FREE MMJ Master Recording in 2 Weeks on GAM!

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MMJ
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FREE MMJ Master Recording in 2 Weeks on GAM!

Postby MMJ » Sun Jun 19, 2016 12:38 pm

Hey Guys , its MMJ

INTRODUCTION:
Just like to show my appreciation on GAM and share what I have learned on my longest journey of over 20 years now the Recording Process may be one of the most difficult things and I feel that I have unlocked its secrets in a scientific way I am going to break this down for you in a digestible way in regular language and where you can get finished mastered results that are on par with the hottest albums coming out in 2016.

This Course is going to be teaching you entirely In the Box which means with a computer and interface using digital recording . With the newest vst and tools available you can easily achieve recordings as good as multi-million dollar studios. but in order to be able to do that you have to have an understanding of what vintage analog equipment does to the audio signal in order to re-create those same effects digitally .


ANALOG RECORDING
----------------------------------------------------
In the Beginning was Analog . the Iron of transformers the syrupy richness of tubes and tape the hand wired goodness of orange capacitors and thick resistors with stripes and the high voltage running through them. fat sounds coming from harmonics just like a good guitar tone it gets fattened and smoothed lightly compressed thick and syrupy while being defined and tight at the same time this what we are going to re-create in the box the best of the past with the tech and ease of use of the future.
In order to succeed at the en-devour of recreating these characteristics in the digital domain you have to know what each one of these things does to the audio signal so that we can re-create the same thing manually digitally , and even though it may seem difficult after a while when you know your shit it is only a matter of stacking plugins easy as that, so don't get discouraged you are going to be able to make recordings as good as anyone can .


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analog_recording

http://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/analogue-warmth

CHAPTER I:
---------------------
IN THE BOX ITB DIGITAL RECORDING
---------------------------------------------------

In order to actually keep this simple terms , lets start with what we don't want in our sound during mixing when we are altering the tracks.
we never want to throw a plugin on our track and have it raspy harsh brittle static like rough around the edges . we never want to throw a precise digital EQ on a clean, fresh recorded vocal or drum track and start carving deep holes out whether wide or skinny bandwidth or adding in eq that way. We never want to through a transparent compressor on a freshly recorded bass drum track set it to 4:1 with 10ms attack and 150 ms decay and crank the threshold way back until we get kick drum hits that sound like flicking pieces of construction paper with your finger. why not? what is it about these things that are bad or that is giving us bad results? well, i think most of us can recognize the same thing with guitar tone. picture a dude taking a pristine clean solid state jazz chorus like amp with cabinet almost like studio monitors and putting a big muff distortion or fuzz on it and then in the tone stack cranking the treble and bass control then putting a mic on the cap of the speaker cabinet. what is at play here?
the magic is in the transient! the consonants of vocals the click of bass drum the pick of guitar tone the snap of bass string the crack of snare drum. we want to achieve a sound that is smooth and equal loudness across our whole track not highlighting the click raspy transients to be hyper defined in such a way as to make the sustained vowels of a singing vocal track buried down quieter . or a bass drum hit entirely click with no fat bass or a guitar track that is all pick noise. we never want to use a vst in such a way as to create more variance in raspiness or have our transients all over the place looking at our waveform view. We want clear tight definition in the way a fender twin delivers on clean guitar tone smooth and buttery what is it doing that? how do we apply that same method to all of our tracks?

A. HARMONICS
-----------------------------
please begin by reading these links to familiarize yourself with harmonics so that we can cut many years down into a way for your recordings to get the quickest results.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harmonic

https://rhordijk.home.xs4all.nl/G2Pages ... ortion.htm

We have a Goal to achieve in recording and in this course. we want to make our recordings as clear and precise to the ear as possible while being fat smooth warm yet crisp clear and defined that means our actual waveform of the individual track in question needs to be averaged out in detail the same loudness throughout no large spikes no large difference between the transient and the sustained part of sound no large variances in attack , and also no thin harsh areas in the singers consonants or the guitars pick noise or the hard crash of a cymbal we want the clarity and crispness combined with how our ears work averaging the sound vibrations over time a smoothness and fatness we want the transients to be as thick as the sustained not tiny needle pin pricks of sounds laid over top of the sustained part of the sound this means using harmonics in such a way as analog equipment does or in other terms the way a decent guitar amp does to guitar that syrupy chewy yet accurate and tight goodness we all know and love, we want to re-create what a tube eq or a transformer of a Neve desk or a tape machine does we want to have the best of the best in terms of detail , while at the same time giving a sense of uniformity smoothness fatness richness.
Thank GOD it is 2016! this is easliy achievable in 2016!

Analog modeling vst do not fully capture the essence of the original piece in its entirety. because of this we have to break down what the original analog equipment does to the sound ,break down what our vst does to the sound and simply add multiple vst that each do something subtle.This is the secret to perfect recordings. Each plugin you add is subtle ,but the chain adds up (just like how analog gear works.) Imagine ,one digital compressor added to a freshly recorded clean vocal track with no processing and cranked to the extreme. It is artificial, over exaggerated ,fake and harsh sounding with the waveform mangled all over the place clearly visible in the waveform view. Now compare this to a whole stack of vst that each doing something barely audible but as they stack up they are each ironing out the wrinkles so to speak, as if you went in and adjusted each little part of the waveform that was strange. this is the secret and it is a simple one.

