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Mixing and Layering

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by badboy1984, May 11, 2011.

  1. badboy1984


    Mar 27, 2007
    United Kingdom

    I'm kinda new to recording and mixing etc.

    The main instrument I'm using a midi drum which play in toontrack ezdrummer, audio track bass guitar, mic acoustic, electric guitar clean and distort electric guitar.

    I'm having so much trouble with distort guitar because I just realise you need to layer the distort guitar and pan them as well to get a good distort sound without being too muddy or thin in the mix etc.

    Was wondering what else do I need layering and pan? Only the distort guitar need layering?
  2. For a basic rock band setup its only gtr's and vocals that are layered, the rest is just single.

    However, you should be able to get a good gtr sound without layering, if its too thin then you are using the wrong gtr, amp, settings or whatever. Moving mics and such plays the biggest part in this stuff. If its too muddy, move the mic back, towards the edge of the speaker, take down the bass on the amp and if that doesn't work filter out the low end on the gtr track in your DAW (up to anywhere between 150-400Hz or wherever sounds good.)

    Once you have a killer gtr sound then layering can increase the spatial depth nicely but bear in mind you may need to use a different gtr or amp or mic for each layer, unless you are after the thinner slightly phasey sound you get by layering two identical setups. Hard panning will help too.

    For any kind of doubling the performances have to be extra spot on, as any innacurcy will quickly make the whole thing sound like a thin mess!

    One cool technique for a really unrealistic but sometimes very exciting sound is to double mic the gtr cab, I like a 57 with a TLM 170 for this technique. Record the gtr part and a good double track then pan take 1, mic 1 left, and the other right, then pan take 2 mic 1 right and the other one left. So each side has both mic types and both takes of the gtr. Can be cool, but not for anything that you want to sound REAL!

    Vocal doubling is a whole subject in itself so let me know if you want to know more about that!
  3. badboy1984


    Mar 27, 2007
    United Kingdom
    At the moment everything is pan in the middle i guess because they all stereo track and the drum is midi track.

    My distortion guitar sound really terrible, it sound like the guitar doesn't belong to the mix or song .......

    either two thin, mud, or no defination at all ....
  4. badboy1984


    Mar 27, 2007
    United Kingdom
    I've try layering and EQ for each layer etc and reduce the distortion and it sound much better....... but when i mix the song out in cubase and play it back on my ipod with headphone, the distortion guitar sound completely loss in the mix and become muff. It sounded decent on the monitor speaker and pc speaker .....
  5. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    If you recorded 1 mic it's not stereo.
    If you recorded 1 input, it's not stereo.

    Does the distorted guitar track sound good solo? That's where you need to start.

    I suggest simplifying and going back to basics. Mix in mono, no pans, no layers, just adjust each tracks volume and see how good you can get it.

    Also realize every speaker, stereo, mp3 player, and headphones will sound different, and its important to play back on as much gear as possible.

    Since the ipod mix sounds so different, you should check your mp3 compession settings too.
  6. badboy1984


    Mar 27, 2007
    United Kingdom
    I've done some testing last night again.

    Like I said, it sounded ok on monitor speaker and pc speaker. Thats a good start already. Sounded ok on my dad's bose sound system but on ipod you can't hear no distortion at all except some more nasty bass added to the song. I thought is the headphone that is bad so i use a different set of headphone instead of the ipod headphone. The result is even worse.

    So I tried the headphones again on my pc speaker and my dad's sound system, it sounded ok. So is not headphone problem.

    Only thing I've not try yet render the track with distortion guitar only and try play it back on the ipod to see can i hear the track or not. If it doesn't, i think i got some problem here .....
  7. Are you rendering down the track as one file? And its the same audio file that you then take to play back on various devices?

    If so then it is not a problem with the ipod, its the start of a long journey learning to mix audio, people make a living from this for a reason :) Its a big subject to get into.

    However, if you are getting it out of the computer in different ways (ie straight to ipod from garageband and a long from the computers out cable to get to the home stereo systems) then I can just about see how things could get muddled on the way to the ipod, but this will be a settings thing, not a technical problem with the ipod..

    Basically, ipods do have a bit of a sound and its not fantastic but it won't remove an instrument. Have a look at your ipods eq settings as well, a big cut in the midrange that many favour will suck the guitars out quite a bit.
  8. badboy1984


    Mar 27, 2007
    United Kingdom
    I'm using cubase LE to record and mix the song. I can't export export as mp3 so i export it as *.wav. Then use adobe media encoder to convert as mp3 ........

    then play that mp3 on pc and it sounded ok, burn the mp3 as music cd and play it on a good bose sound system and it sounded ok. but when playing it on ipod it sound bad, only the distortion guitar sound bad that i can't even hear it.

    The record sound is not fantastic but i should be able to hear the instrument .........
  9. can you post a clip? we could help a lot more if we had more info.
  10. badboy1984


    Mar 27, 2007
    United Kingdom
    Here is the demo of the song.


    The drum and guitar don't kick in till around 2.40 ish i think.

    Couldn't get the distortion guitar right. So advice on the other instrument mixing would help as well :)

    By the way the song is in chinese ........

    i'm still new to all this stuff ......

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