Help Me Mix This Song Better (Please)

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by Konfyouzd, May 26, 2019.

  1. Konfyouzd

    Konfyouzd has left the building Contributor

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    This isn't really a song so much yet as just me playing around with a motif or two trying to get the instruments to sit well with one another. The drums are very basic at the moment; I haven't gone very deep into arranging them just yet.

    I feel like in some parts the guitars might be way too loud, but I also think I might have listened to this too long.

    Aside from that, I feel like the mix generally has a sort of dull and far away sound to it that I can't seem to get rid of either.

    I've read a lot of other threads on this all over the internet and they've helped me get this far, but I feel a bit stuck at this point.

    Am I using too much compression?

    https://soundcloud.com/konfyouzd/oh-my-god-can-a-gorilla-swim

    Guitar: Strandberg Singularity
    Pickups: Ceramic BKP Emerald calibrated set
    Amp: Peavey JSX

    Bass: Squier Vintage Modified Jazz Bass V (stock)
    Bass Amp: Trace Elliot Elf

    DI: Two Notes Captor
    Interface: Focusrite 6i6

    DAW: Cubase 8.5
     
  2. axxessdenied

    axxessdenied Arium Addict

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    I'm on a laptop at work so I cant really give a proper critique from listening but a quick note on what you've mentioned.

    You're basically telling yourself the solution here. Automation is what you need if parts seem too loud in some sections or too quiet in others. The really where the magic happens is balancing the levels properly. No magic EQ or compression tricks as all those moves are dependent on the source material anyways on not set in stone.

    A lot of people tend to mix pretty dark compared to commercial mixes. Try tossing an EQ on your mix bus and put a high-shelf filter around 6khz and boost it say around 6db and see what it does to the overall mix and go from there.

    If I remember I'll listen to this when I get home after work.
     
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  3. Konfyouzd

    Konfyouzd has left the building Contributor

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    That makes sense. I always try to get it as close to sounding good without automating first just in case I'm overcomplicating things by jumping to automation first. But I'm a noob so :shrug:

    I'll try automating the parts that sound off to me.

    This is something I didn't know about. I'll give this a shot and see what happens. :yesway:
     
  4. Konfyouzd

    Konfyouzd has left the building Contributor

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    I forgot to mention:

    Amp setting:
    Channel: Crunch

    Presence: 6
    Resonance: ~0.5
    Master Volume: 7

    Channel Volume: 7
    Gain: 2 (slightly under 2)
    Bass: 2.5
    Mid: 7
    Treble: 4.5

    I am playing through a Celestion G12T-75 4x12 IR.

    (I also have a Greenback, and Creamback 4x12. I have a V30 IR but I am not sure of the details. I found it way too harsh sounding)
     
  5. Seybsnilksz

    Seybsnilksz SS.org Regular

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    Drums are mono and the cymbals pump a lot. The latter is a sign of too much compression somewhere.

    The dullness comes from the guitar tone mainly. I don't know what kind of tone you're after, so I can't tell you how to set it up. But if you want less dullness, they need a bit more gain (or clean boost in front) and you should back of the mids. Don't be afraid to add more treble too. How are they panned?

    Bass tone sounds cool to me.
     
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  6. Konfyouzd

    Konfyouzd has left the building Contributor

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    Hmm... I must have accidentally created a mono drum bus (I sometimes do that and notice it later when things like this come up).

    I have the guitars panned 100% left and right.

    I'll try to describe the tone I'm after, but I'm fairly bad at that sort of thing. Let me see if I can find an example in someone else's songs.

    I'm not a huge fan of this band, but at tone like this is kind of what I'm going for on the chugging parts--maybe with just a tiny bit more edge on it. But something in that general realm of things.



    I can't seem to get the guitar, bass and kick to hit together in that powerful but non-stepping-on-each-other way that they do. Each chug sounds like one cohesive unit even though it's composed of several instruments. I'm missing that by quite a bit.
     
  7. Seybsnilksz

    Seybsnilksz SS.org Regular

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    Yeah that definitely sounds like more gain and less mids. You can usually get away with scooping the mids more when recording compared to playing live.

    I would also try the Lead channel on the amp. Words like "lead" and "crunch" are as useful on amps as "lead" and "rhythm" is on a Les Paul. On the Les Paul, they are usually used for the complete opposite roles in modern metal. In my experience "crunch" means mid-gain rock, and "lead" means both lead and heavy rhythm.

    Also, the cab usually makes the biggest difference in tone, at least when it comes to high gain.
     
  8. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    The first thing that stands out to me is that the guitar sounds really strangely dry but also kind of distant. There's definitely a lot of very audible compression things happening - I'd hesitate to say "too much" so much as maybe too much in some places and not enough other places. The trick (IMO) with compression is layers of subtle compression as opposed to having aggressive compression on top of a lot of things.
     
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  9. Konfyouzd

    Konfyouzd has left the building Contributor

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    Yea that's one of the biggest problems I've noticed. I've tried a lot of things and the guitars always seem to come out that way--either dry and distant sounding or very overpowering.

    I will try a different compression strategy.

    Currently I have compression on:
    -Bass with a sidechain linked to the kick to avoid conflicts there
    -Compressor on my guitar summing bus
    -Compressor on the master bus which sums all of my instruments
    -Light compression on the Stereo out

    I am guessing that either my master or stereo bus compressor may be too aggressive. Will play around with it. Thanks for the tips!
     
