Opinions On Mix/Mixing Distorted Guitar W Drum Tracks

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by LuciusBolt, Jun 12, 2019.

  1. LuciusBolt

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    Hey , I wanted to know your thoughts on some of my mixes that I have done in the past. In terms of tone (muddiness/Clarity) , levels , EQ settings etc.

    what can I do in future mixes to make them sound more clearer and more polished as they sound kind of raw.

    Now keep in mind I am not a pro at playing or mixing by any stretch of the imagination as I do this stuff for enjoyment/as a hobby I am also aware my playing may be sloppy in places. But I still am practicing to improve that. Despite playing for at least three years which isn't a lot I know but it is still something I guess.

    But this is not aimed at technique but more at the levels, EQ and processing side

    But I am aware however that having good technique obviously helps create better tone :)

    Signal Chain In case anyone is wondering
    Reaper -> Bias Amp VST -> Pitchshifter (Stock Reaper Plugin) -> Two Input USB Interface (Generic) -> Les Paul Copy w Stock Pups

    Also while I am here in regards to Reapers stock pitch shifting plugin how do I set the levels (wet, dry) so I get a cleaner sound because I am slightly aware of the mud in the mix from the distorted guitar. As it increases the lower you shift keep in mind I am going from drop D Pitch to what I assume is the equivalent of Drop A#/Bb I guess (could be wrong).

    I have tried to EQ the signal to get a cleaner sound using ReaEQ. (not sure if that is the right tool)
    I have also tried changing amp models as well as cabinets in Bias AMP (again not sure if that will fix things)

    My settings are in the below picture
    archonsettings.png
    This is not based off the PRS Archon but is built of that 5150 III preset Usually I use that preset with a V30 Based Impulse (built in) or the Treadplate one

    Mixes Only 2
    https://soundcloud.com/talonhunt-community/no-omens/s-CPMix
    https://soundcloud.com/talonhunt-community/hydrogen-remaster/s-1BBB8

    But yes I want to see what I can do better and pick up any knowledge you people may have about mixing Distorted Guitars W Drums

    Drums aren't mine though but I used them because I wanted drums in the mix as well. But I suck at programming them.

    Thanks in advance :)
     
  2. LuciusBolt

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    My EQ Curve In ReaEQ In case anyone was interested in how I was EQing the guitars
    EQ.png
    I take out the very low and high frequencies and boost the mids and take out a small part of some of the high to mid frequency.

    This was done in Bias AMP as an example for what I do when using ReaEQ
     
  3. GunpointMetal

    GunpointMetal SS.org Regular

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    Without being able to do a critical listen I can tell you that boosting around 300Hz and having that shallow of the slope on your HPF is going to make things muddier. As far as pitch-shifting your guitars down with ReaPitch, you want a 100% Wet and 0% Dry signal to keep it clean, but ReaPitch really only works OK for that type of thing and then only really with single notes. To clear up the guitar tones try setting band 1 to around 100Hz/120Hz and increasing the slope so it cuts off faster instead of tapering down, try boosting more in the 700Hz-2kHz range if you need more cut. "Mids" for guitar are more the 500hz-2kHz range and anything below that is "low mids/lows". You can boost those frequencies to get a thicker single note lead sound, but with tuned-downed rhythm guitars that's where your mud builds up. Thinner sounding guitars double-tracked with bass are what gives a bigger sound in a mix. It's really hard to tell from those mixes, because the drums sound like they're all on one track, but you definitely have too much going on in the lower mids area for a real "mix" if you're going to want to add bass or better drums later.
    Edit: honestly, if you want it to sound good tuned down low, you're going to have to set the guitar up for it and actually play in those tunings.
     
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  4. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I think if the question is "what can I do with EQ to make a guitar play nice with drums", my usually jumping off point is to chop stuff away from the low end. Realistically, if there's a bass in the mix as well, everything below 500hz is going to start building up VERY quickly, and most content below that point should be filled in by other instruments anyway. I tend to use a combination of a hi-pass (for the "I don't want anything below this at all" part) and a shelf (for the "something else is going to fill this in" part).

    Generally speaking, it's a good idea to prefer to cut rather than boost whenever you can. Cleaning things up via eq = cutting out the parts that don't mesh with something else.
     
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  5. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Why are you making these particular EQ tweaks? Are you A/Bing them against no EQ at all to make sure they're really making improvements in the mix?

    With the giant caveat here that EQ is definitely something that should be dialed in by ear, not by eye, and that I haven't listened to your mixes...

    1) Your high pass filter looks like its only really beginning to do anything at all starting around 50hz where you're getting maybe 3db of gain reduction, and nothing substantial until the 30-40hz range. I'll bet you a dollar if you engaged and muted that band on whatever you're using to monitor, you probably won't even hear the change with the guitars solo'd (and if you can hear it, then you've got bigger fish to fry here).

