2020-MAY-09 Info: Please help spread the word about the Songwriting Competition and help it reach 15 participants per month on average

Mix Challenge - Rules and Guidelines Addendum: Summing Bus Treatment

Ask us a question, give feedback, make suggesions
marc clement
Posts: 20
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2017 19:39 CEST

Re: Mix Challenge - Rules and Guidelines Addendum: Summing Bus Treatment

#11

Post by marc clement »

Mister Fox wrote:
Mon Aug 21, 2017 22:39 CEST
Apologies for editing your post, I just added the "quote" command to make things easier to read.
No problem, thanks.
Mister Fox wrote:
Mon Aug 21, 2017 22:39 CEST
So you're using a VU (300ms) also as peak meter?
Absolutely not

Mister Fox wrote:
Mon Aug 21, 2017 22:39 CEST
Sorry - but your values are irritating.


A VU setup to to 0dBFS would mean that the VU shows -10VU to -5VU or something if a signal at -15dBFS max peak (transient heavy material) would come in. This is why I (as Audio Engineer) insist on properly naming what values you mean. However... if you use your mixing engine this way... you either under drive/overdrive your mix environment, and then I understand why you use several compressors/limiters.
You are making the assumption that I am using mix bus vsts to build volume , I am not.....it all amounts to "glue"

Mister Fox wrote:
Mon Aug 21, 2017 22:39 CEST
This topic however drifts off into "gain staging schemes".


marc clement wrote:
Mon Aug 21, 2017 22:21 CEST
The SSl knocks about 1db off . The Millennium in M/S as I just like the shape it gives. Its not actually compressing. I am only using one limiter , a true peak limiter, set at -2 only to prevent any overs from downstream file compression e.g. MP3
If you're getting -14LUFS ILk as final result, and you don't have any rogue max digital peaks, you'll barely reach that value with 320kbit. So you're save from clipping either way.

If you have to turn your mix down on the summing bus, maybe it's time to overthink your mixing technique in general?
I`m fine thanks.......We`ve both got better things to do and I as you are, am getting irritated .

Let me know what you think of my mix!


[modmsg=Mister Fox]Fixed the quotes[/modmsg]

Marc

marc clement
Posts: 20
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2017 19:39 CEST

Re: Mix Challenge - Rules and Guidelines Addendum: Summing Bus Treatment

#12

Post by marc clement »

sorry tried to use the quote thing......

apologies

Marc

User avatar
Mister Fox
Site Admin
Posts: 1644
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2017 16:15 CEST
Location: Berlin, Germany

Re: Mix Challenge - Rules and Guidelines Addendum: Summing Bus Treatment

#13

Post by Mister Fox »

I fixed the quotes for you, Marc.
Maybe we should continue discussion via PM? I just try to understand what you do gain staging wise.

User avatar
Mister Fox
Site Admin
Posts: 1644
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2017 16:15 CEST
Location: Berlin, Germany

Re: Mix Challenge - Rules and Guidelines Addendum: Summing Bus Treatment

#14

Post by Mister Fox »

A quick update:

Edited the first post to make it more clear that "summing bus treatment" should be an artistic choice, and not considered to be mastering. I also slightly overhauled some techniques explanations, added that "EDM does often use a compressor for added impact on the sum".


This is still a supplementary topic.

It is highly recommended to keep your master bus/summing bus as tidy as possible for the production in question (read: use the master bus/summing bus for artistic purposes). The focus of the "Mix(ing) Challenge" is to mix a production, not to pre-master it (loudness adjustments, setting proper fades, rendering in a specific desired format).

Koki21
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2019 19:23 CET
Location: Novi Sad

Re: Mix Challenge - Rules and Guidelines Addendum: Summing Bus Treatment

#15

Post by Koki21 »

Hi Mister Fox, I was hoping you could clarify something for me if you'd be willing.

I'm doing the March Mix Challenge and we have a somewhat specific song that ollyaudio was kind enough to provide. Specific in a way, that it's production is experimental and composed of different digitally created elements (synths, sound effects etc.). Since I have put a lot of reverb/delay on all aspects of the mix (including the low end), which I would almost never do on a typical production, even with high-pass filters I still feel like some of the low end is getting on the sides, thus creating phase problems in the lower register, as well as mud in the whole mix. So what I did was put a Mid Side EQ (in this case Izotope Ozone), and cut everything on the sides below 80Hz, so the bass frequencies would be mono only. And that is the only plug-in I have on the master buss. Now, is that okay for me to do? You did talk about MS treatment and how it crosses the line and I want to adhere to the rules, so I decided to ask you what to do.

Thanks!
Mister Fox wrote:
Sat May 27, 2017 15:04 CEST


:?: THE THIN LINE...

Now we're treading on a very thin line. "Was the summing bus/master bus handling too much?", "What about the so called 'Fairy Dust'?", "but if we add more to the summing bus, while keeping a certain loudness value, the mastering engineer still has a lot to work with, no?"

