That icky harsh wax buildup

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alanfc
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That icky harsh wax buildup

Post by alanfc » Thu Feb 10, 2005 11:21 am

hello,
in your experience, what are the most common areas for harshness once a 40+ track mix is bounced down to stereo? I've been sweeping and tinkering with individual tracks before bouncing, and doing tiny cuts on fullmix stereo files. But I was hoping someone had a magic GOOD setting on their EQ's they could share with me. :lol: :oops: /edit/(I'm joking, not looking for any cure-all EQ settings).

Seriously though, I find that as much as I play with the individual tracks there's always =something= nasty waiting for me in the stereo file.

any comments greatly appreciated
-Alan
Last edited by alanfc on Thu Feb 10, 2005 11:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: That icky harsh wax buildup

Post by ryanlikestorock » Thu Feb 10, 2005 11:26 am

It would be impossible for someone to post a fix-all mastering EQ setting. That's really what you're asking for, right?

Have a look at the frequency spectrum of the mixdown file. I find that many of the home recording mixes that I get in to master have a HUGE gap in the recording between 1k-2k and hardly ever get between 4k-10k to sound good. Getting those ranges to sit right might help you out, but without hearing the track it's impossible to say. Those are just common mistake areas I see.

Also, try a cut between 300-450 if the mix sounds "boxy". That's another problem area for albums recorded in living spaces as opposed to studio spaces, I find.

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Re: That icky harsh wax buildup

Post by I'm Painting Again » Thu Feb 10, 2005 11:30 am

40+ tracks.

for a rock band?

If so Why are you needing so many tracks?

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Re: That icky harsh wax buildup

Post by alanfc » Thu Feb 10, 2005 11:31 am

ryanlikestorock wrote:It would be impossible for someone to post a fix-all mastering EQ setting. That's really what you're asking for, right?

Have a look at the frequency spectrum of the mixdown file. I find that many of the home recording mixes that I get in to master have a HUGE gap in the recording between 1k-2k and hardly ever get between 4k-10k to sound good. Getting those ranges to sit right might help you out, but without hearing the track it's impossible to say. Those are just common mistake areas I see.

Also, try a cut between 300-450 if the mix sounds "boxy". That's another problem area for albums recorded in living spaces as opposed to studio spaces, I find.
thank you this is a great start

I was joking about getting cure-all settings! I will edit my post now --
thanks again
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Re: That icky harsh wax buildup

Post by alanfc » Thu Feb 10, 2005 11:35 am

BEARD_OF_BEES wrote:40+ tracks.

for a rock band?

If so Why are you needing so many tracks?
because we CAN !! Just kidding

because we have like a gillion backing vocal tracks with each person contributing something. Instrument tracks are pretty basic. I've got no more than 4 rythm guitars (usually less) in any given song. Plus you add a cowbell here, tambourine there, maybe maraccas... voila
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Re: That icky harsh wax buildup

Post by I'm Painting Again » Thu Feb 10, 2005 1:39 pm

Its hard to manage all those tracks I bet..

I was just curious because lately I have been seeing a lot of posts about people using high track counts and I think its weird..because I'm used to small track counts..and never did a project over 16 tracks..

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Re: That icky harsh wax buildup

Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Thu Feb 10, 2005 1:53 pm

"harsh" to me usually means too much 2-3k, so maybe start there, if that's not it, try going up an octave and cut somewhere between 4-6k. you can also do the old trick of boosting a bunch and sweeping slowly through a frequency range, wherever it sounds the worst, cut there! i find this kind of messes with your perspective though, so i normally will cut a bit at whatever frequency i think is the problem, listen a bit, try it an octave up or down, listen, you get the idea.

this is all assuming you're not having it mastered elsewhere. if you are then i'd say leave the stereo file alone and let the mastering person worry about it.

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Re: That icky harsh wax buildup

Post by alanfc » Thu Feb 10, 2005 2:14 pm

OK thanks !
these was the kind of generalizations I was looking for.

Alack we are not sending this to a Pro, I'm the one in the band who does all this stuff and we're basically making something to give out at gigs and to our families. Hopefully with decent quality and something we won't have any regrets about...

thanks again Ryan,Beard, MoreSpace
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Re: That icky harsh wax buildup

Post by Slider » Thu Feb 10, 2005 2:33 pm

I mixed a rock song once with 63 tracks.
That took a long time.
I personally try to avoid this.

I think you need to address this problem in the mix.
Listen to everything together, If something is harsh sounding try cutting around 2-6K.

If you spend more time with the mix it should come together.
Mixing that many tracks takes time.

