Lost in the wilds of lo/mid-fi -- your thoughts please.

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numberthirty
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Re: Lost in the wilds of lo/mid-fi -- your thoughts please.

Post by numberthirty » Sun Oct 18, 2020 2:25 pm

KermitPickle wrote:
Sun Oct 18, 2020 9:49 am
...

Interesting -- is the idea to combine a duller-sounding dynamic with the brighter condenser?
Maybe?

Mostly, I'm just thinking that sometimes solutions will come from places that you would not have suspected. Taking some time to try some things that might not work will eventually rule them out, if nothing else.

That said, combining a condenser with the dynamic(assuming this vocal was recorded with a dynamic...) could potentially straighten that issue out.
Last edited by numberthirty on Sun Oct 18, 2020 2:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Lost in the wilds of lo/mid-fi -- your thoughts please.

Post by KermitPickle » Sun Oct 18, 2020 2:28 pm

Sounds reasonable.

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Re: Lost in the wilds of lo/mid-fi -- your thoughts please.

Post by Scodiddly » Sun Oct 18, 2020 7:02 pm

I think sometimes it's just a matter of being more aggressive with your EQ and filtering. Since you don't lose anything other than your own time when doing a mix, try doing one where you really chop up the tracks in the frequency domain - highpass almost everything at 500Hz, see what that sounds like.

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Re: Lost in the wilds of lo/mid-fi -- your thoughts please.

Post by mwerden » Sun Oct 18, 2020 11:18 pm

Try a project or a session in a pro studio. So much of the bedroom type studio thing involves knowing what things "should" sound like and compensating for lack of room treatment, poor monitoring in the mix room, whatever.

Compression is also a big deal, if you like old tapey records they are effectively getting compressed at tracking, again when they hit the actual multitrack tape, and again at mix when they hit 2 track tape. Also probably a mix bus compressor, at least if it was mixed on an SSL. All the modern mixers I'm aware of are using compression like crazy.

In terms of tricks, one thing I do when in less than ideal listening environments is put things through a compressor even if I wouldn't normally want to. Just give it a little to keep an eye on things, particularly low end that may be hard to hear. If something is making the compressor jump or grab in an unexpected way then you know you have to address it. Sometimes that can turn into subtle moves, high passing higher, or it can turn into scooping out 15dB at 250Hz and then squeezing it by 6 dB just to get to the starting line.
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Re: Lost in the wilds of lo/mid-fi -- your thoughts please.

Post by KermitPickle » Mon Oct 19, 2020 1:40 pm

Scodiddly wrote:
Sun Oct 18, 2020 7:02 pm
I think sometimes it's just a matter of being more aggressive with your EQ and filtering. Since you don't lose anything other than your own time when doing a mix, try doing one where you really chop up the tracks in the frequency domain - highpass almost everything at 500Hz, see what that sounds like.
500! Ok yeah, good idea. I'll try it...

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Re: Lost in the wilds of lo/mid-fi -- your thoughts please.

Post by vernier » Mon Oct 19, 2020 4:14 pm

KermitPickle wrote:
Sat Oct 17, 2020 10:27 am
I hesitate to post this here because (a) I'm a little embarrassed that I need to ask after all this time and (b) I'm not even 100% what I should ask, but:

I've been making my little home recordings on and off for years now, at this point my old band is kaput & I'm just making music for fun, which is fine and appropriate. I feel like I've gotten a bit better at tracking/mixing over the years, and I might put together something that I think is coming along nicely...but then I'll A/B it with a friend's recordings or some record I like the sound of and, in comparison, mine sounds flat, lacking in space/depth/clarity, etc. That old story. Not that everything has to sound HUGE to be a good recording, and it's not like there's anything riding on this, but. There are times that I'd like to sound a little less lo-fi and I feel like I've hit a wall.

Can anyone comment on something they did that actually made a big, noticeable difference in their home recordings? Not necessarily "I bought a U67 and it rules" or "I spent $1 bazillion ducats on acoustic treatments" kinda thing (because I can't afford to do either), but more like a change in approach? Does that make sense?

