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Old 01-01-2021, 08:58 PM
AuntieDiluvian AuntieDiluvian is offline
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Default Recording / Mixing advice requested....?

Over the holiday break, I decided to start playing around with some recording. I ended up getting roped into doing some large group mixes for a virtual benefit concert....and figured out that I'm in a bit over my head with the final mix and mastering portion of the process. I've done a lot of live work, but haven't spent much quality time in a studio since the 90s.....and things have changed a lot.


I know the basics of how things function, but knowing what to do with them to make a recording sound good with the modern tools is where I am a stone-cold beginner. Below is a link to a really rough song that I've put together to us as a learning tool. What I'm looking for is an idea of what's wrong with this mix, and what I should be listening for to make it better. Any and all input is welcomed, and feel free to be brutally honest. That said, the playing/singing isn't the point - I'm specifically using this to work on my recording/mixing skills.


https://soundclick.com/r/s8fto4

FWIW, all of the instruments were recorded direct into a Behringer X32; guitar is a Taylor 814ce. Vocals used a AT2020. DAW is "Multitrack Studio".
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Last edited by AuntieDiluvian; 01-10-2021 at 12:49 PM.
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Old 01-02-2021, 07:43 AM
AuntieDiluvian AuntieDiluvian is offline
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Updated with a better link after it was pointed out to me that this one not only didn't work, but also looked like potential spam.....sorry....
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Old 01-02-2021, 07:55 AM
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I think the mix sounds pretty good!

Bass could be punchier, and maybe get some percussion in there.

Maybe personal taste, but lacks a bit in stereo field/width. I would spread those instruments and background vocals out more.

*Please* mic the acoustic instruments.
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Old 01-02-2021, 08:05 AM
AuntieDiluvian AuntieDiluvian is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keith.rogers View Post
I think the mix sounds pretty good!

Bass could be punchier, and maybe get some percussion in there.

Maybe personal taste, but lacks a bit in stereo field/width. I would spread those instruments and background vocals out more.
Thanks! On second listen it does seem that I missed the mark on panning.

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*Please* mic the acoustic instruments.
Well, this was a predictable comment! I'm guessing you don't like the Taylor piezo?

This was a very quick, rough cut to learn the DAW software and see how the system goes together. I haven't put it all into a permanent space with any acoustic treatment yet (not even carpet), and the mics I have are just workhorse items for live use. Live in the room would sound pretty bad, at least the way I'm working today.
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Old 01-02-2021, 08:51 AM
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Good sound. I agree with Keith, widen the soundstage giving different instruments some independent directional space but with your
voice and the instrument you are playing center. You can also play around with what volume level you want for different instruments.
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Old 01-02-2021, 08:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AuntieDiluvian View Post
.... I'm guessing you don't like the Taylor piezo?....
No, I don't - the Taylor electronics were the one thing that kept me in the Martin camp (Aura Plus on my now gone GPCPA3). I think their instruments can sound quite good, acoustically, and have a friend I was playing with pretty regularly (before this year) with a 714ce that sounds really nice, but plugged in, it's an electric guitar, effectively. (I believe their pickup system/s are better with finger-style playing than flat-picked, like many other UST-based systems. Just an opinion, though.)

I'd at least give micing the instruments a couple of tries.

Close micing with some consideration of the space and reflective surfaces can go a long way. My first recordings were done in a small-ish office but it has bookcases and a small "loveseat" and a good rectangular shape (vs. my square room, now). Those couple recordings, done with a dynamic mic, still hold up pretty well (IMO).
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Old 01-02-2021, 11:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AuntieDiluvian View Post
Over the holiday break, I decided to start playing around with some recording. I ended up getting roped into doing some large group mixes for a virtual benefit concert....and figured out that I'm in a bit over my head with the final mix and mastering portion of the process. I've done a lot of live work, but haven't spent much quality time in a studio since the 90s.....and things have changed a lot.


I know the basics of how things function, but knowing what to do with them to make a recording sound good with the modern tools is where I am a stone-cold beginner. Below is a link to a really rough song that I've put together to us as a learning tool. What I'm looking for is an idea of what's wrong with this mix, and what I should be listening for to make it better. Any and all input is welcomed, and feel free to be brutally honest. That said, the playing/singing isn't the point - I'm specifically using this to work on my recording/mixing skills.


https://soundclick.com/r/s8fppj

FWIW, all of the instruments were recorded direct into a Behringer X32; guitar is a Taylor 814ce. Vocals used a AT2020. DAW is "Multitrack Studio".
Really a very good start (and just so ya know) I think using the PicKup on the the lead guitar parts serves the song very well . In an Ideal world for that song, I would probably mic the acoustic rhythm part and use the pickup for lead

With that I concur more separation both in the L-R sound field and also in EQ'ing the frequencies of the individual instruments themselves ( often referred to as ) "carving out space" by judicious use of subtractive and and maybe some mild additive EQ and High Pass filtering each individual track.

