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> Mixing With A Backing Track
yoncopin
post Sep 1 2015, 02:53 PM
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I want to improve the quality of my recordings and videos. I'm usually recording my guitar on a separate track with a GMC lesson backing on another and I find that my resulting mixes can be kinda muddy and confused sounding. I was wondering if anyone had some tips to try and get better separation between instruments when the backing track is already a single combined audio file. I think that specifically is an issue I'm having, but any other tips for improving my mixes or recordings would be helpful.


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Mertay
post Sep 1 2015, 04:56 PM
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If you don't want your core tone to change (changing cab. ir.'s) eq'ing should be enough. But I'm aware this answer is probably not enough for you, could you share an example?


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yoncopin
post Sep 1 2015, 06:31 PM
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QUOTE (Mertay @ Sep 1 2015, 11:56 AM) *
If you don't want your core tone to change (changing cab. ir.'s) eq'ing should be enough. But I'm aware this answer is probably not enough for you, could you share an example?


I thought my latest take, assignment 6 for the GMC Borderline group was a good example. There's just so much going on and it all got a bit flubby to my ears. I tried a bit of EQ on my two guitar tracks (rhythm and lead), I just notched the rhythm and boosted the lead at a frequency I wanted to highlight. I know EQ and compression are some of the primary tools, but am a relative beginner at their application. What's a good way to develop this skill?


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Mertay
post Sep 1 2015, 06:54 PM
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When listening the first video, I quickly noticed the limiter is working too hard. The guitars tone is fine on that one, when using the limiter avoid at all costs such pumping. Let the listener turn up the volume if he/she has to smile.gif

On the second video we have the limiter thing again. Try decreasing the compression of limiter and listen again, if still not happy since the solo tone is fine we might have a rhythm guitar level and panning issue here. How did you arrange the rhythm guitar(s)?


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yoncopin
post Sep 1 2015, 08:29 PM
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In both videos everything is center panned. I've listened to both a few more times and don't hear the limiter effect you're describing. I academically understand what you're saying, but my ears aren't skilled enough to hear it. How do you train your ears to hear what a mix "needs" in a general sense? I'm going to start working through the book "Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio" but it can only instruct, I have to hear the things a track needs.


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Mertay
post Sep 1 2015, 10:27 PM
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The effect I believe is called "masking" when we limit or compress a mix too much. On the first video you can focus on the backing while solo'ing, sometimes the backing track is pushed back when the solo guitar hits a note.

When adjusting compressors or limiters we always tweak the output to be the same while we're experimenting. Like in every limiter plug-in next or near the threshold there is an output slider that notice only decreases gain. Let say we lowered the threshold to -6, then we lower the out -6 too and compare by engage/bypassing the plug-in. This is how we understand what the limit of loudness we can use on our mix as we prefer musicality over loudness. With compressors this might be a little more tricky, thats why I usually don't recommend using them until the user feels comfortable with other tools.

The complicated thing is sites like youtube, soundcloud etc. might also change the sound or dynamics. To keep a steady sound level between videos, uploads are processed and this might also be the reason of masking or other problems...to avoid this as much as possible, again we don't limit too hard and also adjust the output of the limiter to -0.2 or 0.3db right before finalizing the project.

As for the mix hearing thing, I personally call this "producer hearing". Imagine a band approaches to you and gives their mix, you listen to that song and place yourself as an average listener that likes what the band is doing (thats why producers are usually genre specific like rap or metal...) and try to figure out what needs change or polishing to get its vibe.

I personally killed many brain cells to feel comfortable to obtain such judgment and still are smile.gif its also about being totally objective which also gets harder as I keep listening the same thing over and over again while working. But after a while one gets used to it, I even pick guitars like this for friends smile.gif

I learned mostly at schools and studio so can't help much there, books are nice but sometimes confuse too as the art doesn't have hard rules to it. But there weren't much video's when I was a student and being able to hear and see what the guys doing at the DAW makes sense to me for learning. Bright side is as a guitar player you already have good understanding of almost all fx so I imagine this will have strong advantages while you educate yourself.


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yoncopin
post Sep 2 2015, 02:01 AM
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That's a great explanation, thanks. I'll do some critical listening and experimentation with those old tracks to see if I can improve the mix as an exercise. You seem to really know your stuff, would you mind giving some of my future tracks a listen to get some feedback from someone with more experience? I think it'd really help the learning process as opposed to going it entirely alone.


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Mertay
post Sep 2 2015, 09:40 AM
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Sure, pm any link you'd like me to listen I'll reply as soon as possible smile.gif


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