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> How To Make This Track Sound Bigger?, Drop A mixing
thefireball
post Dec 9 2011, 04:35 PM
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Hey guys. Just a quick track in progress. I am listening to this and thinking, "Man, this sounds so weak." How do I get this to sound bigger? Does it need more rhythm guitars? I think I have plenty of distortion. Help? Thank you so much. I am working toward getting my tracks ready to sell - I am also getting mixing speakers for Christmas...so.. wink.gif

Also, what about the transitions of the parts? I am trying to go for the progressive metal style with some changes to riffs throughout the song. Wow. This learning process is painful.



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VilleFIN
post Dec 9 2011, 05:07 PM
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Nice riffing man !

But It does sound kinda thin...

Have you played bass on this ?
And have put some eq'ing ?



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thefireball
post Dec 9 2011, 05:12 PM
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QUOTE (WeePee @ Dec 9 2011, 10:07 AM) *
Nice riffing man !

But It does sound kinda thin...

Have you played bass on this ?
And have put some eq'ing ?


Yes. I just record bass along with my normal guitar - the dry signal and lower it a full octave. Maybe it should be recorded separately after all. Don't have a real bass and can't find a free vst that doesn't sounds like crap. Here's a screenshot of the EQ for the rhythm guitars. Perhaps that's the problem? Thank you, though.
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VilleFIN
post Dec 9 2011, 05:28 PM
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QUOTE (thefireball @ Dec 9 2011, 08:12 PM) *
Yes. I just record bass along with my normal guitar - the dry signal and lower it a full octave. Maybe it should be recorded separately after all.

You should record your bass line separately. I would add some gain on the bass also.

When I'm doing bass lines I put basic bass sound from GR5on track 1 and and for other track I add guitar crunch sound. Someone gave this tip from Gmc actually. wink.gif

You should try the Ezmix app. It's from Toontrack too. You can use the demo version and see if You can beef up your track.


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thefireball
post Dec 9 2011, 05:31 PM
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QUOTE (WeePee @ Dec 9 2011, 10:28 AM) *
You should record your bass line separately. I would add some gain on the bass also.

When I'm doing bass lines I put basic bass sound from GR5on track 1 and and for other track I add guitar crunch sound. Someone gave this tip from Gmc actually. wink.gif

You should try the Ezmix app. It's from Toontrack too. You can use the demo version and see if You can beef up your track.


Okay. I actually got EZmix. I got it along with EZdrummer. smile.gif


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thefireball
post Dec 9 2011, 05:58 PM
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Trond Vold and I have been commenting back and forth on his YouTube about mixing. He pans his guitars to 51% left/right and that gives him more room to place harmonies and melodies. He also said to use a plugin that enhances stereo to help separate tracks from each other for a nice blend. Anybody's thoughts on these things? Never heard of a stereo enhancer - sounds like a good idea if I can find one and know how to use it.


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Daniel Realpe
post Dec 9 2011, 07:53 PM
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Maybe add another snare sound to the one you have, the snare really has to sound in front in this style


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quadrium
post Dec 9 2011, 07:59 PM
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Hey man,

Maybe you can duplicate the bass track and add some distortion to the second track and blend it in with the bass track you have. This way low end sounds bigger smile.gif


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thefireball
post Dec 9 2011, 08:42 PM
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okay i made the snare more in front now. So you mean like left channel bass is normal and the other bass track in the right is crunched? or should the bass be in the middle?


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quadrium
post Dec 9 2011, 08:53 PM
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QUOTE (thefireball @ Dec 9 2011, 07:42 PM) *
okay i made the snare more in front now. So you mean like left channel bass is normal and the other bass track in the right is crunched? or should the bass be in the middle?


After duplicating the track, keep the original track untouched and add some bass distortion to the other channel. Then pull the fader all the way down in the second track you just added distortion. Then slowly pull the fader back up and stop when you find the right spot for you. This way your low end will sound much bigger smile.gif Also you can add some reverb.


