The Acoustic Guitar Forum

The Acoustic Guitar Forum (https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/index.php)
-   RECORD (https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=43)
-   -   Mixing solo fingerstyle guitar (https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=239758)

DarkestDreaming 01-23-2012 07:53 AM

Mixing solo fingerstyle guitar
 
Hi,
Can anyone direct me to some online resources on mixing solo acoustic guitar fingerstyle tracks a la Andy McKee and Antoine Dufour? Most of the mixing resources on acoustic guitar online tend to focus on sitting an acoustic guitar in a band mix, which i more or less already grasp.

I am looking for ideas on EQ-ing, stereo placement, and reverb treatment and the like, for solo acoustic guitar pieces. Many thanks.

wcap 01-23-2012 09:34 AM

I keep meaning to work my way through this recent thread, but I have not had a chance to dedicate the time to it yet. But it seems like it might address your questions well:

http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/f...d.php?t=237148

Fichtezc 01-23-2012 09:39 AM

When it comes purely to mixing, there's not much to it since a solo guitar doesn't have anything to compete with in a mix.

The thread posted above is great for sure, Doug has helped me quite a lot since I joined this site as well.

I tend to use a spaced pair of SD condensers, panned hard left and right with a limiter and some light, room esque reverb. The only EQing I do it a high pass set to cut anything below about 100Hz out.

rick-slo 01-23-2012 09:42 AM

You want the McKee sound compared to the original CD or something off the internet?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ddn4MGaS3N4

http://www.filestube.com/ateqgvOnGaj...-Drifting.html

For the the second fuller sound first install a guitar pickup.

Try emailing the specific guys you like the sound of and see if they will email back some advice.

DarkestDreaming 01-23-2012 04:41 PM

Hi All, thanks for the replies!

Hello wcap,
I already read through the article that you linked. It was really helpful for me in terms of recording the guitar itself and what effects were added. I really wished to learn more though, like how Doug tweaked the two reverbs that he added to the tracks, the compression settings and how it was panned, hence this post

Fichtezc,
you're right! There's hardly any mixing per se since we are only dealing with 1-3 tracks. For lack of a better word, I used mixing. I guess what i meant was post-production after the recording stage.

For instance, with the tips you mentioned.. i would also like to know that if you pan it hard L and R would it sound like a 'big mono' or would you lose center imaging and sound more distant etc. And also is the high-pass at 100Hz really necessary since we are dealing only with a solo instrument


Rick,
I am interested in going for both sounds! I understand that most of the youtube vids would tend to factor in their K&K settings into the mix, while the album versions tend to be more mic. I just dropped a message to Antoine Dufour on fb on this as well.

Thanks a lot guys. Keep it coming!

Fichtezc 01-23-2012 04:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DarkestDreaming (Post 2909642)
Hi All, thanks for the replies!

Hello wcap,
I already read through the article that you linked. It was really helpful for me in terms of recording the guitar itself and what effects were added. I really wished to learn more though, like how Doug tweaked the two reverbs that he added to the tracks, the compression settings and how it was panned, hence this post

Fichtezc,
you're right! There's hardly any mixing per se since we are only dealing with 1-3 tracks. For lack of a better word, I used mixing. I guess what i meant was post-production after the recording stage.

For instance, with the tips you mentioned.. i would also like to know that if you pan it hard L and R would it sound like a 'big mono' or would you lose center imaging and sound more distant etc. And also is the high-pass at 100Hz really necessary since we are dealing only with a solo instrument


Rick,
I am interested in going for both sounds! I understand that most of the youtube vids would tend to factor in their K&K settings into the mix, while the album versions tend to be more mic. I just dropped a message to Antoine Dufour on fb on this as well.

Thanks a lot guys. Keep it coming!

