warming up a mix?

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warming up a mix?

Postby moodorf » Tue Mar 04, 2014 5:40 am

Just wondering if anybody has any particularly useful tips for warming up the overall sound of a track. My mixes are sounding a bit sterile and almost every time I try to warm them up I overdo it & end up with a murky-sounding mix. I could use the input from this forum. :D
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Re: warming up a mix?

Postby vicd » Tue Mar 04, 2014 10:18 am

You could probably start with some off-the-shelf "modular" mastering plugins, like e.g. Izotope Ozone and Cakewalk Sonar's Vintage Channel VC-64 (the free trials of course). They do a pretty nice job of warming/coloring/adding weight/stereoimaging etc. when properly applied.

So, after some initial "preset browsing", you could then select the ones that work the best for your case, and then further analyze those presets, deciding which of their individual components/effects and which settings contribute the most to your desired results...

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Re: warming up a mix?

Postby nathanscribe » Tue Mar 04, 2014 12:50 pm

There was a pretty thorough article in SOS about what constitute "warmth":http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/feb10/articles/analoguewarmth.htm

I suppose it depends on a number of factors, one of which will be gear you're actually using to make sounds, another will be the kind of sounds you're making. I suspect trying to add warmth to an inherently "sterile" palette is going to be harder than using "warm" sources in the first place. EQ is simple to fiddle with and counts for a lot, I find. But I prefer the EQ in my hardware mixer to the plugins in Logic.
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Re: warming up a mix?

Postby ninja6485 » Sun Mar 23, 2014 5:45 am

Moodorf, I find this chart pretty handy: Image


If your listening environment lends some warmth and power to the tracks as they appear to you while writing your patches and mixing everything, you may tend to under apply the sound in those frequencies. It's almost as if you were drawing a picture, but part of the paper can only be seen through a magnifying glass. If you draw the picture to look normal under these conditions, when you remove the glass what looked like it was the right size is actually much smaller. To have drawn it correctly under those conditions, you would have had to have drawn it bigger that it appeared. I'm guessing if you're having this problem throughout all of your tracks, it might be the room, monitors, etc. If you can identify a common problem area that keeps recurring, (which it seems perhaps you have), one idea would be to use the same principle that's causing the problem against itself by throwing an eq on the master bus to account for the problematic room. Obviously nothing beats good acoustic treatment and decent, well placed monitors, but sometimes you do what you have to do and work up to the best solutions when you have the scratch, or free room! Also, don't forget to frequently listen to your favorite well mixed professional tracks in your mixing environment so your familiarity with how they sound in your room becomes second nature, and make sure you listen at low volumes to prevent ear fatigue!
This looks like a psychotropic reaction. No wonder it's so popular...
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Re: warming up a mix?

Postby Stab Frenzy » Sun Mar 23, 2014 6:52 am

No point trying to use some magic thingame to make your mixes warm, just mix them so they sound warmer. Use the EQ. Use compression. Use your ears. Use the filters of your synth. Use reverb. Try to understand why you don't like how you're making your mixes sound, understand what you're doing when you overdo it and make them muddy, and then use this knowledge to make them sound exactly how you want them to sound.
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Re: warming up a mix?

Postby ned-ryarson » Sun Mar 23, 2014 12:56 pm

nathanscribe wrote:I suppose it depends on a number of factors, one of which will be gear you're actually using to make sounds, another will be the kind of sounds you're making. I suspect trying to add warmth to an inherently "sterile" palette is going to be harder than using "warm" sources in the first place.


Yeah, if I was concerned with 'warmth', I would consider the actual sound sources/instrument before exploring post production techniques. Can you give us some info on your setup and approach to recording, and the style of music you're creating? Cheers
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Re: warming up a mix?

Postby ninja6485 » Sun Mar 23, 2014 6:27 pm

Stab Frenzy wrote:No point trying to use some magic thingame to make your mixes warm, just mix them so they sound warmer. Use the EQ. Use compression. Use your ears. Use the filters of your synth. Use reverb. Try to understand why you don't like how you're making your mixes sound, understand what you're doing when you overdo it and make them muddy, and then use this knowledge to make them sound exactly how you want them to sound.
Yes, exactly - My whole post took the fact moodorf would be using this approach for granted (hence the chart), but I don't think I made that clear. I am very much in the mix it better camp!

ned-ryarson wrote:
nathanscribe wrote:I suppose it depends on a number of factors, one of which will be gear you're actually using to make sounds, another will be the kind of sounds you're making. I suspect trying to add warmth to an inherently "sterile" palette is going to be harder than using "warm" sources in the first place.


