Recording music is driving me nuts!!! HELP!

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kk994
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Post by kk994 » Tue Nov 14, 2006 7:41 pm

JS do you have a standing wave.

Those BM5a's are reknowned for their bass. The bass should be massive. All the equipment you have is of good quality so you should be getting decent levels without cranking things.

When you move around the room does the bass move from very little bass to tons of bass. If so then you have a standing wave. Moving your monitoring position, speakers or putting up a few bass traps can make a difference.

It might be it... just move around and see... this is most likely to happen in a square room.

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Post by konvert » Tue Nov 14, 2006 7:47 pm

Ok, I stand corrected. Thank you for explaining, even if it wasn't yours. :P

But, as I said in my first post, I (intuitively? :D) don't record hot anymore:
But nowadays I don't even do that, and I seem to not have problem with overall level.
So maybe there is the problem then, JS?
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JSRockit
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Post by JSRockit » Tue Nov 14, 2006 8:12 pm

kk994 wrote:JS do you have a standing wave.

Those BM5a's are reknowned for their bass. The bass should be massive. All the equipment you have is of good quality so you should be getting decent levels without cranking things.

When you move around the room does the bass move from very little bass to tons of bass. If so then you have a standing wave. Moving your monitoring position, speakers or putting up a few bass traps can make a difference.

It might be it... just move around and see... this is most likely to happen in a square room.
Not sure about the standing wave...but my bass sounds ok everywhere in the room. Also, it isn't that my Dynaudios don't have bass...they do, they have nice bass. However, when I mix the bass the way I like it on the dynaudios...and then bring that mix to some computer speakers with a subwoofer...the bass is way too high on that system. However, the way I have been mixing may be to blame there...so... [/quote]
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Post by JSRockit » Wed Nov 15, 2006 3:22 am

Ok, I went back to my mix... lowered all tracks til they were all out the red, then made sure the master level was out of the red too. The tracks sound ok, but I lost so much overall volume about 10db...there is no way I'm going to gain it all back. The sad thing is that the mixes where I was driving the h**l out of everything weren't that loud either. This is driving me crazy.
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Altitude
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Post by Altitude » Wed Nov 15, 2006 4:29 am

you missed my point, lowering volumes after recording does nothing. Once the audio is digitized you can run the tracks as hot as you want. The whole idea is to record the audio at -18 to -12 dBFS so you have enough headroom to add gain without clipping

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Post by elmosexwhistle » Wed Nov 15, 2006 11:57 am

sometimes, letting your first mixdown (ie drums/guitar part) clip is the only way to get a big dirty sound for me...once its mixed down, you can then turn that track down a bit to add your bass/synth parts, as long as your final final mixdown of all the parts doesnt clip, you're good to go ^_^ x

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Post by JSRockit » Wed Nov 15, 2006 1:41 pm

Altitude wrote:you missed my point, lowering volumes after recording does nothing. Once the audio is digitized you can run the tracks as hot as you want. The whole idea is to record the audio at -18 to -12 dBFS so you have enough headroom to add gain without clipping
I understand that you are saying that...but these tracks are already recorded...and you are the only one saying that I should record at such low levels...and I have asked elsewhere and noone seems to think this is true. I don't know who to believe...since I don't know anyone's credentials. I just don't understand how making recordings even lower in volume is going to solve my problem when it comes to overall volume. I'm not being a j**k... just don't understand how this works. The way my simple mind sees it... if you record at lower levels and then turn it up...it is going to sound the same as recording at higher levels. What am I not getting?
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Post by MrHope » Sat Nov 18, 2006 7:22 pm

I dont know what the others have told you, but most people I ever read about or talk to record at as high an input amplitude as possible. The usually do this without adding compression, but some people add a moderate amount of compression during recording, especially for things like vocals. Some people will use a peak limiter on the incoming audio so that the can get a slightly higher volume without digital clipping. Most people prefer not to compress everything since they want to retain dynamics for aesthetics.

After the tracks are recorded, people will usually lower the tracks a bit to allow enough headroom to mix without clipping. For example, if you mix 2 full amplitude tracks together you usually have to lower each track to about -6 dbfs so that the resulting mix doesnt clip. Fortunately, tracks combine using less headroom than that at most times. So in reality you can often get away with dropping both tracks to around -4 dbfs, or around 66% each.

The more tracks you add, the lower you will have to mix them to avoid clipping. There is a practical limit to how many tracks you can add because of this feature. Some engineers will reduce this limit somewhat by making sure that each track has a unique type of sound and imaging. Composers also reduce this limit somewhat by alternating between instruments or multiplexing. Composers will also keep different instruments in separate octaves to increase intelligeability between them.

