The mixing and mastering of Linkin Park

Discussion in 'Linkin Park Chat' started by DyingThing, Feb 7, 2013.

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How should Linkin Park mix the next album?

  1. A engineer should mix it

    16.0%
  2. Linkin Park should mix it

    84.0%
  1. #1
    DyingThing

    DyingThing Banned

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    For those wondering what mixing/mastering/compression are, i'll break it down as simple as I can:

    Mixing
    Typically when a band has finished with the songs they want on their album, they send over the sounds which each song comprises of to a mixing engineer.
    The engineer will then set the levels for each of the sounds in each song, while applying various techniques and processes to get those sounds to fit together and sound as 'good' as possible.

    Recently, bands and artists are mixing albums themselves for artisically better results, if they've spent 2-4 years on an album, they're going to understand how it should sound a lot more than the engineer who heard the results of their work an hour ago.
    Some examples of bands/artists who mix or practically mix their own music: Muse, Nine Inch Nails, Dr Dre, Led Zeppelin, Yeasayer, Hot Chip.

    Interesting fact: Mike mixed Fort Minor - The Rising Tied on his own.

    Mastering
    After the songs are mixed, they are sent over to the mastering engineers, who's job is get the songs loud enough for radio stations and clubs, whilst getting them to sound similar across a wide range of systems including hi-fis, car stereos, laptop and computer speakers and popular headphones.

    So how do mastering engineers get sounds louder than they already are without blowing speakers? The most common method is compression.

    Compression

    Compression sacrifices audio quality and dynamics (the difference between loud and quiet frequencies within a sound) for a shitty version of loudness that won't damage equipment.


    So here's my two cents: Living Things is over-compressed to hell, and i'm guessing there was a severe lack of communication between Manny Marroquin (mixing engineer) Brian Gardner (mastering engineer) and Linkin Park.
    There is no difference in dynamics between verses and choruses, Lies Greed Misery and In My Remains are the biggest culprits.

    If Muse can do it, then i'm sure as hell LP can mix themselves next time, here's a comparison between the mixing on Reanimation (2002) and Living Things (2012) just to hammer my point across:

    [video=youtube;3Ku_AsGTFkU]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Ku_AsGTFkU[/video] [video=youtube;9Dq9q6afIP8]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Dq9q6afIP8[/video]

    Either Manny was stoned the entire time while he was mixing, or the blame is to be put on a combination of poor quality sound coming from LP (Rick Rubin mentions this during the making of one of the songs) overuse of compression by Manny, which didn't give Brian Gardner much room for improvement, leading to Brian compressing the hell out of it for his wages; he's hitting 70-80 now if that means anything. :kevin:

    The most likely thing is probably lack of communication between Manny and Brian as i've said before, and I know LP use a not so popular pair of monitors that was suggested by Rick Rubin, maybe's its his fault too?

    :facepalm:

    LP need to get their shit together, mixing is everything.

    Mike talking briefly about the mixing process for A Thousand Suns:
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2013
  2. #2
    Hybrid

    Hybrid Meow! This cat has claws! LPA Team

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    I'm kinda thinking that Linkin Park should do it with an acredited engineer at the same time. That way, if they need help getting a certain sound, they can get it. I would like to see it be a learning experience for the band for future references.
     
  3. #3
    Jack_Farrell

    Jack_Farrell KTTK is Chester suicide-diving off a cliff naked

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    Fuck Manny Marroquin.
     
  4. #4
    Brandon

    Brandon I was Ree's 100th follower on Twitter.

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    I'm sure Mike could do it. If I'm not mistaken, he was one of the potential mixers for A Thousand Suns when they were doing the "mixer shootout." They had a bunch of different mixers do test mixes and they all listened to them blind and chose the best ones.

    http://mikeshinoda.com/2010/05/20/responses-to-comments-5/
     
  5. #5
    DyingThing

    DyingThing Banned

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    Awesome job finding that, i'll add it into the OP and credit you.
     
  6. #6
    minuteforce

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    Shinoda's had a hand in producing most of the band's material and he's had a few "produced and mixed" credits as well. Brian Gardner has been mastering much of Linkin Park's music (and also that of associated projects) since way back when. So I will agree; if there's a weak link in the "Living Things" chain, it's the mixing.
     
  7. #7
    Zane

    Zane WARRIOR PRINCESS LPA Team

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    The band is already doing that though. Mike and Brad are always there along with the Mixer during the process
     
  8. #8
    Astat

    Astat LPA Super Member LPA Super Member

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    One thing that's always been interesting to me is that it seems like every time the band mixes something "in-house," it seems to come out with much better dynamics than it does when it's handled by a "professional mixer." I think the most damning evidence of this is the Road to Revolution CD. First, take a look at the waveform from the original Milton Keynes DSP recording of One Step Closer (mixed by Pooch and Dylan Ely, two of LP's in-house crew members):

    [​IMG]

    That's a nice, full mix. The waveform peaks go right up to the 0 dB limit, but only the most extreme spikes are clipped, and there's a nice little "border" of space on the top and bottom of each channel. You can also visibly see the changes in dynamics - just by looking at the waveform, I can tell exactly where the verses and choruses are.

