#1
Hello,

I am in a metal band and we are struggling with sound.

The room is a fair size but each individual instrument isn't cutting through properly, making it difficult to hear what everyone is playing.

I have been told that rectifying this problem can become somewhat of an art form, 'channelling' each individual instrument (including vox and drums) through its own part of the sound, by changing the eq settings?

Could anyone please give me some pointers or some settings to try on our equipment in order to make this sound less of a mush?

Also, sorry if this is in the wrong thread - I am new here and saw this as maybe the most appropriate place for it.

Thanks very much in advance,

Al
#2
Turning everything down is a good step. If everyone is turning themselves up to be heard then you end up with mush.
All I want is for everyone to go to hell...
...It's the last place I was seen before I lost myself



Quote by DisarmGoliath
You can be the deputy llamma of the recordings forum!
#3
Quote by al_dubley
Hello,

I am in a metal band and we are struggling with sound.

The room is a fair size but each individual instrument isn't cutting through properly, making it difficult to hear what everyone is playing.

I have been told that rectifying this problem can become somewhat of an art form, 'channelling' each individual instrument (including vox and drums) through its own part of the sound, by changing the eq settings?

Could anyone please give me some pointers or some settings to try on our equipment in order to make this sound less of a mush?

Also, sorry if this is in the wrong thread - I am new here and saw this as maybe the most appropriate place for it.

Thanks very much in advance,

Al

A problem might be the acoustics of the room. What are the surfaces made out of, and are their any parallel walls/floors? What do you have in the room? It might just be that the sound absorption coefficient ratings of the material are too reflective causing unwanted reverb, and standing waves are occuring across multiple frequencies causing boosts and dips in the sound.

Looking at hanging curtains, and putting furniture like a couch in your room will help slightly with reflection and absorbing unwanted frequencies. Though really if you want to do a proper job you want to get onto someone who knows their stuff and can fit acoustical tiles/bass traps/foam and that sort of stuff.

Basically using EQ you kind of need to work out where each instrument sits in the frequency spectrum and rather than boosting with eq, use reductive eq to reduce frequencies in the sound that aren't needed.

For example the 12th fret of a G string on a Bass is 196 Hz, so you aren't really going to go much higher than that in terms of frequency, so if you drop anything above tht it might help. But also you have a bit of cross over as a guitar's open E is 82.41 Hz, so there is a fair bit of cross over, so depending what's being played you might want to look into lowering the threshhold for reduction in the bass if for example you don't go higher than an open D in pitch which would be 73 Hz. It's all about working out what frequencies your working with, and what to reduce.

But also not being too severe with it, as higher up the frequency spectrum you have overtones. The values in the paragraph above are just fundamental frequencies, and you do get sound in the higher frequencies.
So I think in theory if you had a graphic eq, or something you can fine tune with, perhaps just try dipping the rough area of frequency that all the other instruments take up from your output, and then everyone else does the same, it might clear up the mix a bit as there's less vying for space in the frequency spectrum.

It's all theory, and I can't guarantee it'll work in practice, but from what I remember from our Acoustics, Studio Design, Science of Sound, and Advanced Mixing Techniques lectures at uni I think it's definitely a step in the right direction.

Hope that's of some use to you.
#5
Annihislater has some good points. Often inexperienced musicians (forgive me if this isn't you) don't realize that they are boosting frequencies they don't want to hear from a given instrument. Try looking up some basic info on eq in regards to guitars and bass. Set your amps accordingly and if you are recording don't be afraid to play with the eq to see what sounds best. Trial and error my friend, trial and error.
#6
Thanks a lot to u all for the replies!

AnnihiSlateR: If I'm honest, I really appreciate what you wrote there but it has gone mainly over my head Someone once explained the basic concept of channelling instruments through the overall sound and I got the general idea of it but actually putting it into practice is not something I've been able to manage.

I understand the idea, but when looking at an amp I can't really find where to start with setting all the eq's.