I'm not sure exactly what you mean by a big mono. If you spend the time to get the spacing and phasing correct between the two mics in mono, when you spread it to stereo it will sound bigger and slightly more realistic. I do think the high pass is necessary. Try the opposite, do a low pass around 100Hz and you'll hear almost nothing but rumble. I LOVE low end in my recordings but not mud. I've found I get a lot more clarity while still retaining bass with a high pass.

DarkestDreaming 01-23-2012 06:02 PM

hi Fich,

by big mono i mean it sounds like the guitar is 10 foot wide as opposed to a stereo field separation. Also when you pan your stereo mics hard L and R, is there anything at the center? Like i said, i'm fairly new to solo acoustic mixing and normally in a band mix the feature instrument or part tends to be center in the stereo field

Fichtezc 01-23-2012 07:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DarkestDreaming (Post 2909727)
hi Fich,

by big mono i mean it sounds like the guitar is 10 foot wide as opposed to a stereo field separation. Also when you pan your stereo mics hard L and R, is there anything at the center? Like i said, i'm fairly new to solo acoustic mixing and normally in a band mix the feature instrument or part tends to be center in the stereo field

Hmm, on my best quality recordings it usually sounds like I am sitting in front of my guitar. That being said I'm nowhere near as experienced as some people on here. With my fingerstyle stuff I mic closer and limit more so it's fatter and less realistic but otherwise it sounds like stereo. But I also use a really wide pair.

When i'm just using mics there isn't anything in the "middle" but it still sounds like the guitar is dead infront of you. If i'm using my anthem however that's panned to the center and relatively low in the mix. Just to add some clear bass and a different color to fill out the recording.

Doug Young 01-23-2012 07:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DarkestDreaming (Post 2909045)
Hi,
Can anyone direct me to some online resources on mixing solo acoustic guitar fingerstyle tracks a la Andy McKee and Antoine Dufour? Most of the mixing resources on acoustic guitar online tend to focus on sitting an acoustic guitar in a band mix, which i more or less already grasp.

I am looking for ideas on EQ-ing, stereo placement, and reverb treatment and the like, for solo acoustic guitar pieces. Many thanks.

You might find this thread (and you tube demo) useful:

http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/f...d.php?t=237148

Generally, for solo guitar, it's pretty easy. Get your mics set right, and get a the sound you want, add a little reverb, and you're done. With Andy (and perhaps Antoine, I forget), they blend in a pickup. Andy recorded his last CD at home with 1 mic and 1 pickup, but he didn't mix the result, just handed it off to an engineer. But again, it's pretty straightforward, blend in the pickup to taste, and play around with EQ, reverb, etc, until you hear something you like.

DarkestDreaming 01-24-2012 05:26 PM

Hi Doug,

very informative post. I'd like to ask a few questions:

1. You recorded with two pairs of mics. How are you panning them in relation to each other?
2. Also you have two reverbs sent to your tracks. Did you send the shorter reverb into the longer one as well? Also, how else did you vary the parameters of both besides the density of the reverbs?
3. Your video mentioned that you set the compression for both pair of mics to have to noticeable compression. Do you mean that the threshold is high and you kept the compression ratio low?

Thanks :)

Doug Young 01-24-2012 05:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DarkestDreaming (Post 2910948)
1. You recorded with two pairs of mics. How are you panning them in relation to each other?

I always record in stereo, with each mic in a pair going to each side of the stereo track, so the mics end up being panned hard left and right. If I don't like the stereo image, I change the mic position or location. Panning inwards tends to produce tonal changes from phase cancellation (even if the mics are closely phase aligned) and ends up losing the richness of the original signal, at least to my ears. I think of the mics as capturing the sound stage I want, rather than doing something artificial in the mix. Now, if you record with a pickup and mic the way Andy McKee has, you'll need to experiment with panning, because that's an artificial setup. There is no natural stereo image there, so you'll have to create the mix you want from the sources you have. There're lots of ways you might combine a pickup and mic(s), all depends on what sound you want.