    Now, keeping in mind that the DSP recording of Milton Keynes was re-used for Road to Revolution with minimal post-production work (there was very little overdub/editing work done to the recording, the biggest change was the mastering), let's take a look at the waveform from the same song, but this time taken from the Road to Revolution CD, which was mixed by renowned mixing engineer Brian "Big Bass" Gardner:

    [​IMG]

    Wow. HUGE difference. The whole mix has been boosted, probably by something in the neighborhood of 3 dB, and it's been limited all to hell (take a look at the clipping on the initial "gunshot" sample at the beginning of the intro - it doesn't even come CLOSE to clipping on the DSP!). The visible "border" from the DSP mix is completely gone, with any remotely loud part of the mix being buried in the red. The difference between verse/chorus is all but eliminated, and the only time there's a drop in dynamics is during the pre-choruses and the first part of the bridge, both being spots where Chester's vocals, the bass, and most of the drums all drop out. This audio clip is going to sound like SHIT if you blast it in your car stereo. Welcome to the loudness war.

    If you want to look at an example of a track that was completely produced and mixed by the band themselves, one song I always look at as a good example of dynamics is Lockjaw, which was basically a track Mike and Rob did by themselves that Mike mixed and uploaded as an mp3 for LPU members. GREAT dynamic range in that song, it starts super quiet and gradually builds through the entire song, with the only part that ever approaches the clipping point being the climactic final "chorus" where all of the guitar parts finally come in at the same time. THAT is how music should be mixed. If you want your music to be louder, turn up the fucking volume. I'm sick of mixing/mastering "professionals" burying everything in the red to artificially give the perception of loudness. Shit like this is what's truly killing music these days, far worse than any industry fad like Auto-Tune or dubstep or how every "radio rock band" singer tries to sound like the guy from Breaking Benjamin.

    Let the artists mix their own music, let 0 dB actually be a limit like it should be, and leave the listeners with the responsibility of controlling the volume themselves.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 8, 2013
  9. #9
    Apop

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    I'm by no means an intellectual on the subject of mixing and mastering, but it seems to me that if Mike and Brad know how to do it, why not do it? Unless the process is very strenuous for the band, I would think it makes more sense to allow themselves to be in more control of the music.
     
  10. #10
    Erica

    Erica Meh LPA Über VIP

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    Discussion over :lol:
     
  11. #11
    Vriska

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    Critical Hit.

    That pretty much proves the band's competency.
     
  12. #12
    Jesse

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    Don Gilmore should mix it.
     
  13. #13
    travz21

    travz21 Muscle Museum LPA Super Member

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    Mixing and mastering are both very difficult to do without quite a bit of experience. Mastering is stupid and almost pointless imo. If you're good at mixing your peak levels will be right near 0dB anyways and everything will fit together nicely. There's really nothing else to improve upon. Mastering just boosts the average dBs while sacrificing everything else. Trying to get the whole song around 0dB is like slamming your head against the wall. It takes out all of the finesse. Like Astat said, yeah, it won't be as loud, but people can turn their shit up if it's not loud enough! Dynamic range is so important to a song. Listening to one that varies like 1dB is so dull and boring. But that's where we're at nowadays.

    It is time consuming to have everything mixed perfectly, but most bands already take an incredible amount of time between records anyways that a few extra weeks shouldn't be a big deal. If you're not good enough to mix your own music, sit in with a trusted mixer and learn from them while also listening to what they do to make sure it's what you truly desire the song to sound like. I feel like most bands just finish all their songs, ship out their stems to a mixer, and then wait for the album to be finished by them. That is a huge bulk of the artistic process that they aren't involved in.
     
  14. #14
    Brandon

    Brandon I was Ree's 100th follower on Twitter.

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    Great post Astat. Also, you brought up an interesting point that I never thought of but totally should have: How about Pooch mixing an album? He is their go to guy for the live stuff, maybe he could try his hand at an album?
     
  15. #15
    Astat

    Astat LPA Super Member LPA Super Member

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    I'd be kind of surprised if he would want to (live sound has been his expertise since the '80s and it's been a LONG time since he did studio work), but yeah, I think he'd be able to do it. He already mixes their live shows, their live recordings, and their rehearsals.

    The problem with mixing vs. mastering on albums these days is that they're usually handled by two different people (which is essentially the case for Road to Revolution - Pooch did the mix, Gardner mastered the final product, so you can essentially call the DSP an "un-mastered copy" of the CD). Why that's become the industry standard, I have no clue (I always thought of mastering as the last step of the mixing process, personally). Hell, Brian Gardner works for Bernie Grundman Mastering, which has no fewer than ELEVEN mastering engineers working for them. There are entire COMPANIES in the music business that exclusively do mastering! Not that mastering isn't a crucial step of the process that's worth having expertise in, but I still feel like a good mixing engineer should be capable of mastering a recording without having to send it to someone else.
     
  16. #16
    DyingThing

    DyingThing Banned

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    Updated the OP, Mike mixed The Rising Tied on his own I believe, so i'd like him to mix the next album.
     
  17. #17
    Apop

    Apop LPA VIP LPA VIP

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    Is the mixing on The Rising Tied any good?
     
  18. #18
    DyingThing

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    Pretty damn good for someone who isn't a mixing engineer by nature, and i'm sure he's got much better over the last 7 years.
     
  19. #19
    Rocky

    Rocky Well-Known Member

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    I believe Mike mixed the demos since 1997, so he had some good mixing chops for the rising tied. Mike's mad well on mixing hip-hop tracks imo
     
  20. #20
    Derek

    Derek LPAssociation.com Administrator LPA Administrator

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    My opinion on the mixing and mastering of LIVING THINGS: "that was turrible and you should feel turrible. :turrible:"
     

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