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Pines of Caroline

Member for

1 year 10 months

I'm working on an original bluegrass tune and trying to get the mixing right to make sure there's space for everything. I haven't added any compression or reverb, but have used the EQ on the separate tracks and some panning. Is anything sticking out like a sore thumb that you can hear that I should fix?

Attached files Pines of Caroline.mp3 (4.2 MB) 

Comments

Member for

1 year 10 months

joulupukki Mon, 05/11/2020 - 12:36
In general when you're mixing bluegrass songs, should the rhythm guitar be panned to one side or the other? Right now I have the banjo panned a little bit left, the mando panned a little to the right. I have the lead vocal right in the center with tenor and baritone vocals just off center (on each side). The guitar part plays rhythm the whole time except for when it has an instrumental break. Just wondered if there are certain techniques there?

Member for

1 year 10 months

joulupukki Mon, 05/11/2020 - 13:57
Thanks Kurt, I think my ears are just untrained. :)

The first one I recorded from my home office, which is somewhat sound proofed, but not treated acoustically - a carpeted basement room. The second one I experimented with recording in a walk-in closet with board games & blankets on the shelves.

Each track was recorded/performed separately by me - one at a time, of course. ;) I spent more time on the performance part on the second one doing multiple takes.

Member for

15 years 5 months

Boswell Tue, 05/12/2020 - 05:43
You've done really well there - it's a good toe-tapper. Kurt's suggestion of mixing the recording acoustic around between the vocals and backing instruments is an interesting idea.

Could you tell us what microphone(s) and pre-amps/interface you used for the takes that make up this track?

Personally, for this type of material, I miss having a fiddle doing a few turn-arounds, one of the breaks and then off-beat double-stops for the rest of the song. If you are not a BG fiddler yourself (no shame in that!), it might be worth seeing if you could get one to come in as a favour and do a different version of this tune, probably dropping either the guitar or the mando break.

Member for

1 year 10 months

joulupukki Tue, 05/12/2020 - 07:01
Boswell, post: 464180, member: 29034 wrote: You've done really well there - it's a good toe-tapper. Kurt's suggestion of mixing the recording acoustic around between the vocals and backing instruments is an interesting idea.

Could you tell us what microphone(s) and pre-amps/interface you used for the takes that make up this track?

Personally, for this type of material, I miss having a fiddle doing a few turn-arounds, one of the breaks and then off-beat double-stops for the rest of the song. If you are not a BG fiddler yourself (no shame in that!), it might be worth seeing if you could get one to come in as a favour and do a different version of this tune, probably dropping either the guitar or the mando break.

Thanks. I'll have to try a couple other recording / mixing variations.

The mics I'm using:
- Shure KSM32 on vocals, banjo, and bass
- sE Electronics SE5 on guitar, mando (and the initial banjo intro)

In the 2nd version of the song I recorded the instrumentals with both mics simultaneously just to have a couple options

I'm recording through a Zoom H6 directly into Logic Pro X. Then, I'm using a trial version of FabFilter plugins (EQ, Compressor, De-esser, Limiter, and MB). Mostly I'm just trying to learn how to get better sound out of what I've got ... and get my song into a presentable state. ;)

I could record myself playing fiddle, but we'd need to wait a few years before *that's* gonna sound any good. Haha. I know a couple other players though I'm not sure they're set up with any recording equipment. I'll have to see what I could experiment with there. For sure I'd love to have a bit more variety!

Member for

15 years 5 months

Boswell Tue, 05/12/2020 - 08:15
You've done exceptionally well if you recorded all that through the H6, especially if it's like the other devices in the Hx range that drop to being 16-bit when used as an interface.

Here's a thought: could you try posting a version that is the same as your V2 but with the mandolin muted during its break? That way, others here might be able to add a fiddle break in the gap and re-post it. Just for fun, you understand.

Member for

1 year 10 months

joulupukki Tue, 05/12/2020 - 08:44
Boswell, post: 464185, member: 29034 wrote: You've done exceptionally well if you recorded all that through the H6, especially if it's like the other devices in the Hx range that drop to being 16-bit when used as an interface.

Here's a thought: could you try posting a version that is the same as your V2 but with the mandolin muted during its break? That way, others here might be able to add a fiddle break in the gap and re-post it. Just for fun, you understand.

