simple, well recorded song. Shouldn't take much more than an hour if you know your tools.
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Old 06-02-2013, 10:32 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EpicSounds View Post
It's a simple, well recorded song. Shouldn't take much more than an hour if you know your tools.
I dont agree with this at all. Most people I know and most pros spend 8-12 hours on a song mix.
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Old 06-02-2013, 10:52 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hamish View Post
I'm not being too precious with this I hope?

Here's my v1 mix that comes in at -15 LUFS. It is a bit of faffing around to get there, but it will make comparing mixes easier.
I must admit i'm not sure i agree with getting the RMS to a strict figure - the volume knob is what i use to compare mixes. Obviously, a healthy RMS is going to sit somewhere between -20 to -14 with this mix but i don't think anyone should be messing with their delicate balance so as to come out at strict RMS level.
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Old 06-02-2013, 10:56 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EpicSounds View Post
It's a simple, well recorded song. Shouldn't take much more than an hour if you know your tools.
It takes me an hour to properly gain stage and just listen to the track enough so that i'm used to the way it sounds, the arrangement, hear the nuances of each instrument etc. Would be seriously impressed by anyone producing a great mix in just an hour!!
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Old 06-02-2013, 11:14 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bladerunner View Post
It takes me an hour to properly gain stage and just listen to the track enough so that i'm used to the way it sounds, the arrangement, hear the nuances of each instrument etc. Would be seriously impressed by anyone producing a great mix in just an hour!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by lxm View Post
I dont agree with this at all. Most people I know and most pros spend 8-12 hours on a song mix.
Depends on the song, with this one I see no reason to constantly tweak. There is no 'fixing in the mix' to do with this song, unlike most home studio projects. I usually spend 4-10 hours mixing songs that need drum replacement, editing, vocal tuning, complex routing, amp simulation or reamping, compensation for shitty mic technique or room etc.

I spent an hour last night in headphones and another half hour today making adjustments. The song felt pretty balanced with just the raw tracks.

Limiting yourself to the 3 tools for the challenge allows you to make decisions quickly. I would have liked to use RX declicker for a few spots on the bass and a deEsser for one part of the vocal. A proper lookahead limiter would have been nice too.


1.5 hour mix with ReaComp, ReaEQ and ReaVerb:
Download my mix v2
Please let me know how to spend my next 6-10 hours tweaking this.

Sidenote, did anyone else find most of the tracks had some nastiness around 3kHz?
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Old 06-02-2013, 11:21 AM   #29
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Sounds like fun. Lemme grab the files and take a crack at it.
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Old 06-02-2013, 11:50 AM   #30
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I just watched the video about the recording sessions and I have to say, this kind of session is right up my alley. I love the minimalist 'keep it real' approach so I'm going to give this a shot.

Will probably use ReaEQ, ReaComp and Valhalla for this.

There's some great mic'ing tips and tricks in that session video too. Great stuff, particularly the drum mic'ing.
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Old 06-02-2013, 11:56 AM   #31
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Just listening to the track now and I really just want to fire up my Hammond and jam!! I might record a Hammond part to add to a second mix later just for fun.
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Old 06-02-2013, 12:13 PM   #32
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Here is my mix:
http://minus.com/lwgbqP16nhS2J

Mixed in Ableton Live 9 using Ableton EQ Eight, Compressor, and Reverb.

jnif
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Old 06-02-2013, 12:53 PM   #33
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Here's my mix.

I used the following plugins:
Reverb (TAL Reverb II)
EQ (FabFilter ProQ)
Compressor (ReaComp)
I thought it sounded great as is, so I wasn't too aggressive

Last edited by hotsaucejalapeno; 06-02-2013 at 03:24 PM.
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Old 06-02-2013, 01:12 PM   #34
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Alright, here's mine. Not sure if got the volume correct. Probably not. I didn't bother to de-ess, edit timing, or pitch correction. It's a pleasure to mix well recorded tracks.

Melda EQ
TRacks Opto Compressor
Valhalla Room

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Old 06-02-2013, 01:15 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EpicSounds View Post
...and a deEsser for one part of the vocal.
Reacomp can be used as a de-esser (or would that have been against the rules? - not sure)
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Old 06-02-2013, 03:08 PM   #36
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Ok, here's my offering.

EDIT:
https://dl.dropbox.com/s/6yp2squu4dx...Mix%201%20.mp3

Sorry guys I don't know how to embed the dropbox file, I cn only point to the download!!

MDynamicEQ
UBK-1 comp
LX480 reverb.

Nicely recorded tracks! ;-)
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Old 06-02-2013, 03:17 PM   #37
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hotsaucejalapeno, and henge

I can't listen to your mixes, I get a 403 error, a pic of a box with a lock & chain and message saying i don't belog here

Can you allow access without me having to join dropbox and login ?

Cheers
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Old 06-02-2013, 03:23 PM   #38
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UPDATE - Latest mix (mix FIVE) is here:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/b0dvho6792...nnii_Mix_5.mp3

I'm pretty sure this will be my last mix. For this one, I added some New York style parallel compression to the drum overheads and they now sound far fuller, especially the snare and toms which were a little too far back and too thin in the previous mix.
The LUFS of this mix is slightly higher now too at -14.8dB so it is actually closer to our goal of -15dB than my previous mix. I'll update the screen grabs later.

