Micing and Mixing/Mastering Theory/Techniques

Discussion in 'Mixing & Editing' started by po51393, Oct 9, 2006.

  1. po51393

    po51393 Guest

    I have a home studio Pro Tools setup (setup's in my info). I'm fairly new to the world of Recording and Mixing/Mastering. Here are the mics I have available:
    2 - MXL 604 Condensers
    2 - Sennheiser MD421 Dynamics
    2 - SM57 Dynamics
    1 - AKG D-112

    I need some suggestions:
    I'm waiting to get my amp serviced so I haven't recorded with it yet. When We do, this is How I'll Mic it. Only using the combo NOT the 2x12 cab.
    LEFT SIDE - MD421(front) SM57(Back-It's vented)
    RIGHT SIDE - SM57(front) MD421(Back)
    Since I haven't gotten my amp back yet I've experimented whith Pro Tools to get a good feel for it before we start recording. We've recorded Drums (md421's on the tombs - D-112 on the Kick - SM57's on snare (top and bottom) - Condenser Overheads).
    We've also recorded Guitars and Bass using Amplitube. The Problem, is that the Mix's sound REALLY thin. I'm not too sure what to do it about it since I'm not very experienced. I've heard of techniques such as Using Amplitube for a track and my actual amp For another track to make the guitar sound more full. But that still wouldn't solve the Drum Problem. Here's what I'm looking for:

    1. Any Suggestions on Mixing and Mastering to help me as an aspiring Producer.

    2. Any suggestions on Good Books on Mixing and Mastering.

    3. Any tips on Micing techniques.

    4. Any Suggestions on Good Micing Techniques/Theory Books.

  2. MadMax

    MadMax Distinguished Member

    Mar 18, 2001
    Sunny & warm NC
    Home Page:
    Just a few questions...

    What kind of environtment are you attempting to mix in? room dimensions, acouustical treatment, etc...)

    What is your signal chain, specifically your amp/monitors. (Mic pre's, AD/DA's soundcard, etc...)

    And a few comments...

    Your mixing environment is very critical as far as creating mixes that will translate from one place to another. I would suggest you do a few searches for acoustical treatment and soundproofing... and yes, they are two VERY different things.

    You don't have to have a perfect environmet to record and mix, (there ain't no such animal anyway) but you should start learning about these things now.

    The best way to learn this "stuff" is to just get in there and dig it, by do it.

    About your mixes being thin... I take it that the mix sounds fine when you mix, but when your take it elsewhere, THATS where it's "thin"? If so, it's probably your monitors and environment...

    Let us in on your gear list and maybe it'll help us pin-point what the other factors could be.

  3. po51393

    po51393 Guest

    First off Thanks alot.
    Just so you know, what I mean by thin is almost like when you're listining to something and you turn your subwufer(?) all the way down. It's a real almost "lacking" sound (which is without the vocals) but previous recordings done by the drummers producer without the vocals sounded full. Very "thick" sounding like it wasn't too lacking of anything. But It's not that are mixes are lacking bass or low end either.

    Ok. I'm Going to name everything I know of that we have and what it's running into. I allready named the mics so I'm going to skip over that part. Ok.
    From the Mic's, I'm running into a PreSonus Digimax LT Pre-Amplifier. I'm padding all the mics (20dB pad) and then turning up the gain almost untill it clips. (the condensers have to be padded or they clip with the gain down)
    2.Snare Top
    3.Snare Bottom
    5.Floor Tom
    6+7=Stereo Pair Condensers
    1.SennheiserMD421 (front left)
    2.Shure SM57 (front right)
    3.MD421 (back left)
    4.SM57 (back right)

    From there they go to my Digidesign digi002R I/O via Optical Cable. It has 4 XLR and 1/4 inch Jack inputs in the back. I use the #1 1/4 Jack for Direct inputs (guitar and bass). From There I run into my PC via Firewire cable. It runs windows. I'm running Pro Tools LE On a 7,200 RPM 250GB Harddrive by itself with Windows and My music Files. (All of my other stuff is on another matching harddrive but I only have the basics to use up a limited amount space). My sound Card is MORE than enough to get the job done. Then It runs out into two M-AUDIO Bx8a Studiophile Moniters And I also Have pair of BeyerDynamic DT770 Headphones.

    I'm in a closed 14 Sqaure foot (aprox.) room With One 4x4 foot closed window. My Amplifier (Guitar) is recorded on 10 in a small (2x6)ft closet that's closed off. We use a very Bright guitar sound (which probably doesn't help) with an almost muddy low end. So it's a little bassy, which helps. As far as the drums go, we have an acrylic vented snare, which also has alot of attack, but the tombs and kick have alot of low end.

    This is where I think it's the "how we're micing" and the mixing and mastering "correctly" parts come in though. So that's are setup.

    Like I said, any suggestions on Books (micing theory, mixing, mastering, what to look for when mixing in mastering, or anything like that) That are actually good books with the information I need, (because alot of them aren't) and tips for mixing and mastering in general I would really appreciate it.
  4. po51393

    po51393 Guest

    I'm also very limited on time and don't know where to begin in trying to solve the problem on my own.
  5. pmolsonmus

    pmolsonmus Well-Known Member

    Jun 23, 2003
    Sounds like a phase issue. Engage the mono button on your 002 when you're setting up mics. Move mics until you can get a full sound. Or, keep mics in phase as you're setting them up (with headphones on) move them until the phase cancellation wipes out as much sound as possilbe then flip the phase on one of the mics.

