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  • VSL mixing and compression

    I always have a really crap time trying to mix a piece. In fact I think I consider all my pieces as unmixed because it's impossible to know just how to apply post effects and processing without screwing everything up.

    If anyone knows how to apply compression and all without either ruining the mix .. or making thigns to quiet please let me know.

    Anyways, so I'm swearing and jumping up and down, throthing at the mouth with anger .. (You've all been there, admit it) coss the mix is too quiet and everythime I bump up the master gain there's one moment where everything clips. I'm like "WHAT THE F**K!" [8o|]

    The limiter is on, and the compressor (Logics own built in one) is also on, but they are doing nothing to stop this clipping from going on. I might point out the the rest of the mixing console .. the channels and busses show nothing going above half way up the meter, so the combined out put of all these things is somehow screwing it all up.

    So, I figure that the compressor is actually really SH*T! so I take it off and decide to use the AU Dynamics compressor instead. What can I say .. THANK GOD FOR APPLE AU'S!!! Saved the day. This compressor actually compresses. Can you believe it. [:D]

    I love these Audio Units things. My mixing still needs work but at least this one thing stepped in to save the day. If anyone could show me how to mix orchestral work it'd be appreciated. [[;)]]

    The morale of this story is .. look to your AU's if everything else is making you pull your hair out.

  • Veering off-topic just a bit here, but I do all my mixing (often with the assistance – which you wisely recommended – of a pro mixing engineer [I taught him how to use Logic's tools]) in Logic and find that I can get very loud, fat wave files using very little compression. Logic's Adaptive Limiter does a fantastic job. Don't know whether you've tried putting the AdLim on your master outs, but if not do so immediately. Note: it's a processor pig.

  • my suggestion bounce the mix
    then master the dynamics and eq

    and you can master the dynamics by hand if needed shaping with dynamic contours rather than using an automatic compressor. BTW I hate the way logic does dynamics it is so easy to get soft mixes and clipping also. they need to fix it.

  • Any professional engineer will tell you that he/she does at least a dozen or more different mixes-- sometimes 20 or more.

    For orchestral mixing, it's best to just get the mix levels right. Compression can squeeze out the loudest sounds and duck others, changing the mix. With an orchestra, there is a theory that there should be little compression at all. You might want to raise the lower end of the dynamic range to make the softer passages easier to hear, but you don't want to compress the heck out your orchestral track the way a pop or R&B or rap track is heavily compressed.

    Do your mix first and then add compression. Adjust compression, then turn it off. Adjust your mix and then turn on compression again. Mute the compressor and add a peak limiter. Set the peak limit levels so that your loudest points are don't clip. Consider your lowest levels and consider what is *comfortable* for the listener. One ought not strain to hear the softest passages. Neither should one recoil at the loudest passages. Turn off the limiter and try a compander-- a combo compressor-expander-limiter. Use dynamics processing sparingly, and understand your final mix's acceptable dynamic range. Always use reference tracks similar to the type you are producing-- fly in a professional classical or flimscore track into your sequence-- muting and unmuting it for the sake of EQ and dynamics referencing.

    Go back and unmute any one or combo of processors and create a mix-- and another-- and another-- and another.... Don't be afraid to identify what you DON'T want. If you have good taste, this will be a lesson you'll only have to learn once. Don't be afraid to not use any compression or limiting if what you've programmed doesn't help the mix. Moreover, don't be afraid to have someone else master your track-- and hang out during the session to take notes. The objectivity of a second opinion is priceless and not to be understimated.

    Test these mixes in your car or on your laptop's speakers or on a boom box. Dare to make an mp3 of your track and check it out on an iPod. This will only give you the truth about your mix, even in the face of inferior audio quality. Take notes and do another mix-- as many as necessary. The more you do it, the better you get at it-- and the more you are aware of what mistakes NOT to make.

    The point is, once you have done just ONE mix to be proud of, you'll instantly realize that it was worth all the trouble. The next mix WILL be easier.

  • Thanks all. Very good comments.

