General guidelines for mixing

Andrei Moraru

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Nov 11, 2019
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Hey guys and girls.

So I just got done recording my first instrumental song. And now I am looking for some general mixing guidelines. I know about EQ-ing and shit and I know of some frequencies that need to be cancelled in order for the whole song to sound good.

My questions though are the following:

- how does one get rid of the extra fuzziness left behind by my distortion? should I look into compression or is it still EQ related?
- aside from a low pass at approximately 100Hz, is there any sort of low pass filtering or high pass filtering recommended for guitars?
- anything else that you can think of for bass guitars (i.e. EQ, compression etc.)

This is still something that I'm fairly new at and I want to get better at it. Sadly, online articles on the matter ar a bit vague for me. Also, I would love if you can give actual pointers (i.e. do a spectral analysis using X plugin in order to find what frequencies need to be removed etc. or lower frequencies between a certain range to remove fuzziness).

Much appreciated,
Andrei
 

Ed Seith

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You can low pass the guitars at somewhere between 5k and 8k to help with the fizziness.
Bass guitars definitely do well with compression, but I wouldn't know how to suggest it.

Place things in the stereo soundfield to give them their own space, too. Drums pan out from center, bass down the middle, rhythm guitars get a good wide stereo spread, melody instruments closer to center, etc.

It really is kind of an art and all of the "rules" are just basic starting points. Use, adapt, or ignore to get the result you want to hear. Somewhere else, PG mentioned mastering with Izotope Ozone elements. I picked that up in a Black Friday sale or something, along with a bunch of other stuff. I haven't tried it yet, but I think it's a safe bet Papa's got more knowledge and experience there than I do, so...
 

Andrei Moraru

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Nov 11, 2019
406
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andreilucianmoraru.com
Guitar Experience (years)
10
You can low pass the guitars at somewhere between 5k and 8k to help with the fizziness.
Bass guitars definitely do well with compression, but I wouldn't know how to suggest it.

Place things in the stereo soundfield to give them their own space, too. Drums pan out from center, bass down the middle, rhythm guitars get a good wide stereo spread, melody instruments closer to center, etc.

It really is kind of an art and all of the "rules" are just basic starting points. Use, adapt, or ignore to get the result you want to hear. Somewhere else, PG mentioned mastering with Izotope Ozone elements. I picked that up in a Black Friday sale or something, along with a bunch of other stuff. I haven't tried it yet, but I think it's a safe bet Papa's got more knowledge and experience there than I do, so...
Ozone is a godsend when it comes to mastering. PG knows what he's talking about. I'll try the 5k-8k thing, since I like my highs in my sound, it could be the answer. I know about the pan thing, though I do like my bass and drums to be exactly in the center. Guitars though, I have the rhythm on two tracks, hard-panned. As is the lead. Thanks for the pointers :D.
 
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Filip Tomiša

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There is a Waves plugin called X-noise that removes unnecessary noise from your signal. It works great but it's not really cheap but I think there should be some free noise reduction plugins out there.

There is more than just low pass /hi pass filtering. You can use a bell shaped curve to cut individual frequencies that just sound too harsh. You can find them by boosting the bell curve all the way up and just sweep throught the whole frequency spectrum and search for the ones that really hurt your ear. But you have to be careful with that because your ear might trick you. What I mean is bascially every frequency will sound bad if you boost it all the way up but there are specific frequencies that really sound horrible and really hurt your ear. Once you hear one you will understand. So you have to be careful with that so that you don't cut a frequency that isn't bad but your ear told you that it is because you boosted it all the way up.

Compression for bass goes like this: fast attack, slow release. You want your compressor to start compressing immediately once the signal goes in and you don't want your signal to go "out" of compression and you do that with slow release. Slow release means that it will take longer for your signal to go out of compression once it entered. To help you visualise this imagine the needle on the compressor. With "fast attack/slow release" setting the needle would move immediately after the signal was played and the needle would stay still because of the slow release. If the release was also fast then the needle would constantly jump from left to right.

Little EQ-in trick for bass is to boost somewhere around 200Hz and then cut at the same spot on the kick so that their frequencies don't clash since they are both in the low end. You can also do the opposite, boost the kick and cut the bass, it just depends on what you want to be more present.