alexc

Re: EQ/compression techniques
« Reply #20 on: April 22, 2018, 04:45:44 AM »
Most tracks need some kind of dynamic control; it could be organic, like a singer with professional technique, a good sensitive guitar or bass player, it could be intrinsic, some instruments have actually a limited dynamic range (particularly winds), it could be the result of using a dedicated compressor or plug-in. The nice thing is that a compressor allows controlling the dynamics of a track that does not have this organic/natural control. Don't hesitate to use compression if you feel there's a need.
Same for EQ; many instruments/voices leave something to be desired, like nasality or unwanted resonances or parasitic noise; these need to be addressed soon in the recording process, not necessarily at the time of tracking, but as soon as the mix takes form, i.e. when you set up a monitoring balance. There is nothing more frustrating than listening to an ugly track when doing overdubs; bad for your ears and bad for your rep. Tone-shaping EQ can be refined later. Indeed, good EQ practice stars with boosting and sweeping for identification of the offensive frequencies, then cutting them as needed.

Right on!
I ping therefore I am


fazer

Re: EQ/compression techniques
« Reply #21 on: April 23, 2018, 11:03:27 AM »
This thread is a great collection of thoughts on mixing with technique supporting different ways of going after it.  Should be turned into a chapter in a book.  It all rings true to me.  I love the painting analogy thrown in as well. 

Re: EQ/compression techniques
« Reply #22 on: April 29, 2018, 05:12:55 PM »
I think I spoke too soon professing a newfound appreciation of straight to digital workflow.  I spent the past week full-time in tracking/writing/arranging/editing mode and what I do like in this phase with the computer is the ability to make quick loops of spontaneous ideas, then sort of jam with myself to see what I can come up with.

However, I'm still running into the issue of the straight to digital signal not being as easy to jive with just on the whole.. it doesn't feel right when composing over it.  I wish I could explain it and understand it too..

Just minutes ago I used a signal splitter to capture the same performance straight to digital, and to tape then to digital at the same time.  After that I applied some Pultec EQ to the straight to digital signal, and a Tube line amp which gets it in the ballpark of the feel.. but not really.

It's actually a difference between composing a positive arrangement, and a negative one.  My songs were sounding depressed and sort of void of energy after this week in my opinion... the ideas are there, they're pretty tight little songs, and many might say dude, you're overthinking it... but this really bugs the **** out of me.  The digital stuff actually bugs me hearing it on the car radio.. falls flat as a pancake (and has odd edges at the same time)... I mix mainly in mono at this stage concentrating on a solid rhythm section so it's not a matter of me having the mixes/songs over complicated or panned too much.

I've heard demos of tape emulation plugins online and tried a couple myself and they didn't really get it there either.  I tried a 1176 gently catching peaks, followed by a Pultec just for the harmonic content if nothing else and still, it's not right. 

I can tell when I overdub with tape that my instrument is literally easier to play... in my case anyway.  The ideas that come tend to synchronise to the energy of the take I'm overdubbing to and it just feels right.

If I examine a wave of straight to digital vs one that hit tape already they're different.  Things feel like they poke out the wrong way in digital..... does anyone know the solution to this??

I recorded some noise off the tape machine and added that as a layer for the straight to digital stuff and that helped a bit but it still wasn't right.  I checked phase, and flipped it.. still didn't work.

As I mentioned it's a concern for me that you can't perform live now and rely on a station to have tape.  I'm actually to the point where I might turn the computer off completely and just do this as a passion project and not release it.  Matching tone and vibe is very important to me and if that can't be done without tape I guess I'm gonna pack it in.

Adam
« Last Edit: April 29, 2018, 05:19:30 PM by 80hinhiding »

scott2000

Re: EQ/compression techniques
« Reply #23 on: April 29, 2018, 06:33:08 PM »
Maybe a different AD??

ruairioflaherty

Re: EQ/compression techniques
« Reply #24 on: April 29, 2018, 06:42:38 PM »
As I mentioned it's a concern for me that you can't perform live now and rely on a station to have tape.  I'm actually to the point where I might turn the computer off completely and just do this as a passion project and not release it.  Matching tone and vibe is very important to me and if that can't be done without tape I guess I'm gonna pack it in.

Adam,

I'm going to be straight with you and I say this as someone who has devoted my entire adult life to audio quality.  If the difference between analog and digital capture of music is distressing enough for you to throw in the towel then absolutely you should give up now.  If what you have to say musically can't get over that hump, then it won't be a loss to the world.

