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WingsOfBlack
Metal newbie

Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 5:36 am
Posts: 31
Location: United States
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 12:31 am 
 

I'd like to start by apologizing in advance if there is already a thread about this or information about fixing this problem. I'm finding it hard to really describe the problem, so I'm not sure what I would even search for to try to find a solution. So again, sorry in advance.


ISSUE:
So here's the problem. I'm completely inexperienced in recording/mixing, I just kind of wing it and try to learn as I go (I'm fairly patient and don't mind it taking a while to learn). The issue I'm having is when I record something and try to mix the tracks, I seem to always end up with a "mashed up" sound if that makes sense. For example, if the guitars are being covered by the vocals, I'll turn up the guitars, but then the guitars drown out the vocals and bass, etc. When I listen to professional stuff (I don't expect to get that quality) everything sounds "separated" if you know what I mean. I can hear everything at once without everything covering each other up. I can hear the vocals fine while also having no trouble hearing the riff being played and the drums. The best way I can think of to explain it is something applied to visuals, mine sounds 2D while I'm going for a more 3D sound, sorry if my descriptions don't help, that problem is why I'm making a new thread in the first place lol.

Question:
I'm not so much asking "give me a detailed way to fix this" (unless it is a simple solution, in which case please do), but more of "What step is causing this problem?". If it isn't too much time to explain, then please do just tell me what to do. On the other hand, my main question is "WHERE is the problem?". Is this a problem with recording? Mixing? Mastering? I don't mind someone just telling me WHERE the problem is, I'm perfectly willing to go read or watch about what I'm doing wrong, I just don't know what I need to look for.

Another thing (assuming related) is when I throw reverb on a line of vocals, I barely notice it (if at all) when all put together. Is that a matter of just needing to apply a thicker coat of reverb, or is this just the same situation and will be sorted out by sorting out the main problem?



In case it matters, I'm using very basic equipment.
Dean ML
50watt Vox Valvetronix amp (with a Digitech 'Death Metal' pedal)
Fender Precision bass (4string)
some Orange bass amp
Audacity
Drumkit from Hell (used in FL Studio)
and recording all bass/guitars/vocals with a Blue Yeti mic.

With the Yeti mic and messing with placement and all that, I can get a decent sound for all my tracks when you listen to them separately. However, like I said, I'm completely inexperienced so I may just not know what each track should sound like on its own and the problem is with my recording.


For an example of the sound I'm aiming for (and again, I understand that I won't come close without a studio/pro equipment):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4sHxy2IqXY
or
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UY9DwcqobSU
In the sense that I like a heavy sound but I like it to be clear and have all the parts audible at once.



Thanks in advance to anyone who can help. Otherwise, I'm telling my mom because you guys aren't helping! lol.

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iamntbatman
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 3:05 am 
 

Without even listening to your samples (sorry, listening to an album at the moment :P) I can tell you that your problem is very likely in the mixing stage and due to a lack of EQing your tracks. I'm definitely nowhere near a professional and can't really give you a lot of really specific information, but basically what you're experiencing is that, when you listen to, say, a guitar track by itself and it sounds great, and you listen to a drum track on its own and it sounds great, but mixing them together screws one (or both) of them up. That's because parts of both are fighting for the same space in the audio spectrum. Since music is generally in stereo, you don't have a lot of "room" to spread things out; two tracks with a lot of the same frequencies trying to come through the same speaker at the same time are going to be fighting for space and may even have a cancelling effect sometimes.

The trick is to fiddle with the EQ on each of your tracks to leave room for everything to shine. I've found that in my recordings, which tend to have really low-pitched, heavily distorted guitars, they'll stomp all over the low end of the drum kit unless I cut a bunch of the bottom out of the guitar tracks. Others will probably have more specifics for you but in the meantime I'd suggest reading the opening post to the mixing sticky thread for some tips on EQing and messing with the EQ on each of your tracks yourself to see if you can find a mix that works for your music.
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WingsOfBlack
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Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 5:36 am
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 3:26 am 
 

Thank you very much! I was planning on reading that thread anyways just to see if it would help me in any other ways. What you say is likely the problem does make a lot of sense and sounds like you're probably right. Part of the reason it makes a lot of sense is because I didn't mess with the EQ on jack shit except my vocals to get them a little clearer lol.