Quote:

2. Also you have two reverbs sent to your tracks. Did you send the shorter reverb into the longer one as well? Also, how else did you vary the parameters of both besides the density of the reverbs?
No, they're independent. The short one is just an ambience patch, so it doesn't even sound much like reverb, it just adds some "room sound". As far as settings, you can see the settings I used in the video. Both started with presets, and I may have tweaked the reverb time, predelay, etc to taste, I don't recall. This is mostly a matter of twisting the knobs on whatever reverb you have until you hear something you like :-) You can usually come close by cycling thru presets until you hear something you like, then tweak from there.

Quote:


3. Your video mentioned that you set the compression for both pair of mics to have to noticeable compression. Do you mean that the threshold is high and you kept the compression ratio low?
I think I said, or meant to say, "NO" noticeable compression. The LA2 compressor I used is a very simple plugin (mimicing a very simple classic hardware unit). You don't really control the compression ratio, or other things you have with some more sophisticated compressors. So I'm just setting the threshold so that I basically never see the meter move, tho in reality, it is having a very slight effect. If I were using a compressor with more controls, I'd at least start with the ratio very low as well. For solo guitar, if you can hear compression, it's probably going to sound bad. One could argue you should never use it at all. But I like the slight smoothing effect of the LA2, and of course my mastering engineer also used some compression, with his Thermionics Culture mastering compressor. No idea what settings he used, but again, I think it was pretty subtle.

DarkestDreaming 01-24-2012 06:26 PM

yeah Doug i meant to type NO noticeable compression as well..
So you are panned hard left and right with nothing dead center as well? Is center imaging compensated with stereo reverb?

Also, is the LA2 a tube compression emulator that mildly processes the sound despite having no gain reduction on the meter?

And thanks, Doug that was helpful.

Doug Young 01-24-2012 06:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DarkestDreaming (Post 2911017)
So you are panned hard left and right with nothing dead center as well? Is center imaging compensated with stereo reverb?

Right, nothing in the "center". There really is no such thing as center in stereo, "center" is just an illusion that results from the same identical sound in both speakers. I don't think there's any compensating to be done. You can hear the sound before I apply the reverb, I don't think the reverb has anything to do with that - I want the reverb to add space, not remove it. Stereo micing techniques are intended to create a stereo sound field, and you just adjust the mics to get the sound you want. If I wanted more "center", I'd move the mics closer together, or in the case of the MS ribbon mic, adjust the side mix (MS is a scenario where there is an explicit "center", called the Mid). You might think of stereo micing as being a bit like listening with 2 ears, which hopefully we all do. You don't need any sound in the center in real life.

Quote:

Also, is the LA2 a tube compression emulator that mildly processes the sound despite having no gain reduction on the meter?
I think that's just a matter of the resolution of the meter. If I compare before and after, it's clear some compression has happened, but within the limits of the visual feedback the plugin gives me, I'm not getting any indication of signifiant compression. I think you'll find this to be true of most compressors. My real goal is just a little smoother, fatter, sound, but nothing that I hear as compression. If you crank up the LA2 to where the meter is really indicating gain reduction, you'll hear it, and that's rarely a good thing.

mc1 01-24-2012 07:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Doug Young (Post 2910975)
I always record in stereo, with each mic in a pair going to each side of the stereo track, so the mics end up being panned hard left and right. ...

does this mean that only one side of each stereo track is used? i mean if you have stereo track A from mic 1, then pan it hard left, are you only getting the left channel from this mic. or is track A mixed to mono and then panned left? thanks.

Doug Young 01-24-2012 07:07 PM

Just re-reading your initial post, and things might be a little clearer if you read up on stereo micing techniques. This is a different approach, recording in stereo, where you're trying to capture the space of a natural sound to some extent, compared to what you seem to be used to - multi-tracking where every sound is mono and you create an artificial sound stage. For solo fingerstyle guitar, the approach is usually more like traditional stereo micing than multi-track techniques, tho it depends on the performer and what kind of sounds they want.