B. USE your EYES .........AND your EARS!
-----------------------------------------------------------
To actually achieve our Goal in recording we must use every tool at our disposal. you would not drive on the highway in a thunderstorm with a blindfold on!

You need speakers you know well .You need a DAW your used to using ,You need to have a visual of all your meters. You need to have a visual of the frequency response spectrum for each track (or master). you need a visual of the stereo response of each track (solo'd on master) you need plugins to do each step of the process that you know and are comfortable with.

(my general guidelines, break them whenever you have to)

1. METERS.
---------------
You need to have an understanding of your meters and how to use them when tracking and then mixing set your peaks on individual tracks well below clipping. (All your tracks add up on the master meters) this means peaks -18 db on peak meter for individual tracks so that when 20 tracks add up on the master fader meter it is well below clipping . also do this in between vst make sure your not clipping from one output of a vst to another input of vst (don't have to lower that much just not clipping from one vst to another)

2. Spectrum Analyzer
--------------------------
This goes hand and hand with meters it is a visual graph in real-time of your frequency response of solo'd track or entire mix BEFORE it gets to your speakers (that color the sound) as you get more and more used to the spectrum analyzer you only need to glance at it a few times the whole mix start by listening to whole albums while looking at it see what it actually does for you to have visual of bass mid and treble and how fast the transients are acting in the mix.

Image

Pink noise is our reference point for individual tracks as well as our complete mix because pink noise means equal energy per octave you can open and track off a CD or MP3 or FLAC etc. onto a track in your DAW put a spectrum analyzer on your master fader and compare that visual of the final mastered track to this graph of pink noise (equal energy per octave) in order to see how any differences affect the perception of the mix

C. Gain staging
----------------------

while tracking or if you already have the tracks make sure your far from clipping the input stages of the recording interface - console
once you have your tracks you want to setup your gain staging. This means dealing with your meters in such a way as to not clip the master output into red i usually adjust for ample headroom on dry tracks and as you add in vst such as recording desks tape and other transformer tube tape transistor based analog smoothing harmonics, re-adjust your gain staging after adding in so that the output of you individual track or buss is around -12db to -18db Rms there is room or play here depending on the number of tracks and dynamics or crest factor of mix.

The other Important aspect of gain staging is the volume level hitting a vst or unit and its output level that will hit the next one there is a balance that comes with time just remember not to clip it and in our case we want to solo the before and after each vst to make the difference as subtle as possible to accumulate a fatness richness in our transients and even partially compression because of the fattening effect it has on the tone during mixing.

D. Compression
-------------------------

I am going to put compression before EQ here regarding adjustments individual tracks reason being you want to build up strong harmonic content to get a round fat tone on transients within each track (using ears to make sure no actual distortion or clipping is happening) BEFORE compression and last EQ .Remember we are re-creating the warmth of analog gear here, (as always break these rules when you must)

For Compression the individual settings on a compressor depends on the actual content itself i will give you some guidelines
use a LOW ratio. highest ever being 3:1 lowest 1:5:1
attack settings never lower than 30 ms but usually around 80ms to 100 ms or so
release mostly around 100ms to 200ms but it depends on the speed on the music and the individual track
a threshold level which your compressing no more than 2.5 db reason being we want the small strategic adjustments of each vst or unit to add up to be the overall smooth dramatic mix that the inner details get ironed out tiny increments at a time like the way real gear works. we dont want to dramatically alter the sound of the track or mix per vst or unit .

you can stack different type of compression each shaving off 1 to 2.5 db with different settings AFTER a harmonic content has been built up from analog modeling using transformer tube transistor and tape vst or units.

E. EQ
--------------
First we set our track levels using meters around 18db to -12 db on average per track , then we built up harmonic content with tube tranny tape sat vst, next we added compression smoothing out some dynamics retaining clear transients with smooth buttery warmth. NOW we add in EQ and using our master fader spectrum analyzer like Fab-filter PRO q 2 AND SOLOING the track we can compare it to pink noise profile of equal energy per octave a very general guideline for the final mix. we can use EQ to adjust individual tracks alternating between the soloed track and within the context of the mix in order to hear and see what needs to be adjusted.

as far as the specifics of EQ adjustment in this order of the chained events here are some general guidelines.

Vocals -----after building up the previous chain of units or vst discussed and we arrive at the point of EQing , our vocals transients should be tamed quite a bit meaning fat round smoothed rich buttery while being fast and clear also we may sometimes need to remove energy around 10khz to 20khz with broad strokes removes energy below 180hz with broad strokes and remove a small chunk around 600hz to 650 hz with a slightly higher Q or refined shape say - 3db.

Guitar------after building up the previous chain of units or vst discussed and we arrive at the point of EQ'ing the guitar's miced output of cabinet we sometimes want to remove some of the energy above 6khz with broad stroke (use ear) some of the energy below 100 hz with broad stroke and possibly and higher q around 400hz to 450 hz by a couple db.

Bass-----after building up the previous chain of units or vst discussed and we arrive at the point of EQ'ing the Bass'es mic'ed output of cabinet, we sometimes want to remove some of the energy above 12khz with broad stroke as well as removing some energy below 80hz broad stroke if too much rumble exists. finally sometimes adding in energy around 2khz to 3khz with couple db can push the bass forward a little bit.

