Fresh collab needs some bashing

Fresh collab needs some bashing

Just working on this hard rock track which was a collaboration between myself and another guy.
He basically threw me a 4 minute track of basslines, then I went and I built guitars and drums up around them and chopped out a workable arrangement, after which he went back in and laid down vocals.
I’d be interested to get your thoughts, cheers.

I feel like the very midrangy guitars make them sound too busy. Everything sounds like it’s fighting for center stage, enough so that it makes it hard to tell when I’m listening to a verse or a chorus because everything is in full force all the time.

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I was kinda aiming for a “bitey”, “wall of sound” type feel in respect to the rhythm guitars, but maybe I pushed it a little too far, doh.
Thanks for taking the time to have a listen man, cheers.

I don’t think the part is busy. 1… (rest) + 4 count…on the rhythm is letting it breathe. Then it breaks on the verse, then resumes in the gaps between they lyrics. I think these parts as far as arrangement goes are very well constructed. My problem is with the tone…its bad to the point its distracting. I can’t tell whats going on there. Terry, if you can us a little bit about what guitar amp config is being used, and what the processing chain is, we might be able to offer some pointers, but at the moment it is a really big mess.

The other thing I immediately noticed was there are some major problems with the way the low end imaging is structured. The bass doesn’t have anywhere near enough energy relative to the kick. Its showing up in both 2 and 3 way mode on my speakers and its basically killing the groove, though your mind tells you the groove is partially intact because of how nicely the drum parts were played. The one spot around 1:01 where you can hear whats going on the bass feels like its missing hi’s, low’s, and mid’s all at the same time, which to me implies its either being overmashed with a compressor and the attack and release timing is totally wrong or the whole thing is undersaturated and therefore can’t compete with the energy from the kick. I think the part is outstanding, and whatever happens, this bass needs to be driving the song. Its a fabulous sounding part in my opinion. Love the complexity of the baselines and how well they compliment the big picture.

Gosh, I that drummer keeps hitting that same cymbal. Its probably too late to fix it now, but next time, for stuff where he’s really active on his cymbals (which in this case is OK), have the guy bring an extra couple crashes so he can mix it up a little more. And it like he’s hitting it the same volume every time too. See if you can get him to vary his dynamics a little bit on those crash hits.

hey some really great, not too mention valid feedback there @Jonathan.
As far as the guitars are concerned, all the parts are played on a Les Paul, direct into the DAW running through the BX Rockrack plugin just using the “metal riffs” preset
Here’s a Little snippet of the two unprocessed rhythm guitars, both panned to 50% l/r

And as you can probably tell, they’re vastly different to what you’re hearing in the mix, and admittedly I did go pretty wild boosting the mids on those guitars try to get lots of bite (think Mastodon’s Remission) but I guess, by the sounds I’ve missed the mark somewhere along the way. Just looking back at the project, it looks like I’ve boosted the shit out of both rhythm gats at around 1k, I mean 12db, boosted the shit out of.
The bass was by FAR the most problematic element from a mix standpoint for me, and you’re absolutely right, it’s compressed to the shithouse, for the simple fact that it’s so dynamic and fluctuating in level that I felt it was literally swallowing up the entire mix with a deep low-mid warbling that seemed to permeate right up into the mids, and I just couldn’t seem to eliminate it through eq alone.
Probably because the very percussive nature of the bass performance.
It kills me to have to rob so much power from the bass but unfortunately that’s the only way I could find to deal with the issue. Obviously a far more adept mixer than myself would have found other ways to sort out the issue.
Here’s a little snippet of the bass, and it sounds great on it’s own, but in the mix, i really struggled.

The drums are easy. I programmed them so any changes are simple. The guy that keeps hitting that wretched cymbal is me, my bad bro hehe.
Hey thanks for the great comments. If I’ve missed anything out lemme know, i’d really like to get this one sounding halfway decent, thanks again @Jonathan

Guitar Processing 2

Actually looking back through the project I’ve got Scheps omni channel on both those guitars on the first slot too doing all sorts of shit, with the parametric eq on the last.
Then both of those guitars are bussed into another channel using scheps omni channel again on the first slot “clean up my acoutic guitar” preset, and another parametric eq with a high pass at 100hz and a small cut at 270hz

I used Scheps omni again on the bass on the first slot, and as you can see it’s being slammed with the compressor, then I’ve got a couple of eq’s on the way out, one with a pretty broad, deep cut at 186hz and the other on the last slot just high passing at around 70hz or so

Bass Processing 02

Soooo I guess it’s about now that a proper mix engineer starts shaking his head, welp :blush:

The guitar parts are played really well, but like others have said, they sound a bit muffled. When you combine that with the bass, which in my opinion overcooked on the percussive side and a little weak on the bottom, you end up with a bit of a war between the two instead of the bass complimenting and filling in for the guitars. I was going to say it was probably around 300, but based on your cut it might be a touch lower on the guitars and a little wider. You could also high pass the guitars steeply at around 100 or so and bring the bass at about 80. Pretty standard stuff most of the time.
The other suggestion is more subjective, but when all the guitars are really high gain, they tend to become a bit of an incoherent wash. Lowering the gain on them a touch will make them bite better, not worse, and leave room for a lead guitar with extra gain in contrast to them.
Last suggestion would be to give the guitars a little lift around 3k, or where you like it. Just enough to give it some definition.
All in all about 20 minutes of fiddling around and the track will be improved dramatically, and it’s pretty good right now.

