Need help on instrumental post rock mix

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Member Since: Dec 02, 2010

Hey! Just registered to HRC!!
Good stuff and people here! :)

I have red few books, a lot of articles, and kinda know how stuff happens..
But I guess I don't have the experience..
I bet this is going up a lot here..
How exactly you get the depth, space, and dinamics in your mix..?
In my recent mix,I'm having trouble with dynamics and fequencies..
it just sounds as a big mess.. I have it in my head how it should sound, but I can't get there..
The main problem is with guitars, I guess..
Maybe the recording it self was bad.?
The drums are EZDrummer sequenced, I don't have any preamps.. Recorded using Tascam US1641.
Monitors- YAMAHA HS50.
DAW- Reaper.
Can anyone help me with any tips what should I change.. PLEASE! :)
You can take a listen of the song in my profile under music. "ehe 1"

sorry for my poor english. :)


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Since: Dec 04, 2007

Dec 02, 2010 07:06 pm

Welcome to HRC, Erik. Hopefully we can shoot some ideas to point you in the right direction.

The guitars themselves don't sound bad to me. Maybe a little lo-fi sorta sounding, not sure, but they don't sound bad from a frequency perspective. The drums sound a little too spread out IMO. I don't use EZ-Drummer, but I'm guessing there some options for panning individual parts of the kit. I'd bring the drums a little closer to the center, but that's strictly my opinion. The bass does sound a tad boomy to me, maybe somewhere around 230Hz or somewhere in that area.

However, my room isn't exactly ideal for critical listening (I'm in a tiny-*** apartment sharing the "office" with my wife) so take my comments with a grain of salt.

To answer your other questions, dynamics can be controlled a bit using compression. For example, if you've got spikes that are getting clipped in a track, you can tame them a bit using a bit of compression, or a limiter, depending on how bad they are. Compression tends to "squash" the sound, so soft sounds become louder, and louder sounds get yanked down. Problem is, if you use too much compression, you'll get an odd "pumping" feeling or sound in the mix. Though, that can be used as an effect or style, depending on the music. It takes practice and adjustments to learn what your ears tell you, and when they tell you that too much is being used. WYD has a pretty good article around here somewhere on compression.

EQing/frequency....this is where having a solid monitoring chain and a good room come into play. Your mix will only ever be as good as your room and your monitors allow them to be. Period. Typically, I'll roll the bass off on tracks from 20hz on down. Maybe starting around 50 or 60 on guitar tracks. If something is too bright or there's a lot of "splash" sound in the cymbals or something, I might use a shelf at the high end around 10khz to tame the sound a bit.

I typically don't mess with the midrange frequencies too much unless something is horribly out of balance.

For panning/placement, I generally try to look at it as if the band members are in front of me on a stage. I don't really go extreme left/right unless it's for effect/artistic flavor, but try to kee things spread out from center. Usually I'll go as far as about 50% left or right. Sometimes further if I'm layering tracks to thicken them up.

Depth: There's a few ways to mess with depth. (which I interpret as front to back) Delay, reverb, chorus, those can all affect perception of depth on an instrument, and where it sits in the mix. If something is buried in reverb or delay, it can sound like it's way in the rear of the mix, and gets drowned out by everything else. If something is much more dry and/or loud, then it will cut through the mix more, and sound more up front or "in your face"

Beyond that, I just try to adjust things the way my ears tell me to. I don't read monitors/gauges/dials/etc. too much (except for initializing or ball-parking what I want) I try to trust what my ears, and my room/monitors are telling me. (which given my tiny room, is a lot harder than it could be)

Anyway, I'm sure other folks (with more accurate setups than mine) will chime in as well and offer up some good advice.

Since: Dec 02, 2010

Dec 03, 2010 01:29 pm

Thanks for the advice, J_bot!!!
Will try out everything you said!
I guess I'm a bit afraid to use delays and reverbs. :D
For the exact reason as of over doing it..
Can delays and reverbs, if used correctly, make the instrument more visible in the mix?
Or is that job just for compresors and limiters..?

Since: Dec 04, 2007

Dec 04, 2010 12:36 am

No worries, it's all about playing with the sound and experimenting. :)

Now, the way I see it, is delays and reverbs will tend to set an instrument further back in the mix. It may change the sound a little, but not necessarily give it more visibility.

If you need an instrument to be more up front, you could try a few things. You could try thickening the sound by using a little bit of chorus effect, or you could try layering the sounds. (make a clone of the track, or do another take, and then pan one left and the other to the right.) Or you could try increasing the fader level on the track a little.

Another thing you could try is giving a slight boost to the EQ somewhere between 1500 and 2000 hz. That might give it a little more "presence" depending on the instrument. But you don't want to overdue it, because it can start to sound unnatural. (particularly with vocals)

One rule of thumb I use on effects, is, I adjust it to where I thin it sounds "cool" or "neat" and then I back it off a bit more. Particularly with reverb or delay. Adjust to style and taste.

The job of a limiter or compressor is to basically "squash" the wave form. Basically pull the peaks and troughs closer to the center. Usually used to help tame the sound a bit if it's not very controlled, though very strong compression can be used as an effect kinda like the pumping you here in electronic music sometimes. A limiter is basically just an extreme form of compression.

Also, one resource I used to help myself get my head around the concept of what things sound like in the frequency spectrum was an interactive frequency chart. You can find it here:


Granted, playing with the EQ on various tracks really helps sink the concept in, and help cement terms like "muddy" "boomy" "squawking" "splashy" "hissy" etc.

Since: Dec 02, 2010

Dec 09, 2010 03:25 am

Thanks so much, J-bot! I took your advices, and studied EQ a bit more, and now it sounds a lot better!
Still a lot to learn.. :)
The nev version is right there, on my profile.

Thanks again, and have a good one!


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