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Mixing 4 RADIO

Draztik · 29 · 9217

Draztik

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Ok i've been meaning to touch base on this topic for a while. I've been reading for the last 6 months on the

DO's and DON'Ts of MIXING TRACKS FOR RADIO!!!

Has anyone touched on this subject yet, would be good info to share.

yeah,... it goes from basic things to very technical stuff.... its got a lot to do with

using very little compression...
choosing tracks that aren't crowded with a lot of instruments, all your frequency's need their own space to breathe
don't use stereo separation, meaning don't add like a stereo spread to you vocals or instruments, otherwise your track wont bump....
don't use reverb, keep your vocals dry, rather use delay...reverb causes and enhances distortion.
Switch to MONO and see if your track still sounds the same, are your instruments or vocals dipping or changing?

just a few things....
« Last Edit: November 17, 2009, 07:11:56 PM by Draztik »


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...and that is why I dnt use no plug-in unless compression,gating and eq in all my work.

Pity U find that some joints need delay,so I do it the old skool way by chopping last pieces and automating to avoid using plug-ins.

I myself worked at 2 radio stations and I realized the impact of ones sound there.

I'm 99% done mastering N'veigh's 7:30 album...hopefully yo'll get the idea then...


Draztik

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This is the kind of things is good to share.... u using compression on you busses or just on your individual tracks and how much are you using. as well EQ? as ths seems very different for Radio

its interesting that you worked for radio, thats a great advantage, btw Look forward to the Nviegh album i'd like to hear from u when its done
« Last Edit: November 18, 2009, 10:10:18 AM by Draztik »


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I dnt really use much...about 1.00:1 on Ratio
2.00 on Attack
50 on Release with
0.0 on Threshold

and this applies to individual/specific drumkits...whereby its the same scenario for EQ too...

I knw some may say Im crazy,bt I use either 48,000 Hz or 96,000 Hz on 32 Bit to Render using Digi002 cz of its engin,bt otherwise 48,000 Hz using either ACID, NUENDO or ABLETON.

As 4 N'veigh's project...I knw yo involvement or what you may be involved in per say,so I ask we use protocol...

Sori about that...call me,we'll talk.


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Draztik

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If u are using 1:1 Ratio then you are not compressing at all   :) so you are basically riding faders?

No worries bout the Nveigh project, basically wanted to see an example from any piece of work you have done, and a possible chain of plugs EQ comp, etc.

interesting 48,000hz? 32bit, is it something you have found works for u and why?


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Nope,nt riding on faders at all. U have to reali tune yo ear to fil that compression as Release and Attack plays an important role... U cnt use a low Ratio for dirty drums chopped of vynil,unless U using stock sounds...this wil loosen the quality I specifically desire in my kicks or snares...

As for rendering in that margin...my trick is how the whole high shelf EQ fit into the whole mix. If per say its below 200 Hz at most,then it'll bring out glissening mixout...that U wnt nid to master at times...

Get yoself MaliQ's "Sleepless in Seattle/My mind on CapCity" to get my point.


MrC The Rap God Almighty

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 U cnt use a low Ratio for dirty drums chopped of vynil,unless U using stock sounds...this wil loosen the quality I specifically desire in my kicks or snares...


not sure im understanding. isn't 1:1 a low ratio ? are u suggesting like a 10:1 for chopped drums ? isn't that where u would loose the quality cos your compressing too much ?
"Generation X, really take it to the Max, everybody's so smart,cos we google all the facts" - Neon


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Oh snap..pardon me gents...it shud be 0.1:1

left out 0.. mxm...very silly mistake that I kept repeating.


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eraze

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Draztik, You have a number of project under your belt, how did u handle the recording and mixing...

Plus i wanna find out, wen recording into  cubase audition proo tools or wat ever, on your mixer do u tune your EQ or u let the vocals be recorded with no EQ


Draztik

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@ Eraze, You know what i have found is the less you do at the input stage the more control you have over the vocals.

Let me re-phraze that, what i mean is avoid too much compression and EQ @ an early stage, cause once its done u can't undo it, but within you DAW u can play with it. there are other variables u need to consider like, you mic and pre-amp which are the most important stages of your tracking/recording, having it all setup right etc. if you have to EQ a lot at input level then maybe u are using the wrong or cheap mic,  (etc), as well your pre-amp might not be capturing the mic properly. For example I used a Studio Projects C1 mic (Chinese components) and its very harsh on the high end, so i had to de-ess more than other mics.

i posted an article some time back about an interview with Just Blaze which was posted on Universal Audio's Website, where he said he went from using heavy compression especially on his drums to using very little and eventually you want be to be able to mix with no compression(now thats a skill).

what essentially you want out of you mix is broader dynamics, and a balanced mix, this gives the track more life and sounds better on radio.

check out my next post i got from an audio website called - Gear Sluts.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2009, 01:36:06 PM by Draztik »


Draztik

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Ok here's a more technical approach on radio mixes...warning you may have to read this few times to get it.....i grabbed it from GEAR SLUTS  ;)

Bob Katz has a perfect article on radio ready. The end all be all I call it.

