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About This Multitrack
02-06-2015, 01:05 PM
Post: #1
About This Multitrack
You can find the multitrack files for this project in the 'Mixing Secrets' Free Multitrack Download Library.

Before posting a mix, please read The Three Commandments!
Please post your mix as a new thread, rather than as a reply to this sticky.

Here's some more project info you might find useful:
  • About The Raw Multitracks: This is a vocal-led jazz-style production based around a live full-band take I recorded on location in the function room of a former guesthouse. The recording setup was very similar to that used for 'Wayfaring Stranger' (full details of that setup here), but in this case the guitar was DI'd during the live band take and the sax was then overdubbed later. To summarise it in a few bullet-points:
    • All the tracks in the project except the saxophone were recorded at once, in a single take -- the very first take, in fact! Drums, upright bass, grand piano, and DI'd electric guitar were set up in the main room, with the lead vocalist separated in a makeshift isolation area.
    • The tracks comprise: close mics for kick and snare; stereo drum overheads; stereo submix of three close tom mics; bass close mic and DI; electric guitar DI; vocal close mic; saxophone overdub close mic.
    • Note that the toms weren't actually played in this particular song, so the toms submix contains only spill from other instruments.
    • After the recording session I did a little timing/tuning editing to the lead vocal. I've uploaded the edited version.
  • Challenges You're Likely To Face:
    • There's a lot of spill on all the live-take mics, which means you don't get as much independent control over the sounds as you might expect from a primarily overdubbed production. Phase-relationships are also critical in this context.
    • As usual with these kinds of recordings, low-frequency spill accumulates more than high-frequency spill (which travels less readily and is more easily obstructed by physical objects), so you'll probably need to do a little processing to keep the low end clear.
    • Close-miking by its nature tends to emphasise mechanical noises, especially when you're using condenser mics, which usually have a built-in on-axis HF boost.
    • Both kick drum and bass tracks are a bit heavy in the sub-100Hz region -- a misjudgement likely caused by the vagaries of the inevitably untreated control-room acoustics on location. In addition, the upright bass instrument has a bit of an uncontrolled resonance around 78Hz, which makes the musical line a little uneven at times.
    • The lead vocal was compressed a touch too much while recording, which has overemphasised the singer's sibilance.
    • Because the lead vocal, electric guitar, and saxophone overdub don't generate any spill on any of the other mics, they won't naturally blend with the rest of the band without artificial assistance at mixdown.
  • Some Mixing Tips:
    • In general, this multitrack was recorded the way the band wanted it to sound, so one of the biggest dangers at mixdown is overprocessing. If you concentrate on the balancing, panning, and phase relationships in the first instance, you'll find that 80% of a final mix sound will emerge of its own accord.
    • High-pass filtering will be useful for removing unwanted LF spill, and things like low-pass filtering and transient reduction can help de-emphasise any overobtrusive mechanical noises.
    • Don't mute the tom mics out of hand without listening to how their spill affects the sound of the ensemble as a whole.
    • The saxophone is very dynamic, so will probably benefit from some moderate compression. In general, though, fader automation is a much more appropriate means of moment-to-moment balance management in this style of music, so expect to do plenty of that.
    • A single band of dynamic EQ works quite well for evening out the bass resonance.
    • To blend the lead vocal, guitar, and sax overdubs, I'd suggest some short ambience reverb, if possible quite closely matched to the sound of the recording room. You may also want to add further reverb(s) to make the venue sound more expensive or to enhance sustain/warmth in general.

If you have any other general questions about this multitrack, just reply to this post and I'll see what I can do.

Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio | Recording Secrets for the Small Studio
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