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> How Do I Get Deep Recordings?, All my recordings are shallow
thefireball
post Dec 22 2010, 12:07 AM
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I notice my recordings aren't deep sounding like bands' songs. They sound very shallow or something. Not much there. Am I lacking bass? I can only record through Audacity and it records stereo tracks. I have attached an example.


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Attached File  shallow_recording.mp3 ( 231.86K ) Number of downloads: 218
 


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maharzan
post Dec 22 2010, 02:35 AM
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Band's recording has to do with so many factors.. mixing being one of them. From what I have learnt, pro recording usually have heavy rhythm guitars.. at least 2 to 4 mono rhythm tracks panned full left and right. That brings life to your recording. I don't think you have any rhythm guitars. Just trying a stereo solo might not help. Solos should be mono I think and in the middle of the chain. Reverb, delays are what define its depth. If you need stereo.. try 2 mono recordings and pan a bit left and right and one a little low in volume and shifted a little bit. (You can do this on rhythm guitars too). The drums and bass sound a bit flat too I guess for that band recording you are referring to. smile.gif

I haven't yet produced any great band recording but I was curious too and have read very many articles, tutorials. These were some tricks I came to know. smile.gif

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OzRob
post Dec 22 2010, 02:40 AM
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I'm not an expert but to my ears it sounds ok. Bear in mind that commercial releases have the crap compressed and limited out of them.

I just played around quickly with a spectrum analyser and EQ. You could try subtly boosting below 100Hz and some low-mids to give it more oomph.

Also the drums don't have any impact. Double them and add a little compression if you haven't already. The kick in particular sounds weak.


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JamesT
post Dec 22 2010, 04:01 AM
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It sounds pretty good to me. Did you to the backing tracks as well?

If you have access to modify the whole mix, take into consideration the following...

1. Drums -- Make sure they are in stereo. For a general mix, imagine yourself sitting behind a drum kit. The snare will be slightly to the left, kick in the middle, hat just left of the snare, cymbals panned far left and right, toms to the right, but next to each other in the stereo field. From there, to get more dynamics from the drums, adjust the levels to around the following for starters: kick -3dB, snare 0dB, toms 0dB,cymbals -6db. The snare's dynamics (velocity) should be modulated slightly per drum hit. Accent a hit by increasing it's velocity. Of course this applies to all drums. Imagine how a drummer would approach playing. Some of the hits are going to be accented while others are kept consistant. Apply reverb to taste to the cymbals (I like lots) and snare. Leave the kick toms dry. This is all of course done to taste.

2. Bass -- usually panned center. Experiment with compression. Compression will smooth out the bottom end and warm up the whole mix. No reverb. Set at -6db as starting point. One thing that I've heard can make the bass more audible but still tight with the kich drum is to slide is a very few milliseconds in time forward or backward, but I've never tried this so I can't vouch for the results.

3. Rhythm Guitars -- use less gain, of course depending on the style, but saturated is better than obliterated. Generally, distorted guitars don't need compression because the distortion itself is kind of a natural compressor. If you have two guitars doing the same thing, try different chord voicings for each. Pan them according to taste and make sure to leave room in the stereo field for lead guitar and vocals. I think leaving room for the other instruments is by far one of the most important aspects of getting a good mix. A good starting point for rhythm guitars is -6dB. A note about dB here. DB is a relative measue with 0 being the loudest. Your DAW probaby has decent meters that will allow you to see where the level of each instrument is.

4. Lead (Guitar and Vocals) -- Volume wise, you want these to be the most "present" aspect of a tune (usually). Start at 0dB and adjust to taste. Your lead in the attached "happy birthday" tune had lots of delay and reverb which is fine, but you can play with panning the echoes left and right using a stereo delay, each with a different delay time to achieve a stereo effect. Listen to some of your favorite tunes to see if you can hear how much reverb and delay is used on those for the guitar solos. See if you can match that.

