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SOTW Members, input needed please:

Trying my hand at mixing and mastering. Used Parker’s Donna Lee as working example. https://soundcloud.com/duddlydoright/donna-lee

Track Info: rhythm section generic midi done by me and bland. Tenor Sax played by me and ……. whatever. Recorded via Cubase with no hardware plugins . Mixing needs re-balanced parts, less verb on rhythm, etc. but here is my dilemma- tried mastering using only EQ (FabFilter Pro Q 2). I used a Gary Burton track, “If the Moon Turns Green”, as an EQ reference and in so doing I had to apply a HUGE cut at 3090 Hz of -16.85 db. Slight low end pass at 8524.2 Hz of only + 1.5db and a midrange broad q of 1 at 672.08 Hz of -2.72db. These make sense since they are only ‘slight’. Then I had to apply a high end pass starting at 115.37 Hz down to 20 Hz at -23db continuing roll-off past 10Hz. From what I have read from Bob Katz’s book on mastering and others the EQing in a master should be broad strokes and not the abrupt ‘gear crunching’ at 3090 Hz and the amount of the high pass. Now in applying the above movements I had to used linear phase shift and not a natural phase shift.

If you have any suggestions other than, "get it right in the mix clown", I would greatly appreciate it.

DDR> Trying to master the mix while being a poor mix master.
 

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Bring the saxophone up a bit (maybe 2-3 DB) and/or the rhythm down a bit. Remove the huge cut. Using Gary Burton as a reference might not be a good idea, try to find a basic jazz quartet track (no vibes).
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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I won't "say get it right in the mix" because I assume you have asked us not to do that because there is no way to do a remix. If there was many of your problems would be more easily solved.

So it's down to mastering a less than perfect mix.

My first question then is about your mastering equipment, because the first things you need for mastering (apart from ears and experience of course) is a very very good room and very very good monitors (plus very very good headphones for reference as well)

It sounds to me like some of that is not happening. But also one of your biggest friends in this case will be not so much EQ as multi band compression. The best mastering engineers I know will reach for that first because it's a great way to get everything sitting nicely without making it sound unnatural.

I'm not sure what you mean by "EQ reference" though, are you using some kind of auto match EQ or measuring the frequency [spectrum of that track? Either way it's not a substitute for your ears.
 

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Just increase the volume on the sax track, if you are using Cubase, that's just a mouse click and then maybe just mute all the equalization and listen to it. I have never found much good in equalizing the sound other than making it sound weird but that's only my personal taste.

Otherwise, nice take!
 

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OK Guys, spent some time re-mixing/mastering this beast and I now present to you -

https://soundcloud.com/duddlydoright/donna-lee-2nd-master

Essentially I ditched the huge eq cuts and implemented a slight rise from 3.5K out to end of .45hz - small stuff; almost flat.
I ditched the Burton reference track and used my ears and years of which there is not much.
I ditched the advise of using a mb compressor. I may use it later but you have to have your act together before you delve into this thing.
I used Ozone 8 for tape saturation, vintage limiter and their maximize. -14 LUFS on loudness.

Mr. Pete Thomas. As far as a mastering room and equipment this is what I have: room is treated somewhat with foam in the corners, carpet throughout and
I have tried to eliminate the hard surfaces as best I can. Monitors are Neimannn KH 120A, not the best but o.k. I have a decent 'sweet spot', Headphones are Boise QuietComfort
15, not the best but o.k. Cut was burned on a cd and then played in car ( Lexus 450, not the best but ok) for 'auto' reference and ....... So I have
the hardware but it still sucks.

I have learned from this mastering-debacle and so I know I will not spend the time on future takes like I did on this one but the ones in the future
should go more smoothly. Heck, if I spent the time on cleaning up my playing, especially the end of my phrases I know I would have a better sounding master.

DDR> Tks Skeller047, Pete Thomas and Lostcircuits.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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OK Guys, spent some time re-mixing/mastering this beast and I now present to you -
.........
Mr. Pete Thomas. As far as a mastering room and equipment this is what I have: room is treated somewhat with foam in the corners, carpet throughout and
All makes sense. I had thought you were against a remix as in "If you have any suggestions other than, 'get it right in the mix' " so my answer was based on that, but if you can actually do a remix then that solves a huge part of the issue.

ie why worry about a mastering problem when can go back to the mix.

Regarding acoustic design of room etc. then unless it is totally a pro mastering suite, I would recommend not even think about mastering just concentrate on mixing. I have a pro studio, but I don't even think about mastering - it's a whole other ballgame.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
All makes sense. I had thought you were against a remix as in "If you have any suggestions other than, 'get it right in the mix' " so my answer was based on that, but if you can actually do a remix then that solves a huge part of the issue.

ie why worry about a mastering problem when can go back to the mix.