    In the meantime I've learned some handy things about mixing. Hence how I came up with my mixing chart which gives a clear idea of what I've been let in on recently.

    Compression for an orchestra is just a total waste of time. But the Logic Ad Limiter is fast becoming my favourite plug. That thing just kicks ass. I'm still experimenting with a good room sound. I'm currently using Space Designer with a 6 second IR reverb. Makes things sound the right level of reverb tail .. .but I'm still not quite sure about the distance of the instruments. Have to get them to be further away, they always sound to close.

    Anyways, this is all good stuff to review on the Podcast.

    Thanks again guys.

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    @hetoreyn said:

    Thanks all. Very good comments.

    In the meantime I've learned some handy things about mixing. Hence how I came up with my mixing chart which gives a clear idea of what I've been let in on recently.

    Compression for an orchestra is just a total waste of time. But the Logic Ad Limiter is fast becoming my favourite plug. That thing just kicks ass. ...

    Hi Hetoreyn
    Nice to meet you here! [:D]
    I've bought Voxengo's Limiter Elefant2 these days.
    http://www.voxengo.com/product/elephant/
    I can't detect any change colour of the sound even if the elefant has to
    limit the signal 6dBs or more. Fantastic! But I agree Logic's AD-Limiter was
    my favorite too.
    [:'(] "was" [:'(] (Windows user) But I remember that the
    AD-Limiter brightened the sound a bit.

    Kjaerhus Audio sells a new Mastering Limiter
    http://www.kjaerhusaudio.com/mpl-1.php
    That is not very spectacularly. But they show us the new product with
    a test:
    http://www.kjaerhusaudio.com/mp3/limitertest.mp3
    Perhaps you can do this test with the AD-Limiter too.
    In any case, I will check out my Elefant [:D]

    All the best
    Beat

    BTW
    I have not answered your question about VI-music on your home page.
    Sorry. > Nothing against you > I hope you know that > I'm always a little overworked > I will have a look at the mail of that time...

    - Tips & Tricks while using Samples of VSL.. see at: https://www.beat-kaufmann.com/vitutorials/ - Tutorial "Mixing an Orchestra": https://www.beat-kaufmann.com/mixing-an-orchestra/
  • Hey Beat [:D]

    No probs about the VI stuff, but If you can let me know that'd be great.

    I haven't noticed any colour difference in the Logic Pro 7 Ad Limiter, perhaps they managed to sort that out, or perhaps I just plain haven't noticed [:P]. But thanks for pointing that pulg out to me Beat as it has made things much easier.

    Looking back at how I used to apply Post prod. plugs I'm amazed I ever thought to do these things. As they were totally wrong and in the wrong order ... but at least I learned.

    Anyways, catch you all soon.

  • I was a big fan of Logic's AdLimiter as well, Het... but then I discovered Waves L2 Maximizer and now that has replaced my AdLimiter addiction! I think it's just a little smarter. The Waves Mastering edition is cheaper than the other WAVES bundles, but still cost me around $600US, but it's worth it every time I use the L2. But if you don't want to shell out the $$, Logic's AdLimiter is a great plugin.

    Now, if only I could understand EQ....

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    @hetoreyn said:

    Hey Beat [:D]
    I haven't noticed any colour difference in the Logic Pro 7 Ad Limiter, perhaps they managed to sort that out, or perhaps I just plain haven't noticed ...


    I tested some limiters > The Logic 5.5. AD-Limiter too...
    Go to
    http://community.vsl.co.at/viewtopic.php?t=8512&iframe=true

    Beat Kaufmann

    - Tips & Tricks while using Samples of VSL.. see at: https://www.beat-kaufmann.com/vitutorials/ - Tutorial "Mixing an Orchestra": https://www.beat-kaufmann.com/mixing-an-orchestra/
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    @magates said:

    my suggestion bounce the mix
    then master the dynamics and eq

    and you can master the dynamics by hand if needed shaping with dynamic contours rather than using an automatic compressor.