I'm entirely self-taught and there may be some very basic, elementary stuff that I'm ignoring. I've developed some habits over the years that I thought made sense at the time but it may be that I'm just shooting myself in the foot--I don't know. I can give more details about my (lack of an?) approach if that would be helpful, but if anyone has any more general insight to offer about something that they felt made a big difference to their home recordings, I'd be interested to hear that.

Thanks.
I've always just put a mic in front of the source ..i.e: vocal, acoustic instrument, speaker cab, and hit record. If needed, reduce low end on something and add a tad of highs on another. As for space, any verb or echo will provide it.

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Re: Lost in the wilds of lo/mid-fi -- your thoughts please.

Post by KermitPickle » Mon Oct 19, 2020 5:39 pm

mwerden wrote:
Sun Oct 18, 2020 11:18 pm
Try a project or a session in a pro studio. So much of the bedroom type studio thing involves knowing what things "should" sound like and compensating for lack of room treatment, poor monitoring in the mix room, whatever.

Compression is also a big deal, if you like old tapey records they are effectively getting compressed at tracking, again when they hit the actual multitrack tape, and again at mix when they hit 2 track tape. Also probably a mix bus compressor, at least if it was mixed on an SSL. All the modern mixers I'm aware of are using compression like crazy.

In terms of tricks, one thing I do when in less than ideal listening environments is put things through a compressor even if I wouldn't normally want to. Just give it a little to keep an eye on things, particularly low end that may be hard to hear. If something is making the compressor jump or grab in an unexpected way then you know you have to address it. Sometimes that can turn into subtle moves, high passing higher, or it can turn into scooping out 15dB at 250Hz and then squeezing it by 6 dB just to get to the starting line.
I have done sessions in pro studios, some very fancy ones in fact, but always as a player, never an engineer. But yeah I can see the logic of knowing what something "should" sound like and then compensating for that.

I am kinda wary of over-compressing, so I think I might be using it too lightly...I'll have to experiment.

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Re: Lost in the wilds of lo/mid-fi -- your thoughts please.

Post by KermitPickle » Mon Oct 19, 2020 5:39 pm

mwerden wrote:
Sun Oct 18, 2020 11:18 pm
Try a project or a session in a pro studio. So much of the bedroom type studio thing involves knowing what things "should" sound like and compensating for lack of room treatment, poor monitoring in the mix room, whatever.

Compression is also a big deal, if you like old tapey records they are effectively getting compressed at tracking, again when they hit the actual multitrack tape, and again at mix when they hit 2 track tape. Also probably a mix bus compressor, at least if it was mixed on an SSL. All the modern mixers I'm aware of are using compression like crazy.

In terms of tricks, one thing I do when in less than ideal listening environments is put things through a compressor even if I wouldn't normally want to. Just give it a little to keep an eye on things, particularly low end that may be hard to hear. If something is making the compressor jump or grab in an unexpected way then you know you have to address it. Sometimes that can turn into subtle moves, high passing higher, or it can turn into scooping out 15dB at 250Hz and then squeezing it by 6 dB just to get to the starting line.
I have done sessions in pro studios, some very fancy ones in fact, but always as a player, never an engineer. But yeah I can see the logic of knowing what something "should" sound like and then compensating for that.

I am kinda wary of over-compressing, so I think I might be using it too lightly...I'll have to experiment.

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Re: Lost in the wilds of lo/mid-fi -- your thoughts please.

Post by mwerden » Mon Oct 19, 2020 6:12 pm

Didn’t mean to jump to conclusions there, but obviously way different when you’re playing vs engineering. If you have friends working in fancy places see if you can hang in the control room, never know who might have some tricks you can steal.
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Re: Lost in the wilds of lo/mid-fi -- your thoughts please.

Post by KermitPickle » Mon Oct 19, 2020 7:08 pm

I do have friends who engineer at "real"/fancy studios, but under Covid there's no way I can get in there with them. They're always alone in the control room these days, never in the same room with the performer or anyone else. Maybe after there's a vaccine?

