OT: What Do You Use for Mixing & Mastering?

What do you use for mixing and mastering? Is it done on the iPad using EQ+Compressor plugins inside of BM3? Or do you transfer stems to a Mac or PC DAW for further treatment? Or to a mastering engineer or an online service? Do you master individual stems? Nowadays, is there a target RMS level?

Just curious about your process. Share any tips, tricks, or secrets!

Comments

  • There are plenty of wide-band compressors, but are there any multi-band compressors on iOS in the AUv3 format?

  • I top down mix, this cant be done in B3 because you really need a lot of buses, so Reaper it is.

  • Hmmm, do you know What the internal mix/summing bus resolution is in BM3? Floating point or fixed point?

    This gain-staging guide by Holger Lagerfeldt applies to floating-point DAWs (which type is BM3?):
    http://www.centerforlydteknik.dk/download/pdf/levels-in-digital-audio.pdf

    Plugins also directly affect gain-staging in a DAW, so it would be helpful if developers published the internal-processing type and resolution of their iOS plugins. Or is this an Apple-issue?

  • edited August 21

    @MSandoval

    @mathieugarcia told me himself that BM3 uses 32bit floating point internally. Unfortunately not all AUv3 plugins can be trusted to do the same (although the good ones should).

    I asked the question to find out if it's OK to clip individual channels as long as the master out stays below 0db (the answer was yes, it's fine).

  • Gain staging to preset levels is unimportant unless a plugin is emulating analogue and requires a preset level before it starts to go in to drive.
    B3s meters are post anyway, so you always know if you have clipped post plugin.

    I think possibly Reasons mixer and Harrison Mixbus mixer need gain staging too because they have built in analogue emulation, and studio one if you load one of the mix plugin things.

    I dont think i have seen any plugin on IOS that requires a particular input level.

  • edited August 21

    Yes, but even if the meters in B3 do not show clipping, in theory the audio could still be 'damaged' if it passes through a stack of insert effects, and one of them converts the signal to fixed point.

    I could be wrong, but here's an example:

    1 Take a fairly loud drum track
    2. Feed it through analogue-modelled tape emulation plugin (DAW Cassette?)
    3. Add a compressor or limiter as the last insert effect

    Surely the audio signal can clip during stage 2 if the input is driven too hot and the plugin is using fixed point, even though the dynamics plugin may bring it back below 0db.

  • edited August 21

    Lets not get held up on fixed point/floating point here, most of the popular music recorded in the last twenty years was fixed point (Pro Tools) Reaper even added fixed point as an option about two or three years ago because a ton of engineers wont work with floating point mixing, there is a certain amount of rounding that ALWAYS has to happen with floating point unless you use mass multipliers which would crucify your CPU usage.
    If it is floating point, how many points do you go to, you cant go infinite, so rounding, if it is fixed point, no decimal point, no rounding, but can you hear the difference, maybe you could in Nashville in Studio 2 or something hahaha.

    So lets not overthink this too much, if it is not clipping on the meters pre and post a plugin, you have to then trust that any drive that is added is being added as part of the effect you chose to set up, if it isn't then the effect should be binned and never used again.

    @tk32 maybe we could contact developers of each AUv3 effect and get as much information we can about the signal path and add it to the compatibility pages ?
    It doesn't really interest me, i just user meters for clipping and ears for sound, but i'm not the musician/engineer you guys are by a long long way, geek yes, musician, not so much hahaha.

  • It's definitely more of an academic question, and not one I think about much when making music.

    The only reason it came up is because I was mixing a tricky project and needed to boost one particular channel above 0db.

    And I'm definitely no expert, just an amateur enthusiast that's enjoying the ride ;)

  • Even though as long as the master isn't clipping, i still prefer negative mixing, lowering everything else to boost what needs boosting, but B3 doesn't offer any tools to help with this, so its a pain to do it in B3.

  • Thanks tk32 & 5pinlink, lots of helpful info there.

    When recording multi-mic setups, surgery at the track-level is key: fixing noise, phase & offset issues, plus EQ & compression. But with tracks generated mostly in-the-box, a top-down approach works. But it's a long ways off for the more surgical tools on iOS. Maybe that's a good thing.

