Endurance Secret Mixter--Mix Mode
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Reviews for "Other Words"

Other Words
by BanjoMcBongo
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Wed, Oct 19, 2005 @ 5:24 PM
 
fourstones
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permalink   Thu, Oct 20, 2005 @ 11:00 AM
is this ableton live?

I ask because it has that ‘squashed’ sound that’s kind of hard to overcome in live.

I kind of like how things hang together and there are cool ideas floating around here but in the end I’m not sure what this piece is about — like, 2/3rds of the way I’m wondering why I’m listening to it. iow, it sounds like you have mastery of the tools but when I listen to music I’d like to be able figure something out about the musician (other than their mastery of the tools). know what I mean?
 
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permalink   BanjoMcBongo Thu, Oct 20, 2005 @ 11:58 AM
Thanks all for your comments!

Victor: It was done in Live. Can you tell me more about this “squashed” sound live has?
 
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permalink   fourstones Fri, Oct 21, 2005 @ 8:40 AM
Quote: Can you tell me more about this “squashed” sound live has?

What follows is purely personal anecdotal, non-scientific, conjecture and opinion — I don’t have have any ‘proof’ of any of this, just what my ears tells me after using these tools for over 10 years and 10s of 1000s hours:

Some hosts (like ACID and Live) seem to manipulate sound in their mixers. Other hosts (like FL Studio and Reason) seem not to. In response to a compliment about how good their mixer sounds and a request for the algorithm used, the developer of FL Studio said ‘Addition’.

It’s pretty obvious that Live is doing more than addition. If you place a loop into Live and set all levels to unity and then Render, the result will be much, much quieter than the input. That means they are (at least) reducing the levels — which, by definition, means they are changing the shape of the wav input — certainly the values.

Why do they do this? Probably because if they did a straight addition you’d probably clip the signal on the 2nd, or 3rd loop you added to your project (see Audacity for this) and the typical Live project can have up to a dozen (or more!) clips playing at the same time. So they do it as a ‘favor’ to the user doing a performance on stage. (Really big conjecture above.)

If you ‘normalize’ on Render you are asking to the mixter to attempt to re-create the original wav shape. I’m not a mathemetician but I have to assume that some of the data that was lost when reducing the wav will not ‘come back’ to exactly the same values/shape they were in the orginal combination of wavs. In the case of a simple sine wav this may not be a huge deal, but with lots of complex data like in your remix I assume this has to have noticiable (if not significant) impact.

To my ears this manifests itself in Live mixes less ‘bright’ then FL or Reason. Especially when using their stock reverb, delay and compressors I’ve come to recognize Live mixes where this ‘dullness’ happens.

It doesn’t mean it can’t be overcome — forgive the plug but I just released an album done entirely in Live using a soundfont plugin and a vst/dx bridge to Waves plugins.

There have been quite a lot of debating of the ‘dullness’ issue on the Ableton forums and it is contested very religously and stridently. I’m not a recording engineer, I only know what my experience and ears tell me. The mixes I do in FL and Reason are, by and large, ‘brighter’ than the ones done in ACID. And Live is even ‘duller’ than ACID.

Hope this helps,
VS
 
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permalink   BanjoMcBongo Mon, Oct 24, 2005 @ 2:02 AM
That’a a really interesting point, I definately agree theat live does at least change the values. It’s very hard to get a finished track to render at a decent level without clipping.

Do you think the plugins you mention are just a higher quality than the standard live ones?

The “sound” of software in general is also something to think about. I remeber when the first version of Cubase SX (or whatever it was called) came out after cubase VST, a few people mentioned that it was “less punchy” and raw sounding. I have next to no scientific knowledge, but I’m thinking maybe even slight changes in a programmes algorythyms will have an affect on the sound it produces.

At the moment I’m limited to working entirely in live, with only headphones for monitoring but I’d love to be able to try different,mixing/mastering techniques and software etc.

Anyway thanks for that, some interesting stuff :)
 
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permalink   fourstones Mon, Oct 24, 2005 @ 6:34 AM
Quote: Do you think the plugins you mention are just a higher quality than the standard live ones?

The Waves plugins are generally regarded as amongst the best audio signal processors compared to anything.

Standard plugins that come in hosts are rarely the first choice in professional settings.

..but, I don’t think that’s the core of the issue here.

Quote: but I’m thinking maybe even slight changes in a programmes algorythyms will have an affect on the sound it produces.

Mixing wave forms in a software mixer is supposed to be straight forward — you literally add the values from one wav to another. As I mentioned, many hosts do more than this because that would cause clipping almost immediately. As soon as you do something OTHER than addition, without giving the user controls over how that is applied you limit opportunities to make the mix sound the way the user hears it.

Quote:
It’s very hard to get a finished track to render at a decent level without clipping.


I find the compressor(s) that come in Live hard to work with - i.e. make my mix sound good. You might consider loading a non-compressed master (sigh, normalized) into a wav editor and applying compressors/limiters there.

fwiw, I [heart] Live. This thread inspired me to do a mix in Live and it’s one of the best ones I’ve done in a long time — if not one of the best sounding ;)

VS
Metallic Fish Paint
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permalink   Wed, Oct 19, 2005 @ 1:03 PM
much cleaner sound here, mastering is perfect. liking the breakdown around 3mins.. nice one
cjacks
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permalink   Thu, Oct 20, 2005 @ 10:32 AM
I dig the ‘bass’ synth line that starts at 1:25 and the bent half step thing it does. The sound that comes in around 3:50 and leaves at 4:13 is a nice touch. The whole piece sounds well recorded and is a pleasure to listen to.

—cjacks
Analog By Nature
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permalink   Mon, Dec 5, 2005 @ 2:37 PM
wicked cool dub…. breezy man… i like it