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Obtaining a clear sound / more highs
Old 28th January 2013
  #1
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Winegarden's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Obtaining a clear sound / more highs

Hello!

So I'm working on a track, and at the moment I'm very satisfied with the result. The only thing that could be improved is a bit more highs, to give it this crispy / clear sound. I mean, it does sound clear already, but I think you get my point.

I put an EQ on my master with some highs, and it does sound much better, but I'm not a fan of putting anything on the master. Instead I'd rather boost the channels individually to only add highs to the instruments I want (will give it more contrast also).

I was wondering if you guys had some tips on how to do this without affecting the track too much. There's lots of compressors in there so if I add too much it will mess up everything (too many things are side-chained), but if I just add a little it doesn't sound enough. The tracks I listen to have lots of high end, but I'm wondering how they do that.

Do I need to compress the high end?

Please share your tips

It's a Dance Music kind of song, but I think that doesn't matter.
Old 28th January 2013
  #2
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobcat ➑️
Hello!

So I'm working on a track, and at the moment I'm very satisfied with the result. The only thing that could be improved is a bit more highs, to give it this crispy / clear sound. I mean, it does sound clear already, but I think you get my point.

I put an EQ on my master with some highs, and it does sound much better, but I'm not a fan of putting anything on the master. Instead I'd rather boost the channels individually to only add highs to the instruments I want (will give it more contrast also).

I was wondering if you guys had some tips on how to do this without affecting the track too much. There's lots of compressors in there so if I add too much it will mess up everything (too many things are side-chained), but if I just add a little it doesn't sound enough. The tracks I listen to have lots of high end, but I'm wondering how they do that.

Do I need to compress the high end?

Please share your tips

It's a Dance Music kind of song, but I think that doesn't matter.
You've already answered your own question. Quit reading the nonsensical opinions of the uptight weirdos in the mastering forum and put whatever you please on your mix buss. If it sounds good, use it.
Old 28th January 2013
  #3
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edva's Avatar
 
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Actually that is often done in mastering. Take a look at the BAX EQ, or it's equivalent Nebula version, or the high band on an Avalon 747, etc.
Old 28th January 2013 | Show parent
  #4
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by edva ➑️
Actually that is often done in mastering.
Old 28th January 2013 | Show parent
  #5
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Winegarden's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by isawsasquatch ➑️
You've already answered your own question. Quit reading the nonsensical opinions of the uptight weirdos in the mastering forum and put whatever you please on your mix buss. If it sounds good, use it.
Yeah I left it this way for a while but it also affects sounds that I do not want to boost. It also doesn't sound as balanced anymore, see what I mean?

I never liked putting anything on my master (I don't master my tracks, they're already mastered basically ).

But I was also wondering how to boost highs without them sounding harsh. Is there a trick? The tracks I listen have lots of highs, but if I attempt to do such a thing, it will make my ears bleed.
Old 28th January 2013
  #6
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Dr. Mordo's Avatar
 
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Just boost the highs on the tracks you want more air from. Cymbals, voice, keys, etc.

But I think not putting effects on your master buss is silly. If it sounds good, it is good.
Old 28th January 2013
  #7
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🎧 15 years
Another +1 for Mix bus EQ. If done right, it just adds something nice that individual channel EQs don't quite add up to, IME β€” especially in the 10k-20kHz area. If something starts to poke out of the texture, roll some highs off the offending channel to make it sit right.

Try and live with it for a little while and see what you think β€” don't avoid it simply because others might say it's "bad technique."

Cheers,
A
Old 28th January 2013 | Show parent
  #8
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StudioRay's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobcat ➑️
But I was also wondering how to boost highs without them sounding harsh. Is there a trick? The tracks I listen have lots of highs, but if I attempt to do such a thing, it will make my ears bleed.
There's probably no one blanket answer to this. As isawsasquatch said, don't be shy about putting something on the master bus. I too for a long time thought that it would be best to tweak each individual track to get the desired EQ balance, but it is when the master bus is EQ'd and compressed that a mix really starts to sound glued together.

Anyhow, like I said, there's no one answer, but here's one idea. I often will apply a 12k boost on the entire mix to highlight some of the air and sparkle. And yes, sometimes a hi hat or a singer's sibilance will take offense to that, and the mix will start to have that "make your ears bleed" thing happening in spots. So I will then insert a mutiband compressor to catch the hi end when it goes too far and a lot of times that is just the ticket.

Now maybe that sounds counter-intuitive to boost the highs and then add something to catch them when they go too far, but it works. Of course you need to experiment with your frequencies on a song by song basis when it comes to what range to boost with the EQ and what range to catch with the multiband. Sometimes I'm boosting 12k and above with a shelf EQ, but setting the multiband to catch from 3k to 10k. And yet that 3-10k range wouldn't have sounded bad before the 12k boost. So experimentation is important.

One other thought is that sometimes cutting a frequency range on the master bus that is a bit muddy, say around 300hz, or maybe something in the range of 600hz to 1000hz, with either an EQ or a multiband, will often let the highs shine through more and it will sound as if you boosted the high end.