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Dec 10 2011, 11:11 AM
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For a track to sound 'bigger' requires good composition and that it's been tracked/recorded well in the first place. Trying to fix it in the mix will take a lot of time and won't generally be ideal. Too much distortion will actually make your track sound thin. You also need to look again at the eq on the rythym as you are cutting a lot of the body out. Using presets only works if you use them as a starting point.

QUOTE (thefireball @ Dec 9 2011, 04:58 PM) *
Trond Vold and I have been commenting back and forth on his YouTube about mixing. He pans his guitars to 51% left/right and that gives him more room to place harmonies and melodies. He also said to use a plugin that enhances stereo to help separate tracks from each other for a nice blend. Anybody's thoughts on these things? Never heard of a stereo enhancer - sounds like a good idea if I can find one and know how to use it.


Think he really means hard panning to L and R for rythym guitars, or possibly 90% or 80% L and R. That way you leave the centre for lead, main vocals and so on. You don't need a plug in you just need to pan the various instruments for placement and you need to pay some attention to panning laws. Stereo enhancers are not often a good idea as you very easily end up with a hollow, ghosted centre and instruments that dissapear and collapse in mono.

QUOTE (quadrium @ Dec 9 2011, 07:53 PM) *
After duplicating the track, keep the original track untouched and add some bass distortion to the other channel. Then pull the fader all the way down in the second track you just added distortion. Then slowly pull the fader back up and stop when you find the right spot for you. This way your low end will sound much bigger smile.gif Also you can add some reverb.


Works even better if you also put the fader up to unity and pull down - mark the two positions (from below and above) where you feel the track is coming in to focus and this defines the sweetspot fader range to work in. Use muting and also multi individual tracks to let you define specific regions and process them separately. Parallel comp the rythym will give a bigger sound to them without the need to add distortion.


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PosterBoy
post Dec 10 2011, 01:41 PM
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Fireball.

I encourage you to buy Mixing Rock over at Groove 3. Whilst the track they Kenny uses is more pop rock, his insight into mixing and using eq, compression etc and panning on each track is amazing.

You might want to add more guitar tracks and make have less gain on all the guitars (have you double tracked any of the guitars?), you don't need as much gain as you think recording metal guitar tracks. I also agree about adding some overdrive to the bass.


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The Uncreator
post Dec 10 2011, 03:07 PM
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First, commenting structurally.

Tempo should be increased slightly I think, maybe by 5-10 bpm. This will give it some force if you can play it faster just as clean. But don't increase it too much where it just sounds faster for the sake of being faster. The tone you can tell has a lot of eq'ing after the fact. Which will take a lot of energy away from the sound at times, you could be cutting a frequency where your attack really shines through. So always make sure your tone is as close to perfect before you record. EQ wise on my guitar tracks, I never do more than high and low pass, I never try to alter it much more than that.

Mixing wise, I think the bigger sound you want can be obtained by more powerful drums. Try increasing the low gain to beef up the kick, and possibly adding a compressor to the drums master track. Do not increase the distortion on the guitars, you have plenty. Instead, quad track it. Record four separate performances (no copy/paste) and pan them about this:

100% Left
70% - 80% Left
100% Right
70% - 80% Right

The closer to center the third and fourth tracks are, the 'thicker' your sound will become. But getting it too close will cause a lot of mush and ugliness. This will fill out a lot of the mix, and also increase stereo perception. Also, dropping your guitar an octave doesn't work out well with this music. I have tried it myself, it just doesn't cut it for the heavy low tuned material, you need a good powerful low end. And there are some great VSTi's out there, like Trilogy from Spectrasonics, or there newer one which is ungodly and way expensive. EWQL has an older one called "hardcore bass" which has some great sounds it but its EWQL so it aint cheap, and I am not sure if it is produced anymore.

