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> Help With My Tone/mix Please
Phil66
post Mar 24 2016, 08:28 PM
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Hello folks,

Please take a listen to this file, no need to think about the playing, I was just throwing some ideas around but how can I make the guitar sound better in the mix?

Pictures of settings are below, the "Mid Edge" knob on the Hotbird is switched on and it gives + 7db (6db/oct) from 300 to 2.5K Hz (Whatever that means but that's what the bloke who made it said smile.gif ). Only the knobs without the circle around them are in use. The clipping is set to amber, this gives "soft symmetrical clipping, for a particularly impressive distortion with a noticeable volume increase compared to other clipping, and extremely dynamic from which it is possible to obtain overdrive sounds". Bass lift/boost is off and it is in the vintage setting.

https://soundcloud.com/gmcphil-1/assignment-3-take-8-blues-scale






Thanks for your help folks, I'm away for four days from tomorrow so you have plenty of time to ponder smile.gif

Cheers, I really appreciate your help and guidance smile.gif


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Chris S.
post Mar 27 2016, 05:36 PM
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When you say improve the tone in the mix what are you referring too exactly - making it punch through better, etc?

Personally, I feel there could be a boost to the higher frequencies of the guitar, if not with the treble control on the amp then post EQ - but that's just my ears.

You can also try creating a small dip in the mid range of the backing track, this might help clear up some space for the mids of your guitar track to push through.

Just my two cents for whatever it's worth tongue.gif


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Phil66
post Mar 27 2016, 05:40 PM
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Thanks Chris,
It all helps, I find it hard getting a balanced sound, I've not done much though.
I wonder how the big boys get on when they get a guitar tone that they like but it doesn't cut it in the mix.
Cheers buddy


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Chris S.
post Mar 27 2016, 06:48 PM
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QUOTE (Phil66 @ Mar 27 2016, 04:40 PM) *
Thanks Chris,
It all helps, I find it hard getting a balanced sound, I've not done much though.
I wonder how the big boys get on when they get a guitar tone that they like but it doesn't cut it in the mix.
Cheers buddy

Everyone has their own tips and tricks - you can always double track, or at the very least copy and past the track, pan it to the far opposite speaker and then nudge the track 10ms to the right as sort of a "lazy man's" double track.

This won't give you the same effect as a true double but it will fatten up the guitar a little more.



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Mertay
post Mar 27 2016, 09:38 PM
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I'd first decrease the reverb on that track, depth feel should be less on the solo than the backing as we want it to be "heard more".

And yeah increasing the high eq on the amp, if not enough can place the mic. closer to the cab. . Even that vari-class knob had an effect if I remember right from the demo's.

When approaching, what I wouldn't do is adding the pedal from the begining. If I can't nail the balance then yeah it definitly can help, but if I nailed the balance from the amp but want more gain, adjust the pedal so it gives gain but doesn't alter tone.

We adjust amps on solo sound to our liking which is cool but this usually has to change when adjusting to backing tracks. There are plug-ins for this if you don't want to change settings but that would be more complicated for you at this point. Its always better to nail the sound on the analog domain anyway...

Remember its about the eq's and the level (output) compared to the backing. You have to balance these things then 99% you're done smile.gif why not jam the next backig with just amp like I recommend and move on from that point for further recordings?

This post has been edited by Mertay: Mar 27 2016, 09:38 PM


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Phil66
post Mar 27 2016, 09:38 PM
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Can you hear a slight "echo"? I had the USB emulated out, the xlr emulated out and my SM57 all at the same time. I'm sure I can hear a tiny delay but it might be in my head.
Thanks for your input folks, I appreciate it wink.gif

This post has been edited by Phil66: Mar 28 2016, 09:13 AM


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Phil66
post Mar 29 2016, 08:50 PM
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Hello folks,

Another snippit from the applied theory workshop. Sorry the playing is so bad, it is improvised and I just don't know where my fingers are going, they certainly don't do what I have in my head laugh.gif

I altered the amp setting as in the pic, I had to go to the drive channel as I'm not using the pedal, and the guitar is set on neck pickup (humbucker) with treble all the way up and the volume just under half way.