    If you do it that way, a good way to improve is when you bounce/render two mixes. One all dry, and one all room/reverbs only. Then you master the dynamics of the dry one only and montage it with the wet only together again. This way you avoid the undesired effect that reverb is compressed up while mastering.

    Alternatively you can put a L1/L2/L3 + the mastering EQ on the master fader, either to preview the later mastering, or to make the final master right in Logic. With this method you also can mix the reverb already at the desired level.

    However when the master has to be loud above the natural dynamics, i simply put in a limiter who prevents going over. This because the limiter just stops the signal shortly before zero, as opposed with a compressor who crunches the signal first direction equal loudness and raises the level with the gain. Meaning you get a slightly better result with a limiter.

    In logic there is a unique process called "Energizer" where you can raise the level again without the artifacts of compressing. However, used on the master, it still would bring details to the foreground you may don't want, so apply this process on the dry signal only.

    If your limiter doesn't stop the data from going over, he is not working properly.

    .

  • Plug ins, compressions, effects... are all very nice but lets not forget the most important plug in: YOUR EARS, the better my ears has become over the years the better my mixes has become and independently of the effects used which turns out a bonus enhancement sound rather than a miracle sound.

  • So is it true that compression should be done before the reverb is added?

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    @Angelo Clematide said:

    [[...] If your limiter doesn't stop the data from going over, he is not working properly.

    .

    This is a common misunderstanding, Angelo. What you are referring to are the so-called "brick-wall"-limiters, keeping _any_ signal from going over a certain volume (disregarding any unpleasant side-effects). Of course there are many other limiters - especially from the analogue aera - that weren't designed that way. Their main difference from "compressors" was the (much higher) compression-ratio; still they can have a certain attack-time before the limiting kicks in, thus allowing sharp first transients go above the limit (pun intended).

    These limiters have their niche for single signals which have to stay in a certain dynamic range for any reason; the "brick-wall"-variety is mostly used in the summing bus of a mixdown, assuring a technically "clean" output without overloads.

    HTH,

    /Dietz - Vienna Symphonic Library
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    @violinnoel said:

    So is it true that compression should be done before the reverb is added?

    If you're talking about a common "Aux-Send"-scenario, yes. If you mean bus-compression (or -limiting) - no.

    /Dietz - Vienna Symphonic Library
  • Sorry to slighty veer off-topic...but what of those who do not have Logic? I use Gigastudio, and at the moment, Goldwave for post-mixing, which is definetly not the best if you've ever used it. Any recommendations?

    Also, does anyone know of a good website where I can learn what I'm doing with all this compression, EQ, limiting, etc. etc.?

    Thanks,
    Steve

  • Sometimes I find that using compression on the reverb return helps enormously with stopping the mix getting too cavernous when loud, but allowing the quieter passages not to sound too dry.

    DG

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    @Dietz said:


    This is a common misunderstanding, Angelo. What you are referring to are the so-called "brick-wall"-limiters...


    Of course i meant this type of limiter, haven't used any other since techno came along. Very simple mix scenario, 100% kick. unmute the rest, and brickwall.

    [:)]

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    @Omega said:

    ...Also, does anyone know of a good website where I can learn what I'm doing with all this compression, EQ, limiting, etc. etc.?
    Thanks,
    Steve

    Hi Steve
    1. Use a search engine like google to get any information about this theme.
    2. Another way is to search for books. Example: http://www.musicianuniversity.com/courses/mastering_guide.html
    3. I'm just preparing a tutorial about those effects. But I think it will not be finished befor July.
    4. Perhaps you will get some useful tips here:
    http://www.beat-kaufmann.com/tipspcmusic/vslacoustics/index.php#53248296fe1176a0e ...and the following points.

    All the best
    Beat Kaufmann

    - Tips & Tricks while using Samples of VSL.. see at: https://www.beat-kaufmann.com/vitutorials/ - Tutorial "Mixing an Orchestra": https://www.beat-kaufmann.com/mixing-an-orchestra/
  • Hey Beat,

    Thanks for the link. This should help a lot [:)].

    Steve