DRUM BUSS------- Lets assume you have adjusted the individual drums to ear possibly not needing to with modern drum vst or if using real kit adjusted levels and EQ using your ears this is not very difficult. (except for certain genres like death metal or prog drums) Now you are ready to do some EQ on the whole chain. you can slightly reduce the energy from 10khz up if cymbals to shrill, you can remove from 40hz below if bass kicks too much rumble. you can raise broad stroke around 1khz by couple DB to bring drums into front more.

F. DEPTH or SPACIOUSNESS of mix
------------------------------------------
First we set our track levels using meters around 18db to -12 db on average per track , then we built up harmonic content with tube tranny tape sat vst, next we added compression smoothing out some dynamics retaining clear transients with smooth buttery warmth. Then we used EQ with mostly broad stokes to shape our tracks to fit together and throughout the process re-adjusted our volume levels so we have headroom at the master fader lets say never exceeding -6db on peaks with the whole mix. Now we want to add depth there are a few tools to do this First is our EQ we can remove some energy above 10khz on a track while adjusting its overall volume to push it into the background or raise it to push forward. we can pan to create width we can adjust from 200hz to 500hz on a track to adjust the perception of height and punch and thickness overall.

Next, we can use reverb or delay these are divided into 2 categories. For practical use, a quick delay or reverb that defined the space directly surrounding the sound (early reflections) and a long delay or reverb tail that defines how far away the sound perception travels .
you can either use one reverb that does both well or one of each or multiple delays and reverbs stacked. The key here is subtly . of course use your ears i suggest alternating between solo'd track with effect on and off and making it barely audible that means the reverb or delay around -18 to 20db quieter than regular sound start there . we want it to barely be noticeable, not over exaggerated . feel free follow this process and stack as many as needed each subtle but doing a specific task required.

next we can look at information about our human hearing called ,head related transfer function that shows us the change in frequency response (bass mids and highs ,shape of sound) depending on the position of the sound related to our ears for example behind us above below etc.

Image

http://www.sfu.ca/sonic-studio/handbook ... aring.html

http://mat.ucsb.edu/240/D/notes/Binuara ... 20IRs.html

now we use this information in the way described to add depth and spaciousness to our mix , using EQ with head related transfer function or HRTF combined with the delay and reverb types discussed earlier.

G. LIMITING
-----------------
After the process of adding depth to our tracks and mix we can add more analog modeling units or vst such as buss or track inserts recording console , tubes of pre-amp the transformers in mixing console or tape machines using them in such a way as to barely be audible in A to B comparison of on and off both solo;d and in the context of the whole mix . remember this is controlling our peaks and increasing the overall volume of these tracks smoothing out and thickening the transients just make sure it is not so drastic per vst or unit as to sound blatant or obvious crunchy or static or raspy .You may even want to add another layer of compressors just kissing the transients at 1.5:1 or 2:1 ratio and attack of 100ms decay of 250 ms to level out perception of volume.
Once you are happy with the steps you can get into Limiting for each track if you feel there is even a need. Many times it is not even needed , But if you find there is still too much dynamic change within the music you can use subtle limiting being very careful to not impose an unpleasant sound and re-adjusting track volumes to each other making sure your mix not exceeding -6db peaks on the master fader.
When using Limiting make sure you are just kissing the transients that jump out from 1 to 2 db above the rest. Add another one if you need to , just makng sure you A to B on to off where the limiters are not destroying your hard work.

you can use GROUPS to add different compressors and subtle harmonics feel free to experiment with this for example GROUP or BUSS all drums and percussion then the rest of music in another GROUP then finally vocals in another GROUP . You can do it as a send so that the group sound blends with the original tracks and add harmonics and compression and limiting and even more reverb or depth but then starting from quiet in tiny increments bring those BUSS volumes up to say -25 DB on the master fader in comparison to your mix volume of -6 db on the master fader.


H: MASTERING
-----------------------

This can get very confusing and more complex than the entire enterprise of mixing, however I want to keep it simple and useful for anyone to do so we are going to refer to MASTERING as adjusting units or vst on our master fader or when we have gotten our mix to the point of just left and right stereo sound and are happy with it, but want to Finalize it. What mastering began as , is very different from what it is in this context.You used to need to get your song ready for vinyl or shellac etc. nowadays it is finalizing the song in terms of clarity and volume and consistency . We can have reference tracks to play through the spectrum analyzer and look at the balance between bass mids and highs in comparison to pink noise (equal energy per octave) . Then we can compare our mix to pink noise ,and to many reference tracks . There is a few things we are listening for and looking for . Visually we are looking for our mix being out of balance on the spectrum analyzer imagine a big large hole around 800hz that is a problem. or say instead imagine the energy of the mix at 10khz is the same as the energy at 100hz on the analyzer this is a problem. As far as audibly , what we are listening for is consistency and anything we dont want like raspy fuzzy harsh tones or sandpaper type effects with the transients we want buttery smooth yet clear and precise tight sound.

the technique.

