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Can't get my patches to sit in the mix.

Monchito

Member
I think I may have hit a wall and not even sure this is something I can solve with the AX8 itself or if I need to revise my idea of mixing.

I made a thread about my patch levels a while ago. They are going into the DAW at between -12 and -6dB. As far as I know that is good headroom for recording digital. I have my patches matched to different guitars for different application and all sound great on their own without clipping even though some seem louder than others at the same dB (but that can be corrected with minimal effort in the mix).

Now I am by no means a professional mixer but I am trying to get the rhythm guitars to sit clearly in the mix but always feel they sound weak and bloated–if that makes sense. I am cutting high and low, getting rid of some fizz in the high register (around 4K) and have tried boosting somewhere around 1k to 2k just slightly. I have a compressor on my guitar group but it is really subtle, just there to emphasize pick attack.

No matter what I try the tone is just not there. Am I doing something wrong? Should my source tone from the AX8 be louder into the DAW? Should I use different cabs? Or am I not adjusting the amp block correctly? I have followed plenty of tutorials and the tones themselves are alright, it's once I am going to mix down that they feel loose.

Today I found a video on youtube where the guy was using stereo cabs to the DAW to create more movement. This totally threw me off. I learned that strong rhythm guitars should be mono to avoid phasing but here it's apparently being used creatively to get more "air"?

Maybe I am overthinking this. The patches I am trying to blend are attached here. I am using a Dellinger with a Dominion pickup. Maybe the strings are too loose for D Standard, too?

Let me know what you would do from here. My mixing skills are certainly beginner level and I don't have much time to play. it's really just something I do to relax and disconnect but I would like to get better.

Are my source tones not good for recording? Am I recording too quiet? How do you set up the most straightforward crushing tones for recording?

Thank you!
 

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Monchito

Member
I just downloaded your patches but there isn't a cab included. But I did re-work your patch; not sure if it's what you're looking for.


That sounds tight! Is the bass a plugin or did you play it? Sounds so clear. Regarding my patches I have user cabs as shown in the attached screen grabs. I almost can't believe what you just recorded is the patch I made. I am attaching a sample of what I am doing. You an tell right away that yours sound louder and more defined. I know it is partly the playing, partly the mix but damn I wonder what I am doing right. What immediately stands out is that your recording sounds louder than mine, even with a compressor pushing my master to eat up the headroom (or so I have learned and so that's what I tried). I seriously don't know where to begin troubleshooting this. Let me know what would help you guys give some feedback. I am totally self taught and can learn fast I just think there is something here I am not doing right or understanding correctly.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/09rpnvuhfeo3axf/testRecordAX8.aif?dl=0

Screen Shot 2018-03-05 at 10.26.38 PM.png Screen Shot 2018-03-05 at 10.26.57 PM.png

Thanks for your time.
 

Monchito

Member
The secret to guitar recording? Quad tracking.

I tried this at some point but it only made the rhythm guitars slightly more chunky. It didn't make them stand out however and the mix was still fairly quiet. The tone wasn't any better. Oh well...

why not post a clip of what you have in a mix so far?

See above. Maybe you guys can help with more context. let me know if there is any more information I can provide.
I should mention bass in this track is a bunch of sustained notes on a synth.
 

Monchito

Member
hard pan your main rhy tracks. it looks like you have them 50% panned left and right. set it too 100%
edit: in the 2nd pic it looks like they are set to 100% but the first pic is set to 50% if im looking at this right.

if your interface allows multiple in and outs, i would create your patches while the mix is going. this would require a DI track though

The DAW I am using is Ableton. I have the Rectifier panned all the way to the left and the Rockerverb all the way to the right. 50L and 50R Respectively. I don't think it goes further from that in this DAW. Pretty sure they are full signal left for one guitar and full signal right for the other unless there is something else going on. The panning is the buttons you see below, the top is the send A and B respectively. I have these tracks in a group that is panned center now that I look at the chart again though. Is there a problem with that?
 

Barmaleus

Experienced
A proper guitar tone starts with:
1. Fresh strings
2. Properly set up guitar (intonation/tuning/string and pickup height)
3. A fine instrumental input on your audio interface
4. Sufficient pick attack

In my opinion, GOOD tone is only available when the basics are taken care of. You can take it to a great/awesome tone from there. But if the basic components are not there, you will get an OK tone at best.


Now, mixing is a totally different story. It is quite impossible to give a recipe for making a fine mix, because every single instrument in the mix is important, as well as how you treat it = it takes a lot of practice to make it right.

