1. Register NOW and become part of this fantastic knowledge base forum! This message will go away once you have registered.

Tuned down EVERYTHING?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by MMazurek, Aug 14, 2001.

  1. MMazurek

    MMazurek Guest

    Havin' trouble mixing a HEAVY rock band. I know a bit about leaving room for frequencies, but I'm a little stumped on this one.

    The band has two guitars (tuned down a few steps), a bass (also tuned down), and busy drum parts. I suppose the good news is the singing is higher pitched screaming (no cookie monster vox).

    It seems like the guitar tones they want NEED that low end oomph to sound big. It's just messing with the bass enough to drown it out. It's taking a lot just to make the guitars happy with the kick.

    Any suggestions?

    Or is this more the fault of the arrangement?

    Or is that a weak excuse for me not being able to re-produce their thick live sound on tape (er hard drive)?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Aaron-Carey

    Aaron-Carey Active Member

    What a pain! Guitars tuned to D dont seem too bad, but below this it starts getting nasty. First of all when a band comes in like that, I like to ask the guitarists " what you dont have a bass player so your making up for it? " :)

    I have seen some of the best engineers struggle with this and pull out their hair. Even regular tuned but 5 string basses are sometimes a big problem. If you ask them for a reference CD of a band they like that is tuned this low, UNDOUBTABLY you will be able to point out to them that either :
    A) the guitars sound thin as hell or
    B) There is not too much going on drum and bass wise

    hopefully :)

    But now its down to EQ. I will try to build the drums first as strangely in most of these styles, the kick drum can be made to become the pick attack of the guitars, the way the two interact, it truly can sound like this. That takes care of the performance sound of the guitars, then tonewise you fit the guitars where you can hear them. DONT EVER solo the guitar like this in front of them, and all should be well. The solo button can be VERY counterproductive with these sorts of bands.

    Another thing that seriously helps is to distort the Bass guitar via a sansamp or POD. Not too much, not even that you will hear it as distortion. Listen to the Dokken album "shadow life" produced by Kelly Gray for a KILLER example of this. This makes the guitar players here (appear) that there is all sorts of low end coming out of their guitars, and makes the bass " stand up" without getting in the way of the drums.

    Hope some of this helps! But good luck, as these guys are always a pain.
     
  3. Tymish

    Tymish Guest

    Often with two guitars having different tones is important. If the two guitars have the same or really similar tones they blend into a mushy undefined sound (sometimes useful). Make sure they use differnt guitars and/or amps or tweak the tone so one takes more of the lows than the other. If you have the guitars and bass using up the low end below 100 you might have to work the kick drum. Cut it below 100 and try to use around 120-150 a bit for thud and put some click in 2k and up and limit it to keep it in the mix.
     
  4. richt

    richt Guest

    If you want to get really tricky you could have the guitars duck the bass by a small amount when they are playing in the same tonal region (or vice versa,which ever sounds better). This would leave the fatness of the low end without having each element competing for space. This beats EQ in my mind, because then you can still keep the tones that you originally dug. When the two are not playing in the same tonal region there would be no ducking occurring. Hope this helps.

    Richt :c:
     
  5. warlock

    warlock Guest

    Originally posted by Aaron Carey:
    UNDOUBTABLY you will be able to point out to them that either :
    A) the guitars sound thin as hell or
    B) There is not too much going on drum and bass wise

    hopefully :)


    heheh. My Dying Bride, HIM, Korn. Cann't say that their sound is thin. It's the other way around.
    I'm telling you the hardest thing to mix are heavy distorted tuned down guitars, and tuned down bass with drums, growls, clean male and female vocals and synth. :)

    Keijo
     
  6. Aaron-Carey

    Aaron-Carey Active Member

    Dont know about the other two but if Korn's guitars are "thick" then no problem.
     