I've included the main track and also the backing with the guitar only through the SM57, and only through the emulated XLR output just in case it helps.



https://soundcloud.com/gmcphil-1/assignment-3-take-10-blues-scale

https://soundcloud.com/gmcphil-1/sm57-only

https://soundcloud.com/gmcphil-1/xlr-out-only


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Darius Wave
post Mar 29 2016, 09:33 PM
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The hardest part is...right next to gear settings...the arrange. If you have a dense backing track, you need to react to it. That's how we make music....we listen to other instruments and we sort of feel the gaps. Of course the is always a way to somehow fix this in the mix but at the first stage we ALWASY listen how and what to play to make it sound good with the mix. That's what I would start with.


Second thing....your guitar volume from sm57 only sample is simply too low. When we use very dynamics type of tone and playing, while the backing track is fully packed in the midrange by other instruments, we need to use a compression or....totally different type of tone.

One of the reason old Fender and MArshall amps (I'm not saying only those) where in use for blues playing is, the feel exactly the frequency space around the piano and brass basis - more high midrange than the "warm body of 500 to 1000 Hz".

I'm not able to sayt how much you can do with your amp since I do not know this particular one.

Actually in your case I would say it's not the guiatr that is a problem. Backing track sound very warm, raw , like before mastering (some do the mid cut at the mixing stage though). Drums are full of mids and other instruemnts as well. Your guitar sound ok....dry but ok frequency-wise. If this was my mix and I would not be able to modify the backing, I would add at least 3 dB to guitar track volume and launch the compressor. You can set the ratio between 3:1 to 4:1. Now important..before touching the guitar volume, yopu need to set the treshold properly. Make sure the compressor cuts the volume of those most "peaking" notes. Moat of compressor do visualize when and how deep they react. It's worth looking at this. When I'm done with treshold, I usual;ly turn off and on the compressor and compare if my average volume is similar - both raw and compressed signals. That's when I adjust compressor output level.

I think your sm57 tone is a good basis to work with. I would stick to this one. If you need any help. Attach your raw guitar wav from sm57 and backing track. I'll mix it down and write you what I did to make it work


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Mertay
post Mar 29 2016, 09:59 PM
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I think you're getting the idea cause the guitar now isn't "hidden" inside the mix means you made an effort for it to be heard but not too cutting or loud, its already starting to work smile.gif

On first listen I thought picking harder (or using a thinner pick) and setting the guitars switch to middle position would have sounded better, specially with the xlr track.

Although Darius has a point of the sm57 sound, I feel when adjusting the amp eq's listening from the xlr output would be more intuitive. Its more "boring" sounding maybe but has a nice balance for begining to adjust eq, right after getting the settings then adding the sm57 (slowly volume-wise) for that extra mojo/dynamics (so maybe won't have to deal with compressor).


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Phil66
post Mar 29 2016, 10:24 PM
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Thanks Darius and Mertay,

I don't really understand how to use a compressor, I don't have a hardware compressor either but I do have Amplitube if that helps.
The peak meters for the xlr and sm57 were peaking within half a db of each other both set central in the mix.
The backing track is HERE
The guitar is a Mexican Fender HSH Strat.
I'll send you the raw SM57 track tomorrow Darius.

Thank you both so much for your help and guidance I really appreciate it but my ears are slow to develop.

Cheers

Phil smile.gif


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Chris S.
post Mar 29 2016, 10:55 PM
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Here is a basic outline I made for you of what a compressor does (for the most part):

Attached Image

Basically, a compressor works by lowering the volume of louder frequencies and in result making the softer frequencies sound louder - I'm not expert at compression as I'm only in my first semester for Audio Recording Technologies but hopefully its helps at least a little.

tongue.gif



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Phil66
post Mar 30 2016, 07:48 AM
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Thanks Chris,

I've messed about with them before but maybe I was expecting something different.

