Mixing a band with a single, mono electric guitar

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Recycled_Brains
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Re: Mixing a band with a single, mono electric guitar

Post by Recycled_Brains » Tue May 21, 2019 10:26 am

I haven't done this a lot, but there are a couple regular clients that operate this way (live, no overdubs except vocals). I think you just have to be simple in the approach and realized that the how the bass comes out is going to have a huge impact on how the guitars come out.

2 different amps panned left and right is cool. 2 different sounding, but complimentary mics on a single amp panned left and right is also cool. In both cases I tend to solo the guitars in headphones, then play with the balance until the guitar sounds more or less centered. That seems to work best in my experience. Sometimes I'll make the brighter mic a little louder so the stereo image leans every so slightly to one side. It sounds good with just one mic or the other too, but it adds some depth when I pan them. This is all assuming the mics are phase-aligned and all that. Or just use one mic. Nothing wrong with that either.

I feel like recording all the stuff nice and loud in the same room is the best way to go. Something about the bleed in the other mics and the contribution of the room works in your favor.
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Re: Mixing a band with a single, mono electric guitar

Post by I'm Painting Again » Tue May 21, 2019 1:14 pm

surprising to hear people suggest using two amps etc. etc. etc. when it's stated that band wants to sound like themselves

maybe take a note from Albini in cases like this?

take a good "audio photograph" of what they do and don't mess around with their sound - learn how to capture it just as they do it in a flattering way

Like he has said - it is kinda disrespectful to assume you know more about what they are doing with their art

If they ask for opinions and additional producing that's a different story

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Re: Mixing a band with a single, mono electric guitar

Post by vvv » Tue May 21, 2019 5:59 pm

A subtle thing I learned here fairly recently is two mic's, a close one and a room mic pointed sideways.

To that config I'll usually have the close a ribbon or dynamic, the room a ribbon or condensor.

I'll usually put a compressor on the room.

I like a dirtier pre up close, driving tranny, and a cleaner room pre, usually.

Then pan to suit.
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Re: Mixing a band with a single, mono electric guitar

Post by darjama » Tue May 21, 2019 6:32 pm

I've been digging using 2 coincident mics, a dynamic or ribbon pointed dead center and a condenser (in figure 8 if I want a little more room sound) pointed 45 degrees off. I'll pan them slightly apart, and compress and eq as a group so that I don't mess up the phase coherency.

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Re: Mixing a band with a single, mono electric guitar

Post by frans_13 » Wed May 22, 2019 5:41 am

I'm Painting Again wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 1:14 pm
surprising to hear people suggest using two amps etc. etc. etc. when it's stated that band wants to sound like themselves
Of course it doesn't happen without the band knowing what's going on. I don't use it to re-invent the sound of the band but to translate the sheer force of a show into something that still holds up at conversation volume as well. As somebody in a band once said to me about their friends band redording i did: "i couldn't belive you could record it in a studio like that, it sounds exactly as massive as it really does." Then because of that they came to my place to record their album. They had the most horrible digital amp which sounded so eff'd up it was a caricature, but using that as the center of the recorded guitar sound (a single guitar...) and helping the sound with some definition from other amps i made it work. I kept the 'tone' of the ugly amp and added a bit attack from the one amp and a bit of further dirt (other overtones) from the other amps and in the end it sounded like a representation of their sound minus the obvious shortcomings in that sound. Band happy. I'm not saying that is "the right way" to do it, i'm only talking about the instances in which i was involved. No need for anybody else to repeat what i did, except in cases where it leads to the right results, which is their decision, not yours or mine. After all, there is a mile difference between a live show and a recording playing at low volume and just to record it as neutrally as possible will only work at high playback volume.

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Re: Mixing a band with a single, mono electric guitar

