Frustrating day in the studio...

I have to vent... so forgive me for ranting...

I spent 8 hours in the mixing studio today, staring a first mix for my band's new album.
Sound engineer made a complete dogs testes of the mix - somehow I left the studio hoping it will sound better at home.
But playing back the two tracks file via my NDS / 252 / 300 / Ovators made it sound even more horrible.

Is there an upside to this? In a way - home system sounded as good as a mixing desk one. What came out sounded as crap in the studio and at home. 

Back in tomorrow morning - starting over with a clean slate - all dials set to netural, taking clean tracks and building it up again.

Begs an eternal question:

If someone now muses about nuances of sound because one cable sounds better than the other one... how do you know this is what the mixing engineer / mastering engineer / producer wanted you to hear?

Ahhhh.... the joys of music

Adam

Original Post

Adam,

The only thing I could offer would be to replay the mix in question for an objective listener that was not in the studio and see what they think. Sad as it sounds, you're actually a biased listener to replay because you were privy to the original sound in the studio and know or have a sonic image of what it "ought" to sound like.

Adam Zielinski posted:

If someone now muses about nuances of sound because one cable sounds better than the other one... how do you know this is what the mixing engineer / mastering engineer / producer wanted you to hear?

I'm assuming yours is a rough mix and has not yet been mastered.

Adam Zielinski posted:

I have to vent... so forgive me for ranting...

I spent 8 hours in the mixing studio today, staring a first mix for my band's new album.
Sound engineer made a complete dogs testes of the mix - somehow I left the studio hoping it will sound better at home.
But playing back the two tracks file via my NDS / 252 / 300 / Ovators made it sound even more horrible.

Is there an upside to this? In a way - home system sounded as good as a mixing desk one. What came out sounded as crap in the studio and at home. 

Back in tomorrow morning - starting over with a clean slate - all dials set to netural, taking clean tracks and building it up again.

Begs an eternal question:

If someone now muses about nuances of sound because one cable sounds better than the other one... how do you know this is what the mixing engineer / mastering engineer / producer wanted you to hear?

Ahhhh.... the joys of music

Adam, welcome to the real world 

What processors did your engineer use... almost certainly you will need to process the sound if a large mix for it to sound good. These days many capable DAWs have advanced high resolution processors. EQ, compression, stereo processors, commanders, reverb etc all can have a subtle part to make the mix come alive and usually give space around the instruments... the trick is to do it so subtly ... and a good  engineer should be able to capture this correctly for the sound and style you want..

 

joerand posted:

Adam,

The only thing I could offer would be to replay the mix in question for an objective listener that was not in the studio and see what they think. Sad as it sounds, you're actually a biased listener to replay because you were privy to the original sound in the studio and know or have a sonic image of what it "ought" to sound like.

Adam Zielinski posted:

If someone now muses about nuances of sound because one cable sounds better than the other one... how do you know this is what the mixing engineer / mastering engineer / producer wanted you to hear?

I'm assuming yours is a rough mix and has not yet been mastered.

Thanks Joe - I may actually take you up on the offer! I'm certainly biased here

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:

Adam, welcome to the real world 

What processors did your engineer use... almost certainly you will need to process the sound if a large mix for it to sound good. These days many capable DAWs have advanced high resolution processors. EQ, compression, stereo processors, commanders, reverb etc all can have a subtle part to make the mix come alive and usually give space around the instruments... the trick is to do it so subtly ... and a good  engineer should be able to capture this correctly for the sound and style you want..

 

Thanks Simon

The enginner has already worked on our previous album and our new tracks in November 2016.
The mixing console is new / pre-loved (installed in February 2017) - it's an analogue 24 channel Allen - Heath, with off-board tube compressors and some DAW software running in Logic Pro.
So theoretically we have more choices now - and this probably confused us yesterday. And we ended up with a muddled, unclear mix, with practically no sound-stage.

Consciousmess posted:

Am I correct music sounds better on a quality home system than the recording studio? Someone told me they set the studio to hear the worst so they can tweak the most.

is this true?

Not sure if I understood correctly, so....

It's difficult to replicate what a mixing and mastering engineers hear in the studio at home. The sound systems in the studios are generally far more revealing and voiced towards neutrality. 

Generally if it sounds good in the studio it will sound good at home. If it sounds bad in the studio, a home system will not improve it.

And a short update from Saturday.

7 hours in the studio on Friday - a long day, listening to the same track over and over again.
We took a different approach this time - mixing instrument levels in the analogue domain and adding EQ, compressors, delays, de-essers, reverbs, etc in the DAW. This combinatino seems to have yielded a good result.