Cheers buddy.

Phil smile.gif


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Chris S.
post Mar 30 2016, 12:15 PM
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There is an e-book I'm currently reading called The Art of Compression by Thomas Juth, it was only $2.99 and is about 30ish pages but I've already learned a lot from it - he doesn't explain what the controls do because "that's the easy part" - but rather explains what type of compressor you would want to use for a particular track and how to use, and just as important: when not to.

smile.gif


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Phil66
post Mar 30 2016, 12:46 PM
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Thanks Chris

Just bought it smile.gif

This post has been edited by Phil66: Mar 30 2016, 12:47 PM


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Phil66
post Mar 31 2016, 08:22 PM
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QUOTE (Darius Wave @ Mar 29 2016, 09:33 PM) *
The hardest part is...right next to gear settings...the arrange. If you have a dense backing track, you need to react to it. That's how we make music....we listen to other instruments and we sort of feel the gaps. Of course the is always a way to somehow fix this in the mix but at the first stage we ALWASY listen how and what to play to make it sound good with the mix. That's what I would start with.


Second thing....your guitar volume from sm57 only sample is simply too low. When we use very dynamics type of tone and playing, while the backing track is fully packed in the midrange by other instruments, we need to use a compression or....totally different type of tone.

One of the reason old Fender and MArshall amps (I'm not saying only those) where in use for blues playing is, the feel exactly the frequency space around the piano and brass basis - more high midrange than the "warm body of 500 to 1000 Hz".

I'm not able to sayt how much you can do with your amp since I do not know this particular one.

Actually in your case I would say it's not the guiatr that is a problem. Backing track sound very warm, raw , like before mastering (some do the mid cut at the mixing stage though). Drums are full of mids and other instruemnts as well. Your guitar sound ok....dry but ok frequency-wise. If this was my mix and I would not be able to modify the backing, I would add at least 3 dB to guitar track volume and launch the compressor. You can set the ratio between 3:1 to 4:1. Now important..before touching the guitar volume, yopu need to set the treshold properly. Make sure the compressor cuts the volume of those most "peaking" notes. Moat of compressor do visualize when and how deep they react. It's worth looking at this. When I'm done with treshold, I usual;ly turn off and on the compressor and compare if my average volume is similar - both raw and compressed signals. That's when I adjust compressor output level.

I think your sm57 tone is a good basis to work with. I would stick to this one. If you need any help. Attach your raw guitar wav from sm57 and backing track. I'll mix it down and write you what I did to make it work


Thanks Darius

Attached File  SM57_guitar_only.wav ( 14.21MB ) Number of downloads: 13


Attached File  12_Bar_Blues_Blues_backing_track_in_A_major_scale__A_minor_scale.mp3 ( 879.92K ) Number of downloads: 13


Looking forward to it smile.gif

Cheers

Phil


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Darius Wave
post Apr 1 2016, 02:32 PM
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Hey Phil! Here are my suggestions.

1. Here is just an example of compression setting I would use for this sample

Attached Image

Keep in mind that peak/rms has a lot to do with those settings. You might want to use alot lower treshold level if you will use peak only analysis


2. Your SM57 tone is quite descent - warm, not harsh, not boomy. I think you can easily stick to it


3. You tone does not cut through the mix because it's very responsive to dynamics - very little overdriven. Notice that only lower notes get lost in the mix...that's because they are being covered with piano and "body" of the drums. Properly arranged solo would cut through that mix without a need of additional operations in the mix


4. You can add a little more gain - natural compression will get involved and not only the level but the tone of those lower notes would be a little more even comparing to those higher notes.


