#1
Does anyone know of any tips or tutorials or otherwise useful things for mixing a near-infinite amount of instruments together, along the lines of Mirrorthrone or Adagio or something similar?

At this stage, guitar+bass+drums = awesome, guitar+bass+orchestral instruments and synths = awesome, but everything together sounds like a big bag of muddy dicks.

I know I'm meant to allocate different instruments different frequency ranges, but I have no idea how to go about doing that. My attempts have all resulted in either a bunch of tiny cuts that seem to do nothing of use, or a bunch of huge scoops/boosts that push an instrument into one tiny area and make them sound ridiculous. HELP
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#2
i would first of all pan the instruments in the stereo field and and get the levels to where they should be once that is accomplished i would group like tracks together and buss them together to outputs and then eq them as a group to make them sit better alone they might sound like ass but you half to make it work as a cohesive whole so sacrifice the individual integrity to suit the song will work better also i can give better advise if i know what type of track and instrumentation/ track count
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#3
Cheers for the reply. I have no idea how to EQ them to make them sit better though, that's the problem - I'll give you an example, maybe that'll be more useful:

In one section, I have two distorted guitars left and right; a vibraphone panned left; and a rhodes piano panned right. The rhodes and vibes are incredibly clear instruments that sit almost entirely in the low mids. Because they're so clear, their frequencies are pretty much just the exact frequencies of the notes they're playing, and a couple of harmonics.

In the distorted guitars, I can't really scoop out every frequency of every note the vibes and rhodes play. And I can't get rid of all the low mids in the guitars, because that'd bastardise the tone. And if I turn up the vibes and rhodes until they naturally cut through, not only are they too loud in comparison to everything else, but the guitars suddenly lose all definition and sound dull as balls.

And then there's also strings and choirs, which I'm happy to let sit at the back to add ambience, but as soon as I turn them up loud enough to be audible they seem to fight for space with the guitars. I have no idea how to fix this. They all seem to take up the same space. I tried cutting the highs on the guitars and cutting all but the highs in the strings. That was a ridiculous thing to do, and I think I knew that even as I did it.

That should give you some idea of how little I know and how confused I am. It's much easier when you're just getting a guitar to fit with drums and bass.

EDIT: Also, the genre is proggitty prog metal.
I'LL PUNCH A DONKEY IN THE STREETS OF GALWAY
Last edited by whalepudding at Apr 22, 2011,
#4
ok as for panning id move the guitars to one side say left one at 100 one at 75 and then move the vibe and rhodes to the right about the same to give you some width then for the chorus and strings put those up the center slightly panned to the sides say 50 to the sides and that should stop them from fighting and then work with levels

sorry for bad grammar and spelling im on the iphone
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Quote by Punkismygod
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#5
you might want to master (or get better at) mixing songs with fewer tracks before diving into something like that.

having said that, automation is your friend. not everything has to be heard perfectly all the time. you dont want things disappearing in your track, but when they're playing a part that needs to be heard, bring them out, when they're just adding to the rhythm and background, pull them back some.

panning helps some. you dont have to have everything out on the sides. bring some of the instruments in some toward the middle. try stuff from 15-40% instead of hard left, middle, and hard right.

compression will help as well. keeping everything under control level wise will make it easier to get over all levels right for the whole song.

if you have any production input for future songs, remember that not everything has to be playing all the time. perhaps have some instruments rest while other shine and switch them out when appropriate.
#7
im keeping my eye on this thread because i too like mixing a ridiculous number of tracks and do not find it easy
#8
Thanks for the replies

I think I'm relatively decent at mixing less ambitious things, I've done a few I was happy with with just guitar, drums and bass. That's why I'm so disorientated now, drums each only make a single sound so it's easy to give them a space, and bass tends to stay out of the guitar's way just because of its range.

I've panned things a bit better, that's helped a bit, and I'd already compressed the vibes and rhodes since they're all over the place dynamically, and parallel-compressed the drum bus as usual. I'm also automating the shit out of everything, and just focusing on one section at a time rather than trying to get settings that work for the entire song.

It's EQ that's really annoying me. Does anyone have any tips for that specifically? When I listen to music with very complicated arrangements and pick out an individual instrument it sounds as if that instrument has been reduced to one tiny space in the mix where it's allowed to cut through easily, whereas my mix sounds like every instrument is huge and just barely poking its head out of a big sea of mud, like noisy iceburgs.
I'LL PUNCH A DONKEY IN THE STREETS OF GALWAY
#9
have you seen this (or something like it)?
http://www.independentrecording.net/irn/resources/freqchart/main_display.htm

i find using that has helped me quite a bit for stuff where i am less familar with the instruments, or just need to find where to make things sit. it sounds like you know where the main frequencies of your instruments are though, so thats not the issue. and that chart is less helpful for keys. still a good resource though.


this is the kind of situation where i find it useful to boost frequencies when EQing. a lot of people prefer subtle cuts, but with instruments that overlap a lot, i like some subtle boosts as well.

for example, i might add a touch of boost to the lows of the guitar, and then cut the low mids. let the bass have the low-lows, but give the guitar a bit of presence there to make up for taking out some of the low mids. give the rhodes and vibraphone a touch of boost where you cut the guitars, and then cut them a little above that. you end up needing a lot more than just the 3 or 4 bands that you would use with only drums/bass/guitar because you are tweaking most of the octave bands.

now, it may be that your parts just dont fit together. if your guitar and your keys are playing things that are right around the same frequency all the time, they are going to clash. getting things to sit together is more than just EQ, it is also in how the parts are written. if you keep getting mush, maybe try some inversions of the guitar parts an octave or two higher. at least in the parts where the keys are playing anyway.
#10
^That's enormously helpful, thanks

I know there's probably no definite rule for this sort of thing, but would you recommend aiming for wide shallow scoops (or boosts), or tiny notches?
I'LL PUNCH A DONKEY IN THE STREETS OF GALWAY