I highly recommend this book to get a better understanding of what/why/how: http://www.systematicproductions.com/mixing-guide.htm
 

dpeterson

Axe-Master
Each part of the chain of recording is an art, playing, engineering, producing, mixing, mastering... so it'll take some time to get even decent at any of them. Do some research on where things fall into the audio spectrum, this will help you a lot. IMHO.
 

philipacamaniac

Fractal Fanatic
Are my source tones not good for recording? Am I recording too quiet?

Any tone is “good” for recording as long as it sounds good to you. But tone and level are two totally different concepts. As far as recording levels, that has no impact on how the channel will sit in the mix later - recording levels are important for SNR and avoiding clipping*. Once you’re in the mix phase, you have the faders and any other gain stages you introduce to set each channel level as loud or as quiet as the mix demands.




* If you’re using analog outboard gear or analog emulation plugins with realistic gain structures, then recording levels are a little more important. Generally -18dBFS is treated as 0dB in many “analog” plugins. But since we’re digital, we can effortlessly add in a gain stage before any analog plugins to hit the target level we need.
 

Monchito

Member
A proper guitar tone starts with:


In my opinion, GOOD tone is only available when the basics are taken care of.

[...]

Now, mixing is a totally different story. It is quite impossible to give a recipe for making a fine mix,

[...]

Fun fact is I changed the strings on the guitar right before recording. From 10-52 D Standard to 10-46 in the same tuning–could that impact the tone in any way? I also picked harder on the rhythm parts because that is what I have read in interviews and articles from recording artists.

I read books and am following a bunch of online tutorials. I have been doing this on and off for a while but never seriously. With my VST plugins I was getting better results, though. Guitars had more presence so I think I am doing something wrong early in the chain. If you look at the screengrab you can see the levels on those guitar tracks are peaking somewhere below -6dB. I am wondering if they should just be louder and if I have to set up my gain chain differently or something.

On another note, regarding what you hear specifically please don't hold back and say what stands out as fundamentally wrong so I can tackle and look to correct that.

Thanks for the book recommendation, will check.

Each part of the chain of recording is an art, playing, engineering, producing, mixing, mastering... so it'll take some time to get even decent at any of them. Do some research on where things fall into the audio spectrum, this will help you a lot. IMHO.

I have some charts I pulled from books and will try working with a reference track next round. As I mentioned above though, any critique of this snippet is welcome. Feel free to dig in!

Any tone is “good” for recording as long as it sounds good to you. But tone and level are two totally different concepts. As far as recording levels, that has no impact on how the channel will sit in the mix later - recording levels are important for SNR and avoiding clipping*. Once you’re in the mix phase, you have the faders and any other gain stages you introduce to set each channel level as loud or as quiet as the mix demands.


I get that. With levels I meant I am not quiet sure if the guitars are not cutting through because of loudness or tone exclusively. I have the AX8 plugged directly into my Scarlett, with the inout set right before it clips. The AX8 patches have an output of aproximately -12dB across the board so in the DAW I am pretty much leaving them as they are. I understand I need to balance and tweak my tracks in the project to be easily distinguishable from each other and blend only where necessary. I am working on that, trying to learn and practicing. I just think that maybe my tone from the get go is set up for failure. I have a utility effect on most tracks setting track level to -12dB pre fader on most tracks because I read in a forum that the more headroom you leave for mastering the better. Maybe I am just sucking the life out of the guitars with that. Would you recommend just going by ear and starting with no such rules as a start? Like throwing everything in the session as is and then limiting myself to just minimal eq, panning and volume to see if that helps?

I just need help making the next step to resolve this. Nothing is clipping. The tone just doesn't cut through and I think my cabs are probably not set up correctly.

maybe somebody can upload a recording patch with a recto and a rockerverb so I can see what I am doing different?

Thanks for the help y'all. Greatly apreciate it.
 

2112

Fractal Fanatic
Here's Recto 1 Red and the Citrus RV50, doubles of each panned hard left/ right.

Use your ears rather than your eyes.



 

hbucker

Inspired
Here's Recto 1 Red and the Citrus RV50, doubles of each panned hard left/ right.

Use your ears rather than your eyes.

I totally agree.

Listen to a lot of the great songs recorded over the decades. Does the tone sound right for the music? Or does it sound like monster, bitchin' tone that most of us would want to dial our amps up to? Sometimes it's the latter, but mostly it's the previous. And most of the time when the tone sounds really cool in the mix, it's the mix that's making it sound cool. Not the stand-alone guitar tone.

