that 20 - 25 track range

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Member Since: Feb 05, 2008

Hey guys,

So the big power pop trio with 2 guitar tracks, bass, drums and vocals (or any set up where the tracks are 12 or under) usually means a great mix in my experience.

I'm now working with a band a little more outside the box, we're recording in a warehouse with a lot of emphasis on room acoustics in the mix. well that's fine too with the above mix.

but when they start adding track after track after track of guitar leads, double tracked guitar, multiple vocal harmonies and even drum beats on the sheet metal of the warhouse, my mixes start to gett a little less coherant.

i guess that's what seperates the men from the boys, huh?

my question to you all is what you look for in tracks when you are eq-ing to help make them shine in the final mix.

any tips for keeping the ambiance of the room noticeable (especially on the drum tracks) when you have 25 tracks going?

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Prince CZAR-ming
Since: Apr 08, 2004

Feb 06, 2008 07:15 am

just thinking out loud, but I don't think every track has to be 'the shining star', so to speak.

Just like 6 strings make up 1 chord, 3 or 4 guitar tracks can make up a decent coherent sound, BUT, they all have to just take a little of the space. Don't try and make every part shine.

Also, i've heard it said here many times: a good live sound is not the same thing as a good recorded sound. If you're trying to really capture the live sound, then you may only be able to put in 1 or 2 parts, leaving the 'fancy' stuff for when you (they) have time to track lightly, with less distortion. This will record better, and take layering better in mixing.

of course, this is just MHO, ymmv, etc. =).

Czar of Turd Polish
Since: Jun 20, 2006

Feb 06, 2008 12:55 pm

Man o man, with the natural reverb of the warehouse and many takes of everything I can see that getting muddy real quick. Genious EQ and Panning will be your best friends, but the reverb still worries me.

Since: Feb 05, 2008

Feb 06, 2008 02:55 pm

definately eqing and panning will be my savior. i usually just sweep the eq till i find areas that i like about the track and areas i don't like and notch accordingly. it's just going to be a lot more notching than i'm used to! i'll post a link to some of the songs when i'm finished.

I am not a crook's head
Since: Mar 14, 2003

Feb 06, 2008 04:22 pm

What I'd do while tracking is close mic everything with a cardioid or super cardioid pattern mic so that I get as little room ambience as possible. Then pair that with a LDC for each instrument (even an additional one to compliment the SDC drum overheads) to capture room ambience. Then for each instrument in the mix, I could choose how much "room" I want versus how much direct signal I want.

To keep it from getting muddy, I think that the room should only be pronounced on a few instruments and not all of them. None on the bass, some on the drums, more on the snare and vocals, and it depends for the guitars.

Chief Cook and Bottle Washer
Since: May 10, 2002

Feb 09, 2008 08:11 pm

Well Mr. Venus, you said a mouth full in the begining, but maybe more than you thought. It seperates the men from the boys in regard to the musicians as well. There are a lot of "musicians" out there that have no clue what they sound like as a band to the audiance. What the hears on stage and what they would hears as the audiance is two different animules! Even relitvely inocient eq notching on a heavily distorted guitar track can change the charatecter of the tracks sound and cause some rather noticable phasing effects. You start dumping multiple tracks of full frequency instruments e.g. electric guitar, keys etc. and you can get some rather nasty infighting. Then the guitar player saz I can't hear the cool "reerechrzoozchruc" I did after laying 5 seperate tracks of guitar. Yikes! Your right! It's burried under the grrrr, sizzz, scrreeechhh, vooom you were doing at the same time! Then the drummer walks from the band because he had invisioned the piece as a drum solo with accompiement. That happend with one band I worked with early on. Try to hear that one cute flute player in an orcherstra......right! One beatitude of working with a band that you're part of is when the rest of the band discovers how recording works as a tool to better understand their projected sound and start to trust the recordings making changes in what and how they play to perfect their projected sound. Now ya got something going. Theirs nothing wrong with blended sounds if you expect blended sounds out.

Ne'er ate 'er
Since: Apr 05, 2006

Feb 09, 2008 10:39 pm


Chief Cook and Bottle Washer
Since: May 10, 2002

Feb 10, 2008 10:26 am

Hi Herb,

How bout them lions, tigers, and bears...Oh my!