We want to follow the process that we have been the entire time which is tiny adjustment per vst or UNIT in which this stack up to smooth out our overall sound nothing drastic per unit or vst the trick is to find the units or vst that are essentially useful during the mastering process , a more refined tone units or vst that are more precise but at the same time and make adjustments that are like a fine tooth comb in the areas of broad eq possibly linear phase with modeling of analog gear again even if you have to multiple stick them to recreate the effect. next compression but a more refined compression that acts as glue i cant tell you which particular ones to use you have to make choices but i can help. possibly de-essing during mastering if the highs are all there level wise but just a little too bright. it could be opposite and need more power in the highs so it actually depends on what you did earlier in the mix . the most common step in mastering left is LIMITING at least this day and age.I recommend using a transparent limiter and only shaving off no more than 2db at most and the reason being you can add another one if you need more we want the accumulation to add up but not drastic adjustments per vst or unit.


Find the Newest ,best mixes in your genre and match your work to those using this methodology and and tweaks that come to you naturally. Take this methodology and practice with it many many times and as usual break those rules when you have to.


Please CHECK BACK OFTEN as this will be UPDATED REGULARLY. it is not a script or gimmick, I'm just sharing what i have learned in a way where you too can master this art with no smoke and mirrors
Last edited by MMJ on Mon Jun 27, 2016 6:29 pm, edited 13 times in total.

Jansku79
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Re: FREE MMJ Master Recording in 2 Weeks on GAM!

Postby Jansku79 » Wed Jun 22, 2016 7:38 am

Nice, looking forward to this. Would be great if you could include some "turd" DI's compared to great ones. I can provide some shitty recordings that i did back in the early days using in built sound card and 30€ guitar if you don't have your own crap :D

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Re: FREE MMJ Master Recording in 2 Weeks on GAM!

Postby MMJ » Wed Jun 22, 2016 4:29 pm

cool thanks !

yes one of the things i really want to include is if anyone can send me some tracks to mix as part of the demonstration and you can have the finished copy if you decide you like it . right now i only have tracks of actual bands and so far they dont want me to use their stuff but if i dont hear back from anyone soon im going to try to find the time to record some.
I'm working at the shop right now on the prototype guitar cabinet of mine and recording bands at night ill see what i can come up with please guys any recording you have for mixing to show in detail what can be done would be appreciated.

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Re: FREE MMJ Master Recording in 2 Weeks on GAM!

Postby MMJ » Wed Jun 22, 2016 4:32 pm

the last 2 nights in a row i recorded bands playing live in their garage and the copy came out clearer and louder than any other cd they have i want to show you how to do that.

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Re: FREE MMJ Master Recording in 2 Weeks on GAM!

Postby Jansku79 » Sun Jul 03, 2016 5:58 pm

I'll go through some of my in the box recordings and drop you a link if i find something. Your guide is good but it needs more substance, like a video tutorial or the mixing template you are using in your DAW. So far the best tutorials i have found are from this guy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGobzY5fvDs

He explains everything in detail but downside is that he is using a bit aged software like cubase 5 and i'm not sure about using that many vst plugins thou the end results are usually very good.

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Re: FREE MMJ Master Recording in 2 Weeks on GAM!

Postby MMJ » Tue Jul 05, 2016 6:05 pm

Hi thanks brother

i agree more content is better i been so busy lately but like to do matching videos.

as far as the video link you posted , I would consider that type of quality lower than a store bought finished quality which is what this series aims to show how to do. yes it is mediocre but the methods used in the videos like carving huge chunks out of sounds with one vst eq is poor quality you have to do tiny adjustments per vst or unit in order to have the finished result come out to the level of the highest pros. this is why i state so clearly the importance of harmonic content on the transient information id the audio.

thanks for your comment im heading out to the shop but will be beck on when i get home.

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Re: FREE MMJ Master Recording in 2 Weeks on GAM!

Postby MMJ » Tue Jul 05, 2016 6:09 pm

one more thing to note about using eq to make massive cuts or boosts , i recommend never eer doing it this means the original tracking got scrwed up it makes so un-natural and lo quality, but of course everyone is free to do what they want no matter what! if you feel you must dig out massive parts of your sound essentially ruining the transient information, try loading 4 or so tube tape tranny console type sat vst then eq plug that is taking massive chunks out or adding then 3 or 4 more tube tape tranny saturation plugins or physical unitswhere each is barely doing anything or you cant tell it is doing something a and b''ing the reason is to make up for damaging the transients you will be able to see right away if you try it. but you should never need to remove massive chunks from your sound unless you want a mix that is lower than the newest highest qualities bought in the store in 2016.

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Re: FREE MMJ Master Recording in 2 Weeks on GAM!

Postby MMJ » Thu Jul 07, 2016 12:50 pm

It is very Important that you never make any drastic changes to the sound with a vst or patched in unit unless maybe a backtrack ambience very low volume type thing. the reason is how it destroys the audio information related to the transient. the best store bought albums have the tiny fine detail of the audio smoothed out yet crisp and detailed not jagged ripped up fuzzy or static sounding.
You want to have the best studio monitors you can afford plus a set of high end in ear monitors that you listened to your top 100 high end source material through this is ear training for the fine detail audio has.
IF you have to use 30 plugins because your adjusting tiny bit of each one ,and that many is needed to actually add up to be what 5 pieces of real ultra high end gear would be that is much better than throwing say a digital EQ on a dry track and start cutting 10 db chunks out your recordings will always sound worse than the best ones out there because real high end gear only needs 2 db cut instead of 10 when a strong harmonic foundation is added to the audio before eq or compression.

