Metal heads mixing/mastering tips needed!

Discussion in 'Tracking / Mixing / Editing' started by UnmaskingMusic, Jul 16, 2013.

  1. UnmaskingMusic

    UnmaskingMusic Active Member

    Hey guys,

    Just recorded first song and needed some tips all around the board on how to get a better sound, especially when it comes to mastering guitars. Check out Obliteration at UnmaskingMusic youtube channel or follow the link below. Subscribe if you like the song, since more are coming and they will be done by the full band rather than me tracking everything.smoke

    Thanks guys.

    UnmaskingMusic - YouTube
  2. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    i listened on some crappy laptop speakers, thought it sounded pretty good overall. i think the kick can come up quite a bit, and a healthy boost in the 5-10k area would probably help it cut through on systems like laptops,, earbuds, and iphones.
    as far as mastering guitars. mastering is when you get a stereo file ready for cd. this includes song order, making sure the songs are all similar in volume, and fade in/outs, and gaps between songs. it usually involves some compression, limiting, and eq to the overall file, to help keep the songs similar in overall tonality.

    i heard some 'machine gunning' on one or two of the snare rolls, which sound like the same smaple being triggered multiple times in a row.

    also, your best bet for this kind of thing, is to post on the critique part of the site up top, and use soundcloud, or dropbox, so poeple can hear a better quality version. you tube does awful things to audio.

    good work overall, as much as i can tell from a laptop.
  3. UnmaskingMusic

    UnmaskingMusic Active Member

    Thanks for the feedback man. Everything really helps! If anyone wants to post pros and cons to both direct and mic recording when it comes to guitars that would be great. I recorded the guitar tracks in this direct in and have been told by several that using a microphone method is the clear choice. No one has really elaborated on the topic so if anyone is interested that would be great!
  4. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    hey man, i'll run some usuals by ya,.

    the big ticket for D.I is flexibilty. so if you have a nice di box and cable and guitar, when you get into the recorder its clean and dynamic. then you can mangle, eq, re-amp, amp sim. all this cool like synth stuff. it doesn't have to be loud to the world, even headphone volume. it gets a clean signal to the next thing in a chain.
    most decent sized productions will use a D.I live, (countryman for bass? or avalon? or radial?) and just mic a single 12" speaker backstage in an osp box, so the sound person has both a clean signal, and little stage volume. D.I gets ideas down late night in the basment.

    Watch out when blending for phase issues, and some amp sims sound better than others. my FAV is guitar rig, i think it sound s the most acceptable, and least grainy. as far as response to touch goes... well they arent amps.

    mic'ing. loud amps like this and close micing take away alot of the room sound, which is good for new style metal. micing has an advatage of 'feel' if your system has 0 latency monitoring. i dunno the stats on electrical latency, or that stuff, but if you have 'hardware monitoring' it goes thru the speakers fast enough for rock and roll.

    'your sound'. maybe your amp sounds killer. i dunno i always mic'ed my amps, close w/ a 57 or whatever, maybe a condenser a foot away.

    it depends on your amp, and mic, and room, and pre, all of which you may want to add, or not add, individually. for a cool sounding amp, make it sound good in the room, add a 57 somewhere between the speaker cone/edge, on the grill or around there, and rock. it depends on your intentions.

    A nice D.I bpx, and interface/converters will help if you want to just track clean and re-amp later.
  5. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Kmetal pointed out a crucial piece of info... and that is that there is a huge difference between mixing and mastering.

    One involves the various balancing of tracks related to each other, adding EQ, effects, panning, etc.
    This is mixing.

    The other is the process that happens after the final mix has been rendered, where a mastering engineer takes a listen to the whole song...or project - and then applies various processing to make each song shine.
    A mastering engineer's job isn't to make your guitars sound better on their own. It's their job to make the entire song - or collection of songs -sound good, using various processing, skills and techniques.
    This is mastering.

    So, if you want your guitars to sound better - maybe brighter, or chunkier, or warmer, or whatever, this is done at the mixing stage on an individual track level.

    Apply the same theory to vocals, or drums, or whatever else exists as discreet tracks on your DAW.

    Now, as far as your comment regarding whether to DI or mic guitars, my personal preference has always been to mic up an amp, and sometimes the room as well.
    Any solid dynamic mic will do the job just fine. You don't need to break the bank on this, either... Shure SM57's & 58's, Sennheiser 609's & 421's... and a slew of others are all great guitar amp mics.

    Occasionally I will place a condenser like a Neumann 89 or AKG 414 about 4-6 feet out into the room to catch the ambiance, but that's not necessarily a deal breaker. Plenty of times, I've gotten great sounding guitar tracks either using just one dynamic mic on an amp, or also placing a dynamic mic out in the room. You don't have to use a high dollar condenser for this application.

    Now, the rub here is that most importantly,you need a decent sounding amp, and secondly, if you want to capture the sound of the amp in the space it's in, a decent sounding room doesn't hurt, BUT...

