where do you focus your attention during mixing?

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where do you focus your attention during mixing?

Post by elan » Tue Nov 25, 2008 7:43 pm

hello where do you focus your attention? which elements? or which frequencies?

i have to find some better reference..

i would like to hear immediately which things doesn't works..

i see a lot of pros in tutorial videos etc.. they play the tracks and stop and say.. that guitar havo to much content on the 2/300 range, that bass has too much lows, etch etc.

when i play tracks i hear the things that doesn't works.. than i go to cut them.. but i end up cutting too much or too less, and i stay too much on a track and it's really hard to me to be concentrated to the global song.

usually my attention is focused on things that doesn't works .. and i hear the song much worse than what it is.

usually i see that if a clean guitar has a great sound, almost perfect, but in some transient, due to a not perfect performance, there is a little distortion, or a big peak which distorts when is compressed.. well, maybe the guitar is really great but my hear are all on that transient that is distorting..

and sometime a end up leaving the compressor and redoing all because of that transient..

some one has said me.. consider also what one thing, compressor or what, gives to the track.. not only to the bad points...

so anyone has felt the same thing? and anyone has some suggestions?

thanks to all!!

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Post by @?,*???&? » Tue Nov 25, 2008 7:49 pm

On what I deem the mix noodle of melody/harmony and rhythm. There is a continuing thread that marches through each piece. The idea is to keep each of those essential elements near one another for strength and coherence. Loose rhythm and the noodle is weak. Unbalanced or unleveled melody/harmony and the track makes no sense. Everything is in relation to those 3 elements. Focus is put on them or containment (where necessary) through judicious amounts of eq and compression.

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Post by elan » Tue Nov 25, 2008 7:59 pm

what do you mean of judicious amount of eq and compression? which can be a good way to limit myself in a creative, productive, way?

in this period i've found myself with air eq and very narrow cut and boost, specially cuts, but i exaggerate.. sometimes seems i destroy my tracks.. because the air eq is very sensitive.. and a couple of db makes a huge difference.. but i can hear so good a bad resonance or something like that, with the air eq.. that if i take it down of a couple of db.. my brain say.. why you can't totally cut if from the tracks.. and the air eq can do that .. but if i do that in a couple of resonances.. my tracks has a lot less energy...

so i need some reference, for example, to know where stop my self cutting sound..

thanks for your suggestion, i try to focus my attention on the most important tracks, parts, of melodies and rhythms

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Post by mjau » Tue Nov 25, 2008 8:17 pm

My two cents...

Stop using eq. Try getting a mix done that has no eq - set up your mic's the best way you know how, track things the best way you know how, and get your mix balanced with faders, compression, panning, etc.

The only way I learned to appreciate eq was to stop using it so much. Maybe that'll work for you, too.

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Post by joel hamilton » Tue Nov 25, 2008 8:26 pm

I pay attention to the way the sounds are making me and anyone else in the room feel, and I try to steer the mix towards whatever that feeling is.


The tracks/source/song gives you the vision, and then you pursue it with all the stuff we have to make the sounds do wht we want them to do.
The process is just a means to an end. The equipment we use is just tools to achieve a result.
Listen to what makes the song exciting. Listen to what makes the song move, and stay engaging. Listen to what makes the bridge feel right.

You have to listen to everything, all the time. you have to analyze what the sounds are doing to the speaker, the room, the mix bus, your ears, your brain, your heart...
You have to be aware of every tiny little move you make and how it affects the other zillion little decisions you made already.
You have to be proactive, then react, the be proactive, the react... again and again...
you have to push on it until it pushes back, and you have to know what that feels like.
You have to listen to everything at once. Really.
Like when you are boxing, if you look nowhere you see everything, if you look at something specific you only see that specific point and miss the rest of the picture.
You have to train your ears to listen like that. To listen to nothing, so you hear everything. Then you focus on something for a second and then back out to listening to nothing/everything. over and over.
Last edited by joel hamilton on Wed Nov 26, 2008 5:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by NeglectedFred » Tue Nov 25, 2008 8:31 pm

I constantly change my focus, but for the most part, I like to make sure that when the mixing is done every kick and snare hit is heard.

I get all the levels close to where I want them and then start fine tuning and adding plug-ins. When I think something needs to come up I usually counter that thought with "what's in the way?" that's when I make adjustments with EQ's or add compression to fix it.
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Post by dgrieser » Tue Nov 25, 2008 8:37 pm

Great post, Joel.

