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Author Topic: Basic mixing techniques  (Read 909 times)
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fuga
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« on: May 30, 2021, 04:05:56 AM »

Hello there.

Maybe it's a silly question, but anyway I'd like to try to ask this.

So, could you share any basic tips regarding to mixing power electronics/death industrial/noise music?
I mean, there are two stages within mixing: it's a basic, initial manitulations with sound and then creative. I understand creative aspects, but I can't really get the bases that would make the sound more "listenable". I talk about preparatory stage of mixing.

The thing is I try to get into PE using software now, and then I have plans to get hardware. But before I'd like to understand all the aspects of mixing this kind of music, as I think it's highly important for achieving a good sound. No matter it's sofware or hardware.

So, all the sounds I generate using VST synths+VST effects seems to be too raw. Figuratively speaking, the sounds are like a rough piece of wood, but you need to carve a slender figure from them. Are there any tips to make sound a little bit "warmer" and shapely? Once again, I talk about bases of mixing. This kind of music is not really common, so all the mixing guides I could find in Internet would be not really suitable in this case. Am I right? Are there any individual mixing standards for this kind of music?

Maybe my quesiton is kinda vague but I'd appreciate if you guys share your opinions and experience on this subject. Thank you in advance.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2021, 04:22:10 AM by fuga » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2021, 09:16:55 AM »

Well, I don't know specifically what kind of sound you're going for, but it's most likely a sound made by all analog tools (analog synths, distortion pedals, analog delay or even tape delay, 4-track tape or reel to reel) and those have a very distinct sound. Try using some analog modeling VST's, for example a tape emulation VST on extreme settings. I would try and make the individual elements sound "right" as you're making them, as opposed to trying to achieve a certain sound at the mixing stage. If I'm working with samples in a DAW, I usually mix when I'm building up the track and only leave a little bit of volume automation for the end. However you really have to know quite a bit about recording and mixing to achieve a raw, analog style sound completely in the box. Some might say it's not even possible, as distortion is really the one thing VST's still can't really pull off.

So I guess put a few hundred bucks down for a Microbrute & Focusrite asap. One great piece of gear, if you don't want to shell out 300-400 bucks for a 4 track is an 80s regular tape deck with stereo inputs. I have one, bought it for 20 bucks and I can record stuff on tape in stereo with it. The pre-amp sounds great when overdriven & I use it a lot to process individual sounds or add gnarly distortion to masters.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2021, 09:35:24 AM by host body » Logged
JLIAT
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« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2021, 09:56:43 AM »

You say you want a PE (Power Electronics) sound. I think back in the day these used cheap analogue synths, (Wasp?) and analogue tape. Added to that the use of distorted vocals. Also the use of guitar distortion pedals...  It should be possible using software to reproduce such rawness, but you might need to route the signal out through distortion into a tape to overdrive the sound.

I'm confused that you say your sound is raw and you want it to be smooth? Within the context of PE  I would have thought rawness is what is wanted. As the previous post says over driving a tape will give you the PE sound. Add to that some cheap synths – like a monotron and you will have something very similar to original PE setups.  Two last points, the more you mix stuff your sound can get overworked and 'muddy', and within the original spirit of Industrial and PE the process was organic – 'experimental' even, and part of the genre. Otherwise it becomes a case of copying a style.
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« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2021, 12:00:06 PM »

I don't think there's much difference to mixing power electronic or noise than any other music, in that you use the same tools and if you know how the tools work, you can make your tracks sound how you want them to. I guess this is the problem with modern "tutorial" learning, you learn a bunch of tricks to produce a sound without actual understanding what you're really doing. In The end the most important thing is to use your ears.

If you want to make harsh analog style tones on a digital modeling software, you kind of have to understand how the software works. So maybe you could stick to learning the DAW a bit more, doing mixing tutorials you can find and work on your harsh projects on the side? Production is a lifelong journey, and you can't really expect to be abled to produce great music on your first try.
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JLIAT
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« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2021, 01:08:52 PM »

I don't think there's much difference to mixing power electronic or noise than any other music, in that you use the same tools and if you know how the tools work, you can make your tracks sound how you want them to...

