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Been recording my own songs for over a year now but..

TheBradge

Member
Messages
50
They still sound like the same amateuristic production as they did in the beginning.

What am i missing?
I do have to clarify though that i have no idea on how to master, or that i have no idea on how to work with a compressor bus or with any other bus..... I also have no idea on how to properly use stuff like a compressor or a limiter.. I most of the time just use the presets...

I do use Compressor>EQ>Reverb on vocals, and sometimes i use a compressor on drums or a chorus on strings. And i kinda know how to mix stuff... But it still sounds amateuristic as ever.

I recorded this last night:
http://picosong.com/mSmY

And honestly, i would like to get a nice punchy radio like quality from my recordings, Bright, but bassy and punchy, but with alot of clarity and a lot of sparkle.. (You guys know what i mean...)

I feel so stupid and insecure about it, because making / writing music is my life, but it sounds like this since the beginning, and it starts to make me go crazy about it...

Thanks for your comments and feedback already :)

Gear:

Core i7 2600k 3,4 GHZ. Windows 7 Ultimate 64. M-Audio Fasttrack MKII. Presonus Studio One V2.
 

elicxirmixer

Member
Messages
262
Each instrument lives in its own frequency range. You must locate each instrument to that frequency and boost it. Play with the equalization of each individual track, do not mix to one track and then attempt equalization.
Also, download a radio commercial, they have great equalization. Play that, then mix your song.
Are you using monitors or are you attempting this through headphones? Don't use headphones, they're misleading.
 

TheBradge

Member
Messages
50
So what you're saying is that, for instance.. I have to cut most of the highs and even some mids on a Bass guitar.. And i have to cut some lows for example on strings?

I mix twice, first i mix on my headphones, and afterwards i listen to it and mix again on my speakers.
 

TheBradge

Member
Messages
50
I checked out that site, but in all honestly, they don't like all VSTi produced songs, and i actually most of the time just use VSTs..

And i'm not much of a reader about those sorta stuff (as in, not a long read... I don't like YouTube tutorials either) I'm much more of a just learning whils't doing it.. you know? But i do need and want tips, and i hope that people can give me them :)
 

loudboy

Member
Messages
27,316
I checked out that site, but in all honestly, they don't like all VSTi produced songs, and i actually most of the time just use VSTs..

And i'm not much of a reader about those sorta stuff (as in, not a long read... I don't like YouTube tutorials either) I'm much more of a just learning whils't doing it.. you know? But i do need and want tips, and i hope that people can give me them :)
You're up against pro players, working in pro rooms with pro gear and a production team who's most likely got decades of experience.

The one thing all good engineers have in common is an obsessive desire to "make it just a little bit better."

If you're not willing to put the time in, you're not going to get the results. The basics are pretty straight forward, but you need to study them and see how it's done. There's not a lot of shortcuts, and you absolutely need to have an aptitude for it.

Working with all virtual instruments is tough, because you're locked in to the sounds. Try and record some actual instruments and see how you do.
 

elicxirmixer

Member
Messages
262
So what you're saying is that, for instance.. I have to cut most of the highs and even some mids on a Bass guitar.. And i have to cut some lows for example on strings?

I mix twice, first i mix on my headphones, and afterwards i listen to it and mix again on my speakers.
In short, yes. Removing lows from other instruments give the bass guitar freedom to sound clear in the low range. Guitars and vocals live in the mids, so try to place them next to each other rather than on top of each other.
I have always found it misleading to use headphones. Get some monitors, they're worth their weight in gold.
And like everyone else said, the pros are great at this because they obsess. You should too.

I am an amateur at best, but I'm miles from where I was when I started doing this. Mostly by learning to man the PA system while playing live on stage.
 

Silent Sound

Member
Messages
5,243
Recording and mixing is like playing an instrument. Sure anyone can do it, but in order to do it as well as the pros, it's gonna take years of constant practice and study. Just like learning to play an instrument, it isn't something that you can just throw a bunch of money at over the course of a weekend and expect to be as good as the pros.