  7. drumsound

    drumsound Active Member

    If the guitars and bass are doing basically the same thing, I try to mix them as one big extended instrument. If the bass player is actually doing something different, the arrangement will help to bring that out. Scoop out some space for both. Sometimes scoop out low mid in the bass and high mid in the gtr. This seems ass backward, but can work. If you add sizzle to the gtrs, you can keep them present without having them be the dominant element of the mix.

    Good Luck!
     
  8. arneholm

    arneholm Guest

    Mostly there is at least some thinning down of the guitars been done. Yes... well, the Korn guitar to me sounds also pretty wimpy... One thing that can sometimes be very useful is to take a really wide low shelf and roll of all the muddy low end $*^t from both guitars and bass and then sweep with a narrowish bell across the spectrum over each instrument and find out where the sweet spot of the low end punch is and boost it a bit.

    Distorting bass seems a good idea too. All this could sound like $*^t solo but all this $*^t together could sound almost passable.

    From metal it seems to me that all the instruments really have rather thin sound, and the kick almost always sounds like a sample - very present and defined 'click' is almost all you can here in there. There is of course some low end there aswell but it's not that good full sounding thud we are used to hear in rock but rather a thin, defined boom happening in a very specific frequency area.
     
  9. Rog

    Rog Member

    One little trick I use (though you may have trouble persuading the band) is to take off the bottom guitar string on rhythm parts. Adding another fundemental to the bass part, albeit an octave higher, can muddy up the mix. Of course, it depends on the song and the guitar part but it can help pull a mix back together, especially for bands that want 10 guitar tracks per song.
     
  10. MMazurek

    MMazurek Guest

    Luckily, I'm dealing with only two guitars. It also seems that one DOESN'T have the low frequency 'kunka gunka' thing goin on (different amp, gtr, mic).

    The most help so far has been the ass-backwards guitar/bass thing. Letting the bass come in in the higher mids a bit more, and carving a hole for the guitar low end to take over on those parts.

    The kick sounds pretty good in quieter parts, and resolves to that 'clicky' type sound when heavy parts take over.

    The band's diggin it.

    Thanks for the many suggestions & I hope they keep coming. :c:
     
  11. warlock

    warlock Guest

    Ummm... Korn "Issues" guitar sound wimpy? alrightie then..... ;)

    Keijo
     
  12. warlock

    warlock Guest

    Originally posted by Arne Holm:
    From metal it seems to me that all the instruments really have rather thin sound, and the kick almost always sounds like a sample - very present and defined 'click' is almost all you can here in there. There is of course some low end there aswell but it's not that good full sounding thud we are used to hear in rock but rather a thin, defined boom happening in a very specific frequency area.

    And this is something a person who doesn't listen to metal 24/7 would say :) .
    Or you have listened to too much Estonian metal :) . Where people who listen to rock music do the mixing on metal bands.
    Good metal sound is in no means thin.
    Again on Korn "Issues" the bass drum is a soft thud like in rock music. The clicks you hear in Korn are all bass guitar.
    And I could bring dozens of examples where it is like that. The clicking bass drum is a generic drum sound that is mostly used, but there are a lot of other kind of sounds also.

    Keijo
     
  13. arneholm

    arneholm Guest

    Keijo, I do not want to start a debate about Korn here - really... I think that their sound is not worth it, to be honest. In my opinion their guitars sound like wimpy and muddy $*^t - that is my opinion and I really don't want to start defending it here... There's some buzz and some low end, but no agressiveness and definition and they do not sound loud at all.

    About that clicky kick I was talking about, I was talking about My Dying Bride - if I was able to hear the 5kHz click on their kick through the cheap boom box then the click was definitely there.

    If you are interested in what I consider as being great metal guitar sounds, listen to Tool's latest album Lateralus. There is the rawness and the ugly power that a heavy metal guitar should have in my opinion, a power that Korn's slow and low riffs definitely do not have. But Tool's guitars are actually somewhat thin too - definitely not much happening under 100 Hz. This is my view on things - if you don't agree with me, fine, but I am going to stick on my views.
     
  14. warlock

    warlock Guest

    OK then :)
     

Share This Page