Mix feels like it's missing "body"

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by BlackFalcon17, Jun 13, 2021.

  1. BlackFalcon17

    BlackFalcon17 SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    164
    Likes Received:
    73
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2016
    Location:
    MD
    I'm not really sure how to explain it, or what frequencies I should be looking for. There's a sort of *oomph* that I can hear in mixes I like that does not seem to be present in my own. It becomes pretty obvious when I'm playing my stuff in the car. Has anyone else had this problem? Any ideas on how to correct it without altering your instrumental tone?

    Here's a quick example: https://soundcloud.com/chukwu-uduka/stealth-mode
     
  2. spilla

    spilla SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    570
    Likes Received:
    60
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Location:
    Australia
    Links not working.

    Work on your bass and drums, get that sounding huge before adding guitars. Best tip is to have reference tracks (of tones your looking to emulate) playing through your recording setup so you can try and get in the ballpark whilst mixing.
     
  3. BlackFalcon17

    BlackFalcon17 SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    164
    Likes Received:
    73
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2016
    Location:
    MD
  4. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

    Messages:
    8,720
    Likes Received:
    5,843
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2007
    Location:
    Gatineau, Quebec
    My first impression when hitting play was WOAH GUITARS. IMO the guitars are eating up everything. I can hear a bass, but just barely. The drums sound like they would be fine on their own, but get stomped by how in-your-face the guitars are.

    IMO the individual instrument tones don't matter if they don't serve the song and the mix. Don't focus on preserving the ULTIMATE GUITAR TONE - cut that guitar tone to pieces if you have to. Find the spaces where the other instruments are (or should be) contributing the most, and chop out bits from the guitar to give them their room to breathe.
     
    Crungy and budda like this.
  5. LostTheTone

    LostTheTone Elegant Djentleman

    Messages:
    262
    Likes Received:
    192
    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2021
    Location:
    South east England
    I agree with everyone else, but I'd also add that when you go back to the guitar tone, it sounds too bottom heavy to me and I think that's where your real issue is in getting the mix to balance properly. Bluntly, the guitar sounds really fat; it's filling up the whole spectrum all the way from the low lows to the highs. The drums can punch through, but they are stacking on top of each other not slotting together.

    That guitar tone probably sounds great just to play solo, and to some degree it should do because it so much bigger and more lairy than you would normally get from an album tone. You need to chop out a space for the bass to fill in at a minimum, and I would say that the focus of the guitar tone needs to just generally be shunted upwards. That'll make it more of a team player and better able to work with other instruments.
     
    USMarine75 likes this.
  6. USMarine75

    USMarine75 The man who is tired of the anus is tired of life Contributor

    Messages:
    7,926
    Likes Received:
    9,133
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2010
    Location:
    VA
    ^Exactly this.

    Guitar mixes generally sound weak on their own because they are light on the bass. It's one of the reasons recording Gibson LPs is tough, but using EL34 amps help because they are mid-focused and have less low end than 6L6 amps (in general).

    tl;dr Good sounding "jamming alone" tone =/= guitars in a mix tone
     
    Crungy likes this.
  7. BlackFalcon17

    BlackFalcon17 SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    164
    Likes Received:
    73
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2016
    Location:
    MD
    It's interesting that you're hearing too much low end in the guitars, a good amount is removed with a high pass and multiband compression. I wouldn't consider this tone good on its own but I guess we all have our preferences. I assumed that removing low end in the mix is opposite to my goal because I don't want it to come out thin sounding, but I don't mind experimenting.

    Here's another version with everyone's advice taken into consideration.
    https://soundcloud.com/chukwu-uduka/stealth-mode-v2/s-mPWNWGd4cIp
     
  8. LostTheTone

    LostTheTone Elegant Djentleman

    Messages:
    262
    Likes Received:
    192
    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2021
    Location:
    South east England
    It's one of those counter-intuitive things about mixing unfortunately. When you're in a low tuning (sound like something Fear Factoryish - A Standard maybe?) the balance of frequencies is way off from where you think they should be. A1 is like 55hz (IIRC), but you definitely don't want that the biggest punchiest frequency from the guitar. Your normal understanding of "lows" for a guitar is actually higher than your cardinal note.

    Check out Dino's signature SD pickups - Particularly look at how they are EQed. It's lowish bass, lowish mids then VAST AMOUNTS OF TREBLE. They aren't overall all that spectacular as pickups go but the reason for that choice is important. It's all to try and make working with the pickups easier in the amp and in the mixing desk by shifting the sound away from the normal cardinal point.

    I will have a proper listen later this morning (am on Bluetooth ATM so everything sounds bad).
     
  9. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

    Messages:
    8,720
    Likes Received:
    5,843
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2007
    Location:
    Gatineau, Quebec
    Listened to the new one and it honestly sounds exactly the same to me. I can't hear any difference.

    Removing low end from guitars is not the same as removing it from the mix. Low end naturally stacks up as you layer more stuff in - at this stage it's less about the overall balance, it's more about making sure each instrument lives in its own space without getting stomped on by everything else. Guitars don't need to be bass-y and percussive. That's what the bass and drums are for. I think you've got a good source sound for the guitar, it's just very upfront and, for my tastes, kinda stomps everything else.

    Another thought I had while listening again is that the drums have a bit of a hard-to-follow rhythm - as in every hit sounds like 110% velocity and there's not much of a natural flow/rhythm/cadence to it, and maybe this is your lack of oomph you're hearing. It might be worth backing off the velocity on a bunch of the snare hits - maybe even turn some of them into ghost notes - so that the important ones that land on the beat are granted more emphasis.
     
    BlackFalcon17 likes this.
  10. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

    Messages:
    30,680
    Likes Received:
    6,981
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Location:
    Somerville, MA
    Think of it like Tetris.

    You have a finite amount of space to fill. If one thing is VERY big, it doesn't leave much room for anything else. So, if you cut out some of the low end in your guitars, you create space to make the bass bigger, which may have the effect of making the whole mix thicker sounding. A good mix is one where no one thing is huge, but you rather have a whole bunch of smaller, but interlocking, peices that sum up to something really big.

    I'm going blind here, this is a really fast comment before I get back to work, but the other thing I might look ast is revisiting any compression you're using - one sure-fire way to make a mix sound thin is to have some pretty critical elements with very pokey, aggressive transients, so that a lot of their available bandwidth is being eaten up by nearly inaudible transients, keeping the element a lot lower than it might otherwise be before clipping occurs. Just a hunch though.
     
  11. adrianb

    adrianb SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    98
    Likes Received:
    58
    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2018

    I think this sounds good, honestly.
     
    BlackFalcon17 likes this.
  12. sevenfoxes

    sevenfoxes SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    1,051
    Likes Received:
    715
    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2015
    Location:
    The Lost Souls Room
    Yeah, you really don’t need that much low end with your guitars. A guitar is a mid frequency instrument, anyway.

    Depend/rely on the bass and drums to fill those bottom end freqs, and the whole mix will sound bigger.
     
    BlackFalcon17 likes this.

Share This Page