VST's make it a whole lot easier. As do samples. That's because they're already somewhat premixed. But just because they make it easier, doesn't mean that they make it easy. You need to learn what all of the buttons and knobs on your gear do. You can read about it, but you really need to just sit down with these effects like the compressor, and play around with them a bunch to see how each button effects the sound. Presets are wasting your time. Don't use them, ever. They won't help you learn the equipment and you can always find a better setting manually.

Also, spend a lot of time critically listening to songs that you do like the mix of. Find out what it is about them that you like. Really focus in on the details. Compare them to what you have recorded. All mixing is, is listening to the song and figuring out what's working and what's not. Then all you have to do is fix the problem areas. It sounds simple, but it can take decades to learn how to hear what's not working. I've been mixing songs for over 15 years now, and I still hear stuff while I'm mixing where I can tell something's wrong, but can't seem to figure out what. In those situations, I just play around with stuff until I hear something that points me in the right direction.

So I'd say unless you're actually dedicated to learning this mixing stuff and willing to spend decades learning this skill, I'd suggest you either find someone else to do it for you, or learn to live with less than professional sounding results. And don't fall for the whole "you need professional gear to sound like a professional" crap. A good engineer can make a great sounding record with cheap gear and a bad engineer can't make a decent sounding record with best gear money can buy. It's the carpenter, not the hammer that builds the house. Now having said that, higher quality gear is a lot easier to use and will produce better results in the end, all other things being equal. But it's a common belief among amateurs that their gear is what's holding them back, when in 99.9% of cases, it's not the gear, it's their skills.
 

Crowder

Dang Twangler
Messages
19,073
This is a terrible time in the history of the world to "not want to read." So much information is being shared for free. Your loss I guess! :D

Ask yourself this: is "learning whilst doing" working for you so far?
 

Blix

Wannabe Shredder
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
26,386
The drums sticks out like a sore thumb. In this day of software like EZ/Superior Drummer and similar, you can't have drums sounding like a poor 90's drum machine.
Better drums would make your stuff sound much better instantly.
 

Empros

Member
Messages
10,403
The drums sticks out like a sore thumb. In this day of software like EZ/Superior Drummer and similar, you can't have drums sounding like a poor 90's drum machine.
Better drums would make your stuff sound much better instantly.
Yes!

EZDrummer took my clips to a whole other level. Not to say that I'm a master recorder or anything, just a home recording guy, but having a big, realistic drum sound really elevates a clip.

And turn the drums UP. Makes a huge difference.

Here's a clip of mine that was recorded with drums pretty low, which I thought was good:

Here it is again with the drums raised (thanks to John from Basic Audio, always giving me mixing advice!). I think it sounds a whole lot better

 

tjontheroad

Just Wanna Be Misunderstood
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
8,815
I checked out that site, but in all honestly, they don't like all VSTi produced songs, and i actually most of the time just use VSTs..

And i'm not much of a reader about those sorta stuff (as in, not a long read... I don't like YouTube tutorials either) I'm much more of a just learning whils't doing it.. you know? But i do need and want tips, and i hope that people can give me them :)

Well, it is just a starting point. But you gotta read. I mean you're reading this now right? When there was life before the internet (honestly, there was), I studied every issue of Mix Magazine and other recording stuff I could my hands on. That stuff was waaayyyy over my head at the time. Still is, but to a lesser degree after the effort. That knowledge got me an engineering job at a post production and duplication house. The pay sucked and I ended up changing careers. But, that experience and know how still drives my music today.

Those engineers who don't like plug-ins are the equivalent of the stereotypical analogue TGP cork sniffers we all love here. If it works in digital form... oh it must suck right? Not really. Still, that doesn't mean you can't learn about using plug-ins and their limitations based on the reasons those same cork sniffin' recording engineers hate them.

