Favourite techniques for not going nuts...

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annayarbrough
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Favourite techniques for not going nuts...

Post by annayarbrough » Thu Oct 31, 2019 11:19 am

Born out of a couple of days of spending WAY too long on a simple mix... :lol:
I frequently find myself adjusting things by micro amounts where the difference probably isn't even obviously audible to anyone listening :lol: I don't tend to be this crazy with TV/film stuff that sits under dialogue, but when I'm working on artist projects the obsession is real.
What are your favourite practices for keeping your ears fresh?

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Re: Favourite techniques for not going nuts...

Post by Mark Kaufman » Thu Oct 31, 2019 11:36 am

Lately I've realized that I often do what you just described, microadjustments for miles, and the results don't justify the time spent. So I've been consciously speeding up—doing things quickly, not slowly and methodically, limiting the time of each session so I don't burn out, and running with the best I can do in the first few attempts. It all sounds fresher to me now, and there is more excitement in the takes.

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Re: Favourite techniques for not going nuts...

Post by MBantle » Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:12 pm

annayarbrough wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 11:19 am
Born out of a couple of days of spending WAY too long on a simple mix... :lol:
I frequently find myself adjusting things by micro amounts where the difference probably isn't even obviously audible to anyone listening :lol: I don't tend to be this crazy with TV/film stuff that sits under dialogue, but when I'm working on artist projects the obsession is real.
What are your favourite practices for keeping your ears fresh?
I am exactly the same :D I think frequent breaks is something I should do more often. I always work with an analyser (Ozone Tonal Balance) and try to make that analyser plugin 'happy'. If I can achieve that and I like the overall sound I tend to leave it and that usually gets me in the ballpark (famous last words). I am obviously talking about instrumental tracks where I am just checking whether nothing stands out too much. Mixing vocals for me is a totally different thing where I feel that I can never be happy... I decided to finally try that mixing in mono thing for levels now and ordered one of the Auratone clones... but I am afraid it will open a whole other can of worms :lol:
Cheers,
Matt

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Re: Favourite techniques for not going nuts...

Post by MBantle » Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:15 pm

P.S. I don't know who said it but there is this famous quote saying that the last thing you worked on in a mix at any given time usually ends up being too loud. This, again, probably speaks in favour of taking more breaks :lol:

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Re: Favourite techniques for not going nuts...

Post by ResonantTone » Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:56 pm

Frequent breaks and constantly reminding myself that the longer I spend listening to the same mix, the worse my decision making becomes!

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Re: Favourite techniques for not going nuts...

Post by RPaul » Thu Oct 31, 2019 1:06 pm

Sometimes that doing micro stuff, not just adjusting but also things like trying out sounds early in the course of a production (e.g. if I'm using virtual guitars, I may try 3 or 4 different amp simulators, running through loads of presets in each that I think might possibly be candidates, writing down any that seem close, until I find "the right one"), seems like my norm. Having a deadline (e.g. for a TAXI opportunity) helps immensely as it forces me to make quicker decisions.

When it comes to mix time, I can also spend lots of time. Visual analyzers (like Tonal Balance as mentioned above) can help quite a bit in terms of dealing with my lack of golden ears to sanity check things. The biggest thing I do, though, when I get to some degree of mix candidate, be that an early rough mix or a late "final mix candidate", is take a break, write a 320 kbps MP3 to a USB stick, and do a car listening test the next time I have to go anywhere (or, if I'm in a hurry, I make excuses to go out). I generally don't listen to just the track in question. Rather, I put it on a playlist multiple times, with other reference recordings interspersed, so I can listen to it in multiple contexts.

Besides giving the alternate set of speakers listen, this forces me out of the studio, and makes me think at a more "forest" level to note anything that seems amiss. So my notes will mostly be macro-level stuff, like if the vocal is too loud or the kick and bass are to heavy or conflicting with one another or whatever. When I get back to my studio, I tend to only work on addressing the list I came up with from my car listening tests in making the next mix candidate. Of course, I'd probably also spent a lot of time prior to that point on endless tweaking, but at least this tends to get projects to a close.

