Sound separation trick...?

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by funkbomb, Oct 17, 2004.

  1. funkbomb

    funkbomb Guest

    I've always had the problem with my mixes that a certain instrument or vocal didn't stand out well enough or I needed more separation. So I thought of this (I'll use the example of a guitar muddling out a vocal sample):
    1) Take the offending guitar track, copy it to another track,
    2) invert it,
    3) model the envelope of that track to that of the vocals. Then
    4) take a parametric eq to the track and isolate only the freqs that are most common and most essential to the integrity of the vocal track.

    This would cancel out the guitar freqs that you need the vocals to have, but only when the vocals are present, and only at certain levels.

    I feel like I'm not wording this very well but you get the point. Comments?
  2. Thomaster

    Thomaster Guest

    wouldnt it be easier to use some more commonly known methods like complementary equalization, or some compression.
    i think what you've described above will make for a really weird and artificial sounding track.

    read some on equalization and 'complementary EQ' (scroll down a little)on this page:
    these are not rules, just tips/guidelines
  3. funkbomb

    funkbomb Guest

    Oh wow yes it would. Thank you, this is so much what I've been looking for and it clears up a lot for me. Thanks.
  4. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    If you have that much time, how about trying to reinvent the wheel? :roll: :shock:

    That seems like an awful lot of effort for what I imagine will be at best a compromised result. While it's an age old trick to find the "center frequency" of the vocal and cut a hole in the guitar tone in that range, that is usually more of a "last resort" kind of thing [at least with us old folks].

    More often than not you'll find that the application of a time based effect will give you the separation you desire... a little delay, 1/4 note, 1/8 note, both on the vocal, maybe feeding a little plate reverb and you'll attain the separation you desire... even a little delay on the guitars with the center frequency of the vocal notched out of the send to the delay unit can go a long way toward affecting greater separation.

    All recorded sound is about time as well as energy and frequency... delays are wonderfully effective for all kinds of things besides noticable echos.

    Best of luck with it.
  5. funkbomb

    funkbomb Guest

    For entertainment, I tried it out and I was surprised to hear minimal loss but at the same time minimal separation. I'll try to post samples.
  6. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    Here's a novel idea ... how about arranging the song correctly in the first place, so that different elements are not stacking up on each other? When you have a keyboard, vocal guitar and other things all playing in the same octaves .. you will have this "stacking" problem. The solution is to stretch the arraignment, so different instruments are playing off different portions of the root chords ... guitars may need to be stressing the thirds an octave up while the vocal is on the one note and the keys are off the fifth down an octave .. This is all part of the producers assignment and is a primary reason why many professional record producers (like Quincy Jones, Isaac Hayes, George Martin) are also great musicians who have the ability to write musical arrangements.

    Another approach to the problem is a very common technique using a compressor called " ducking" ... where you run the guitar track through a compressor that is "keyed" (triggered) off the vocal .. set the comp for 3 or 4 dB of gain reduction at a fast attack and release .. When the vocal comes in, the guitar track is automatically attenuated a few dB returning to it's normal level when there are no vocals present.
  7. sharmon

    sharmon Guest


    Hi, Kurt, your "ducking" post caught my interest, how does one do that exactly? I understand what you are saying, but how do i trigger the compressor by the vocal but run the guitar track thru it? Is this possible only thru a compressor unit? because i only have plugins...
  8. radioliver

    radioliver Guest

    I'm interested to know how to achieve this with only plugins too. Is it the same as sidechain. I guess so. So how do you do it with plugin compressors?
  9. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    To expand on Kurt's " ducking" thing... one of my favorite tricks with guitar bands is to record really good sounding guitar tracks with "big room ambience" on a separate track. When you set up the mix you set it up so that the guitars are freakin' HUGE when playing with the band... the ambience tracks just fill in every last possible sq. inch of available sonic real estate in the mix... however, getting the vocals to sit in this giant economy size guitar sound is a near impossibility... so, I'll get the vocals to work well with the "dry" [OK, maybe slightly effected] guitar sound, then duck the ambience tracks off the vocal so when the singer is singing the ambience tracks get out of the way of the vocals, but when the singer shuts up you go right back to the XXXL guitar tone.

    It usually works rather nicely.
  10. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    Ditto on the ' ducking' ...though not technically 'ducking' as a radio voiceover might be 'ducked' its still the right idea...If you have enough subs, sticking the 'BIG ASS GITARS' on a set and using them as a means to flesh it out when the sickening singer aint singin and then backing it out during the vocals is a great way to approach it...I too like the unaffected background behind the vocals and will even,at times, sub a stereo pair of this signal to a dedicated verb(lightly done) and pan the bejeezus out of it for that wide hole filler behind the vocalist...this is not part of the 'BIG ASS GITARS' tracks, just the behind the scenes stuff....the verbed sub group will kind of ooze its way into the little spaces behind the vocals and the unaffected guitars and create a nice effect.Also gives a wider stereo image....One of these days I'm gonna get to play with a nice 5.1 system and I'm sure they'll find me catatonic still at the controls, hands on the switch....kinda like they found Casey....

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