Doug Young 01-24-2012 07:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mc1 (Post 2911076)
does this mean that only one side of each stereo track is used? i mean if you have stereo track A from mic 1, then pan it hard left, are you only getting the left channel from this mic. or is track A mixed to mono and then panned left? thanks.

No, I do no panning at all. A stereo track sends the left side to the left and the right side to the right. There is a "pan" control, but it's set to the center, which has no effect on the signal. The right mic is coming 100% out of the right speaker, the left mic is coming 100% out of the left speaker. On a stereo track, the pan control would have the effect of turning down one side or the other. You might think of it more as a balance control, just like the Left/Right balance you probably have on your car radio.

If I recorded to two mono tracks, I'd have the left one panned hard left and the right track hard right. With most modern DAWs, you can record on a single stereo track and have the equivalent of that on a single track.

mc1 01-24-2012 07:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Doug Young (Post 2911088)
No, I do no panning at all. A stereo track sends the left side to the left and the right side to the right. There is a "pan" control, but it's set to the center, which has no effect on the signal. The right mic is coming 100% out of the right speaker, the left mic is coming 100% out of the left speaker. On a stereo track, the pan control would have the effect of turning down one side or the other. You might think of it more as a balance control, just like the Left/Right balance you probably have on your car radio.

If I recorded to two mono tracks, I'd have the left one panned hard left and the right track hard right. With most modern DAWs, you can record on a single stereo track and have the equivalent of that on a single track.

sorry for being so daft. i thought you were using 2 stereo mics, and ended up with 2 stereo tracks to combine. but in fact you were using 2 mono mics and recorded a single stereo track, correct?

Oracle 01-24-2012 07:27 PM

You could reach out to Rob Poland at Candyrat.
He is the "man behind the scenes" for many of the Candyrat artist videos.

Mike

Doug Young 01-24-2012 07:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mc1 (Post 2911103)
sorry for being so daft. i thought you were using 2 stereo mics, and ended up with 2 stereo tracks to combine. but in fact you were using 2 mono mics and recorded a single stereo track, correct?

No, I'm using 2 pairs of stereo mics, recording 2 stereo tracks. You should be able to see it on the video pretty clearly, with both tracks's waveforms, the mixer console, meters moving, etc. But forget the 4-mic setup, just start with 1 pair of mics, and record them on a stereo track. Add some reverb, if you want. That's about all there is to "mixing" when there's only a single instrument to mix. There can be an element of EQing or processing to improve the sound, of course. We just had a discussion/demo of that, here:

http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/f...d.php?t=238876

Quote:

You could reach out to Rob Poland at Candyrat.
He is the "man behind the scenes" for many of the Candyrat artist videos.
There's no magic "candyrat" technique here, just basic acoustic guitar recording techniques that a ton of people on this forum do all the time.

I've talked to Andy about what he did on his last CD - he recorded with a single mic and a K&K, 2 separate tracks. He sent that to a studio to be mixed, and he doesn't know (or didn't know at the time I last talked to him) what the engineer did as far as the mix. But it's not magic, there are only a few options.

DarkestDreaming 01-24-2012 08:30 PM

Hi Doug,

when you record with a stereo setup and you pan extreme L and R you have no signal from your left mic to your right speaker and vice versa. Am i right?

Doug Young 01-24-2012 08:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DarkestDreaming (Post 2911177)
Hi Doug,

when you record with a stereo setup and you pan extreme L and R you have no signal from your left mic to your right speaker and vice versa. Am i right?

Correct. "panning" a stereo signal to the right basically turns off the signal going to the left, and vice versa. Do you have some type of recording software? You should be able to try this yourself to make it clearer.

But when recording in stereo, really, I all but ignore the pan control. That's not really something that gets involved in a proper stereo recording. You create the image with the mic placement. if you have to adjust the pan control, you set up the mics wrong or set your preamp levels wrong.

