Getting The Best Out Of Your Recording

If you are a seasoned producer or just starting out recording for your first time, I'm going to help you get the best sound possible out of your mix.

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If you are a seasoned producer or just starting out recording for your first time, I'm going to help you get the best sound possible out of your mix. We've all been here... you just get finished mixing and recording your song. The final song, however, isn't sounding like you would like it to, and you don't have the masters anymore. Personally, I don't want to record the song again, and my band mates don't either, but I want a better sound. Well, we are in luck, with a bit of EQ's and compressors, we can get that 'sound' rather quickly. Normally, the one thing that really stands out when things aren't mixed right is that the bass drum doesn't have the 'pop' to it. Fortunatly, this is really easy to fix. Pull up an EQ on your recording software and increase 50Hz a bit. That should really get the drum to 'pop' for you. But still, something isn't right. Upon further listening, I find that there is too much ringing from the bass drum. As well, the bass guitar is mudding up my other guitars. By decreasing 100Hz some, that solves that problem. It made the bass pop, but not ring, and made the guitars stand out. I don't have the boom from the bass any more, instead I have clear notes. I now want to give the guitars more punch. I'm going to lower 800Hz a bit to do this. It will decrease the high end distortion to give a more low end sound. Very simple trick to add a bit more depth to the mix. Now, around 3Khz you can find the attack sounds on the guitars. This one has many tricks... when you increase it, it will add more buzz to the guitars and make the attacks more defined. If you lower it, it can actually help disguise any out of tune instrument. With a bit of tweaking, you can find just what you need here. The last thing we can do to help clean an already mixed track is to increase 5Khz some. This will Add a bit of treble to counteract the mods we did with the bass drum. It will also help make the vocals a bit clearer. There isn't a whole lot that can be done with a track after it has already been mixed down, but there is at least something that can be done to make it better. Who knows, maybe with enough practice, you can make any track sound like an industry standard. I wish you luck on your projects. Below is a small map of the different eq's and what they do. Remember, it is always best to apply your EQ's before you mix down. If you do that, you will have total control, and be able to get any sound you could possible imagine. The following map will work wonders if you work with each track seperatly before mixing it. ======== 50Hz 01. Increase to add more fullness to lowest frequency instruments like foot, toms, and the bass. 02. Reduce to decrease the "boom" of the bass and will increase overtones and the recognition of bass line in the mix. This is most often used on loud bass lines like rock. 100Hz 01. Increase to add a harder bass sound to lowest frequency instruments. 02. Increase to add fullness to guitars, snare. 03. Increase to add warmth to piano and horns. 04. Reduce to remove boom on guitars & increase clarity. 200Hz 01. Increase to add fullness to vocals. 02. Increase to add fullness to snare and guitar ( harder sound ). 03. Reduce to decrease muddiness of vocals or mid-range instruments. 04. Reduce to decrease gong sound of cymbals. 400Hz 01. Increase to add clarity to bass lines especially when speakers are at low volume. 02. Reduce to decrease "cardboard" sound of lower drums (foot and toms). 03. Reduce to decrease ambiance on cymbals. 800Hz 01. Increase for clarity and "punch" of bass. 02. Reduce to remove "cheap" sound of guitars. 1,500Hz 01. Increase for "clarity" and "pluck" of bass. 02. Reduce to remove dullness of guitars. 3,000Hz 01. Increase for more "pluck" of bass. 02. Increase for more attack of electric / acoustic guitar. 03. Increase for more attack on low piano parts. 04. Increase for more clarity / hardness on voice. 05. Reduce to increase breathy, soft sound on background vocals. 06. Reduce to disguise out-of-tune vocals / guitars. 5,000Hz 01. Increase for vocal presence. 02. Increase low frequency drum attack ( foot / toms). 03. Increase for more "finger sound" on bass. 04. Increase attack of piano, acoustic guitar and brightness on guitars (especially rock guitars). 05. Reduce to make background parts more distant. 06. Reduce to soften "thin" guitar. 7,000Hz 01. Increase to add attack on low frequency drums ( more metallic sound ). 02. Increase to add attack to percussion instruments. 03. Increase on dull singer. 04. Increase for more "finger sound" on acoustic bass. 05. Reduce to decrease "s" sound on singers. 06. Increase to add sharpness to synthesizers, rock guitars, acoustic guitar and piano. 10,000Hz 01. Increase to brighten vocals. 02. Increase for "light brightness" in acoustic guitar and piano. 03. Increase for hardness on cymbals. 04. Reduce to decrease "s" sound on singers. 15,000Hz 01. Increase to brighten vocals (breath sound). 02. Increase to brighten cymbals, string instruments and flutes. 03. Increase to make sampled synthesizer sound more real.