The music industry is brutal.  Not challenging, not tough…..brutal.  Getting a record out, and getting anyone to care is a massive undertaking. 

If the difference between and analog and a digital capture is the make or break factor for a hypothetical radio session then you are lost.  Great songs were and are compelling enough for  scratchy 7 " vinyl, AM radio, 128k MP3 and iPhone speakers….surely yours can transcend too?

When I think of bands devoted to exploring new sonic landscapes like Pink Floyd, Radiohead or The Beatles they aimed really really high but in the end they met their audience in the real world and rose to the technical challenge of the time (track limits / tape noise / bad digital … whatever).

From my perspective you are mixing up two things - your music (what you have to say and who you are) and how it is captured. If you care about your music you may want to consider handing over the task of capturing it to someone truly talented in that field. 

It's good to care about the sound, it's bad to care more about the sound than the music.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2018, 06:45:50 PM by ruairioflaherty »

Re: EQ/compression techniques
« Reply #25 on: April 29, 2018, 07:58:38 PM »
Adam,

I'm going to be straight with you and I say this as someone who has devoted my entire adult life to audio quality.  If the difference between analog and digital capture of music is distressing enough for you to throw in the towel then absolutely you should give up now.  If what you have to say musically can't get over that hump, then it won't be a loss to the world.

The music industry is brutal.  Not challenging, not tough…..brutal.  Getting a record out, and getting anyone to care is a massive undertaking. 

If the difference between and analog and a digital capture is the make or break factor for a hypothetical radio session then you are lost.  Great songs were and are compelling enough for  scratchy 7 " vinyl, AM radio, 128k MP3 and iPhone speakers….surely yours can transcend too?

When I think of bands devoted to exploring new sonic landscapes like Pink Floyd, Radiohead or The Beatles they aimed really really high but in the end they met their audience in the real world and rose to the technical challenge of the time (track limits / tape noise / bad digital … whatever).

From my perspective you are mixing up two things - your music (what you have to say and who you are) and how it is captured. If you care about your music you may want to consider handing over the task of capturing it to someone truly talented in that field. 

It's good to care about the sound, it's bad to care more about the sound than the music.

Ruairi,

I have music on the radio, and I'm talented as an engineer too.  What's the deal man?   

I'm talking about something larger than myself and whether or not my music will be a loss to the world.  I find your post insulting.

There's a track out there now that has a hook something like, "Rebel just for kicks, since 1966" something like that .  Not exactly my thing but it's pretty catchy.  Instead of wanting to turn it up I want to turn it down.  So there's that issue overall.. digital stuff is harsh for some reason... and there are many professionals churning it out.

I'm talking about an overdubbing situation primarily.  There is an issue with digital as a whole in my opinion, and the sound of music for the past couple decades really shows it.

ps. I've really turned a corner with my songwriting/engineering ... music is the utmost importance to me.  Not sound, not your resume.  Music. 

pps. How the heck do you know how talented I am at capturing the music anyway?  Pretty  big assumptions..

Adam
« Last Edit: April 29, 2018, 08:05:57 PM by 80hinhiding »

scott2000

Re: EQ/compression techniques
« Reply #26 on: April 29, 2018, 08:10:30 PM »
That is Some good advice from ruari albeit a bit brutal..........

I'm certain you misread his intentions and he may have misinterpreted your thought.....but I've been wrong before.....
BTW.....
If you are happy with the tape performance, shouldn't someone be able to get that "digitized" for you that may have what you are after? You really should be able to get very close (not what you are describing) to a transfer of what you have and, if that is what is holding you back, you need to make the decision to learn  more of what it may take to get what you are hearing that you like into the computer without it depressing you too much or let someone else handle it for you. 

I wouldn't look at it as a negative thing that you are hearing some things that really shouldn't affect a great creative process or performance, but they aren't most likely imaginary..  You just have to make the decision where you want your skill set to grow. It's sad to think of the world missing out on some great art because of the want to handle all aspects of the process at one time before any submission but, I get it.

I think you would really appreciate what some guys out there could do for your path to sonic satisfaction if you think you are happy with your performances.

But then what////////// is the  elephant in the room....... sometimes......