In fact, I'm gonna read to you verbatim out of my edition of Bob's book. At the end, I'll suggest what you can do as a *mix engineer* to prep a song for radio.

here are the goods.

selected quotes:

"The Truth about Radio Ready"

Quote:
Every radio uses a transmission processor in front of it's transmission signal. It's most important function is to control the peak modulation of the transmitter to the legal requirements of the regulatory bod in each stations nation.Very few stations use a simple limiter, but rather a complex chain to produce a seemingly louder signal
In other words, it'd be good to find out what the specs are within your country. (In the U.S. regulated by the FCC I would imagine)


Quote:
A typical processing chain in a radio signal is as follows:

Phase rotator, AGC, Stereo Enhancement, Equalization, Multiband Compression/Limiting, Pre-Emphasis, HF Limiting and Clipping.

Phase Rotator: A chain of Allpa** filters (typically four poles, all at 200hz). It's purpose is to make wave forms more symmetrical and consistent for radio listening.
Simply put, from my understanding, it's designed to seek out the center channel stuff (like voices) and put them right there in your face for radio play. No distortion and it's kind of an added bonus. The trade off is that you loose some transparency in the mix. But it was accepted one.

Quote:
The AGC, short for Automatic Gain Control, is an averaging system within the chain. By recording studio standards, this AGC is required to operate over a wide dynamic range. (About 25 db).

The AGC compensates in level errors the live sound engineer might and will make during any specific broadcast. This is what keeps radio stations loud over a length of time. AGC operate slowly to prevent things like ba** pumping. AGCs are always gated in component processors.
So in essence, the AGC is kind of like a slow referee. You tell him you wanna play something too soft, he says "nope, I'm bringing it up". You wanna play something too loud, "he says, nope...gotta sound like everyone else. I'm bringing you to their level".

He works on averages. He doesn't discriminate and he works for the set standards, not for any one person.

Quote:
Stereo Enhancement is used by some, but not all radio stations. This happens typically after the AGC. Overdone, it can remix the song.

When mixing for radio, stick to the dry side of things. because of the nature of stereo enhancement can bring this out excessively.

The only universal standard is the strict need for mono compatibility, obviously for broadcast done on mono stations. FM is frequently receieved in mono.
A note. It's my understanding that the "stereofication" process used by AM radio stations involves M/S Stereo processing. Basically this means anything thats not present in your center channel is summed up to the center and shoved to the back. So in other words, if you mix a rock song like anyone normally would, you'd expect your guitars to get lowered dramatically while the vocals, kick and snare (anything panned centered) to be most dominant in that mix.

In FM, there alot of situations where people have to still listen in mono. Any department store or major building that carries those recessed ceiling speakers are more than likely giving you a mono signal. Super markets, gyms, legal buildings, JC Penny, doesn't matter, it's in mono. So that's kind of a big deal.

**EQ and Multiband Compression are pretty self explanatory. This is dependent on the radio stations tastes at this point. For a basic run down on compression or EQ, you can refer to any article on here, as it's discussed extensively.**

Quote:
Premphasis and HF Limiting. FM Radio is preemphasised at 50 milliseconds or 75 microseconds. Preemphasis is high frequency boost thats 3db up 2.1khz or 3.2khz.
Easy to understand.

Quote:
Clipping. In most processors, the clipping stage is the primary means of peak limiting. It's to broadcast processor performance. Because of pre-emphasis, simple clipping dosn't work well at all. Instead, you have "Distortion cancled clipping".

Distortion canceled clipping is a very effective means of peak limiting because if affects only the peaks that actually exceed the clipping threshold and not surrounding material. Also, clipping does not cause pumping.

Some chains might comprise of multiple clipping stages.



So now the question, how do you prep a mix for the radio? Taking all this into account, a quick checklist:

Quote:
1) Avoid fast digital clipping and limiting.
2)Leave short term envelopes unsquashed
3) Let the broadcast processor do its work.
4) The result will be a just as loud, hypercompressed song, but with more punch, clarity and life.
So in other words, when mixing for this kind of stuff, you really have to go minimal. A radio mix is a completely different beast than an record mix.


This obviously means they are not mastered in the same way either. There is a heavy difference. How that's done, i can't tell you because I'm not a mastering engineer. But I would imagine it involves some type of "radio preview system" to get a feel of what you might get on the radio. Could be a boom box, could be that you have a friend that works as an engineer at a radio station.

It's for this reason engineers are asked by labels to generate radio mixes for singles. Experienced ones know what that means and how to do it.

Chris-Lord Alge is one of the beast premiere "mixing for radio" engineers out there. So research him and his work. Good luck.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2009, 01:29:10 PM by Draztik »


Draztik

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