Next member in the Re* Mixer series: ReFit Mixer
A slightly morphed description of the ReGroove mixer introduces the ReFit Mixer in R5:
"Want your music to sound less muddy, more tight, hearing all instruments clearly? Need your drums to kick in and groove, without masking other sounds, as if already final mixed by actual mixing engineers?
If you want your tracks to flow with that tight feel, a regular EQ just doesn't cut it. That's why we created the ReFit Mixer, Reason's own realtime/batch spectral mixing management device.
The ReFit mixer in Reason 5 gives you more than just a set of EQ parameters - this is a unique device dedicated to one thing: Making it easy to fit all instruments together in the mix.
The ReFit Mixer applies its spectral magic in realtime for 8 channels (non-realtime up to 128 channels), giving you freedom to adjust its settings - and fine-tune your channel priorities and the parameters dynamically used for the spectral sacrifices needed to make your instruments fit in the mix.
Each of the ReFit channels feature controls for Band Weighting, Band Locking, Band Attack, Band Decay, Band Blend and much more."
Making all instruments in a mix fit is often a very complex and time consuming task, at least if you want to maximize the utilization of the full frequency spectrum. You will most likely end up with one of two compromises:
1. Your instruments don't clash with each other - but you've sacrificed the spectral richness of the instruments when you decided to cut them bad with the EQ weapon.
Your instruments sound thin. Yes, they need to sound rather thin to fit in your massive mix, but not all of the instruments - all of the time. Every instrument has a little bit more potential at quite a few
spots in your tune.
2. Your instruments sounds really fat, and your mix sounds pretty good - but not top-notch? Why not top-notch? Because each of your instruments interferes with each other at quite a few spots in your tune. Not too bad though, but still; there is some mud created every time the frequencies clash.
You could spend lots - lots -of time with for example automating the EQ:s of your instruments trying to make the mix utilize the full frequency spectrum for the whole tune.
you could just use the ReFit mixer, which automatically in realtime determines which frequency bands to boost and which to attentuate for every channel connected to it.
Based on a few simple parameters you set for every ReFit channel. For example:
a) Band Weighting: The frequency spectrum is divided into 256 frequency bands. The ReFit initially automatically analyzes the amplitude for each of these bands for each ReFit Mixer input and calibrates each band giving it a weight. The strongest band gets weight 256. The weakest band (that which has smallest amplitude) gets weight 1.
When the ReFit Mixer is in action and the Big Frequency Battle starts, the weakest bands for each instrument are the ones most likely to be sacrificed (cut). The most dominant ones are most likely to prevail. You can tweak this weighting by re-arranging the band priorities to your taste.
The phases of the Big Frequency Battle algorithm are as follows (whole procedure repeated for each time slot):
1. Band Detect phase: For all ReFit inputs: List all current frequency bands in use, together with the corresponding amplitude. Tag each band with the nr of the channel that uses it.
2. Band Lock phase: Lock all non-conflicting frequency bands. (If channel 1 is the only channel using frequency band 47 and 95 right now, channel 1 wins those band battles by walk-over: no need to cut!)
3. Band Battle phase: for each frequency band: set all channels fighting for the band on the battlefield and let the fight begin. The channel which has the largest
product of the following formula wins: strength = "Weight" X "Channel Current Band Amplitude".
The winning channel may kiss the Band - and keep it. For every other channel - that band gets cut. (the formula above is very simplified - there are other parameters to take into account when resolving the band battle - for example normally it shouldn't be possible for a channel to lose all band battles, at least not for a long time - that
would mean it got muted!)
4. repeat for next timeslot of the tune.
b) Band Locking: If a certain frequency band is very important to an instrument
- lock it, that makes the channel win every battle for that band.
c) Band Attack: When a band has been muted on a channel and that channel wins the battle for that band in the next timeslot, would you really want that frequency band to be
raised to the current level at once? If not, set the Band Attack, to make the band amplitude rise at the pace you chose.
d) Band Decay: When a channel loses the battle for a band it previously won, would you really want it to drop down to zero amplitude at once? If not, set the Band Decay to let it fade out as slow as you wish.
E) Band Blend: The ReFit Mixer is about separating the input channels frequency wise. But could there be frequency bands you actually want channels to blend with each other? Of course! Just tell each ReFit Mixer channel which bands to blend, and they'll refuse to participate in any Band Battle violence.
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