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Thrash Drummer 11-28-2007 02:03 AM

..could use some advice on mix
I'm making a demo for a rock band trying to get into my high school's concert. Everything seems to be alright except for the "empty" feeling, it doesn't seems as fat or full as it should be. Does anyone know how to fill this void, perhaps with more bass guitar or different guitar EQ or some other plugin?
Here is the mix.


BTW its not me drumming here its the band's drummer.

Joe P 11-28-2007 02:15 AM

Re: ..could use some advice on mix
It's probably the rhythm guitar's sound. It's very empty. That sound (or filter, if I may) is good for like intros, but not so good for the body of the song.

And is there a bassist? Because if so, then crank him up. If not... they need one lol.

Ah yes, and take down the "vocals" a notch.

Mr. Pasquini 11-28-2007 02:39 AM

Re: ..could use some advice on mix

Originally Posted by Thrash Drummer (Post 382524)
I'm making a demo for a rock band trying to get into my high school's concert. Everything seems to be alright except for the "empty" feeling, it doesn't seems as fat or full as it should be. Does anyone know how to fill this void, perhaps with more bass guitar or different guitar EQ or some other plugin?
Here is the mix.


BTW its not me drumming here its the band's drummer.

Didn't think that sounded like you They need a bassist.

SLEEPY BRiGHT EYEZ 11-28-2007 05:07 AM

Re: ..could use some advice on mix
There is definitely a lack of low end (bass) frequencies. Not just the bass guitar, but the whole mix. It's very trebly. What are your signal chains? Are you recording the guitar direct? How do you approach your mixes?

The guitar is very dry and in front, which contrasts with the very toney and open snare. The snare is much louder than the rest of the kit which is very tight compared to the snare. The vocals are very up front. I can hardly hear the bass guitar. I could tell you how I would like to hear it, but it's by far not the only way to do it. Have you referenced it with the band yet? How do they feel?

Thrash Drummer 11-28-2007 10:03 PM

Re: ..could use some advice on mix
I've got 3 mics on the amp ->firepod->cubase le I don't have a good compressor or mixing board, I just have everything in cubase. Sometimes it's hard for me to tell how it really sounds because my monitors don't give much bass, I need to get a sub.

The band seems to like it but I'm not really convinced.. here is the newest version.


Vocals are not final this is really just instrumental. Problem solved?

Garvin 11-28-2007 10:11 PM

Re: ..could use some advice on mix
I'm only listening on my work speakers, but I definately hear the difference between the two. I really think you did a great job. You really could've leaned harder on the band since they are so good. But I think this is a great recording. Cubase huh? That's one of the only software programs I don't have yet. I'll have to check it out. Great job!

Any photos of your home studio?

SLEEPY BRiGHT EYEZ 11-28-2007 10:36 PM

Re: ..could use some advice on mix
3 mics on the guitar amp? OK, that does explain one thing for me. I thought I was hearing a bit of phase cancellation with the guitar and if you are using three mics on it there is a good possibility that's what's causing it. Are they all right up on the grill, or is there one a fair distance away... perhaps one behind the cab? Just curious here.

By the way, you can get a good mix in software without using an external mixer or outboard FX. There are so many free plugins out there you should have a pretty good software arsenal to work with.

With the new mix, it sounds like you just turned the low EQ up on the first rhythm guitar (the track that comes in first) and turned the volume of the snare down. That is what strikes me initially. I haven't gone through the whole new mix comparing bit by bit, but that's not exactly what I had in mind. In fact, I like to roll the low end off my guitars to make room for the kick and bass guitar. In the new mix, the rhythm guitar is still way up front and over powering.

Now, consider that my ideas are by far not the only way to mix because there is an infinite amount of ways you could do it. This is just what I would do, if I was working on this song. I've still got plenty to learn about mixing, so take my opinions with a grain of salt and not as rules or anything.

I'd bring all the faders down to -inf (silent), and start over. First I would work on the drum sound. I'd get my overhead sounding pretty good, then bring in the kick, then snare, and whatever else you've isolated. Now, at this point I wouldn't consider the drum mix final, but a good starting point. I'll maybe put a little EQ on each drum track, and use slight compression to round things out a bit, and feed all the individual drum tracks into a common stereo bus, let's call it Bus A. I like to do parallel compression with my drums to help give it some punch. To do this, set up a send on Bus A to a new stereo bus (B). On Bus B, set up a compressor and give the drum mix a good squash, but not too ridiculous. Now, keep Bus A (the uncompressed drum mix) a bit louder... you want those nice transients to still poke through. Bring the volume of Bus B up just enough to give the overall drum sound some punch. If you have more B than A the drum sound will be very squashed sounding and it pretty much kills the purpose of using parallel compression. I won't bother with the details of how I set up my EQ or compressors, because that is so dependent on the song, what is being played, etc. This is just a general guide.

