Trouble with Mastering & Mixing

Gareth,

thank you on your detailed post. It is very nice from you to write all these things. :slight_smile: This is great moment when people get talking about their experience in composing and producing process. On that way we learn a lot from each others and I think that is biggest value of this forum. :wink:

Cheers!

LG

Gareth, that was one heck of an epic and monumental post. I learned a ton from that and I thank you sir for your time and attention to these forums!

Gareth is the MAN! Thanks for your epic post.


I found really interesting the Reverb part: if I understood well, you first send every group or single instruments to different convolution rooms (example: long tail hall for brass and shorter reverb for strings ?) and then you use a general reverb for everything (are you doing this by putting this last reverb in insert stereo out track and adjusting the dry/wet knob ?).


Smart suggestion the reverb equalization by cutting low freqs of reverb :wink:

@garethcoker Dude, you keep amazing me every time. I wish I had the ability to write as rapidly and as accurately as you do (a post like this one would take me a day to write).


I use similar practices on most of my mixes, even though I never wrote an orchestral piece.

I couldn’t agree more with your take on equalizing, LESS IS MORE. Same applies to compression.


One tip I would like to add is using factory presets. All virtual instruments and plugins come with factory presets that are usually a great starting point. It is true for EQ, compression, reverb… just about anything.


When I want to clean up my guitars for example, or just add some bite, I go in my EQ presets and scroll through the guitar-related ones. Chances are, there is one that is exactly what I was looking for. Also, chances are it was created by a trusted professional mixer. This way I don’t have to rely on my tired ears too much (I often have been writing and mixing for a couple hours before I get to the EQ part).


I usually have to tone them down (cut less or boost less) because software makers generally like to overdo their presets to add to the wow factor. But like I said, it’s an excellent starting point and it saves you from spending too much time on an EQ or even trying too hard.

If you came up with some really fancy EQ setting that has 12 different frequencies being treated… well… that probably means the instrument you are treating sounded like hell in the first place. You might just want to replace it.


It all comes with experience, lots of “try and fail”. I have been mixing for more than ten years and I still feel like I am learning and discovering new stuff quite frequently.


Anyways @Crian, you are pretty young, so make sure you learn as much as you possibly can from experienced guys like Gareth. Lot of the things he discussed, I had to learn on my own. A post like this read ten years ago would have helped me tremendously better my game faster! Good luck. :wink:

1 Like
Stuck_in_the_Basement said

One tip I would like to add is using factory presets. All virtual instruments and plugins come with factory presets that are usually a great starting point. It is true for EQ, compression, reverb… just about anything.

I think I’ve actually learned quite alot from factory presets. I figured they wouldn’t make the presets like that for no reason, and then I thought they might serve as good starting point indeed - especially for learning. Look at it, think about it, do some research to it, etc. Nice tip, David :).

Coriiander said
Stuck_in_the_Basement said

One tip I would like to add is using factory presets. All virtual instruments and plugins come with factory presets that are usually a great starting point. It is true for EQ, compression, reverb… just about anything.

I think I’ve actually learned quite alot from factory presets. I figured they wouldn’t make the presets like that for no reason, and then I thought they might serve as good starting point indeed - especially for learning. Look at it, think about it, do some research to it, etc. Nice tip, David :).

I used to emmidiately get rid of the presets and start from scratch. I have no idea why. Started using them as a baseline and it’s made things a lot easier

Hello, clipping and distortion is a major problem and muddy mixes are not pleasant to listen to, i recommend study audio production (mixing and mastering courses) this will save ur time and make ur life much easier, for now, as a starting point, i recommend doing the following:

1- compose and arrange (midi tracks) with kontakt or whatever.
2- bounce (export) every track individually and then import it to the project as wav. File, and make sure every track doesnt exceed 0 db so it doesnt clip.
3 - after bouncing add some important plugins like compressors and EQs on the tracks that u feel they need it, and remember be subtle! Ps before adding these plugins i recommend u read abt these stuff and what they actually do to the track or mix.

Finally, check ur master fader (the stereo out) and see if the whole mix is still clipping, if so go back the tracks and lower the fader or u can lower the master fader to leave some headroom for the next stage, the mastering stage.

The mastering stage:
I highly recommend not messing around with plugins now, but u can always try and fail that’s the key of learning…

Bounce (export) ur mix after lowering the master volume like i said above, and import it again to a new session as a stereo file, add an EQ to roll off some of the low end around 35 hz
And give the mix some air by adding a bit of top end around 8 khz (1 or 1.5 db) not more!
Now add a multiband compressor and choose a preset.

Finally add a Maximizer and push that volume up…

Ps: this is not the best mastering in the world, this is very basic, but a good starting point to begin with, experiment with these tips, do some mistakes and learn from ur own ups and downs.

Please try any good course online or read a book if u r serious about getting ur stuff to the next level.

Hope that helped. Best of luck mate :slight_smile:

Amazing post Gareth.
Thanks for all the great info.
Sean

Excellent post, GarethCoker. If you’re not already, you should be writing books on music production. Each one of your headings above could be expanded into its own book title. I should of met-up with you before I left So Cal. :frowning: