Mixing Techniques for simple acoustic gtr/vocal material

Discussion in 'Tracking / Mixing / Editing' started by deek, Jun 4, 2001.

  1. deek

    deek Guest

    Hi all, I am a newbie and I apologise if I posted this at the wrong forum.

    I have just recorded some simple vocal and acoustic guitar tracks on ADAT, and now in the process of mixdown on O2R.

    Got 1 vocal track and 3 tracks of acoustic guitar (close miked 57,distant miked Rode NT and a D.I signal).

    Would like to ask you pros out there suggestions on how to pan and mixdown the guitar and vocal tracks.

    Any special reverb,eq, delay or compressor settings for the acoustic guitar and vocal?

    How to get the vocal to stand out in the middle with the appropriate reverb, with the acoustic guitar at the sides ?

    Was wondering how to pan the guitar tracks so that they do not clash with the vocals in the middle.

    I'm hoping to achieve a crisp, yet intimate mix.

    Thanks a lot !!
     
  2. Eric Sarafin

    Eric Sarafin Guest

    For simple vocal / acoustic arrangements, I prefer to put the vocal up the middle (always), and the acoustic guitar panned slightly to the left. While this might not accurately depict the sonic image that occurs sitting in front of an acoustic performer, it does satisfy the visual image (in the stereo field) of the body of the guitar off to the side of the singer.

    Use whichever mic sounds the best, or whatever combination sounds the best, although a 57 sounds a little suspect for this application. I haven't heard the song, so who knows, it might be perfect. Careful of phase coherency between mics.

    This panning approach gives you the most realistic presentation possible, keeps the guitar out of the vocal, and is least likely to offend the listener.

    I usually record the vocal and the acoustic guitar at the same time (bleed, schmeed) for the added benefit it provides the performance. Recording them separately is not invalid, just another approach that is sometimes called for.

    Eric Sarafin
     
  3. Scott Lesley

    Scott Lesley Guest

    Pan the vocal center;
    drop the di, unless your micing really sucked;
    split the distant rode into a hard-panned pair, keep the close 57 in the middle for good imaging;
    send the vocal and guitar signals to seperate verbs, if possible;
    get a nice wide verb or tight delay, to taste, on the guitar fx returns, and put a nice warm verb on the vocals, panned less-than-hard;
    keep a good full range on the acoustic- you may fatten it up a little with a compression or eq, depending on how "intimate" you want it to be;
    use the automation on the O2R to ride the vox and guitars up and down (if needed) on any whispering or guitar solo parts;
    make sure your mono imaging is good, don't want the song to go all tinny on a single speaker system;
    hope this helps...
     
  4. Eric Sarafin

    Eric Sarafin Guest

    Originally posted by Scott Lesley:

    send the vocal and guitar signals to seperate verbs, if possible;
    get a nice wide verb or tight delay, to taste, on the guitar fx returns, and put a nice warm verb on the vocals, panned less-than-hard;


    This would provide the exact opposite of the original posters desire for an 'intimate' and 'crisp' mix, IMO (although, I can't really say definitively what 'crisp' means... I can only assume it means the opposite of 'mushy').

    Eric Sarafin
     
  5. Gregg

    Gregg Guest

    Well, knock me over with a feather! There's something very interesting about this thread and it ain't the topic. :cool:
     
  6. arneholm

    arneholm Guest

    Originally posted by Tonebarge:
    Well, knock me over with a feather! There's something very interesting about this thread and it ain't the topic. :cool:
    Yeah, I thought it was cool too... One thousand one hundred seventy six times cool...
     
  7. GZsound

    GZsound Active Member

    Since I do a lot of acoustic guitar and vocal recording, here is my two cents worth. I use a four channel reverb. I place the vocal in the center with a warm large reverb just barely added and panned center also. The acoustic guitars are panned slightly left and right and I use a short warm reverb on them also panned with the source. The key is the panning. Slight panning opens the song up and makes it sound more like it was recorded live whereas full panning makes it sound like it was recorded in a studio and lacks realism. Too much reverb also makes a mushy mix and starts to sound like karoake if abused. The key is to get a good guitar and vocal sound from the beginning. I would not necessarily use a 57 for acoustic guitar and I'm not sure what distant micing would add. I usually close mic with a single small condenser and use the large condenser for the vocals.
     
