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Mixing & Mastering Tips

 

Offline Billy

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Dave, my advice is simple, go for the best sound you can get at the time of recording your instrument. If you think by recording a crap sound to start with by simply saying effects and compression at mixing stage will make it sound brilliant, it won't. I always thought your stuff sounded cool enough anyway!

BTW gentlemen - You should never add pepsi or coca cola to whiskey. If you like whiskey why do you feel the need to mask the flavour? Only water should be added. Do not use tap water either as this contains chlorine which won't compliment any whiskey. Use bottled spring water (room temperature) and no ice (this will dull the aroma and high quality taste of the whiskey). Now when you go to take a sip....you'll smell that wonderful aroma! Cheers!

Aidan.


Offline BassPlayer

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I tend to not compress the bass when recording it. It sounds better to me if I adjust the levels so I'm not spiking it and then let the mix engineer add the compression he feels that is needed.


bluesguy

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Quote
Dave, my advice is simple, go for the best sound you can get at the time of recording your instrument. If you think by recording a crap sound to start with by simply saying effects and compression at mixing stage will make it sound brilliant, it won't. I always thought your stuff sounded cool enough anyway!

BTW gentlemen - You should never add pepsi or coca cola to whiskey. If you like whiskey why do you feel the need to mask the flavour? Only water should be added. Do not use tap water either as this contains chlorine which won't compliment any whiskey. Use bottled spring water (room temperature) and no ice (this will dull the aroma and high quality taste of the whiskey). Now when you go to take a sip....you'll smell that wonderful aroma! Cheers!

Aidan.

Aidan

Excellent tips. -)

Red wine will help see all things are fine and you will appreciate the great music until the next morning that is!

Cheers

Bluesguy




Offline juice

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There seems to be enough information here to convince me I'm way to far behind this type of expertise to even attempt to master.

Hopefully I can at least write song people would care to master.  ::)
I don't question why some people are addicted to making themselves suffer.
I'm just glad to have an audience.


Offline Studioplayer

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From tweakheadz....

Tip: Never let the drummer in the control room, except under extreme sedation, unless you want all your mixes to sound like Led Zepplin.  ;D


http://www.tweakheadz.com/perfect_mix.html


Offline frugihoyi

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Can someone explain why it's better to do guitars mono? I am recording a song and I have the input on my recording program set to stereo, but my distortion patch doesn't have any stereo effects anyway, so how does it make any difference whether I set the input to stereo or mono?


Offline NickT

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I believe with a mono signal, it is more of a file size thing.

When you record a mono signal in stereo, it will be panned center but the wave file is twice as large (L-R). No sound difference from Mono panned center. I also think that the signal strength when panned (depending on how your pan laws are set) will be weaker.

Unless I am using a stereo FX from outside the DAW, I record mono and apply stereo FX in a buss.

Most times I mult the mono rhythm tracks and split them left and right.

Hope that helps and welcome to the site.

Nick
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www.TestafiedRecords.com


Offline frugihoyi

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Offline Paulo

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There seems to be enough information here to convince me I'm way to far behind this type of expertise to even attempt to master.


It's 2 of us now...

... But I liked the alchool talk, those are my boys  ;D
Live the best you can 'cause you're gonna be dead for a long time.
Respect
Paulo Gomes


Offline Jeff Rozak

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Can someone explain why it's better to do guitars mono? I am recording a song and I have the input on my recording program set to stereo, but my distortion patch doesn't have any stereo effects anyway, so how does it make any difference whether I set the input to stereo or mono?

I could be completely wrong, but...

I think (unless using stereo FX before the mix) that recording guitar stereo helps to muddy the mix.  Since you end up recording some identical tones at the same frequencies, they can cancel each other out.  You could separate the stereo track, invert the polarity of one side, and recombine them to help a little bit, but I think a mono recording cuts through better still.

To use CD's 3D visual example...

Recording a guitar stereo vs. 2 mono tracks:

A mono track is placed in one place in the mix.  Picture a bullet shot from a gun - it's traveling along only one path to it's target.  That's your mono track.  A stereo track would be represented by TWO bullets fired simultaneously, and though they might SOUND like one trail directly between the two, they're still in the mix in TWO places - not actually a true center.

I agree with Nick too, in that I like to double the rhythm track with a second recording (using slightly different guitar tones) and pan one to the left, and the other to the right.  that gives it enough variation to not cancel each other, and still fatten up the sound.

A simple stereo chorusing trick for a mono track:

Duplicate a mono track in your DAW, zoom WAAAY in, and delete the tiniest bit possible.  Invert one of the tracks, and pan one hard left, the other hard right.   Watch out for mud though.  ;)


Offline midKnight

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Expanding on guitar tracking, there is a cumulative effect that happens to harmonics, distortion, etc. etc. when you record a performance multiple times.

At a bare minimum, I will record a guitar track 2x (then pan hard left/right), but most of the time I'll quad-track guitars.

If I really need a *very* heavy sound (ala arch enemy or some other extreme band), I'll track parts up to 8 times. By the time you've stacked 8 rhythms on top of each other, you could use almost no gain at all in each take, and have a monster tone.