As for the overall volume of the band, I get that and I think we could do to turn down a little. This is not a problem that has just arisen though. I have played in punk and metal bands for about fifteen years now and we have always struggled with how to set our gear up.

If anyone could explain simply how the dials could be set with reference to one another and maybe give an example setup for two guitars, a bass, vox and drums then that would be very helpful and hopefully help me finally understand how it should work.

Please no one take this as anything other than me being confused but VERY appreciative at the same time - THANKS AGAIN!!!!

Al
#7
Some simple points include working out where the key frequencies of the instrument are. For example with the guitar it's the mids. If you want to cut with the guitar, DON'T TURN THE MIDS ALL THE WAY DOWN FFS.
All I want is for everyone to go to hell...
...It's the last place I was seen before I lost myself



Quote by DisarmGoliath
You can be the deputy llamma of the recordings forum!
#8
I was told that the mids should all be different for each instrument or something?
#9
In terms of EQ are you limited to Lo Mid and Hi on an amp?

Also are your drums mic'd up or not?
Does everything come out of a PA system, or just out of amps? And if you do come thorough a PA system do you have a desk you're going into?

I think if you just have a basic set up, just play about. Perhaps reduce the bass/lo on the guitars, lower the mid on the bass, have one guitar with more high and one with more mid? I think it's something that might need a bit of trial and error really.
#10
My amp has a few settings, it's a Line 6 Spider II.

There are no mics on the drums.

The only thing that goes through the PA is vox, which do go through a mixer.

I think I am struggling to understand how changing the amp settings affects the way things cut through. I can't really visualise it.

Thanks again.
#11
the simplest advice I can give is turn down the lows and turn up the mids on your guitar amp. this works wonders - it might make the guitar sound a little flimsier on its own, but in a full band setting it will sit much better with the sounds of the other instruments. you don't want to be eating up bass frequencies.
#12
Quote by flame843
the simplest advice I can give is turn down the lows and turn up the mids on your guitar amp. this works wonders - it might make the guitar sound a little flimsier on its own, but in a full band setting it will sit much better with the sounds of the other instruments. you don't want to be eating up bass frequencies.


That sounds something like what I was told, it was ages ago though!

Do you mean turn down the lows on both guitars? If so, how do u make each of the guitars (not bass) work with each other?
#13
Quote by al_dubley


I think I am struggling to understand how changing the amp settings affects the way things cut through. I can't really visualise it.

Thanks again.

Ok, to put it simply (bear in mind I'm a BSc in Creative Technologies, and did mainly sound engineering, so if it's a bit over your head still, I apologise, but having spent 4 years in the company of people who understand this sort of thing has probably skewed my perception of how much people actually know about it. )

Every sound is made up of frequencies. Usually more than one (unless it's a pure sine wave that's been generated). It's measured in Hz or Hertz, which is the number of cycles per second, and the more cycles per second, the higher the frequency, and the higher the pitch. So humans hear roughly 20-20,000hz. 20 Hz being a low almost inaudible rumble, 20,000 probably wouldn't be heard beyond babies, as you get older you loose it. Your probably looking at 16,000 - 17,000 Hz as a standard upper limit, and that'd be a tinny almost inaudible high pitched sound.
This video shows a full sweep of the spectrum to put it in context. (your pc speakers might not actually be able to reproduce the full range (mine went from 40-14,000 roughly, but the upper one may have been my ears.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNf9nzvnd1k

But each sound has a fundamental frequency, where the root of the sound is.

So when it comes to eq, the dials on your amp with corrolate to a specific frequency band, and will raise or lower that band accordingly. So for example lets say low or bass is 20-400 hz, it will affect frequencies around that area. And all it does is make the low end louder or quieter.
I like putting them all at half way as a stanadard and deduct accordingly if you don't have the option for plus and minus.

