Ask Joe #46 – The Missing High End in Your Mix [Podcast]

Play

Got a question? Skip over here to ask it: www.askjoegilder.com

You might get featured on the podcast!

Questions covered this week:

  • How do I get the balance right on a mono mix?
  • Should I re-record these doubled acoustic guitar parts?
  • How to I find the missing high end in my mixes?
  • What do I do if I can’t seem to finish a song?

Subscribe via:

“Does this Mix Make Me Look Fat?”

Today I’m going to share with you something that could possibly be the SINGLE best thing you can do for your mix.

It’s something I’ve talked about before, but I can tell you it’s something that most people are going to ignore. Why? Because it it hurts.

It’s uncomfortable…maybe even awkward.

What is it? (more…)

And…Crappy Speaker for the Win!

I have an arch nemesis.

(You do, too.)

He was a bigger threat when I was first starting out with recording, but he still rears his ugly head.

His name? My car. (If you must know, my car’s name is “Franc.”)

I hate the sound system in my car. Great mixes sound “okay” on it. Bad mixes sound awful. I bet you can relate, no?

So here’s the deal.

I finished up a mix last week. Throughout the entire mix process I only listened to the mix through my nice studio monitors and headphones.

You see, I came down with a small case of overconfidence.

Because the mix was “working” for me, I didn’t see a reason to listen to it elsewhere. Perhaps it’s arrogance. Or maybe stupidity?

Either way, I waited way too long to listen to the mix in my car.

And???

It made me sad. 🙁

The balance between tracks was off. The lead vocal and snare drum were too loud, and there was a general harshness in the upper midrange.

So here’s what I did.

I went back to my studio, and fired up my “crappy speaker.” This is a single speaker I set up a few weeks ago. I use my mixer to send the mix in mono to this cheap little powered speaker I bought years ago.

What’s so awesome about this crappy speaker? It has a 3-inch woofer on it. It’s teeny tiny compared to most studio monitors. It doesn’t have much definition, especially in the low end, and it really emphasizes the mid-range of the audio passing through it.

In short, it sounds like a car stereo speaker, in all of it’s hideous glory.

And you know what? When I play some of my favorite albums through this speaker, they STILL sound great.

When I played my unfinished mix through it, the problems IMMEDIATELY jumped out. I mixed for a while through this crappy speaker until things were sounding good again.

Then I flipped back to my main studio monitors, and…

Yay! It sounded great.

No more mysterious trips to the car.

No more guessing what my mix sounds like in a crappy car stereo.

I brought the crappy car stereo INTO my studio.

And you know what?

I think it’s my favorite thing to mix on right now.

Who’da thunkit?

Regardless of how great or crappy your speakers are, you need to know how to manipulate your mix to sound top notch, and it all starts with a crazy little thing called EQ:

www.UnderstandingEQ.com

Joe Gilder

“Monorific”

I made up a word.

“Monorific.”

It’s a cross between “mono” and “terrific.”

…or perhaps “horrific.”

It depends on how you look at mixing in mono.

If you believe mono kills your mixes, makes them sound lame, flat and boring, I’ve got news for you.

Mono’s not the problem. (more…)

Should I record in stereo or mono?

My buddy Rob from Home Studio Center liked this article so much, he created a really cool cheat sheet. If you find the whole “mono/stereo” thing confusing, download his cheat sheet and print it out.

I see this question a lot, and today I’d like to set the record straight. If you’re like me, and you’ve been recording for a long time, you hear “mono” and “stereo” and you understand the differences and when to use each.

However, if you’re just starting out, all these audio terms are being thrown at you — EQ, mixing, compression, reverb, effects, tracks, cardioid, dither, condenser, plug-in, bus — and it can get very confusing VERY quickly.

The good news? You don’t have to memorize Sweetwater’s glossary to be able to make great-sounding recordings. You’ll learn the terminology as you go.

One of the first things you should get a handle on is the concept of mono and stereo.

(more…)