Joined: 13 Dec 2005
|Posted: Wed May 09, 2007 9:10 pm Post subject: How Do You Utilize Your Plugins, etc.?
| Ok, I need help. This question is old and moldy, but I'm gonna bring it up again since I an a sequencing noob in this forum. Not wanting to argue, but I need tips. I'm new to this computer based recording thing, I just did my first ever computer based mix, and I cant do anything with it because.......well.......frankly.....I'm not even close.
Problem is when I mix in my basement, I get a good mix and it plays loud and all that. But when I render it all down to a finished mp3 and play it side by side with the tunes posted on the forum, my mix is not even close. Sure, it sounds good if I crank it way up to fun levels, but at those same levels the other tunes posted here would blast the cones outa the speakers. So I know I'm missing something in the "how to" here. Not how to make it loud, but generally how do you guys piece together your mix. Some basic questions to start out.....
-Is it better to do as much as possible with plugins and fx in the sequencer? I have a whole different set of plugins available in the seqeuncer, and they are pretty darn good sounding fx. Yet another different set of plugins available in the software mixer, and they are good, way better than what I had in my rack. And still another set of plugins in Wavelab for "mastering" and rendering. Assuming for the moment that the computer can handle 16 tracks with 3 or 4 plugins on each track without hitting more than 50-60% on the processor, where do you emphasize your real meat-and-potatoes processing of the sound?
-Where do you have your hottest levels? I did this first mix with things set at about -6 to -12 in the sequencer, then everything downstream in the soft mixer and the wav editor was set to just under 0. I thought I was getting some clipping out of the sequencer due to the plugins, some of which have output gain. So I turned the levels down coming out of the sequencer, and instead turned things up in the soft mixer. Clean and loud, sounded good! But the soft mixer feeds the wav editor, and when I set everything to 0 in the wav editor and render the final wav (or mp3) it plays back much softer than all the mixes you guys post on here. Is that a sequencer levels issue? Or a home-mastering-for-dummies issue?
-For those of you who use Ozone, what settings or presets do you rely on for your final mix? In my room I thought the standard CD mix with exciter and widening sounded good, punchy, loud, wide, etc.....but.....when I play it back later as an mp3 file on headphones, it sounds weak and too wide, empty in the middle, and much softer than I thought it would be.
-What order do you put your plugins in? Seems like the ability to put plugins and fx in any order is very powerful but can also be a big weakness if I dont understand how that order impacts my ability to mix later on. EQ before or after compressor? Reverb after compressor? Level (Trim) control before the reverb or after the reverb?
It's as if there are soooo many possible combinations and ways to do things with this software, that I can murder and butcher my song before I even realize what has happened. And I dont realize it until after I walk away from my studio and my monitors and listen to the tune in the real world on the real stereos and speakers and levels that real people are used to. It's as if I'm used to mastering my bicycle or my motorcycle, and all of a sudden I've been put behind the stick of a top fighter jet. Great technology, but much easier to incinerate my song in the blink of an eye. Ya know what I mean Vern??
So what am I missing here? Is the learning curve just a lot steeper and a lot longer than I thought? Or is it a matter of learning to keep it simple - despite the power of the technology - and simply trying to recreate what I used to do with a rack and a mixer, but using a computer and plugins instead?? It seems like if I do that then I'm basically saying that half of the stuff this computer will do is overkill and is not relevant to recreating my hardware analog mixing style. I listened to my first computer mix side by side with my last analog mix, and the last analog mix was waaaaay better, much much bigger. tighter sounding, pushing the envelope in many ways without clipping, etc.... I want to figure out how to mix like that on the computer rig!
So, let's fill in some gaps here in SC's digital chops!! What kind of tips are floating around out there that can help me get back to the style and sound of mixes I had achieved before my old sequencer died?? All ideas and suggestions are appreciated!
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