#1
I've been happy with most of the recordings and songs I've done over the last few months but when comparing them to other mixes other people have done mine sound so empty as if there's not enough going on. I double track my guitars and apply a decent amount of effects across my leads .etc but what else can I do to make them sound fuller? I just recently bought a bass to replace the GarageBand midi tracks I've been using in the hope of adding more depth and was wondering what the best way to record it is. I remember Catharsis mentioning a while ago he usually has several bass tracks, some with distortion and some for purely sub bass which sat right back in the mix to thicken it.
#2
First of all, are you double tracking using the same guitar? If so, I recommend doing two or three (or more) tracks with two or three different guitars. You should also double track the bass, just for the heck of it.
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#3
You're probably double tracking wrong. Proper double tracking is RERECORDING the same phrase (usually wiht a different guitar with a different sound, but doesn't matter). This thickens it up because even if you play spot on in-time... it'll never be in-time (if you get that).

If you have improvised parts that are impossible to do the same, u can do a dodgey little trick where you copy the track and put it VERY VERY VERY slightly out of phase.

Maybe your aren't recording with enough signal?

Maybe you're not panning it right.

So many variables, but doing all of the above properly, will start you in the right direction.

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#4
Yep, I'm re-recording all the parts and panning properly, I know about all of that ;D
I guess it'll probably come down to the mixing as I don't usually spend too much time eq-ing and the like. So do you guys usually have any techniques for recording your bass to give you a good low end?

Quote by emaxwelkooti
First of all, are you double tracking using the same guitar? If so, I recommend doing two or three (or more) tracks with two or three different guitars.

I only have one usably guitar at the moment =/ Once my new one's finished I'll try that to add more variety in the mix, thanks!
#5
Quote by emaxwelkooti
First of all, are you double tracking using the same guitar? If so, I recommend doing two or three (or more) tracks with two or three different guitars. You should also double track the bass, just for the heck of it.

i find all of that to usually be a waste of time. tracking the same part with multiple guitars can add a different sound, but using the same guitar is what gives you a thicker sound. you have the same thing going, but pushed to the outsides to give space in the center. using multiple guitars can be used for layering, but i wouldnt use it for straight up double tracking.

as for double tracking bass, well i wouldnt. bass is usually straight up the middle, so double tracking can end up sounding muddy. instead, mixing the bass track correctly is what makes it sound good.

Dream Pin's Bass mixing thread


instead of all that stuff, start taking effects off of your tracks. too many effects things things out. also, using a dedicated send track for your effects can help. really helps with things like reverb, and sometimes is great for compression.
#6
this is why bands pay so much for a producer.

generally it takes more than a double tracked guitar, bass, and drums to make a song interesting.
#7
Can you post an example of a song you did that you don't think is thick enough?
#8
Quote by emaxwelkooti
You should also double track the bass, just for the heck of it.


No, no, no, no. Don't ever try this. All you achieve with the bass is a sort of chorus effect which results in a lack of depth because the clarity of the low end is lost.

You can double up your bass track and add some light overdrive and maybe a fuzz effect underneath the clean channel if it's appropriate to the song, that'll thicken things up, but don't actually record two different bass tracks.

Double track your guitars, pan one left and one right. This leaves space for the low end and the vocals down the middle. Pan your cymbals, overheads, and any room mics respectively.

Also, as a general rule, don't pan for example a hi-hat 37 to the right and then a guitar 90 to the left. Use hard panning, pan everything the same; once you've picked your number (depends how wide you want your mix to sound) then pan everything to it. Say you pick 50, pan everything either 50 to the left, 50 to the right, or leave it down the middle. It's easier to get a good sound this way, it can sound messy otherwise unless you know what you're doing. You also generally want to pan everything apart from the kick, snare, bass, and vocals (you can sometimes pan vocals).

Add an effects channel and put some reverb on, and maybe even some slight delay or even very mild chorus, and send most of your tracks to it (apart from the bass and kick). You can use several effects channels if you like, one for each instrument.

