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trock.lucasmicrophone

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Posts: 411 Member Since: 11/10/2013

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Jul 13 17 11:18 AM

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I thought there was something on this at one time but I could be wrong so if this is redundant please remove

That being said I was wondering how you view automation in a mix? depending on the song and genre, do you use it for emotional builds in the song? pulling things slowly down to quiet sections? for parts that need some emphasis? all the above? or do you use very little or none at all at times?

This isn't a question based on an issue I am having, just curious in any situation when it strikes you to use it? why and how?

I thought about this this mornign driving in listening to of all things "For those about to rock" and hearing places where guitars would come up and swell intoa part and chorus and build that section, and how it really brought emotion into that part. for me at least.But also how it wasn't "to much" just suble moves I thought I heard and how well it worked in the song.

Anyway, sorry again if I asked this before or if someone else did, but along with the great bass info I thought it would be interesting to hear your take. 

thanks all!
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seth

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Posts: 5,684 Member Since:26/01/2011

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Jul 13 17 4:28 PM

The danger with automation is that some people overuse it the way the some people overuse compression. It can allow you to obsessively refine everything to the point where nothing has any dynamics, any life, any breath. One of the hardest things to know in mixing is when you're finished, when you're at a point of diminishing returns. Focusing on automating little things to the point where you lose focus on the whole is a problem. When I get into little fussy moves I try to remind myself to step back, listen to the entire record from the top and see if what I'm doing is really important or just fiddling. I'll automate what needs doing, not a bit less, and not a bit more. If you have a great song and a great vocal you shouldn't need to do a lot. If you don't, a lot of automation won't help.

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zmix

Aqua Marine

Posts: 4,288 Member Since:20/01/2011

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Jul 14 17 8:27 AM

Always. Be. Automating.

I find that if I wait too long before turning on the automation I get fatigued. Seriously.
Every imbalance that is tugging at my subconscious is wearing me down each pass.
It is either breaking my heart or numbing me down. I need to deal with it as soon as I "hear" it in my head or it's gone.

I cannot tell you how many people send me their mixes for evaluation and they. just. sit. there.
Usually the balances are good, the sounds are good, but it. just. sits. there.
They think it is a mix.
They are not mixing.

I've said this before and I'll say it again: "Nobody cares how well dressed a girl is if she can't dance"

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maarvold

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Posts: 3,209 Member Since:23/01/2011

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Jul 14 17 8:39 AM

zmix wrote:
Always. Be. Automating...

Because I work often at a studio where the PT version (due to the G5 computer) is so old that it doesn't have clip gain, I avoided clip gain for a long time.  But it's actually becoming indispensible to me now.  It allows me to quickly bring the currently-being-recorded performance into better focus on the first playback which has 2 important advantages: 1. it's already taking me a step closer to the final mix and 2. I don't have to engage fader automatation--and subsequently fight with it--to refine the dynamics of performances.  Now if I can get my friend to ditch that G5.  

Actually, the last time I worked there, I brought my own Mac Pro... something I have done a few times with other studios.  I think that may have become just one more thing I will now have to carry because there is absolutely nothing as comfortable as working on MY computer--wherever I am.  

Last Edited By: maarvold Jul 14 17 8:43 AM. Edited 1 time.

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seth

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Jul 14 17 8:40 AM

maarvold wrote:

zmix wrote:
Always. Be. Automating...

Because I work often at a studio where the PT version (due to the G5 computer) is so old that it doesn't have clip gain, I avoided clip gain for a long time.  But it's actually becoming indispensible to me now.  It allows me to quickly bring the currently-being-recorded performance into better focus on the first playback which has 2 important advantages: 1. it's already taking me a step closer to the final mix and 2. I don't have to engage fader automatation--and subsequently fight with it--to refine the dynamics of performances.  Now if I can get my friend to ditch that G5.  

Yes, exactly.
 

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soapfoot

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Jul 14 17 9:33 AM

I also use clip gain in lieu of fader automation for a LOT of things.

particularly on a vocal. I like to do a large part of the necessary rides there (as part of my comping process) so that it feels dynamically "right" before it ever hits a compressor. Then I can use a compressor (or two!) on the vocal purely as a sonic choice (and I almost always do, still).

sometimes automated fader moves post-compressor are helpful, too... Though I have to be careful that I'm not merely restoring a dynamic arc that was already there in the performance, but which my compressor(s) flattened.