Post by I'm Painting Again » Wed May 22, 2019 7:56 am

frans_13 wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 5:41 am
I'm Painting Again wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 1:14 pm
surprising to hear people suggest using two amps etc. etc. etc. when it's stated that band wants to sound like themselves
Of course it doesn't happen without the band knowing what's going on. I don't use it to re-invent the sound of the band but to translate the sheer force of a show into something that still holds up at conversation volume as well. As somebody in a band once said to me about their friends band redording i did: "i couldn't belive you could record it in a studio like that, it sounds exactly as massive as it really does." Then because of that they came to my place to record their album. They had the most horrible digital amp which sounded so eff'd up it was a caricature, but using that as the center of the recorded guitar sound (a single guitar...) and helping the sound with some definition from other amps i made it work. I kept the 'tone' of the ugly amp and added a bit attack from the one amp and a bit of further dirt (other overtones) from the other amps and in the end it sounded like a representation of their sound minus the obvious shortcomings in that sound. Band happy. I'm not saying that is "the right way" to do it, i'm only talking about the instances in which i was involved. No need for anybody else to repeat what i did, except in cases where it leads to the right results, which is their decision, not yours or mine. After all, there is a mile difference between a live show and a recording playing at low volume and just to record it as neutrally as possible will only work at high playback volume.
it sounds like you know what you're doing ! All about making people happy at the end of the day !

I get people who are cool with that and others who are definitely not - what I'm trying to communicate here is the importance of being on the same page as the artists we're serving, managing inflated egos and sensitive personalities. Most importantly - serving the art from the point of view of the artist not yourself

suggesting techniques in general out of the blue with no clue about the music, people and available tools is fun but not necessarily helpful to the OP - but maybe it is ? I dunno - I just wanted throw this into the conversation so it's in people's minds

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Re: Mixing a band with a single, mono electric guitar

Post by digitaldrummer » Wed May 22, 2019 9:09 am

like vvv, I've done the close mic and room mic, then process and pan. Or sometimes had a send with low-level effects (delay or reverb,etc.) and panned it opposite of the guitar track. I have also often used the Soundtoys Microshift (which will change the mono-track to a stereo track) then adjust panning and add a little (or a lot). it has a mix control and several options for tone shaping, cause sometimes you just need a tiny bit.

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Re: Mixing a band with a single, mono electric guitar

Post by permanent hearing damage » Wed May 22, 2019 10:57 am

i've done the different amps/mics panned hard but it never really gets me there. i hope to someday crack this nut. i like a short delay on one side for tracking, but sounds too phasey to my ear to actually use in a mix.

i did see Albini do this on a session I got to attend: the guitarist went through three amps (hiwatt, traynor yba1 and a park, all mic'd separately), but the magic sauce seemed to be the 441 talkback mic. almost seemed like a happy accident as i don't believe that was the intention when it was set up, but it sounded huge when that got added in.

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Re: Mixing a band with a single, mono electric guitar

Post by losthighway » Wed May 22, 2019 2:18 pm

permanent hearing damage wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 10:57 am
i've done the different amps/mics panned hard but it never really gets me there. i hope to someday crack this nut. i like a short delay on one side for tracking, but sounds too phasey to my ear to actually use in a mix.
I've done a lot of exploration with this technique. To me it really comes across as doubled guitar if you're not thinking too hard about what you're hearing, which is why I was going to set the trick aside for these instances. To me it's on the list of ways to add heft, whereas I was looking for some ways to make something smaller work in a depth/spatial way.

** I'm totally bookmarking this thread by the way, because so many folks have offered so many useful strategies.

But on the two amps, one delayed topic, I always play this and try and figure out why it does the trick so perfectly:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74TP8QhupLU

I think part of it is two kind of unusual amp tones that are complimentary.

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Re: Mixing a band with a single, mono electric guitar

Post by emrr » Thu May 23, 2019 4:30 am

Two amps or multiple mics for one sometimes. With power trio I’ve also had good success putting bass in a crossover, lows to middle and treating guitar equivalent frequencies as opposite pan for guitar.
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Re: Mixing a band with a single, mono electric guitar

