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Need help !!!

Discussion in 'Recording' started by jahka, Nov 22, 2014.

  1. jahka

    jahka Active Member

    Hey guys, I've been recording my own music for a little over a year now and I've always had two main problems in my mixes. (Besides the little anomalies sprinkled everywhere lol). The first problem consists of too much treble. In mixes by bands such as Black Crown Initiate and The faceless, their guitars sound soft yet prominent, I mention this because I would like to understand how they sound like this (not necessarily to copy them exactly, but to include it in my arsenal). The second problem is that whenever I master, it usually sounds good on my monitors but sound terrible in my headphones. I would need to figure out how to fatten the piece up without skewing it in any way. So if you would like to help my out on my journey please listen to this and critic it as much as you like:
    View: https://soundcloud.com/jahkadimension/finally-zen

    PS: My lead guitars always sound muddy and don't stand out, how would I fix this?
  2. pcrecord

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

    Hi Jahka,

    Why don't you talk about your process. Your room, mics, amps, monitors etc, it will help us understand where you are and how you work.
    What you don't like about your recording can come from any of those part of the process. It also may come from how trained your ears are to identify problems.
    Before you speak of mastering, I suggest you concentrate on finding the right mic placement and some mixing techniques to jump up the quality of your product.

    As I listen to your song, I see that the guitar takes all the space. You need to think of music as a ecosystem. If any of the part takes up on the others it will die. Use the pan and EQ to achieve better seperations. I looked for your solo in the song and all I could find was a weak clean melody around 4:42. If this is it.. You need to give it space.

    I listened to a bit of Black Crown Initiate
    View: http://youtu.be/NZpm3-68xZo

    The first thing I hear is that they layered tracks of guitars that they have put to the left and right but not much in the center. It is a common technic to leave space for other instruments like snare and bass drum, vocal, solo instruments and bass. Also, the drum seems to be on the first plan with the vocal, not the guitar.
    So this is a bit of food for your mind.

    Make some experiment and feel free to post other versions along our discussion and we'll be glad to help you ! ;)
  3. jahka

    jahka Active Member

    Thanks pcrecord,
    Thank you for the critic. My setup consists of Cubase, a steinberg UR22 interface, a shure SM58, and an Agile guitar. In terms of vst's I use ezdrummer. I can envision it as feathering the tracks together, but do you mean that the drums are under the guitar? I think it is my buses that are screwing my panning up. The final pan control comes from the bus, how do I change this so that I can make the track panners have the final say? I tried messing around with the daw file, however this time I had a reference track to compare to. I'll post it up tomorrow and send another message.
  4. Tommy osuna

    Tommy osuna Active Member

    One of the issues is the drums I would use Steven slate they cut a lot better which will help your overall mix.

    I agree with pcrecord on all of his statements

    Do you have the money for a great preamp because that would help a lot?
  5. pcrecord

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

    Steven slate drums are one of the best choice for that music style, but for it to help the mix ? I wouldn't put my pay check on it. ;)
    EzDrummer is a well capable vst but as Slate, you still need to have a idea how drums should sound and how to mix them. (with the vst internal mixer)
    My drum VST of choice is Addictive drums. Out of the box they sound good right away, but I never use the stock presets.. There is always adjustements to be made to make them fit to the song. The same with EzDrummer and Slate..

    I agree that a good preamp help a lot for getting a 'pro' sound. But before you go buying one, there's a lot of things you can work on.
    The first one is mic placement :

    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyDnoHSFsnc

    @jahka : Having a reference tracks is the best thing you can do right now, because you need to train your ears to recognise what sound right and what sound wrong. As seen on the video you sometime don't even need EQ on a guitar. Moving the mic around can do 70% of the mixing job when you take the time to do it.

    Before buying anything, let's try to make it work with what you have. It's the best learning process.
    Post your next mix, we will go from there ;)
  6. Tommy osuna

    Tommy osuna Active Member

    I agree again but Steven slate in my opinion gives such easy sounds to deal with I have ez drummer and superior they don't sound as good.they don't have the air that ss does in the cymbals rooms sounds etc.

    If he has better drums other inst will be a bit easier to deal with I'm sure you'll agree when starting out with drums that are not stellar which Steven slates sounds are radio ready then everything else is harder to deal with

    If he has a better sonic spectrum it will just make his mixing job easier

    Also mixing is not for everyone i do it a couple hours at a time otherwise even myself I loose my ability to hear things properly that's ADHD for you :)

    So yes there's mixing books helpful tips but better gear mic, mic preamp and the best drums I understand that's opinion ,will help him achieve his goals as things sound better when you have gear that's grade "a" that will make his final mix easier even though he needs experience , experience and more experience
  7. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    If he doesn't understand what these things do, and how they do them, then he could play around with them all year and it won't make any difference.

    This is one of the problems, one of the causes of why there's so much sonic crap out there right now. Nobody cares about learning the craft - learning what processors do, how they do what they do, and what the end results will be based upon applying that knowledge - or lack thereof.

    They just wanna open up their LE version of PT, Sonar, Logic, Cubase, whatever, buy a $49 Chinese condenser, and start recording without regard to gain structure, mic technique, processor function and knowledge. And it shows.

    You don't have to look very far to find more than enough over-compressed, uber-limited, wrongly EQ'd, distorted MUSH. And the bulk of it is due to people who don't know what they are doing... and worse, don't want to take the time to learn.

    Everytime I read a post that starts out with "I have an M-Box I/O, PT LE, an Audio Technica 2020 condenser and I've just started doing this two months ago, but I want it to sound professional..." It makes me wanna shove my head into a friggin' oven, turn on the gas and light a ******g match.
    Tommy osuna and pcrecord like this.
  8. pcrecord

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

    Tommy, I agree with You that his Drum is not sounding perfect but to me it's the least of its problems.
    Spending money will get him more frustrated at this point

    Let's wait for his next mix and see if we can progress on recording and mixing techniques first ;)
    Tommy osuna likes this.
  9. Tommy osuna

    Tommy osuna Active Member

    Yes I agree with both of you guys. It's funny people say I would really like to play Gtr like you maybe if I bought a 67 tele dressed like you I'll sound like you well they forgot I've been playing for 35 years went to Berklee and MI , so I realize what your saying but if he has better equipment at least for the sake of the audio world ,it will at least sound better for us :)
  10. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    but Donny! that's an electric oven!
    pcrecord likes this.
  11. jahka

    jahka Active Member

    Well first to answer your questions:
    @Tommy sadly I am broke, however I can save for one. Does it matter whether the pre-amp is a program or should I go for analog? And how do I use it to obtain its full potential.
    @pcrecord thanks for the mic setup video however for this song I recorded Di. Whenever I record with my mic (through a blackstar id amp and a marshal cab) it sounds really muddy. I figure for this style of music it'd be better to go di, am I wrong?
    @kurt lol

    I just wanted to say thanks for all the feedback, usually I get none. I am willing to put the time into learning, I have patience.
    So here is the new mix:
    View: https://soundcloud.com/jahkadimension/test

    I am going to download Slate anyway, my ezdrummer has been bugging out latley. I also have been told that I should use dead hits at 0 velocity, are they worth it? if so, where can I acquire such files?

    I used a Vildhjarta song for my reference track. The cymbals seemed to be more centered than I had assumed, and the guitar definetly has some kind of exciter on it so I utilized one in my own mix as well.
  12. pcrecord

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

    I encourage you to try anyway. I'm sure your amp as some tone or eq knobs you can dial a less muddy sound.
    Muddy comes from undefined low end.. You need to remove some bass, it will help and try those mic positions..

    A preamp emulations software is nothing compare to a external analog unit.. but don't buy anything yet

    Your mix is getting better.. The drum sound low fi and too far behind.. work on that part and post again ;)
    I now hear the bass better and the guitars are more define.. your getting there !
  13. pcrecord

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

    @jahka : when you say you record DI, is it that you've got a pedal board with amp simulation or that you plug the guitar in the audio interface and use an amp simulator software ? just wondering ;)
  14. jahka

    jahka Active Member

    @pcrecord I go di and work in the box. I do have a boss overdrive pedal but the thing sounds terrible when put it in my route.

