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Enlightened Hand in another thread long ago wrote:...This selection is TOTALLY RAW. There is NO processing whatsoever. No outboard on the way in. No mixing done at all. All of the faders are set to unity and I just let it play back, though I did pan the instruments. You'll have to turn it up because there is no volume adjustment made on the output bus so it's all just what came in. There was no clipping at all. The master fader didn't even approach 0. The highest point was somewhere around -5dBFS. All I did was dither it down to 16bit. I tracked at 24bit/44.1kHz with a Presonus "Firestudio 2626" and a Presonus "Digimax FS". All of the tracking was done in the foyer and living room of my house. The drums had sm57s on the snare top and each tom and MXL 991s in ORTF for overheads. There was an AKG d112 for the kick and I also had a couple Digital Reference DRHX-1 SDCs for the ride and hat. The guitars were tracked through Mesa amps. One was a "Stiletto" and another was a "Lone Star". I used an sm57 to mic the cabs. The bass is running through quite a beautiful Ampeg rig that costs quite a bit but I mic-ed it's cab with an AKG d112. All of the guitars were also DI-ed for later re-amping but we haven't felt the need to do so. Basically what you hear is what you get.
Keep in mind that when I refer the the width I'm talking about the entire piece and not just the drums. One of the problems with nearfield monitoring is that it requires the listener to adjust their understanding of the illusion of stereo width presented by the speakers. The presented width might seem wider than it is due to the listener's proximity to the speakers. That being the case the listener tends to under separate things from left to right, resulting in a "narrow" stereo field during the final mix.myeggsareboiled wrote:Thanks as ever for useful and detailed comments. I suspect the narrowness was a hangover from my last attempt - things got a bit messy and I salvaged something then by narrowing down the width that I'd panned the drums over. I'll certainly revisit this track and start again without any processing, and aim for a wider feel.
Adjusting the input gain at the preamps is a critical step in getting the raw tracks to sit right together and not clip. If a performer can't mentally go to their actual performance thinking and playing then just have the group play the song "for real" while you set the gain visually by looking at the meters....As for having all the faders at unity to begin with, I'm having a bit of an issue with that! When I'm setting up someone's track, I ask them to play as hard as they would play at the peak of the track, but they always seem to play harder when doing it 'for real', and then I end up having to make major adjustments to balance things out...
Well it's not really a "mix" when it's raw. It's just playback with all faders at unity. If you can get that to sound great then you're in excellent shape. Of course that requires that you gain stage effectively during tracking and every other aspect of capturing the source is right as well....I'll do a mix 'in the raw', and put that up, and of course will have a good read of Liz' article.
It's important for you to realize that an overly small, dry space is always going to be compromised when tracking instruments like drums especially. The drums in reality are rarely heard in isolation or in excessively close proximity by anyone (with the exception of the drummer). So in order for you to get the drums to sound "right" you'll need a space that sounds "right". If you can't get that where you are then you can always go to the space you need. Take your computer and the rest of your gear and go where there are better tracking acoustics for the purpose of capturing drums. Alternatively, though much more expensive, you can pay a studio to track your drums and do the rest of the tracking at your space....As for the space, unfortunately, it's the only one I have, and am going to have for the forseeable future. I don't know how I can improve it - more treatment would just deaden the sound further. I've toyed with the idea of putting some diffusion up at the apex of the roof, but don't know if that would make much of a difference to it? Can't do any harm I suppose!
Obviously you always want the best you can afford. But when I mentioned that I suspected your monitoring was "compromised" I was mainly referring to the potential placement of them and perhaps even the listening room acoustics. NS10s, for example, are not exactly excellent speakers for critical listening (though they do have their useful attributes) but if they are placed well and the room acoustics aren't terrible you can get some work done with them once you adjust to their sound. So if nothing else pay close attention to your room acoustics and your monitor placement to see if you're not further handicapping yourself with either of those variables....Monitors I am aware are not cutting the mustard. They are next in line for an upgrade, but that'll be a little while yet before I can rustle up the cash...
myeggsareboiled wrote:Just a side note to this - I thought I'd popped a speaker last night - the one the left had been farting from time to time, but was now only playing stuff through the tweeter. After checking all the cables, I pulled the speaker to bits - I have no money for new ones, so I thought I'd at least check out the insides. I found a loose wire, and resoldered it, and whadda ya know, it was fixed. I played some of my mixes through it today, and suddenly I can hear what everyone is meaning about all my mixes leaning to the left. I suspect only part of the signal was getting through the dodgy connection, so I was over-compensating. Hopefully I can try to get more of a balance on the go now!
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