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Señor Member
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*adjusts glasses* You know, there's no one-size fits all when it comes to EQing and mixing... *proceeds to explain how all the settings listed are wrong*
 

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Sir Groove-A-Lot
Charvel So Cal & San Dimas
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I really hate stuff like this :lol: It gets you into using your eyes, not your ears. I'm not going to comment on whether it's right or wrong, because it's too subjective to be either, and too broad. I guess it can be of aid if you're really stumped for what you should be listening for, or where to start, but definitely shouldn't be used as any kind of go-to guide when you're trying to mix something. It's a kind of read-it-once then go "ah ok, gotcha" kinda thing, when you're an absolute novice, but beyond that I think it can be a bit of a trap, and not conducive to gaining the skill of using your ears.
 

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Premium Member
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*adjusts glasses* You know, there's no one-size fits all when it comes to EQing and mixing... *proceeds to explain how all the settings listed are wrong*
Basically. :lol:

I won't nit-pick much, beyond a couple super quick observations:

* the 200-600k range they describe as "overtones" on bass is also the range that the bi-amped bass approach, low-passing the DI around 250hkz and smashing with a compressor, and hi-passing and amping/distorting another version around 600hz and blending the two to taste, is designed to pretty much annihilate this entire range in a metal mix. Admittedly, that's probably the point; you're not going for a rich, full, complex robust bass tone, so much as a steady-state fundamental with some snarly attack to it to support the guitar tone.

*1k to 2k is actually a range I find myself giving a slight boost to a lot on leads, maybe 1.8k to 2.2k, as a db or two here seems to help them cut through a bit better. Then again, I write instrumental rock, so I tend to treat my lead guitars more like a vocal than like a guitar. I'd also argue that the "300 to 1,000 - 'Life' range" is obscenely broad, and is another area where in metal you're more likely to see some cutting, commentary here not withstanding - perhaps 400 to 600, somewhere in there, sweeping around a couple db notch cut filter can clean up the guitars a bit and make things sound a little less boxy, I guess. In a blues/rock context, however, there's a lot of valuable low-mid thickness here that you may instead like.

Idunno. This is maybe mostly useful in identifying the frequency ranges where particular sorts of energy can be found. Where this, and a lot of other guides, often go wrong is proposing specific actions to optimize them, whereas so much of what you do in a particular mix is going to be driven both by 1) genre conventions, and 2) what everything else in the mix is doing. I could see this being pretty useful if you stop reading after it explains what's going on, and ignore anything about what you should do there.

EDIT - also, relatedly, I could see it being an interesting experience to periodically pull up an old mix and start from scratch on your EQ changes, but intentionally do the exact reverse of what your normal approach might be, just to see what it sounded like and force you to do some different things. Ideally, the results should be pretty awful, but if they're not, well, there may be lessons to be learned there. :lol:
 

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I'm pretty shit at mixing myself but I'm getting better and learning to use my ears more, instead of going for a certain EQ curve look. I understand the intent of the guide; it gives you a ballpark association of certain sound characteristics, which is fine. Sadly, many people (ESPECIALLY youngsters) will simply refuse to use their ears and rely on visuals and arbitrary frequency bands. This way of thinking plagues "modern ""metal""" bands in particular, because they just want presets for basically everything. preset guitar tones, bass tones, drum sounds, EQ, Mastering, etc. I've heard so so many honky, muddy mixes because they heard their favorite engineer do something, and imitated to a T.
 

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Take these with a grain of salt.

Fastest way to level up your mixing would be to join Nail The Mix, even if it's just for a couple months. It's pretty amazing. You get access to actual professionally recorded track to mix on your own and then you get to see in great detail how the mix engineer mixed the final version of the song.

You get to learn tricks and tips and also get to really hear how well recorded tracks should sound like in their raw form.
 

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Premium Member
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Seems like there are some good starting points there, and the author isn't really telling you what to do, just where to find certain things.

To me, mixing is essentially an "after-the-fact song arrangement" by trying to carve out sonic space for instruments. The better you plan your arrangements ahead of time, the easier your mixes will be and the more you can just let the instruments' natural sound stay relatively unaltered. Bass guitar is probably the biggest exception to that, since it's always going to pile up with kick drums and the low end of a distorted rhythm guitar.
 