    I'll have the drums fixed by tomorrow
  15. pcrecord

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

    What makes the sound of a guitar is the moving of the speaker in a cab. Some pedals simulate that or of course we can do what we do; use a amp simulator. Be sure to push down the Hi-z switch on the steinberg UR22 when you plug in your guitar (if you don't already do it) it will adapt the input 2 to an instrument level (guitar/bass)

    When you work on the drums, make sure the bass drum and snare are pan in the middle and that you hear them well. The drum, bass and vocals should coexist at the same level, the guitars may surround them. At least for your music style ;)
  16. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Getting professional results isn't cheap. If you want to get professional results in your recordings, then you have to accept the fact that it's gonna cost you some money... and not just a little, either.

    The "pro sound" that so many entry level recordists want to achieve isn't going to be had for $200, or $1000, or even $3000, for that matter. All the links in the recording chain have to be of top quality. You can't have just one nice link in that chain, because your quality will only ever be as good as the weakest link. The pro studio sound that so many home recordists strive to equal can't be had for a couple hundred dollars. Some of these pro rooms might have upwards of a quarter-million dollars invested in their gear. You won't equal that sound with a $100 preamp and a cheap Chinese condenser mic.

    You can take it one step at a time - maybe add one very nice preamp; then add a very nice microphone, then add a very nice ADDA converter.
    But, you won't get professional results until you step up and buy professional grade equipment.

    The other option is to recognize that you're a hobbyist, and there's nothing wrong with that. Do it for fun, write and record, and accept that you won't ever get the professional-grade sound with your average, run of the mill, $300 budget Musician's Friend starter package. That doesn't mean you can't have fun doing working with that kind of gear. You just need to accept that you won't get a pro sound with it.
  17. pcrecord

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

    Any audio interface with a spdif 24bit96khz input can receive a Focusrite ISA one with its digital converter, just add an sm57 and you're good to start.
    With this small setup, I can make killer guitar and bass sounds and virtualise the other instruments.

    This would be my minimum setup.. but from the start of this thread I try to orient the OP's effort in Learning the recording and mixing basics.
    I would wait until he reaches the maximum quality possible with what he's got before I'd recommend he spend any money. ;)
  18. jahka

    jahka Active Member

    I have no intention for doing audio engineering for a living (doesn't rule it out) so I would rather save my money before blowing it on something that I might not do. My main interest is learning the trade and mastering what's in front of me, even if it means being stuck in one realm of definition. I am not into pro mixing, I'm more so into artistic mixing.

    @pcrecord you said that my drums need to sound less low fi, i agree, but i am not sure how to do this. Do you mean tightening up the snare or making the cymbals clearer? How can I achieve a more hi def sound by messing with the eq and comp? Could you also explain how Hi - z effects the guitar and its sound?
  19. jahka

    jahka Active Member

    so here :
    View: https://soundcloud.com/jahkadimension/finally-zen-remixed
  20. pcrecord

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

    Well, it's hard to describe lowfi.. Let's just say the cymbals sounds like a 92kbps mp3 and not a 320kbps one.
    No that might not be a good exemple.. It's like a part of the sound is missing.. like it's been chopped with a saw..
    But it's a minor issue compare to the fact that the drum is still burried behind other instruments.
    I also hear that the guitars are not quite balanced, also missing some freq.

    We didn't discussed this but how do you monitor your music.
    Is it through headphones or monitors of some sort ?

    There are many thing that can be happening here:
    1. If your monitoring system render too much bass and not enough mids, your mix will always have an inverted result. The mix will not have enough bass and too much mids.
    2. Maybe, you just need to train your ears better. A good exercice is to take a commercial song and use a narrow EQ band and sweep it between low and hi frequencies and try to internalise what happen when there is too much or not enough of those frequencies.
    3. There might be a quality issue to your instrument, the preamp/interface, the converter or the amp simulator

    At this point, I will have a lot of difficulties to identify the real problem.
    I'm willing to analyse your tracks if you can send them to me individually. (using google drive or dropbox) if you want..
    If the tracks are not too far out sonicly, I could make you a quick mix of them. with no charge. The goal is to let you hear what it is suppose to sound like.
    I'm just guessing that all the time I spend here trying to find out where it can get better will be cut short if I can hear the sources... ;)
    If you are interested, send me a private message with your email and we will arrange the files exchange.

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