Mixing four guitars?

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phoenix
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Mixing four guitars?

Post by phoenix » Tue May 16, 2006 8:48 am

I gotta mix an acoustic and a slightly overdriven electric for a song! It`s a comical song but it`s gotta be broadcast quality!! Its a full band, there will be drums, bass, acoustic, electric, vocals and at the end a bunch of drunken louts join in also!! Neither the acoustic or electric are more distinct, they are both just strummin along as rhythm!Im wonderin wots the best way to mix them! I currently have the acoustic double tracked and panned hard left and right, the electric is also double tracked and panned left and right but not as far! It sounds ok but are there any other tried and tested ways to do this? I gotta get the mix spot on so if there are any tricks for this I`d love to know them?I appreciate any replies!!

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Re: Mixing four guitars?

Post by andreh » Tue May 16, 2006 10:09 am

Phoenix-It sounds like your acoustic and electric guitars are playing very similar musical roles in your piece, so you may need to do more than just pan them to slightly different locations (especially if they're double tracked).These recommendations area all specualtion without hearing your current mix, but you might consider pulling out some of the lows and lower mids from the acoustics and let them be there primarily for definition. Then you can push out the upper mids from the electrics and let them fill out the body of the low mids. If your bass is taking up space down there too, you may also need to shelf or high-pass the electrics, speculatively at around 200hz.Also, double tracking instruments can sound cool and widen your stereo image, but the contrast of mono instruments among stereo parts is what makes a mix sound interesting and defined. You may not need both guitar parts tracked in stereo to achieve the right effect.Can you post a mix for us to hear? You likely get much more accurate, useful feeadback from that approach.HTH,Andre
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Re: Mixing four guitars?

Post by phoenix » Tue May 16, 2006 1:50 pm

I have the electrics shelved at 120hz but I`ll highr it and see wot it sounds like! I also have some low end off the acoustics but my main concern here was the bass, however, I`ll take some more from them also!I was more asking for panning tips or even if I shouldn`t double the both guitars? Your idea is good about posting it though, I just have to finish a things like a choir (more muddiness, tut!) and a few more instruments and then I`ll post it in about two weeks!Cheers for your help so far!

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Re: Mixing four guitars?

Post by ernstinen » Wed May 17, 2006 5:57 am

I've always liked hard panning L/R double tracked guitars, but since you have both guitars double tracked, there's a bunch of things to try.1. Kick up the "Hi" highs on the acoustics to give them air. I'm talking 12-15k!2. Boost the mids on the electrics.3. Pan the acoustics hard L/R and the electrics less so.4. Pan the acoustics Center/L and the electrics Center/R. Experiment with how far from "Center" you want to pan the tracks on each guitar.Or:5. Choose which track of each guitar is recorded the best, and use that one track, experimenting how the pans fit in the mix. --- Or keep one guitar in stereo and do the above to the other.Lots of options! Good luck!Ern

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Re: Mixing four guitars?

Post by phoenix » Wed May 17, 2006 6:57 am

Cheers man! Never thought of boosting the highs!I`ll try all those options and get back to yas!!Thanks again!

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Re: Mixing four guitars?

Post by andreh » Wed May 17, 2006 12:15 pm

Ern's comments are good, and his music sounds great...so we can trust him! However, I'd like to add that when two or more parts are fighting for space in the frequency spectrum, cutting the offending frequencies from one part is usually more effective than boosting frequencies in another...the latter approach may just be masking the underlying problem.If you were to sit in on a mixing session with a pro engineer, you'd see and hear this pattern many times: boost a frequency on a parametric EQ, sweep the spectrum to find the offensive frequency, expand or contract the Q (bandwidth) to better isolate the offending frequecy, and then cut that frequency by an appropariate amount. Wash, rinse, repeat.Also, if you're using digital EQ's, they tend to sound smoother when cutting frequencies than when boosting them (especially Waves' stuff), but there are some smoother digital EQ's such as the Sony Oxford, McDSP stuff, and the Massenberg EQ.Lastly, you should be arranging with frequency balance in mind...if you already have, say, a piano laying down thick chords in the middle register, maybe playing the guitar parts up an octave, or only strumming the highest strings, will fill out the frequency spectrum more evenly.HTH,Andre
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Re: Mixing four guitars?

Post by nickbatzdorf » Wed May 17, 2006 12:46 pm

I read this the other day and didn't really know what to say, and the reason is that I'm unclear how the parts are supposed to be working. Am I right in assuming that you're doubling the acoustic with electric (or v.v.) to get a composite sound? If so, I don't know that you'll need to do anything to get a good blend, and you could just treat them as one instrument. You could even pan them in the same positions, which is how they're likely to be heard anyway if the positions are close (unless you're sitting right in the middle, subtle panning disappears as soon as you move your head a fraction of an inch).If you want more than just one sound, you could also experiment with depth. Stick the electric farther back using reverb, or create walls by using two delays set to maybe 30 and 45ms. The delays should normally be hard-panned, but in this context you have to narrow the width and pan one farther than the other.

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Re: Mixing four guitars?

Post by nickbatzdorf » Wed May 17, 2006 12:46 pm

(When I say pan them in the same positions, I mean pan one ac and one el hard left and one each hard right.)

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Re: Mixing four guitars?

Post by ernstinen » Wed May 17, 2006 1:09 pm

Quote:Ern's comments are good, and his music sounds great...so we can trust him! Why thank you, Andreh! Let me add something to my comments: I only boost highs on acoustic guitars if there are a lot of other instrumental tracks competing for the midrange frequencies. If it's a SOLO acoustic guitar/vocal, you try and record the guitar as flat and full as you can, without boosting frequencies. If anything, you might cut some mid lows on a bassy guitar. --- Cutting low mids on muddy tracks can really clear things up.My motto is experiment, and trust your ears (if they're trustworthy, that is! )Ern

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Re: Mixing four guitars?

Post by phoenix » Wed May 17, 2006 1:55 pm

Cheers guys! I wasn`t expectin such in-depth advice!! This site is great!Cheers!

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