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Re: FREE MMJ Master Recording in 2 Weeks on GAM!

Postby MMJ » Thu Jul 07, 2016 1:01 pm

Imagine you have a freshly recored VOCAL track now you put a digital EQ vst on and cut out 3 chunks in different places each cutting 8 db with broad Q. WHy are you compelled to do this when it is clearly ruining the transients? To help illustrate why lets see an analogy with a guitar signal picture a ultra clean amp and cabinet vs a Marshall bluesbreaker with syrpy richness and chewy goodness. with the ultra clean you ears need to cut 10 db with EQ to have it noticeable enough where as with a strong harmonic content you only need 2 DB cut to achieve the same thing to the way it sounds to the ear this iis how important harmonic content is even when the bluesbreaker is still a fairly clean sound the harmonics introduced from the tubes transformers and rectifier plus speakers are thickening out the transients of the guitar sound while smoothing out any louder notes played accidentally so by the time you need to adjust 2 db of EQ it is that whole thicker sound with round transients your adjusting 2 DB on.
If you want to MASTER RECORDING in the sense of having finished mixes that compete with the very best you want to approach your tracking producing mixing and engineering from this same understanding where mangling pristine audio will give poor results 100 percent of the time and doing tiny precise adjustments at the atomic scale of the audio so to speak is the secret to records that are the very best made.

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Re: FREE MMJ Master Recording in 2 Weeks on GAM!

Postby MMJ » Thu Jul 07, 2016 1:12 pm

lets do an exercise in Critical listening first a recent and recording regarded as one of the very best top notch recent pieces of work .
get your best studio monitors plus best in ear monitors and study the fine detail atomic structure of this audio.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8t8g8lU4ms

listen very closely in the fine detail and how it transitions to the larger part of the sound smoothness yet clarity and fatness.

Now we will find a similar type music but where the recording methodology was taking big chunks out and mangling the audio in the mixing process and engineering stages

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAhIADVpapw

now listen closely at the fine detail part and where it transitions to the bigger chunks of the audio afterwards A plus B compared the 2 recordings and listen to the fine detail of each.


In order to shape and mold the tiny detail part of the sound you must have a methodology that actually works at the level. removing large chunks with single vst or units will never accomplish this . we need to find a way to iron out the wrinkles so to speak. the way to so this is every so carefully add in harmonic content to the pristine audio carefully along the way making adjustments that effect the tiny detail level where it meets the larger detail level so both can be adjusted to where they need to be instead of mangling ripping and tearing up the sound.


here is a virtual stack of plugins that would work on the tiny detail part
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(a and b to where each one of these sounds no different to the original isolated and a and b'd to the track)

1. recording desk vst
2. tape vst
3. transformer vst
4. tube preamp vst
5. analog tube compressor 2:1 attack 30 ms decay 150 ms threshold just kissing peaks at 1.5 db reduction on meter
6. neve 1073 eq 3 spots - 2 DB at time
7. diff tape vst
8. transformer vst
9. recording desk AUX vst
10. solid state analog compressor 1:5.1 attack 10 ms decay 100ms threshold just kissing peaks at - 1db on meter
11. recording desk vst
12. tube sat vst
13. different tape alg vst
14. digital eq removing no more than -1.5 db at critical positions and Q

Now remember each one of these plugins should not be noticeably different when A to B comparing them to the unmodified track because it is the accumulation of these that add up to be dealing with the tiny detail atomic structure of the audio in clear and precise way which is virtually adding up to do what say 5 very expensive analog units in the real world would do.

now lets compared to mangled mess

1. digital eq removing -8 db in 3 areas of frequency response
2. compressor vst ratio 4:1 attack 5 ms decay 80ms threshold effecting - 8 db on meter
3. limiter threshold affecting - 5 db on meter
4. de-esser to smear the harshness - 3 db on meter at 6khz
5. tape vst audibly noticable fizz on sound
6. digital eq removing chunks 4 places high Q -7 db

the results of the mangled mess are worse than if you did nothing at all and just released what you originally tracked as is!


Our job is never to destroy or mangle the audio that was captured during the tracking process but instead to carefully and precisely deal with the tiny detail "atomic structure "as well as the larger inconsistencies in audio to bring it to life .
this is the secret to mastering the recording process.

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Re: FREE MMJ Master Recording in 2 Weeks on GAM!

Postby Jansku79 » Thu Jul 07, 2016 10:03 pm

MMJ wrote:--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(a and b to where each one of these sounds no different to the original isolated and a and b'd to the track)

1. recording desk vst
2. tape vst
3. transformer vst
4. tube preamp vst
5. analog tube compressor 2:1 attack 30 ms decay 150 ms threshold just kissing peaks at 1.5 db reduction on meter
6. neve 1073 eq 3 spots - 2 DB at time
7. diff tape vst
8. transformer vst
9. recording desk AUX vst
10. solid state analog compressor 1:5.1 attack 10 ms decay 100ms threshold just kissing peaks at - 1db on meter
11. recording desk vst
12. tube sat vst
13. different tape alg vst
14. digital eq removing no more than -1.5 db at critical positions and Q



Could you name those plugins in the signal chain, which ones you prefer to use? Is that an example of a mixbus or indvidual channels? Im guessing it's a mixbus, if this is the case does your track channels only have, let's say an amp sim and impulse loader?