    If this is Latin to you then you've got a lot of real homework to do before you're ready to hear answers to the other questions you're asking
  6. MadMax

    MadMax Distinguished Member

    Mar 18, 2001
    Sunny & warm NC
    Home Page:
    OK, this is somewhat contradictory, so let's dig a bit deeper.

    First you say your mixes are missing the lows associate with the subwoofer range; e.g 20-80Hz. Then you say that the mixes aren't lacking low end. Is this from the other producer's mixes that you're not lacking low end?

    Looking at your gear list it isn't your gear. It looks like either mixing or mic placement or a combination... with emphasis on the mixing being the problem... specifically your eq settings... although, you do have to have usable levels recorded to really do anything with em'... what do your levels look like?

    I'll give you a couple of things to explore and by then, I'm sure there's going to be some more folks to chime in with other things. Let's just start with kick and bass. If we can get those two, you should be able to get going on the rest of it w/o too much difficulty.

    Kik - Add some 40-60 Hz on a narrow Q... maybe +3bd. Cut 350-450Hz on a fairly narrow Q maybe -3 to -6 db. You'll have to search for the click... but usually it's right at 3KHz. Go ahead and boost that by a few db on a REAL narrow Q.

    As each kick is different, you'll have to listen and make these adjustments with your ears. So, sweep the eq settings slowly, until you hear what's going on... and be sure you DON'T have a compressor on that kick squashing the life out of it. We can get into comps later.

    Next, start working with your bass. Where you cut the kick in the 350 to 400 range, boost the bass by what you took out of the kick. If you need some fret noise, look for it in the 3-5KHz range and boost it until you get what you're looking for. Again, don't compress these yet.

    Generally, 400Hz on the kick is where the "boxy" sound comes from, and that's the same point that bass guitars like to sit. When you cut the kick, you open a hole for the bass.

    If you can get some decent stuff happening with the kick and bass, then it's off to the races on the rest of your mix.

    If you can't get anything happening, then the issue is something else in your setup...

    How did you track the bass? I would try going through a DI or plugging directly into the digi depending on your rig. Since you're having issues, I would not recommend using a mic right now.

    If you can't get the bass by going direct or DI, then you've got a setup problem in your signal chain, or your preferences need to be looked at.

  7. po51393

    po51393 Guest

    Sorry, let me clear that up. The instruments themselves are not lacking low end. In the mix they are which like you said is probably because of how I'm micing, EQ'ing, and mixing.

    Also, I do plug Dirictly in whith the bass and use the Amplitube plugin.
    I'll definately go try to Eq everything in like you said.

    As for this:
    Thanks but you're right. I'm not completely sure what you meant by "phasing" and "full sound". So obviously I need to do some research. That's also one of the reasons I think a good Book could really be helpful too.
  8. if you can, you should post some of your drum recordings i'd appreciate it

  9. MadMax

    MadMax Distinguished Member

    Mar 18, 2001
    Sunny & warm NC
    Home Page:
    OK, so the individual tracks (solo'd?) are OK, but not when mixed.

  10. Excuse me if i'm being an idiot. I read this fast, because I'm on my way out, but are you trying to use 4 close mics on 2 speakers of a guitar cab? I would start with one...and MAYBE put another one on the same speaker. I wouldn't mic 2 speakers...especially with that many mics. You'll have a phase NIGHTMARE. You have some nice gear though and seem to be willing to learn, so good luck!
  11. rudedogg

    rudedogg Guest

    this definitely sounds like a phase problem.

    try this:

    start with just the overheads. adjust the volumes until you have the stereo mix sounding pretty good with the kick and snare and the middle and the high hat on the right/left depending on how you are mixing.

    then add the kick, use a 1 band eqII and flip the phase if it does not sound thumping.

    next add the top snare, bring the level up until it sounds right. do a little eq to take out the ring of the snare (tight q usually 6-700hz and 300-350hz depending on the snare) if you want to do a bit more eq, add a little 5-6k for crack and 10-12k for snap / snares

    bring the bottom snare mic up and make sure the phase is flipped if it wasn't when you were tracking (1 band eqII press the button that looks like a zero with a line thru it) try to take the ring out of this one too.

    next bring up the rack tom and select a short part of the song that the toms are played on, cut around 1k and add a little 4-6k for the snap

    same with the floor tom, eqs might be a slight bit lower. also always check phase with these, use that little eqII and flip phase, and if you lose the thump at any time, flip it the other way.

    create a stereo aux send, bus kick, snare and toms (preferably gating the toms) to this track, add the default protools dynamics 3 and compress at about 4-10:1 and about 6-10db of gain reduction, get the thing to attack quick and a slower release try to get this timed to the song (eg. it stops compressing just before the next hit) bring this track up behind the main drums until everything is pumping in orgasmic delight.

    bring up the bass, bring up the guitars, and then you have yourself a nice decent rough mix.

    now is the part the separates the men from the boys. anyone can get a mix to sound this good. taking it to the _next_ level is the part that will take you the next 10 years to figure out.

    good luck.


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