Anyone used bandcamp? I find the listener breakdown (counting <15 seconds, 15 secs - 1:30, full track) one of the most depressing things I’ve ever seen.
It looks a bit more complicated than that. I have actually tried it a few times, playing a video and looking an the view count before and after, then playing the video a few more times. It counted my first view but none of the subsequent ones. I assume they do some tracking by IP address at least. Otherwise it would be way to easy for people to cheat the system and affect the financials of advertising. Here’s some stuff I found, though Google/YT is pretty tight-lipped about how it actually works.
In conclusion, a view is a unique, user-initiated play of a certain secret percentage of a video that is played only by YouTube’s hosting.
In the early years of YouTube a view count would increase whenever the video was loaded. This was a reasonable system, except it quickly became obvious that anyone - from a teenager sharing a home video to a business sharing a commercial - could simply reload their video over and over to increase their view count artificially.
Sorry for the thread hijack Danny, maybe we can get back on track.
Some of us (like myself) were mixing with big bottom in the nineties with Ben Harper and Ian Moore and some of the RAP records I was mixing back then. It took a long time for people to finally catch up with that, especially in the rock genre. Given the history of how low end developed on records, I hardly think that we can call them trend setters. The fact that loudness is less of a concern these days, mixers can finally push the low end to almost unreasonable levels. Which I’m all for and have been for a long time. That’s what makes records big.
Also, don’t give the ME so much credit. It’s the mixer who causes the reaction. The ME does just a little EQ and loudness cleanup work. It’s really not something to hold in such regard.
Great thread but I only read till the Halestorm mention.
Now for 2 hours I’ve been watching all the videos with that crazy sexy chick.
I literally spit out coffee!
Love your opinions and totally respect you and am not here to pick a fight. But do you really think that? In my experience, lows down as low as what I’m talking about don’t make anything “big”. I’d go as far as to say they fill out where instruments may be thinner like say the Halestorm song guitars. But I really don’t hear it as bigger.
The opposite has been my experience. I’ve worked with and have had the pleasure of listening to some really famous artists at their most naked time. The mixes were all very neutral sounding and enhanced at the mastering stage. The last thing an ME wants to do is compete with the slop of a mixer making things more difficult for him or her. Most don’t deliver slop, but you know what I mean.
Granted, some producers want you to go for, or accentuate certain elements because they have a vision. I say this being friends with a few producers who are in the 90 million + club for sales.
Beau Hill is a friend of mine (i actually did an interview with him that I’m not sure I ever posted here.) But my point in mentioning him isn’t to name drop. He’s shared some really private projects with me of all different times and genres.
The one thing that has stuck out to me is how neutral all the mixes are before they go to be mastered. No sub low rattles, no over emphasized anything. A little 2 bus glue at most but 0 brick wall limiting. So though each project and situation is different, my experience is mix neutral and trust the ME to do his job. Sometimes you just need a little polish, but the ME’s that made a name for themselves have done so for their ability to bring mixes to life.
It’s like, guys like Ludwig and Katz didn’t get their names from being polishing engineers that just brought a group of songs in as a suite, low passed, high passed, ran a limiter, faded and shipped it out. They got their names from their ears and sculpting abilities as you know. So for me, 8 times out of 10, the ME is going to get the nod for the enhancements like what we’re talking about here.
Again, not disagreeing with your opinion. Just sharing mine through my experiences of over 39 years of doing this.
Hey, You’re going to have to give me a frequency or range. All I’m saying is, the low end curve is more robust than ever in history because people stopped being scared about it.
As to “neutral mixes” I have no idea what that is or what it means. As a third-party mixer, which I operate as for many years, I am there to deliver a mix that causes a reaction. To do that, I need everything balanced and working in such a way, that I cause the listener to sing, and some other physical reaction. I don’t do that by getting an approximation of a mix. I do that by delivering a mix that is doing all that I want it to in the studio. After that, it’s merely about how it translates in noisier environments.
In general, I want the ME to do as little as possible to my mix. So, I hire MEs who hear the way that I do, and don’t go in and try to change what I’ve done. And when I’m not the producer, I establish who the ME will be in advance of mixing the record.
Every mix engineer that I know, and I know many of them at a very high level, operates in this manner.