Good luck!

Ray
Old 28th January 2013
  #9
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Also make sure you're using good mics and preamps that are capturing that high frequency content to begin with. It'll sound a lot better if you get it right going in, than if you try to add it in later with EQ. Also, of course, make sure the instruments you're recording have those frequencies to begin with. I hate recording cheap cymbals for that reason. They don't sound near as bad live, as they do recorded.

If you're good there, you might be over compressing. Sometimes that can make things sound stuffy. You might try parallel compression and a transient shaping plugin like Bittersweet to add some crispness to the cymbals and such.

That's all I got. That's actually the biggest problem I'm having with my mixes too, at the moment.
Old 28th January 2013
  #10
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NYCruiser's Avatar
 
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Also try a multiband harmonic exciter I stead of an eq. Could be the ticket sometimes. There is one included in ozone, but others too I'm sure.


Sent from my iPhone
Old 28th January 2013 | Show parent
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by isawsasquatch ➑️
Just FYI, my reply was to the OP, not to you. Your post had not appeared on my screen as I was replying. Either way though, I have no idea what you intended by the facepalm, other than perhaps a trivial attempt at some sort of insult?
Old 28th January 2013 | Show parent
  #12
Gear Guru
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silent Sound ➑️
Also make sure you're using good mics and preamps that are capturing that high frequency content to begin with. It'll sound a lot better if you get it right going in, than if you try to add it in later with EQ.
Spot on. Also, most compression reduces the top end details, they get buried under the mids and low end.

Ever have a mix when you added no top end EQ on anything?

Done here, regularly. Don't need it. Don't need to 'get back' that I haven't lost.
Old 28th January 2013 | Show parent
  #13
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by NYCruiser ➑️
Also try a multiband harmonic exciter I stead of an eq. Could be the ticket sometimes. There is one included in ozone, but others too I'm sure.
This. I use the iZotope multiband exciter on individual tracks with a lot of good results that I would never be able to get just by boosting those frequencies in an EQ. Be judicious with it or it can make things sound brittle, but there's nothing like an exciter to make something cut through a mix.

I do use the Ozone version, although Ozone is really more of a mastering plug. There is also one in their Alloy plug, which is more optimized for individual tracks. Also cheaper than Ozone. Haven't had a chance to try that one yet, but don't see why it shouldn't work just as well.
Old 28th January 2013
  #14
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobcat ➑️
H
I was wondering if you guys had some tips on how to do this without affecting the track too much. There's lots of compressors in there so if I add too much it will mess up everything (too many things are side-chained), but if I just add a little it doesn't sound enough.
Add the high end after the compressor.

There's no one solution. Each track may benefit from a different type of high end treatment. Also, sometimes when you roll off some low end, or reduce the boxiness between 200 and 500 hz, the remaining high end will will shine a little brighter.

I know what you mean about how bright commercial releases are. However, listen to something produced by T-Bone Burnett and you'll see it's not always necessary or desirable.

-R
Old 28th January 2013
  #15
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🎧 10 years
i love all of Bobcat's threads. SO entertaining. Suscribed.
Old 28th January 2013
  #16
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Mixing against a well working monitoring solution is adding the frequencies you are missing. It's a lot worse trying to achieve the same using spontaneous eq
ing in the same monitoring context.

So both of us need to focus on the same thing now: monitoring.
Old 29th January 2013
  #17
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Yep, monitors make the difference. I scored old Genelecs and it changed everything.
Old 29th January 2013 | Show parent
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vintageidiot ➑️
Yep, monitors make the difference. I scored old Genelecs and it changed everything.
love my gennies
Old 29th January 2013
  #19
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But you know gainstaging holds the key, at least in my opinion.
Old 29th January 2013 | Show parent
  #20
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by StudioRay ➑️
...don't be shy about putting something on the master bus. I too for a long time thought that it would be best to tweak each individual track to get the desired EQ balance...
I have been experimenting with this concept lately. What's better, a bunch of 'decent' EQ's boosting high end on many tracks, or one 'premier' EQ on the mix buss?

Like I said, I am experimenting. It would be nice to do a couple of songs both way and pick my favorite.

I may soon do some ITB/OUT comparisons (again) too. I really like the convenience of ITB, but I like what I get OTB sonically. Maybe it is time to do my best with both and see how much difference it makes. I plan to do more 'hybrid' techniques ITB this time.
Old 29th January 2013 | Show parent
  #21
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by edva ➑️
Just FYI, my reply was to the OP, not to you. Your post had not appeared on my screen as I was replying. Either way though, I have no idea what you intended by the facepalm, other than perhaps a trivial attempt at some sort of insult?
The facepalm was a genuine reaction to the idea you put forth that a present, clear sound is obtained in mastering. Great-sounding masters come from great-sounding mixes; the idea that someone would encourage a mixer (especially a novice one) to rely on someone else to achieve the sound they're after is saddening to me. An insult wasn't my intent, and I apologize for the confusion.
Old 29th January 2013 | Show parent
  #22
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vintageidiot ➑️
But you know gainstaging holds the key
To a bright sound?