So there be your homework. Below is book cover. All the best.



 

TheBradge

Member
Messages
50
The drums sticks out like a sore thumb. In this day of software like EZ/Superior Drummer and similar, you can't have drums sounding like a poor 90's drum machine.
Better drums would make your stuff sound much better instantly.
Thanks for that man! I'm using sampletank 3 for drumsounds, but i'll go and check out a trial of superior drummer! I've heard lots of great things about it!
 

Blix

Wannabe Shredder
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
26,386
Thanks for that man! I'm using sampletank 3 for drumsounds, but i'll go and check out a trial of superior drummer! I've heard lots of great things about it!
Do that, it's a new world. You can pretty much make it sould like a real and good drummer with a little work :aok
 

rohit

Member
Messages
229
Well, it is just a starting point. But you gotta read. I mean you're reading this now right? When there was life before the internet (honestly, there was), I studied every issue of Mix Magazine and other recording stuff I could my hands on. That stuff was waaayyyy over my head at the time. Still is, but to a lesser degree after the effort. That knowledge got me an engineering job at a post production and duplication house. The pay sucked and I ended up changing careers. But, that experience and know how still drives my music today.
+1
You gotta read. How else will you learn? Making music is not all fun and games. It's also a lot of hard work - and that's especially true for recording and mixing.
 

Teal_66

Member
Messages
3,301
I agree with others that you need to absorb as much information as possible, and read. Most of the REALLY good information is NOT sexy, and can even be pretty boring.

One thing I have learned along the way is that you should not ever think that really expensive equipment will somehow give you that secret edge, or magically make your mixes sound better. 90% of the time, most people have enough equipment to produce a pro sounding mix because they know what they're doing. Also, you really should make sure that where you're mixing has a good sound, because if you're mixing in a crappy little room with terrible acoustics - then what you hear isn't accurate. Also, mixing at low volumes is much better than mixing at high volumes. You hear separation more accurately, and your ears don't become fatigued after a few hours.
 

bigEbeer

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,213
I want to be better at guitar, but I don't want to practice, watch videos of pros teaching or learn to read music.

It won't work, same logic can be applied here. Practice, read a lot, and watch some videos. Come on dude!
 

Beng2040

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,538
My mixes, though still pretty rough, have improved vastly since reading about frequency ranges and where the instruments live in a mix. I mostly watched youtube tutorials and read some tips on recording revolution and elsewhere online. Lots of great info out there for free. Learning how to give the instruments space in a mix is crucial, and it's not something you can just stumble upon. I am really having fun doing it too. It's a very complex learning process but if you love making music, you will probably enjoy the process.

Mastering is a completely different complex art form. I sent one of my mixes off that I worked on for weeks for a free trial master. I thought my mix was pretty good, but the mastered version of it was WAY better. So much so that I am going to pay to have my mixes mastered when I complete a few more.
 

Silent Sound

Member
Messages
5,243
I can sympathize with the OP. My brain won't let me read for very long. In fact, I have never read a book in my adult life! I don't care too either. I've learned to get by quite well without books. But you still have to read stuff, and sometimes that stuff is long and complex and makes you read it 20 times before you start to understand what it's saying.

I'm going to give you a title to Google. "Slipperman's Recording Distorted Guitars from Hell". It's a collection of internet posts and insults that tells you everything you need to know about recording and mixing anything. It starts off talking about heavily distorted guitars and then moves into drums and then kinda wanders about aimlessly. But within all that B.S. is basically everything you need to know about recording and mixing music. You'll need to read it 10 times or so to pick up all of the little details, but it's all there. It's laced with equal parts profanity, irreverence, and knowledge. It's not written like a text book, so it's not horribly boring. Also it's not terribly long, but it's not short either. And some of the gems of knowledge can be buried in the middle of so pretty offensive rants. It's not for those who are easily offended. But if you're not easily offended by bad language and behavior, then it's kinda funny. So it's easier to get through.
 




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