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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.


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