Not or that there's anything inherently wrong with that either-- sometimes that's the way to the result. If the singer is not the most musical, sometimes you have to create the arc out of whole cloth.

brad allen williams

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zmix

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Posts: 4,288 Member Since:20/01/2011

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Jul 14 17 1:07 PM

Using clip gain is automation. Period.

However, unlike fader automation - which allows for physically interacting with the performance in a way that can heighten the emotion - this offline adjusting the gain of parts of the audio region removes you from the music on a performance level. It's like the difference between a drummer practicing ghost rolls and a producer finding a sample of a ghost roll, the end result should sound basically the same, but the experience is completely different.

My intuition is more valuable to me than my determinism, and it's a skill worth honing.

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gtoledo3

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Jul 14 17 1:37 PM

I'm always adding automation throughout nowadays...usually just starting out by cleaning up excess noise with volume automation.

I have made a lot of bad mixes over the years, but what I have gradually stumbled into that seems to have good results is to establish the relationship between bass, drums, and vocals, then bring in the other elements.

I try to pay attention to what I want to be in the spotlight at any given time, whether it's the vocal, or a fill from some other instrument. I usually bludgeon those highlights into shape in 3dB windows at first (as in, bringing an instrument up or down 3dB), and then further refine into smaller adjustments as needed. This can also be a nice approach when mixing into a buss compressor, because boosting something into the bus compressor will have a different effect and gel factor.

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soapfoot

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Jul 14 17 1:42 PM

They're two different interfaces, but I question whether clip gain is incapable of being interacted-with in an intuitive way.

I write fader automation sometimes, and I use clip gain sometimes. The main difference for me is that one happens in real time (like dance, or an improvised solo) and the other happens separate from time (like painting, or a sculpture).

I actually think I'm usually a little more comfortable with the latter. I can listen to a performance, identify a syllable I wish were quieter, take my time and carefully execute that. Writing automation with a fader is a bit different, for me-- I'm prone to overshooting or undershooting and psyching myself out and re-writing the automation for that bit a thousand times.

brad allen williams

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chance

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Posts: 2,750 Member Since:30/01/2011

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Jul 14 17 1:47 PM

While not automation, and working with a console and an HDR, I wish I had mix re-call. I can't count the times I wished I could pull up a recent or not so recent mix settings for a specific project.

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weedywet

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Jul 14 17 4:30 PM

I like to have as good a static balance as I can before I think about automation. 
So that means lots of clip gain adjustments through the whole project. 

I tend to think of automation more as 'performance' dynamics... rather than for fixing gross level discrepancies. 

 

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zmix

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Jul 14 17 5:07 PM

I agree.

You have to imagine them first however... so I think it's important to develop a sense of what the music wants and try things.
I think clip gain people tend to "set and forget"

Last Edited By: zmix Jul 14 17 5:26 PM. Edited 1 time.

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maarvold

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Jul 14 17 6:41 PM

zmix wrote:
Using clip gain is automation. Period.

I completely agree with the above.  
zmix...unlike fader automation - which allows for physically interacting with the performance in a way that can heighten the emotion - this offline adjusting the gain of parts of the audio region removes you from the music on a performance level.... 

I completely disagree with the above.  
soapfootI actually think I'm usually a little more comfortable with [clip gain]. I can listen to a performance, identify a syllable I wish were quieter, take my time and carefully execute that. Writing automation with a fader is a bit different, for me-- I'm prone to overshooting or undershooting... 

There is a very famous engineer who has the strong belief that [paraphrasing] "you can't do a good mix with mouse".  It is my STRONG opinion that if, for example, you are automating in Pro Tools--even without any breakpoint thinning--you are adding unnatural microdynamics that are not present in the original performance and not actually recreatable by the performer; this becomes even more true with thinning turned on.  And in my experience it's impossible to not create unwanted dynamic motion because the fader is too coarse of a blade.  And, dynamically, it creates a subtle, loudness-based version of what they did to the pitch of Cher's voice in "Believe" with AutoTune.  IMO, if the singer wants to subtly raise or lower their volume as they are singing a note, that decision is part of their art.  My art is to make them feel, when the final mix is heard, like they were singing in as natural of a way as if they were standing in the room where the rest of the music was being created and hearing it in perfect balance to support their artistic vision and performance.  But that's just me.  And I doubt I'll change any minds to my way of thinking.  
weedywet wrote:
I like to have as good a static balance as I can before I think about automation. 
So that means lots of clip gain adjustments through the whole project. 