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Re: That icky harsh wax buildup

Post by alanfc » Thu Feb 10, 2005 2:41 pm

thanks-

I think whats happening is I'm trying to get Clarity and "sparkle" from everything but the Kick!
I need to compromise somewhere. I'm not trying for a Modern in-your-face sound. I need to listen to some Zeppelin or Floyd and come back to reality. 8)
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Re: That icky harsh wax buildup

Post by greatmagnet » Thu Feb 10, 2005 2:49 pm

I don't think I've ever mixed a song with THAT many tracks, but when you're doing the massive, Brian Wilson-esque background vocal thingy it can get soupy with layers. It's like this:

> Main vocal: one track
> Chorus vocal: double tracked?
> "Call" background vocal: three-part harmony, each part double-tracked
> "Response" background vocal: three-part harmony, each part double-tracked

Hey! There's NINE tracks right there just on vocals!

It's not for every song, but sometimes it's an amazing, lush effect with all the double tracked vocals...ends up sounding almost like a synth pad!
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Re: That icky harsh wax buildup

Post by alanfc » Thu Feb 10, 2005 3:08 pm

yeah what we have is the leader/lead singer giving me his hard disc recorder with 7 vocal tracks, 2 takes of the lead an 5 different harmonies, sometimes human doubles, sometimes =all= different. Then I import them into the Sonar project. Then to that I add human doubles of two parts for Me (4x), human doubles of The bass player (2x) and the drummer (2x). Of the Lead singers' stuff, sometimes I clone copy and split some of the parts he's got, sounds very tight in certain situations. So thats 13 minumum up to 15+ if I do any cloning. .........Thing is, nothing really is easy to discard.... and worse yet there's nothing in all these tracks that we wouldn't be able to atleast =simulate= live, so there that kills any chance I have of cutting some of them out... "" ?? Alan how can you do 15 vocal parts live with only 4 guys??"" ......We don't. But live is full and chaotic enough to fill the space.
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Re: That icky harsh wax buildup

Post by joel hamilton » Thu Feb 10, 2005 5:15 pm

Regardless of the number of tracks....

The last record I did with that many tracks was something I am personally involved in. Each song had like between 35 and 75 tracks of stuff. Sometimes unison doubles all over the place, sometimes a zillion instruments, all laid own one at a time (except the basics).

Regardless of any of that, this seems to be true: Dont EQ too much. The phase mayhem you incur is worse than what you started with after 30 tracks, never mind the rest. If something isnt sitting, try turning it up or down before making it "stick out with eq." try compression, and a little gain or attenuation. Amazing what you can do with volume. Just turning something up makes it sound brighter, and more present, so obviously it comes to the front. If you can get a BALANCE happening with all those tracks without eq... even if it sounds a little dull or a little bright or whatever to you, try it. See how things sum when you DONT mess with them so much, then go back and add or subtract with an eq to taste, rather than running in with a chainsaw like " I WILL MAKE IT ALL FIT AAARRRGGGHHH!!!!"

Things live tiogether better than people think. You just have to go for balance, especially with a trillion tracks. Of course it becomes a bigger juggling act... Lets say you wanted to learn to juggle 7 things instead of 3 things, would your first move be to whittle the 3 things into a different shape? No. Same thing applies to mixes with a bunch of tracks. Leave them alone until you have balance, then go after the finer points in context.

That is just how I would approach it, so take from it what you will..

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Re: That icky harsh wax buildup

Post by Piotr » Thu Feb 10, 2005 6:43 pm

I would really work on achieving better gain balances between tracks. If something stands out when it should really be softer in the mix, PULL THE FADER BACK.

Mixing is really about what is not needed at a given time. Focus your energy more on NOT making every sound stand out all the time...
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Re: That icky harsh wax buildup

Post by wedge » Thu Feb 10, 2005 7:21 pm

alanfc wrote: I think whats happening is I'm trying to get Clarity and "sparkle" from everything but the Kick!
For me, using a wide palatte of tones (eq) helps to open up a mix, even if it means dulling (so to speak) something that's often assumed needs to be "bright", such as the snare, or a particular guitar part.

I also feel that, especially with mixes that involve 40 tracks (whew!), you have to make some decisions on what's going to be clearly audible and what's not. If you're dead-set on having everything sparkly-clear, then you're making things harder for yourself, and may end up with flat mixes. At least, that's been my experience.

Take an accounting of all the tracks that have overlapping "harsh" frequencies (guitar, keyboard, shaker, vox, even higher bits of the bass) and decide which ones can loose those hi-mids, then low-pass those bastards. I think you'll find the mix coming together better, that way...

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