Muddy recording/losing instruments in the mix

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by peterhunt, Aug 17, 2005.

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  1. peterhunt

    peterhunt Guest

    Hi guys,

    First off, I'm new to this forum, and I'm also new to recording in general. I'm a far better songwriter and guitar player than recording engineer.

    My setup is as follows:
    - Windows 2000 with Cool Edit Pro 2.0
    - Tascam US-122 USB audio interface
    - Shure Beta58 and Sennheiser Evolution mics
    - AKG K-101 headphones

    I know it's cheap, but it's all I can afford.

    For the guitars, I'm using a mix of brtstack and hotrod on a digitech GNX-1.

    My problem is that instruments tend to get lost in the mix (unable to hear arpeggios and chords, very muddy, no highs etc). The guitars are very midrangey and a bit buzzy, and I think this might be where the problem is coming from. I was wondering if there's anything I can do with the EQ, compressors, or whatever to fix this.

    I don't know too much right now (boost mids to cut through, compress vocals, etc), but I can learn pretty fast.

    Any tips or tricks would be very much appreciated.
  2. McCheese

    McCheese Well-Known Member

    Mar 24, 2005
    Go to and get a few books on mixing. The Mix Engineers Handbook is a great one.
  3. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    Hey Peterhunt (Peter I presume):

    Welcome to Ro!

    It seems like you've been burned by other forums before. :cry:

    No need to apologize for the meek set up. What you have is more than adequate.

    The best advice I could give you is that compressors and EQ should be used only for a desired purpose while recording, rarely should they be used to ''fix" significant problems.

    Often when a mix is muddy in the mids, its a result of:
    1. Too much compression on voice, guitar, drums, etc.
    2. Objects or instruments occupying the same position(s) in the mix (panning)
    3. Too much EQing of Vox or guitar

    Try keeping the levels in check and avoid Comp / EQ unless you're using it to get a very specific sound.

    Hope this helps.
    J (y)
  4. peterhunt

    peterhunt Guest

    Haven't been burned before, but have watched others get burned.

    Thanks for all of your advice, I will look for a book and try to do more panning. Right now I just pan left, center, and right, would say 75% to the right qualify as a "different position"?

    Thanks for your help so far.
  5. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    and adding a different reverb can give the sound a different space

    use of hi pass ... and lo pass filters can help sounds not crowd each other

    do as much as possible to a mix before using EQ
    I find that if you can get a good result with just pan, filters and perhaps some comp
    ... then when things are much easier when it comes time to get to the details of EQ and automation
  6. TheArchitect

    TheArchitect Active Member

    Mar 26, 2005
    The mud you refer to tends to be in the 100-300hz range.

    Don't boost this range on any bass instruments like kick, bass guitar, synth etc unless there is an over powering reason to do so.

    A bit of cut just above that range can tighten things up as well. 1-2db is usually all I use.

    Generally speaking use eq only when there is a reason, not just because you can.
  7. Muddy mix

    Sounds to me when, you say 'buzzy' sound in the guitars, your unhappy with the sound. if so, i'd record them again getting a good sound before hitting the red button. If you wanna stick with the takes you have, then try sweeping through the frequences with a narrow boost untill you hear what you don't like popping out at you even more. then cut some of it out. or you could do the same idea but by cutting the frequences on your sweep of taste.. Eq can be great for getting out of a hole, just don't over use it!
  8. lebus44

    lebus44 Guest

    When people say : do as much as you can before eqing .. what exactly does this mean ?

    Does this also mean filtering ? and what exactly is the difference ? I know a big topic ...

    as of right now, to me , based mostly in the digital domain many of my Eqs and filters have a lot of the same characteristics . For example the Sonakis EQ has a large 24 db cut to it .. which to me seems more like filtering than EQ .. and the Q in Cubase has a lot of boost and sculpting charecteristics ..

    So , would something like this be still considered EQ and should i avoid it till the end ? i know it's all relative but ..

    or do what people mean is to try and get everything fitting as well as it can in the mix before EQing ?

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