As far as your speakers go, it's good to mix on at least 2 different types of speakers. It's worth your while to try out your mixes on some quality large bookshelf speakers or floor speakers. Large bookshelf speakers are similar enough to car speakers and boomboxes to give you an idea of how your mix will sound elsewhere. Be sure to use a few well-mastered commercial CD's in the same genres of music that you do to set up your speakers to sound natural.

Computer speakers are in some ways the worst type of speakers because the subwoofer usually resonates at a particular set of frequencies in an exaggerated manner. Bass stereo imaging is also lost. To make matters worse, the front computer speakers are usually too small to reproduce the lower midrange or upper bass accurately. Sometimes they exaggerate certain upper frequencies as well. In general, computer speakers are not appropriate for mixing.

A good set of large over the ear headphones (upwards from 40-50 dollars) is a good sonic investment. The audio from them isn't perfectly the same as free air speakers, but it comes close and isn't affected by room acoustics.

If you mix and monitor using all three speakers (headphones, monitors, & bookshelfs) then your mixes will be easier to control. The goal is to achieve a mix that sounds relatively good on all of them. When mixing this way, your mixes will most likely sound good when PLAYED on computer speakers, as stated before computer speakers are not reliable for hearing a song realistically and consistently compared to other systems.

It's also a good idea to burn a test CD of each song to test on a variety of playback systems before making a final mixdown.
While you listen to the test CD on different systems, make notes on how the sound changes from system to system. Certain things will be evident. For example, on small boomboxes, you probably wont hear much of sounds below 60 Hz. On midsized or larger boomboxes there may be some exaggeration around 110 Hz. On large speakers there may be some exaggeration around 60-90 Hz. Whether or not this exaggeration is accurate or pleasing is highly subjective.

It also matters what settings your amplifier/receiver are set for; the loudness and bass/treble settings will affect the sound of course. In my experience the bass/treble and loudness settings should be set to whatever sounds the most natural with the most amount of CD's. These settings will be different of course if you change to different speakers using the same amplifier.

I hope this has been helpful.

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Post by JSRockit » Sat Nov 18, 2006 11:03 pm

Thanks Mr. Hope. I didn't mean to state that I was mixinig on computer speakers...but mixing on monitors and headphones...and then once I feel it sounds ok there...they I go to computer speakers to hear if it is ok there. What I have come to find out I was definetely doing wrong was pushing the master fader level WAT into the red...not +1.0db...but over 6db... or more. Once I brought down all my faders...so the master level was never in the red...it was much easier to mix and see where the bad frequencies are. I'm not in the clear yet... because I have not got to the limiting stage...and still think my mixes will be too low to satisfy me. However, I have learned alot and I'm gonna keep on keeping on. I guess I am so desperate for high levels...that I just ignored the simple rules of recording that i learned many years ago.
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Post by Altitude » Sun Nov 19, 2006 2:12 am

JSRockit,
Dont worry about your perceived loudness when tracking and mixing, just get your levels scaled correctly so everything sounds balanced and how you want it. Cranking up the loudness is usually done at the mastering phase and is easier to do when dealing with a stereo track as a whole instead of trying to tweak each individual track to the max. Once the mix is right everything can be brought up at once to get that "loud" sound.

Mr. Hope,
I recommend you crack a book on digital recording because you really have some bad info:
but most people I ever read about or talk to record at as high an input amplitude as possible..
..in reality you can often get away with dropping both tracks to around -4 dbfs..
Modern digital converters are designed for a 0 dBVU line level signal, going over this will only eat up your headroom and introduce distortion. -4 dBFS is equal to around +12 dBVU! you would be maxing the meters on any analog board at that level. Once your in the digital realm, you can go all the way to 0 dBFS if you want (although -2 is the standard) but recording as hot as possible is just overloading your convertors

If you didnt read my post on the last page regarding this here are some more sites that explain this:

http://www.digido.com/modules.php?name= ... icle&sid=8

http://www.johnvestman.com/meter_madness.htm

Mixing on headphones is a big no-no. You have a bad stereo image since wearing headphones is not how you hear. Normally, your right ear can hear the same thing as your left ear and that is not the case with headphones. Tracking with headphones is fine, but mixing will definitely jack everything up

Checking your mix on various systems is the way to do it but trying to mix on anything but a pair of reference monitors is a lost cause since monitors are designed to have as flat as a response as possible, normal speakers do not since they purposely improve response at certain bands to overcome their shortcomings of size or whatever

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