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Fat Man's Curve- my latest home recording, your opinions invited

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  • Fat Man's Curve- my latest home recording, your opinions invited

    My rough attempt at rockabilly, in 'glorious' mp3 ( bokes ). Guitar parts are panned hard l/r: left ( rhythm ) is Yamaha AES820 from the headphone out of my Blackstar Fly3 on the drive channel with slapback, right ( 'lead' ) is Antoria Rockstar, Fly3 clean channel mic'd with a Blue 8-Ball, guitar going through a moderate amount of Bad Monkey OD and MadebyMike Saltbooster Plus, again with amp slapback delay. Everything went through Smartelectronix Ambience reverb in Tracktion 5. Free for all, now remixed with a better drum sound.

    Everyone wants to shine: who wants to polish?
    Good deals with: RadioSilence
    Everyone wants to shine: who wants to polish?
    Good deals with: RadioSilence

  • #2
    Sounds like you used headphones to mix it. The music has no center. When you use near field recording monitors, the center is heard in front of you like you'd be seeing a band live. When you use headphones, the image occurs in the center of your skull and your dimensional imaging front to rear gets distorted.

    As the mix is now, you have a snare in the middle of the stage and a cymbal way over to one side in back if the guitarist. No drummer has arms that reach that far. If you want a wide pan on the drums you have to bring them up front close to the listener as if he was standing directly in front of the drums.

    To do this I suggest you mono the drum tracks, get rid of the reverb, beef up the snare and kick then leave the kick and snare mono and gradually widen the cymbals no more then 50%. Keep the kick and snare center so it comes out of both speakers. This gives the drums the power they need. Vocals, Kick and bass are usually in the center and since they cover different frequencies they can be heard without masking each other.

    Keep the drums closer to being mono depending on how far away you want the listener to be from the drums. In a concert, drums are 100% mono. Even in a small club you'd need to get within a few feet of the drums to hear one cymbal in the left and one in the right ear. that might be something musicians hear on stage, but to an audience, drums are mono center stage "between" the guitar amps.

    Start with the drums and make them sound the biggest and best. Think of yourself as a drummer actually playing the drums. You should not only hear the kick but feel it. That's very hard to do with headphones. With speakers you can judge how much bass you have when you push the speakers. If the speakers fart out you know you have too much.

    Bass? I couldn't hear it at all in your mix so it either wasn't there of its so bad you tried to cover it up with everything else. Bass sound be up front in the low waves equal to the kick and guitars in loudness. Only the snare should be louder and not by much. Once you get the full frequency drums happening, add the bass. It has to match the kick in power. too much you wont hear the kick, too little it disappears.

    You usually have to notch the kick and bass a little differently so they don't mask each other. If you give the kick a 250hz boost and an 800hz cut, try giving the bass a 250hz cut and 800hz boost. This creates a comb filter which allows the to instruments to be heard together in the same frequency ranges. Compress as needed.

    Guitars, The mix is obviously done by a guitarist, because they were much too loud. When you do this it makes your mix sound self indulgent. When you mix you have to learn to dump your natural bias to make your instrument sound better then the others. You need to turn that around a complete 180. make all the other instruments sound better then the guitars first, then just bring it up into the mix so its there but not masking anyone else.

    Listen to any professional mix and you'll know what I'm talking about. you only think the guitars are louder because you've trained you ears to hear those notes playing. A non player hears a mix with most of the instruments more even and maybe the vocals out front. You can tweak it a little for a lead, but you have to back off the rest of the time.

    Always remember, Its your talent that draws peoples ears, not loudness. People will typically adjust the songs loudness so they feel the bass and kick. If the guitars are too loud, they will turn the music down and loose all emotional connection to the beat. This is the #1 mistake a guitarist makes mixing. People don't need to hear every not you play louder then everything else in a mix.

    Get the kick and bass happening, then add in the rhythm in for the third element. Pull it in from left field and get it to work with the kick and bass. You do that playing live, do it in a mix.

    You can copy the guitar track, pan one side sat 66% left. Add reverb on the right and pan it 66% right and keep the reverb track lower. Bring it up just enough to add some three dimensional room reflection. This adds a boundary to your sound scape like the frame of a picture. Do the same on the other guitar, just reverse the sides.

    Next, turn the master volume off. Gradually increase the volume. the first thing you should hear is the snare followed by the kick, bass and cymbals. If you hear the guitars first, they are much too loud. Turn them down. They should appear last as you turn the mix up.

    You can also play back the speakers, then leave the room and walk down the hall. Guitars should disappear before the drums and bass do. Bass travels through wall so you should hear the lows albeit more muffled as you get farther away. You should still hear the snare fairly strong along with any vocals.

    Lastly there's a handy technique you can use copying others mixes in an A/B comparison. Take a commercial song, resample it to match your projects sample rate then import it into the mix. mute all your tracks and play back the import at normal levels. Then take one track at a time. Try starting with your snare track. adjust it up so it matches the volume of the import track. The tempo and keys here probably wont match, but that's not important. You simply want to match the volume, stereo position and coloration.

    After you get a good match, write the volume setting down and mute the track. Move to the kick, then the cymbals, then the bass and do the same thing one track at a time. Once you get all the tracks to match in volume and position to the commercial song, mute the commercial song and unmute your own tracks. You may not have the same instruments and tones happening, but I guarantee you your mix will sound a hundred times better then it does now. You may need to do small tweaks from there based on what's best for the musical composition.
    Last edited by WRGKMC; 04-26-2015, 12:53 PM.


    • #3
      Originally posted by WRGKMC View Post
      Sounds like you used headphones to mix it. The music has no center, the typical results on using headphones instead of near field recording monitors.
      I did use Yamaha MSP5 nearfields, but I am working from a temporary bodged-together desk so their positioning is obviously less than ideal. Thanks for the observation, I really have to get these speakers to a better setup.
      Everyone wants to shine: who wants to polish?
      Good deals with: RadioSilence


      • #4
        Yea there's got to be something wrong there to have such a hollow center. I'd set everything to mono and first get a good frequency blend. Only then pan things out a bit.