Question about Kick mixing
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Old 08-22-2016, 01:22 PM   #1
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Question about Kick mixing

Hi everybody, I have always read everywhere that in order to have a clean mastering phase you need to leave 6db of headroom in the mixing phase. Now I'm wondering, how do you balance all the volumes in mixing? What I usually do is make a kick and let it hit at exactly - 6db, then I mix everything around that, but honestly I'm not too sure that the correct way of doing it. Could it be better to mix everything "by ear" without any base (I'm considering that - 6db kick my base in mixing since for me it's the only untouchable fader) and then just when I'm finished arranging the track move all the faders until the master hits - 6db?

I hope I explained myself, if not feel free to ask for clarifications!

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Old 08-22-2016, 10:47 PM   #2
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Re: Question about Kick mixing

vocal should be loudest part of a mix then dependent of genre your drums and everything underneth.
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Old 08-22-2016, 10:58 PM   #3
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Re: Question about Kick mixing

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Originally Posted by joem View Post
vocal should be loudest part of a mix then dependent of genre your drums and everything underneth.
But is it a good idea to mix the kick always at - 6db or should i give it more volume?

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Old 08-22-2016, 11:49 PM   #4
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Re: Question about Kick mixing

less you dont wat the volume at the top going in to the red.

Last edited by joem; 08-22-2016 at 11:54 PM..
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Old 08-23-2016, 03:43 AM   #5
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Re: Question about Kick mixing

Making the kick the loudest aspect of the track quite fine, I think. It's pretty much what I do, although I mix at a lower volume (Kick at -16dB, final mix usually peaks at -14 or -13dB). In electronic music, the kick is usually the main element that holds everything else in place, so making it the loudest part of the track is a good idea.

Anyways, your question is how do you ensure that your final mix hits the -6dB spot. What you have to keep in mind is that if your kick is at -6dB and you slowly add all your other tracks in, your mix will gradually increase in volume as you add more tracks in. By the time you're done mixing, your final mix will probably peak at around -4dB or maybe even -3dB. If you want your whole track to peak at -6dB, you should put your kick at around -7dB or maybe even lower and then mix everything else around it. That way, by the time you're done, your final mix should peak at -6dB.

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Old 08-23-2016, 11:35 AM   #6
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Re: Question about Kick mixing

Quote:
Originally Posted by jRulloz View Post
Hi everybody, I have always read everywhere that in order to have a clean mastering phase you need to leave 6db of headroom in the mixing phase. Now I'm wondering, how do you balance all the volumes in mixing? What I usually do is make a kick and let it hit at exactly - 6db, then I mix everything around that, but honestly I'm not too sure that the correct way of doing it. Could it be better to mix everything "by ear" without any base (I'm considering that - 6db kick my base in mixing since for me it's the only untouchable fader) and then just when I'm finished arranging the track move all the faders until the master hits - 6db?

I hope I explained myself, if not feel free to ask for clarifications!
I don't think it's that important for it to exactly be at -6db, so you can use the kick as a reference point and go by ear. When you send in the track for mastering, just look at the volume, especially the peaks in the loudest parts and go down in the master volume until it's at about -6db. At least that's how I do it.

I think it's kinda useless to look at the volumes in the mixer all to much, since there are tons of other things that go into the volume, like plugins and all that jazz.

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Old 08-23-2016, 12:46 PM   #7
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Re: Question about Kick mixing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Narukami Music View Post
Making the kick the loudest aspect of the track quite fine, I think. It's pretty much what I do, although I mix at a lower volume (Kick at -16dB, final mix usually peaks at -14 or -13dB). In electronic music, the kick is usually the main element that holds everything else in place, so making it the loudest part of the track is a good idea.

Anyways, your question is how do you ensure that your final mix hits the -6dB spot. What you have to keep in mind is that if your kick is at -6dB and you slowly add all your other tracks in, your mix will gradually increase in volume as you add more tracks in. By the time you're done mixing, your final mix will probably peak at around -4dB or maybe even -3dB. If you want your whole track to peak at -6dB, you should put your kick at around -7dB or maybe even lower and then mix everything else around it. That way, by the time you're done, your final mix should peak at -6dB.
Thanks! I'll try mixing my kick at -7 or -8db and hopefully the final mix will hit below - 6 as you said
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheSampleThief View Post
I don't think it's that important for it to exactly be at -6db, so you can use the kick as a reference point and go by ear. When you send in the track for mastering, just look at the volume, especially the peaks in the loudest parts and go down in the master volume until it's at about -6db. At least that's how I do it.

