Processing ready files (WAV, MP3)
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Old 05-04-2017, 07:49 AM   #1
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Processing ready files (WAV, MP3)

Aye, lads,

How do you process and mix already recorded stuff is the question, it's almost the same as sampling but some ideas would be useful.

I messed things up while preparing my album. Most projects were started on an old computer which broke down one day. I'm left with a couple of projects recorded as demos in .WAV or .MP3 and not much I can do to make them sound better. I would leave them if they had percussion on, mixing then would be shitty and impossible to achieve the level I want but they're mostly ambient, so there's room to work on. The project files were lost when the old laptop broke so I can't work with stems.

I thought about chopping frequencies into several stems but it's difficult to do as there's a lot going on especially in the mid and high-range, there are field recordings inside and the files weren't completely mixed before recording into demos. That way I'll lose some needen frequencies if I try to cut into stems. The files have reverbs, delays applied but EQ-ing was barely scratched before recording.

I can make this stuff wider via Stereo Imaging, I can cut stuff out but what else is there to do? I haven't mixed stuff in two years and forgot some tricks. Place the same file under the main one, pan it right and delay to make it fuller? Or was it only about pads?

The files I got are mostly electronic with field-recordings, maybe 1-2 have an instrument in them. They were meant to be as "fillers" into the album or intersections between songs.

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Old 10-04-2017, 10:39 AM   #2
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Re: Processing ready files (WAV, MP3)

You may not get a brilliant mix from having to work with such limitations, but some ideas:

-Separating already mixed sounds by cutting (I mean editing using slice tool and separating the samples to other tracks) and cross-over filtering.
-Automating or adjusting the balances of the parts that you have gained and do further mixing this way.
-Clarity can be gained by controlling the stereo width and dynamics of different sounds. E.g. forcing frequencies < 100Hz to be mono and having controlled dynamics.

It's workable, but unless you aim for a "lo-fi" sound, then you might not be able to get a "billion-dollar" mix this way. In some cases working from such limitations might actually produce more artistic and "soulful" results. I've heard many great tracks that were done with limited control over the sounds, but they have had tons of character. Heck, how did they produce decent mixes back when they were only able to use one microphone?

Last edited by soundmodel; 10-04-2017 at 12:24 PM..
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Old 10-04-2017, 12:21 PM   #3
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Re: Processing ready files (WAV, MP3)

Sounds like work for iZotope Ozone. I say this not because you couldn't do it with other tools, but because it will likely end up requiring all of ozone's modules or their equivalents. The bulk of the work would be EQ. I like to use multiband compression (or expansion!) on such tracks, some EQ before and after, then around the end of the chain, widen parts of the spectrum. Watch out for compressing reverb, it gets worse. Framing all tracks to have the same sound/spectrum will go a long way, and not chasing after high fidelity contemporary in-your-face mixes will probably liberate you too.

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Old 10-04-2017, 01:36 PM   #4
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Re: Processing ready files (WAV, MP3)

Thanks guys, yeah the stuff isn't aiming at some top-notch mixing, not even I could do one with proper stems, whatever.

Well, so it seems to come to that I'll need to cut the audio into seperate parts and do some heavy EQ. Reverb compression won't occur, the stuff had already placed reverb and it would only make it worse.

What's good as well is the fact that I don't have any percussion in the audio. The bad side of making it sound better is the fact that there are interceptions between sounds. You know, I had some chime type of high-pitched sounds here and there, a pad or two playing simultaneously. Nothing was really EQ-ed before recording demos, just some basic stuff reverb, delays. I won't make things as wide and interesting as I wish but it'll still satisfy my needs if I put work into it.

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Old 10-04-2017, 04:10 PM   #5
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Re: Processing ready files (WAV, MP3)

Although it might not be the solution you're looking for I've taken the additive approach for things like this before, and basically cut out the shit that was too wet to work with. If it's your own work, it's never out of the question to build new layers around the ones that somewhat worked, and it's better than keeping something that's clearly too damp to use. If you made it happen the first time, you can absolute re-create it, or get close enough. You know what your source sounds were, probably.

It's a good reminder to bounce as dry as possible in the future until you're certain the mixing is complete

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