You can find the multitrack files for this project in the 'Mixing Secrets' Free Multitrack Download Library
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Here's some more project info you might find useful:
- About The Raw Recording: All you get here is a single mono track of guitar, recorded with a large-diaphragm mic from Charter Oak.
- Challenges You're Likely To Face:
- When your whole mix comes from one track, the details of that track become much more important. However, because all the guitar sounds (high/low strings, attack/sustain phases, pick/fret noises) are mixed together, you have to think a bit laterally to get any individual control over them.
- There's a difficult compromise to be struck between squeezing the dynamic range enough to enhance the sustain warmth and performance details, and over-processing so that the end-result sounds awkwardly unmusical or simply flat and unemotional.
- If you use any serious compression, then you'll find that some individual harmonics pop out obtrusively in a way that's not as obvious when the recording is heard uncompressed.
- If you choose to pursue the same kind of expansive effects sound as on the preview mix, then you'll have some work to do in controlling the way the higher frequencies of the guitar part (especially the mechanical noises) hit the reverb.
- Some Mixing Tips:
- Dealing with the dynamics is the biggest job here, and I'd favour parallel compression and automation rather than insert processing in order to retain more of the natural performance dynamics while substantially increasing the instrument's apparent sustain.
- The frequencies that are most likely to poke you in the eye if you compress significantly here are 498Hz, 1062Hz, 1188Hz, 1337Hz, 1600Hz, and 4002Hz, and the most troublesome sections of the track in this respect are the finger-picking and strumming at 3:05-4:47 and 5:12-6:16.
- Mechanical noises can be attacked with off-line processing of individual offending audio snippets, but that'll get very tedious if you try to handle all the picking transients in this way. For those I'd recommend some kind of multi-band processing to target the high-frequency region in particular. However, be sure to automate the severity of this processing so that you only use as much as necessary at any given moment.
- A nice long plate reverb works well on solo guitar to add sustain, and because it doesn't have any real acoustic signature, you can then add a sense of space with a separate (and shorter) natural-sounding reverb so that it doesn't sound like the guitarist is in the Taj Mahal.
- High EQ cut, fast compression, and/or dedicated transient processing all have potential to help when it comes to keeping mechanical noises from spraying around in your effects returns.
- Don't stint on the fader automation. There's masses you can do on solo guitar to make the best of the musical phrasing. Try to imagine singing along with the melodies to get a feel for whether they're presenting the most natural-sounding phrasing, and adjust accordingly.
- I remixed this song for Sound On Sound's July 2012 'Mix Rescue' column, which not only shows how I approached mixing Santi's recording myself in practice, but also includes a selection of audio files demonstrating the effects of some of my processing and effects decisions.
- You can also download the full Reaper project here, which includes screenshots of any third-party plug-ins I used so that you can inspect the settings even if you don't have them on your own system.
If you have any other general questions about this multitrack, just reply to this post and I'll see what I can do.