    2) Looks like your mid boost is around 350hz, +6db or so. Whether or not this works is going to depend largely on 1) what else is in the mix, and 2) what's going on in your particular guitar tone here.... But that's a pretty big boost to the low mids. For whatever it's worth, for rhythm tracks, on a seven string through a Rectifier, I'm usually doing a slight cut, somewhere between there and maybe 700hz, depending on how things sound.

    3) You're doing a VERY deep (9db?) and narrow cut around maybe 2.2khz, and stretching between 2-3khz, roughly. Again, never say never... but this is probably going to impact intelligibility of your guitars pretty substantially in the mix. For leads I actually like a modest boost, maybe 1-3db in the 1.8-2.2khz range which (IMO) helps bring the guitar forward a little in the mix. Without hearing it and A/Bing the cut with the band active and bypassed, my guess would be this is kind of burying the guitars in the mix and making them a lot muddier than they might otherwise be.

    4) Your low pass looks like it doesn't really do much of anything before 10khz or so. Not sure what the rest of the guitar sound is doing here, but I wouldn't be surprised if you could slide this down to 7-8khz or so and take away a lot of the "hair" off the guitar tone, which would probably sound a little dull solo'd, but probably fine in a mix since most of this stuff is getting buried under the cymbals anyway. Doing so would probably give you a bit more headroom, as well.

    I'll often high-pass a LOT higher than you are - maybe 120 or so, sometimes into the 200-220hz range for leads, allowing the roll-off to let some of the low frequency energy come through but saving that space for the bass guitar. Try a more gentle EQ move in your low-mids, maybe more like 3db, and try both boosts and cuts here sliding the band around a bit until you find something you like. Get rid of that notch all together, and lower your low-pass a little bit further and see how that sounds with the drums.

    If you find you really need a 6db boost at 350hz and a deep and narrow cut around 2.2khz, then there's probably something else wrong upstream - wrong amp, wrong cab, wrong mic, wrong mic position, wrong amp settings, wrong guitar, who knows.

    Idunno. It's really tough to give good guidance here without being able to hear what's going on, and I'm at work... But a lot of those EQ moves look kind of... either pointless (low/high) or questionable (the low mid and mid bands).
     
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  6. LuciusBolt

    LuciusBolt MS Paint Character.EXE

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    Wow Thankyou :) I know it is quite tough to give good guidance when you can't get a good idea of what is going on but your advice is very useful. I will keep all things you have said in mind and will not EQ my rhythm tracks like above as it is pointless. I will let you know in the future how I go.
     
  7. LuciusBolt

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    Thanks I found this very helpful and I will give this a go at some point :)
    when I do a "mix" like this again next time.
     
  8. LuciusBolt

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    Thankyou and next time I will just have the guitar set up in the correct tuning (Drop A#) as you have said. I Have found what you have said here quite useful :)
     
  9. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Honestly, the best advice I can give you is when mixing, and when first LEARNING to mix especially, you're going to want to spend a lot of time A/Bing with your EQ engaged and bypassed, and with individual bands engaged and bypassed. Try to use the EQ volume or trim control to make sure the overall volume is the same with the EQ in as it is out so you don't just automatically prefer whichever one is louder.

    When you make EQ changes, you really want to be sure that what you're doing is making things better. The best way to do that is to compare the un-EQ'd sound to the EQ'd sound in the mix as you go.
     
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  10. LuciusBolt

    LuciusBolt MS Paint Character.EXE

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    Great Advice :) And yes next time I will start A / B ing my mixes with the EQ on and off as you said along with engaging each band as I go. I will play around with Trim and Volume controls as well.

    Maybe you might know the answer to this question. I believe there is book out there that is for sale.
    By I think Systematic Productions called the "Systematic Mixing Guide" The question I ask is should I buy that book and would that help me learn how to mix ? Or is that for people that have experience mixing tracks.

    Thanks in advance :)
     
  11. LuciusBolt

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    https://soundcloud.com/talonhunt-community/omega-pitbull-w-eq/s-OXaEP

    Above is an Isolated track I was working on last night from some of my old stuff I was doing.

    EQ Update.png
    I am still probably doing lots of stuff that is not correct. But my guitar track sounds slightly more intelligible and has less mud in it. I used a user made preset off the tonecloud to get a sound I want.

    There is a bit of fizz probably because I boosted the higher frequencies. But when I took that band away the guitars were less intelligible as they sounded very muffled.

    In case you guys were wondering I did A/B the track EQ on and EQ off

    EQ on - More Intelligible as said earlier but quite fizzy. - My opinion of course
    EQ off - very muddy very muffled and also boxy sounding.

