Issues when I automate sounds in mix

Discussion in 'Mixing and Mastering' started by MaXe, Jul 1, 2018.

  1. MaXe

    MaXe Member

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    Every time I am mixing something, first, I try to get a good balance and good static mix. My problem is the next step, like when I try to automate things, even though I automate subtly, my previous mix settings don't quite fit the new changes. I listen to professional tracks and I see that after the verse, the chorus is totally a new thing but still the mix man has somehow managed to do that. I wonder how he has balanced the new section! Does he automate all the previous settings to adapt to the new one?! I know the question might sound rough.

    For instance, when I automate distortion and EQ ( Even subtle changes ) cause volume change too, do I have to automate the volume to preserve the balance? ( The answer is probably yes ) but that get quite complicated since a mix does not have only one automated parameter.
    Another example is when I automate the EQ not only the balance changes but it might make one sound to jump out of mix but when I listen to professional tracks, it seems the guy has automated like a ninja but still the track is somehow gelled ( Now you say, it is because of the mastering and the way he has compressed it carefully! )

    My problem is I cannot find a good workflow to automate things in the mix so when I get to mastering stage, I can safely do the mastering so the track sounds professional.
    I see some guys do some automation in arrangement stage, some do it only in the mixing stage ( After the arrangement is totally done ) I don't whether it is a good question to ask but which one would be more appropriate?

    I even have thought about dividing each section of arrangement into totally different routing matrix but it uses lots of resources that way which has made me dubious to do such thing.

    In addition, if you guys have seen or read anything, I would appreciate any recommendations. Most tutorials and videos out there do not discuss stuff related to automation, like the only thing they say is, move some knobs to add some variation! No one is there to ask, dude, I cannot randomly fu-k with knobs to add some variations! I have some mixing decisions to consider!

    This issue has caused me to do less automation since I don't know how to manage it so I won't hurt the mix. Therefore, my mixes are more static compared to what I hear in my mind! All these issues has caused me to lose inspiration when I have ideas in my mind, like I hear a sound when I go to automate it, so many problems rise that I forget the idea I had so I cannot translate it well in the DAW.

    Tell me something so I can really take my automation to next level. I am sure you guys have some interesting things to say.

    As always, thanks
     
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  3. Baxter

    Baxter Audiosexual

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    Try this: First compress, EQ, effect-sends, etc so that you get a good static mix. THEN automate volume, depending on the project/number of tracks/sounds/etc.

    You speak of automating distortion. Distortion is compression in a way. It's generally a good rule to adjust volume AFTER distortion/compression. And I'm not talking about volume compensation going into a compression. That is needed too (basically volume automation before AND after compression).

    There is quite a lot of psychoacoustics going into mixing. Like when introducing a new element, where the volume is louder. Then you can pull that back once the listener know the element and can "hear" it even when/if you pull it down. "Ok, I know that arpeggio or background guitar lick now. Move it back". This makes room for more dominant elements in the song that adds to energy, variation, space, progression, etc and keeps the song interesting.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2018
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  4. Cudo

    Cudo Ultrasonic

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  5. Xupito

    Xupito Audiosexual

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    This is from a quite lower level perspective, but I'm currently trying Meldaproduction plugins and I really love that ALL of them have automatic gain compensation feature.
     
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  6. No Avenger

    No Avenger Audiosexual

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    DIstortion adds harmonics -> sound gets louder. Distortion raises the rms level -> sound gets louder. That's normal.
    Same with EQ, you raise or lower a band -> sound gets louder or lower.
    If you make a static change, not a sweep or fade in, you can also use two instances of the same plugin, adjust the output and automate the bypass for the different parts.
     
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  7. saltwater

    saltwater Platinum Record

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    this is one way and certainly needed, but it depends.
    there is nothing wrong if in a transition/drop the mix gets a bit out of the "safe area", as long as its not too long or extreme and gets back to a safe state its ok.

    you have to either come back to your initial parameter value or automate other values accordingly at the same time to compensate.

    there isn't really a strict rule but,
    before finishing you can render every track into lossless Audio and apply fx and automations there.
    A good way to handle the resource issue, not the only benefit of that method tho ;)
     
  8. Xupito

    Xupito Audiosexual

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    Good advice.
    There's a similar YT channel, perhaps more oriented to beginners like me but still useful:
     
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