I would imagine it's like that at most studios now...

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Re: Lost in the wilds of lo/mid-fi -- your thoughts please.

Post by mwerden » Mon Oct 19, 2020 9:14 pm

Covid boooooooooooooooooooooooo
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Re: Lost in the wilds of lo/mid-fi -- your thoughts please.

Post by joninc » Wed Oct 21, 2020 3:40 pm

i feel your pain - i do this full time for a living and have for about 18 years now and I'm constantly reminded how far I have to go when I listen to albums that I love... It's a craft - it takes years of learning, practice, trial and error to improve at.

I listen to a lot of interviews/podcasts with producers/engineers that I like (and some I don't) to get fresh ideas and one thing that Shawn Everett said he does is have reference tracks in the session for the song he is mixing that he can periodically bring up to refresh his ears and see how his mix is shaping up.

It's one thing to listen to great music when you're not working etc.. it's totally another to compare your current mix, on the same speakers in the space you are mixing in, with an album that you think sounds really good. It's humbling but very helpful (just make sure that the ref songs are turned down a bit since they'll be mastered and yours isn't - and don't run that ref through any processing)

He and a few other mixers whom I admire (tchad blake, peter katis) also are pretty big on their master buss mix chain - they are getting a lot of shaping of the low end from what's sitting on there and they mix into it - it's not a separate thing that they put on at the end to simulate mastering - it's integral to their process.

I definitely recommend that - have a bit of compression, a tape sim, maybe a MB limiter and some kind of mastering limiter on there and mix into it. - None of these stages should be doing a TON by themselves but when you disable them all, you'll notice a big difference in size/depth.

Then you can remove/bypass whatever you need to if it's going out to a pro for mastering (I just remove the final stage of limiting).
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Re: Lost in the wilds of lo/mid-fi -- your thoughts please.

Post by kayagum » Wed Oct 28, 2020 7:32 pm

For inspiration (arrangement is more important than gear)

https://www.sageaudio.com/blog/recordin ... ophone.php
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Re: Lost in the wilds of lo/mid-fi -- your thoughts please.

Post by Magnetic Services » Thu Oct 29, 2020 10:27 am

KermitPickle wrote:
Mon Oct 19, 2020 5:39 pm
I am kinda wary of over-compressing, so I think I might be using it too lightly...I'll have to experiment.
Over-compression is one of the hallmarks of that lo-fi sound - do not fear it!

EDIT - I totally missed the point; you're trying to sound less lo-fi. Heh.
Last edited by Magnetic Services on Thu Oct 29, 2020 6:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Lost in the wilds of lo/mid-fi -- your thoughts please.

Post by DrummerMan » Thu Oct 29, 2020 11:52 am

A little late to this thread and there's already been a lot of solid advice given.

I was mixing an album I recorded a couple years ago and while I was kind of happy with it, I felt like it was missing some special sauce that I just wasn't seeing because I was too close to the sound. I ended up getting it to a pretty well known mixer and had him just be creative with it. The result blew me (and everyone else I played it for) away. He just did things I didn't think of and took it very dramatically to the next level. Of course, after hearing his mixes I was like, "oh yeah, of COURSE that makes sense!" But I just wasn't able to see it beforehand. That process opened up a bunch of good ideas to me that I've since integrated into my mixing. Obviously it cost me some money which I understand is tight for you now, but this is just to back up the idea of what you can gain from having a great mixing engineer work on stuff you've struggled with and learn from the process if/when that becomes an option.

The only other thing I've got for you is more a trick than it is advice, as I've spent most of my adult life chasing the distorted, blown-out, lofi dragon, so I get what you're going through. I find that it can magically open up the sound to mess around with short slapback delays, hi and lo-passed, sometimes panned opposite the instrument sometimes with a little added reverb. Or just adding more digital room or plate reverb to an instrument than I think sounds right on its own but in the context of the mix still sounds a little flat. Just a couple things that can give some artificial "space" to sounds that I've already squeezed the living shit out of (in a good way).
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