Old 01-22-2020, 01:02 PM   #1
ErBird
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Default Electric Guitar Mixing

Hi. Lately I've been messing around with recording my electric guitar.

After hearing many times that what sounds good on a solo'ed track isn't going to fit in a mix, I feel like I'm missing something in terms of "real" mixing. I've done absolutely nothing aside from setting the tone I want.

Do I need to do anything to make this a more finalized sound? Any and all advice is welcome.

Signal chain is:
Strat -> Pro Co Rat -> Marshall Tone Stack -> Delay -> Cab IR
+ Addictive Drums + 4Front Bass

Example:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1fj...nnbiuJuysp_R3p

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Old 01-22-2020, 01:22 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ErBird View Post
After hearing many times that what sounds good on a solo'ed track isn't going to fit in a mix, I feel like I'm missing something in terms of "real" mixing. I've done absolutely nothing aside from setting the tone I want.[/url]
The missing keyword is necessarily. Great sounding solo'd tracks don't necessarily translate to a great mix. But this mix sounds fine. And a mix that sounds fine is fine.

The point of that axiom is that you need to hear tracks in the context of a mix to judge whether it fits. This becomes more and more the case with more tracks. If you only have a few instruments and they are not overlapping too much in frequency range, you likely won't need to do as much mixing.

With hundreds of tracks, they will all have to be much smaller to fit together and might not sound good on their own. With two tracks, they better sound flipping fantastic on their own and it won't be much of a challenge to mix them.

Typical rock instruments fit together by nature pretty well if you don't get crazy and add a ton of bass to your guitars etc.
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Old 01-22-2020, 01:25 PM   #3
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How do *you* like it in mono?
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Old 01-22-2020, 01:36 PM   #4
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Very good points. Thanks! Mixing can be so esoteric in the age of plugins, it's hard to know what to do and when to stop mixing.

The failure in my logic was that a track that sounds great solo'ed won't fit in a mix. Or that what I'm hearing is deceiving me somehow.

I can see how rock instruments almost mix themselves. The kicks tend to not be overly bassy, the bass not overly bright and distorted guitars naturally need bass to be cut pre-distortion.
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Old 01-22-2020, 01:38 PM   #5
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The failure in my logic was that a track that sounds great solo'ed won't fit in a mix. Or that what I'm hearing is deceiving me somehow.
Great as soloed may or may not fit in a mix, but you can fix that by making your adjustments with it not soloed.
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Old 01-22-2020, 01:43 PM   #6
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How do *you* like it in mono?
Hmmm. I just checked. It sounds kind of awful. The delay becomes way more prominent and the double-tracked guitars are phasing out more than I expected. I'll have to investigate. I didn't use any stereo tricks (haas) so this is surprising.
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Old 01-22-2020, 01:59 PM   #7
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You know... When a band plays live the sounds just mix naturally/acoustically, or sometimes in bigger venues the sound goes through a mixer where the sound guy simply adjusts the levels and maybe uses a little EQ. If there's an electric guitar the guitar player has his own pedals/effects.


You don't have to use lots of processing/effects/editing.
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Old 01-22-2020, 04:11 PM   #8
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You know... When a band plays live the sounds just mix naturally/acoustically, or sometimes in bigger venues the sound goes through a mixer where the sound guy simply adjusts the levels and maybe uses a little EQ.
Yes, and it often sounds appalling :-)

I like what the OP has done, and it's probably true that "rock instruments almost mix themselves". Specifically tho, if you're doing that double guitar opposite pan thing, it's probably a good idea to make sure that they sum to mono nicely without appearing to go funny. Who was it who did that thing, but also snuck a guitar down the middle, just playing the bottom note of the guitar part?

Anyhoo, it's a good general rule that if you're going for a wide stereo, don't rely on the stereo - if it's good in mono, it'll be great in stereo.
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Old 01-22-2020, 04:56 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by ErBird View Post
Hmmm. I just checked. It sounds kind of awful.
Grab the free plugin Correlometer from Voxengo. This helped me immensely to fix guitars that sound good in stereo but not in mono. The more the meter is above the line, the better they will sum to mono.
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Old 01-23-2020, 03:40 AM   #10
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Yeah, that correlometer is handy, I also use the (free) Melda MStereoScope. But you don't need tools other than the mono button.

Wide panning of non-identical parts will always produce low (or negative) correlation, how they'll interact when our ears/brains lose the stereo cue? use your ears.

[Supplemental] One trick that I've used is to do some Mid/Side eq on opposed guitars, (group them, i.e put 'em in a folder) a low shelf cut on the sides with a complementary boost on the mid.
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Old 01-23-2020, 06:17 AM   #11
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Too much low mids leads to phase-shifts in mono. Also valid about the delay (should be low cut and even damped down if possible so that it does not overbuild even with the feedback pumped up).

I follow some simple "rules" to always have the dry sound first mixed with a very short reverb (unless there is a artistic need to have a dry sound for an effect). That way you can hear and feel the "breath" of the sound. It is very subtle yet prominent and important.

Guitars, electric should be low cut anyway (120Hz) depending on the pickups, quality of the chained equipment, maybe even up to 200Hz. Same applied for vocals and many other mic signals.

