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adjusting tone in a band mix

boblazz

Member
i always have this problem where i get this killer tone i dial in at home , when i play with the band i get buried in the mix. is there any tricks anyone uses like when you find your sound always cut the bass or add some treble,presence or mids? mostly this happens with this rock band. i also do a jazz rock instrumental thing where i have no problem cutting through.
 

craiguitar

Power User
Yes, we've all experienced it. That Killer tone has exaggerated lows and highs, and fools you into thinking it's great. In reality, it no longer occupies the midrange frequencies that sit in a live mix. Your presets need to be uglier in isolation in order to cut through. After a while and with some trial & error, it's possible to develop a knack for knowing what's going to cut and what will essentially just fall off the end of the stage and be heard by nobody.
 

Zwiebelchen

Fractal Fanatic
I'll just shamelessly quote myself here, because this is very similar to the problem described in the other thread:

What you're experiencing is the age old problem of the drummer playing way too fucking loud combined with terrible room acoustics and bad EQing.
"What? Dynamics? But I'm already playing as hard as I can!"

Does the following sound familiar? You barely hear yourself while playing a song, but as soon as you play alone, you are at almost deafening levels.

The problem is that low and high frequencies build up in your room, especially when playing loud, masking everything by a horrible wash of reverb. The cymbals and kick/toms will utterly destroy everything in the low and high frequencies and there's not much you can do about this.
Turning up the volume for the guitar won't solve this problem. As soon as you are louder than the drums, everything else will get masked up by the guitar and you have the same issue again.

All you can do is applying band-aid.

Here's what you can do:
- Get broadband acoustic absorbers and spread them across the walls around your drummer to filter out the first reflections of high frequencies. This will remove some of the cymbal wash (and no, egg cartons will not do it, as cardboard is an acoustic reflector, not an absorber... they will apply some dispersion, though, so it's still a bit better than dry wall)
- Get professional bass traps and place them in the corners of your room. Don't build your own; selfmade ones mostly don't work (Why Your Bass Traps Don’t Work | Home Recording Blog).
... once you did that (be prepared, though... this is expensive!) you will instantly notice a huge improvement of clarity

Here is some general advice for live and rehearsal situations to improve clarity:
- apply a GEQ to your guitar; cut everything below 125Hz and above 6khz. Roll back 125Hz by 3dB and 250Hz by 2dB. Make room for the bass guitar. Add +1dB to 1khz.
- apply a GEQ to the 12-string: cut everything below 250Hz and reduce the midrange (250-1000Hz) to make room for the electric guitar; the tonal focus of the acoustic 12-string sound is in the high frequencies (2khz-6khz)
- cut the bass guitar below 70hz and beyond 1khz. Yes, I know; bass is about low frequencies, but you don't want to compete with the bass-drum here. In your setup, bass should fill the 125-400Hz range.
- get rid of all reverb stomps/blocks. You don't need them in most live situations. Reverbs are for recording or for creating deep soundscapes. You want clarity, not depth. Every additional reverb will just take some of that clarity away. Unless you are playing outdoor or stages with line-arrays, here's the golden rule of live sound: "Delay, not reverb".
And nope, not even your singer needs reverb.

This should get you in the ballpark. Combined with some acoustic treatment, you will find yourself in tonal heaven when applying all of these rules. Don't worry that your guitar will sound like crap when isolated after applying the EQ I suggested. That's normal and you would be surprised how bad isolated guitar sounds sound even on professional recordings... it's the mix that matters.

I recommend analyzing a Foo Fighters live concert (for example, "Rock am Ring 2015") if you want to learn more about live-EQing. The foos play with 3+1 guitars on stage and it sounds MASSIVE, yet everything is crystal-clear. This is because every guitar has rigorous EQ applied to it. One of the lead guitars even sounds like it has a low-cut as high as 1000Hz applied.
 
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dpeterson

Fractal Fanatic
Let the bass do what it does, bass, loose some of the low end, and use a highcut in the cab block to cut above like 6-8k (helps at volume).
 

Genome

Inspired
Good suggestions but I don't see how you can make specific EQ suggestions outside of the low/hi-end roll offs. Every tone is different and occupies/exaggerates/is deficient in various frequencies.

It's good to know the fundamental ranges and tweak according to your own source material.
 

boblazz

Member
sounds like some good advise zwiebelchen and i will try some suggestions. the only thing is that it is not the room or loud drummer. we are using in-ear system so the room is not a problem.
 

barhrecords

Axe-Master
It's all about boosting midrange.

That is why drive / fuzz / treble booster pedals are so popular. Kick it in and there is a strong mid boost and sometimes a low cut too.

Try changing the amp block GEQ type to 3 band console and goose the mids. That EQ is very musical to my ears.
 

strat714

Experienced
It's all about boosting midrange.

