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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-17-2002, 02:39 AM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 150
Serious mixing software

I need anyone's opinions or experiences concerning the major mixing software; Digital Performer, Pro Tools, Logic, Sonor (or whatever) for PC. I'm really only concerned with the mix down capabilities and not the recording capabilities. Getting everything recorded digitally is not the problem. We spent most of our time mixing down on our last CD and if we had used a more state of the art mixing application we would have saved a tremendous amount of time. (We used the Mackie Ultramix software and it is very out of date and not even supported by Mackie any more) I'm not going to say we need unlimited tracks, but we do need at least 64. I wish we had a Mac setup but it has to be PC because that is what we all have in my band and in our studio and we all have way too much money invested in plug ins, hardware and software to change systems now. Like I said before, we have every link in the chain complete up to the mixing step and we know there is a reasonably priced piece of software out there that will suit our needs but we just have to decide on one.

Any advice, ideas or stories of hands-on experience is greatly appreciated.

Kent
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-17-2002, 03:25 AM
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 190
Kent,

No single stand-alone product is gonna get you the mix you want.

I've ranted and raved about Samplitude in some other posts -- check them out if you wanna know more about what it does.

No matter what you choose, it takes more than any stock software package has to offer to make the final mix sparkle, shine, and pound out your guts.

I found the Waves plugins to be the be-all/end-all to the mixing question.

They are direct-x and thus work on any of the available PC audio suites. The Waves Gold Bundle has (among about 30 other plugins) the Q10 Paragraphic EQ and the C4 compressor.

No two tools will help your mixes more than these.

The absolutely beautiful thing about them is that the factory presets are so musically appropriate it makes you wanna cry... If you select "Pop Vocal" on the C4, your vocal track surges into the front of the mix, and you only had to touch ONE BUTTON.

The Q10 can do a lot of harm if not used properly -- I never found a single track that needed all 10 bands of EQ to be active at once. You need to find the sweet spots for each instrument and give them a little boost in the few spots where they need it. In addition, you need to pull down those same frequencies in the instruments that aren't using them, but mask the other instruments. (ie... boost the snare at 150hz and cut the kick drum at 150... in most instances you'll also find that if you cut 150hz in all your rhythm guitar tracks it'll make the snare a hell of a lot more snappy & in your face without touching the level of the snare track...)


The Waves Masters Bundle has the L2 Ultramaximizer. Hands-down, this thing is worth the cost of admission.

Once you get yer mix sounding about like you want it, stick this on the main output buss and MAKE SURE it's the absolute LAST THING in the chain. In Samplitude, I stick it in the POST section, meaning it comes after the main fader, and after all the main FX like the multiband comp. and the limiter.

Another tip in any DAW is the main output buss's limiter -- set it to -0.1 while you're mixing and it will let you push everything beyond what should be right in the digital world. Doing this, tho, can make stuff sound harsh. That's where the L2 comes in. Turn off the DAW's limiter and activate the L2.

Set it to Ultra mode, have the upper limit set to -0.3 and then pull the left slider down until you've got about 10db of compression... This will manage to floor you every single time you hear it. Sometimes -10 is a bit much... back it off until is sounds even.

Of course, all that's my 2 cents on the matter. Doing it that way negates any mastering beyond this point because you've effectively mastered it while mixing. If you do plan to send your stuff to a mastering engineer, you don't want to use the L2 cuz once it's on there it shouldn't be processed.

Check out the waves stuff -- you can download 14-day working versions of all the tools. Once yer 14 days are up, tho, you gotta pony up a couple grand or re-install yer OS.

ryan
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-17-2002, 02:35 PM
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Brazil
Posts: 366
I'm using Vegas Pro an Cool Edit 2.0 (64 track stereo or 128 mono).
Like ryan said, the waves package are real good, but sometimes i prefer some TC Electronics DX Plugins.
Cool Edit 2.0 has an advantage to mix with DX plugins in real time (1.0 doesn't have it).
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-25-2002, 08:58 PM
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 282
hm, plugins...

I recon if your going for a software based mixdown, IMHO Logic Platinum 5, is possibly the best thing out there at the moment, but you will need appropriate plugins, whatever software recording suite you choose.

Rob
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