Edit/// I guess I misunderstood what your thoughts were..... It sounds like you are happy with your transfer to digital from the tape machine so, this is good. 
« Last Edit: April 29, 2018, 08:51:21 PM by scott2000 »

ruairioflaherty

Re: EQ/compression techniques
« Reply #27 on: April 29, 2018, 08:16:46 PM »
I have music on the radio, and I'm talented as an engineer too.  What's the deal man?   

I'm talking about something larger than myself and whether or not my music will be a loss to the world.  I find your post insulting.

My intent was not to insult, it was a call to action.  If your music is good, and you really believe it is then statements like...

Quote
Matching tone and vibe is very important to me and if that can't be done without tape I guess I'm gonna pack it in.

… are massively self indulgent. 

I'm really glad that you believe that music is the most important thing.  It is.

You have two options as I see it

- Record great music on tape and treat promo and live as a completely different world and set of trade offs

By this I mean that live and on radio promo sessions you will lose pure sonic quality but you will also gain an immediacy, and connection with an audience that you don't have in recorded work.  In each realm you can play to the respective strengths of the format.

- Figure out digital recording

There are incredible sounding records being made on digital formats.  It's possible.  It's not always easy but it is possible.

Good converters do make a real difference for the last few %, how you gain, dithering properly etc etc.  It's a million small things that make the difference.  But it won't be ever be tape, if you want tape you'll need to use tape.


I'm taking the time to write now just like my previous long posts in the thread, to help you, not to discourage you or blow my own horn.  I'm an average tracking and mixing engineer at best.


Re: EQ/compression techniques
« Reply #28 on: April 29, 2018, 08:55:04 PM »
Thanks Ruairi,

It's easy to get caught up in the traps of thinking you need this or that to make great music.. I think I probably miscommunicated my frustration.  I'm actually of two minds about it .. but definitely know arrangement and performance rule the day.

There's a certain energy/beauty/resonance to particular sounds and they have a direct impact on overdubbing in my experience.. so anything that affects how much I feel a track just fascinates me as much as it does frustrate me.. at times.  This was one of those days I should have taken the day off.. but I did learn a couple things and get a couple more ideas.

When it comes to live radio/promo I think you're right... it's better to just treat it differently.. or bring along a two track machine ha to mix down to before the converters.. not exactly practical.

Maybe I should try out a new AD/DA sometime and see what I think.  And.. I can also force myself to forget about these things and get back to work on the music. :)

Cheers,

A

abbey road d enfer

Re: EQ/compression techniques
« Reply #29 on: April 29, 2018, 10:47:02 PM »
There's a track out there now that has a hook something like, "Rebel just for kicks, since 1966" something like that .  Not exactly my thing but it's pretty catchy.  Instead of wanting to turn it up I want to turn it down.  So there's that issue overall.. digital stuff is harsh for some reason... and there are many professionals churning it out.
I believe what makes you cringe is not a hypothetic "digital sound"; I'd rather think it's the result of the so-called "loudness war", which, indeed has criticizable subjective and objective hatable issues.
Who's right or wrong is irrelevant. What matters is what's right or wrong.
Star ground is for electricians.


DerEber

Re: EQ/compression techniques
« Reply #30 on: April 30, 2018, 02:31:24 AM »
Before you spend any high amount of money on AD it would be cool If you could share any sound samples.
The Zed 16 is the converter in the A&H desk?

Also make sure that high latency doesn't spoil your timing.
This will make very different impact on depending whats your music is like.
I wouldn't think about latency for most songwriter stuff.
But it could totally spoil timing recording a scratchtrack to a tricky beat.

Re: EQ/compression techniques
« Reply #31 on: April 30, 2018, 06:11:34 AM »
Before you spend any high amount of money on AD it would be cool If you could share any sound samples.
The Zed 16 is the converter in the A&H desk?

Also make sure that high latency doesn't spoil your timing.
This will make very different impact on depending whats your music is like.
I wouldn't think about latency for most songwriter stuff.
But it could totally spoil timing recording a scratchtrack to a tricky beat.

Thanks, yes it's the Zed R16 from A&H with its built in converters.

I thought I made it clear earlier that I did a split signal test and then brought both to the computer... then tried overdubbing tests.  It's not a latency issue unfortunately.