That brings up a question though, is there a simple way for me to see like the frequencies each track is putting out in Audacity? Or another recording program that does? It seems like it would make things a whole fuck ton easier to EQ if I can see the frequencies that I want this track to avoid while I'm adjusting its EQ, ya know?

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iamntbatman
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 3:34 am 
 

Sure. I use Reaper (which is very powerful, and free to use) as my DAW. If you have your files already recorded as .wav's or something via Audacity, you can just drag them into Reaper each as a separate track. Then click the little "FX" button on the track and add just a basic Reaper EQ. There are loads of presets or you can just add an 11-band basic EQ and tweak it manually. It's like a fully graphic thing - let me see if I can find a screenshot.

Image

In that image, the yellow line is the graphic representation of the track itself, just sort of a simple line graph. The light blue is the graphic representation of what the EQ is doing. You can add nodes, change the type for each node (you can see some of the types in the drop down in that image), slide the DB's up or down, and change the width in octaves of the node. When the track's actually playing, you'll see a second line in orange kind of "behind" that brighter yellow one which represents what the track sounds like with the EQ you've applied working its magic. So yeah, it's pretty easy to see how certain tracks might interfere with one another when you compare these visual representations, and it makes EQ'ing each track a lot easier.
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WingsOfBlack
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Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 5:36 am
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 3:46 am 
 

Oh man thanks a ton! This looks a lot easier to do than the EQ in Audacity, the one in Audacity doesn't show me the frequencies the track puts out at the same time that I'm EQing it (at least idk how to if there is). So I'm like changing the EQ then listening, then adjusting then listening, then adjusting then listening lol. This seems much simpler and more noob-friendly!

Another question (sorry I have so many haha). Is there a simple solution for say, if my vocals and guitars are in the same range? I like heavy rhythms and play in C and I also prefer low gutturals, is that a potential problem? The songs I linked don't seem to have any trouble with it, but they may not be in the same range, just close.


PS: What does DAW stand for?

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iamntbatman
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 4:00 am 
 

Ah, I can't really help you with the vocal thing since I've never personally mixed anything with really low gutturals where I had a lot of trouble getting the vocals to stand out against the guitars.

DAW = Digital Audio Workstation. Basically any software that lets you create a project with multiple tracks that lets you record, work with MIDI, add effects via plugins or built-in effects, etc. Reaper, ProTools, Cubase, that sort of thing. I've never used ProTools myself, but I've used Cubase before but have pretty much only used Reaper recently as it has pretty much everything I need, is generally very easy to work with and, most importantly, is free.
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WingsOfBlack
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 4:27 am 
 

Like legit free? Or like "Yar! Land Ho!" free lol? I'm looking on their website and I'm seeing purchase options.

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iamntbatman
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 4:37 am 
 

Well, you can download the full version of the software from them that's fully functional. You can choose to pay for a license for it if you want or you can keep evaluating it forever. Every time you open it, there's a popup about how it's not actually free, but you can evaluate for as long as you want. There's a button to go buy a license I think, or you can wait for like a 5 second countdown and click "Still Evaluating" to just keep using it. Technically, they want you to pay the $60 for the license once you've decided you like it. It's awesome software so if you can afford to pay the $60 I'd say it's a company worth supporting.
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WingsOfBlack
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 4:40 am 
 

Oh yeah, I'm all for paying for shit that I use to support the creators. I just was confused because you said free and it said pay, so I was making sure I didn't like to go the wrong site or some shit. Thanks for all your answers again dude!

Stay metal!!!

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Iron1
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Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2012 8:04 am
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 12:44 pm 
 

iamntbatman wrote:
Without even listening to your samples (sorry, listening to an album at the moment :P) I can tell you that your problem is very likely in the mixing stage and due to a lack of EQing your tracks.