Mix four is here:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/vpjr9d4cv6...nnii_Mix_4.mp3
For mix four, I panned the acoustic and electric the reverse of my previous mix in order to place the acoustic opposite to the main body of the stereo mic'd Steinway grand sound (the notes where the majority of the chord comp'ing was played appear somewhat to the right in the stereo field). In mix three, the grand and the acoustic were overlapping in style when they were both comp'ing and they almost sounded like one instrument due to their similar positioning in the stereo field. By moving the images apart in this mix, they can be playing very similar parts but still sound like two distinct instruments.
I also added a tiny bit of extra low mid EQ to the vocals in this mix and slightly upped the compression ratio to add a little extra body and presence.
The acoustic EQ was also slightly tweaked for some added body and definition.

Mix three:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/isr6i2ppg6...nnii_Mix_3.mp3
I was reasonably happy with mix two but, upon coming back with fresh ears after a good sleep, I made the mix above which restores the dynamics and feel of the acoustic bass which was missing in mix two. Mix four, at the top of the page, also retains this tweaking of the bass.

The following summary of this mix has been updated to reflect what I did for mix four.

Plugins used: ReaComp, ReaEQ and Valhalla Room.

I used two instances of Valhalla, one on drum overheads (this same reverb was also added to the acoustic ambience track in mix four) and another on vocals.

The ambience on the acoustic was obtained by duplicating the track, shifting the audio on the second track and rolling off the top end, then panning the direct sound mostly left and the delayed sound in the middle. The reason for placing the delayed track in the middle rather than right is to keep the perceived space the acoustic guitar is in realistic. Panning it right would create an unrealistic sense that the acoustic was played VERY loudly in a very large space which is clearly not the case in this song. As mentioned above, the delayed track also has a small amount of the drum room reverb on it for added sense of realism (this gives the delayed track some ambience). Overall EQ was a small notch at 175Hz, a broad boost of the lower mids to bring out some fullness and a touch of high shelf for some detail.

The room mic track on the electric was shifted slightly too to obtain a short delay (delay without a delay plugin), making the space appear bigger. Panning was the reverse of the acoustic and with the delayed track panned exactly opposite the direct so the acoustic and electric sit somewhat opposite each other in the mix. In contrast to the acoustic, panning the room mic opposite the direct mic works here because our ears expect to hear loud sounds from an electric guitar/amp combo and the volume produced would indeed fill a much larger space than the relatively quiet acoustic guitar.
I bussed the two tracks to a subgroup and added a very slow compressor to act as a leveller to bring the quiet sections out without needing to automate the faders down during the solo.

Steinway Grand sounded great as it was. All I added was a broad boost of about 6dB at 3KHz to make it sit nicely with the other instruments. No extra ambience was necessary. I let the stereo mics and the natural space do the 'talking.'

For the vocals, I added a little gentle overall compression, some subtle EQ (-2.6dB @ 3.8KHz and +4.3dB high shelf @ 13.5KHz), then some gentle de-essing on the HF peaks using ReaComp with the HPF set to 10.6KHz) and a little Valhalla Room (LV426 Plate).

For drums I added a little low mid and high shelf EQ for presence on the overheads with a subtle ReaComp de-ess (as per the vocal technique above) to tame the louder crashes. Valhalla Room was used (dark drum room preset) for a little added space.
Kick drum was EQ'd with a LPF to remove the other drums and a little low shelf for some punch. I then fed the kick track into the sidechain of a fast compressor on the bass track to make room for the kick to cut through without the bass competing for spectral space.

Acoustic bass was eq'd with a LPF filter to tame the string clackiness without removing it completely and some gentle low shelf boost at 90Hz to add fullness. A mild slow compression was added after the EQ to tame some of the louder notes without destroying the dynamics.

2-buss (master) was treated with an overall EQ (ReaEQ) of low bell boost at around 75Hz and high shelf at 7.3KHz with a gentle slope. I chose bell rather than low shelf on the low EQ because I'd already used low shelf boost on the bass and kick and adding it also on the master would risk over emphasizing the subsonics to the detriment of definition.
Any stray peaks were taken care of with ReaComp set to look ahead by 6ms, 0ms attack, 31ms release, infinite ratio, oversampling set to 2x to catch intersample peaks and limit output set to on.

I mixed this to Bob Katz' K-14 specification and really didn't need to add any compression on the master. If it isn't loud enough. TURN UP THE VOLUME!!
The LUFS value of mix four is -15.5dB according to iZotope Insight metering.

That's pretty much it.

This has been a fun little project so far with a toe tappin tune!

Here's some screen grabs of the mix (click thumbnail for bigger pic):

Overall mix


Maximum LUFS reading


Overall LUFS reading


Quote:
Originally Posted by bladerunner View Post
Reacomp can be used as a de-esser (or would that have been against the rules? - not sure)
I actually used ReaComp as a De-esser for the vox on this. I can't see that being against the rules. De-essing is just compression with a HPF on the detector input which ReaComp provides stock.
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File Type: jpg Stop-Messin-Dannii-Mix-1.jpg (43.0 KB, 639 views)

Last edited by ReaDave; 06-04-2013 at 05:37 PM.
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Old 06-02-2013, 03:25 PM   #39
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@Wolffman Updated my original post

Lemme know if it works!
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Old 06-02-2013, 03:49 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hotsaucejalapeno View Post
@Wolffman Updated my original post

Lemme know if it works!
Yep, all good now, but will have to listen later, off to work now.

Cheers
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