As to MEs, they deal with sound. They make a mix a little louder. They adjust the EQ a little. That’s it. As a mixer, I create the balances that cause the reaction. Not the ME. I spend hours on a mix, an ME spends minutes on it. To give the ME half credit, as if he’s part of a team, in which without him, the record would fall apart, well that would be to suggest that Tchad Blake and Mitchell Froom never made a record worth a damn without him.
So, yeah, I take a little umbrage at the idea that someone as talented as Tchad is presented as if he’s a part of a team with an ME, as if the ME is half of what made that record great. Not. Even. Close.
Wow, that was never my intention. Sorry if it came across that way.
35hz, 40hz. More robust and filling, most definitely I agree. But to say it’s “bigger”, I guess that depends on what your interpretation of “bigger” means.
Neutral meaning what I said below:
Neutral meaning “well balanced” yet not overly exaggerated with anything. Example, Michael Wagener shared a mix of “Perry Mason” by Ozzy. He was canned from the project, but his mix was pretty darned good in my opinion. That said, the first thing you hear is how much you can do with it as an ME. It’s wide open to make it hit hard, hit with low end, or remain neutral and poppy. Very well balanced, not loaded with mud or subs like some of the stuff today, and if the ME wanted to do that, there was plenty of room to do so without wrecking anything.
That said, there are times when the ME should just be the polish guy. I totally agree with that. However, (and I’m sure you’ve done some mastering in your time) there’s nothing worse than someone etching a mix so in stone, that it makes the job of the ME harder. I can’t bring out a snare drum when the mix comes in smashed to hell to where there are no transients. I can’t make the mix breathe or have dynamics if they are taken away from the start. I can’t control the bass and kick drum pairing if subs are already hot. You always lose one or the other. Sure, with stem mixes it makes it easier…but now I’m sort of remixing, aren’t I? So, now the price just went up.
I’m not saying the mixes I’m talking about are lacking or in need of major work. I’m saying you could listen on a car stereo with your eq flat, and have a well balanced mix that isn’t over accentuating anything. Adding in your own EQ in the car brings the mix to life without hurting it. This is when the ME really is an ME. Most of the time, you don’t want a master to come back sounding totally different from what you mixed. I get that totally! What I’m saying is, I don’t think the low end we’re talking about and brick wall limiting should come from the mix engineer to where the ME is just a polish guy. Hell, use WaveLab or Sony CD Architect and save yourself $3000 to someone like Katz. I’m not saying you’re wrong, I’m just saying for the stuff I’ve worked with and heard, they always left room for the ME to bring the material to life and I personally prefer it that way.
I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s in London, and there was a period where drum and bass was all over the radio. They would remix and remake old songs and stick in drum and bass beats under it! For me, listening to that music in my small car with 4 massive speakers, my 200W amplifier and 12" subwoofer(!) was all about low end. I swear, there were moments the bass was powering the engine of that car!
But recently, I’ve been trying to listen to modern hip hop. I’m not an audiophile by any stretch, but I’ve got my fair share of brilliant equipment to listen to music on, and I personally can’t handle the low end on newer stuff. For me it’s not a “big” sound per se, but more like “overstuffed”. I can’t listen to more than 10 minutes without feeling like my ears are hurting.
But I have noticed a shift in low end in traditionally “no low end” music. I’ve noticed that the prog rock genre has embraced sub frequencies with enthusiasm, and for the most part I love that sound!
If you notice in this video, with the rather excellent Conner Green from Haken doing a bass play through of the song Initiate, he steps on an Octave pedal to get an octave lower on his 6 string bass! It’s a brilliant sound, and for years I actually thought the bass was being played by the keyboard player.
I don’t think you can expect the mastering engineer to re-balance your mix in a way that’ll make it better.
They might. They just might. You pick someone who’s great, they’ve got a great room, they’re a pro, they hear it fresh.
But you can’t expect it.
And I also don’t totally understand what a neutral mix is, in all honesty. Is it a mix where you’re reluctant to go as far as you secretly want to? Where instead of the excitement of recklessness, you say to yourself “No, I must act with decorum, and not push the bass as far as I think would benefit the final product.”