  8. mrivers

    mrivers Guest

    Originally posted by deek:
    I have just recorded some simple vocal and acoustic guitar tracks on ADAT, and now in the process of mixdown on O2R.

    Got 1 vocal track and 3 tracks of acoustic guitar (close miked 57,distant miked Rode NT and a D.I signal).


    How to get the vocal to stand out in the middle with the appropriate reverb, with the acoustic guitar at the sides ?

    Was wondering how to pan the guitar tracks so that they do not clash with the vocals in the middle.

    I'm hoping to achieve a crisp, yet intimate mix.



    There's bee a lot of suggesting here and none of us have heard Deek's tracks. First thing I'd want to know when flying "deaf" is whether the vocal was an overdub or recorded together with the guitar. We know that there as a distant mic for the guitar - how distant, and does it sound good?

    If the room doesn't suck, chances are the distant mic is about all the "reverb" needed for the guitar, and for the voice, too, if it wasn't an overdub.

    I'd start out in mono, with the voice and your favorite guitar mic. Then add the other guitar mic and see if things sound better or worse. If better, then experiment with panning the two mics a little off center. It's not really stereo but it helps take the focus off the center where the vocal should be.

    If the vocal is a dry overdub and needs something to fill out the voice, I'd try a medium room or plate progarm (assuming you have a box with a lot of programs in it) and use a pretty hefty pre-delay, maybe 50-60 msec. That will get the reverberation away from the words and you can get away with using less of it, get a feeling of space around the vocal, and not muddy it up.

    As for the DI, use it if it helps add clarity to the guitar - if the guitar needs more clarity. You don't want to create the guitar sound that detracts from the vocal.

    Keep it simple, because it is simple. There's nothing wrong with putting everything straight up the center if that's what sounds best. Whether you end up that way or not, with those two guitar mics which are obviously not in phase (I'm not talking polarity here, though you can try flipping it on one of the mics), you'd best at least check it in mono to see what happens. You don't want the guitar sound to change substantially when the channels are combined.
     
  9. Ang1970

    Ang1970 Well-Known Member

    Good points Mike!
     
  10. k.w.blackwell

    k.w.blackwell Member

    Originally posted by Eric Sarafin:
    although a 57 sounds a little suspect for this application. I haven't heard the song, so who knows, it might be perfect.

    I have experimented with acoustic guitar miking in my small studio room and found that I could get a very nice result by combining an NT-1 somewhat forward and well overhead with a bit of SM-57 close aiming up (nearly veritical) mostly at the bridge and just a bit across it almost toward the sound hole. The NT-1 is bass-shy, and the proximity on the 57 helped fill in what was missing. So I can see how this could be a good combo.

    Also worthy of consideration is the fact that the NT-1 is a wide cardioid, such that combining that with more distant placement will result in a lot of ambience in that track. If the room is nice, this can be used to form the basis of the ambience for the guitar in the mix, perhaps will a slight amount of short reverb or delay processing and creative panning (just a thought). If the 57 then is a bit lacking in the high end (as if perhaps it got a bit too much sound hole), then perhaps the DI could be blended with it (and panned together) just a bit to help out, but otherwise most folks seem to suggest avoiding a pickup when you've got a mic to use instead.

    But I'm only throwing in this comment in case it is helpful with regard to the mics, since you pro's aren't as likely to be familiar with the NT-1 as a clueless wannabe like me. :)

    Of course, we haven't heard the tracks. And the query didn't mention which NT it was. Or anything about the qualities of the tracks, etc. So we're all just guessing anyway.

    Oh, and by the way, my SM-57 was really the SM58 with the ball-head removed.
     

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