Skip to main content

Hey I just finished recording a pop-punk song. I am pretty new to all this recording stuff. So what would be the best way to go about mixing it (example: lead guitar 10% to left...etc) I would like it to have roughly some what of the same kind of mix as Blink-182. I am using bass, drums, rythm guitar track, lead guitar track, vocal track,and an organ track for the bridge. Also, what are good plugin FX for vocals. I know these are very wide range questions, but please just try to think old-school blink-182 when answering. thanks.


Kapt.Krunch Sat, 11/10/2007 - 04:53

I'm getting old when Blink 182 is considered "old school" :lol:

A lot may depend on the arrangement. Bass and kick down middle. Snare/HH maybe down middle, or a tad to right or left, toms panned opposite, maybe R/L overhead crash/rides. Just look at the drum kit, and basically pan in the directions and space everything is set up in. Whether from a behind the drums, or facing drums perspective left/'s up to you. You may want the toms rolling off opposite something else on the other channel that's in the same frequency if the organ is playing a percussive sound near thaose frequencies on one side, either move the organ, or flip the kit. Depends.

Lead vocal down the middle. Any backup vocals can be panned. If only one lead vocal and one backup vocal, may experiment with doubling backup, or a slight few cents pitch shift, with maybe a very slight delay and even possibly a touch of modulation...then pan equally around the sides of the lead vocal? Experiment.

Rhythm guitar and lead guitar. Organ. Hmmmm...

Rhythm guitar is playing constantly? Lead guitar plays constantly, or pops in and out? Either or both leave when organ plays? This is where it may get tricky. Doing this weird could shift your entire pan perspective suddenly, and appear to imbalance things in parts. Usually, the featured instrument gets center stage. If, though, the lead is playing during vocals, you probably don't want them battling for the middle.

If the lead is playing rhythm-lead, where he plays the ryhthm alongside the rhythm player and then blows into lead...might be ok to leave them panned opposite, especially if the lead plays during vocals.

If the lead only plays between vocals, you may try doubling the rythym physically, or through electronics/software, panning the ryhthm, and then putting the leads down the middle.

If the organ comes in, and something drops out, you could occupy the mono or stereo spot of the dropped out part. If all others are still going, and the organ joins them, you could record the organ through a Leslie, or simulator, or some other means of "stereoizing", and pan somewhere between, or outside of, everything else. Could be full L/R, or it may be 10 and 2 o'clock. Depends on what else is there. A convincing rotating speaker effect is almost never bad on an organ.

Alterrnate between headphones for stereo balance checking, and monitors for overall instrumental balance/tonal balance. Don't spend too much time on one without the other, because once you think you have it perfect with one, you'll listen to the other and realize it's all skewed somehow.

If you do it right, it's even possible to move something that has been riding left or right...or the center. Just have to be aware of phase issues if collapsing something like that. Which, theoretically, shouldn't be an issue if it's set up properly in the first place. But reality always seems to trump theory with this stuff, anyway. Heck, it may even make the tune if it IS done improperly...never know. Listen to the whole thing in mono, if it's a concern. Can be an interesting effect, especially in headphones. The thing to remember with that is it has to pretty much replace something else that has dropped out of that space, and have a reason for moving in. Obviously, this is going to change things. Let's say on a slower passage, you drop something out of the middle and move a L/R instrument TO the middle. It may even give the appearance of a wider soundfield, since there is less going on out there, and the R/L drum parts may appear more naked, since you have moved stuff out of their space. You could do some very cool automation where the instrument suddenly shifts, or you may even get some interesting thing where it collapses in more slowly, and moves back out at the end of the passage. Depends.

Anything is possible. It's up to your artistic sensibilities whether to just leave things static, or play around to create nausea on the last song of the disk...when you know someone is going to be half-asleep with drink, listening in headphones...and you introduce a room-spinning passage. :twisted:

So, it depends on what is playing when other stuff is playing, what may drop out and be introduced, etc. Should just keep everything out of each other's way with careful level balance, pan positions and proper EQ. Also, nothing says that everything has to be balls-to-the-wall every second...even if it is pop-punk. Green Day has some pretty good stuff, and they make good use of dynamics, which keeps things from getting stale and fatiguing.

Usual suspects for vocal effects are compression, reverb, delay, and doubling. Maybe some pitch-manipulation, if you want to get crazy, or thicken things up...which is basically what a chorus does. A chorus introduces a very short delay, with slight modulation...which is basically pitch-manipulation. You can run vocals through anything. Beatles and Zeppelin have hits with theirs run through a Leslie.

Just some ideas I tossed out, not sure exactly what goes where with your tunes. Follow the basics, and then be willing to break the rules. It's about what makes that particular piece move, not what someone says is the only proper method. Experiment. That's what's great about computers. If you don't nuke a track, you can always go back.

Hope this helped. May generate some disageements, or spark some other ideas...but that's what this forum is for. Fire away! :shock:

Have fun,


anonymous Sat, 11/10/2007 - 10:15

thank you so much, that helped me alot. I need to "debute" the song at about 2 or 3 California time. This sounds wierd, but but I send you the song in acid (if you don't use that I will just send about 5 indiviual wav files) and you could spend a short while making my mix better. I need to get the best possible sound, and you seem like a cool guy that knows his stuff. Please? I have bever doen this and I sound desperate, but I really need this to soundn great.

Kapt.Krunch Sat, 11/10/2007 - 15:38

Well, I'd like to help, except for a couple problems. I'm getting used to doing everything with my left hand, because my right wrist was broken just last weekend, but I'm having a heck of a time with normal workflow mousing/typing.

Also, I'm being laid off at the end of the month, and am moving to another state immediately, which means my entire place is in disarray, and I'm trying to sort/clean and pack one-handed. I'm leaving my computers up to almost the end, but my racks are getting reconfigured into road racks with the minimal stuff I need to finish another guy's project here, if time, or after I settle into my temporary home.

Also, I have been trying to get out of here for a couple years, and have yet to commit to hi-speed internet since I didn't know. I have already set up the access at my new temporary home so it'll be ready when I get there. So, large files aren't bad to download, they are just hell to upload.

Others may have other suggestions. Perhaps you know another set of ears that can help? Those were all just suggestions and basic things to start with.

If you're in a hurry, just pan, EQ and level everything the best you can. No need to get fancy or break the rules at this point. It may help to download a frequency chart that indicates the basic fundamental frequecies of instruments. You'll likely have a lot of info in the midrange, so you'll need to pay attention to keeping things separated there. Just try to keep the low end of the guitars too much out of the high end of the bass, and if your bass is round with little highs, make your kick snappy, with some beater-click. If your bass is snappy with more highs, make your kick round with less beater and highs.

Quick pan, then EQ, then levels (eq will affect levels). Then fine tune, back and forth until there's no mush. A couple hours isn't going to get much from most anyone. It needs to be tweaked, rested, and revisited with a fresh perspective from anyone except maybe the most experienced professionals. Just do the best you can. Anyone will understand that you're a novice, and had little time. If this is a "must" situation, gotta go with it, but you really shouldn't get yourself in a position to have to hurry like that, anymore. :wink:

Good luck to you,



User login