After you get the drum sound going, bring in the bass guitar. Make sure it and the kick drum aren't fighting for space on the sound stage. To do this, you may wish to notch out a frequency on the kick that you coincidently bump on the bass, and vise versa. Don't be afraid to roll off some of the low end from the bass- say below 50 or 60hz.

As far as guitars go... well I've heard mixes that were very guitar dominant, and others where the guitar softly sits in the background. Personally, I like to have them sitting softly back (meaning well heard but not over powering everything else). This also leaves headroom in case you want to beef up the guitar sound during a chorus or whatever... kick it to overdrive and whatnot.

For the vocals, since they are very dry, maybe try a subtle single delay on them. I mean very subtle. So faint that you can't really tell it's there, but if you took it away, you notice the dryness again. I used this to an effect on my snare drum in my current mix. The snare was sounding quite dry (recorded in a very small room), so I put this very subtle delay on it to simulate a room reflection. You can't tell it's there unless you take it off.

OK, so that was a very generalized group of suggestions, but perhaps will give you a couple of ideas to try out. I think the main issue is that the guitars are over powering everything... even in reference to a guitar heavy mix, they are taking up most of the spotlight in this song. The drums sound faint, the bass is near non-existent, and the vocals aren't sitting well in the music (which will be easier to do once the rest of the music is balanced right).

If I were there it'd be much easier to show you what I'm talking about. There is a lot more that goes into it.

hawk9290 11-28-2007 10:52 PM

Re: ..could use some advice on mix
The post before sums up my suggestions, but I really can't quite feel right with that rhythm guitar. It sounds like the frequency range is narrow and low, so it seems as though its stifled some, but its so loud in the mix that it is dominating. What distances from the amp were your mics placed, because I would agree, it sounds like some phases cancellation. Also, that intro lead guit. hit feels like it has too much reverb on it. Bring up the snare in the mix too, and really crank the bass to cover for where the rhythm guitar needs adjustments. The lead guitar part doesn't fill enough of the song for my liking but thats the musicians' choice.

The rhythm guitar kinda sounds like what I get from GuitarPro when I crank that hard and use the distortion guitar sound- meaning it sounds sort of midi-electronicy (very forced and unnatural).

Thrash Drummer 11-28-2007 11:24 PM

Re: ..could use some advice on mix
There are two dynamic mics almost touching the cab and one condenser about 2 feet back or so. Ill check its phase it's most likely a little out.

- The guitars have a large range but like you said the lows are too loud and they cover up everything else. I did roll off around 80 to make room for the kick and bass and I made cuts to open up the snare and soon to be re-recorded vox, so I really just need to fool around with the lower end settings.
- As far as drums go, I think the idea of compressed bus and an open bus is pretty good and I'll give it a try. There is deffinately something lacking that I need to work out. Individually everything sounds decent but together they could do so much more.
- The vocals weren't recorded how I planned and when they are redone, the initial sound should be a lot cleaner. From there I usually add a little verb and sometimes delay (usually for clean vox) but I'll give it a try on the raspy stuff.
- Bass volume is rather inconsistent and even with my cuts and level changes it fluctuates which is why I'm pushing the lower end to the normal guitar. I rolled off around 70 to make some room and I'll try to see if I can use it to cover lower end more than it already is.

I'm going to start over and get everything edited and mixed with (hopefuly) a better result.
Sleepy Bright Eyez thanks for that large post and all of your suggestions you're really helping me out.

Ill post my new result in here as soon as it's done.

SLEEPY BRiGHT EYEZ 11-29-2007 12:24 AM

Re: ..could use some advice on mix
Cool man. Glad to be of some sort of help here on my day off... lol

Don't be afraid to bring the HPF on the guitar up to even 250Hz or so. Also, about the two dynamic mics on the grill: were they the same type? I'm curious if you were trying to get a stereo image that close to the grill, or if you were using two different types of mics to blend their character together. I have a couple of ideas you could try in the mix, and next time you record.

As far as the bass goes, are you using a compressor on it? Was the bass amp mic'd, or did you go DI- or a combination? Using a compressor on the bass is very common to keep it out there and in front, driving the music (obviously depends on song/style). However, if you are having that much of a hard time keeping it fairly level, I have to wonder about the consistency of the bass player.

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