I'd bet the same thing. Each track should occupy it's own EQ range, with the fringes of the cue overlapping in places but never by more than 20-30%. Put the vox in the 1-5k range, the guitars a bit lower, the bass lower still. Cymbals higher, drums lower, etc...You can grab eBooks on EQing pretty cheap, I'd imagine.
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badlung
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Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2009 11:23 am
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 1:32 pm 
 

I dont post here as much as i used to but. i want to weigh in here with a few opinions and observations because there is some misinformation in this thread that is off the mark, i'm not trying to tell people they are wrong to act like a big guy but just hope to inform some people correctly about some stuff.

first to WingsOfBlack, the problem probably lies in both the recording and mixing of the material, mixing is used to make well recorded tracks even better, no amount of eq will make a terrible recording sound amazing (i'm not saying your recordings are terrible by the way), but the closer your recordings are to being completely amazing then it can only get better when it comes to mixing them, they will gel better and sit well within a mix easier too. It takes a lot of time and patience though, not something that there is a quick fix to though unless you pay a professional to do the recording and mixing for you.

Seeing the frequencies within a track can be completely misleading i never use this when mixing, because what you see and hear can often be different as your speakers may not produce extreme low or highs, as well as this every room reacts differently to sound in it, so mixing in a room with acoustic problems can also cloud what you are doing, use as many stereos and headphones as possible when mixing to get something sounding good, this is something i do even though i have a room that is acoustically treated.

Reaper is brilliant i've only used it a handfull of times but for the cash its brilliant, totally capable of producing professional sounding music. I use protools but it doesn't matter what you use as long as you are comfortable with it and know how to use it. Keep working on it man recording and mixing is my favorite thing in the world to do and can be really rewarding

as for Iron1's contribution, i think your heart is in the right place with what you mean, but its slightly less black and white than you made it.
when you say "put the vox in the 1-5k range" if you were to filter out all frequencies below 1k on any instrument or voice it will sound weird and very unnatural unless its for special effect. No male voice has a fundamental note above 1k so all you would be left with is overtones and harmonics that will sound like a telephone.

Your point of trying to get everything into its own little place is spot on though, make a little cut in your guitars at around 200hz and your snare drum will have more thump in the mix, cut a little of 100hz in your kick drum and the bass guitar will be clearer, but completely getting rid of these frequencies will lead to weird results and instruments sounding unnatural. I could have completely misunderstood you post Iron1 but i just wanted to post this anyway.

Hope no one takes any offense
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Marras
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Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 11:21 am
Posts: 39
Location: Finland
PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 3:31 pm 
 

WingsOfBlack wrote:
50watt Vox Valvetronix amp (with a Digitech 'Death Metal' pedal)


I would say that there's a big part of the problem. That Death Metal pedal has too much distortion and it cannot be adjusted. That distorted guitar can sound nice by itself, but with other instruments it just gets drowned out. Double tracking guitars and a nice bass guitar with tight playing makes the big and clear sound, every instrument usually sounds a little too "small" when soloed, but together they fill everything nicely.

Before trying to learn how to fix the sound in the mixing phase, you should just try to make everything sound good to begin with. Drums, two guitars and bass guitar should sound atleast "fine" or "ok" without any mixing (well, atleast without anything more complex than adjusting volume and panning).

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WingsOfBlack
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 8:06 pm 
 

Marras wrote:
That Death Metal pedal has too much distortion and it cannot be adjusted.

Double tracking guitars and a nice bass guitar with tight playing makes the big and clear sound.

Before trying to learn how to fix the sound in the mixing phase, you should just try to make everything sound good to begin with. Drums, two guitars and bass guitar should sound atleast "fine" or "ok" without any mixing (well, at least without anything more complex than adjusting volume and panning).

Yeah I've heard people complain about the Death Metal pedal before too. It doesn't seem to be the problem though, I gave EQing a first shot and got everything to be audible. The sound itself didn't turn out too great though, but I didn't expect my first try to sound good lol.

I did double track my guitars with slight changes to EQ to get them to sound more full, and also to give the notes more clarity. That was like the one thing I knew to do when it came to mixing.

I have everything sounding good on it's own. I can even layer on both guitars (each double tracked), bass and drums and have it sound halfway decent without EQing. Layering on the vocals is when I get complications because of the vocals and guitars fighting each other.

