Help - I can't get my mix right!

A post by David Mellor
Friday October 21, 2005
Another - yet another - RP visitor can't get his mix right. Why is it just so damned difficult?

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Question from an Audio Masterclass visitor..

Hello David,

I am a computer based home studio and using Cakewalk for sequencing, Vegas for mixing and Sound Forge for mastering. I can't get the mixes to sound as good as the band instruments that were recorded in the studio.

  • Why can't I get my mix right?
  • Is MIDI inferior compared to band instruments when it comes to
  • My mixes lacks the body, dull?. . . or whatever term you call it.

By the way, my sound card is Yamaha XG and my sound module is Roland sound canvas.

Any help will be highly appreciated

Jerry :-(

David Mellor responds...

The first question I would have to ask is whether you are recording the mix straight out of the Roland Sound Canvas into Cakewalk?

This never works, with any sound module. The problem is that manufacturers need to program their sound modules with generic sounds that anyone can use. But in the process of doing that they end up being very bland. There are so few exceptions to this that you should regard this as an intrinsically inadequate method of working.

Instead, you need to to record individual tracks from the Sound Canvas as audio in Cakewalk. Once you have audio to play with, rather than MIDI, then there is so much more you can do with EQ, compression, reverb etc.

To combat the generic blandness of these units, you have to really work hard to get your music to sound the way you want it to.

It can be done. One further tip is to experiment with amplifying the sounds through a guitar cab, then mike them up into Cakewalk. This not only adds fullness and body to the sound, it gives you considerably more variables to play with to create a sound that is all your own.

You can go a long way with these methods. Beyond that, consider using samples and - yes - band instruments.

Let me know if this helps.

David Mellor has been creating music and recording in professional and home studios for more than 30 years. This website is all about having fun with music and recording. If you enjoy creating music and recording it, then you're definitely in the right place :-)

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