Post by frans_13 » Thu May 23, 2019 7:44 am

I'm Painting Again wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 7:56 am
All about making people happy at the end of the day!
That's exactly the point, getting how the band perceive themselves (C), hearing where they are (A) and finding a way to bridge A-B-C. If the band is not happy, you didn't get to C. It helps when the band is not too deluded to where their "C" is ;-)
permanent hearing damage wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 10:57 am
i did see Albini do this on a session I got to attend: the guitarist went through three amps (hiwatt, traynor yba1 and a park, all mic'd separately), but the magic sauce seemed to be the 441 talkback mic. almost seemed like a happy accident as i don't believe that was the intention when it was set up, but it sounded huge when that got added in.
The back of a 441 is good for a number of things - try to set the 441 up as a guide vocal mic, the rear pointing at the kickdrum, 10-15 feet from the drums (proportions depending on the room), pointing slightly up into a corner further away, then when the drums play alone, solo the vocal mic: a mixture of room and rear lobe, not too bright cymbals, i had luck with this a few times: instant Bonham. But if you have a good room (or a hall outside...) there's many ways to add friendly dirt/excitement to a trio that can get too polished, too polite, too tidy if just recordedy by the book. You have to cater to the illusion of size, volume, massive walls of dynamics - the illusion. Recording like that is no document, it's like too little of the truth if you mic it like on a stage. Most times i dedicate a channel to "the crazy mic" and put mics where i'm convinced it won't work, changing from song to song. 80-90% of the time i'm right and it won't work. The rest of the time i will get happy accidents, surprises and learn something. Throw it on a parallel distortion bus while mixing. Put it through a 1176, through another one and then stomp your boot on it until it squeaks. Mix it in. Automate it for contrast, illusion, impact. Anybody remember the Rapemen live LP "the sound of impact"? Impact the musicians (and fans/listeners) feelings to "feel" the sound of 130dB while it plays softly at conversation volume. This is what we do, trickery. Trick them into happy-happy-joy-joy-joy.

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Re: Mixing a band with a single, mono electric guitar

Post by frans_13 » Thu May 23, 2019 7:48 am

By the way, here's what i learnt to align mics on amps: have the guitar player plug/unplug. Buzz, crackle, bang. Zoom in on the waveform, move one of the mics, record again, closer, repeat, now they combine nicely. I know many of you know that already but it doesn't hurt for the two people stumbling on this thread that read that the first time. If that fails (it rarely does) try white noise reamped through the amps, while you move the mics and your isolation headphones hear what the mics hear.

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Re: Mixing a band with a single, mono electric guitar

Post by I'm Painting Again » Thu May 23, 2019 3:50 pm

as far as making a natural recording with one guitar - my super simple approach producing:

I'll work from a demo and assess the arrangement to see what happens - then make a lot of notes and find the spots if any that are problems for translating into a record - then pick the right instruments that go together - bass drum and toms size and tuning not stepping on the bass guitar - separating the six string away from the cymbals - stuff like that

I'll set up the room and place everything in the real space like we want it in the mix - kick and snare in the middle bass in the middle - maybe guitar off to a side - all in relation to a pair of stereo room mics (the audience) - then spot mic everything else

so all spot close mics are mono and the stereo room provides the sense of space

I might add another mono room mic or outside of the room mic to annihilate and get some character

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Re: Mixing a band with a single, mono electric guitar

Post by Recycled_Brains » Fri May 24, 2019 7:35 am

frans_13 wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 7:48 am
By the way, here's what i learnt to align mics on amps: have the guitar player plug/unplug. Buzz, crackle, bang. Zoom in on the waveform, move one of the mics, record again, closer, repeat, now they combine nicely. I know many of you know that already but it doesn't hurt for the two people stumbling on this thread that read that the first time. If that fails (it rarely does) try white noise reamped through the amps, while you move the mics and your isolation headphones hear what the mics hear.
Love it. I tell the player to mute all his/her strings with his/her left hand, then just do a quick "chk" across the strings so I have a defined transient. I get a lot of "what the fuck are you talking about?" looks and it always takes a weird number of times before they get it. :lol:

Works great though.
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Re: Mixing a band with a single, mono electric guitar

Post by losthighway » Fri May 24, 2019 9:19 am

Recycled_Brains wrote:
Fri May 24, 2019 7:35 am
frans_13 wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 7:48 am
By the way, here's what i learnt to align mics on amps: have the guitar player plug/unplug. Buzz, crackle, bang. Zoom in on the waveform, move one of the mics, record again, closer, repeat, now they combine nicely. I know many of you know that already but it doesn't hurt for the two people stumbling on this thread that read that the first time. If that fails (it rarely does) try white noise reamped through the amps, while you move the mics and your isolation headphones hear what the mics hear.
Love it. I tell the player to mute all his/her strings with his/her left hand, then just do a quick "chk" across the strings so I have a defined transient. I get a lot of "what the fuck are you talking about?" looks and it always takes a weird number of times before they get it. :lol:

Works great though.
These are such straight forward, common sense ways to deal with it. I've always inefficiently searched the song for something with a short loud transient, or looked at some abstract wiggles of notes. The muffled strings trick is way better.

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