One other thing I've been using lately, though mostly earlier in the mix cycle, is Waves Abbey Road Studio 3, which simulates 3 different sets of speakers, including multiple perspectives (e.g. you can turn away from them to face the back of the studio) on headphones. Using this seems to help me get my mixes in decent shape much earlier because it is much quicker for me to notice things that play differently in different contexts. For example, this makes it quicker to identify if a change I think might be needed in one listening context makes things worse in another, making it much quicker to find the right compromise, as well as quicker to notice the "six of one, half a dozen of the other" phenomenon, where there is no "perfect" possibility, so you place your bet and take your chances on whichever choice you've tentatively made.

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Re: Favourite techniques for not going nuts...

Post by YellowStudio » Thu Oct 31, 2019 9:42 pm

When I get stuck like you describe I try to only work for about 30-45 min at a time on that mix and work with other projects the other time. That keeps me more foused when I open the project and listen to it again. You maybe already do gain staging before you mix?
For me it is a real time saver and make it easier to mix.
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Re: Favourite techniques for not going nuts...

Post by Kolstad » Fri Nov 01, 2019 12:41 am

That problem is real. Set a timer to force breaks! I tend to mix very fast in short increments, because after 15-20mins I lose perspective. It happens so fast. For production tracks I rely heavily on plugin presets, and focus a lot on just getting clean tracks with good separation and proper gain staging. I swear by the plugin “Levels” from Mastering The Mix. Also having reference tracks is useful for not losing perspective, or rather when you have lost it. I use the tracks that Dean Krippaehne provided with his book “Demystifying the genre” a lot - very useful.

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Re: Favourite techniques for not going nuts...

Post by cosmicdolphin » Sat Nov 02, 2019 5:02 am

annayarbrough wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 11:19 am
Born out of a couple of days of spending WAY too long on a simple mix... :lol:
I frequently find myself adjusting things by micro amounts where the difference probably isn't even obviously audible to anyone listening :lol: I don't tend to be this crazy with TV/film stuff that sits under dialogue, but when I'm working on artist projects the obsession is real.
What are your favourite practices for keeping your ears fresh?
I think it depends , different strategies for different stages of the production seem to work for me.

1. Writing stage...not focusing too much on fine details. i.e. Choosing a piano sound for example that is ' good enough ' rather than spending an hour trawling through for the 'perfect' sounding instrument

2. Mixing stage...Taking regular breaks ( who knew the kettle is one of the world's best mixing tools :shock: )..again focusing on big picture stuff until it's almost done, I tend to leave my automation passes, tweaking velocites etc. as the last job on the list. I also reference ( using Magic A/B ) - I have a 3 way monitor controller with 3 very different type of speakers connected so I can quickly get 3 different mix perspectives. Listening to a mixed from the next room with the door open can also be enlightening. I also send mixes to 2 or 3 music licensing friends when i'm getting near the end. They often pick me up on stuff and I'm like Duh..how did I miss that. Or I argue with them before admitting they are probably right.

3. I kinda know my process now after making almost 300 tracks for music licensing so I think that helps. Sometimes when I get a bit stuck mix or music wise I switch over into housekeeping mode where I'm just organising my project , labelling stuff, putting tracks into folders..the boring s##t whenI'm not feeling inspired.

Talking of obesession..this track I did called Killer Hurts. I actually finished/mastered it and went back several days later and moved the piano note I'd played at 28s because I'd played it dead on the beat and realised it might sound better if I just nudged it a fraction late..I don't know if anyone would have ever noticed except me but I I was glad I did or I would never have slept ! :lol:

https://soundcloud.com/user-45178330/ki ... eard-on-tv

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Re: Favourite techniques for not going nuts...

Post by kitbenz51 » Tue Nov 05, 2019 5:46 am

I spend no longer than one hour on my mixes. Maybe I’ll check it in the car and tweak like one thing. One hour mixes changed my life.

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