I am not familiar with that DAW so no DAW specific recommendations But if you have a way to export the RAW tracks as individual tracks in WAV I would love to take a crack at re mixing it... Don't know if SoundClick offers direct download but maybe Dropbox if you have that ?
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Last edited by KevWind; 01-02-2021 at 12:37 PM.
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Old 01-02-2021, 12:18 PM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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There are more knowledgeable and accomplished recordists here, take my response as more from the perspective of someone who's done a lot of recording work quickly, and I post it only to give you another perspective/data point in your "survey" of listens.

Your mix isn't bad, the elements of the song are all there. What do I hear that could be improved:

As mentioned upthread there are times that the vocals and the main guitar seem to be competing for the same pan and EQ space. This was the first thing I noted.

I noted the pickup sound on the acoustics. Not ideal, but I tolerated it better than some upthread. In my case with live recordings, I sometimes get worse issues when I use mics on acoustics. For example, one issue I'll run into is off-mic bleed into the acoustic guitar SDC mic from the lead vocal that remains in the mix and makes the lead vocal sound worse. Almost all listeners are going to listen to the vocal and won't give a dram about the somewhat artificial quality of a guitar pickup.

Speaking of vocals. The vocals have better singing that I ever have from myself in my dreams. I have tried over the years to polish the road-apple that is my singing. My pitch issues and other faults won't go away no matter what level of recording tech sound improvements are applied, though I still think (illogically?) I should try. The vocals on your song sounded a little bright and very slightly thin on my monitors. Not sure what I'd do about that, and what I'd suggest might not be what better recordists would suggest.
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Last edited by FrankHudson; 01-02-2021 at 09:01 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 01-02-2021, 03:38 PM
AuntieDiluvian AuntieDiluvian is offline
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Thanks guys - this is really good input. I've taken some of what you guys said and updated the track a bit. Spreading out the soundstage made a really big difference in letting the individual instruments come through.

https://soundclick.com/r/s8fpw5
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Old 01-02-2021, 03:39 PM
AuntieDiluvian AuntieDiluvian is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevWind View Post

I am not familiar with that DAW so no DAW specific recommendations But if you have a way to export the RAW tracks as individual tracks in WAV I would love to take a crack at re mixing it... Don't know if SoundClick offers direct download but maybe Dropbox if you have that ?
Lemme see if I can figure out how to do that.....would love to hear what someone with some skill would do.
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Old 01-02-2021, 09:08 PM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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The spread in the stereo field did improve things. You're probably getting to the level of accomplishment that only the better recordists here than I can help you with.

After hearing the vocal recording sound again a second time I'm not even very sure of my initial thoughts about the microphone, room, or EQ elements on what is otherwise a fine vocal to my ears.
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Old 01-10-2021, 12:51 PM
AuntieDiluvian AuntieDiluvian is offline
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Round 3 of polishing this turd.

https://soundclick.com/r/s8fto4

I'm coming to the conclusion that the early parts of the process are the most important - there's only so much you can do to "fix" things after the fact.
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Old 01-10-2021, 02:19 PM
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Sounds a lot better.

I'd probably tap a dB or so off the very low end, say 80dB and lower, and add some exciter or something in the low mids, or maybe right on the vocal track, to bring out the lead vocal just bit.

P.S. There's some string noise on the guitar parts that should be cleaned up to bring up the level of that track to a normalized/streaming level. Not horrible, but it gets noticeable at typical listening levels, as usual, just IMO.
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Old 01-10-2021, 08:55 PM
AuntieDiluvian AuntieDiluvian is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keith.rogers View Post
Sounds a lot better.

I'd probably tap a dB or so off the very low end, say 80dB and lower, and add some exciter or something in the low mids, or maybe right on the vocal track, to bring out the lead vocal just bit.
I actually put a high-pass filter on the vocals, because I had some plosives that needed to be tamed. The chief source of problems is often the prior batch of solutions.....

Quote:
P.S. There's some string noise on the guitar parts that should be cleaned up to bring up the level of that track to a normalized/streaming level. Not horrible, but it gets noticeable at typical listening levels, as usual, just IMO.
Yes. How can you tame that aside from re-training the guitarist to improve his technique?
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Old 01-10-2021, 09:20 PM
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Quote:
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Yes. How can you tame that aside from re-training the guitarist to improve his technique?
A technique called spectral editing can help, though it's likely not available in your DAW. It's in Reaper, which can be demo'ed free or bought for just $60. Plugins like Izotope RX also have tools that can de-ess, fix plosives, string squeaks, and other noise... at a price.

Here's how spectral editing works in Reaper. You could download it, use demo mode, pull in just the tracks you need to fix, and render them back out to use back in your original project.

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