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Re: FREE MMJ Master Recording in 2 Weeks on GAM!

Postby MMJ » Fri Jul 08, 2016 3:36 pm

it ist not indicative of exact plugins but say if you had the waves series you could use all those versions. Orsay a different brand that had those plugins would work find, also the track layout is not specific to any individual track it could be vocals, guitar drum channel anything you want . but this would be just a single track if you busses all your vocal parts say you recorded them in small parts than busses them to one buss it could be that or say you recorded bass guitar so your chain would be pedals bass amp cabinet microphones then onto the list or say guitar you would have pedals then amp then cabinet then microphones then mic preamp then this list .

I think you already understand but just to remind each one of these plugins should A to B compare to your track iand with high end monitors not be noticeable difference should be very slight difference then add the next one then A B compare to on and off it is only after all the plugins or physical units is added that the accumulation of these plugins dealing with the tiny detail of the sound is more noticeable.
This is because you want to "iron out the wrinkles" by working at the "atomic level" of the sound itself . instead of methodology evolving putting on a plugin then doing drastic changes ,because that would actually make the "atomic detail" of the audio more fuzzy and scrambled.

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Re: FREE MMJ Master Recording in 2 Weeks on GAM!

Postby MMJ » Fri Jul 08, 2016 3:41 pm

Quick reminder , why do we have to have stack of plugins each doing little bit?
because we want to re-create very high end expensive gears effect on sound and the modeling plugins only do a portion of what the real thing would. we want to build a harmonic structure carefully to the sound so that we can make adjustments that do not damage the transients because they are fatter and thicker with levels of harmonic content added it is just like a guitar amp with 6 gain stages each one does a little bit to add up to be your whole sound. in the case of these stack of plugins as your adding them each on their own is inaudible you cannot hear a real difference A to B comparison each one on its own maybe a tiny difference but that is it let the stack of them add up to make the impact this also gives you the control to customize your sound easier than ever.

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Re: FREE MMJ Master Recording in 2 Weeks on GAM!

Postby Jansku79 » Sun Jul 10, 2016 7:05 am

Yeah i see your point on that signal chain and it is exactly what i have ignored in the past. Check your pm i will send you a link to some stems that i would rate as a turd recording, i would be very interested to see what you can do with such low quality recording :D

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Re: FREE MMJ Master Recording in 2 Weeks on GAM!

Postby MMJ » Sun Jul 10, 2016 4:44 pm

I got the stems I am doing the mix

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Re: FREE MMJ Master Recording in 2 Weeks on GAM!

Postby MMJ » Sun Jul 10, 2016 4:45 pm

haha thanks i am working on it now I really like the music very emotional and fun to work on homey

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Re: FREE MMJ Master Recording in 2 Weeks on GAM!

Postby MMJ » Mon Jul 11, 2016 5:55 pm

So I had to rush to get it done before work , Its not perfect by any stretch but you can at least tell the transients are not artificially damaged like in poor mixing recordings' (besides the mastering we all do that damages) I also made some creative decisions regarding the tonality to bring out emotion like a live band type thing
Because of the way this specific song was written all the music and emotion lives in the lower mid bass so i did not want to artificial skew the music in the higher range of hearing.
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/773 ... 202016.wav

I used DW drums and ziljan cymbals, ampeg with 8x10 , guitars are Orange Thnderverbs and Rockerverbs each with 2 full stacks of mesa and Orange 4x12 and for synth used analog synth to try more organic sound

all that with the process described in this thread combined lead to the extra energy in low mid but i liked it becuase the music seemed fitting for it so i didn't work to change that it is all natrually where the transients are located in this type sound and indicative of the equipment iwould use for this type music but you an also in the mastering process easily shift the tonality more of flat frequency response but i kept it like playing this type music live would sound because how it impacted me emotional with such powerful low mids it does not have to be that way normally. you can use a massive passive in the mastering even to bring the low mids down a touch without messing with the transients too much again i did it because the way this song was written the music lives there so i left it and like it that way i would mix the whole album of this type music like this to be more powerful unless the band wanted it done differently because they would actually sound this way live.

here is his original mix he did

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/773 ... 016mix.mp3
Last edited by MMJ on Tue Jul 12, 2016 7:58 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: FREE MMJ Master Recording in 2 Weeks on GAM!

Postby Jansku79 » Mon Jul 11, 2016 11:07 pm

Interesting version indeed, i like the lead guitars in this one, sounds more organic than in my version. If anyone else wants to give it a shot just let me know and i pm a link for stem download.

Would be great to get more people involved in this topic than just me and MMJ :)

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Re: FREE MMJ Master Recording in 2 Weeks on GAM!

Postby MMJ » Tue Jul 12, 2016 8:06 am

Jansku79 \m/ \m/

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Re: FREE MMJ Master Recording in 2 Weeks on GAM!