Huh...that's a new one to me...would you care to go into detail?
Old 29th January 2013 | Show parent
  #23
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kronos147 ➑️
I have been experimenting with this concept lately. What's better, a bunch of 'decent' EQ's boosting high end on many tracks, or one 'premier' EQ on the mix buss?
Frankly, neither. 9 outta 10 times, it's managing the midrange correctly that achieves the bright, clear sound you're after.
Old 29th January 2013 | Show parent
  #24
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psycho_monkey's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by isawsasquatch ➑️
The facepalm was a genuine reaction to the idea you put forth that a present, clear sound is obtained in mastering. Great-sounding masters come from great-sounding mixes; the idea that someone would encourage a mixer (especially a novice one) to rely on someone else to achieve the sound they're after is saddening to me. An insult wasn't my intent, and I apologize for the confusion.
I don't think that's totally what was intended, although I agree with your point as well. Mastering engineers frequently DO add mixbuss EQ in mastering, although as you say it's not a good idea to rely on mastering to fix a mix...
Old 29th January 2013 | Show parent
  #25
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gruenburger's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by isawsasquatch ➑️
Frankly, neither. 9 outta 10 times, it's managing the midrange correctly that achieves the bright, clear sound you're after.
yup
Old 29th January 2013 | Show parent
  #26
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edva's Avatar
 
26 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobcat ➑️
crispy
I put an EQ on my master with some highs, and it does sound much better, but I'm not a fan of putting anything on the master. The tracks I listen to have lots of high end, but I'm wondering how they do that.
Quote:
Originally Posted by edva ➑️
Actually that is often done in mastering. Take a look at the BAX EQ, or it's equivalent Nebula version, or the high band on an Avalon 747, etc.
Quote:
Originally Posted by isawsasquatch ➑️
The facepalm was a genuine reaction to the idea you put forth that a present, clear sound is obtained in mastering. Great-sounding masters come from great-sounding mixes; the idea that someone would encourage a mixer (especially a novice one) to rely on someone else to achieve the sound they're after is saddening to me. An insult wasn't my intent, and I apologize for the confusion.
Thank you for the explanation, I truly appreciate it, however, you obviously read something into my reply that was not there. I was certainly not recommending that he do one thing or the other, I simply informed him that he could look at a couple of things that may do what he was asking about.
I agree that great sounding masters can come from great sounding mixes, however, I would in fact encourage someone, especially a novice, to lean on others more experienced to help him improve. I personally am not a huge fan of adding "air" boost at the mastering stage, but sometimes it can help, and it as I'm sure you know is beyond any doubt often done with current tastes and productions, and I did not think the simple information I offered was harmful to the young man. You are entitled to your opinion of course, but that is mine. Perhaps between the two of us, the OP was helped in some small way.
Old 29th January 2013
  #27
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2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by isawsasquatch ➑️
To a bright sound?

Huh...that's a new one to me...would you care to go into detail?
I believe that high end gear has the full eq spectrum there at the Mic, amplifying it properly through to the end gives you what hour has in the first place. My gear isn't off the shelf so what I experience and others experience won't be the same. I did boost but my M7 capsule requires that...


Sent from my ZTE N9120
Old 29th January 2013
  #28
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"what was there already" in the first place.

Sent from my ZTE N9120
Old 29th January 2013
  #29
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Sent from my ZTE N9120

My preamps have a beautiful air, mairinair has that....
Old 29th January 2013
  #30
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobcat ➑️
Hello!

So I'm working on a track, and at the moment I'm very satisfied with the result. The only thing that could be improved is a bit more highs, to give it this crispy / clear sound. I mean, it does sound clear already, but I think you get my point.

I put an EQ on my master with some highs, and it does sound much better, but I'm not a fan of putting anything on the master. Instead I'd rather boost the channels individually to only add highs to the instruments I want (will give it more contrast also).

I was wondering if you guys had some tips on how to do this without affecting the track too much. There's lots of compressors in there so if I add too much it will mess up everything (too many things are side-chained), but if I just add a little it doesn't sound enough. The tracks I listen to have lots of high end, but I'm wondering how they do that.

Do I need to compress the high end?

Please share your tips

It's a Dance Music kind of song, but I think that doesn't matter.
best way to open up higend is to lowpass some things and/or high shelf some elements. It depends, it's situational but typically you want to add air, but it's not always as easy shelving/eq. You have to leave some space, to do this you need to eliminate some things using a low pass that may be cluttering the top end and allow stuff like cymbals and synths and top end of vocals to and reverb tails to breath.

Sometimes though it's not a question of eliminating or shelving with EQing. It could be a question of there isn't a lot quality texture going on up there to begin with. Painting a canvas with some high frequency sparkle can make or break. Add some strings or some synths. Add some percussion that has a high end presence. The combination of removing stuff that shouldn't be there and give the stuff that should belong there some presence by simple divide and conquer.

I don't do dance music but with rock music I like to lowpass some things and then add some nice ultra subtle synth and percussion texture in the highs. Open up the vocals hats and cymbals too with a shelf.
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