I will stick mostly to the ability of good match of the solo, to the backing track thing. That's how it works in a real life. If you've been pluged into your amp and play that thing with the real band (the same instrumentarium) you will notice it's you have have to rethink your part to make it work with the band smile.gif There are some tools but I can't see nothing wrong with your tone smile.gif

Also.....your playing is very rhythmic - a lot of ultra short notes. You can boost their "cut through" by using proper reverb


That's what I came up with trying not to overload the track with guitar and to not overload the guitar with reverb

Attached File  phill_compression_sample.mp3 ( 1.15MB ) Number of downloads: 17


backing track is at -7dB and the guitar track at -2dB (never count 5dB as a proportion difference - we do not hear linear volume increasement). That's why I post particular values.


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Phil66
post Apr 1 2016, 08:26 PM
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Thanks Darius,

I can hear exactly what you mean, it is much more present without being "in your face". I'll have to learn a bit more about this as it does seem a very useful tool. It seems to smooth out the highs and lows. Would I be best getting a hardware compressor or will software be ok? I'm just thinking that hardware is happening right at the moment but I don't really understand it all to be honest.

I don't understand this comment "Keep in mind that peak/rms has a lot to do with those settings. You might want to use alot lower treshold level if you will use peak only analysis". Sorry.

I have this compressor, which is supposed to be good:


I also have this eq but can't really figure it out but it too is supposed to be very good.


Thanks again for your help, I really do appreciate it smile.gif

UPDATE:

I've had another go at the Theory thing tonight so here is the SC for that. It may sound odd because I'm only playing the A7 arpeggio in the relevant parts to get the notes into my fingers wink.gif I used the RED3 compressor and had to guess at some of the settings because the numbers are different, ie, yours says Release 500, I assume that is 500ms so I selected .5 seconds. The image shows everything, The guitar is SM57 only and is on track 8.

https://soundcloud.com/gmcphil-1/a7-arpeggio



Thanks again Darius, Mertay and Chris

This post has been edited by Phil66: Apr 1 2016, 11:03 PM


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Todd Simpson
post Apr 2 2016, 01:15 AM
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The RED compressor and RED eq are based on gear that is near mythic. It's very good. IMHO the best way to get used to such gear is to dig in and start twisting knobs. That's how I learned how to use parametric eq which made no sense before I got my hands dirty with it. Try to make some changes, turn the unit of, compare, back on, change settings, compare etc. Also, try to use both solo with guitar track then see how it sounds in the mix and make much smaller changes. Hope this helps smile.gif

Todd


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Phil66
post Apr 2 2016, 09:46 AM
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Thanks Todd,
What I tend do do is turn knobs all the way up and all the way down to find out what they do but it's understanding the interaction between everything that I struggle with, my ears aren't that good yet either as well as being a tiny bit deaf, ( to many rock concerts and race tracks and working in a factory for over thirty years wink.gif )
Cheers buddy


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Darius Wave
post Apr 2 2016, 11:06 AM
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There are two ways of measuring volume of the track - peak and rms. Peak are...like the name suggests...the volume of the peaks, the most loud, but short moments where very often some part of the spectrum "clips". RMS is a power o constant sound pressure and it's lower than peak. It's a like a speaker can handle 100W for a very short moment but it handles 50W of rms.

Here is a visual example:

Attached Image



Some compressor have an option to adjust the proportion of what to listen most - peaks or the rms. As you can see on the image rms level is lower so you depending on the peak/rms proportion in compressor, you will need to set different treshold.

Compressors that do not have this setting, are the ones with "fixed" proportion value". Very often taking the peaks as volume reference for compression.

With your red compressor you can listen to the guitar track in solo mode and watch compressor meter at thesame time. Sliughtly lower the treshold (from 0 to -X dB) until you'll see that it does not work on those very silent notes and do work on those louder.

Unfortunately there is no way to set any hard rules on compression settings...the only advice here is to listen and watch the meters.

I suggest to use ratio 4:1 (very common value). Other values are rather for people who already know how to use ratio settings from their own experience with compression.



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