Postby MMJ » Tue Jul 12, 2016 7:01 pm

Here is version 2 in a MP3 a brighter more common version

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/773 ... on%202.mp3

due to the song being so slow and focused in the low mids and mids , personally i wouldn't have the drums sound like flicking a piece of paper or the music thinned out but instead fat and creamy like the band would play it (not an accusation of anyone or talking about anyone specific , but im just referring to the way some people make albums and recordings and especially amateur thing is to carve out big chunks boost areas most irritating and such haha) but each song is unique and i would go accordingly but always with the mindset of not hyper focusing the transients but having them even like real sound is instead of artificial sounding recordings in the high end.

this thread tells you everything you need to know to do this very thing

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Re: FREE MMJ Master Recording in 2 Weeks on GAM!

Postby MMJ » Tue Jul 12, 2016 8:35 pm

I never understood the whole thing with drums that sound like flicking peice of paper and trying to bring out the harshness in every thing anyone shed some light on it? i just mean in general not a specific persons work its millions of records im talking about its lik ethey never thought to bring out the original sound and make it clear but instead to over emphasize clicky sounds and raspy parts of cymbals and fizz of guitar weird to me.

maybe due to very low systems the sense of clarity is perhaps higher upon first impression?

There is a secret (i guess apparently) in audio recording production and engineering that when you are working with a sound you have to identify where the transients are in relationship to the frequency response, then base your decisions on it.
example- take a crash cymbal the horrible part of the tone is located between 6khz and 15khz the sweet tone is around 350hz to 600hz so if you take big chunks out the lower region, or boost big chunks in the higher region you are essentially making the good part inaudible and the irritating part louder, so how do we get the the transients balanced across frequency range? if a crash needs to be quieter in the low range and louder in the high range without affecting the transients badly how do we do that? like stated before you must build harminc content its like a clean guitar going into a tube amp with multiple stages input stage, 1st tube eq volume 2nd tube stage eq volume 3rd tube stage eq volume 4th tube stage effects send volume 5th tube stage volume , the stage of phase inverter eq volume the power tubes eq volume the rectifier the output transformer stage speaker cabinet,mic, preamp, etc. each one of these stages adds harmonic complexity slightly and say all these stages are to a perfectly crisp and clean guitar tone it is fat and rich and buttery yet clear precise and rich its because each stage adds to another and fattens it up .

we have to work this way in a sound recording o to achieve balancing the frequency response (lower lows or raise highs for example)
WITHOUT making the transients in that area being lowered quieter or making the transients in the high region louder when we dont want them to be.

example 2. say we have a mic snare drum recorded and it is punchy powerful in all the right spots everything is perfect except the frequency response is unbalanced meaning the low mids are too loud the high of the sound is too quiet.

How do we do it?
what happens if i take a digital sterile eq and just boost the highs and cut the mids? answer you raising the volume of the crack in the irritating high region and lowering the volume of the punch of the snare.
So what began as perfect transients in all the right places has now ended up with altering that balance it has no punch ion the bottom and clicky on top and does not sound good anymore.

So how do we actually do it? how do we begin with a snare that is balanced transients except the tonal balance is just off (it is too loud in low mids and to quiet in the upper highs but the punch and power of the click part and punch pat is spot on.)

we build layers of almost inaudible harmonics per plugin or hardware units in order to thicken up the transients and balance the punch of the sound across the whole spectrum even if it takes 10 plugins each doing barely anything that is what you must do use your ears and sandwiched in between harmic layers use analog eq to adjust no more than - 2db or + db at a time in the regions applicable and later in the chain sandwiched between other harmonics building plugins add another eq to do more. you want each plugin ot be almost inaudible yet you have to be specific with what needs to be adjusted using your ears and your eyes on the meters and spectrum analyzer

so we build harmonic structure on the snare recording A to B compare completely dry to the whole stack of plugins or units or physical gear
we use eq and compression in small adjustments at all time per unit or vst or plugin or hardware as to not damage transients in this way we can balance a recording independent of altering the volume of the transients .

example 3 vocals imagine you have a dry recorded vocal layer pristine digital no comp eq anything you notice the sibilance is too loud the low mids are too loud the 1 to 2khz range is too quiet yet the punch power and impact of the transients is perfect so you relize you want to balance it without altering the transients.

this is the same step as before but lets picture if instead we grab a digital sterile eq and cut those regions - 6 db each and boost some 3db each what is your transients going to sound like?

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Re: FREE MMJ Master Recording in 2 Weeks on GAM!

Postby MMJ » Tue Jul 12, 2016 11:39 pm

Here is a 3rd version of the mix where i did something specific i balanced it too bright without altering the transient response because of all the harmic content previously built on listen closely to the qualities in the sound . (because it is too bright you will have some issues in the cymbals but compare all 3 recordings to each other and listen for their balances

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/773 ... %20MMJ.mp3

this 3rd version was the version 2 simply opened up in daw and used mastering tools on the already mastered ver 2 and altered the tonality with minimal effect on transients due to strong harmonic complexity already built on the mix earlier on just as demonstration purpose

this is to show you that you do not have to damage mix early on with large chunks removed and large comp ratios and large adjustments in general with few vst which kills transients

you should be able to hear in version 3 the tonality is shifted too bright even though the transient balance is good across the spectrum

you can alter tonality at will at the end after harmonics have been applied across the spectrum either track by track or at mastering many many options with this methodology while retaining integrity of original tome and transients.