On the way into the DAW just check your dry signal with a Spectrum Analyzer or EQ (with built in SA).

I aslo use a touch of Transformer sim plugins. Makes the dry signal more full/rich/warm/analogue... whatever you want to name it.

Example with generic passive pickp (neck humbucker), no brand (same D5 chord palm-mute heavy low sh¡t):

The sh¡tholder space (in red box) should be reserved for the bottom of the kick drums (low sampled sine waves for sub rumble if needed as an effect or synth low sweep) and some of the bass guitar, nothing else should be living here no matter how many effects chained after it!








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Old 01-23-2020, 06:35 AM   #12
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Guitars, electric should be low cut anyway (120Hz) depending on the pickups, quality of the chained equipment, maybe even up to 200Hz.
Yes, that's usually a good idea. I pretty much always do it, although I may automate this if, say, guitars are solo in sections - so that we don't hear thin guitars on their own.

Sometimes a high pass and a (higher) low shelf cut works well.
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Old 01-23-2020, 07:06 AM   #13
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I wanted to describe the premix stage or post-recording I should say.
Mainly from a guitar (electric) point of view.

It just makes the mixing stage much more pleasant and usually leads to less frustration over the phasing issues the mixing engineer may and will encounter when later adding effects and then trying to clean up the low to mid low end of the mixed sound.

Of course shit in = shit out.
The better and the less the equipment, the clearer the signal.
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Old 01-24-2020, 11:43 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foxAsteria View Post
Grab the free plugin Correlometer from Voxengo. This helped me immensely to fix guitars that sound good in stereo but not in mono. The more the meter is above the line, the better they will sum to mono.
Thanks. I use the one in Span, but it's nice to have a multi-band version. I'm curious what do you do in the case of poor stereo correlation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrk View Post
How do *you* like it in mono?
Quote:
Originally Posted by ErBird View Post
It sounds kind of awful.
I take this back. The timing between left and right takes is a little off, but it sounds fine in mono. I lowered the delay on the palm-muted parts.

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Originally Posted by adXok View Post
Guitars, electric should be low cut anyway (120Hz)
Thanks. I went up to 90 Hz, 24 dB/oct. Going up higher cuts too much of the palm mute chunk in this case. The lead and chorded parts handle high-passing better.
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Old 01-24-2020, 12:28 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ErBird View Post
I'm curious what do you do in the case of poor stereo correlation?
Bypass plugs and sends until I figure out what's causing it and then experiment until it's fixed. In my case it's usually bad combo of speaker impulses and I find some that are better correlated. Sometimes it's as easy as panning the guitars a bit closer together.

It's true you can fix the correlation just as well in mono, but you won't know how it sounds in stereo until you're done. This tool allows you to do the corrections and hear the stereo placement.
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Old 01-24-2020, 01:17 PM   #16
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I've only been recording my guitars for a couple of years, but if it helps, what I found works for me is using the controls on my guitars, pedal board, and amp to get the sound I want, then I record that. I do use Ignite Amps for the IR files.

Since I'm just a hobbyist and I don't have any time or money constraints on what I do, I can spend days, or even weeks, playing the same thing over and over again with different guitars, different settings, that kind of stuff.

Another reason I do it that way is because there is so much about mixing that I don't understand, and I found out that if I have things pretty much the way I want them at the performance level, I don't have to worry about a lot of that other stuff.

But that's just me. There are people on this forum who can take the crappiest of performances and turn them into something that sounds awesome.

The one cool thing about all of it though is that, in the end, it's all about what works for you.

I personally thought the mix you posted sounded pretty good. I really like that style of playing. I've got a Drop Box account if you want to swap tracks back and forth, just mess around and see what we come up with.
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Old 01-24-2020, 02:18 PM   #17
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Thanks. I went up to 90 Hz, 24 dB/oct. Going up higher cuts too much of the palm mute chunk in this case.
Well, then I am afraid you do not understand how sounds in mixing stage work.
Here is two examples of dist guitar sound with muting from a similar style instrumental rock (shredding) form original multi-tracks. First is general licks, second one is when muting.

Show us your guitar screenshot from the freq. analyser, please, and let's compare. I can hear the problem, so let's see it.

first one







second one (palm mutes)

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Old 01-24-2020, 02:52 PM   #18
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I think the guitars need to hipass the guitars. This would help clear up the mud in the low end that I'm hearing in your recording. This is very important.
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Old 01-24-2020, 03:01 PM   #19
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Upload an audio sample with just the guitar in short .wav file.

Or... better upload a short multi-tracks (as stems):
drums
bass
huitar1
guitar2

I will do the "maths" for you (about that sample).
Just use the same tone, which you have on the uploaded instrumental song in your first post.
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Old 01-24-2020, 03:21 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by adXok View Post
Show us your guitar screenshot from the freq. analyser, please, and let's compare. I can hear the problem, so let's see it.
I'll do even better. Here's a video:



I'm not sure why you're saying palm mutes compress and reduce the low end. They're known to induce resonance at the fundamental of the string. Of course it depends on technique and tone, especially the cabinet itself. In this case, I'm using a 4x12 closed back IR.