Regarding acoustic design of room etc. then unless it is totally a pro mastering suite, I would recommend not even think about mastering just concentrate on mixing. I have a pro studio, but I don't even think about mastering - it's a whole other ballgame.
I get it, fantastic. Do you have anything to offer on the new mix/master? I don't have a pro studio, won't even pretend to have. I never expected to come up with a pro mastering product. In future will not even think of mastering and for that matter will not mix, why bother? I think my time is better spent on trying to play better. Can you please direct me to some of your playing recorded in your pro studio so I can listen and get a better perspective? Thanks.

Tks for input.

DDR> Moose the Mooche next.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Can you please direct me to some of your playing recorded in your pro studio so I can listen and get a better perspective? Thanks.
If you follow the link in my signature, you'll get to my site, where there are audio and video of work I've done in myself studio plus other studios. Follow the link for biog, credits, sound files and compositions - most of the composition is for TV/film work but the soiunfile links will also get you my other stuff.
 

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Hey DDR, you might want to check out the YouTube channel of Recording Revolution (Grahame Cochrane). Dedicated to mixing and mastering basics. Lot of solid advice. He has a lot of paid content too, but there are a gazillion videos that talk about a really sensible mixing process. Yes, it's mostly rock-based, but you can read between the lines... I've been following that channel for quite a while and it has really helped me when it comes to mixing.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
If you follow the link in my signature, you'll get to my site, where there are audio and video of work I've done in myself studio plus other studios. Follow the link for biog, credits, sound files and compositions - most of the composition is for TV/film work but the soiunfile links will also get you my other stuff.
Did it and thanks. Did catch some of your stuff on your super website. Naked City-Harlem Nocturn and I am wondering, did you record this in your professional studio?
If so, what type of reverb did you use on these tracks? How much did you compress this track, 'squash amount'? Mr. Thomas, no need to reply on to these questions, I am sure you have gone on to bigger and better things.

Listened to your take on the head and solo of the piece - in my ears I hear the sleepy threads of Mr. Plas Johnson trying to wake up from a Central Ave. hangover. Do you have anything up tempo on your solo work?

Again Mr. Thomas, thanks ever so much for your input and your directions to your site and your recordings of your 'stuff'.

DDR-> Harlem Nocturn by Eric Dolphy. Mastering by Greg Calbi. Still searching.
 

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Hey DDR, you might want to check out the YouTube channel of Recording Revolution (Grahame Cochrane). Dedicated to mixing and mastering basics. Lot of solid advice. He has a lot of paid content too, but there are a gazillion videos that talk about a really sensible mixing process. Yes, it's mostly rock-based, but you can read between the lines... I've been following that channel for quite a while and it has really helped me when it comes to mixing.
Skeller047 ---- Thanks ! Going to take some time but seems worth it !

DDR-> Tks Skeller047
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Did it and thanks. Did catch some of your stuff on your super website. Naked City-Harlem Nocturn and I am wondering, did you record this in your professional studio?
If so, what type of reverb did you use on these tracks? How much did you compress this track, 'squash amount'? Mr. Thomas, no need to reply on to these questions, I am sure you have gone on to bigger and better things.
Both tracks were recorded in Logic, my usual reverb technique is to put more or less everything through a small room (< 1 sec) bus, which I find bids everything together and adds natural ambience without sounding like reverb. Then (I think) some plate is added to certain things inc saxophone. Because the small room is already there but imperceptably, I find you don't need to go to far with a 2 - 3 second plate or hall to actually get some lushness without sounding over-reverbed. Basically I'm after a 60s kind of LA studio vibe.

I compress the drum overheads slightly, and the saxophone also very slightly but prefer to use fader riding to iron out dynamics. If I sue a compressor on the saxophone it may be more for a vintage valve sound rather than messing too much with dynamics.

I recently got rid of my actual analog vintage equipment as the plugin emulators are so good now, my favourite outside the native Logic compressors is PSP Vintage Warmer. (But I do still use a valve mic, AKG C12VR)


However anything that is on CD or other kind of public release will have gone via my favourite mastering engineer, who would have compressed but not to the extent of LOUD LOUD LOUD.

He a;awyse lets me know if he needed to do any drastic EQ, because that would indicate something up with my studio room/monitors or may ears. So far all is well...


Listened to your take on the head and solo of the piece - in my ears I hear the sleepy threads of Mr. Plas Johnson trying to wake up from a Central Ave. hangover.
Huge compliment thanks. (But the hangover was not always present during recording.

Do you have anything up tempo on your solo work?
If you listen to the album tracks https://tamingthesaxophone.com/recordings

You'll find a few, e.g. Boomtown, Bodacity but I suppose medium grooves, blues and ballads is what I like best.

here's Boomtown for a start:

https://soundcloud.com/petethomasmusic%2Fboomtown-5
https://soundcloud.com/petethomasmusic%2Fput-it-away-please-bill
Again Mr. Thomas, thanks ever so much for your input and your directions to your site and your recordings of your 'stuff'.
You're very welcome and thanks for listening
 
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