RRuskin 01-24-2012 09:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Doug Young (Post 2911191)
Correct. "panning" a stereo signal to the right basically turns off the signal going to the left, and vice versa. Do you have some type of recording software? You should be able to try this yourself to make it clearer.

But when recording in stereo, really, I all but ignore the pan control. That's not really something that gets involved in a proper stereo recording. You create the image with the mic placement. if you have to adjust the pan control, you set up the mics wrong or set your preamp levels wrong.

What is described above is a "balance" control. It will allows for biasing the sound from one side or the other to whatever degree desired but it cannot change the width of the field.

Technically speaking, "panning" has to do with where you place a mono signal within a stereo or multi-channel soundfield.

It's my usual practice to send each mic of a stereo pair to it's own mono channel so that I can have total control of the final stereo width of what was recorded.

Doug Young 01-24-2012 10:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RRuskin (Post 2911227)
What is described above is a "balance" control. It will allows for biasing the sound from one side or the other to whatever degree desired but it cannot change the width of the field.

Agreed, that's what I've been trying to explain. There is no "panning" of a stereo signal, and the control on most DAWs that acts as a "pan" on a mono track becomes a "balance" on a stereo track, just like the Left/Right balance on your car stereo. The problem with recording two separate mono tracks on most computer DAWs is that all the nice stereo plugins expect to work on a single stereo track. You can use busses, etc, but for solo guitar, it seems easier to me to just use a single stereo track. In any case, I'm still puzzling over why we've now had a dozen posts about "panning" :-) It's a non-sequiter for a simple stereo acoustic guitar recording.

RRuskin 01-24-2012 10:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Doug Young (Post 2911263)
Agreed, that's what I've been trying to explain. There is no "panning" of a stereo signal, and the control on most DAWs that acts as a "pan" on a mono track becomes a "balance" on a stereo track, just like the Left/Right balance on your car stereo. The problem with recording two separate mono tracks on most computer DAWs is that all the nice stereo plugins expect to work on a single stereo track. You can use busses, etc, but for solo guitar, it seems easier to me to just use a single stereo track. In any case, I'm still puzzling over why we've now had a dozen posts about "panning" :-) It's a non-sequiter for a simple stereo acoustic guitar recording.

Ask me again why I use an analog console for mixing. Regardless of stereo or mono tracks, I can pan anything anywhere I choose. It often comes in very handy to narrow a stereo sound source a bit. Guitars aren't really meant to be six feet wide.

DarkestDreaming 01-24-2012 11:41 PM

I was always trained to record stereo as two mono tracks so all this is new to me.

If you record it as a single stereo track, and 'pan' that track, you are essentially making L louder than R and vice versa, yes? As opposed to sending a bit of left's signal to the right?

And one of the reasons you do this is to avoid phase issues.

Does this sound about right?

Doug Young 01-25-2012 01:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DarkestDreaming (Post 2911312)
I was always trained to record stereo as two mono tracks so all this is new to me.

Sure, you can do that, too. But in digital systems, most plugins are designed to work on a stereo track, so for example, if you want to EQ your stereo track, you'll have to EQ the left track and then also EQ the right track. That's ok, too, you could even argue that it's more flexible. It sounds like Rick, with his analog console, would have no choice. But it's not needed in Logic, which is what I use, because stereo tracks work great. There's no right or wrong here, but I think most computer-based systems support stereo tracks because it's a convenient way to work. Beyond effects, it's easier to edit, and do other operations that need to be done on both channels. But if you prefer to work with two mono track and pan them however you like, that's perfectly fine, and all systems I know of support both.