That is why drive / fuzz / treble booster pedals are so popular. Kick it in and there is a strong mid boost and sometimes a low cut too.

Try changing the amp block GEQ type to 3 band console and goose the mids. That EQ is very musical to my ears.
^THIS^
 

luke

Fractal Fanatic
You know that annoying TS-9 into a Marshall feeding Vintage 30s tone you hate? There is a reason thousands of records utilize that gear together, and you may just stumbled upon it.
 

Wolfenstein98k

Power User
Less lows (and basically no extreme lows), less highs, more mids. If it sounds boxy or middy and a tiny bit gutless in isolation, it usually sounds WAY better in a live mix.
 

d2dark

Inspired
You know that annoying TS-9 into a Marshall feeding Vintage 30s tone you hate? There is a reason thousands of records utilize that gear together, and you may just stumbled upon it.
like Like say, a JCM800 into a greenback loaded cab with flat EQ IS the prefect example of a cutting in the mix guitar, give that a try. a regular 800 into the Marshall greenback loaded cab with an overdrive in front if you need more drive. that will work 200%.
that's the sonic space a guitar should have in a mix.
 

FractalAudio

Administrator
Fractal Audio Systems
Moderator
Resist the temptation to add bass and treble. The amp designers knew what they were doing (well most of them). If you are applying heavy EQ then you will be disappointed at gig volumes. What sounds midrangey and bland at low volumes will sound great at high volumes.

Do some research on Fletcher-Munson to understand this.
 

pharmd07

Inspired
What about when recording?

I totally get what you guys are saying about live sound and that more midrangey tones sound better in a band mix. Makes perfect sense when talking about Fletcher-Munson.

I find that darker IRs sound too muddy at lower volumes when I'm recording. Thus I tend to like brighter IRs.

Is it a reasonable strategy to use your recording tone live by using high and low pass filters in the cab block? This would result in a more midrage focused sound that would be useful in a live band mix, right?
 

barhrecords

Axe-Master
What about when recording?

I totally get what you guys are saying about live sound and that more midrangey tones sound better in a band mix. Makes perfect sense when talking about Fletcher-Munson.

I find that darker IRs sound too muddy at lower volumes when I'm recording. Thus I tend to like brighter IRs.

Is it a reasonable strategy to use your recording tone live by using high and low pass filters in the cab block? This would result in a more midrage focused sound that would be useful in a live band mix, right?
I prefer to track with a more neutral tone and carve it up in post in the DAW.

This allows me more options to fit the tracks together.

Locking in a high pass / low pass / mid boost leaves you fewer options but can work. I've seen lots of people work this way. BUT they know exactly how all the tracks are going to fit ahead of time. So printing with EQ speeds up the process.
 

ChrisCG

Experienced
I have found that a patch that just amazing alone will have too much low end. I use a few tricks but one that I really had a big impact was scotts trick of a PEQ block right In front of the amp. Cut I think it's 300 -6db. I think I cut at -4.5db and that works best for my Strat. Also mentioned above cuts in the cab block I do 80 for the low and depending on the amp any where from 7k to 12k on the highs. If you need to you can add some lows back in but when I do that I do it with the preamp in the cab block.
 

Pinkycramps

Experienced
Very good post. Solid info in here.
It's so true that live/gig patches end up sounding awful on their own. It's really amazing. You spend time trying to build/match a certain tone, but it's all a lie. It won't work live. I still haven't figured out how to translate a great matched tone to come out that way live. I can get a tone that cuts, and that works. What I struggle with is getting a specific type of tone to translate live. I have settled on just a few that work well for me.
 

d2dark

Inspired
you have to add your bandmate tone in the equation when you build tone, if your bass player is working against you eq wise. you can waist a lot of time eqing for nothing.
leave the lows part of the spectrum to bass, focus your tone around 160 and up.
think that vocal happen between 1-2K.
over 9k, there is not much space for a guitar tone over Cymbales and higher harmonics.
 

boblazz

Member
thanks all. some great info here. its just so hard to give up that tone that sounds so good alone or playing with tracks on the computer. i will have to just move forward with these suggestions and keep tweaking.
 

Hotplate

Power User
thanks all. some great info here. its just so hard to give up that tone that sounds so good alone or playing with tracks on the computer. i will have to just move forward with these suggestions and keep tweaking.
Make presets specifically for playing live w/ your band vs. presets for at home/low volume/headphone, etc. use. I use a template and adjust the amp/cab/geq/peq's between these two scenarios. I tend to dial in tones at any volume that are towards being band mix friendly because I learned to do things that way early on w/ tube amps/FX. Less bass and more mids and treble typically..
 

mongey

Inspired
basically if it sounds good at home it probably won't sound good in the mix as is and standing in front of a blaring drummer you won't hear it . the higher the gain the more pronounced the difference IMHO



but after a while you can dial in live tones at home when you know what won't work
 
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