5. Mixing -- Start with the above levels and adjust to taste. Imagine your band playing this tune in a space (be it a club, a garage, a basement, a concert hall, or a stadium. Use varying levels of reverb on each instrument to put them closer or further away in the mix. More reverb puts an instrument further away. Less brings it close. For EQ, I think the main thing to remember is that you can use EQ to "make room" for each intrument in the mix by cutting certain frequency ranges of certain instruments think of the tone of the instrument and the "spectral" space that it should occupy and cut frequencies that it should not occupy. For compression, I would read Tony Miro's great posts regarding mastering. Don't over-compress. It will kill the dynamics of your song. I listened to a Satch interview on YouTube last night where he said that modern mixes are way squashed even relative to Surfing with the Alien. He said that the dynamic range of Surfing was about 10dB which at the time was very compressed, but today a lot of records are at about 6dB. Compression makes a mix sound "louder" , but in my opinion that's what the volume knob on your stereo is for. Turn it up if you want it louder. smile.gif

6. Mastering -- See Tony's posts!


I hope this helps. Mixing is great fun and both an art and a science. Have fun.


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Dec 22 2010, 12:37 PM
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Pretty much as James has said though I´d set the level to peak at -3dB rather than 0.

At the moment your level is too high and so the audio is distorted and clipping. Partly because of it the audio sounds, to me, a little thin and sharp. Good audio are based on good tracking/recording followed by mixing and mastering. Weak tracking/recording can´t really be saved at mixing or mastering. Whilst improvements to EQ and compression can help a weak tracking/recording doubling/layering and reverb will not: if anything they will just exacerbate the issues. Once you´re happy with the tracking look towards how you mix the instruments together so that they sit together to form a cohesive mix. Use EQ to create space for each and to bring out character. With a lot of instruments you can cut a lot of their low end frequency spectrum as very little will actually happen there. Cutting these can help create space for the bass and kick drum and also allow your track to sound louder eventually. Use compression to help maintain an appropriate dynamic range and to prevent the odd random note being too loud. Compress some instruments individually but also consider mixing into a compressor on the stereo main as this can help glue the entire track together. Experiment with different types of compressors as they do different things and have their own type of sound.

Finally, don´t try and get the same volume as commercially released CDs as it is very unlikely that you will get it without creating issues with hypercompression, clipping and distortion.



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JamesT
post Dec 23 2010, 07:43 AM
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QUOTE (tonymiro @ Dec 22 2010, 03:37 AM) *
Pretty much as James has said though I´d set the level to peak at -3dB rather than 0.



Oh yes, I sort of meant in relative terms for all the dB values. Back when I used to use tape I tried to get everything as hot as possible. which I'm learning, is not what you want to do in the digital realm.


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thefireball
post Dec 23 2010, 07:51 AM
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this is a lot to take into consideration!! i think i'll just get a recording crew! laugh.gif i guess i'll have to stick with the cheap stuff until i can make it sound better. there are a few things i know i could do with what i've got. smile.gif


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maharzan
post Dec 23 2010, 08:29 AM
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You can create band's output from home nowadays. You just need the know how.. that probably comes with experience and some nice gears. smile.gif


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Dec 23 2010, 02:16 PM
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QUOTE (JamesT @ Dec 23 2010, 07:43 AM) *
Oh yes, I sort of meant in relative terms for all the dB values. Back when I used to use tape I tried to get everything as hot as possible. which I'm learning, is not what you want to do in the digital realm.



Absolutely James smile.gif .

Going up to and over 0db on tape usually just gave some nice warm saturation rather than the nasty digital distortion that you get nowadays. Before we relocated the studio we had a 1/2 inch tape that we sometimes would loop out to for a little saturation. There are a few hardware and software tape plugins that try and emulate this with varying degrees of success btw.

Also Mastering Engineers sometimes deliberately clip the bus but you need to be careful and really pay attention to monitoring the audio...

QUOTE (maharzan @ Dec 23 2010, 08:29 AM) *
You can create band's output from home nowadays. You just need the know how.. that probably comes with experience and some nice gears. smile.gif


Yes experience counts for a lot. A good mix or mastering engineer will get better results out of poor gear then a weak engineer using the best gear. Now a good engineer with the best gear biggrin.gif


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Dec 30 2010, 02:53 AM
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There are some great advices given here, so I will only add that most important thing is to experiment as much as possible with various mixes and mastering versions. Work, work, work, and after a lot of hard work, your mixes will start to sound better, as you discover new techniques. If you are interested in mixing & mastering, this is a whole science, and many things are already written, so there are some things that you simply have to read and learn.
But, mixing & mastering is an art form as well, and as an "artist" you must spend lots of work on your mixing and mastering in order to achieve a good result. Just take it step by step, and understand that listening is VERY important. Try to train your ears to hear the mixes properly. Render many versions, and listen to them on various stereo units, don't just focus on your main speakers, or god forbid, only on analyzers. Often you can only hear imperfections once you place your mixes to mp3 earphones or play them in you car.
Your mix is lacking mids in general, and it doesn't have that much dynamics. As tony said, important thing is tracking, and in this case, this is very true. Finding better drum samples, and making your guitar tighter will sound much better already.