    A Single Guitar Track w no effects just the raw DI
    https://soundcloud.com/talonhunt-community/omega-no-fx/s-qbGqm
    Try and see if you can download it (only if you want to try and EQ and add stuff on it to show an example of what I am doing wrong)

    Also if you do that I would love to see a visual of the EQ just for slight reference and then try to adjust accordingly with my ears and play around with the curve. It is fine if you do not want to :)

    Be wary it is a slightly distorted DI Signal but that is because of my interface I think. not sure about that one. But Possibly could be because it is a cheap and generic one from Ebay.

    If you do post up a new version of my DI signal w distortion / EQ etc. I would love to A/B it against the original track I posted and try to use the new one as my reference. In regards to how my sound should be according to experienced ears as opposed to somebody who is learning how to mix. As I could and will probably be biased.

    The pickup used on the song above - not original songs posted was a Dimarzio super distortion in the bridge position in case anyone was curious. Into the same signal chain.

    Keep in mind I am not getting you to mix my entire thing for me I am only using the track if provided as a reference sound to give me an idea on what I should look for in a mix worthy tone.

    Thanks for the advice so far.
     
  12. GunpointMetal

    GunpointMetal SS.org Regular

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    If you're having to do that much EQ boosting to get the guitar to be intelligible there's something wrong along the way. The pickups might be too far from the strings, a bad cable, wrong pickup choice for the parts, bad impedance match on your interface input, but something is off.
     
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  13. LuciusBolt

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    The interface impedance makes sense because my signal when recording I guess what would be the DI is distorted as I may have mentioned above

    Maybe a bad interface it is generic and $12 off ebay ? Maybe that would play a factor

    Also I did use a cheapo cable so maybe that is also contributing

    I don't know but there is something that could maybe be the problem
    - Bad Input Jack on the guitar ?
    - Rusted and when the cable is clicked all the way in I get static or "buzzing"

    I don't know at this point but at this point thankyou for giving me whatever advice you are able to provide.

    In case you do not know I am still very new to mixing so please take what I am doing with a grain of salt :) but what you said could still be true
     
  14. GunpointMetal

    GunpointMetal SS.org Regular

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    Everything in your signal chain is going to contribute or detract from your tone. I can't listen to the newest tracks at work right now, but if your DI track is distorted/clipping everything after that is going to suffer and you're going to be compensating for it all the way through. I'm not sure what interface you can even find for $12, but I'm guessing that has a big role to play in why you're not getting good DIs and ending up with muddy sounding tracks. Even $100 interfaces don't always work awesomely for DI instruments.
     
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  15. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I think I mentioned it already, but you normally want to cut instead of boost. If you have to boost the high end of the guitar that much, it's probably because the tracks around it are too loud. You haven't really "boosted the high end" so much as you've just pushed the whole signal up. You'd have gotten the same result by just lifting the volume of the track and cutting low end.
     
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  16. LuciusBolt

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    Sorry still learning :) but thanks for pointing that out
     
  17. LuciusBolt

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    The interface I bought was a aliexpress one except they were selling it through eBay not aliexpress also thanks for the info
     
  18. LuciusBolt

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    https://soundcloud.com/talonhunt-community/omega-toneforge-mm/s-Lxi8r

    Changed the amp sim I was using from Bias AMP to Toneforge Misha Mansoor and I feel that made a little difference also Panning the drums slightly to the left to give the guitar more headroom also helped.

    I don't know you be the judge :)

    As with the toneforge plugin the EQing was minimal -could be wrong, I didn't have to use reaEQ I just used the parametric EQ included in the plugin.

    comp.png
    parametric.png


    With the compressor I used it to tame the volume of the guitar slightly I guess

    On the parametric EQ I lowered the bass a bit and turned up the treble

    I think It did make the guitar more intelligible without having to drastically boost as seen in the last pic.
    To my inexperienced ears at least.

    But I feel Bias AMP sounds to my ears much more muddy (could be the DI) but you never know where as the Toneforge plugin sounds much more clear - just a personal comparison I have pointed out.

    Also I am using this cab in the plugin
    ML.png
     
  19. LuciusBolt

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    I think I have may have fixed a bit of the problem
    On my interface there is a High and Low level switch It was on high and I switched it to low and now my DI's are slightly better

    listen here to processed track - was recorded unprocessed with no fx at first
    https://soundcloud.com/talonhunt-community/samick-di-toneforge-mm/s-7yCfS

    I notice because of the lower output I did not need to EQ my guitar at all to get it to not sound muddy
    In this track I am just playing a couple of chords not much but it was mainly to showcase the "fix" I guess
     
  20. LuciusBolt

    LuciusBolt MS Paint Character.EXE

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    di comparison.png

    Top One - Recorded today
    Bottom One - (stereo) Old one that was posted before

    Posted this photo just so you can visually see the difference.
     

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