Also, I mentioned, which Ruairi seemed to miss is that the songs are coming out really good... it's just that the actual tone rigidity (perceived timing due to excess or lack of something - or some mystery) of the straight to digital actually impacts the parts that I compose.  Not a worse song , a song with a different tone/energy.. tone meaning the parts I design/arrange are likely impacted by the process/bed sounds (and the ease of playing along to the feel)..and does it (the end composition/performance) communicate positive energy or leave you feeling kind of cold.  I hear an overall more depressed tone to music these days in general... and I think this is part of the reason.  I also acknowledged that digital conversion doesn't seem to be losing information when it comes from the tape machine to the computer..maybe a little bit but not much.. so the converters seem to be doing an okay job.  I'm sure there are better converters out there having said that.. but just want to point out I'm not blaming converters here because of the split signal test that kind of confused me as to what it is that's bothering me about straight to digital from preamp.

It's a full band sound I have.  I play guitar, sing, bass, drums... : )

I think I might do at least one bed track to tape first then bring to computer to do overdubs to.

Sorry guys, I'm probably doing a bad job communicating the topic.

It's not a loudness thing I'm referring to either...though I don't like brutally loud stuff that's for sure.

All the best,
Adam
« Last Edit: April 30, 2018, 06:39:09 AM by 80hinhiding »

scott2000

Re: EQ/compression techniques
« Reply #32 on: April 30, 2018, 08:42:38 AM »

Also make sure that high latency doesn't spoil your timing.
This will make very different impact on depending whats your music is like.
I wouldn't think about latency for most songwriter stuff.
But it could totally spoil timing recording a scratchtrack to a tricky beat.

Can you expand on this a bit? Sounds interesting if I'm understanding what you are getting at..

And to 80......

To remind I'd also share that there are the million little things that Ruari pointed out in regards to successfully dealing with digital and mixing. All the  processes have certain costs I would say and, these all need to be taken into account in order to obtain and preserve as much of the sound you hear after all of the processing is finished. Digital isn't a free lunch but this is definitely outweighed by it's convenience imo. I also feel At the end of the day, a good ME can lift a lot of this weight from your shoulders by breathing some  things back into material  and then some so, if you can focus on that fact a bit, it can make it easier to let yourself go into the song creation while paying attention to reasonable constraints to avoid unnecessary processing that possibly may not be handled in the best way. To have a good ME to help is an invaluable thing and I highly recommend seeking out one who you can trust to share your work with if you haven't already.  More of them are dealing with stems too which really can help the process. Of course there are costs that have to be weighed but, a good ME is never a bad investment imo....
I really hope you can get past this without straying too far away from your creative potential. But, playing with sounds is fun so, it's all good really!

Good Luck!



Re: EQ/compression techniques
« Reply #33 on: April 30, 2018, 12:26:18 PM »
Can you expand on this a bit? Sounds interesting if I'm understanding what you are getting at..

And to 80......

To remind I'd also share that there are the million little things that Ruari pointed out in regards to successfully dealing with digital and mixing. All the  processes have certain costs I would say and, these all need to be taken into account in order to obtain and preserve as much of the sound you hear after all of the processing is finished. Digital isn't a free lunch but this is definitely outweighed by it's convenience imo. I also feel At the end of the day, a good ME can lift a lot of this weight from your shoulders by breathing some  things back into material  and then some so, if you can focus on that fact a bit, it can make it easier to let yourself go into the song creation while paying attention to reasonable constraints to avoid unnecessary processing that possibly may not be handled in the best way. To have a good ME to help is an invaluable thing and I highly recommend seeking out one who you can trust to share your work with if you haven't already.  More of them are dealing with stems too which really can help the process. Of course there are costs that have to be weighed but, a good ME is never a bad investment imo....
I really hope you can get past this without straying too far away from your creative potential. But, playing with sounds is fun so, it's all good really!

Good Luck!

Hey man,

I'm referring to tracking/overdubbing/writing process at the moment without much processing involved.  I probably should have just kept these concerns to myself.. as it's a very challenging topic to talk about.

This is going to sound bad, but I didn't really get any tips here about mixing that I didn't really already know.  The arrangement is the key, things will mix themselves almost.  I've had engineers work with me before, and I personally work better with more time and doing things myself.

I agree a mastering engineer is good to get involved but I'm talking about an earlier part of the creative process of arranging/overdubbing.  I'll find a way to get past this.

Adam

scott2000

Re: EQ/compression techniques
« Reply #34 on: April 30, 2018, 12:38:50 PM »
Awesome!


I know it bugs me when I swear I can hear a difference in a bounce even though I should be putting my trust in the null.....