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What VI?

Ok. What’s it sound like completely dry?

?? Those guitars already HAVE a ton of 1K bite. Hi passing, subtle shelving then compressing is the way to bring that out…not adding more mids. Do you have a transient designer? I would try that to see if you can get more attack. On that Scheps…for a song like this you almost always want your FET compressor infront of your opticals, and Vari-mu’s (Manley, Chandler, Fairchild) last. Unless there is a distinct reason to place the optical first.

Lets do this. If you post an MP3 of all drums (including parallel busses and processing), and post the dry bass as an MP3…i’ll run the bass track though a signal chain really quick and see if you like what it does. If so, I’ll post a screenshot of the settings.

Oh. And I caught another thing. When you showed the screenshot of the guitars…are you EQing the left and right separately? Or duplicating EQ settings on both left and right?

If you have a stereo guitar doing rhythm stuff I find it best to only apply hi-pass filters then send it to a bus. Not in parallel, send the actual output. Then apply a stereo EQ the L/R guitars FROM the bus together. What this allows you to do is apply a stereo compressor instead of 2 mono compressors. The benefit is that you can adjust the way the left and right side of the compressor interact and this does make a difference. And this way you can also manage transient, saturation, and imaging processors from within the same channel strip.

Here’s a couple examples…the reason you use a compressor like this on a stereo group is that guitar compression in particular is more sensitive to variances program material than highly organic instruments like pianos, choirs, or string ensembles.


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Yep great points all round. That’s the usual drill in regards to my mixing, is to high pass enough out of the gats to let the bass fill in the bottom end (just looking back at the project both gats were fairly steeply h/p at around 130ish hz), but as I mentioned previously, I really struggled with the bass which kind of fucked everything up.
I’ve known about dialing back the gain on guitars to give them a more defined tone for quite some time, because the BX Rockrack is just a freebie is doesn’t let you adjust any of the presets.
I could quite easily dial in the same sound through Guitar Rig, and instantly have the ability to cut the gain but for some reason I seem to gravitate towards that free plugin. kind of dumb really.
Thanks for the feedback man, really appreciated.

What VI?

I use Slate Drums

Do you have a transient designer?

No, but I’ve really got to get a new one and have been looking around of late. I had ‘bittersweet’, but it’s stopped working. I notice it’s still free but I’ve just got to summon up the energy to go create an account and download all the bullshit.

Oh. And I caught another thing. When you showed the screenshot of the guitars…are you EQing the left and right separately? Or duplicating EQ settings on both left and right?

They’re both being eq’d separately (pre group buss) but with quite similar settings [see pic]

So basically I could kill both the mono compressors on both the left and right rhythm gats and use stereo compression on the (gat) group buss, is that right?
I’m pretty shit when it comes to compression to be brutally honest, so I’m winging it a lot of the time.

Here’s those couple of tracks anyway, drums are processed just the way you’re hearing out the mix.

The bass is in the exact state it was given to me, apart from it being chopped up for arrangements sake, and gain staged.
I’m not sure what was done to the bass prior to being sent to me but he assures me it was unprocessed.

Thanks again for your help @Jonathan

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HI Love the guitar licks. Like the one minute different feel there. Maybe you could hang on those ending notes a little like when you say “die” Say the word they let it escalate down. ha ha Like I am a mix guy. I think it needs some much heavier bass. at 3:23 got a great feel there. I was rockin along with this bud. good stuff


Hey cheers Paul. I wanna keep working on this bad boy and take in everyone’s suggestions so I can get it sounding halfway decent, and you’re absolutely right, the bass is weak, but I’m working on it man, thanks mate.

??? I’m hearing chorus all over the place. Aren’t you?

I haven’t had a chance to look at it yet. Is the source track mono or stereo?

??? I’m hearing chorus all over the place. Aren’t you?

Absolutely, and I asked him that exact question too, to which he replied no. You see where my problems started from with this bass. Something fishy’s going on.

I mean source track as in the bass track he handed you. Did he go through a DI built into a modeling amp? Maybe the chorus was on and he didn’t realize it.

I’ll have to catch up with him and see what his exact process was but that bass track above is basically exactly what he handed me. I could upload the unchopped version, but it’s exactly the same, only louder and not to the songs final arrangement.

Sorry I missed your question, it’s stereo when i load it into audacity.


I mean source track as in the bass track he handed you. Did he go through a DI built into a modeling amp? Maybe the chorus was on and he didn’t realize it.

So this is what I found out @Jonathan. He played a SDGR Bass through RP100 pedal for compression into Ampeg SVT Classic Amp, SM57 Mic on 8x10 Ampeg Cab.
His words… “it’s possible there was a chorus on the pedal.”

So I think we can both probably agree that there is chorus on that bass, something I’d NEVER normally do to a bass in a mix.
Question is, is there any way to make it sit in the mix short of re-tracking?

Okay, went and recorded a new DI bass track and made some significant cuts to both rhythm guitars around the 1k area, I’d be interested to hear if this sounds any better. No vocals on this one.
Bass has and eq, comp and slight saturation in that order [see pics]


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