Forget what you know, and tweak it until it fits.

fwiw

good luck!
 

Monchito

Member
Nothin wrong with that. Sounded pretty awesome.

It does right? He did really good on that.

Here's Recto 1 Red and the Citrus RV50, doubles of each panned hard left/ right.

Use your ears rather than your eyes.




Man! I watched quiet a few of your videos about the unit to see how you record and setup your own. I think you are right. I haven't had time yet but I plan to record the patches again and do less to them when mixing. If the don't sit well i'll know it's time to dial in a different patch to better suit the drums and synths I am using.

Do you usually dial in your patches to sit well in a planned recording? Or do you just make patches you liek and they try to make them fit or choose different instruments to match them?



I totally agree.

Listen to a lot of the great songs recorded over the decades. Does the tone sound right for the music? Or does it sound like monster, bitchin' tone that most of us would want to dial our amps up to? Sometimes it's the latter, but mostly it's the previous. And most of the time when the tone sounds really cool in the mix, it's the mix that's making it sound cool. Not the stand-alone guitar tone.

Forget what you know, and tweak it until it fits.

fwiw

good luck!

Like I just responded to Leon I think this is what I'll try next, tweaking the patches to stand out with the drums and synth instead of hoping to wrestle them into place with the EQ and other plugins in the DAW. Do you find that's a good approach to find a good tone for a mix? Maybe tweaking it to a loop with the other instruments until I get something that stands out?

Thanks!
 

hbucker

Inspired
Like I just responded to Leon I think this is what I'll try next, tweaking the patches to stand out with the drums and synth instead of hoping to wrestle them into place with the EQ and other plugins in the DAW. Do you find that's a good approach to find a good tone for a mix? Maybe tweaking it to a loop with the other instruments until I get something that stands out?

Thanks!


I make designated patches for recording. Certainly, they can be based on patches I use for live purposes, but forcing live patches into a recording mix can be more trouble than its worth.

My tendency in years gone by was to set up a killer guitar tone without regard for the mix. If it is cool it will be cool, right? Nah. Sometimes the stand-alone tone really kind of sucks, but it sounds perfect in the mix.

Good luck!
 

Monchito

Member
I make designated patches for recording. Certainly, they can be based on patches I use for live purposes, but forcing live patches into a recording mix can be more trouble than its worth.

My tendency in years gone by was to set up a killer guitar tone without regard for the mix. If it is cool it will be cool, right? Nah. Sometimes the stand-alone tone really kind of sucks, but it sounds perfect in the mix.

Good luck!

I went back into the project and changed some things. Got rid of the EQ on the separate guitars and edited the EQ on the group. Left panning as is and sorted the levels directly instead of sending them through that utility plugin. Overall the sound was louder but I was not able to save the tone. I only squeezed some more presence by pushing some mid frequencies but the lows sort of faded and the attack didn't change much.

First thing I need to do is change the strings again. I had a set of 10-52 in D Standard on there (25.5 scale) and that seemed to have more bite. Now I have 10-46 and it's not the same. I am even thinking of going with a n 11-54 set.

Then I want to try your approach. Do you dial in the tone before a session or do you set up your drums and bass, then tweak settings on a direct tone recording as a loop plays? For this I'd need to set the AX8 for reamping. I have never done this but it might be the way to go.
When i was using Amplitube I wasn't having any of these problems. I always found something that worked. Maybe choosing different cabs might be enough. I noticed the test clips you guys have been posting above probably have different cabs from what I selected. They suit your mixes. I think I have to do the same.

Thanks a lot for the replies. I think I am getting a better idea of what to try next.
 

hbucker

Inspired
I'm sure these techniques are taught in recording/engineering schools, but I'm not aware of a right or a wrong way to go about finding the right tone. All of my advice comes from both experience with guitar, and trial and error with guitar. I ain't no expert...

You're trying give your guitar a home within a specific frequency range in the mix. As much as possible, don't overlap with any other instruments because those same frequencies between instruments will cancel each other out and create mud. Drums, bass, vocals, guitars, keys, etc. all need their spot.

As far as losing your tone, make sure you're not satisfied with it in the mix and aren't just grimacing when you hear it on its own. The mix is the only place where it matters.

You might try narrowing the High/Low cut parameters on your Cab block to the range that you are using for guitar. Then, eq the tone within that range to what you like, and that fits the music. It doesn't hurt to come up with something you like on its own, then try to plug it in. Just make it narrower than the usual Low at 100 hz and High at 8000 khz that people tend to set their cab parameters.

