Get some support for your ears – Learn to read…

Hi guys, it’s Andre.

Time flies… it’s now my 36th week here at Benztown Studios and like every week, I’ve prepared a new Production Diary with new expressions and things, I’ve learned in radio imaging and production.

Let’s start with a little test: think of your three favorite Plugins… and now check what you thinked of. Maybe a great compressor, a fat limiter or an awesome reverb, but what about analyzer tools? Yeah, I’m serious 🙂 They might not be the most remarkable Plugins, because they don’t really modify the audio, but if you’re using them right, you will hear the difference.

Especially if you don’t have the best monitoring environment, analyzer tools are a great support for your ears and will help you to solve problems while recording, mixing and mastering.

If you’re new into production, it’s a big help to analyze a reference song and see how it’s build.

Here’s a sample pic of the Waves PAZ Analyzer to show you some of the main features of an anlayzer Plugin.

I’ll start to explain each indicator and explain you how it can help you to improve your mix.

Let’s start with the most simple one at the bottom right, the meter. It either shows your peak or RMS and is the most common form of analyzing. You get a first impression of the loudness and it helps you to avoid clipping.

Now let’s get to the top. In the frequency meter you can see (as the name says), single frequencies of your track. This is a welcome help, when it comes get the bass under control, if you have problems with monitoring the bass perfectly. Annoying sizzling hi hats can be found easily, just check the high frequencies in your window and soon, you’ll find the freqency, you have to edit.

When it comes to mixing two different instruments, which are set in the same frequency range (for example sub bass and kick), the frequency meter is an effective helper. Listen to both of your instruments solo an you’ll see the frequency they’re set in. With the right use of the analyzer, your ears and EQ you can give each instrument the space it needs. This will make your mix more clear and transparent.

For the better understanding of the frequencies of single instruments, here’s a link to an interactive frequency chart, I’ve found on Daryl Mission’s blog

At the bottom right, you can see a position meter which shows the stereo position of your mix. A nice tool, especially when you’re using stereo enhancement via mixing desk (here’s a tutorial on how to do this) or stereo Plugins like Waves Center

Coming to another analyzer, the meter section of T-RackS3

The peak meter is pretty self-explanatory. By clicking on settings you can chose the scale you want.

Perceived loudness combines average and frequency dependent weighting and gives you a good impression of how the listener hears the song/element. By clicking on settings, you can choose a musical genre that comes close to your own production. In the best of cases your level should be around the green mark, but in the end, your ears decide.

The correlation meter indicates the degree of similarity (correlation) between the left and right channels. Your level should be between 0 and +1 to guarantee acceptable mono capability.

This are only two examples of audio analyzers. There’s always improvement. Recenty I’ve seen an analyzer tool, which works in 3D!

After learning to read them, analyzers are a great support for recording, mixing and mastering.

After all that reading meters and windows and numbers here’s a last important note: Don’t forget: your ears are always your primary tool, not your eyes…

Cheers and have a nice weekend

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