Two mixing questions - Guitars, and peaking control.



Hey guys, working on a mix right now... I've got the bass and drums sounding just perfectly and working together great, but the guitars are giving me problems. I can never strike a balance between heavyness and clarity with distorted guitar. My all time favorite distortion guitar tone is the new It Dies Today record ( and that is more or less what I am aiming for, but it seems like no matter what I do, it's too muddy or too scratchy. The best I have been able to achieve so far was with a bunch of EQ (mainly boosting the highs and scooping out the mids, and cutting out some bass frequences to make room for the bass guitar and kick drum) and a lot of compression. What do you guys do for processing on metal guitars?

Second question, in order for my snare to be heard in the mix, I have to throw a lot of compression and EQ on it, and it ends up peaking whenever the snare is hit... so, I will have all my levels set and the song will be playing at the loudest volume possible without peaking, but the snare ruins it with peaks every time it's hit. To make it not peak, I have to turn whole thing down far too much. What is the solution to this?


Well-Known Member
Jun 24, 2007
Phoenix, AZ
turn down while mixing

1 Put a highpass filter on the guitar EQ anywhere from 40hz to 75hz, scoop the mids with a cut where the snare is mostly to leave room for it... Do a couple of specific sharp Q'd mid cuts. What kind of amp? Guitar? Eq on the amp? type of mic and placement. This is important for the type of music your looking 4. I think boosting the highend in the 1khz - 3khz region is wise as long as it needs it. But if u boost the highend then dont add too much and then bring up the 100hz region just a hair to match it better. You dont really need to compress guitars that much, not like a bass. Maybe record the track a bit on the bassy side or low enhancement eq and send it into a compressor. The idea here is to compress the lower end w/ just a hint of compression, be careful to not compress very much. This way your compressor is attacking on the low and wont even really effect the highend. Then Boost the Highend w/ another eq and yet again another Compressor.... This time Compress the track so the highend is bearable.

2 Look at the EQ of the snare drum, It will be wise to put a Highpass filter on the snare and cut away at the really low end signal, dont kill it just take out the noise that we dont need. I like to EQ the snare first then send it into the compressor... I tend to boost a lil bit in mid range(lightly), and then for the highend a sharp lowpass filter to cut out the excessive hihat bleed into the snare mic. U might want to start the whole mixing process w/ all the drums tracks mute while only using the snare track. Build the mixing around the snare & hihat and then bring in guitars/bass.... Turning down while mixing is a great idea.... like leave some headroom for the mastering processes... (Limiter maximizing) like get your peak level to -3db. Also try the bass and guitar alone, then switch to drums and guitars. Try a different approach and see if that helps. Although if u are just mixing it down and thats it then I might even recommend putting a Limiter L2 or something w/ a brickwall limiter on the snare track. This is not good advice but its quick fix, cuz at least then it controls the digital overloads.


Well-Known Member
Jul 21, 2006
GTR AMP- Sounds like you're doing all the right things. Problem is probably in the Amp/gtr/mic/strings/player etc.
Somtimes reamping can help. If you have an amp simulator, you might try running it though that. I know, logically it should probably sound really bad, but I've been surprised a few times. So you never know.

SNARE - you might be hitting the compressor a bit too hard. Or perhaps you're using the wrong type (or quality) of compressor. See if you can get the same sound without the compressor, then maybe just add a touch to catch the peaks.
I try to avoid compressor on the snare unless it's really wimpy.