Trying any of these if you're not already doing them should hopefully help you get your mix sounding much bigger.
#9
Quote by Ziphoblat


Also, as a general rule, don't pan for example a hi-hat 37 to the right and then a guitar 90 to the left. Use hard panning, pan everything the same; once you've picked your number (depends how wide you want your mix to sound) then pan everything to it. Say you pick 50, pan everything either 50 to the left, 50 to the right, or leave it down the middle. It's easier to get a good sound this way, it can sound messy otherwise unless you know what you're doing. You also generally want to pan everything apart from the kick, snare, bass, and vocals (you can sometimes pan vocals).


???
so instead of spreading things out in its own space, we're supposed to pile everything on top of each other so that it will sound better? i'm confused.

for the things that are "supposed" to be panned (anything you feel like moving around in the stereo field), consider giving everything it's own place so that it sounds more natural. guitarists dont stand on top of each other when they play, or stack their amps on the other guitarist's amps. everyone likes to have their own place when they play so it will sound much more natural if everyone/everything has their own place in the mix. yes, there's plenty that will be straight up the middle, and that's just fine, but use the whole field instead of only picking three points out of it.

EDIT: let me say that this is one way (and my favorite way) to approach mixing. there are others (as Ziphoblat showed us an example of). find out what you like best and what translates best for your own mixes.
Last edited by sandyman323 at Jun 12, 2010,
#10
Quote by Ziphoblat
No, no, no, no. Don't ever try this. All you achieve with the bass is a sort of chorus effect which results in a lack of depth because the clarity of the low end is lost.

Well, he can try it, it's not like it's going to blow anything up. But you're quite correct in describing what effect it will achieve.


Also, as a general rule, don't pan for example a hi-hat 37 to the right and then a guitar 90 to the left. Use hard panning, pan everything the same;

Least to say, this is a 2-3 guitar band, whereas to some, the idea of thickening is adding more instruments like, piano, organ, synth, sax ... in which case the resulting stereo image is simply awful.

Start with the kick drum dead center, then the bass at 1 or 2 o'clock (right) or, 9 or 11 o'clock (left).

Then soft pan the drums between 10 and 2.

Then you can start hard panning guitars.

Then you can distribute the rest between 9 and 3 o'clock.
#11
most of the fullness and richness that you hear comes in the mastering process. it is a HUGE deal, and basically the reason pro recordings sound so good.

I realize you can only use resources available to you, but you really do get what you pay for.
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#12
Quote by sandyman323
???
so instead of spreading things out in its own space, we're supposed to pile everything on top of each other so that it will sound better? i'm confused.

for the things that are "supposed" to be panned (anything you feel like moving around in the stereo field), consider giving everything it's own place so that it sounds more natural. guitarists dont stand on top of each other when they play, or stack their amps on the other guitarist's amps. everyone likes to have their own place when they play so it will sound much more natural if everyone/everything has their own place in the mix. yes, there's plenty that will be straight up the middle, and that's just fine, but use the whole field instead of only picking three points out of it.

EDIT: let me say that this is one way (and my favorite way) to approach mixing. there are others (as Ziphoblat showed us an example of). find out what you like best and what translates best for your own mixes.


As you say, there's many viable different approaches to mixing. As another fellow poster said, this way is only really effective when you don't have too many instruments. I don't personally do this all the time, it depends what the track demands, but it's a good approach for a beginner because it leaves less room for error.

The amount of times I've heard amateur mixes and the kick drums panned slightly to the left, the bass halfway to the right, a hi-hat on top of it, etc, and nothing makes sense. They can't explain why they've done it if you ask them, and the result is a track that's not particularly coherent and where each individual instrument is quite easily audible, but there's simply no body to the music at all, because everything is stuck in random places for no particular reason.

Limiting the places you're going to pan things, especially when you're working with a smaller band, just allows things to make more sense. The guitars won't get lost; nothing will get lost because you're sending things to the same side. If you've EQ'd properly, the instruments that need to will stand out regardless of where they're put.
Last edited by Ziphoblat at Jun 14, 2010,
#13
I like to pan the drums, according the the location of them(so the listener hears what the drummer hears). I find that gives a good sound.
I rarely get to do this though. It's my friends Mixer, so... I don't really get to fool around with it(He has no idea how to use it). At home, I use a 2 track USB mixer, with 10 channels to record.
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#14
Seriously though upload a track, it's impossible to talk about solutions without one.