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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-08-2003, 02:18 AM Thread Starter
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Processing Guitars (post-recording)

Ok...I've been very frustrated with the way my guitar tracks sound in the mix of my songs. It's hard to explain how they sound...but they just don't sound professional, or seem to blend in with the rest of the tracks.

I think recording the tracks are fine...I go through my processor into my mixer then into the line-in on my computer...

I know I'm mixing all the tracks correctly...I've also taken classes for music production..but they never really focused on recording guitar tracks or processing them after recording.

Now after I record the tracks, I put them through a little compression and EQ...then I normalize...but nothing seems to change.

Are there any other things I should do to make my tracks sound really smooth like any professional recording?
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-08-2003, 04:57 AM
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The main thing that I have learned about that is to make sure the frequencies of the guitar aren't clashing with the frequencies of the bass. Make them "compliment" each other instead of just making the bass be underneath the guitar. That, from what I have learned, will make a huge difference in the final sound of the recording. Depending on what recording program you are using, solo just the bass and guitar and play with eq-ing between the two until it sounds right to your ears. Also, then you have to eq the kick drum to compliment the bass guitar or bass to compliment the kick. It goes on and on. In the end, all that matters is what sounds good to you.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-08-2003, 11:28 AM
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I always record guitar dry as a bone, then add effects later. Something that I learned is that while you can dial in a plug-in while recording the guitar can sound awesome, but when we track everything else, it sounds like dog****. Adding effects later is always the best way to go. Get the best amp tone you possibly can, worry about everything else later.

And as BB said, make sure no one steps on each other's toes, frequency speaking.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-08-2003, 12:13 PM
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What are you using for a processor? does it have cabinet emulation? if it doesn't, that could be your problem right there... and even if it does, it's still not going to sound QUITE as natural as a real cab. if you can deal with the added volume, it's worth exploring different micing techniques. Using a microphone is a whole new art unto itself and can give you a ton of different tonal shadings... fun stuff.

Also, try backing off your gain a little bit... Especially on rhythm guitars, you can get a lot "tighter" and "heavier" sounds by cutting the gain a bit and double-tracking your parts. And spend some time working on some subtle EQ tweaks in the presets you cut your rhtyhm parts and your lead parts with- ideally, you want the tones you're using to compliment themselves well on disc with no additional EQ work later on. Ideally, any EQ you use while mixing should be subtle- more of a slight tweak than a substantial fix...

Also, could you post a soundclip or two? it might help us give more direct feedback...

Drew is offline  
post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-09-2003, 07:35 AM
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You must record the guitar dry! Get the sound you like from your processor setup first and then remove the effects. If you need reverb or delay etc in order to get the right feel as you lay the track down, use an aux send/return to a multiFX unit but don't record the effects. Once the track is down add the effects afterward and listen back, if it isn't what you want, tweek the EQ slightly so that it stands out from the rhythm/bass tracks. Once you've cracked it, write the settings down.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-09-2003, 05:01 PM
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All of the advice you've gotten is great. I would just like to add a word about compression. I have worked with some great engineers and I am always amazed at how much compression they use on guitars. Of course the trick is having a high quality compressor and then knowing how to use it, but whatever gear you have, don't be afraid to experiment with more compression than you think you need. I find the same to be true for vocals. If you really learn how to use compression correctly, you can still retain the necessary dynamics of an instrument while making it's wave shape more consistant and subsequently easier to work into a mix.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-10-2003, 07:52 AM
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Tip n:98635567873

Add a little " stereo".

Have you tried to duplicate the guitar track with a time defasation of 10 15 or 20 ms ?

Pan 1 L and other R and try it. Can create a wide stereo image.

Works great too.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-10-2003, 12:32 PM
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Compression is great for a clean or semi-clean tone, but high-gain is already a very compressed signal. Adding more might tend to make the guitar so thick that it would be a challenge mixing.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-11-2003, 03:15 AM Thread Starter
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I do record my tracks dry...and I have experimented with compressor settions, but nothing really seems to make it sound as good as I want it to..maybe I'm just being picky...

I have been told to use a WAVES Ultra Maximizer for mastering and this generally makes the overall mixdown sound professional.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-11-2003, 12:34 PM
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Vai- e-mail me maybe a 30 second mp3 clip of one of your mixes. It'd help me focus in on what your problems might be. 128kbs or higher would be preferable.

