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Euroguestock – making band videos that look and sound good

Discussion in 'Home Recording Studio' started by simoncroft, Jul 7, 2018.

  1. simoncroft

    simoncroft Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    62
    May 30, 2013
    SE England
    Compress to impress
    At a live event, the difference between the loudest sound and the quietest sound is often huge. That’s partly because live events tend to be louder than you would want the volume in your own home. Also, if you’re listening to music in your kitchen, or your car, you need to music to cut through any background noise without suddenly getting really loud.

    The difference between the loudest sound and the quietest sound on a recording is called ‘dynamic range’. We need to control that range quite a bit if the vocals are to stay on top of the mix.

    The following video shows how the vocals, and Hugo’s vocal beat box sounds, sit together more effectively when compression is applied. The multitrack is looped, so you can go back to the start and compare the changes as often as you like.

    My ‘Swiss Army Knife’ compressor is a Waves plug-in emulation of the dbx160 that almost every studio in the 1980s used by the rack-full. Waves have some of their products in sale most of the time, so if you get on their email list, the dbx160 will come round at a really cheap price within a few month

    The 160 doesn’t have a lot of controls, and it’s really easy to get good results.

    That said, most plug-in compressors that come with DAWs are pretty decent, if you take the time to learn how to use them. Once you get settings that work for you, saving them as presets means you don’t have to get diverted from your mix next time round.

    dbx 160 compressor.png
     
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  2. simoncroft

    simoncroft Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    62
    May 30, 2013
    SE England
    Here's the video. The big point is: you need the vocals to ride over the mix!

     
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  3. simoncroft

    simoncroft Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    62
    May 30, 2013
    SE England
    I'm working on a mix tutorial for the song Real Gone, but it will take me some time. I'll break it down into sections so it's: how to mix the drums; add the bass; guitars; vocals, then considering the total mix.

    Unfortunately, my tinnitus is giving me a hard time at the moment, so I can only work for short amounts of time. :(
     
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  4. Omar

    Omar Most Inquisitive Junior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Aug 9, 2017
    Marbella, Spain
    Although it’s painful, you insist to enrich everyone’s knowledge. Blessed effort. Thank you sir. :)
     
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  5. simoncroft

    simoncroft Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    62
    May 30, 2013
    SE England
    @Omar, you say the nicest things. :thumb:

    The video below deals with mixing the drums and bass. These are really the foundation of any electric band mix, so it's a very good place to start. If you've got them sounding right, the rest should fall into place.

    My first action was to use the Pan controls to approximate the physical positions of the drums in the kit/set. If you overdo this, it can create more problems than it solves, because every mic has a certain amount of spill. So if you put the overhead mics really wide, it can start to confuse the ear as to where the snare really is relative to the hi-hat.

    I started with the kick/bass drum. I added a little compression. All the drummers on Euroguestock IV were remarkably consistent in their kick levels, but it just helps to keep the bass drum constant in the mix. Next I added a little EQ. A touch more low end helped to reproduce the sound of drums on a stage through a big sound system, while a small boost at 5kHz can help the bass drum to be heard separately from the bass guitar.

    I also demonstrate using a noise gate to reduce the level of spill from the bass drum. This isn't something I used on the actual soundtracks, but I wanted to demonstrate what the two most important controls do. 'Keep it subtle' is my advice.

    Snares are really important in a mix, although they don't always have to sound massive. The engineer had very helpfully miked top and bottom. Of course, the bottom of the drum is where the wire snares are, so I put plenty of that mic in.

    Often, in the studio, you don't really need a dedicated hi-hat mic. Live, it's better to mic everything if you can! I was grateful for the hi-hat mic, because it gave me a chance to make the image a 'little more stereo'. The overheads have a tiny bit of high-end boost but it's best to go easy on this. It's easy to make cymbals sound painfully 'splashy'.

    Although I used EQ to reduce the amount of spill into the tom mics, it's important not to compromise the sound of the drums themselves. Pan helps to add more of a stereo image on the toms.

    As you'll see and hear, I used two reverbs. One is to make the snare a little 'bangier' and the other is there to help give the feel of the drums being in a big room. Bear in mind the actual mixes also had the real room acoustic from the camcorder audio.

    The bass guitar sounded pretty good before I started messing with it! Mainly, I was just trying to show what you can do after the event at the mix stage if you need to. The Amplitube plug-in is there to give a little more flavour of a loud, slightly over-driven amp. It's just another ruse to try to make the listener feel as if they were actually there.

     
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