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Syntek
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2013 6:05 am 
 

What is pretty fundamental for mixing and mastering is a master limiter (or any similar compression), which cuts/limits all frequencies over a certain volume, and keeps everything level with eachother. This is less necessary for very quiet recordings, but for metal it's vital.
Use it if you got it. It was only until I did that I understood why my recordings were so messy.

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WingsOfBlack
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2013 6:18 am 
 

Syntek wrote:
What is pretty fundamental for mixing and mastering is a master limiter (or any similar compression), which cuts/limits all frequencies over a certain volume, and keeps everything level with each other. This is less necessary for very quiet recordings, but for metal it's vital.
Use it if you got it. It was only until I did that I understood why my recordings were so messy.

Is there any in particular that I should be using? Also, are there any that are free that work decent enough? I'm not expecting to get perfect quality or anything, I'd pay someone to mix/master if I was doing a full album or something. Also what might fall under "any similar compression"?

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Syntek
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2013 2:05 pm 
 

WingsOfBlack wrote:
Is there any in particular that I should be using? Also, are there any that are free that work decent enough? I'm not expecting to get perfect quality or anything, I'd pay someone to mix/master if I was doing a full album or something. Also what might fall under "any similar compression"?


Apologies, I didn't do my homework prior to writing that rather generic statement, as I use MAGIX Music Maker 16 rather than Audacity. However with some fairly straightforward Googling it turns out Audacity does have it's own limiter called "Hard Limiter", which you can access via Effect > Limiter after selecting which part of the multitrack you with to limit. As said, it'll somewhat level everything out.

http://manual.audacityteam.org/man/Hard_Limiter

(Oh, and "any similar compression" referring to limiting and other aforementioned EQing such as compression). ;p

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WingsOfBlack
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2013 8:24 pm 
 

Now, do I want to use that before or after I do my EQing? And I'm assuming I want to do this to each track separately correct?

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Syntek
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 5:59 am 
 

WingsOfBlack wrote:
Now, do I want to use that before or after I do my EQing? And I'm assuming I want to do this to each track separately correct?


I'd personally set the limiter after recording but before EQing.

And yes, for Audacity, although I would personally experiment with which tracks need the most limiting (such as bass/vocal/drum tracks), and which should be left with less compression (such as guitar tracks).

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Goran
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 6:04 am 
 

Hard limiting on separate tracks? What happened to leaving some headroom?
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badlung
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 4:40 pm 
 

i agree with the above i very rarely if ever use a limiter on individual tracks, i'll use one on my stereo master, if i'm mastering the track in question, use a compressor on individual tracks, its less extreme than limiting if used correctly, just thinking a limiter will solve the problems is wrong, it has no direct EQ effect, it just makes everything louder, less dynamic and when used wrong sound severely squashed, again some serious misinformation going on in this thread

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WingsOfBlack
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 7:49 pm 
 

badlung wrote:
i agree with the above i very rarely if ever use a limiter on individual tracks, i'll use one on my stereo master, if i'm mastering the track in question, use a compressor on individual tracks, its less extreme than limiting if used correctly, just thinking a limiter will solve the problems is wrong, it has no direct EQ effect, it just makes everything louder, less dynamic and when used wrong sound severely squashed, again some serious misinformation going on in this thread

Well I've been keeping copies of everything along the way separate, so I can go back to the start of mixing if I need to do something different. Admittedly, I haven't done a whole lot anyways because I've been procrastinating taking the time to sit and do it all lol. The results are almost completely inconsequential, I'm just doing a short track for someone to use as his video intros on youtube. I'm mainly just doing it for fun and practice, I'm not even getting paid or anything. I told him he's not even obligated to use it if he doesn't like it enough. That doesn't mean I don't care if it sounds bad though, I do want to get the best quality that I can on my own.

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Goran
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2013 4:36 am 
 

Another obvious one: if you need a limiter on individual tracks because the peaks are clipping, you're recording too loud.
Like the other guy said, to level the volume over one track just use a compressor, at least you're keeping some dynamics into play.

Also, this!
Quote:
again some serious misinformation going on in this thread
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somefella
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2013 4:47 am 
 

WingsOfBlack wrote:
Marras wrote:
That Death Metal pedal has too much distortion and it cannot be adjusted.

