Final mix + compression... help!

ichabod Dec 8, 2004

  1. ichabod

    ichabod Member

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    Well I've finally got to the stage of mixing down and compressing my first psy trance track but am finding it a bit tricky. Can anyone give me any hints?

    I'm trying to get the final mix as loud as possible.. looking at a few pro tracks I can see that the kick drum goes pretty close to 0dB with everything compressed/limited to give a very loud mix.

    The problem I'm getting is that some of my hi hats and synth notes come up well over the level of the kick drum when mixed down - especially when they fall on the same beat as a bass note. I've tried compressing the mix to get rid of these peaks - and even tried just reducing the volume of the offending parts. But this makes them too quiet - they get drowned out by the power of the kick and bass! Also the compression totally ruins the sound of the hats. It gives a slightly deadened and hollow sound compared to leaving things uncompressed.

    I'm using quite a high pitched sharp hi-hat with lots of reverb - could it be i need to change it for something a bit fatter? (more like the standard open hi-hat type sound)... really don't want to as I'm attached to the one I'm already using!

    Or do I just have to put up the compression messing things up a bit (judging by some heavily compressed albums I've heard.... yes!)

    Can anyone give me any tips for successful compression? should i start trying out multiband compressors? This is my first track so I'm finding the learning curve a bit steep - I don't want to ruin it with dodgy compression...
     
  2. saxopholus

    saxopholus Junior Members

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    The ratio, threshold, attack, hold and release times, etc need to be adjusted differently for each part u compress. Even so it may not be a question of compression, if some parts are covering/getting in the way of others careful eq-ing may be the solution, compression would make the clashes worse potentially. Some subtractive eq on the kick and other things at the general frequencies of the hats will help them pass thru without needing to resort to compression. This goes for other things in ur mix.

    Btw maybe increase the attack time to let the transients of teh hats thru if those are being squashed.

    Mixing ain't easy. :Smile3:
     
  3. antic

    antic Junior Members

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    Well, what I'm gonna say may sound unpopular, but still...

    DON'T DO IT!!! I mean don't try to make it as loud as possible!!! This "trend" leads nowhere, because you're trying to acomplish what IMO destroyed psy-trance. Most of new releases are so loud and overproduced that it's really hard to listen to it on headphones. There's very small dynamic range, almost no quiet sounds and gentle effects. Everything screams at you at full power and I just can't stand it. Many of today's releases suffer from awful dissonances between each individual parts, and sometimes I wonder are the artists deaf or it's because of post-engineering (examples: last Eskimo, Dino Psaras, new Etnica).

    On the other hand there are still artists like Shakta or GOW & Metaloids that make their albums at least half as loud as other CDs, but they sound marvellous! For the other end of spectrum listen to Misted Muppets or Crunchy Punch. While the music and ideas are great (IMO), the engineering makes them nearly impossible to listen with pleasure

    My 2 cents anyway :Smile3:
     
  4. Continuum

    Continuum Throb Farmer

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    Agree with Antic.
    Lets start the Campaign for Real Dynamics!
     
  5. JPsychodelicacy

    JPsychodelicacy Studio Elf

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    But it's there to *dance* to, not listen to!*

    The problems you're talking about on the Eskimo/Psaras/Etnica etc releases are simply that they've run something like Ultramaximiser over the whole thing and boosted it by some silly number of dB. Anything louder than the kick-drum will therefore be quite severely attenuated, almost to the point of becoming a square wave (which is the 'distortion' you hear).

    I'm far from an expert, but I guess the idea to get a loud record without that problem is to use EQ and compression judiciously to get the parts of the sound you want to come through nice and loud, which theoretically should get the whole track sounding nice and loud (when it needs to) without having to apply an insane amount of limiting to it.

    As always, I reserve the right to be dead wrong.

    J.

    * - Unless you're as old and chained to the suburbs as AC... *ducks* :Wink3:
     
  6. Ott^

    Ott^ Guest

    Leave it alone - you'll bugger it up.

    If you really have to fuck with it, use a Waves Ultramaximiser to iron out some of the really big peaks and bring the level of the track up a bit, and leave the rest to the mastering engineer. The Waves L1 or L2 will zap any errant peaks without audible artifacts and won't alter the internal dynamics of your mix one bit.


    The whole question of relative loudness is a bit of a cul de sac these days, and many good mixes have been trashed in the quest for ultimate loudness.
     
  7. antic

    antic Junior Members

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    But how can you dance, if you do not listen to it?!? :Grin:
     
  8. ichabod

    ichabod Member

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    mmm yeah maybe I'm wasting my time and risking messing things up with to much compression. It's a fairly progressive style anyway so I want some feeling left in the track...

    Think I'll just limit it like Ott suggested (leave it to the mastering engineer? - extremely wishful thinking fraid.. this is only the second tune I've ever made :P )

    By the way.. Found quite a nice plugin at http://bram.smartelectronix.com/
    which gives you a graphic display of the waveform on the channel. Quite handy... it saves exporting and looking at it in soundforge.
     
  9. Christos

    Christos iHelper

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  10. Continuum

    Continuum Throb Farmer

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    :grandad:

    f****** cheeky ***t I can go as hard as you young whippersnappers only not for as long oooh me poor old knees

    Anyway I like the suburbs. I can walk around in my cardigan with leather elbow patches and grunt tersely at the neighbours as they clip their hedges and wash their cars.

    Where was I? yeh -

    Really really? Having totally fallen into the trap of totally squashing the living poo out of mixes with things like ozone and bbe and the rest, I totally avoid them now.
    I've been trying to get as nice a pre-master as possible and leave that sort of thing for an the imaginary* mastering engineer to do. Are L1/L2 really that good. I mean they sound good to me, but my ears are made of wood and my monitors are sheeeite.

    *He's the one who lives in the fantasy in my head that says one day I'll get a tune released.
     
  11. sickpiggy

    sickpiggy Junior Members

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    sorry for the dumbass question, but when you compress the complete track where do you set the attack n release? i mean i know where you'de do that for your kick n snare samples n so on, but surely when you compress your track its doin a completely different thing? i understand what the point of compressin everythin tiogether is, but just not how to do it...
     
  12. saxopholus

    saxopholus Junior Members

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    Depends on your mix but check a couple of presets for mix compression with ur fave soft compressor to see the general principle. Then tweak it till it sounds as u want it. Don't compress my mix like that personally tho, but that is a different issue. :Smile3:
     
  13. Abstraction

    Abstraction happy juice

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    for the whole mix i personally would use the shortest attack time the comp will allow (since the individual tracks which needed a bit of attack will already have it by this stage). for release times, until youve trained your ears to hear what is best for the track, i would stick to around 150 - 200 ms. shorter release times for maximum loudness, longer release times for retaining dynamics from one note to the next.
     
  14. System error

    System error Junior Members

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    ULTRAMAXIMIZE IT!!!!!!! lol
     
  15. System error

    System error Junior Members

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    as a good way to master for playing though rig just dont over do it,

    dont put any compression or anything else on mixdown if u gonna send to record labels, they wont thank u for it :Smile3:
     
  16. Marc

    Marc Scratchadelica

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    As mentioned by others continual loudness is fatiguing and therefore self defeating. The apparent loudness of a passage of music is perceived relative to whats around it etc so u can increase the perceived loudness by creating contrast between passages and good use of fades and envelopes.

    Hypercompressed stuff sounds lifeless and tiring imo - Im certyainly no expert but Ive heard plenty hot punchy mixes which havent been compressed to buggery.

    peace,
    m
     
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