Lets say this was a job of mine and the band really did want a brightly balanced mix i could take this 3rd version that is overly balanced bright and either adjust only the transient response of the mix from 5khz up and smooth it more or i could balance it less bright like a combination of the 2nd version i did of the mix and the 3rd version of the mix.
Last edited by MMJ on Wed Jul 13, 2016 12:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: FREE MMJ Master Recording in 2 Weeks on GAM!

Postby MMJ » Wed Jul 13, 2016 12:00 pm

So Tonality and transient response is independent in recorded audio, yet without the proper steps ,using EQ as an attempt at adjusting tonality effects transient response in a negative way.
In the beginning stages of the process( meaning the tracking and pre-production and into mixing )we want to setup for perfect transient response using our knowledge to make life easier on ourselves .This is why microphone placement and types and good cables and good studio monitors we are used to is so critical .
Now if some reason we cannot begin our mix with transient response ideal we want to take steps rights away to get that down ,first get our transient response the power the punch of the sound setup before moving on.

Lets say we record a snare drum track with pristine digital signal and before we begin the mixing we notice the tonality is actually correct (bass mids highs) but we find the snare is not right in the transient response across the entire spectrum (not punching and poppy in the low register , also too dull in the crack up top) what do we do to take action to correct that ,even though or tonality is correct when glancing at the spectrum analyzer when playing the track through?
we don't want to use transparent digital eq drastically as we learned before because it will destroy our transient response as well as effect our tonality in a artificial way. Like previously mentioned we build up harmonic content on our sound little by little as outlined but now instead of sandwiching in EQ to effect tonality between harmonic creating vst plugins or hardware units patched in, we want to strategically use compression to adjust our transients to get it even across the whole range of sound or frequency response.

lets say the snare is dull in the high end area crack region we can use a analog compressor with the settings 2:1 to 3:1 threshold -2 db on the highest peaks of the sound hitting it, attack at 33ms and decay at 150 ms that is just a starting point you have to listen and look at your meters and spectrum while listening to the quality of the sound remember we dont want artificial flicking a piece of paper sound, (unless that is the sound you want.) if we try 4 different compressors with those settings and it is not working try a compressor that only has attack and decay settings or a transient designer or at last resort a multi-band compressor if the microphone used in tracking was horrible etc. this process of stack harmonics and sandwiching compressor in between them in a stack is how we can adjust transient response independent of tonality, but remember you best and easiest bet is to always shoot to have it correct before tracking by choice of microphones and placement of them good cables good srudio monitors to hear it all.

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Re: FREE MMJ Master Recording in 2 Weeks on GAM!

Postby MMJ » Wed Jul 13, 2016 12:31 pm

To master the recording process you must be able to hear and visually see (in the case of tonality) transient response and tonality separately .
you must be able to adjust the sound purposely and precisely the area that it needs if the sound is off in the transient response you have to correct it, if the sound is off in its tonality you have to be able to go in and specifically adjust that without altering the tonality.
This seems like a tall order to most but the secret is studio monitors in ear monitors and critial listening to build your ear to hearing these things if your playback system is garbage say a home stereo or computer speakers you never hear the original sound but the imprint the speakers have on it. this is the secret.
there are great options in this day and age i highly recommend for poor people getting equator audio series d5 or above studio monitors
http://www.equatoraudio.com/

http://www.equatoraudio.com/New-Improve ... r-p/d5.htm

this is the best for the cheapest you can get
next up is dynaudio d 2/8 for $975 per pair
http://www.cnet.com/pictures/photos-the ... peakers/4/

at the high end wilson audio cannot be beat in the 10's of thousands of dollars and higher range this is heaven manifested in reality
http://www.wilsonaudio.com/
http://www.wilsonaudio.com/products/alexandria-xlf


for in ear monitors you have few options available you can get
jh audio angie
http://www.jhaudio.com/product/sirens-angie
westone w60
https://www.amazon.com/Westone-Six-Driv ... B00KQOZA1Y
http://pro.ultimateears.com/
many options in the $1000 price range but not much lower in price
there may be even cheaper options as long as you can hear the sound prpoerly unaltered in the transient response and tonaity regarding studio monitors and in ear monitors to switch back and forth while using your meters and spectrum analyzer in your DAW

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Re: FREE MMJ Master Recording in 2 Weeks on GAM!

Postby MMJ » Wed Jul 13, 2016 12:37 pm

Once you have good studio monitors and in ear monitors time to build critical listening skills

pick the most well known albums in your genres with the highest regard in the audio engineering take time to research what that is.
listen to these things everyday and compare your on work to the greats and build your ability to distinguish tonality from transient response build your ability to distinguish width from depth and spaciousness. build up your critical listening skills by putting a song on and focusing your hearing on a particular thing say the crack of the snare , now put a different album song and hear that crack of the snare do it 6 times with different songs identifying the same thing . put a song on and listen for the ding and ping and harshness of the cymbals and do it 10 times with different songs. Put a song on and only listen for tonality across the range and then 10 other songs for tonality spend time everyday then compare your own recordings to those of highest regard to build up critical listening skills.


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