    I'll probably catch serious hell on this from my peers here, but it's always been my opinion - based on experience - that you can pretty much track guitars anywhere.
    It's not the same thing as with drums or vocals, where having a very nice sounding room definitely makes a difference. You'd need a pretty bad sounding room to do a lot of damage to a guitar track, and in the end, if you were in a room that sounded that bad, you could simply put one mic on the amp and then trap it, using various materials like goboes or blankets, etc.
    (okay guys, flame suit is now on. Fire away). ;)

    Truthfully, the only time I DI or use an amp sim on recording is for those late night ideas when I don't want to wake the wife or bum out my dog. LOL. I'll track using an amp sim, but I always go back and re track ( or re-amp) using my Fender Deville or other good amp, mic'd up using one of the above model mics.

  6. UnmaskingMusic

    UnmaskingMusic Active Member

    Well I have a couple decent amps and it looks like I'm gonna run to guitar center and grab a sm57 to try out this out. We are starting a new song soon and I cannot wait to apply the feedback you guys have given, thanks.thumb
  7. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    cool man, can't wait to hear it, make sure you post the song up.

    i agree w/ you D. i think you can pretty much get a good electric guitar sound pretty much anywhere. from dead closets, to large rooms, to untreated concrete basements, i've never had a hard time getting a good electric guitar sound. i don't think it's my skills lol, i just think that w/ a dynamic an inch away it can't help but pick up the amp. also the close mic'd guitar sound is whats on pro rock records for like the last 40 years. i think electric guitar sounds are perhaps, the least dependent on room sounds, that i can think of.

    ditto on the distance mic, that takes a better room for more flattering results.

    i'd be curious to hear if anyone feels differently on the close micing thing.
  8. UnmaskingMusic

    UnmaskingMusic Active Member

    Hey guys, the one complaint I have gotten most frequently about this first recording is that the guitars are hollow sounding and not very full. The solution I had received from the experts,(you guys), is a quick fix in that I had not layered the guitars whatsoever. So, with my new found knowledge, I recorded two more guitar tracks and applied the magical technique of "layering guitars" to the song. In my opinion, I think it makes a noticeable difference.... Let me know what you guys think. And I did make a soundcloud account as you suggested for music posting.
  9. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Oh boy !! it actually sound better on my crapy laptop speaker than on my PA or headphones..
    Why ? because the mix and mastering represent very narrow band of frequencies for each instruments.
    It could be du to the use of the wrong listening equipement, wrong choice of mic or bad sounding room.

    Please take your best headphones and AB your master to a commercial CD or many CDs.

    I meen the only thing clear enough is the guitar.. which sound narrow in the hi mid frequencies.
    the drums sound like a low pass filter was aplied at 2k, no sparkles no presences.. it's like you did put a mic in the next room with the door close..

    Let me propose: let's listen to it with no effects or Eq, just the raw tracks and volume ajustments, Let's figure out if it's the recording process or the mixing who went bad..
  10. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    well the guitars sound a bit more filled out, definately a build up in the scratchy sounding uppper mids (3-5k). Part of the trick to layering, besides a tight performance, is to "fill in the holes". In other words you don't usually want to stack the same sound oever and over. if your usuing the same amp/mic use a different channel and settings, and mic placement. otherwise your overemphasing whats there, and underemphasing what's not. Thats why alot of times guys will use like 2 or three amps, like a mesa for the low/low mids, a marshal for the mids, and maybe a saldano, or even an almost clean amp like a fender, for balls/highs/pick attack. the idea is to take the best of each sound and creat one huge conglomerate of an amp sound.

    again, Phase cannot be emphasized enough when doing this. if your recording multiple amps simultaneously, you can time align them in the daw via dragging. if your doing multiple takes, i'd tend to use a pluggin that has polarity reversal and press the polarity button on and off on one channel to hear which one sounds fuller, w/ deeper bass, aka less thin, less hollow. This is critical, whether using amp sims, or combo of live/digtal.

    there are some serious balance issues overall, the drums/vox are barely there, and the guitars are there too much. often in metal you have the vox/kick pretty equal and loud, and the guitars just a bit under them.

    besides what pc suggested about your listening room/monitoring (which is what by the way?), i sense a severe case of 'over mixing'. if your song doesn't sound 85% finished when you bring the faders up, it means that the recording itself is not up to par. think of mixing as fine tuning the guitar, not restringing it. or adding the salt and pepper, not making the meal from scratch. ya dig?

    no insult here man, you def have some skills at music, we've all been there, it's just time to take this to a more well rounded mix. I think Pc is right on w/ the lets hear it raw, just a rough balance, and start from there.

    also, if you used your 57 and amp, i suggest you start w/ it in between the dust cap, and surround of the speaker. the closer to the center of the speaker the more scratchy/bzzzzzy/bright, the closer to the surround, the more rounded/dull/dark it sounds.
  11. Paschalis I.

    Paschalis I. Guest

    Some things I would like to point out :)

    1. The mix is too dark.
    2. Guitars lack "body", put some mids in there!
    3. Vocals could be just a bit louder, 1-2db max.
    4. The kick drum lacks some attack on the higher frequencies.

    Having said that, I can feel that you have a good sense of volume balancing,
    you can improve easily

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