Double tracking guitars and a nice bass guitar with tight playing makes the big and clear sound.

Before trying to learn how to fix the sound in the mixing phase, you should just try to make everything sound good to begin with. Drums, two guitars and bass guitar should sound atleast "fine" or "ok" without any mixing (well, at least without anything more complex than adjusting volume and panning).

Yeah I've heard people complain about the Death Metal pedal before too. It doesn't seem to be the problem though, I gave EQing a first shot and got everything to be audible. The sound itself didn't turn out too great though, but I didn't expect my first try to sound good lol.

I did double track my guitars with slight changes to EQ to get them to sound more full, and also to give the notes more clarity. That was like the one thing I knew to do when it came to mixing.

I have everything sounding good on it's own. I can even layer on both guitars (each double tracked), bass and drums and have it sound halfway decent without EQing. Layering on the vocals is when I get complications because of the vocals and guitars fighting each other.


Still, that is a very bad pedal for anything but bedroom playing. Sometimes sitting nicely with the mix isn't just dependent on EQ-ing or cutting frequencies. It just sounds shitty and IMO has too many high/grating/grainy frequencies that will almost definitely clash with the vocals. Use something else in future, seriously.

EDIT: I don't know so much about actual mixing/mastering but I do know enough about source sound to tell you confidently that even 'fixing' a shitty source sound will not result in a particularly good final product. It's better to aim for a good source sound rather than EQ-ing the hell out of it later. Even with a polished sound, you still want it to be fresh and dynamic, not sterile and flat.
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WingsOfBlack
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2013 4:54 am 
 

Goran wrote:
Another obvious one: if you need a limiter on individual tracks because the peaks are clipping, you're recording too loud.
Like the other guy said, to level the volume over one track just use a compressor, at least you're keeping some dynamics into play.

I don't have an clipping on individual tracks at all, and I didn't get around to trying the limiter on anything yet, so no harm done. Plus like I said, I kept raw copies, so anything goes wrong, I can just start over. I'm gonna have to compress my bass track more than likely though, I don't know if it's normal, but when recording that I couldn't get consistent volume for the life of me. I'm not a bass player, so I was likely overlooking something simple when trying to get my bass tone, but I'll be damned if I could get hammer-ons to have any good volume without turning the amp up making picked notes way too loud.

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Goran
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2013 5:38 am 
 

Heh, it depends partly on the playing, but compression on metal bass is fairly common. So don't worry about that.
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badlung
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2013 12:21 pm 
 

wings of black yeah im not trying to pick on you or anyone, hope it doesn't come off like that, just trying to inform and there is no harm in experimenting and trying stuff like limiters on stuff to see what it sounds like etc, just trying to get across some things that are commonly avoided and done to give you a good starting point,

as for bass recording, its incredibly hard to get a consistent volume on every bass note when recording, this is one thing that can be fixed when mixing using some compression to even out the notes, especially if its a few hotspots on the bass that are quieter than the rest of the guitar,

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WingsOfBlack
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2013 1:33 am 
 

badlung wrote:
wings of black yeah im not trying to pick on you or anyone, hope it doesn't come off like that, just trying to inform and there is no harm in experimenting and trying stuff like limiters on stuff to see what it sounds like etc, just trying to get across some things that are commonly avoided and done to give you a good starting point,

as for bass recording, its incredibly hard to get a consistent volume on every bass note when recording, this is one thing that can be fixed when mixing using some compression to even out the notes, especially if its a few hotspots on the bass that are quieter than the rest of the guitar,

Yeah I understand you're just trying to help, I didn't take it in a negative way at all. I half-assedly tried the limiter on the bass, sounded terrible lol. The problem was that in order to get any noticeable affect on smoothing it out, I had to use it "too hard" and would end up with distortion. The compressor seems to not have that problem.


In case I didn't make it clear enough, thanks to everyone for your information and help! (even the people who's advice has been disputed lol)

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iamntbatman
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2013 1:43 am 
 

Yeah, sorry for spewing a bunch of misinformation.
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Goran
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2013 3:25 am 
 

iamntbatman wrote:
Yeah, sorry for spewing a bunch of misinformation.

