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Home recording setup

 
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blimp
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Joined: Feb 26, 2011
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2016 10:49 am    Post subject: Home recording setup Reply with quote

Okay so I'm a total amateur at recording so go easy on me.

I haven't been happy with my mixes for a long time. Too quiet, too muddy, not holding together, no punch, no space. I'm too embarrassed to post any examples here. Yeh I realise it's the ear, not the gear, but I want to rule out the possibility that it's the gear letting me down so that I can concentrate on my mixing chops. I'm not fooling myself that I'm going to get radio-quality recordings or anything, but I do want to improve. Oh and I'm generally going for a vintage, rootsy kind of sound rather than something polished and modern-sounding.

My current signal chain is instrument (pro quality gear) > mic / Radial passive DI > A&H Zed12FX (doubles as interface) > USB out out into PC running Reaper. I then mix and "master" in the box. I use a VST (Amplitube) for the bass guitar, but everything else is micced, mostly with 57s. I mix using cans and have some cheap monitors and a couple of stereos for reference.

I'd like to continue using Reaper, and I'm happy with my PC's performance (never misses a beat). I'm also happy multi-tracking and having the drums as one stereo track etc. I understand that this is limiting when it comes to mixing, but I enjoy the challenge.

So without going into all the things that I'm probably doing wrong when tracking/mixing, can I have recommendations for how to turn this rig into something more bulletproof (commensurate with my skills and the rest of the signal chain)? ie: should I invest in a decent mic pre, or a bass amp, or good monitors, or something else?

A pro engineer friend of mine took a couple of my projects away to his studio and remixed them there. They sounded awesome when they came back - loud and punchy and clear. He told me that all he really did was send them to back to the desk (in this case a big old Yamaha console) and sum them there - that the raw tracks sounded pretty good to begin with. So should I be attempting to sum at the desk rather than in the box? Is it even possible with my rig? Or do I need high quality outboard gear to hear any noticeable difference?

Any advice would be appreciated.
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AnalogueAddict
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Joined: May 05, 2011
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Location: Melbourne

PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2016 4:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Better gear helps but you should be able to pull a decent mix just using reaper and mixing in the box. You need a good listening environment to be able to listen critically. Decent monitors and an acoustically treated room will help. A good set of headphones will help if you can't get a good listening enviornment otherwise, but you'll still need to refer to some monitors for panning and general reference so the sooner you get that sorted the better. Outboard gear is great, but from your current position monitors etc are more important. How are you going to mix if ya can't hear it properly?

Good mic pre's and recording signal path are important also but you can get away with it a bit using cheaper gear. But generally if the tracking sounds shit then it's all up hill and sometimes even devine intervention won't bring home the bacon.

In my very humble opinion, listening enviornment and good quality tracking gives you a shot at a good mix in the box or otherwise.
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AnalogueAddict
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Location: Melbourne

PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2016 5:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh yeah I probably should have added to that the following:


Use reference material in the form of commercial recordings to compare your mix to. You can identify differences and then try to move your work in that direction.

Don't mix for hours on end. I found it follows the law of diminishing returns as the longer you grind away at it the more you tend to loose perspective. Also try to avoid getting completely fixated on one thing.

Eq. Try to get an understanding of what part of the frequency spectrum each instument occupies and use eq in the form of cutting rather than boosting if you can to get other sounds out of the way. E.g. cut the bottom end out of the guitars to get them out of the way of the bass etc. This alone will probably get your mix well on the way.

I am by no means an expert and I only **** around with this as a hobby, but the things I have outlined have helped me make an improvement and I hope they help you out too.

Good luck.
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blimp
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2016 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your advice. I've been playing around with EQ on the tracks and limiters/comp on the master and been getting some much better results. Definitely helps coming back for a second listen. I think from now on I will track, do a rough mix, then walk away from it from a month.
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Foxwelian
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Joined: Oct 13, 2009
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Location: Outer East, Melbourne

PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2016 11:03 am    Post subject: helpful videos Reply with quote

There are some good video series to help with mixing. I like Warren Huart's videos. He will have some videos about compression which will help you as well. His use of EQ in layers - small amounts of boosting in multiple Q instances.

Here's a clip to get you going.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syudb_B1x_A
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LordDags
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Joined: Nov 23, 2005
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Location: Outer Eastern Suburbs/ Hills Region

PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2019 3:38 pm    Post subject: Helpful advice for recording and mixing Reply with quote

Also check out Recording Revolution website and YouTube vids.
Plenty of good advice from Graham.

https://www.youtube.com/user/recordingrevolution/featured

Dags
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