For me there is a big difference. When mixing / making drones, which I have done in the past, the slightest glitch would ruin a piece (Likewise say a piano work. ). Crossfades in sampled loops can be particularly problematic as well as distortion. When I was using tape, a Sony deck, for noisework unless I pushed the level well into the red the results were tame- and also recording into a laptop. I now use a Behringer U-phoria (! silly name) which can push the levels well high...  i.e. when the clipping LEDs are red.. As for making noise, if the setup is sufficiently complex one can get into fairly chaotic situations – which for me is the main point sonically.

But as I said 'for me'... I know some set out to make a particular sound, as I have, in which technique is vital, but noise for me is letting chaos reign. (the main point philosophically … ;-) )
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« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2021, 01:37:24 PM »

I don't think there's much difference to mixing power electronic or noise than any other music, in that you use the same tools and if you know how the tools work, you can make your tracks sound how you want them to...

For me there is a big difference. When mixing / making drones, which I have done in the past, the slightest glitch would ruin a piece (Likewise say a piano work. ). Crossfades in sampled loops can be particularly problematic as well as distortion. When I was using tape, a Sony deck, for noisework unless I pushed the level well into the red the results were tame- and also recording into a laptop. I now use a Behringer U-phoria (! silly name) which can push the levels well high...  i.e. when the clipping LEDs are red.. As for making noise, if the setup is sufficiently complex one can get into fairly chaotic situations – which for me is the main point sonically.

But as I said 'for me'... I know some set out to make a particular sound, as I have, in which technique is vital, but noise for me is letting chaos reign. (the main point philosophically … ;-) )

I meant more the mixing, not really the creation of sounds or composing material. In the end you just use gain staging, filters, volume automation and compression to make the sounds fit well together. It's more about your ears than any specific tricks, and if you like the OP do it all in a DAW you should have all the tools needed for mixing at your disposal. Probably not so for sound creation, but that's really down to aesthetics. Maybe embrace digital sounds and that kind of hifi noise a la john wiese instead of trying to recreate muddy analog distortion?
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fuga
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« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2021, 02:11:50 PM »

Thank you folks for your answers Very useful for me.

analog delay or even tape delay

Could you please say more about this? What are delays used for if we're speaking about PE/noise? Well, I understand how delays work basically as I already have some music production experience, but not in these fields of sound.
I know something about feedback loop but I can't still really understand how it works for PE/noise music. Could you please explain?
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« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2021, 02:19:44 PM »

Thank you folks for your answers Very useful for me.

analog delay or even tape delay

Could you please say more about this? What are delays used for if we're speaking about PE/noise? Well, I understand how delays work basically as I already have some music production experience, but not in these fields of sound.
I know something about feedback loop but I can't still really understand how it works for PE/noise music. Could you please explain?

analog delay pedals are pedals that basically have multiple transistors in line that "light up" in sequence in a set time, according to the settings of the pedal. these transistors repeat the sound put in to the pedal. they're usually pretty distinctive, and definitely help to attain that gritty, lofi sound you're probably after. that said you can recreate them in a DAW by just using a bit crusher or a similar plug in on the source audio, or just googling "analog delay vst" or something. there's basically a vst modeling any piece of gear ever manufactured, some more and some less succesfully.

tape delay is a tape device where the incoming signal is recorded onto tape in real time, and then the tape-recorded audio (at the record head) is sent back to the output but takes a few milliseconds to travel to the playback head. this causes a slight “delay” of audio of the tape signal from the original “real-time” audio, and when combined in parallel with the original input signal, produces an echo effect. these devices, like most analog gear can be overdriven and produce a really satisfying distorted delay or echo effect. again these have been modeled as a VST, so google away.