I think it's kinda useless to look at the volumes in the mixer all to much, since there are tons of other things that go into the volume, like plugins and all that jazz.
That's what i did too but i read recently that turning down the master volume is not such a good idea because the volume may decrease but the sound is still squashed.
Also where do you usually send your tracks to be mastered?

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Old 08-23-2016, 04:12 PM   #8
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Re: Question about Kick mixing

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Originally Posted by jRulloz View Post
Thanks! I'll try mixing my kick at -7 or -8db and hopefully the final mix will hit below - 6 as you said

That's what i did too but i read recently that turning down the master volume is not such a good idea because the volume may decrease but the sound is still squashed.
Also where do you usually send your tracks to be mastered?

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Never heard that turning down the master volume will lead to "squashing", that might be the case if you're trying to do the opposite (making the track louder) with limiters, but if you simply tone down the master, everything should scale down proportionally. I'm no expert by a long shot though.

The last 2 tracks were mastered by the label that's distributing the tracks (not yet released).

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Old 08-23-2016, 05:12 PM   #9
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Re: Question about Kick mixing

I do this for every song I make...once you have it completed with everything written, move all the faders all the way down so that there is no sound (except the master, that is always left at zero). Then you get a RMS meter plugin like Voxengo SPAN and insert it into the bassline track. Turn the bass track up until the RMS value is close but no higher than -18dBfs on that RMS meter. Now you will never touch that bass fader again while mixing. Mix the track around that value and you should be just fine.
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Old 08-23-2016, 08:05 PM   #10
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Re: Question about Kick mixing

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheSampleThief View Post
Never heard that turning down the master volume will lead to "squashing", that might be the case if you're trying to do the opposite (making the track louder) with limiters, but if you simply tone down the master, everything should scale down proportionally. I'm no expert by a long shot though.

The last 2 tracks were mastered by the label that's distributing the tracks (not yet released).
Sorry my fault: I didn't mean that turning down the volume will squash your track, what I meant was that if you already have squashed parts turning down the master fader won't help much in terms of dynamics.. I'm not too sure either though
Quote:
Originally Posted by Numerical View Post
I do this for every song I make...once you have it completed with everything written, move all the faders all the way down so that there is no sound (except the master, that is always left at zero). Then you get a RMS meter plugin like Voxengo SPAN and insert it into the bassline track. Turn the bass track up until the RMS value is close but no higher than -18dBfs on that RMS meter. Now you will never touch that bass fader again while mixing. Mix the track around that value and you should be just fine.
Thanks, will try this method too!

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Old 08-23-2016, 09:19 PM   #11
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Re: Question about Kick mixing

Quote:
Originally Posted by jRulloz View Post
Sorry my fault: I didn't mean that turning down the volume will squash your track, what I meant was that if you already have squashed parts turning down the master fader won't help much in terms of dynamics.. I'm not too sure either though

Thanks, will try this method too!

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Well yes, turning down the master volume won't do anything for dynamics, this is what your mix and the following mastering is for. The -6db is just so there is enough headroom for it to be properly mastered.

If you want to know how to make a good mix, there are plenty of decent guides, vods etc. out there. Best tip I can give you is to constantly compare it to other tracks and hear what the mix sounds like in the tracks you like (that are somewhat similar to what you are trying to make). I can't stress enough how important this is, I think I've said it in like 5 posts this week alone.

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Old 08-23-2016, 09:51 PM   #12
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Re: Question about Kick mixing

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheSampleThief View Post
Well yes, turning down the master volume won't do anything for dynamics, this is what your mix and the following mastering is for. The -6db is just so there is enough headroom for it to be properly mastered.

If you want to know how to make a good mix, there are plenty of decent guides, vods etc. out there. Best tip I can give you is to constantly compare it to other tracks and hear what the mix sounds like in the tracks you like (that are somewhat similar to what you are trying to make). I can't stress enough how important this is, I think I've said it in like 5 posts this week alone.
I'll guess I'll keep fine tuning the master bus too as you do then (and as I always did, it just recently hit me that maybe it wasn't a correct technique).
Thank you very much!

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Old 09-02-2016, 11:38 PM   #13
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Re: Question about Kick mixing

I've never understood why people care about this anymore. Can't just mix to -x dB, make sure it's not going over 0dB at any point, render to audio, normalize to 0dB, turn down the fader by 6dBs (if that's what your ME is asking for). Now your mix is peaking at -6dB at max. Problem solved? (is it?)

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