Any suggestions for a mix

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Member Since: Jul 31, 2009

Hi I'm Manuel and I'm new to the forum. I recently tracked a singer/songwriter whose style is very similar to Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz, Damien Rice and John Mayer. It was just an acoustic guitar and his vocals. An easy task I thought at first, but when I came to finish my mix, I notice (in complete disappointment) that it sounds exactly (or maybe worse) than his demo. I would really appreciate if some of you more experienced people can enlighten me with advice. This is how I recorded it:

Acoustic guitar: Blumlein with two Royer R121
Vocals: Neumann U87

We recorded 8 mono tracks of guitars (I bussed all of them to a D-Verb plug-in in PT), and inserted individual EQ's on each track.

On the voice I EQ'ed, limited with the Smack compressor plug-in in PT, and then bussed it to an external aux track that had reverb on it.

Finally I bussed all the tracks (including the two aux reverb returns) to a stereo audio track that I used as my master, and I increased its dynamic range (with the Maxim plug-in) in an attempt to mastering my track.

I think it still sounds weak, and a little bit too dark, which confronts entirely with the style which is supposed to be happy surf pop/rock.

Thanks for the help

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Typo Szar
Since: Jul 04, 2002

Jul 31, 2009 11:57 pm

If ur saying it sounds dark, it might be all the different reverbs u used? Usually on a track that is just guitar and vox, u wanna do as little processing as possible coz ur tryin to achieve a more natural sound.

One way to get good reverb without overwhelming it is to actually record in a good sounding space, or a space that fits ur track. That way its just there and sounding natural and u dont feel the need to layer on alot of reverb, thats usually how i attack acoustic guitar and vocal songs, i really shoot for getting to sound good in a natural way.

short of that, u could try using less reverb plugs, just maybe two aux verbs, one shorter one longer, and buss all ur tracks through them and kind of "mix" them within the verb busses being careful to prioritize each track.

Czar of Midi
Since: Apr 04, 2002

Aug 01, 2009 08:45 pm

With the gear you stated you are using there should be not much need for any heavy EQ work at all. Those are some pretty nice mic's and should capture very good tracks.

What pre amps were you using, or desk were you going through into PT?

Also, what exactly is turning muddy, vocal or guitar? And were exactly did you have the point of your cross of the 121's?? How far away and lined up on what part of the guitar?

But crux makes a good point as well. It sounds like you might have too much processing going on and that may be causing the issue.

Do you have the mix you can upload here for us to listen to? That would be the biggest help to figure out were you are at with the mix.

Since: Jul 02, 2003

Aug 01, 2009 11:34 pm

Yes, I would second posting a mix so that we can hear where there may be problems and have a better idea of what might help, if any is needed.


Since: Jul 07, 2009

Aug 02, 2009 12:37 pm

It sounds to me like your problem is "overkill " here. 8 mono tracks all bussed to the same insert sounds like overkill to me. Try two mono and one stereo track for the guitar, and do all your EQ work and wetting after you set your mono tracks L and R then let your strero track sit in the mix, add a little verb and chorus to it. A small verb for the stereo track and a longer verb for the mono tracks. This is how I would approach these guitars. And like I said record all the tracks dry first, then add effect later.
Since: Nov 11, 2007

Aug 04, 2009 07:13 pm

I'm recording a similar project this weekend. What is this talk I hear of more than 1 stereo track being used on guitar?!

I have a at3035 placed near the bridge of the acoustic and an MXL 991 pointed at the 12th fret. The at3035 is the right channel, the MXL 991 is the left channel.

This configuration sounds fantastic, I can't imagine a better tone given the cheap acoustic I'm using.

What's this stereo + 2 mono talk? Why so many tracks for a raw acoustic recording?

Not critical, just curious.

Czar of Midi
Since: Apr 04, 2002

Aug 04, 2009 09:34 pm

I'm not big on huge track counts for acoustic guitar myself. I have been asked to do it but I do suggest caution when doing it. It can work well if the guitars are each doing something a little different to make it sound interesting. But just having 4 tracks of the guitar doing the exact same thing and sounding exactly alike is really not going to do much other then sound a bit cluttered.

Quincysan, what you are doing is the most popular way to get a big sound out of an acoustic. The only other thing some do is to add a room mic that is a bit farther off the guitar and maybe higher up to catch a bit of the room ambiance. But that is not something that will fit on every track.

Typo Szar
Since: Jul 04, 2002

Aug 04, 2009 09:45 pm

I cant stress enough how important the actual room is when recording acoustic guitar, especially if ur doing it on the cheap.

Definitely put up a room mic, but also select ur room if u can and where ur player is in the room, what is behind them, to their sides, wat is behind the mic all of that.

I think u can by pass alot of the processing just using ur mics to capture the performance in a space that sounds right to it.

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