a feedback loop or a no-input chain means that you feed a devices (usually a mixer, distortion or a reverb pedal) output sound back onto its input. you can achieve this with a mixer with multiple outputs and inputs or just pedals with a stereo pedal as the last in the chain, routing one of it's outputs to the first pedals input on the chain. the idea is to make the pedals produce feedback or even oscillate. some pedals do, most don't. there's plenty of resources online that list pedals most suitable for noise, but as far as distortion goes anything high gain and over the top should work. DOD death metal being the most iconic.

i think you need more help with different techniques and gear to produce sound than rather than mixing them. there's a lot of tutorials on youtube to get you started. search for ms-20 drones, no-input mixing, feedback chain etc.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2021, 02:48:34 PM by host body » Logged
fuga
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« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2021, 05:44:23 PM »

i think you need more help with different techniques and gear to produce sound than rather than mixing them. there's a lot of tutorials on youtube to get you started. search for ms-20 drones, no-input mixing, feedback chain etc.

That seems to be true. My knowledge is poor. I tried to search for some information on youtube, but my problem is I can hardly imagine what I exactly need to search... For example, "no-input mixing" is a new term for me, so yeah.
 
Your answers helps a lot. Thank you very much. I'll try to figure it out.
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Major Carew
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« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2021, 08:32:56 PM »


“If it sounds right, it is right” - Joe Meek
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« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2021, 10:29:08 PM »


“If it sounds right, it is right” - Joe Meek

All you need to know right here.

Reading a few basic texts on acoustics, audio engineering etc. will go a long way. Yamaha Sound Reinforcement Handbook (published in the 1980s I think?) is an excellent resource in this regard. A PDF is available here:
https://bgaudioclub.org/uploads/docs/Yamaha_Sound_Reinforcement_Handbook_2nd_Edition_Gary_Davis_Ralph_Jones.pdf
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fuga
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« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2021, 10:46:35 PM »


“If it sounds right, it is right” - Joe Meek

All you need to know right here.

Reading a few basic texts on acoustics, audio engineering etc. will go a long way. Yamaha Sound Reinforcement Handbook (published in the 1980s I think?) is an excellent resource in this regard. A PDF is available here:
https://bgaudioclub.org/uploads/docs/Yamaha_Sound_Reinforcement_Handbook_2nd_Edition_Gary_Davis_Ralph_Jones.pdf


Thanks a lot!
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A-Z
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« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2021, 05:34:43 PM »

mixing pe or noise is no different than mixing anything else
had my harsh noise stuff mixed by experienced mixing engineers who never even heard a noise track before
their mixes still turned out orders of magnitude better than my own... way more brutality, abrasiveness, rawness, whatever you like
essentially, everything boils down to gain staging, EQ & dynamics control
and this is like 1% theory (easily accessible on youtube) and 99% practice

but here is one concrete advice
go there and watch all videos that have the word 'clipper' in their names:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuzDmHD4WeS4dwhFXPgm7GA
this is essential info you'll hardly find elsewhere explained with such clarity & detail

ps
if you want more organic sound ITB another option to consider (in addition to saturation plugins) is guitar cab IRs
you can start with this:
https://bedroomproducersblog.com/2010/10/01/free-sample-shootout-6-best-free-guitar-cabinet-impulse-responses/
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fuga
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« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2021, 12:14:12 AM »

mixing pe or noise is no different than mixing anything else
had my harsh noise stuff mixed by experienced mixing engineers who never even heard a noise track before
their mixes still turned out orders of magnitude better than my own... way more brutality, abrasiveness, rawness, whatever you like
essentially, everything boils down to gain staging, EQ & dynamics control
and this is like 1% theory (easily accessible on youtube) and 99% practice

but here is one concrete advice
go there and watch all videos that have the word 'clipper' in their names:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuzDmHD4WeS4dwhFXPgm7GA
this is essential info you'll hardly find elsewhere explained with such clarity & detail

ps
if you want more organic sound ITB another option to consider (in addition to saturation plugins) is guitar cab IRs
you can start with this:
https://bedroomproducersblog.com/2010/10/01/free-sample-shootout-6-best-free-guitar-cabinet-impulse-responses/


I will definitely check these out. Thank you for the info and recommendations, greatly appreciate it!!
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