  • edited August 21

    What do you mean by top-down approach ?
    I top down mix everything, especially live recorded stuff.
    As for track surgery, never going to happen in B3s current arranger/timeline, its B3 weakest area and can't even be considered useful, no start end points of items without entering the editor, no accurate slicing of items, no slip edit, without these it will never really be that useful for anything beyond simple arrangements, but i am 100% sure this will all come eventually ;)

  • What is top down?

  • edited August 21

    @Audiogus said:
    What is top down?

    I think I know this one...

    Am i right?

  • Mixing in reverse, get the master set up with dynamics processors, mix your buses, then your individual tracks.
    I do Hybrid top down.
    Mix as you compose, set up buses as you compose, don't reset levels for the mix, set up master, mix your buses, tweak individual tracks.

    Every so called "expert' will tell you that is the wrong way to work, the problem with so called 'experts' is that they normally have a finger in the pie of selling your processors be it in software or hardware, or they want to proliferate the notion that mix and mastering engineers are some kind of voodoo priests.

    Top Down mixing is perfect for iPads, because you use way way way less processes, less EQ, less dynamics, less reverbs, but it is much harder for somebody quite new to mixing to do, simply because they are convinced/told that every track needs EQ, every track needs compression, never just put a limiter on a track etc etc etc.

    Why do you use less processing, because you mix on a grand scale, not individually, example.....
    Bottom up = Drumkit - 16 tracks, each track has EQ/Dynamics and everything is sitting nice.
    Top Down = Drumkit - 16 tracks in to one bus, all EQ/Dynamics on one bus sounds exactly the same.
    Obviously a ridiculously simplified example, but it still holds, the complex interactions of audio are actually not as complex as we imagine, and once you mix buses vs tracks, everything starts to sit easier.

  • Ahh gotcha, thanks for the breakdown, interesting...

  • edited August 21

    Learn it, you will never ever go back, it was second nature to me because i have been DJing for 30 years, so for instance a vocal being an entirely separate entity to the backing track makes complete sense to me.
    The amount of people i see trying to get a vocal to interact with a backing track (not bused) by mixing them together as one and fail is unreal.
    Mix the backing track, make it perfect, put the mixed vocals on top of it, it will always sit better.
    It is the biggest failing of most wannabe HipHop producers, undefined vocals, they try cut out frequencies here, cut out frequencies there, its a never ending cycle of nonsense.

  • edited August 21

    They're not new approachs to mixing, only the trendy names are. And the folks who use it all do it differently. :)

    OK, let's talk about DC Offset in your mixdown.

  • It isnt new, it is just shunned

  • I use Audio Mastering app in IOS. I'm not a mastering pro but this came recommended and it seems to be reasonable. The levels aren't totally consistent from one track to the next though so I need to find answers to that lol.

  • edited September 4

    Nothing wrong with the levels in that app. It's solid.

    No offence, but I suspect any difference between tracks is to do with what's happening before you import it to the mastering app. Whilst you're learning the art of mastering (and I'm no expert) it's much easier to do harm to your track than enhance it. Often all you end up doing is making it sound louder, more congested, and better only on the specific headphones/speakers you are using.

    Having said that, it's a fascinating and highly technical aspect of music production that everyone should read about and dabble with, even if just to improve the quality of your pre-mastering mix renders.

    Final touch is another great mastering app for iOS, and the Klevgrand one also looks decent (though I haven't tried it)

  • One rule with mastering for me, subtract not add.

  • Slightly OT, but I re-watch this video regularly to "get back to reality".
    The video discusses the technical aspects of digital audio, but he does talk about band-limiting, bit-depth, & dithering later in the video, so it is directly related to this thread.
    But it also shows why the initial recording/tracking/producing stages of the music-making process are important areas to get things right from the get-go. And not to fret over the little things. And explains a lot.

    A digital waveform is not a stair-step.
    A diagram of a stair-stepped waveform representing digital audio is not a finished conversion, and it's not the signal that comes out (once converted to analog).
    Engineers draw stairs-steps for convenience but they are technically wrong.
    The stair-steps aren't really there.

  • @5pinlink said:
    One rule with mastering for me, subtract not add.

    ...to further clarify, if the mix seems to be lacking in treble, first try lowering the bass or mids before boosting the treble.

    As you increase the level, the higher the chance for noise & distortion.
    And the more plugins, the higher the chance for noise & distortion.
    And the lower the bit-depth, the higher the chance for noise & distortion.

  • Thanks @MSandoval

    I always love good suggestions for videos, podcasts and books

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