"Flat" mixes? Confused.
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  1. #1
    Tech Wizard dishevel's Avatar
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    Default "Flat" mixes? Confused.

    Okay, so something I've been noticing is that my mixes don't sound nearly as good as a professional mix. Seriously! I'm talking about the sound quality, not the mixing.

    For example, I fired up a podcast from a pro and it just sounds punchier (louder, more of a dynamic range?) -- like a mastered track. This makes me sad. This is how the tracks I buy off of Beatport sound on my computer sound as well.

    So here's what's going on:
    1. This is all in my head.

    2. Equipment driven as I'm using an Audio8DJ and DJM-400 Mixer

    3. Something wrong with my settings in Traktor? I've made sure nothing is clipping on my mixer, in Traktor (top panel next to Bat), or in the Audio Recorder (I'm using the Gain there, but just to get it to an acceptable level).

    4. I have two mixes made with these settings on Soundcloud here and here (if anyone would be so kind to take a second and listen?). I've also attached a picture of how the input into Channel C looks (this is how my A8DJ is hooked up to record). Is this normal or should I have a circular output here....?



    If I'm not insane -- what else can I be doing here to help this?

  2. #2
    Tech Guru bumtsch's Avatar
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    Don't worry about the timecode output display on your recording channel, this is a complete red herring
    I took a look at the second mix. The levels seem very even, and I sorta get what you're hinting at...
    I take it you're mixing A/B externally on the DJM. How are your levels for these going out of Traktor (not the master output, but take a look at each channel's meters) ?
    You're making sure the mixer isn't clipping (does that mean "not going to the top leds" or "not even in the red" for you), but what about traktor's output ?

  3. #3
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    don't quote me here but I've heard that the more professional mix's run compressors over the mix once its been recorded to get the "punch"
    Mixes and Productions on Soundcloud

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  4. #4
    Tech Guru bumtsch's Avatar
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    See that thread one page down : http://djtechtools.com/forum/showthread.php?t=14992

    Running a compressor over an entire set can take some work. Seeing as most of the tracks in his set are almost brickwall limited, it can be a tricky affair if you don't want to screw the dynamics even more !

  5. #5
    Tech Wizard dishevel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slangemenneske View Post
    I take it you're mixing A/B externally on the DJM. How are your levels for these going out of Traktor (not the master output, but take a look at each channel's meters) ?

    You're making sure the mixer isn't clipping (does that mean "not going to the top leds" or "not even in the red" for you), but what about traktor's output ?
    1. Yup, just standard AB mixing externally.
    2. Okay, for reference here's what I'm going to talk about....the Audio Recorder output (whatever's being recorded), the Main Output (top middle of Traktor), and the Track Outputs (individual Track A/B levels)

    Oh shit -- you miiiiiight have something here with the track outputs. So I often have these hidden, looking at them now, the levels going out of each track sometimes look suspiciously high and like they'd be clipping. Three things though:

    1. I drag and drop a track in and it autogains it up -- should I not trust that?2. Also, there's no red indicator when it hits the top of the level -- would that still create a problem if the Main Output isn't clipping (I'd guess yes)?.
    3. And if so, should my fix just be turning off autogain and gaining manually? What's the best way to do that -- use the Gain knob in Traktor, use the Trim on my Mixer, or just turn up my EQs accordinly?

    Never knew I was such a newb with this stuff

  6. #6
    DJTT Moderator bloke Karlos Santos's Avatar
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    If your Master Out is not clipping then you are not clipping.
    if your using External mode with timecode the channel faders are disabled so thats not an issue.

    However the EQ is not disabled so make sure its all at zero if your using the external mixers EQ to colour the sound.

    Autogain is fine, leave it on.

    You mix sounds a little flat and quiet. What is your average EQ setting on the mixer. Just sounds like its lacking EQ across the range and maybe a little more top end to crisp it up.

    Good track selection. Im s HUGE Phoenix fan. Seeing them at Glastonbury in a few days. Lisztomania is one of my fave tracks of last year.
    In fact there isnt a single track in your first mix i dont like. (havent checked the 2nd mix).

  7. #7
    Tech Wizard dishevel's Avatar
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    Everyone so far, thanks for your comments -- really appreciate the help (as always!).

    @Karlos

    Cool, I'll take your word for that with the autogains. The first mix you listened to was even amplified post mix overall (slightly though) with Audacity. Before it was just as flat and even more quiet!

    My avg EQ setting on the mixer is nearly always right at 12'o clock, +0dB for all bands. Now I'm even more confused as to what the problem would be.

    Thanks for the compliments as well! I wasn't trying to get more eyes on those mixes, but I appreciate the kudos nonetheless. I'm grateful for your help!
    Last edited by dishevel; 06-20-2010 at 08:13 AM.

  8. #8
    DJTT Moderator bloke Karlos Santos's Avatar
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    Maybe try upping the Hi to just after 1 oclock to add some top and up the middle to fill the sound out.

    I dont know how your mixer sounds but i guess you just need to play with the EQ and get it sound a bit more alive.

    To be honest you recording the tracks again so they wont sound as crisp as they originally did without some creative EQing.

    What are your amplifier settings. If the amp has EQ that will make the sound that you hear different to the sound that is being recorded.
    The only part of the path that should be adding EQ is the mixer.

    Just keep at it mate.

  9. #9
    Tech Guru SirReal's Avatar
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    If I may suggest something. See if you can find a stereo 1k sine wave tone and pink noise. If you can't find them, maybe the nice guys at DJTT will let me send them my test disc of tone files to post for people to use. First turn down or unplug your speakers as listening to 1k or pink noise for extended periods can be annoying. While looping the 1k tone, play the tone through your record chain, making sure to set each area of gain staging so that the 1k is as close to 0db or your nominal level as possible. Record the 1k, play back the newly recorded 1k through your audio chain. All the levels the should be the same as when you originally recorded them. If they're not then there's a gain staging issue somewhere. The pink noise can be used the same way but it's used for testing equal power across the audio spectrum and really needs to be used in conjunction with a real time analyser to get a good idea of what's going on. Hope this made sense and helps.
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  10. #10
    Tech Guru lethal_pizzle's Avatar
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    +1 for 'Lisztomania' - will have to give the mixes a listen!
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