I don't know how much help this will all be if your only using basic equipment that's not really designed for correcting sound. I guess just playing around, and as suggested, lower your mids on the bass, raise them on the guitars, add a bit of trebble to one guitar, but not too much. As higher frequencies bounce of surfaces more than lower ones which will pass through them. So if you have a lot of unwanted high end bouncing about it will reduce the clarity of sound.

But as said, trial and error is the name of the game really. Plus like I say, it could equally be your practice space.

What are the walls like and are the parallel? and what are your surfaces made of?
#14
Quote by AnnihiSlateR
Ok, to put it simply (bear in mind I'm a BSc in Creative Technologies, and did mainly sound engineering, so if it's a bit over your head still, I apologise, but having spent 4 years in the company of people who understand this sort of thing has probably skewed my perception of how much people actually know about it. )

Every sound is made up of frequencies. Usually more than one (unless it's a pure sine wave that's been generated). It's measured in Hz or Hertz, which is the number of cycles per second, and the more cycles per second, the higher the frequency, and the higher the pitch. So humans hear roughly 20-20,000hz. 20 Hz being a low almost inaudible rumble, 20,000 probably wouldn't be heard beyond babies, as you get older you loose it. Your probably looking at 16,000 - 17,000 Hz as a standard upper limit, and that'd be a tinny almost inaudible high pitched sound.
This video shows a full sweep of the spectrum to put it in context. (your pc speakers might not actually be able to reproduce the full range (mine went from 40-14,000 roughly, but the upper one may have been my ears.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNf9nzvnd1k

But each sound has a fundamental frequency, where the root of the sound is.

So when it comes to eq, the dials on your amp with corrolate to a specific frequency band, and will raise or lower that band accordingly. So for example lets say low or bass is 20-400 hz, it will affect frequencies around that area. And all it does is make the low end louder or quieter.
I like putting them all at half way as a stanadard and deduct accordingly if you don't have the option for plus and minus.

I don't know how much help this will all be if your only using basic equipment that's not really designed for correcting sound. I guess just playing around, and as suggested, lower your mids on the bass, raise them on the guitars, add a bit of trebble to one guitar, but not too much. As higher frequencies bounce of surfaces more than lower ones which will pass through them. So if you have a lot of unwanted high end bouncing about it will reduce the clarity of sound.

But as said, trial and error is the name of the game really. Plus like I say, it could equally be your practice space.

What are the walls like and are the parallel? and what are your surfaces made of?


That does make sense! Brilliant thank you!

So when a setting is on 5, it is basically at it's zero setting - if this zero was a line, any higher and it goes above the line, any higher and it goes below...like on a graphic equaliser? I think above is + and below is -?

With this in mind, I would set bass to have it's bass up quite high, mids and treble low? Thereafter, I would set the bass on the guitars low or off so as not to conflict with the bass guitar...but then how would I stop the two guitars cutting into each other?

I am not sure how it works where one guitar having +5 treble would sit with a guitar on +10...wouldn't the +10 use up all of the +5 spectrum and then an extra +5 on top?

I hope that makes a little sense...ergh!

Cheers!
#15
I'd say it's more likely that it's the lower part of the frequency spectrum that makes everything messy. That's what it sounds like in this case anyway. Live mixing and studio mixing are quite different in reality though, so if your main point is to hear everyone's playing, you don't necessarily need to do anything too fancy.

Every player shouldn't need to go for a tone that sounds full and perfect on their own, because it needs to be a sound that blends with all the other sounds. So you have to compromise and probably cut on the bass with the guitars. And the bassist needs to have a clear enough sound, not some all low end woof type sound.

Raising amps on top of something, and keeping them a fair distance from walls/reflective surfaces can help avoid low frequency build ups, because close surfaces can easily multiply the amount of low frequencies you're getting. Most key in making it work is actually paying good attention to what these little tweaks do for the sound.
Last edited by Sanitarium91 at Nov 21, 2013,