Ah, interesting. I hadn't realized I'm compromising on the amount of info being piped into my computer. I got rid of an older Presonus FireStudio because it was an older Firewire interface that I couldn't use anymore. I'm sure it would have been able to do 24-bit. I'll eventually get something like the Presonus 24c or Scarlett 2i2 for a better (but still inexpensive) interface.

Ok, sure. I'd be curious how the fiddle would sound in there. Here's a blank slate in that spot...

[MEDIA=audio]https://recording.org/att…
Attached files Pines of Caroline - Without Mando Break.mp3 (4.3 MB) 

Member for

1 year 10 months

joulupukki Tue, 05/12/2020 - 08:59
Kurt Foster, post: 464188, member: 7836 wrote: i wouldn't worry that much about sample rate. you've already proved you can make good recordings at 16 bits. :LOL: can you use the vocals on the second take with the instrumental tracks off the first?

Good point. :) I could, but since I have those instrumentals more figured out how they could be, I'll probably just re-record them in my basement office.

Member for

19 years 9 months

Davedog Sun, 08/30/2020 - 02:27
When I've mixed Bluegrass I always try to start with the bass, the rhythm guitar and the vocals. When that balance is done well enough that it stands on its own, I add all the other instruments. I automate all the feature solos so it sounds like someone stepping up to the mic for their solo. Bluegrass is all about being in the circle.

Banjos are loud noisy things and they suffer from having no real sweet spot to mic. The best banjo capture I found was to have two mics, which it seems you have, one large D condenser down in the bottom half of the head below the bridge and a small D condenser actually around the peghead area. All banjos are different and this particular one is a Greg Deering Signature from many years back.

I approach mandolins from two different perspectives. Usually results in two tracks mic'd differently. First track is the rhythm comping track. This one I'd use the SDC right above the bridge to capture the pick attack plus the body connection with the bridge to give it some weight. The solo section would be recorded separate and would be the LDC out in front of the instrument in it's focal point. Unless you're played a prewar Gibson or some LOUD mando this will be about 4' out. Its right where most decent mandos start their true focus.

Always have things coming and going behind the vocal phrases.

Member for

1 year 10 months

joulupukki Thu, 08/06/2020 - 22:29
I never did get around to trying that different mix but I did submit the song to a contest ... https://bluegrasstoday.com/boyd-timothy-wins-podunks-2020-bluegrass-festival-songwriting-contest/ :)

I’ve been playing it with some guys at a social-distanced jam and it’s sounding good live. Once things settle down with C19 it’ll be fun to get the band together and properly record it and a few others I’ve been tinkering with.

Member for

1 year 3 months

Lovemonkey3833 Tue, 06/16/2020 - 23:25
joulupukki, post: 464187, member: 51710 wrote: Ah, interesting. I hadn't realized I'm compromising on the amount of info being piped into my computer. I got rid of an older Presonus FireStudio because it was an older Firewire interface that I couldn't use anymore. I'm sure it would have been able to do 24-bit. I'll eventually get something like the Presonus 24c or Scarlett 2i2 for a better (but still inexpensive) interface.

Ok, sure. I'd be curious how the fiddle would sound in there. Here's a blank slate in that spot...

[MEDIA=audio]https://recording.org/att…
If you are looking for a new interface let us know and we can certainly help! I wish when I started out someone helped me pick out the best products I could afford. Price seems to be a matter here as you said (but still inexpensive). Can you define inexpensive as in "I wont go over$$$$ as my absolute, if I save and stretch every single penny and sell my shit gathered in the attic price! For me and my next interface that's $3300. For you that could be $300 IDK. Both of those numbers are small numbers! The interface I want is something like $15,000 and it doesn't even come with any mic pre's! On to the next.

Member for

1 year 3 months

Lovemonkey3833 Wed, 06/17/2020 - 00:16
joulupukki, post: 464182, member: 51710 wrote: Thanks. I'll have to try a couple other recording / mixing variations.