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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-11-2003, 02:35 PM
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Could you send it to me too ?????????
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-12-2003, 03:46 AM Thread Starter
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Soul of the Storm is one of my lates songs...I dont think the guitars are that bad in the song...but you can give me some tips.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-12-2003, 02:31 PM
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Hey nick, the track sound to me much artificial. Like a heavy compressed sound.

Are U abusing of the compressors in the out bus or final chain?

Try to up the drum (sound heavy compressed too, uncompressed it or comp it with different ratios for each channel alone).

Try to use stereo, like hi hat and snare a little to right, splash to left tom 1 25% L and tom 2 25% R. Use your imagination. Think like you're in front of a drum.

Low a little bit the accoustic when the guitar is on.

Low the strings too.

Your mix sound "truncated" (it is correct ?) in the middle of the song.

Don't use too much EQ in the guitar. Just little corrections, ' cuz can complicate you in the mix. Try to sound more natural comming from the amp. (Less EQ better) If you need to EQ the guitar try before record. Avoid to EQ in the console.

If you are using digital recorder o PC try to double the track splitting the signal L/R to one and another, adding a little defasation of time at about 10 ms. Will sound open and wide.

The most important part of the recording is the caption or the correct use of mics, pre's and distances.

Usually I record my tracks "as if". Like they sound in the auddience, avoiding to change the knobs on console too much. But this is my taste.

I Hope that helped !!!!!!!!!!!!

Good luck.
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-12-2003, 05:08 PM
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Ok, Nick, here's my feedback....

First, it really doesn't sound all that bad. not TOTALLY pro, but not bad at all for a hobbyist.

However, i think the thing that's going to help you the most here is to open up the stereo spectrum. You've currently got your "rain" sounds spread out pretty well, but the drums are pretty close to the center throughout, as are the strings.

I personally hate the sound of a "lopsided" mix, but if you put everything close to dead center, it'll sound cluttered. You really want to leave the center channel open for the lead track... What are you doing for drums? a drum synth program? Try to picture the way a set is laid out in your head (or, if you can't, look at a picture of someone else's kit), and try to pan everything you're going to be using as it would be laid out in the kit. I generally do something like kick just to one side, snare slightly to the other (we're talking 5% off center, perhaps), high hat a bit further out, and then ride cymbols at least panned out 50%, probably more. Tweak it until it sounds right through your speakers.

Also, your drums sound a little over compressed to me- listen to the high-hats. their "reverb" changes in character a lot depending on what else is being played on the "kit" at the time... I'd compress them less, and you might also want to try reverbing them post-compression.

The acoustic guitar is trickier here... there's a few things you could do to preserve that sense of symetry without cluttering the center chanell. You could either double track it and do one left and one right, you could simply copy it and either do a slight delay on it or leave it unaltered (or maybe a heavier reverb on one, a chorus, etc.), or you could push the acoustic out about 25% and put the synth on the other side. your call.

The acoustic is also too bass-heavy, IMO. I LOVE the sound of a nice, full, rich acoustic guitar... but in a thick mix like this, some of that low end has to go, IMO.

I'd also take the "rain" sounds way down once the music kicks in, possibly cutting them altogether.

As for the lead guitar itself... I think opening up the mix more would help it a lot there, on it's own... But (since I'm guessing you're going for a "Boston Rain Melody" sort of vibe), compare your tone to Vai's on that track. His tone has a bit more prescense and high end cut to it, and a slightly more attuned bass. It also, as LGMT pointed out, is slightly less compressed, although a lot of that might be that it's simply slightly cleaner than yours is. And if you'll notice, it's got more of an upper mid focus to it than yours does- it really helps it cut.

Also, i don't think the drums and acoustic tracks are tracking perfectly- some of the rhythms seem a little off in places. Were these live drums? If so, maybe try tracking agaisnt a click track. A tighter feel will always make something sound more "pro," all other factors being the same.

Idunno, hope some of this is useful... Your lead work is great, BTW.

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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-12-2003, 05:11 PM
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...Also worth noting on BRM is how Vai panns his delay slightly to the left, so it doesn't "clash" with the original signal as much, ans gives it more space...

Drew is offline  

acoustic guitar , amp tone , audio interface , clean tone

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