Godspeed to you 8)

john12ax7

Re: EQ/compression techniques
« Reply #35 on: April 30, 2018, 07:36:33 PM »
One thing to figure out is if your issue with digital is the sound or if it's the workflow, or both. I know a lot would disagree with me,  but imo something simple like a cassette 4 track is a superior songwriting tool vs a DAW. It forces you into the mindset of really focusing on the song itself.

On the digital workflow side consider a dedicated hard disk recorder,  Radar,  Alesis HD24, Fostex D-824, etc.

On the sound side try out the RND 542 tape modules,  much better than tape plugins.

There is definitely a negative psychological aspect to a modern DAW setup.  Decision fatigue is a very real thing, exacerbated with too many options.

In the end maybe you still just prefer tape.  But is that really that bad? Just record and mix analog,  most of the great records were made that way.

abbey road d enfer

Re: EQ/compression techniques
« Reply #36 on: May 01, 2018, 10:24:59 AM »
One thing to figure out is if your issue with digital is the sound or if it's the workflow, or both. I know a lot would disagree with me,  but imo something simple like a cassette 4 track is a superior songwriting tool vs a DAW. It forces you into the mindset of really focusing on the song itself.
Agreed, although this could go too far. I know some people who have permanently an Olympus recorder, so they can record any musical idea that's floating around. In the end, they have so much crap on tape that it's discouraging!
I think having to make a little effort is a filter that helps sorting out bad inspiration.
I use my cell phone for that purpose; when I wake up in the night with the most beautiful melody in my head, I need to really think, is it worth getting up, finding the damn cell, dialing the password, finding the app...
Who's right or wrong is irrelevant. What matters is what's right or wrong.
Star ground is for electricians.

scott2000

Re: EQ/compression techniques
« Reply #37 on: May 01, 2018, 10:33:16 AM »
Even Flow???? :)

Thoughts arrive like butterflies
Oh, he don't know, so he chases them away


Re: EQ/compression techniques
« Reply #38 on: May 03, 2018, 08:32:18 AM »
So guys, I got back in the room last night and simplified.. just me, guitar, a room mic and one track rolling on the tape machine.  It felt a lot better.. and made me realize I just need to get back to playing improv for fun.. it's what I did before I thought about making a record way back, or a "great record."  Shakes head at self. 

Anyway.. before I knew it there was 12 minutes or so of music performance to listen to, and it feels good to let that happen..

I'm willing to roll with whatever is cool or not so cool about it and play off of that.  It's hard to get out of your own way sometimes but I had some good advice from a few people and really it boils down to taking it less serious and letting things happen, without distraction.

Thanks,

A

Re: EQ/compression techniques
« Reply #39 on: July 27, 2018, 01:29:04 PM »
A little bit late, but better than never :)
Im a recording and mixing engineer. As time goes by i get more and more stuff to mix that people created at home, or finished overdubs at home after recording elsewhere. Needless to say that most use very basic setups that creates a challenge when mixed- chinese mics, soundcard preamps, you name it.  add to that poor mic placement, and so.. harshness doesant always comes from 'digital sound'.  But there are some ways to diminished that.
I would suggest what others did- build yourself a tranfer chain that you are happy with. There are a lot of good analog gear these days that doesnt break the bank to buy. I would suggest a good quality preamp that goes to eq that goes to comp. That way you can control and warm things before capture.
Hardware Tape sim  is also to be considered. Then for conversion theres multiple options- from colory like Burl to a more natural like Symphony. I believe that with these tools you wont get an undesired harshness in your tracks. And any minor details can be treated in the digital domain afterwards.
As to that, earlier on this page i saw that someone wrote about frequency notch sweep as a method.
I do the same but the oposite- i use protools eq solo function, which is dimnishing other frequecies ranges beside the one that is soloed, and not notching for positive values during that process. That way you can adjust the finest details for the program materials as well as fx returns and sidechains through your tracking period without any unwanted frequecy/energy through that process.
I use plugins deessers, tape sim and summing sim alot to tame the highs the way i like them. Alot of time i put them first and starts playing through them, balance, and starts the mix process when every element is aligned and 'sounds right'. Its getting better every year and for a few years i feel that the gap is closing and its hard if not impossible to identify an ITB to a full analog mix. Its much more depends on the ears that makes the calls then to anything else.

Have a great weekend,
Avraham


 

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