The problem I see in that is that everything is interactive - pushing the bass out might well cause you to make different decisions in all other areas of the mix, to create something that sounds cohesive. If you leave it to the mastering engineer to do that final stage, it might mean things don’t sit together the way you wanted them to any more. Because if you’d done it yourself, you’d have EQ’d the guitars differently, and the snare, and made the kick sit in a different place, and rode the automation on the lead vocal slightly differently, and gone for a plate rather than chamber setting on one of your fx sends because it leaves more space, and balanced the bright percussion differently against the bass, and worried less about balancing the mix L-R in the second verse because the strongly low end gave a greater sense of center, and for the same reason mixed the drums wider, and all those decisions would have interacted in turn with each other and yet more unmentioned choices, conscious and instinctual.
The only answer I can see to that issue is to mix it exactly the way you want it to be presented to the world. Then, you only expect that the mastering engineer will know what you were going for and will fix those aspects where you didn’t quite do what you thought you were doing, and level out any lacking tonal/dynamic unity between songs that belong together on a project if your ears/ perception/ aiming point/ mixing situation changed over the course of a project.
Closing, of course, with the obvious disclaimer that I’m an idiot and the last mix choice I made was to put Pitch shifting and flanging on an Egg shaker.
For what its worth, I tend to share Erics view on this. By large, I think of the ME sort of like a proof-reader for someone writing a book. They’re important in the niche roll, and the real good ones deserve credit, but I tend to think of mastering as a technical trade more than an artistic roll. I don’t feel Erics statement downplays the ‘quality’ or ‘validity’ of their work - it just keeps the scope of it in perspective to the hierarchy of artistic input to the whole production.
I don’t know that there’s a correct or incorrect way to define the roll of an ME. These days, its basically ‘what do you want them to do’? And I think its acceptable that people have different opinions on this.
To me this statement gives the mastering engineer half credit. It makes them out to be a team, when in reality Tchad mixes the record, and Brian WORKS for Tchad, and/or the producer. The producer and the mixer operate as a team to bring the record to fruition, the ME just touches up the sound a little. I can guarantee you that Tchad Blake could put out his record with any mastering and you would think just as highly of it.
There’s a trend lately on audio forums to make out the ME as if he is the most important person on the project, and as if the mastering process is the most important process. They are the least important. Preproduction is ten times more critical than mastering. In fact, mastering is so unimportant to the quality of product that I recommend most people use automated mastering services.
If you want to scope out the bottom end in mixes, check out a mixer or a producers records. The ME works for them and follows what they want. The ME doesn’t have veto. The ME has no power. They are expendable personnel.
Remember, it’s the song that people like.
A great mixer doesn’t set balances for proportionality. A great mixer sets the balances to cause certain reactions. Jus how I balance the drums with the other instruments can have an enormous effect on how you move. How I balance the harmonic instruments with the vocal can have an enormous effect on whether you are compelled to sing.
You can explain to me all day what a neutral mix is and that will not abate my confusion because I don’t think of a mix in terms of sound and proportionality of balance. In fact, one of my Tens Steps to Better Mixing warns “Putting everything proportional in a mix is going to make for a shitty mix.” So, for me, a neutral mix describes a shitty mix, one that an ME could do nothing to save.
I use balances and CHOOSE PARTS based on the reaction. Therefore a neutral mix is a bad mix to me, as it puts the focus on proportionality rather than on how the balances cause a reaction. It also completely ignores arrangement decisions that can make the difference between an amazing mix and a really average mix, and unless you’re there to understand what the mixer started with, then you can’t possibly understand what the mixer brought to the party.
What I don’t understand is why you assume the low end was derived by the ME. Most MEs hardly touch my low end. And I’m way more likely to slightly overshoot it, than to undershoot it.
I’ve worked with many of the most well known MEs on the planet. The best of the best are perfectly comfortable operating as a polish guy. And you cannot show me a record in history that became a hit because of the mastering. It just doesn’t exist.
Exactly. How is it the guy with the least amount of overall control has somehow become the most important part of the process? That’s madness. Muting an out of time tambourine part will have a far greater effect than anything an ME can do.
Hi I had a government ELF (extremely low frequencies) line running just a few miles from my home. ( they used it to communicate with submarines) I had biologists as renters and they shared some of the pics they had of the earthworm deformities etc.(they weren’t supposed to) Just wanted everyone to know that there is a reason I am like I am.