We now have a MIX0 - a base from which further work can be done. Our singer is coming over to my place in the evening - we'll sit down for some critical listening to this raw mix using NDS fed from a USB stick. Ovators are amazing here - the closest I've heard to studio monitors.

I can already hear problems in the mix - uneven bass guitar response (an odd gap in the frequency spectrum at 82 Hz) - this will require a use of multi-band tube compressor to get this fixed; cymbals sound too dark and are hidden in the mix, guitars' levels need adjusting. Vocal seems to have gained some sort of reveb, despite none being used. Most likely frequencies overlap with guitars (around 250-300 Hz)
The biggest surprise is a snare - too many cross-talks from the high-hat and cymbals, so a midi-map had to be built and a sample used in the mix. This approach is actually used more often than people realise.
Depth of the sound-stage is OK - a cunning use of drum's track, recorded with two microphones at the bottom of the stairs, from where the drums were being recorded.

But... all in all... it's about tweaking now

More updates after the weekend.

If only more " Artists" would check out their recordings on a proper reference home replay system.

Most don't and feel that it's a process that's out of their hands, as there is so much variation in personal replay.  And of course differences in interpretations and perspectives.   But care over quality will always shine through.

TOBYJUG posted:

If only more " Artists" would check out their recordings on a proper reference home replay system.

Most don't and feel that it's a process that's out of their hands, as there is so much variation in personal replay.  And of course differences in interpretations and perspectives.   But care over quality will always shine through.

Indeed. Our recording / mixing engineer thinks I'm a bit obessive, but once he realised I can hear a lot of nuances and minute changes in the tone, he changed his mind now. He insist that I check how the mix sounds at home and let him now - he asks for detailed notes.

Adam Zielinski posted:
TOBYJUG posted:

If only more " Artists" would check out their recordings on a proper reference home replay system.

Most don't and feel that it's a process that's out of their hands, as there is so much variation in personal replay.  And of course differences in interpretations and perspectives.   But care over quality will always shine through.

Indeed. Our recording / mixing engineer thinks I'm a bit obessive, but once he realised I can hear a lot of nuances and minute changes in the tone, he changed his mind now. He insist that I check how the mix sounds at home and let him now - he asks for detailed notes.

I’d say your engineer is “Covering His Arse”

Would it not be a good idea to ensure optimal sound quality is achieved when used on what would be described as an average quality HiFi. If you can also get it sounding superb on a high end stereo (your system) that’s a bonus.

 Producing a recording that’s tuned specifically to your HiFi, surely, isn’t the way to go.

fatcat posted:

Would it not be a good idea to ensure optimal sound quality is achieved when used on what would be described as an average quality HiFi. If you can also get it sounding superb on a high end stereo (your system) that’s a bonus.

 Producing a recording that’s tuned specifically to your HiFi, surely, isn’t the way to go.

No, that would mean nasty compressed sound optimised for an iPhone. Unfortunately for us, that's the 'average' today!

ChrisSU posted:
fatcat posted:

Would it not be a good idea to ensure optimal sound quality is achieved when used on what would be described as an average quality HiFi. If you can also get it sounding superb on a high end stereo (your system) that’s a bonus.

 Producing a recording that’s tuned specifically to your HiFi, surely, isn’t the way to go.

No, that would mean nasty compressed sound optimised for an iPhone. Unfortunately for us, that's the 'average' today!

How things have changed! My experience of recording was in a couple of provincial studios in the early 70s, so no digital solutions, the engineer monitored on two systems, the main desk through Tannoys and then through a cheap amp driving a pair of car speakers in some nailed together boxes. The argument was that 99% of the population listened to a trannie so it has to sound good there. Yet people still refer to the 60s and 70s as a reference point for quality recordings.

fatcat posted:

Would it not be a good idea to ensure optimal sound quality is achieved when used on what would be described as an average quality HiFi. If you can also get it sounding superb on a high end stereo (your system) that’s a bonus.

 Producing a recording that’s tuned specifically to your HiFi, surely, isn’t the way to go.

In a way yes. But ulitmately a high-end system is quite revealing, so it's good for spotting errors in the mix, which may otherwise not be audible.


I use my two NAIM systems at home for some critical listening. When I feel I'm closer to a good mix, I will play it back on all audio 'things' I can find - in the kitchen, on my car stereo etc. All the band members will do the same - just to make sure it sounds good in places people are likely to listen to the music.

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