Actually, your EQ info was pretty solid. :D

To topic starter: if you really want to mix better; read alot.
This is quite an interesting one: http://www.gearslutz.com/board/product- ... guide.html
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WingsOfBlack
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2013 3:46 am 
 

Goran wrote:
iamntbatman wrote:
Yeah, sorry for spewing a bunch of misinformation.

Actually, your EQ info was pretty solid. :D

To topic starter: if you really want to mix better; read alot.
This is quite an interesting one: http://www.gearslutz.com/board/product- ... guide.html

I was going to say the same. I don't see anyone saying that his was bad advice lol.

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Iron1
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2012 8:04 am
Posts: 73
Location: United States
PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2013 6:24 am 
 

badlung wrote:
as for Iron1's contribution, i think your heart is in the right place with what you mean, but its slightly less black and white than you made it.
when you say "put the vox in the 1-5k range" if you were to filter out all frequencies below 1k on any instrument or voice it will sound weird and very unnatural unless its for special effect. No male voice has a fundamental note above 1k so all you would be left with is overtones and harmonics that will sound like a telephone.

Your point of trying to get everything into its own little place is spot on though, make a little cut in your guitars at around 200hz and your snare drum will have more thump in the mix, cut a little of 100hz in your kick drum and the bass guitar will be clearer, but completely getting rid of these frequencies will lead to weird results and instruments sounding unnatural. I could have completely misunderstood you post Iron1 but i just wanted to post this anyway.

Hope no one takes any offense
Niall


No offense taken at all. :)

I didn't mean he should tighten the cues on everything where there was no overlap at all, but just to give everything it's own EQ "spotlight" so cymbals aren't drowning out vocal subharmonics, vox aren't drowning out guitars, etc. And cue width is it's own animal on top of that.

Without actually sitting in front of the board and hearing what the OP has tracked, it's hard to be super exact in what goes where, I think. There's also a lot to be said for panning, etc, to separate the instruments, but again, without hearing it and being able to mix it myself all I can give is more black & white advice...
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WingsOfBlack
Metal newbie

Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 5:36 am
Posts: 31
Location: United States
PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2013 9:59 am 
 

Iron1 wrote:
badlung wrote:
Without actually sitting in front of the board and hearing what the OP has tracked, it's hard to be super exact in what goes where, I think. There's also a lot to be said for panning, etc, to separate the instruments, but again, without hearing it and being able to mix it myself all I can give is more black & white advice...

It'll probably be a day or 2, but I can probably upload it somewhere and link to it. I say it will be a couple days because I want to re-record the vocals and guitar. I get so picky and "wishy washy" when it comes to my music. I have non-metal "electronic" music I make for fun, and I still change things on songs I did like 2 years ago haha. I'll hear something and from then on I'll always notice until I fix it lol. Which you can imagine is one of the worst traits to have when you notice something like that on an album, which I can't fix... It drives me crazy! ....fucking Skeletonwitch and their "click" of a bass drum! I can't not hear it! D':

I don't think of my work as anything worth stealing by any means, but I do admit I'd be slightly paranoid of that happening if I were to post it though. I'll probably give it another go on my own before resorting to uploading it though now that I've got some more info.

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CF_Mono
Metalhead

Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2010 5:21 pm
Posts: 1391
PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 10:46 pm 
 

We're using virtually the same gear man, and I've been having the same problem (Dean ML, Vox Valvetronix, Audacity, I'm using a pre-amp to go from the amp to the computer though.) EQ certainly does have a lot to do with it. I've been having a hard time making sure every instrument has it's own "frequency" range, but beyond that, I think it's also important to make sure that you pay attention to how you pan everything. Recording a third track for a center pan with a different distortion setting has been known to work wonders (it was done on Left Hand Path, Bass HM-2 left and right, and a Boss DS-1 center), and also try and record a high shelf or low shelf track for extra depth. My recordings are still amateur sounding, but they've improved a lot just from paying close attention to how I EQ and pan. Recording is probably less of a problem although I've heard recording lower is better than recording hot, and I seem to agree with that statement for the most part.
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