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How can I improve my mixes?

Discussion in 'Practice Room' started by causeunknown, Jun 14, 2017.

  1. causeunknown

    causeunknown New Metal Member

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    I've been working on and off for a few years on recording my music. Recently I feel like i'm not making any improvements and I'm not sure what I'm missing. I'm just a hobbyist, but I've been playing for many years and one day I'd like to just release some of the music I've been working on. I read a bunch of articles and I watch a ton of youtube videos, but I always feel like my end result sounds so vastly different and worse. I'm not sure what I'm fundamentally missing anymore.

    Here is a mix I threw together tonight. nothing fancy just two riffs for mixing practice-

    I'd really like to get some feedback and tips on how to improve. Here is my general workflow-

    I use an Ibanez prestige into a focusrite 2i4. two guitars tracks - one panned hard left and right - TSE 808 - TSE X50 - NADIR with Rosen Mesa impulses. Both sent to a bus with a highpass lowpass at 100hz and 8500hz. I cut a bit around 4k and 500hz and small boost at about 2200hz.

    two bass tracks - one clean and one distorted both using some compression and an SVT810 impulse. highpassed and lowpassed at about 100hz and 5k.

    The drums on this one are very basic I know. Here i'm just doing some boosting on the snare and kick along with some parallel compression on the kit.

    Finally, on the master I applied some compression for 3-4db of gain reduction, some eq (highpass at about 30hz, narrow cut around 500hz, and small boost around 2200hz), and limiter.
     
  2. flyingkick

    flyingkick New Metal Member

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    Hi! I'm a hobbyist myself, but I can share some knowledge and experience that I've got from online courses and tons of practice.

    Highpassing the bass around 100hz is too much. Since you highpass the guitars around 100hz, then you would need the bass to support the low end below 100hz. If I were you, I would highpass the bass accordingly to the frequency of the punch in the kick, the tuning of the kick, and/or the speed and vibe of the song.

    -For example, if you want the kick to have a lot of sub, and the punch is around 60hz, then you would highpass the bass between 60-75hz. You don't want them to overlap, but they have to be snug.

    -If you want the bass to be the main driver of the low end, then you would high pass it around 35-40hz, while the highpass/lowshelf of the kick has to be around 50-70hz, which depends on the tuning and the punch of the kick. Since the kick is living in between the sub and the lowmid of the bass, I would suggest putting a sidechain multiband comp or dynamic eq on the bass with the frequency set to where the punch of the kick is coming from. If you can get away without the sidechain, then go ahead. Some mixers I've seen don't bother with it and still have a well balanced mix.

    Are both the clean and distorted bass tracks highpassed and lowpassed the same?
     
  3. causeunknown

    causeunknown New Metal Member

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    I've been experimenting a lot with bass recently. The clean track just has a lowpass around 500hz and the dirt track is highpassed around 500hz. At the bass bus I highpass lowpass at 100hz and 5k. I've read that sometimes it's good to highpass as high as 120hz and I've always found my mixes to be a little bassy so I tried 100hz this time.

    The kick has a narrow boost of about 6db at 55hz, semi wide cut at about 500hz, boost 4db at 4k, and boost 6db around 8k. I usually find that my mixes are too bassy and I have a hard time hearing the kick. I've experimented with just having the clean bass have a wide cut at about 1k and the dirty bass just being a narrow band at around 1k, but this time i tried a different kind of blending. After listening a dozen or so more times I definitely think the kick is still hard to hear.
     
  4. flyingkick

    flyingkick New Metal Member

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    Honestly, I never heard or met anyone who highpass the bass higher than 75hz. That includes tuning from E standard to Drop G.

    Since you find it too bassy, I suggest you just turn down the clean bass track instead of highpassing the bass around 100hz. I'm not familiar with that cab impulse. Is it boosting anything? And are you compressing before or after the impulse?
    Highpass around 120hz is ok for guitars downtuned to like drop A or drop G with loads of low end. Not so much for bass.

    I can hear the attack and a bit of the punch of the kick. It just needs to pop out a bit more. What kind of drums are you using btw?
     
  5. MrBongo

    MrBongo idiot at work

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    I do. Every kick has lots of frequency content above the fundamental anyway, except when using a pure sine wave. You cannot avoid it, no matter what you do :)


    Potential solutions:
    - only temporary lowcut on such high frequencies (eg super dense doublekick / tom runs)
    - sidechain ducking
    - subdued low-end from the bass, not cut out entirely

    The kick you are using is great for a low-end heavy bass guitar, because it´s not so super huge.


    Other than the low-end topic, the mix sounds just fine. Fake drums are a pain though.
     
  6. flyingkick

    flyingkick New Metal Member

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    Isn't that pretty much like the second example that I mentioned? Bass below the kick? I know that you can still have the kick with plenty of sub around 55hz with the bass wide open.
     
  7. MrBongo

    MrBongo idiot at work

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    not entirely: it reads like you assume both kick and bass to be exactly at xy Hz.
    But all the time, throughout entire songs, they produce content all over the frequency spectrum. And it gets worse when it´s not a boring one note song, which most songs are not.

    A clean E note is 41, 82, 123 ... Hz, a kickdrum hit can be 30 - 200 Hz, all at once. Beware: the highest energy content rarely is at the lowest point of the spectrum with these instruments! You usually have the strongest harmonics of the bass at the first octave of the fundamental (here: 82Hz), and the kick has its punch at, let´s say 70Hz. In this very moment we can assume the kick to "sit below" the bass.

    Now make your bass player hit a low B. 31 Hz fundamental, strong 62Hz harmonic. We clearly have the bass below the 70Hz kick right now. They switched positions. If you wanted to have this kick as the main low frequency rumbler and keep it that way, you would have to castrate the bass and remove its main harmonic by cutting above said 62 Hz. Creates imbalance in the bassline by weakening the B note, which may be undesirable in many cases.

    Don´t cut blindly. Listen to the song :)
     
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  8. flyingkick

    flyingkick New Metal Member

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    That make sense. I guess that's why certain high level producers/mixers leave the bass, the guitars, and sometimes the kick wide open. They even get away without any lowcut or sidechain of some sort. However, some mixers roll off around 60hz on a very low tuned bass just because the kick was punching at 60hz. I assume it's a song/vibe decision.
     
    #8 flyingkick, Jun 16, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2017
  9. MrBongo

    MrBongo idiot at work

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    yes, definitely!
    It´s sometimes a good idea to cut sub-lows in songs with fast-paced lines at low tunings to increase definition. Higher frequencies have a shorter wavelength, thus shorter duration of each period. When you only have like 3 oscillations of the fundamental of a certain note before the next one comes in, that can get muddy quickly, especially on flubby speakers that can´t really follow the waveforms accurately
     
  10. Megin

    Megin Member

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    If it's too bassy and you need to use hp filter so high it means you have too much bass when you record. Lower the bass on the bass guitar. You can always bring back more bass in the mix.
     

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