I tend to think of automation more as 'performance' dynamics... rather than for fixing gross level discrepancies. 


 

Yes, except I do it almost all with clip gain nowadays.  
zmix wrote:
...I think clip gain people tend to "set and forget"

Then they are simply not listening.  Personally, I can't not listen.  

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weedywet

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Jul 14 17 7:55 PM

I tend to agree. 

I do a lot with Clip gain. 

If the guitar is at us at a good level except needs to come up for the solo I'll often just clip gain in a good bump. Or, make a new track just for the solo section and its level. 


But... one of the things I'm liking about the Raven is it's encouraging riding faders in a way that feels more organic (dare I say) 

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maarvold

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Jul 14 17 10:38 PM

weedywet wrote:
I tend to agree. 

I do a lot with Clip gain. 

If the guitar is at us at a good level except needs to come up for the solo I'll often just clip gain in a good bump. Or, make a new track just for the solo section and its level. 


But... one of the things I'm liking about the Raven is it's encouraging riding faders in a way that feels more organic (dare I say) 

 
All makes sense to me.  Interesting about the Raven.  

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extrememixing

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Posts: 2,369 Member Since:02/02/2011

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Jul 15 17 12:01 AM

I do a lot with Clip Gain. And the Clip Gain line. I find that to be very useful. Sometimes I even use it with my LiquidSonics reverb. Then it really becomes a race to the bottom! I did buy the full version of the LS Reverb. I liked it that much.

Steve

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trock.lucasmicrophone

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Posts: 411 Member Since:11/10/2013

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Jul 15 17 8:20 AM

Can I ask about clip Gain? In Cubase if i have a part, say a small guitar fill, in that "clip" i can adjust the volume of it by itself, is that what you are talking about? and if so, what do you do it the part is a long section all in one? do you cut it where you want it louder or softer and adjust the volume of that as a "clip" then?

and by doing that, at least in cubase, its all or nothing, meaning it becomes the volume you make it, does that tend to be to abrupt at times? vs drawing or riding a fader up or down into or out of the part if needed?

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maarvold

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Jul 15 17 8:29 AM

trock wrote:
Can I ask about clip Gain? In Cubase if i have a part, say a small guitar fill, in that "clip" i can adjust the volume of it by itself, is that what you are talking about? and if so, what do you do it the part is a long section all in one? do you cut it where you want it louder or softer and adjust the volume of that as a "clip" then?

and by doing that, at least in cubase, its all or nothing, meaning it becomes the volume you make it, does that tend to be to abrupt at times? vs drawing or riding a fader up or down into or out of the part if needed?

 
In PT, Clip Gain adjusts the volume for entire regions.  I avoid abrupt changes by using crossfades.  

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jesse decarlo

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Jul 15 17 10:53 AM

Great discussion.

I just want to emphasize one point for the benefit of anybody reading who might not be clear on it: clip gain adjustments are pre-insert, pre-send, and pre-fader. It's like changing the level that is coming right off the "tape." This is important because the end result of fader automation can be quite different from that of clip gain adjustments, especially if you have any dynamic processing inserts (compressor, gate, etc) on a track.

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zmix

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Jul 15 17 11:44 AM

Yes, clip gain is like running the automation with all the inserts post fader.

I wouldn't set up a console to mix anything that way, but reading everyone's replies here it seems to me that it's used much more to "correct" level disparities, in a way that engenders an "editorial" than a "creative" mindset.
The first thing that I did when I got the first project I ever did that required me to mix "In the Box" was to run out and buy a control surface with 100mm P&G faders.
I'd spent my entire career developing my intuition about how much to move a fader to achieve a desired result. I can understand how people without that experience would probably find this performance based process intimidating.

Last Edited By: zmix Jul 15 17 12:03 PM. Edited 1 time.

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