NI has some like Scarbee Pre-Bass and such which aren't too expensive but which aren't aimed at low tunings. So you have to use the "tune" function and adjust the pitch by halftones.
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thefireball
post Dec 10 2011, 05:35 PM
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Wow, there is some very useful information here. I'm relieved I don't need a stereo enhancer. My biggest problem is playing this tight. It's sooo hard for me.


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thefireball
post Dec 10 2011, 06:53 PM
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QUOTE (tonymiro @ Dec 10 2011, 04:11 AM) *
Think he really means hard panning to L and R for rythym guitars, or possibly 90% or 80% L and R. That way you leave the centre for lead, main vocals and so on. You don't need a plug in you just need to pan the various instruments for placement and you need to pay some attention to panning laws. Stereo enhancers are not often a good idea as you very easily end up with a hollow, ghosted centre and instruments that dissapear and collapse in mono.


Thank you, Tony. Here's what Trond said:

I record each rhythm track twice and pan the first track 51% to left and and the other 51% right (not sure on how i decided on 51, but it just works for me) smile.gif
That leave me alot of headroom to move lead-tracks wherever i want in the soundscape. I can decide to pan them all the way to either side or put them right in the middle.


I actually like the idea of hard panning anyway. Does he mean he only pans it to 51%? How could this work? His track sounds pretty awesome.

Since you are the pro, Tony, I'll stick to what you say. biggrin.gif

Does the bass go in the middle of the mix?


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The Uncreator
post Dec 10 2011, 09:18 PM
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Yeah. Usually the bass, snare, and kick drum are always dead center.
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VilleFIN
post Dec 10 2011, 09:32 PM
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QUOTE (The Uncreator @ Dec 11 2011, 12:18 AM) *
Yeah. Usually the bass, snare, and kick drum are always dead center.

I like to put snare little bit left but it's personal choice.

And like The Uncreator said this should be little faster too wink.gif

This post has been edited by WeePee: Dec 10 2011, 09:33 PM


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Alex Feather
post Dec 10 2011, 09:44 PM
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What kind of software do you use?


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thefireball
post Dec 11 2011, 12:03 AM
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QUOTE (Alex Feather @ Dec 10 2011, 02:44 PM) *
What kind of software do you use?


I use Reaper for my DAW and POD Farm for my guitar. Also EZdrummer and EZmix.

I used "Warm 3" setting for the kick in EZmix and now the kick sounds bigger and not so fake. smile.gif Will post another version hopefully soon. Thanks guys.


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Dec 11 2011, 01:40 PM
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I think some things maybe need repeating as the message doesn't seem to be getting across wink.gif. So:

QUOTE (tonymiro @ Dec 10 2011, 10:11 AM) *
For a track to sound 'bigger' requires good composition and that it's been tracked/recorded well in the first place. Trying to fix it in the mix will take a lot of time and won't generally be ideal. ...


and more eloquently...

QUOTE (The Uncreator @ Dec 10 2011, 02:07 PM) *
... So always make sure your tone is as close to perfect before you record. EQ wise on my guitar tracks, I never do more than high and low pass ....


As you want to move towards commercial release...

It can't be stated enough but you have to spend time at tracking/recording to get as good a raw audio file as you possibly can. Time spent here will save you much more time at mix down. Get it wrong and you will struggle to get back/correct things. You shouldn't really be using mixdown processing to get your raw tone.

At mixdown get your balances/levels right BEFORE you do any other processing. Maybe start with the most important instrument/s and set their levels and balance. In rock that is often the kick drum and bass guitar but you need to decide that as it it is relative to both the track and what you want to achieve. Once they are set then balance the others relative to them whilst ensuring that you maintain adequate headroom not to clip. IMHO getting the balance right is much more important than any subsequent EQing/compression.

Panning is in part a matter of personal taste. Nonetheless assuming that you want your music to be similar to what is commerically available the vast majoirty either pan multi part rythym guitar hard L and R or 80-90% L and R. Whether 51% would provide enough stereo width for wall of sound is a matter of taste. The instruments that you want to stand out nearly always go in the centre - lead vox, lead guitar, snare... Bass heavy instruments also should be in the centre - bass guitar and kick drum. Other less important stuff can be panned L and R to help open up space and create stereo width. You should balance instruments that are panned to one side with a similar, complimentary one panned equally to the other side. If you don't then you may end up with unbalanced stereo. Make sure you do mono collapse checks to make sure that your mix stands up.