I'm not keen on high-passing too high. I like that thump at the fundamental. Key of A, so 110 Hz. Maybe a low shelf would better retain the balance of the low end while reducing it a little.
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Old 01-24-2020, 04:17 PM   #21
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Reds: those bumps are definitely showing something not quite right with the balance low-highs.

Those should be at least 12~18dBFS lower!
Darkened are the expected peaks of the same area.



That peak on 100Hz and 200Hz (even harmonic)... that should be occupied by your bass guitar or synth-bass.
I was sure that boominess was there.
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Old 01-24-2020, 04:29 PM   #22
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One more thing.
You are EQing the processed (amp-sim or reamped) audio, I can see its compressed saturated/distorted waveform on the track.

This EQ should apply before you amp-sim the guitar signal coming into the Reaper. You have to know what your clean input guitar's pickup profile is! Just see it on the Voxengo SPAN and post it here.

Amp-sims are not like real amps.
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Old 01-24-2020, 04:33 PM   #23
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Electric guitar in a mix often includes ambient content. The sound of it bouncing off the walls like mom used to complain about. Sometimes you need that element in the mix. So it's not always just the guitar sound coming out of the speaker itself. You need the "bouncing off the walls" part in the mix too.
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Old 01-24-2020, 04:36 PM   #24
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Electric guitar in a mix often includes ambient content. The sound of it bouncing off the walls like mom used to complain about. Sometimes you need that element in the mix. So it's not always just the guitar sound coming out of the speaker itself. You need the "bouncing off the walls" part in the mix too.
Of course, but that is a mixing taste, stylistic preference, arrangement.
Me and others could certainly hear that the guitar track has some problems in the lows, low-mids. How it will be mixed is a completely different stage.
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Old 01-25-2020, 01:05 PM   #25
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Let me translate some of my previous posts. I'm not sure why I worded them the way I did. Must have been in a weird state that day.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ErBird View Post
After hearing many times that what sounds good on a solo'ed track isn't going to fit in a mix, I feel like I'm missing something in terms of "real" mixing.
A lot of people online say a lot of (often contradictory) things about mixing. I'm trying to confirm that this mix that took minimal work is somewhat passable and not completely horrible. I want to take a more minimal approach to mixing in the future.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ErBird View Post
Mixing can be so esoteric in the age of plugins, it's hard to know what to do and when to stop mixing.
I tend to obsess over the mix more than the music to the point where it becomes unpleasant and I wind up hating the song. I'm trying to get away from that. I want to basically plug in and make music without feeling like I have to do a million things to the mix while still recording.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ErBird View Post
The failure in my logic was that a track that sounds great solo'ed won't fit in a mix. Or that what I'm hearing is deceiving me somehow.
I tend to distrust my ears even when it sounds good. I have trouble believing that a good mix can be produced with minimal processing. So I go "I like this but it's probably not going to translate in the car or something. Better add another plugin."

Quote:
Originally Posted by ErBird View Post
Hmmm. I just checked. It sounds kind of awful. The delay becomes way more prominent and the double-tracked guitars are phasing out more than I expected. I'll have to investigate. I didn't use any stereo tricks (haas) so this is surprising.
I usually don't check stereo correlation, but make a point of not using harmful stereo widening tools. Chorus, delay and reverb are really all I use that would add stereo-ness.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ErBird View Post
Thanks. I went up to 90 Hz, 24 dB/oct. Going up higher cuts too much of the palm mute chunk in this case. The lead and chorded parts handle high-passing better.
Trying to be gracious because you put in a lot of effort to help. I already had the HP in place.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ErBird View Post
I'm not keen on high-passing too high. I like that thump at the fundamental. Key of A, so 110 Hz. Maybe a low shelf would better retain the balance of the low end while reducing it a little.
120 Hz is too high since I don't want to neuter the palm-mute thump. Also, I don't want to do something that only suits palm mutes at A or higher. I'm trying to get a good baseline tone and already see that I would have to lower that HP if I decide to play in E. A low shelf retains the balance of the lowest harmonics better.
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Old 01-25-2020, 01:10 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adXok View Post
Upload an audio sample with just the guitar in short .wav file.
I made a project with the guitar tone at various stages of processing. The items are stereo, but set to playback in mono. You can change this in the item settings if you want to hear the double-tracking.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Ft...pInK5fn3joOF0O


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Old 01-25-2020, 02:57 PM   #27
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Tired as much as I could.
Had to tweak a lot with room reverb, simple remix.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ul0...ew?usp=sharing

Cab + Roomverb tracks (ReaEQ) + SPAN (on Master Bus to monitor)


Unfortunately the cab (ampsim) track is quite strange (maybe the IR is not so great).
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Old 01-25-2020, 05:25 PM   #28
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Unfortunately the cab (ampsim) track is quite strange (maybe the IR is not so great).
I used 1on-pres8 from the Catharsis IR pack.
(Cabinet 1, SM57 on-axis, power amp presence at 8).

I actually thought it was a pretty clear and nice-sounding. Tastes vary, so who knows?
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