A Very Common Recording Issue - Jemsite
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-12-2013, 03:54 AM Thread Starter
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A Very Common Recording Issue

Maybe sharing this I'll help some to get better mixings.

A friend of mine know a guy who his band is recording in a big studio but recording engineer wasn't being able to get the sound he wants for his heavy rhythm guitars, my friend told him to call me.
I asked him to bring me his band session, I'd try to get what he wants.
I listened to the session and asked what he wanted to change.
He said his heavy rhythm guitars were too harsh, when they cut treble, it got muffled so they weren't able to find a solution.
He went to work and I kept working on his session.

First thing I did was soloing his guitar tracks, they weren't harsh the way he said.
When I listened to the whole mix I realized they were harsh.
Well the problem was obvious, I posted here a lot of times that instruments depend on themselves in a mix, an amazing bedroom tone could sound terrible in a mix and a bad bedroom tone could sound perfect because instruments complete themselves so what was the problem?
That harshness he couldn't cut off was coming from hihat and crashes, I just cut -3.5 db 2KHz which barely changed crashes tones BUT the whole mix stopped sounding harsh.
When he got back from work, I told him I wasn't able to work on it so i asked him to listen to it again with me.After 20 seconds he stopped it and screamed "you mofo you fixed that problem!".
We laughed and he was all laughing and happy.
I explained what was happening and he got really mad cause they're spending a lot of money with that studio.
I told him what matters is not how many gear a studio has but what knowledge an engineer has, a studio can have the most awesome gear ever but if engineer don't know how to use them, you'll just waste your money.

This is a problem that I see very often, people take their bedrooms tones to studio and think mix will sound perfect, that never happens, in fact the majority of mixes I did, almost all musicians didn't like their instruments tones solo'ed, they hated them but they loved them in the mix.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-12-2013, 04:15 AM
 
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Re: A Very Common Recording Issue

That might come in handy for the recording and mixing of my band that I'm doing right now. I've got hi hats that are way too prominent and taking over the mix.

So what you're saying is slide those frequencies down in the EQ section of my daw and it should settle things down?
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-12-2013, 04:25 AM Thread Starter
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Re: A Very Common Recording Issue

I'd have to listen to your session to find what's happening.
It could be the opposite, hi hats are way too prominent because the other instruments are muffled or something, I'd have to listen to each instrument alone then the whole mix to be able to find what's the problem and how to fix it.
BUT if hi hats are the only thing bothering you, you could just lower their volumes or find which frequencies are prominent, just choose a frequency, boost it and cut it, repeat it with other frequencies till you find the one that's hurting your ears.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-12-2013, 12:40 PM
 
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Re: A Very Common Recording Issue

Good advice!! I used to have that specific problem with the hats a lot. I learned there were some things I could do to avoid that (at the source.. that's another thread ), but that sort of advice is always applicable!
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-12-2013, 04:49 PM
 
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Re: A Very Common Recording Issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by 6fingers View Post
I'd have to listen to your session to find what's happening.
It could be the opposite, hi hats are way too prominent because the other instruments are muffled or something, I'd have to listen to each instrument alone then the whole mix to be able to find what's the problem and how to fix it.
BUT if hi hats are the only thing bothering you, you could just lower their volumes or find which frequencies are prominent, just choose a frequency, boost it and cut it, repeat it with other frequencies till you find the one that's hurting your ears.
I'd say it's what you're suggesting. The guitars that are recorded so far are definitely not muddy, the hi-hats just peak too high from what I can see. Problem is drums were recorded at another studio and I'm working with the raw wave files from the session, and the hi-hats, whilst mic-ed on their own seem to still be extremely prominent in the left overhead track where the crash is, so even cutting down the hi-hat file to 0 doesn't really help. To turn the hi-hats down in the overhead file I also lose the crash, which I don't want. I'll play with the higher frequencies and hopefully sort it by lowering them a bunch.

Some compression might help as well maybe? If I cut the peak levels down a few dB I might be able to control it a little?
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-12-2013, 05:00 PM Thread Starter
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Re: A Very Common Recording Issue

Nope, compression will only lower/rase its volume but never change its frequencies.
That's the art of mixing, everything you do affects the whole mix.
You have to think what matters more to you, loosing a little beat of crashes or making the whole mix sound better without a prominent hi hat.
Mixing is like politics, you can't have 100% of what you want but you try to get a balance making things that really matter sound the way you want while sacrificing others that are not that important.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-12-2013, 06:13 PM
 
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Re: A Very Common Recording Issue

The hi-hats sound a little too loud compared to other parts of the drum mix. Maybe a combo of the two will work out. I'll try the frequency cuts first though. I'd rather do that than squash the mix on a micro level. I want to stick compression and dynamics mostly at the whole track level.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-13-2013, 09:55 PM
 
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Re: A Very Common Recording Issue

It astounds me that there are so many things to consider in making a track. I have a friend that recorded a CD and the production is simply painful to endure.

That and the songs sound like everything else out there in modern rock, but that's a different issue.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-13-2013, 10:09 PM Thread Starter
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Re: A Very Common Recording Issue

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Originally Posted by Ekim View Post
It astounds me that there are so many things to consider in making a track. I have a friend that recorded a CD and the production is simply painful to endure.

That and the songs sound like everything else out there in modern rock, but that's a different issue.
Yep there are a million things to consider but the majority of problems start when recording, The majority of people don't know the proper way to record an instrument, they buy a puter and some plugins and think miking is only about putting mics over instruments, then they try to fix a bad recording with whatever they have around, problem get bigger cause it affects the whole mix.
Once you recorded all instruments in a proper way, there'll be no fixing but only having fun mixing and polishing it.
Some say you can't polish a turd, that's wrong, you can but in the end it will still be a turd, a shining turd
That's why there's no buying a puter and recording your band, there are professionals who do that, they had to study and practiced for decades to get good results and that's why we hear so many terrible recordings all over the net, anyone can record these days but how many can put up a good recording?
These days everything is upside down, buy a puter and record your band, the right ordem is study, study and study, practice what you've studied then record whatever wou want.
Of course just like in any profession there are bad engineers, they've studied and practiced their entire lives but their results are bad, still the ordem to get good results is study, practice then record.
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