Multi part/miced guitars means that you need to use your DAW to appropriately line up the files to either avoid or deliberately use phase issues to affect tone due to comb filtering. You need to edit and slip files here and you need to make a lot of use of muting and phase inversion and audition the files continually. If you have timing issues then editing in a DAW is your friend. Use editing along with fades and slips and mult takes to help sort out timing issues but listen to what you do in the context of the song rather than getting hung up on achieving a perfectly timed but rythmically dead file.

EQ presets - IMHO should not be used at all in any mix that has ambitions to be commercial. A preset is only ideal for the original song it was written for. The chances of your song being the same as that are 0 and so at best the preset will just give you a fudge. Get your sound right at recording and you shouldn't need to do much EQing at mix down anyway. Same goes for compression - track and automated fader riding will nearly always deliver a better balance and final sound then the over use of compression. With processing at mix down you are nearly always better of using less than more. Pro mixers know when NOT to add processing and actually do it far less then most home/project studios. All processing adds distortion and takes you further and further away from the original sound you recorded.

When you do (finally) decide that your balance is as good as you can get you then use processing to take it the final distance. Every bit of processing eats up room in your mix and reduces the room and options you have left. So just as with balance maybe start with the most important part/instrument and process that appropriately. That way you focus on the most important things first.

You will struggle with making any mix decisions until you have suitable monitoring and room treatment that can present the low end reasonably accurately. At home/project quality you can fudge this a bit but not really for commercial.

What differentiates a commercial mix from home/project isn't just the quality of the EQ processing etc. Some things that separate the commerical tracks from project stuff tend to be the use of comp and mult takes (comp in the sense of composite rather than compression) to produce a final take. For instance, a single lead vox in a commerical production will often be a composite of the vox recorded at least 8 times. The final vox track is then built up by taking the best bits from those 8 performances. Performances will be carefully edited to achieve appropriate timing and pitch long before any thing like EQ is processed. To put this in to some kind of context a commerical track can easily have hundreds of edits to achieve ptich and appropriate timing along with heavily automated fader rides. Mult takes here mean that you can jump between different takes of a part and process them differently: you might want a different EQ on the rhytym guitar in a chors=us to the same in the intro. In addition a commerical producer will pay a lot of attention to how the track is built in terms of arrangement to ensure that the dynamics of the track work so that the choruses/crescendos actually do build up to a high point but without the important focal instrument/vox getting lost/swamped.

Having said all the above commercial release is rarely ITB (in the box) processed. Hardware is still used in most pro end studios because it still delivers a better end result. The vast majority make a lot of use of hardware to help sculpt the sound. It's a simple fact that where we stand technologically today means that very few vsts are as good sonically as pro end hardware: and that includes emulations/modelers. Furthermore the more vsts that you use the more your sound will distort and be prone to unwanted artefacts. It's also worth remembering that a commercial release nearly always involves more than one engineer and producer. It is very rare that a single person has both the skills, objectivity and equpiment to be able to do everything required for a commercial release. The vast majority of pro mixing engineers will not master because of this. It is nearly always bedroom and project mixers who try to do everything.

At the moment to be totally honest I think your first part is quite a long way from commercial quality. I also think that your reference is a way off. At the mo we're in ok/good home studio/project territory. You should use appropriate commercial music for your reference material and critically compare your mix to them to assess what you need to do. Take a look at the video tutorial that Posterboy linked and also maybe check out Mike Senior's book 'Mixing secrets for small home studio'. Either/both of these will help you get you mix to a higher level as long as you practice but you need to practice. It will take time to get the experience and skills that you want/need for commercial release but if you practice you can get there.


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