The mics I'm using:
- Shure KSM32 on vocals, banjo, and bass
- sE Electronics SE5 on guitar, mando (and the initial banjo intro)

In the 2nd version of the song I recorded the instrumentals with both mics simultaneously just to have a couple options

I'm recording through a Zoom H6 directly into Logic Pro X. Then, I'm using a trial version of FabFilter plugins (EQ, Compressor, De-esser, Limiter, and MB). Mostly I'm just trying to learn how to get better sound out of what I've got ... and get my song into a presentable state. ;)

I could record myself playing fiddle, but we'd need to wait a few years before *that's* gonna sound any good. Haha. I know a couple other players though I'm not sure they're set up with any recording equipment. I'll have to see what I could experiment with there. For sure I'd love to have a bit more variety!

So this sounds pretty great if it's your intro to recording!
Have you mastered EQing on digital vs analog equipment? It's far different! As on analog you didn't have to make room for things! Even if you say, run your mix through an SSL console and mixed digitally post console, you still didn't have to worry so much about making space for your instruments! But mixing completly in the box(computer)you have to make space for things! For instance with panning, with boosting 2khz to make the vocals pop out a little, then you duck 1db of 2k on you background ot leave space for the vocals, etc.
Another thing is to put a Tape Sim plugin on your master fader before you start mixing, and an SSL buss compressor(style they've got good free ones to try, and pretty sure Logic has simulations included in their software, just youtube it you'll find it)and mix into those 2 things! So everything goes into those before you start eqin'g and everything! It needs some compression and tape to GLUE everything together! Did you put that reverb on a bus? Have you tried Delay instead of reverb? And have you tried automation yet? Look into those 2 things! I like your panning, vocals still need to be gelled out a little bit! Needs some overall compression IMO with some Vintage vibe going! Also try adding a little bit of saturation to you master buss/mixbuss, whichever you prefer! Don't be shy about FREE plugins too! There are great ones out there that can get really close to FABFILTER eq, and sound better on the compressor end! Not sure about a good free Tape sim though tbh! I use UAD AMPEX or STUDER tape plugins the most, then OVERLOUD TAPEDESK, MCDSP makes a great one for $50 which is cheap called Analog Channel. But like I said there's great FREE stuff out there you just gotta look around for it! It's 2am so can't think of em right now.
But I don't think you need to re record you stuff at all! I think you need to refine you mixing just a tad! Thing's like I just said, and volume automation, reverb automation, delay automation, etc! Phatten up that lead vocal by steroizing it and with a slapback delay rely fast on the left, then throw another on and change the time of it slightly and detune it slightly as well and pan that one to the right with a slightly longer time than the left. That's one way of phattening up the lead vocal, among many others to try!
TRy, Try , Try....gotta try a bunch of different things till you find what you like, and what will actually be perfect FOR THIS SONG!
As every song is different, and what will work in 1 part of the song may not work in another part of the song! That doesn't mean it won't work, that just means you'll have to automate it!
Also try running your jo and vox through an amp sim, and you can automate that as well, especially for vocal parts! It can work wonders!
Also bear in mind I'm not saying that you NEED to get any plugins! All I'm saying is that if you don't find what you need in your existing pluigns that come with your DAW, there are plenty out there that are FREE GREAT PLUGINS!
Plus it's nice to find new stuff to get motivated to mix, and plugins can achieve that in some manner. Kinda like getting a new instrument or piece of gear!
Here's a great example of that! However in ProTools there isn't a plugin that can operate like Fabfilter! I know that Logic has some GREAT plugins that come with it, and they sound very good as well! Think they even have an SSL buss compressor clone! Don't quote me on that though as I don't use, nor have I ever used Logic(have used many others from Reason to FL Studio, Samplitude,






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Now this guy is not a go to in anyway, he just had 1 plugin I think will help you with the above method=The CamelCrusher!
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Nadir is a must have freebie!
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Span and TDR compressor are must haves IMO.
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This one is one of the most important ones on this list! NOVA is a great FABFILTER free plugin replacement! Try it! As well as the TDR stuff! Anything from them is great, Melda, Blue Cat Audio, Plugin Alliance, Izotope,
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The Ignite Amps has a good PULTEC EQ for free with tube saturation!
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Analog Obsession
https://www.patreon.com/analogobsession/posts
I hope some of this was helpful! Don't worry a lot about where you pan your stuff! If it sounds good great!
Panning isn't gonna make or break your song! Many professional mixers only pan 100% or no pan at all!
But .....it's still a useful tool IMO! Just not THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE!
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