  10. Konfyouzd

    Konfyouzd has left the building Contributor

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    I have a couple more questions I just thought of...

    There's this range sweeping technique several folks have told me about TedEh is one of them...

    Basically I was told that if you boost any point in the EQ curve then move that point around, you should be able to find the frequencies that are bothering you, but when I do that it seems to make those frequencies harder for me to hear because it's accompanied by a high pitched whistle that seems to always be there.

    I only bring that up because I attempted a few things that were suggested above but I don't think I was doing them correctly, namely:

    1. Slightly more gain (I've tried it as high as 4--everything else was just ridiculous)
    2. Toning down the mids
    3. Adding more treble

    This did help but with it came some harshness I wasn't particularly fond of (hence my question about sweeping for frequencies to cut).
     
  11. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    These sound redundant to me, unless they're serving very different purposes. I'd try removing the guitar compression (high gain guitar isn't very dynamic to begin with). I'd also spend time focusing on eq-ing / shaping each channel to fit with eachother before using compression to try to solve that part of the equation.
     
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  12. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    That whistle is sort of what you're looking for. When the whistle gets much louder, or matches the pitch you want to find, or matches the rhythm of the thing you're trying to isolate, then you've found your spot. The whistle gives you a singular thing to focus your critical listening on.
     
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  13. Seybsnilksz

    Seybsnilksz SS.org Regular

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    I know there's no rules in mixing, but the guitar harshness is always at 2.7 and 4k lol
     
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  14. Konfyouzd

    Konfyouzd has left the building Contributor

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    I was missing the 2.7 range and searching mainly in the 4k range. I always find something a little odd around ~3.9k or ~4.1k. I think the 2.7 range is where I was failing to find the additional noise. I've also heard you should cut in the 2 - 3k for vox anyway?
     
  15. Seybsnilksz

    Seybsnilksz SS.org Regular

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    Some vowels (depending on the singer) can create big resonances between 2-3k yes, so the best way to deal with that is dynamic eq or multiband compression to catch those specific sounds.

    Do you have any examples of how it sounds now that you've tweaked a bit?
     
  16. Konfyouzd

    Konfyouzd has left the building Contributor

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    I need to do some tweaking tonight after work.

    I was a bit down on my metal mixing skills so I spent some time working on other songs to give myself a break. I've been failing on this track for a while.

    Will update tonight.
     
  17. Konfyouzd

    Konfyouzd has left the building Contributor

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    Pretty sure it hasn't been clear that I've been doing this, but I actually have just been using the "replace file" feature in Soundcloud.com and I replaced it several times while folks were making suggestions, but I honestly don't think I was making much headway so that's fine.

    That said, I made some changes today and I think--at the very least--my guitars sound much less dull than they did before.

    https://soundcloud.com/konfyouzd/oh-my-god-can-a-gorilla-swim

    Summary of Changes:
    Previously I was running left and right guitars into a guitar bus. I fancied myself clever and applied the IR to that bus. I *think* that may have been the source of some of my dullness (thank you to TedEh for pointing that out). This time I applied the IR to each individual track and THEN summed them. Much different sound.

    I also removed a shit load of compressors and limiters from various buses, particularly the master and drum bus due to the cymbal pumping pointed out earlier in the thread. It sounds to me like the pumping has reduced some, but I'm not sure I'm quite there yet.

    Something tells me I need to pull out a tiny bit of the mids on my amp settings still (I haven't re-recorded anything yet. Just toying around in the DAW at the moment).
     
  18. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    The things that stand out to me in the latest one:
    - Guitars are still very dry. It's weird for me to say this, but I think there's not enough gain. Splitting the IRs gave some width back, so that's better.
    - Guitars are also the loudest thing. Everything sits sort of "behind" the guitars.
    - The bass sound is a good start. Might need to do some reigning in of the lowest end of it so that it plays nice with everything around it.
    - I don't hear the same pumping that I remember from last time, so that's an improvement.
     
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  19. Seybsnilksz

    Seybsnilksz SS.org Regular

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    Sounds like a step in the right direction with the guitars, but they're still dull and middy. And the drums are still mono (but the pumping is gone).
     
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  20. Konfyouzd

    Konfyouzd has left the building Contributor

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    Tonight I'll mess with the drums and see what I can do with the guitar tone. Now that I've worked out why they sounded so strange and far away, I might be able to try one of the tones I thought was too harsh before.

    I also had a new J bass show up last night so I might try that one out and see how it goes. Will also pay attention to the bass low end.

    I think I just need to recreate my drum buses.

    I was given some advice on drums before that I may have misunderstood:

    You have all of your tracks coming out of superior as individuals into the DAW. Those sounds are the "uncompressed" sounds--as in I haven't added any compression.

    Then I was told to add compression in a separate bus and mix the compressed and uncompressed.

    So I wasn't sure how that "mixing" works and I think I did some dumb things.

    I have a drum sum bus.

    I have a send from the sum bus to a compression bus.

    Both of these buses are routed to a master summing bus before hitting the overall master bus which of course goes to stereo out.

    Also not sure if the overall master bus is necessary if everything routes to stereo out.
     

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