Evolve Your Skills | iZotope

Advanced Level

Evolve Your Skills | iZotope:

A true soundmage is never finished learning. The advanced-level series contains in-depth articles on EQ, stereo bus and submixing, compression and dynamic range, and more!

Tips for Mix Bus Processing

3 Techniques for Handling Your Stereo Bus

5 Approaches to Submixes

11 Tips to Fix Cheap Sounding Audio in the Mix

11 Tips to Fix Cheap Sounding Audio in the Mix:

I don’t know about you, but I get a lot of material made in home recording studios. And while a lot of the raw sounds coming my way are great, many recordings sport flaws that impart a palpably “cheap” sound to the material. These flaws have many root causes, such as interfaces that don’t do well for dynamic range or harmonic content; rooms that impart comb filtering to vocals; basses recorded without definition; and badly mic’d drums.

It’s my task, among others, to make these “cheap” sounds feel more “expensive”—that is, to help these mixes play nicely against their better-recorded references. They need to work in a Spotify playlist. They cannot be trounced by the competition. This is my fundamental meaning when I use terms like “cheap” and “expensive.”

The audio in my room doesn’t sound “cheap”, but sometimes I mix it that way by accident.

I want to check this one out…

3. Your snare sounds like someone flicking a piece of paper
Try a cut around 6 kHz, and a boost between 100–200 Hz to see if that adds some body. If you’re lacking impact on snare hits—if it feels a bit flat—try some compression next, emphasizing the transient with a medium attack and a medium-fast release.

You may still hear that dreaded papery noise. If so, solo the snare and see if it goes away. You may be surprised: one of the first things I look for in dealing with a papery snare is whether that sound is actually coming from the kick; often it is. In this case, attenuate that frequency in the kick track with a dynamic equalizer that’s sidechained to the snare. You can easily set this up in Neutron 2, as shown below.

Production Expert | Back To Basics. We Show You What To Have In A Remote Recording Engineer’s Gig Bag

Production Expert | Back To Basics. We Show You What To Have In A Remote Recording Engineer’s Gig Bag:

Seasoned engineers never leave home without their trusty gig bag, but if you’re new to remote recording, it can be hard to know what’s handy to have on the road. As a result, you either end up taking absolutely everything, just in case, or you end up on the job without a key cable of adaptor. In this article I am going to give you a sneak peek into my personal gig bag and explain why these items are so vital to having a successful gig.

I would add at least two dynamic mics and two attenuators. I carry an ART Dual-RDB and a pair of PylePro 58s.

Nudge Region/Event Position Right by 1 ms – Logic Pro X keyboard command of the day

Logic Pro X keyboard command of the day. #LogicProX @StudioIntern1

  Nudge Region/Event Position Right by 1 ms

 Little timing changes are so handy to have under your fingertips. We’ve been near this command before.

Nudge Region/Event Length Left by 10 ms

Serious editing makes me keep the toolbar visible.

Move regions in the Tracks area – Logic Pro X:

Use one of the following key commands:

Nudge Region/Event Position Right by SMPTE Frame

Nudge Region/Event Position Left by SMPTE Frame

Nudge Region/Event Position Right by 1/2 SMPTE Frame

Nudge Region/Event Position Left by 1/2 SMPTE Frame

Nudge Region/Event Position Right by 5 SMPTE Frames

Nudge Region/Event Position Left by 5 SMPTE Frames

Nudge Region/Event Position Right by SMPTE Bit

Nudge Region/Event Position Left by SMPTE Bit

Nudge Region/Event Position Right by Tick

Nudge Region/Event Position Left by Tick

Nudge Region/Event Position Right by Division

Nudge Region/Event Position Left by Division

Nudge Region/Event Position Right by Beat

Nudge Region/Event Position Left by Beat

Nudge Region/Event Position Right by Bar

Nudge Region/Event Position Left by Bar

Nudge Region/Event Position Right by Nudge Value

Nudge Region/Event Position Left by Nudge Value

Nudge Region/Event Position Right by Sample

Nudge Region/Event Position Left by Sample

Nudge Region/Event Position Right by 1 ms

Nudge Region/Event Position Left by 1 ms

Nudge Region/Event Position Right by 10 ms

Nudge Region/Event Position Left by 10 ms

 

⇧ SHIFT  –  ⌃ CONTROL  –  ⌥ OPTION  –  ⌘ COMMAND

When Is An Audio Production Trick Not A Trick? We Look At 6 Popular Mixing Tricks… Or Not!

Trick or Treat?

Production Expert | When Is An Audio Production Trick Not A Trick? We Look At 6 Popular Mixing Tricks… Or Not!:

Some people refer to “mixing tricks” but are they really tricks? When is a technique just a technique? Julian looks at some common examples and decides.

I like them all. Not very tricky 😉 there’s buttons for that.

Audio Gain, Volume, & Gain Staging – Produce Like A Pro

Audio Gain, Volume, & Gain Staging – Produce Like A Pro:

If audio gain is reserved to describe the input level on a source, then volume is the measurable output level of a signal, after processing. Volume is typically measured in dB SPL and can be boiled down to the loudness we actually hear.

Mixing in your DAW, every track is routed to a stereo channel, or “mix buss.” How loud the output of the mix buss is can be called “volume!”

Well put. Gain/trim = input. Volume = output. Wonder where we put “level”?

