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Old 11-28-2007, 10:36 PM
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Louisiana Swamp
Posts: 1,739
Default 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.
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