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    kalamari
    great article, I'm sure a lot of the tips here are useful in playing around with the master file anyway, so I'll be using this in future.
    life_247
    awsome I the improvment to my bands old live recordings were immense! This is also a great mastering EQ guide.
    restless_thrash
    Nyrve wrote: Really nice stuff man But can anyone tell what to turn on to get a real "In flames" metall sound?
    your amp.
    guitarsolo_17
    this is great, i got pulled into a band not long ago, and i must say.....we could use this alot. THANKS
    Allen2288
    TempoTantrum wrote: most informative article I've ever seen posted here or on most places on the internet concerning such a topic -- extreme thanks
    Thank you.
    -Collapse-
    This possibly one of the greatest Articles I've read on this site. Thank you!
    HavokStrife
    I think I'm being a little repetitive here, but thanks a whole lot for writing this up. It's rare I take this much knowledge out of a UG column. Other than Nolan Whyte's stuff this is probably the best thing I ever read on this page. You should do some more.
    brentonlatour
    good article. i record my friends band with very good results but some times in the mixdown, it gets tough to get the right sounds. this sounds like a good quick fix for what i have trouble with. I usually use a parametric eq because i like the smooth dips and boosts. i'll give graphic eqs a chance now.
    Allen2288
    life_247 wrote: awsome I the improvment to my bands old live recordings were immense! This is also a great mastering EQ guide.
    Yeah, that is what I used as a basis. I tried to record my band live at a venue, and got the mic way too hot. So, with some eq's and compression, I was able to clean it up a lot... to at least make it presentable. Sometime I hope to explain mixing and such... maybe mastering later. Just FYI... mastering is when the album is being constructed (tracks volumes being leveled, and tracks being put in the order you hear them, as well as the fades and such)... mixing happens just before the tracks get sent to be mastered (levels for instruments and vocals set, as well as panning). More to come, I promise.
    Freshnoise
    This could really help for spicing up recordings and it was really simple. Great article.
    mdlarry7
    restless_thrash wrote: Nyrve wrote: Really nice stuff man But can anyone tell what to turn on to get a real "In flames" metall sound? your amp.
    LOL
    life_247
    Allen2288 wrote: life_247 wrote: awsome I the improvment to my bands old live recordings were immense! This is also a great mastering EQ guide. Yeah, that is what I used as a basis. I tried to record my band live at a venue, and got the mic way too hot. So, with some eq's and compression, I was able to clean it up a lot... to at least make it presentable. Sometime I hope to explain mixing and such... maybe mastering later. Just FYI... mastering is when the album is being constructed (tracks volumes being leveled, and tracks being put in the order you hear them, as well as the fades and such)... mixing happens just before the tracks get sent to be mastered (levels for instruments and vocals set, as well as panning). More to come, I promise.
    Yeah i know, i wasn't using the multi tracks this was EQ'ing the master stereo track. Mastering is bascially EQ'ing and limiting/compressing, after mixing has taken place. I have heard of a little touch of reverb being added too!! Then the preperation for disc/mp3 etc. Great article though, please keep em coming!!!!
    fleaflicker182
    Reasonable guide, but that kick punch (although subjective) usually between 60-80 Hz. The 'slap' on the kick is actually the beater attack, which usually occurs around 2.k kHz
    MasmaI
    Good job! The map is orgasamic. You really helped me out. Cheers!
    DayTauntRocks
    Good stuff man... but... SAVE, SAVE, SAVE your projects so it's easy to go back and make adjustments if need be. If your working digitally it's even easier, always have a final save right before you mix down.
    TempoTantrum
    most informative article I've ever seen posted here or on most places on the internet concerning such a topic -- extreme thanks
    jazkel24
    Good points... For kick, I'd increase (as a drummer) 80 Hz, cut anything within the 300 to 500 Hz to get rid of ringing and boost a little 2.5 KHz to get a slappy sound. It's heaps easier to do this while still in Protools, but if you're already past that stage you'll take what you can get.
    Nyrve
    Really nice stuff man But can anyone tell what to turn on to get a real "In flames " metall sound?
    Allen2288
    Thank you everyone. My first article, I'm working on a few others to help ya out.
    Tarzan_man
    Decent article. Too bad the "EQ Map" was ripped. Also where's the part on compressing you promised at the start of it?
    ShredderOmega
    About time I found something to help with EQ's, I'm... 'not so good' with them That is to say shite
    dgme92
    Brilliant article, offers a great insight into recording, 10/10, 5*, w/e, it's brilliant. Although what happened to this "map" I'm reading about?