I love playing the bass and including it in my songs. Don’t care about trends, I won’t change.
You never hear bass when you go to Walmart. 90% vocal
That’s because they are played from 4" speakers on the ceiling throughout the store. Good luck finding the stereo image, LOL. But, yeah, ultimately, it’s all about the vocal.
I don’t want to go off-topic again, but that’s wild stuff Paul! Interesting that sound waves can affect the health of earthworms, but not people.
As I said in my reply:
Then we are, as they say “in violent agreement”. I am a big fan of Tchad’s mixes.
The only reason I mentioned Brian’s name was because he was also a commonality on both of the albums I was thinking of when I gave my first reply. (This was on two different artists’ albums, btw.) So it would appear that (from my standpoint), at the very least, Brian preserves the great, organic-sounding low end of Tchad’s mixes.
Having just had my own album professionally mastered, I’m more than well aware of the necessity to preserve the mixers’ (me, in this case) intent.
Having mixed a couple of projects for other artists that were handed off to a mastering engineer in a transaction I had no input in, I’m also aware that an ME is capable of neutering low end if left unchecked. That was the context behind my comment.
…and once again:
I don’t recall ever saying that. I said in my experience with big label mixes that have been shared with me before they were mastered, that they were not accentuating what came out in the mastered versions. Therefore, the ME definitely did a little more than polish the songs. What is so difficult to understand? When comparing mix to mastered it wasn’t just louder. Tighter low end, deeper low end, mids lightly cut or boosted. Does that not alter the original mix a bit? I’d say it does. The mixed songs were great on their own, but the mastering brought them to another level.
Actually, a great mixer sits and listens to what the producer wants while adding ideas and showing examples when asked or needed. The good mixer’s job is to bring the “vision” to life. The producer has a vision. Sometimes even though your’re on the team, it isn’t your vision and you don’t make the calls. Now if there isn’t a pesky producer breathing down your neck, I agree. “Preportionality”? Like seriously? These big nonsense words are why people are so confused by this field. Ugh!
Hey, I came on here and respectfully started a conversation with you while sharing things I have lived, learned, seen and heard with my own eyes and ears. Don’t try and act all high and mighty while skewering what was said to attempt to make yourself look good. I actually lost the respect I had for you because after reading you here, you’'re more about yourself than you are a teacher. It’s like, if you didn’t live it, it did’t happen. “In my book,10 steps to grandstanding and pompousness, don’t mix proportionally…” please stop.
A neutral mix is a mix that has all the right stuff that can stand on its own without mastering. Who said anything about being proportional? (And I still can’t find a definition of that term with any validity to mixing. No need to explain, I’m not interested) So a well balanced mix that is completely audible in all aspects (which I’m refering to as neutral) that isn’t loaded with sub lows and smashed limiting is a shitty mix because you say so?
I sure hope people don’t live by your example because you are the furthest from the truth and dude, it matters not to me who you worked with past or present or how many books you’ve sold. A cohesive, well balanced mix is the name of this game and what everyone on this site should strive for. End of story. All I’m saying is, some of the mixes I’m referring to had those neutral qualities and they added the accentuation points later.
Don’t sit here and tell me it hasn’t happened. If the mixer and producer decide to add all the other stuff before mastering, that’s fine. If they decide to be a little more conservative and let the producer work with the ME to sweeten parts on the whole of the mix, they can and HAVE done it that way.
Do you think the producer just allows the album to be shipped off to the ME for polish? No, he’s right there beside him fine tuning that puppy to the fullest entering areas that may not have been completely exercised at the mix phase. Therefore, altering the sound of the original mix a bit and at times, quite a bit. C’mon, give me a little frigging credit…I’ve been in this game a long time too on all sides of the fence.
I’m actually sorry I said anything and got involved with this. I should have known better than to ask someone claiming a mix is “bigger because of bottom end”, if they really thought bigger was the right word. I then mentioned that a close friend shared some secret mixes with me pre and post mastering. I mentioned how the balanced, neutral mixes that weren’t ruined with subs and extreme limiting like they are today, were different once they were mastered and had more stuff on them at the mastering stage. I saw the red confrontational flag at the start and and thought I’d still try and make respectful conversarion. I was even overly nice and gave props. How dare I.