so what my lead guitarist and i did was use propellorhead record
we put down a couple of our songs and heres the response that we get
non-musical people- WOW dude that sounds awesome, id buy your cd
musical people- wow....you need to work on alot of shit...

i can say without being an over confident asshole that we sound GOOD live. our set is pretty tight, but recording it sounds bad cause we dont know how to do it

so heres the question, what can i add to make it better? what does it need?

the pavelows

oh and likes would be appreciated
Well, I don't usually bother with these, personally, but you hit the nail right on the head when you said "it sounds bad because we don't know how to do it" and not blaming it on any other factors like gear, etc. Your honesty and point of view caught my attention.

You are SO right that recording and mixing is like any other skill. It takes time to learn. Just because you've seen a couple of youtube videos and even saw someone do it once or twice in real life does not give you a real working knowledge of p!ss all - a fact that is lost on too many people.


A cursory listen on computer speakers tells me a few things:

This was mixed by a guitarist. How do I know? Because the guitar dominates in the mix, though is given some tough competition by the bass.

Whoever mixes anything needs to take off their "guitarist hat" or whatever else and learn to listen objectively. It's a song. As such, consider what most people are listening for - the vocal. You've buried your vocal, and buried it with the guitar. Fix #1 is an easy one.

Try this... for a rock song, build the mix from the bottom up. Get a nice drum mix (not too much processing just yet), add the bass and get it to sit in the mix. Use a little bit of compression to glue them together. Then fly up the guitars and then the lead vocal. As a rough general guide, as soon as you can't readily hear what the singer is saying, then you've buried it. Put it back up. Put it loud in the mix and then drop it back until it starts to fight to be heard, and then nudge it just a smidge back up to put it back on top.

For a pop song, start at the top and work down. Get a get vocal and add things pretty much in reverse order. Don't take that as an inflexible rule, though. If it makes sense to stray from that, then do so.

You've got a fair amount of sludge in the bottom end. There are a couple of fixes here. Bring up the kick drum and the bass together. EQ them so that the frequencies aren't fighting for space. If you're going to boost the kick around 80hz, then cut the bass by about the same amount in about the same place. Too many people neglect to do this. They'll get a great kick sound and a great bass sound, but in the end, wind up boosting low frequencies in both, and then the mix goes to sh!t when you bring them up together. The pieces need to work as a team. As soon as they start to fight, the whole thing weakens.

Do the same for the bass and the guitars. Roll the bottom end off the guitars and let the bass take care of that. That will give the bass a little more room to breathe, and take out some of the cabinet sludge in the axes. It will also reduce the temptation of adding even more bottom to the bass, which will obliterate the kick in the mix, which will lead you to boost the sh!t out of the low freqs in the kick, which will lead to total annihilation of your mix.

None of that is difficult. It's just tricky because you have to LEARN how to listen objectively. I'm a guitarist. I get it. You want that guitar to kick people's ass. But you need to get past that. Listen like a drummer. Would he like the mix? How about the singer? Would she like the mix? The marimba player? If I was your singer and was presented with that mix, I'd be p!ssed. Balance that mix so that everyone is happy.

Another suggestion is, if you want to take these even semi-seriously, is to invest in some decent monitors and some simple room treatment. Those will help you to avoid muddy mixes due to not being able to hear what you are mixing properly. Stereo speakers are "tuned" to be pleasing to the listener. By definition, they are inaccurate. You need accurate. A bad room only compounds that problem, and then introduces a few problems of its own.

Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
+1 to what was said above. Wonderfully comprehensive advice. And I would add as well that your kick drum is...painful. Your drums sound great for the style, but perhaps consider sucking something around 250 out of the room mics. And I could swear your kick sounds like it's ducking the guitars, either because of too much click somewhere around 3000 or sloppy compression. Have you mastered this yet?

Last thing: If you find you're having trouble making the vocals sit i the mix, cut a bit (between 1 and 3 db) at 3000 hz from the guitars and drum overheads.
What Chris said was bang on, so all I'm gonna add is that it sounds like the mix is entirely mono - is that right? It sounded to my (admittedly tired as it's 3am here) ears that the same things was coming out of each speaker. Your mix would become a lot clearer if you spent some time panning things to their own space in the stereo field.
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