Hello everyone,

Here is a youtube link to some of my band's songs. We're kind of a different band and have some progressive and black metal elements in some of our songs as well, though those weren't recorded.


I was curious from you guys on the quality of the recordings, not necessarily the music itself. I won't say that I'm an expert on the recording and mixing/mastering, but I attempted to do all of it and think it came through pretty well. It doesn't sound completely done, like some metal band on a record deal but how could I make it closer?

I have a condensor mic and a vocal mic ($100 total) that we used to record and then didn't do much in the area of mastering. If we took all of the tracks and actually recorded with better microphones and gave them to someone to master do you think that they would come through professionally and save us loads of money on a recording studio setup?

I wouldn't say that I am an expert either, but I do a (recently acquired) degree in Digital Recording. Here are the best tips that I can think off from the first listen.

First off I would say that just b/c a mic costs a lot of money ($100 mic is not expensive, just so you know) doesn't automatically make it better. One of my favorite mics to use on guitar cabs is an Audix OM2 and you can get them for as low as $45 used. Also on the topic of mics, there is no "perfect" mic for all occasions. You need to get as many different types of mics as possible and test them out. You might use a mic on your guitar amp that I do not use, but you could love the sound that you get.

As for the overall sound, it sounds like you need to level and add more mix a little better. Cut most of the bass out of the guitar tracks ( I personally add a High Pass filter of about 100-150 Hz, but you have to listen for yourself). The bass guitar should make up 90% of the low end mix when it comes to string instruments. You can also cut the bass guitar and electric guitars high frequencies by using a Low Pass Filter. You need to adjust the frequencies yourself, but a good starting point for electric guitar is approx 16k. The bass guitar will be even lower than that. Also cut the bass and extreme high end from the vocal tracks.

Make sure that the rhythm guitar tracks are fully, or at the very least almost fully, dedicated left and right tracks. Bass and vocals usually sound good centered. I would probably play with the folky instruments to find the right spot for them in the stereo field.

The bass guitar sounds like it could use a good bit of compression and leveling. I am not a master at compression and I tend to just mess with it until I get it sounding right for me, but you can find some pretty good tutorials on google and youtube. I tend to not compress distorted guitars much because they are already compressed by the amp (that is basically how you get distortion to begin with). Don't over compress the entire song though. People try and compress a final song until it is as loud as possible and leave no room for dynamics. This will quickly dry out your sound and leave you with nothing but noise.

You will not get a good professional drum sound without many more mics though. It can take up to 15-20 mics to record a moderate sized drum set. You will either have to go to a studio that has the abilities to record the drums or get a drum program. I have worked with Addictive Drums and they have a lot of really good sounds.

And finally, any place that is any good at mastering your recording is going to charge a decent rate, but it is worth it to have practiced hands finalizing your material. I would suggest looking around to see if there are any local studios that you can go and rerecord a song with, and see if there is a big enough difference in sound quality that you would be willing to pay for the entire record.
Hello there.

I would agree with what ncmetalguitar88 said. He has said more of use than I can (my mix skills are rudimentary at best) but by way of reinforcement of his points, here is a couple of other things to consider:

Most instruments have areas of the frequency spectrum which they overlap in. If you leave them untreated then you get a muddy indistinct sound. So throw an eq on each track, sweep the filter around until you find the most desirable frequencies then cut away some of the remaining guff. If you have clashes between instruments then boost them on one track with a corresponding cut on the conflicting instrument. You probably already know this and it sounds like you have probably done it a bit already so it just needs more work.

I would also investigate using a little reverb to try and give the tracks the sound of being in a common space. The flute(?) sounds out of place in some of the songs at the moment and I think putting it through a common reverb with some of the other instruments may help.

Anyway, thats just my thoughts (and I am in no way an authority on this). The mix isnt the worst. I would say it's no worse than Transylvanian Hunger by Darkthrone and I paid good money for that! I really liked the music even if the recording and mix is a little rough.

I look forward to hearing more.

My stuff if you want to get a handle on how bad I am link

I listened to Harbinger of Shadows. Really creative stuff. The flute and female voice add a good expressive balance to the arrangement. Good points brought up already about audio production.

The mix on Harbinger is very low-mids (350 Hz) heavy and lacks clarity so I'd guess that you're mixing with a monitoring setup that isn't ideal. The monitoring environment you mix in is critical to every aspect of production, from deciding what sounds good or bad when tracking to getting balance in the final mix. Important to have decent speakers (maybe you have those already) and broadband absorbing panels like OC703 to balance the room's acoustics.
Thanks everyone for the replies.

Sorry if I made it seem like the other way around, but meant my comment about the mic to mean that I know it was a pretty cheap mic overall. Only $100 for 2 mics is quite low.

I'll definitely look at using more high-pass and low-pass filters in the future probably and make sure that I cut out some of the ambient noise in the background and unnecessary parts that just make the whole recording sound rather muddy.

I'll also try to add in a little bit more reverb to some of the channels, which I added a little. It may indeed help out a bit on the flute to get a good and proper sound out. I can say that I honestly didn't really mess with the compression much at all, not quite understanding what it would exactly do at the time.

As for the speakers, I don't really have a good set of monitoring speakers, but I do have a really good set of headphones that I tried to use to mix it. Does it seem like listening and mixing on the speakers will produce much better results than even high level headphones? (And not just like the earbud type headphones but actual headphones).

For a later attempt at recording, I think we were planning on maybe using a studio to record the drums and then have a DIY attempt at everything else, since my 2-port audio interface wouldn't work too well for the drums. Haha

Thanks again everyone for the replies
Quote by Ashaal

As for the speakers, I don't really have a good set of monitoring speakers, but I do have a really good set of headphones that I tried to use to mix it. Does it seem like listening and mixing on the speakers will produce much better results than even high level headphones? (And not just like the earbud type headphones but actual headphones).

With monitoring you are possibly better with good headphones in a basic, budget set up. Whichever you choose, you want to make sure they have a flat frequency response. Most consumer headphones (expensive or otherwise) will not have a flat response. They are designed to provide extra bass to make people happy with what they listen to. They also sometimes have untrue responses in other parts of the frequency range. This is not what you want when mixing because you are not getting an accurate view of what you have made.

Monitor speakers are great so long as they are high quality AND the room is treated to prevent unwanted reflection of the sound off walls etc, and to stop certain areas becoming unwanted bass traps. If not then you still end up getting an inaccurate impression of what you have recorded.

How big of a difference these issues make will be different for different people. My advice would be to go with some decent quality, flat response headphones because they are generally going to be cheaper and easier for beginners (like me!). This advice is simply based on the research I did when I was deciding whether to get monitors or headphones.

If you want to learn more about recording/mixing there are a wealth of online resources with information (including forums like this). Have a google around and you will find plenty of information on how to use plugins and what professionals use for the type of music you are creating. Then you can do what I do, and cry bitter tears when you follow what the say and it still doesnt sound right

Seriously though, there is a lot to be learned from free online sources. The only limit is the time you can spare.