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Post by heylow » Tue Nov 25, 2008 9:11 pm

dgrieser wrote:Great post, Joel.

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Post by roscoenyc » Tue Nov 25, 2008 9:23 pm

A while back I got to have Richard Dodd mix a record that
I had produced. I watched what he did.
He put the vocal up first and
He never turned the vocal off.

....what I gleaned from the experience....

The singer is 'selling the song'
The singer is making you 'believe the song'

Put the vocal up first. Get a good sound on it.

Add the instruments.
Don't solo stuff too much.
Take your cues from the vocal.
Make it exciting.

(small print....
.......band had good songs and a good singer)

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Post by joninc » Tue Nov 25, 2008 9:54 pm

listen to tons of great music - constantly.

take your mix to the car after an hour or 2 - the car always seems to tell me things that my nice speakers in the studio don't.

WORK WORK WORK at it. don't be compacent. put on OK COMPUTER right after mixing something and be devastated.

watch other people work. ask lots of questions.

i just realized the other day that i am starting to talk in frequencies - i used to always think that was so weird and i really had no idea what it meant. but now i am starting to and in a lot of ways it is helpful in identifying trouble zones etc..

how do i now hear something i didn't use to? by lots and lots of practice and frustration and dissatisfaction resulting in more and more practice.

did i mention listening to great music and the mix masters?

and practice practice practice!
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Post by Mane1234 » Wed Nov 26, 2008 12:02 am

Mixing is hell....I think someone famous said that but perhaps they were talking about war.

This all seems to be a process that we keep learning. Sometimes in little bits at a time and sometimes in huge leaps but we'll never learn it all and what we do learn we don't learn all at once. I try to keep certain things in mind for everything I record and then add some new things in. The session I did over the weekend I was focusing on really trying to pick the right mics to start with so I'd be that much closer to the final sound when it came time to mix and it really helped. When I look at my mixes these days I notice that I'm using way less plugins than I was a year ago because I'm much more focused on getting the absolute best sound I can at the source. I may not have any control over how well the person I'm recording can play but I can make sure that it sounds as good as possible.

If you have some kind of transient popping out and causing trouble then try to pay closer attention while tracking so it doesn't become a problem when mixing. My own experience is that if I happen to produce a good mix then it came from being on top of the details while I'm tracking. Just keep at it and have fun while you're doing it.
Of course I've had it in the ear before.....

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Post by Blade » Wed Nov 26, 2008 3:43 am

When I mix.....

My main focus is on the drum kit and the lead vocal.

I say the drum kit, but it could also pertain to the rhythmic force that's driving the song.....aka percussion.
It's my opinion that lousy sounding drums makes everything sound bad, even if you have recorded the holy grail of guitar sounds.

Between the kit and the vocal is the place for all other instrumentation.

Another thing I do is run EQ, Compression, and Limiting on the master bus.
I don't recommend this for everyone obviously, but I learned how to do proper mastering years ago because I got tired of other mastering engineers ruining my mixes.
So, whether I'm going to master the CD of my mixes or not, I know that my mixes won't change with another engineer.....but I do take the limiting processor off if it's going out of house. The clients always love it too because the mix is slamming and they know it won't radically change later. If I master it, then I take all the bus processing off and put them back on in the mastering session and do minor tweaks from there.

With this scenario, I find that I don't have to use much EQ at all. Just a little high pass here...a little low pass there. Of course the sounds have to be good going to the recorder. Also, no compression on drums or guitars. A smidgen on bass guitar and vocals. This allows the master bus comp to do all the work, and it's mostly just reacting to the drums.

This is my angle on mixing.

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Post by casey campbell » Wed Nov 26, 2008 2:36 pm

the trees and the forest...

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Post by farview » Wed Nov 26, 2008 2:58 pm

Since I mainly do metal and hard rock (not by choice, it just happens that way), I tend to start with the drums and bass. Once you get the rhythm section happening, the rest tends to fall together.

There are always exceptions to this, but that is generally where I start.

For other forms of music, I just try to decide what instrument is driving the song and get that to do it's job. Then I add the other elements around it in order of importance. But even with poppier stuff, I will get the music bed together before adding the vocals.

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Post by RefD » Wed Nov 26, 2008 3:46 pm

roscoenyc wrote:band had good songs and a good singer
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?What need is there to weep over parts of life? The whole of it calls for tears.? -- Seneca

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