Mixing "heavily delayed" guitar?

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theemasquerade
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Mixing "heavily delayed" guitar?

Post by theemasquerade » Sun Jul 08, 2007 12:59 pm

I'm working on some mixes for my band. We recorded out of town and I'm really hoping not to retrack at my place. The sound I'm looking to get IS somewhat psychedelic and DREAMY.
AKA - lead guitar going through the entire song with gobs of delay (400-500ms, 50/50 mix, feedback of about 10 repeats)

The problem is that all the guitars were tracked wet through the delay units (echoplex and digital reverbs), and there's just way too much delay for the guitar to sit properly in the mix, as I see it. The delayed guitar leads are too washed out...to the point I'm straining to hear the actual melodies.

So my question:
Is there a way to bring out the initial picked notes and then soften the delayed repeats to put more emphasis on the melodies?

I'm hoping there's some sort of compression + expansion solution to this.
Hopefully, I'll be able to post a sound clip at some point, but I'm at work right now.

If it helps (though a bit too late), the delay guitar signal chain was as follows:

Jazzmaster > Rat > Boss Feedbacker > DD20 Delay > Echoplex > Vox AC-30 and Hiwatt through Orange cabs > SM57s > Chandler Germanium + EMI pres

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Post by drumsound » Sun Jul 08, 2007 2:09 pm

I've never worked with an expander so hopefully somebody will chime in on that. What I would try would be compression with a fairly long attack and release set to work in the song. With the attack time set to just before the delay time it should then bring down the sound of the delay while leaving the initial notes of the guitar.

If you're in an automated setting (I assume you're using a DAWW, but there are still some of us who don't) you can automate the fader to pull down the delays. Of course if the delay feedback is high enough to there being delayed notes hanging over into the next attack you're gonna have to deal with it or re-cut the parts.

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Rodgre
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Post by Rodgre » Sun Jul 08, 2007 6:33 pm

As someone who, uh, erm... has had a long history with effecty guitars, especially delay, (and especially Jazzmasters, Echoplexes and AC30s) I think you may need to either make a decision to work with the tracks as they are or else retrack.

I can't think of any way to lessen printed delays/reverbs. Using an expander won't work because the new initial notes that you want to bring out are also happening at the same time the delays are repeating. Not to mention that the amp is possibly distorting the delay effects as well.

Speaking personally, I came a long way with my own guitar tone by tempering my use of delays/reverb when tracking. I figured out that getting a big and expansive/lush guitar arrangement on a song required using complimentary tones, and very very very rarely multiple tracks with lots of delay/reverb on them.

Nowadays, I'm more apt to use some swirly analog delay through an amp while tracking, as long as I'm totally sure how the track is going to fit in the mix. If I have any hesitations, I will also track it dry, or at least a DI track that I can reamp.

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Post by sammyp » Sun Jul 08, 2007 8:56 pm

If i have a problem that i can fix myself by retracking, i bite the bullet and do it. It's that simple.
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Post by Mane1234 » Sun Jul 08, 2007 11:14 pm

I think my two cents worth would be to make sure you've tried getting everything EQ'd properly to see if you can make your leads pop out a bit. Otherwise then I'd have to say you'll be retracking. The using a DI suggestion is a really good idea. I'll have to keep that one in mind.
Of course I've had it in the ear before.....

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spectralgrey
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Post by spectralgrey » Mon Jul 09, 2007 12:58 am

I say put more effects in to make it seem like it's supposed to sound like that.

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Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Mon Jul 09, 2007 7:28 am

Rodgre wrote:As someone who, uh, erm... has had a long history with effecty guitars, especially delay, I think you may need to either make a decision to work with the tracks as they are or else retrack.
yeah. if there's too much delay there's too much delay. compression's not gonna do what you want. why not just record another pass of nearly dry guitar playing the melodies and whatnot and blend that in with the too-effected tracks you have now?

theemasquerade
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Post by theemasquerade » Mon Jul 09, 2007 9:07 am

yeah. if there's too much delay there's too much delay. compression's not gonna do what you want. why not just record another pass of nearly dry guitar playing the melodies and whatnot and blend that in with the too-effected tracks you have now?
Yeah, I think this is going to be the only way. Either retrack and blend, or leave it and let it be. The point was to keep it washy in the first place. Just got a little out of hand. Maybe I'm thinking too much like an engineer than a musician at this point.

Who knows, maybe, just maybe while playing "dry" the guitar player might realize his delay is hiding some really nice melodies...which was kind of the point anyway. Ah fuck it. It's time to hit the MBV.

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Post by centurymantra » Mon Jul 09, 2007 11:55 am

spectralgrey wrote:I say put more effects in to make it seem like it's supposed to sound like that.
Ya' know...as much as that may seem like a tongue-in-cheek statement, this actually IS an option. Don't go half way - take it to the limit. I'm thinking of a band called Flying Saucer Attack. Don't know if you've ever checked them out but the music is heavily saturated - a very particular aesthetic, but cool none the less. The melodies become almost subliminal - subtle yet somehow pervasive.
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