Since: Jul 02, 2003

Feb 10, 2008 01:51 pm

Well, you're the engineer/producer while doing the mixing so don't use all the tracks. They aren't going to know after the mix is done. Take the best of all the takes, doubling the ones that benefit from it and leave out the ones that don't, and make a good coherent mix. I'm sure in the end the band is going to want a great mix and how your arrived at it isn't going to matter to them. You could always make 2 mixes, one using everything and one using what you think works best and let them decide for themselves, I bet they'll pick the lower track count mix. :)

Since: Nov 27, 2007

Feb 10, 2008 08:01 pm

what sort of music? distorted guitars?
I think Walt is on. especailly with guitars. from my experience the more you load em up the soomther they gets, in a bad way.
I back my distortion off dependin on how many tracks i want, other wise it sounds like keys or something with a smooth edge, also i pull out certain eqs on each guitar track before i record, it may sound crap by itself but when you got the other tracks to back it up it becomes one killer overall guitar sound, then couple and mildly overlap them panning wise and with volume levels.
an idea with the drums.
you know those plastic gazebo/tent looking contraptions you can buy for outdoors, say for bbqs n stuff. try setting the drums under one of those and record. they only cost about $20 that will help with the big time reverb thing but not completley extinguish it either.
I know a couple of bands that use this even in a studio and get sweet results.

Master of the Obvious?
Since: Jun 29, 2004

Mar 25, 2008 01:56 am

With the amount of tracks you've... well, tracked.. You're most likely going to want to rely heavily on volume automation, bringing doubled/ambiance tracks in/up for parts you want to sound "bigger", and out/down for "smaller" parts. If tracked properly, and automated properly, you can get one hell of a lot of dynamics and emotion out of simple fader rides!

Since: Feb 05, 2008

Mar 25, 2008 03:59 am

thanks for all the input fellas, i've got most of the tracks recorded now and we're moving onto mixing. i'll post up some samples to see what you all think soon.

Chief Cook and Bottle Washer
Since: May 10, 2002

Mar 25, 2008 08:36 am

Im my experience to date the biggest demon to fight as you add on layers is timing. One bass, one guitar, one drum, one singer and each "voice" has the autonomy to roam a little. Add a few layers and you have an orchestrated piece. Lines in tempo and rythum get blurred. Once the timing is in place blending sounds is not so difficult. We had a trombone player in one 17 piece band that had a built in delay in his head. Very slight delay, but he could mangle a piece in a heartbeat. Like a picture with a lot of camera shake. Nice colors, but what is it?

The next huge tendency I run into is the desire to "over-play". Wow! this idea of mine really sounds cool! Ya, as a solo but not along with what is already being played by other folks! The bass line "hook" just got wiped out with your congo lightning speed tom work. And then there's the contigious waveform guitar player. No silence throughout the whole song. Layers of overlapped "power chords" shoving any sense of rythum deeper and deeper into the abyss of mud and murk. Now that's fun to "fix" or align.

Answer:On a good day, lipstick.
Since: Jun 24, 2004

Mar 25, 2008 12:09 pm

Ha, I think Dan nailed it there. You make the call.

I tend to use lots of tracks, but some are just 'textures' and not really part of the overall song.

I remember hearing a story about Genesis a long time ago where they'd take 48 tracks and slowly drop them out until all that was left was the core song. You might have a little from each track, but rarely do you have all the tracks at once. They did well on it.

The band you are recording want a great recording, right? If their precious little third guitar harmony with crunch doesn't make it on the final mix are they going to be sad? Not if the overall recording is kick-a**.
This is where the "producer" hat comes in...

Good luck.

Ultra Magnus
Since: Nov 13, 2004

Apr 22, 2008 09:25 pm

I tend to use a fair few tracks too. It's worth trying to picture it all as it would be in the room if everyone were playing at once. Not everything would upfront and in your face, some things have more of a supporting role.

That track of someone banging a monkey's skull on a the inside of a fridge might be an awesome idea and an awesome sound, but it's probably not going to need to be as loud in the mix as the lead vocal. That's the difficult stuff sometimes, having that great idea that sounds awesome and you spent a lot of time on, and accepting that it's a supporting part and shouldn't be right up front.

Use panning, reverb, EQ, pre-delay etc to place things in the virtual room, and get the levels right between things and you'll be golden. Also, get a mix if the essential elements in first, then use the other stuff as decoration around that mix.

Master of the Obvious?
Since: Jun 29, 2004

May 10, 2008 11:38 pm

It's hard to know when you've crossed that oh-so-fine line between "enough" and "too much". My current project has 10 tracks just for rhythm guitars, 4 different performances, 2 & 3 mics on a cab. It sounds enormous, but it's gonna be a ***** when it comes time to mix 'cause there's just so much there!

Post some audio soon :D

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