Quote:

If you record it as a single stereo track, and 'pan' that track, you are essentially making L louder than R and vice versa, yes? As opposed to sending a bit of left's signal to the right?
Correct, as both Rick and I have been saying, a "pan" control on a stereo track is a balance control. If you turn it to the right it has no effect on the right channel, but turns down the left channel. Exactly like the L/R balance control in your car stereo. I think I'm sounding like a broken record :-)

Quote:

And one of the reasons you do this is to avoid phase issues.
Well, that's an aspect, but the real point is that when you record in stereo with stereo micing techniques, the entire point of the mic setup is to create an appropriate stereo image. There's no need to "pan" if you set up the mics right, and you are to some extent destroying the math behind the way stereo micing works.

Of course, that's ok, too. The bottom line is what sounds good. If you get the best sound by putting up two mics, recording them to separate mono tracks and panning them however you want, the results speak for themselves! Do what sounds best. What sounds best to me, so far, is recording a stereo track and getting the sound I want by mic placement. Therefore the need to "pan" simply never comes up. But there's a reason they call recording an "art". You can do anything you like, if you like the results, it's great.

You asked about mixing solo guitar, and the examples I posted show how I did it in a couple of cases. It's not the "right" way, it's just what I do, so if you like the results, you might experiment with the same approach. If you don't think it sounds good, avoid my techniques. I do think that the basic approach I use is pretty common among solo fingerstyle guitar recordings, which is why I brought it up. I didn't invent any of this :-) I came up with what I do by studying lots of fingerstyle recordings, talking to lots of recording engineers and other guitarists, and so on. I hope it's helpful, but if it doesn't make sense to you, that's ok, too. There are tons of ways to do things, if it sounds good, thats what counts.

Doug Young 01-25-2012 02:07 AM

Just to follow up on the stereo mic placement, here's a few places that might be worth a quick read:

general stuff:

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/1997...reomiking.html

http://www.deltamedia.com/resource/s...echniques.html

http://www.xowave.com/doc/recording/mic-pair.shtml

more guitar-oriented:

http://audio.tutsplus.com/tutorials/...can-use-today/

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/aug0...cacgtr0801.asp

http://www.homestudiocorner.com/stereo-mic-techniques/

http://www.uaudio.com/blog/stereo-mi...oustic-guitar/

mcoliver77 01-25-2012 02:19 AM

Awesome links! Thanks for sharing.

mc1 01-25-2012 06:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Doug Young (Post 2911263)
... In any case, I'm still puzzling over why we've now had a dozen posts about "panning" :-) It's a non-sequiter for a simple stereo acoustic guitar recording.

i'm afraid i started us down that path. for some reason i misremembered/misunderstood that when you made teoaagr (the evolution of an acoustic guitar recording), one mic was on the left and the other on the right. meaning that if i panned the recording left or right i would be hearing only one of the mics. given they were stereo mics, i was wondering if you had mixed them into mono first.

but i've slept, reread and rewatched, and i now understand that both mics are in stereo and are blended, and one side of each mic can be heard on the left and right channels, and there is no way to hear each mic separately.

i hope i explained this well enough to not cause further confusion. thanks for the information and sorry for panning the thread hard left. :)

Doug Young 01-25-2012 11:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mc1 (Post 2911436)
i'm afraid i started us down that path. for some reason i misremembered/misunderstood that when you made teoaagr (the evolution of an acoustic guitar recording), one mic was on the left and the other on the right.

The 4 mics in that example is a little confusing. If I was making a "how to record" demo, I'd have stuck to simpler and only used a single stereo pair. But since this was more of a "what I did" example, I wanted to really show what I did. For me, using 4 mics just started out as wanting to have options, maybe I'd like one pair, maybe I'd like the other. Two different approaches to stereo micing. But then, of course, I liked both for different reasons, and it was natural to say, what if I used both pairs? Seemed to work. I just played with different blends of the two pairs until I liked what I heard.

You can take the same approach with a pickup - going back the original "how do I sound like Andy McKee" question, record with mics, and also record a pickup. You can record the pickup on a mono track, so you can actually make good use of that pan control :-) Blend with the mics to taste.


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:07 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, The Acoustic Guitar Forum

vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=