I still have to deal with bands who think the right thing to do to get the “sound” right for the wedges and the room (sigh) is to turn up the trim pot. All the faders must be at unity…

I’m really enjoying the things I get to listen to and read from the Produce Like a Pro Academy. We’re not in Kansas anymore.

Web MIDI API Example

Web MIDI API Example:

OK. Chrome can work with MIDI devices (and Electron apps as well – like Slack)

The example will work, sort of, by showing you the MIDI data from a device. I didn’t plug in a device, appeared not to work.

I tried this demo https://webaudiodemos.appspot.com/midi-synth/ to see if this worked. Noticed menu-like bit for MIDI-IN, chose a MIDI device, pressed notes, it worked.

Back to the original example. This now shows data.

Wow.

Select Project 6 – Logic Pro X keyboard command of the day

Logic Pro X keyboard command of the day. #LogicProX @StudioIntern1

  Select Project 6

 I’m not sure this command actually makes sense in any rational environment. Having multiple projects open at the same time could be useful for copy information, but 6? Not only that – what is Project 6? The sixth project you opened? No. As best as I can tell open projects are listed in the “Window” menu in alphabetical order. Project 6 is the sixth window in the menu.

All the open projects are listed. Projects with windows that are actually visible on the screen have a bullet before the name.

Apparently these commands are holdovers from Logic 8 at which time projects maintained the order in which they were opened. This was how I assumed the commands would work. Not any more.

When the other 19 “Select Project nn” commands show up I will not be documenting them.

 

⇧ SHIFT  –  ⌃ CONTROL  –  ⌥ OPTION  –  ⌘ COMMAND

Audio Dynamics 101: Compressors, Limiters, Expanders, and Gates

Audio Dynamics 101: Compressors, Limiters, Expanders, and Gates:

In this article, we’ll demystify the compressor and other dynamics processors. We’ll cover the four main types of plug-ins used to control dynamics: limiters, compressors, expanders, and gates. We’ll discuss the mathematical processes behind these tools, how they affect the sound, and the best scenarios in which to use them.

Expanders are my least understood tool. Gates are kind of troublesome as well. This is a good description of what they do.

Gain Staging: What It Is and How to Do It

Gain Staging: What It Is and How to Do It:

Gain staging in the analog days

Before the advent of digital, records were made with analog equipment. Microphones, outboard EQs, compressors, console desks, tape machines—every piece of gear had to be leveled properly for the next piece of the chain, in order to achieve a good result.

Always good to know why we do things.

Octave 5 – Logic Pro X keyboard command of the day

Logic Pro X keyboard command of the day. #LogicProX @StudioIntern1

  Octave 5

 Change the step input keyboard focus to Octave 5. Not much call for that if the keyboard is showing on the display. Far more likely to use the shift octave commands.

Octave - 2  Shift-Z
 
Octave - 1 Z
 
Octave + 1 X
 
Octave + 2 Shift-X

 

Use step input recording techniques – Logic Pro X:

Step input allows you to insert MIDI notes when you’re not recording in real time. You can use step input to create note runs that may be too fast for you to play or to replicate sheet music that’s too difficult for you to play.

 

⇧ SHIFT  –  ⌃ CONTROL  –  ⌥ OPTION  –  ⌘ COMMAND

Region Automation: Control Change 25 – Logic Pro X keyboard command of the day

Logic Pro X keyboard command of the day. #LogicProX @StudioIntern1

  Region Automation: Control Change 25

 Set the region automation to CC25. With automation being displayed (press ‘A’ on the keyboard) you will typically see “Track” automation. Click on the “Track” button to change to region. There is also an on/off control button as well.

I am not sure of what “Region Automation” is all about. Ahh. Now it makes sense. Sound in space over time. A remarkably complex programming space. I simply need to re-think my programming methods. Parallel programs with function calls tied to time points as opposed to simply being interrupt driven. I need to meditate.

Show automation curves – Logic Pro X:

Before you can add automation points to a track’s automation curves, you need to show the automation curves. Automation curves are displayed as colored curves and points on top of audio and MIDI regions across the track, running the length of the project. You can choose whether to view and edit automation across the track (track-based automation) or only within the track’s regions (region-based automation).

 

⇧ SHIFT  –  ⌃ CONTROL  –  ⌥ OPTION  –  ⌘ COMMAND

EQ Cheat Sheet: Simple Guidelines for Effective Equalization – Produce Like A Pro

EQ Cheat Sheet: Simple Guidelines for Effective Equalization – Produce Like A Pro:

Understanding equalization–probably the most widely used signal processor available to engineers–is essential to making records sound their absolute best. Sometimes it’s as simple as high-passing an instrument in the proper spot, while other cases require a bit more attention and precision. Either way, EQ is fundamental to making mix elements sound more or less defined, larger or smaller, or “better” versus “different.” Having a general reference like an EQ cheat sheet will help get you where you want to go more quickly.

In response to a request at the Produce Like a Pro Academy I went hunting for some easy to access cheatsheets. This is one of a few.

The Ultimate EQ Cheat Sheet for Every Common Instrument

The Ultimate EQ Cheat Sheet for Every Common Instrument:

A subtractive approach to EQ

Not everyone’s ethos on EQ is the same, and most people may never see eye to eye on EQ approach. That being said, I come from the camp that subtractive over additive tends to be better for your mix in most cases. Now, I’m not saying to live in a strictly subtractive world; I do make boosts from time to time when needed or appropriate, but it’s probably a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of cuts to boosts.

The question was asked in the Produce Like a Pro Academy. Here is one idea of a “standard” EQ cheatsheet.