Yeah, if I was concerned with 'warmth', I would consider the actual sound sources/instrument before exploring post production techniques. Can you give us some info on your setup and approach to recording, and the style of music you're creating? Cheers
I'm not sure this is the best advice. The mixing in question should be done before the post production stage anyway. Focusing on mixing technique will give moodorf the ability to make a warm sounding mix out of any sound source. Even if he were to go out and buy a sound source that would solve the problem in this mix, he would lack any real control over his mixes since he wouldn't understand by what means the new source is solving this problem.
This looks like a psychotropic reaction. No wonder it's so popular...
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Re: warming up a mix?

Postby nathanscribe » Sun Mar 23, 2014 8:26 pm

nobody's suggesting he goes out and buys anything. It's just that "warmth", whatever that might mean in a given situation, might more easily be obtained from some kinds of sound than others - a comment that related directly to careful sound choices and their subsequent mixing, and not to post-production or buying gear.
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Re: warming up a mix?

Postby moremagic » Mon Mar 24, 2014 5:10 am

for more warmth go for warmer colors in your vu meters ;-)
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Re: warming up a mix?

Postby Cruel Hoax » Mon Mar 24, 2014 6:42 am

I'm with Stabby on this one: work on the mix.

One thing I find helpful is this: listen to relative tones, not absolute tones. In other words, don't listen to the hihat alone and say to yourself, "Man, this thing needs some sparkle and bite! Better turn up the high-mids and the highs." And then you'd listen to the lead guitar/aggressive synth and say "Wow, this thing is disappearing behind the hihat! Better give it some edge!" And then the sparkly pad needs something: "This thing needs to freakin' shimmer!" so you add some high lift, and it continues.

Consider NOT doing that!

Rather, compare each element to every other element in the mix. For example, is the hihat bouncing off the "ess" and "tee" sounds of the vocal? Are the "slap" of the snare and the "snap" of the kick bouncing off one another like ping-pong? It's OKAY if your whole mix is a bit dull.

I find that the top end of my mixes come out better if I mix a bit "dark," and then lift the treble on the WHOLE MIX in mastering. If you don't master your own stuff, give your mastering guy some room to use his ears and his awesome tools! If you master your own stuff (consider getting another set of ears in on the process, though!) give yourself room to make those decisions with fresh ears, in the context of the whole album.

I don't know your style, so maybe for you "guitar" means "nasty acid synth," or "sparkly pad" means "layers of background vocals." Whatever.

Imagine that you're gonna cook some chili. So you taste the tomatoes right when you cut them. "Dang, these could use some salt!" So you add some salt, and throw them in the pot. And then you taste the beans you've been soaking. "Sweet Krishna up a flagpole, these [i[certainly[/i] are gonna need some salt!" So you salt the hell out of them and throw them in the pot. Same with the beef chunks (you're NOT using ground beef for chili, right?) and the onions, and the peppers. They all "need something," so you salt 'em all before you throw 'em in the pot. And you come out with Campbell's Almost-Palatable Salty Chili Substitute. "Man, this chili is all salt, no body or depth!" When, really, you should have let all the flavors mingle, THEN added the salt. The final product would have benefited from your perspective on the end product. Obviously, this analogy is flawed, since you may marinate your meat or whatever. And once you gain experience, you'll know when it's right to brine your meat, or add salt to the beans if you use a slow cooker (to retain their texture) or wait 'til serving to add ground pepper (so it doesn't get bitter) and all sorts of audio analogies you can infer: Listen to reverbs in context, add distortion sparingly, get clarity first, then obscure, etc.

Good luck.

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Re: warming up a mix?

Postby c-level » Mon Mar 24, 2014 6:50 pm

i carry the space heater over from my bedroom and plug it in behind my studio chair. hope that helps...
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Re: warming up a mix?

Postby moodorf » Mon Mar 24, 2014 7:09 pm

thanks a lot for all the info :D
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Re: warming up a mix?

Postby tallowwaters » Tue Mar 25, 2014 6:15 pm

Glad to see somebody let Hoax back in.

I know we're not going in the direction of a one plug fix, but I am always happy with a little dab of CamelCrusher on the final mix.

I know folks who have sampled entire mixes into Roland Samplers and played it back as the master, and it sounded excellent. Something about those filters and converters that added a cohesiveness not previously there.

Something touched on here, but not emphasized enough, is more ears. Find somebody you trust (not somebody you necessarily like or want to be around, but an honest person that can actually hear) to be in on mastering.


Also, you need to have a link of chorizo in your chili.
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Re: warming up a mix?

Postby cgren72 » Tue Mar 25, 2014 6:35 pm

I liked your advice Cruel Hoax. Although I never find myself mixing or mastering, as I enjoy most making new sounds and not necessariy trying to make a song with them, when I try I will remember this.
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Re: warming up a mix?

Postby Infinity Curve » Tue Mar 25, 2014 8:01 pm

tallowwaters wrote:

Also, you need to have a link of chorizo in your chili.


^this. Also, my secret weapons, mango and crushed walnuts.
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