All valid arguments. However, notice that this setup didn't use either of the following:
  • mid/side treatment / enhancement (stereo widening techniques, bass narrowing)
  • adding "Fairy Dust" (parallel EQ, broad "character EQ", more saturation)
  • multiband compression (if needed! Compacting the signal even further, which leads to...)
  • limiting
  • loudness adjustments
The focus has been (and still is) on mixing the production. You literally "fix it in the mix", not on the sum. And yes, even though CPU power these days can be trivial, not to mention that it's a very small step towards "mastering". Your focus in this challenge should be on mixing and work as best as possible, only add "minor coloration" (can be a subtle warm EQ, a "Glue Effect", very subtle stereo image enhancements through crosstalk or similar). Then later go from there...

I am fully aware that the line is thin. But there is a purpose behind it. These days, we have access to near unlimited tools - but will that be the case in a studio you're not familiar with? Or what about a pure analog large scale hardware console? This is the focus of the Mix Challenge - it's a learning experience.


User avatar
Mister Fox
Site Admin
Posts: 1644
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2017 16:15 CEST
Location: Berlin, Germany

Re: Mix Challenge - Rules and Guidelines Addendum: Summing Bus Treatment

#16

Post by Mister Fox »

Hm... considering that we had the conversation 2017, I think we can definitely pick it up again now and fine tune it.


Sometimes, if I work at a client's rig and the corresponding mix, I do need to reach for an M/S tool (bx_console or M/S capable EQ). In some cases, I use it as part of a finalizing (quick-master), sometimes I do this to keep super wide and modern synths in check (looking at you, Omnisphere 2!). I do try to handle this on specific groups already. But if individual instrument/group editing is nigh impossible or would take too much time, I have to go the "easy route" as make-shift solution.


We still have more than 10 days until the final submission for MC52 is due. You could try the following and see if it really has an influence:
  • pick up a any X/Y scope/vector scope/goniometer to your liking (personally, I can recommend the free HOFA Goniometer, but tools like MeldaProduction MStereoScope or Flux Stereo Tool should work just as much - Logic Pro X also has the MultiScope)
  • load a EQ in front of this scope and LPF/HC above 150Hz at 12dB/Oct (signal chain: EQ -> Scope)
  • Check how "wide" the stereo field is
  • then try to see if you can keep the field in check with tools directly on the sub-group in question (reverb/delay/chorus) and whether or not this has an effect on the overall sound (of the EQ>Scope combination has been turned off, of course), or if only a global solution offers a fix
Granted, this is the long way around. But this is just to see if things can be fixed "before" you hit the summing bus, or not. Add that to the learning experience :gotidea:



Considering that I do use "quick fixes" myself (again, at other rigs where time is of essence)... I think we can indeed fine tune the Guideline Addendum a bit. However, if we lift that for M/S tools on the sum, then the next discussion might be "but what about creative editing through summing compression? Is Softube's Drawmer S73 is a multiband-compressor or a wideband/single-band compressor?". This can spiral a bit out of control.

The overarching idea of the mixing games is still:
"Work on the individual channels and with suitable sub groups first, shape your sound there while keeping the summing bus as untouched as possible".

Basically, work as if you'd work on an old analog console, don't focus on "fixing the material on the sum". Although I understand that these days, the lines are blurry. But then again - if you overdo this, this doesn't mean that this is a good editing practice (which counts to the learning process of the mixing challenges).

Let's keep up the conversation. :educate:

Koki21
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2019 19:23 CET
Location: Novi Sad

Re: Mix Challenge - Rules and Guidelines Addendum: Summing Bus Treatment

#17

Post by Koki21 »

Yeah, that actually makes sense. Allowing one thing always leads to another and I agree that the mix challenge should only be about mixing (processing separate channels) and not the whole stereo mixdown. And yes, sometimes you would treat the master bus as a part of the mixing stage, whether to get a certain sound or to exercise control over some aspect of the mix, but you are right, the long way round (but I think the best way) would be to trace the root of the problem and nip it in the bud, instead of subjecting the whole mix to the change. After all, it is more organic that way, especially if you think in terms of any processing (either analog or digital) being bad for the signal and changing the core of the sound or reducing the quality of it (whether introducing noise, phase issues, overtones etc.), as my mentor used to say. The best example of that would be that the EQ is introducing phase issues at the frequencies it is boosting or cutting, or the multiband compressor having a -3 db dip at the crossover frequency, etc. etc. If you think in those terms, then it would make a lot of sense to have as little effects as possible and try to get the best sound while actually recording. Finally, I am a big proponent of leaving the master bus to the mastering engineer. I know I personally don't have the equipment or the ears to make those kind of decisions. Plus, I do feel it is important to have a fresh pair of ears assess the situation.

Thanks for the tips, I usually avoid any kind of scopes or meters (except the ones the measure signal strength/loudness), since I feel like it would be best to rely on my ears, however a lot of things I actually get passed me due to not having ideal monitoring/my ears not being trained enough. I will check out the HOFA Goniometar and see if I can actually locate the problem.

But I have noticed a lot of people actually use some processing for the sum. I'm interested in hearing what others have to say about this whole topic.

Post Reply