And by all means, let the bass do its job. There is no need for the guitar to mimic the range that the bass covers, in fact this gets in the way.

Panning slightly left or right can also help a guitar part pop out slightly in the mix. Move it back and forth until you get the presence you're looking for. Sometimes this is all that's needed, but everything else pretty much needs to be in place from an eq/settings perspective.

Don't be afraid to use multiple tracks and guitar parts. Both with doubling parts and setting certain passages apart from others.

I find recording with the AX8 very different than just putting a mic in front of an amp. It is both easier, and much more complex/confusing. Frankly, it isn't as easy as I wanted it to be when I got my AX8, but once you get the hang of it, it doesn't have to be too complex. It just takes experimentation.

Much beyond this approach and we're getting outside any of my experience, and certainly my expertise... because I was never an expert to begin with. If it sounds right, it is right. If it doesn't sound right yet, then keep tweaking. I believe there are literally thousands of ways and approaches that can get you to a mix that ultimately sounds good to you. What I do may not work for you, but both of us can get good results.

Lastly, it doesn't hurt to separate yourself a little bit from what you hear in your head compared to what you're actually getting on tape (I know it isn't tape, but you know what I mean.) It might sound really good, but it's just different than what your brain is telling you that you should get. In this case, put the project away for a week or more, then come back to it with fresh ears. I almost guarantee it will sound different. This will help you make some adjustments that didn't occur to you in the moment.

good luck.
 

Monchito

Member
I'm sure these techniques are taught in recording/engineering schools, but I'm not aware of a right or a wrong way to go about finding the right tone. All of my advice comes from both experience with guitar, and trial and error with guitar. I ain't no expert...

You're trying give your guitar a home within a specific frequency range in the mix. As much as possible, don't overlap with any other instruments because those same frequencies between instruments will cancel each other out and create mud. Drums, bass, vocals, guitars, keys, etc. all need their spot.

As far as losing your tone, make sure you're not satisfied with it in the mix and aren't just grimacing when you hear it on its own. The mix is the only place where it matters.

You might try narrowing the High/Low cut parameters on your Cab block to the range that you are using for guitar. Then, eq the tone within that range to what you like, and that fits the music. It doesn't hurt to come up with something you like on its own, then try to plug it in. Just make it narrower than the usual Low at 100 hz and High at 8000 khz that people tend to set their cab parameters.

And by all means, let the bass do its job. There is no need for the guitar to mimic the range that the bass covers, in fact this gets in the way.

Panning slightly left or right can also help a guitar part pop out slightly in the mix. Move it back and forth until you get the presence you're looking for. Sometimes this is all that's needed, but everything else pretty much needs to be in place from an eq/settings perspective.

Don't be afraid to use multiple tracks and guitar parts. Both with doubling parts and setting certain passages apart from others.

I find recording with the AX8 very different than just putting a mic in front of an amp. It is both easier, and much more complex/confusing. Frankly, it isn't as easy as I wanted it to be when I got my AX8, but once you get the hang of it, it doesn't have to be too complex. It just takes experimentation.

Much beyond this approach and we're getting outside any of my experience, and certainly my expertise... because I was never an expert to begin with. If it sounds right, it is right. If it doesn't sound right yet, then keep tweaking. I believe there are literally thousands of ways and approaches that can get you to a mix that ultimately sounds good to you. What I do may not work for you, but both of us can get good results.

Lastly, it doesn't hurt to separate yourself a little bit from what you hear in your head compared to what you're actually getting on tape (I know it isn't tape, but you know what I mean.) It might sound really good, but it's just different than what your brain is telling you that you should get. In this case, put the project away for a week or more, then come back to it with fresh ears. I almost guarantee it will sound different. This will help you make some adjustments that didn't occur to you in the moment.

good luck.

Thank you so much for the lengthy reply! You make really good points. I will mess with the eq some more and if that doesn’t work set my ax8 up for reamping and tweak the tone in the mix. Good to know the cab range is a good place to start. I thought the IRs would practically work as they are but I realize the parameters might alter what the different impulses would have sounded like in real life.

I have a whole list of things to try, really appreciate all the help. I’ll post back if I solve this.
 

Monchito

Member
Does anybody know if it’s possible to reamp with the Ax8 while listening back to the mix all in one interface? I have all setup with a Safire 6i6 and it’s letting me reamp with everything else muted but it produces noise if I want to play the other tracks. I actually can’t hear anything other than the noise.
 
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