This post has been edited by Ivan Milenkovic: Dec 30 2010, 02:54 AM


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thefireball
post Jan 26 2011, 11:25 PM
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QUOTE (maharzan @ Dec 21 2010, 07:35 PM) *
Band's recording has to do with so many factors.. mixing being one of them. From what I have learnt, pro recording usually have heavy rhythm guitars.. at least 2 to 4 mono rhythm tracks panned full left and right. That brings life to your recording. I don't think you have any rhythm guitars. Just trying a stereo solo might not help. Solos should be mono I think and in the middle of the chain. Reverb, delays are what define its depth. If you need stereo.. try 2 mono recordings and pan a bit left and right and one a little low in volume and shifted a little bit. (You can do this on rhythm guitars too). The drums and bass sound a bit flat too I guess for that band recording you are referring to. smile.gif

I haven't yet produced any great band recording but I was curious too and have read very many articles, tutorials. These were some tricks I came to know. smile.gif

Good Luck!



I was wondering what the difference was between the two things I could do? Why do I need to do one channel a little lower in volume? huh.gif
Thanks in advance, anybody! smile.gif


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Todd Simpson
post Jan 27 2011, 01:57 AM
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He is talking more about creating a "Stereo Spread" with your tracks if I"m reading correctly. Some great advice in this thread. Getting a "better" sounds is, just like learning an instrument, a loooooong journey. You are well on your way and working hard towards "better" which is great. Try some of the advice here and spent as much time recording, listening, tweaking, as you can. Experience will help you a great deal. The more time you spend with the gear you have the better. At some point, you will replace bits here and there. Better mics, better interface, etc. Along with your experience, better gear doesn't hurt one bit. It won't save you, but if used properly it can help you progress.



QUOTE (thefireball @ Jan 26 2011, 05:25 PM) *
I was wondering what the difference was between the two things I could do? Why do I need to do one channel a little lower in volume? huh.gif
Thanks in advance, anybody! smile.gif



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SirJamsalot
post Jan 27 2011, 02:47 AM
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haha. old thread comes to life.I just listened to that track in my cheapo ear buds and about all I can discern is that the bass is louder than the rythem guitars?! strikes me as a bit odd, so I'd start out by jacking up the rythem guitars so the bass compliments them instead of the other way around smile.gif

Also, investigate / research the art of double tracking your rythem guitars. I can't tell if you are or not based on this track, but when I first started recording, my guitar rythem was shallow compared to all the other great recordings I heard. Through research, I realized they were creating a group track, then recording the rythem once on one track, then they would record the rthem again on the second track, then they would pan one left and the other right. I tried it and whoa..... all of a sudden, I had a deep thundering guitar tone coming thru my headphones. I understand some people go as far as 4xtracking rythem, which I just can't muster the energy to try smile.gif

yeah, old thread, but great topic and I'm glad it's been bumped.

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thefireball
post Jan 28 2011, 01:23 AM
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With my new POD Farm software and after trying some panning here and there, I recorded this just now.
That is Trond Vold's drums (and bass) only backing track.
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Attached File  Canon_4_rhythm_guitars.mp3 ( 602.1K ) Number of downloads: 109
 


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JamesT
post Jan 28 2011, 04:21 AM
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That sounds pretty cool man. I like the guitar part that you came up with.


Regarding mixing and recording practice, the collabs here at GMC are a good way to 'get your hands dirty" so to speak with mixing and such. The REC too. Be sure to do as many of those as you can. That, and doing your own songs from scratch for sure is the best way to work on mixing skills.


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thefireball
post Jan 28 2011, 07:19 PM
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Thanks. smile.gif I'm kinda getting the gist of things, I think.


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