For what its worth...

I attended another worhshop at Sweetwater Thursday: Multi-Platinum ProTools Mixing, a hype for instructional DVDs.

John Merchant, who is an engineer and producer, gave the presentation. Here are the highlights which might pertian to Audacity users:

He suggested building the mix from the bass up; highlighting the most important elements.

He defined a 3D mix as tall, deep, and wide. Tall as in making sure the lower tones ar at the bottom and the higher at the top, through EQ (pretty basic, huh?). Deep, as in hearing one instrument or vocal in fron of other sounds. Wide as in panning. This guy’s a real pro, eh?

Here are his 7 signs of an amateur mix:

  1. No contrast. He mentioned hyper compression where all the wave forms peak at the same level; a symptom of many heavy metal songs.

  2. Lack of a clear focal point. His analogy was - which actor on the stage gets the spotlight?

  3. Unwanted noise.

  4. Lack of clarity and punch - no transients or peaks (sounds like No. 1, doesn’t it)

  5. Distant sound, usually because of too much reverb.

  6. Inconsistent levels - especially lead vocals and instruments. He also made the comment that, by and large, vocal levels in newer recordings are coming up, especially in Nashville.

  7. Dull, conventional sounds - the same reverb, same keyboard sounds, etc., as are heard in other recordings.

The rest was confusing stuff about buses, sub-mixes, etc., that make ProTools seem so complicated and Audacity so easy.

THanks for sharing that, Archie
Apart from the “unwanted noise” problem, which I can just about manage to avoid, I think I’m guilty as charged on all counts.
Just goes to show. You can’t compete with the Pros – that’s what makes them Pros after all.