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How everything sits frequency-wise?

Discussion in 'F.O.H.' started by Daybreak, Jan 27, 2014.

  1. Daybreak

    Daybreak Member

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    It's easy to make something sound kickass by itself. It's hard to make something sound kickass in a mix. Theree's always two or more different instruments fighting over some frequency real estate, and it might drive you nuts.

    So in short, I just wanted to discuss with you guys - What's your go-to-solution when something's clouding another instrument? Like when your rythm guitar completely drowns your snare, or when the lead guitars seems to sit in the exact same frequency range as the vocals, etc.

    Do you go back and get different source tones? Do you put on your surgery gloves and dive in for some corrective EQ? Do you sidechain a multiband compressor? Do you do some crazy stuff, like for every boost you do you go back and cut that frequency out of every other instrument?

    And just in general, where do you want your instruments to sit? Do you like to mix your bass lower (frequency-wise) than your kick, as an example?
     
  2. thefalloftheheretic

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    All of the above. Seriously, it all depends on the mix.

    I mixed a song at one point where the vocalist had a gorgeous voice but she wouldn't sit in the mix well at all. Tried to cut on the rhythm guitars where her peaks were but that still didn't work. I got creative and threw a second de-esser on there and voila! Vocals sat right down into the mix.
     
  3. mharwood

    mharwood Member

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    From a conceptual standpoint, the first thing I ask myself is whether there are certain frequencies that are absolutely essential for the tone of any of the conflicting instruments. After that, its really just a matter of prioritizing what you want to alter the least (i.e. remain the most natural sounding) and then starting to peel back the other stuff. Of course that's often easier said than done, but that's half the fun of it :).
     
  4. Nimvi

    Nimvi Member

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    When 2 instruments are fighting, I pick which one I want to win in the problematic area.

    I set the masterbus to Mono, mute the instrument I want to lose and listen to the mix for a few seconds. Then I unmute the "loser", and at that moment the most problematic frequency will jump right at me. It sounds like you are following a conversation and someone else starts talking through it. If you have problems hearing the clashing frequency, it can help to make the offending instrument a bit louder before doing this. Just remember to turn it back down after you are done.

    I then quickly sweep towards that frequency (hooray for frequency training), and make a rather narrow cut of a few db, until the "winner" starts to breathe, but the treated instrument is not killed off.
    Do the whole mute/unmute thing again and see if the problem is solved. You may have to do this for more than one frequency.

    After all that is done, set the masterbus to stereo again and enjoy your improved clarity!

    EDIT: If the instrument you are making room for comes and goes in the mix, you can automate the EQ to only be enabled while that other instrument is playing.
     
  5. Joey.coldweather

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    Honestly I don't have a go to solution for such issues as its really dependent of the song and what exactly is causing the problem to begin with. I will do things like completely mute tracks if the situation calls for it.
     
  6. AKoppenheffer

    AKoppenheffer Member

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    Very cool, thanks.
     
  7. ArthurD

    ArthurD Member

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    Dont forget about phase relationship
     
  8. abaga129

    abaga129 The Apprentice

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    That's great advice. This is something I often forget to do.

    Could you elaborate on this? I'm interested.
     
  9. ArthurD

    ArthurD Member

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    Instruments fight frequency-wise just as phase.
    The phase interaction between the tracks could make the mix cloudy/muddy.
    Dont forget that most digital hipass filters introduce phase invertion on the frequencies bellow the filter.

    Just give some phase polarity shifts and listen if sounds better =)
     
  10. Nimvi

    Nimvi Member

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    Glad that info was helpful to you guys :)

    And I should probably pay more attention to this. Don't think I've ever had big problems with it, but awareness is always a good thing! Reminds me of that linear phase EQ video that was posted recently. Good stuff.
     

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