Some things to keep in mind though, as previously mentioned, this is a cumulative thing, so a little goes a long way in terms of gain. Also you will definitely want to play as tightly as possible to yourself, but little variances are ok, in fact, it helps give it a less robotic feel (and your slight mis-timings will create a natural sense of reverb).

And as another person mentioned earlier, if you mix up your tone - say record 4 tracks with a more bass heavy tone and 4 with a more treble heavy tone - the differences in the tone can add character to the overall sound.

Just some food for thought.

-N


Offline Gerk

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I have to agree with the less gain is better approach for heavy guitar.  Even the heaviest sounding stuff (in a recording) likely has surprisingly little amount of actual distortion/overdrive on it.  Most people take the opposite approach, adding more overdrive to get a "heavier" sound.

For example when I was recording someone a couple of years back who wanted to get the Alice in Chains type of sound ... he let me setup his amp for him after we had done a few tracks with it setup to his liking and he wasn't happy with the heaviness of it (it was massively compressed and overdriven).  He was very dubious when he heard the sound coming out of the amp that I had dialed up and was even more surprised that i turned his super overdrive pedal overdrive knob down to 2 ... didn't think it had enough "balls" but trusted me and tracked it like that anyway.  After double tracking it and dropping it into the mix he freaked out because it sounded very heavy and was exactly what he was looking for.


Offline OcalaMusician

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EXACTLY right....more distortion = mud.

Less distortion + multiple tracks equal Big Fat Heavy Guitar sounds.

I've ran a pro recording studio of my own for about 20 years and every single time I had to deal with the same type of guitar situations.  Trust is tough to come by when someone is paying, but NOT to do what you as the engineer works is unfair to he artist who wants to have a great recording.  Tough line to walk since the person paying always has the final say no matter what is really best.

I have a similar situation wish bass players wanting all this low end on their bass.  Well a similar thing with bass guitar is true - too much low frequencies will add up to mud as well.  I always tell bass players NOT to pay attention to the sound I'm recording and just listen to what it sounds like when I'm mixing.

Oh yeah - and all this was learned during the days of 2" reel to reel tape.  Now with all the computer stuff you can do....20-30 takes can not as crazy as it sounds.  But then again just how good must the engineers and performers have been back in the days before all this technology??

Never thought a computer science degree would be essential for making and recording great music.  But just ignore me - I'm old school who has to learn new tricks to keep pace with everything going on.
Neal - The Multi-Instrumentalist & Mix Engineer.


Offline Gerk

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I agree with everything you're saying.  Sometimes oldschool is the best approach -- I've done my fair share of analog recording too.  "Fix it in the mix" doesn't sit as well with me, and I find that a lot of engineers now take this approach these days (both pro and amateur).  If it works for you, I guess ... whatever produces results, but I'm a bit of a purist in the fact that if you make it sound perfect at the mic it's always going to sound better in the endgame.  If it sounds bad at the mic it might end up sounding great, or ok, or passable ... or not.  That said I still have no problem chopping things into bits and reconstructing them.  I did it in the analog days with 1/4" tape and a block as required.  I must say I like this approach much better ;)

I think back to recordings when they would just say "Go!" and the vinyl master was cut, along with the fact they were using a single mic .. that also blows me away.  We have it made these days.  It was also amazing what people could do with 24 track as well.  Remember having the group of people standing around the board and their job was to do that one fade, or pan, or eq change, or whatever and timing as critical.  Now I turn on automation and do it rough, then go in with a mouse and clean it up and tweak it to your liking.

And sadly yes, you do have to have good computer and computer repair skills to get things running and keep them tweaked out, but in the same vein with 2" tapes you also had to hire someone to do all the maintenance on things and fix em when they broke.  At least these days you can do it yourself on computers for the most part.

All-in-all I have to say I'm MUCH happier being able to record computer based than having to do analog again!


Offline OcalaMusician

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Obviously we both see positive and negative aspects of each method of doing recording.  My biggest problem as a schooled musician since the age of 4, is that most of these so-called Talented people" are nothing more than pretty faces with average voices and AMAZING producrs/engineers.  Pitch correcting, changing, shortening, lengthening, etc. lead or backup vocals lines with the click of a mouse.  Or any other instrument as well.  C'mon - is that really music??  Not ever in my mind will it be and everyone is entitled to their opinion.

The BEST thing that I've seen or heard in the past 20+ years was when MTV (back when they were still playing music videos) had MTV Unplugged.  THEN you got to see and hear what some so-called great bands REALLY sounded like.  Some like STP, Alice In Chains, Nirvana (and I'm not a fan), Aerosmith - were awesome..others like Ratt, Poison, etc. were absolutely horrible.  THAT to me is the real test of a band.

I love this internet recording thing because I get to make music with people from all over the world.  But NOTHING will ever beat getting together and performing live.  No studio tricks, just you and the audience and hopefully a decent soundman.  We've got Virtual bands which are quite cool to watch and listen too.  But when are we going to be able to have Virtual Bands playing LIVE on the internet??  Now THAT is something I'm looking forward to.

Shutting up now.

Neal - The Multi-Instrumentalist & Mix Engineer.


 

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