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Premium Member
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Aside from me disagreeing with a huge part of it, if you want to learn to EQ, you need to learn to listen, and learn how to use a fucking EQ. It's not just settings. There are processes and techniques.
 

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Premium Member
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32,765 Posts
I'm pretty shit at mixing myself but I'm getting better and learning to use my ears more, instead of going for a certain EQ curve look. I understand the intent of the guide; it gives you a ballpark association of certain sound characteristics, which is fine. Sadly, many people (ESPECIALLY youngsters) will simply refuse to use their ears and rely on visuals and arbitrary frequency bands. This way of thinking plagues "modern ""metal""" bands in particular, because they just want presets for basically everything. preset guitar tones, bass tones, drum sounds, EQ, Mastering, etc. I've heard so so many honky, muddy mixes because they heard their favorite engineer do something, and imitated to a T.
I totally get the appeal, because in theory at least you'd think the ability to "visualize" the frequency concentrations of a sound would be both something new that didn't exist 25 years ago, and potentially a new source of information that could be incorporated into your workflow to provide new insights and an improved mix.

In practice, however, I'm just not seeing it. Two real problems - one, while it's useful to know something's THERE in a sound, a simple frequency graph doesn't provide any qualitative information about whether something is "good." A sound with a pronounced hump around 200k could sound muddy and could be cleaned up by removing some of that energy with an EQ, or alternatively that could be a really critical and pronounced overtone that really adds a lot to the sound of the instrument, and would be desirable to leave. Over and above that, it also doesn't account for how that interacts with everything ELSE in the mix.

The better you plan your arrangements ahead of time, the easier your mixes will be and the more you can just let the instruments' natural sound stay relatively unaltered. Bass guitar is probably the biggest exception to that, since it's always going to pile up with kick drums and the low end of a distorted rhythm guitar.
Man, this, so much. I've been doing a recording project with my dad and uncle that typically has both piano and acoustic guitar on a track, and one of the things I learned in a hurry from the first session or two we did was that the best way to tackle a song was to play through it as a group, and then try to figure out collectively which instrument was the "core" one to the song. If it was a piano-driven song, then keep the acoustic guitar parts simple and mixed back, and if it had a busy acoustic guitar as the primary accompaniament, then keep the piano simple (at least, until any solo sections), and in addition in a couple cases we found "electric piano" sounds tended to work a lot better since they had a less pronounced attack. Songs that drove me crazy the first time we recorded them, in a couple cases where we scrapped them and started over, came together a LOT faster once we all agreed what the "main" accompanying instrument (because, let's be honest, all of this is secondary to the vocal) and what was the supporting one.

I've also learned way more than I've ever wanted about slip editing, since one of 'em in particular plays to a much looser timing standard than I hold myself to, but that's a different story (and one that's been driving me to drink :lol:).

I should actually post up a few clips from that in here, since I don't usually do vocal music (or folk-rock stuff in general) and I wouldn't mind some second opinions that I'm going in the right direction.
 

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Premium Member
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Piano and acoustic guitar are tough to match up together. I'd generally avoid having them play in the same register, and certainly not doubling parts.

I probably broke that rule a little bit with my new country song (see my "Mother's Day" thread), but the piano part there was originally on a Wurlitzer A200 sample. I just couldn't get that sound to play well in this mix, and it all came together the moment I switched the part to a grand piano. My mix was basically done right there. Panning and differing rhythmic patterns help the acoustic stand out in that mix, at least enough to make it work.
 

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Premium Member
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Piano and acoustic guitar are tough to match up together. I'd generally avoid having them play in the same register, and certainly not doubling parts.
Doubling, actually, could be kind of effective. The problem I had is that my uncle likes writing busy-but-quiet-and-not-really-in-time fingerpicking parts, while my dad likes to kind of improv piano accompaniament in more of a melodic fashion than a "comping" one, so the upshot is left to their own devices there's a whole bunch of notes going on at once, and they're not always the same ones and usually slightly out of sync. :lol: I'm gonna turn this into a good sounding project, but the process just may kill me. :lol:
 
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