I recorded a demo with my band using two Zoom H4N’s. One was dedicated to guitars and bass in which we bypassed the 2 condensers by using a 3.5mm Stereo Male to Dual XLR 3 Pin Female to get 4 XLR connections.The other Zoom was dedicated to drums. The condensers were about 3 feet above my(drummer) head, and in the two XLR’s were used for a snare/rack tom mic, and a Beta 32A for the kick. The guitars and bass were all mic’d with sm57’s.
Once we finished recording I dropped all of the tracks into Audacity. This is my first attempt at using it to mix tracks so any ideas and tips you have would be great.
Can you give some more specs?
I’d like to know how many tracks all in all and which are stereo.
Are there some vocals planned as well?
First mixing step
High pass filter on all tracks except kick and bass.
At around 120 to 200 Hz and with a roll-off of about 12 dB (higher slopes can cause resonances around the cut-off frequency)
the cut-off for kick and bass is of course much lower, let us say 40 Hz. and they might
also profit from a low pass filter with 6 dB/octave at about 500 Hz (kick) and higher for bass.
-Normalization. I use -10 dB usually but I’ve got plenty of tracks though.
Make all mono, if possible, except the drum overhead.
Bring all instruments into the center.
Make the gain staging, i.e. use the gain sliders to adjust the whole mix evenly.
all instruments should be audible if they contribute something.
Otherwise silence their superfluous parts.
Make the Panning-- -1.0, 0.0 and 1.0, no other values (for now at least)
Do the surgical edits by removing noise, clicks, pops and so on.
Equalization, cut offending frequencies (e.g in the 400 to 800 Hz range)
I’ve tweaked your mix-down a bit, I think the stereo width is better like this and the higher frequencies of the drums come better through.
Ironically, there’s no equalization or compression applied although it might sound like that…
(mainly Vocal reduction and Isolation with center removal at strength 0.5)
It’s a before/after comparison of a busy part.
However, you’ve got all the original tracks and therefore you haven’t to do such a correction (which is actually a mastering step)
So this is the extended club mix, 7 minutes? Most songs hover around 2, 3, and 4 minutes. There used to be a “law” (no such thing) that the radio mix couldn’t go over 3 minutes and several stations had music formats which depended on that. The famous Pink Floyd “Dark Side of the Moon” album had trouble getting air play because of that (6, 7 minutes)
Second segment, 4:30 to almost 6 minutes. Which is the lead instrument? Who has the repeating theme, story, idea or tune? If you dropped someone cold anywhere in that segment, they would have no idea what it was.
That’s remix/mastering. See Robert J. H.
Attached: I recut it and took out the second segment. The theme carries through the song much better and the whole composition comes in at a respectable 4:09. It’s mono and isn’t intended to sound perfect. This is just to judge what the cut would sound like.
This isn’t a club mix or intended to be a short song. That part specifically is meant to be the culmination of the feelings reflected in the rest of the song. In my mind I see this as the final battle, where you come away victorious. We don’t write to any amount of time. We usually come up with a base idea / thought process, then convey that through different dynamics and emotions. Some songs are short, and some are a bit longer.
I’m really excited to mix and edit these files further. I’ll keep you posted.
Specs: 3-SM57’s used on the two guitars, and one bass, 1-Beta 52A for the kick, 1-(not sure of the name) pointed toward the snare and small rack tom, 2-condensers (Zoom H4N) at 90 degrees about the kit. All channels were record mono except the condensers on the Zoom. Those record in stereo and I kept it that way.
As far as the guitar panning we really want to make it about Left Guitar(60/40) - Right Guitar(40/60).
As a general guideline, it’s good to keep everything centre panned while making the initial adjustments to level balancing (how much of each track in the mix). Once that is about right, then look to panning the sounds. Apply panning “before” applying stereo effects such as reverb. Stereo reverb may make the stereo spread appear wider or narrower (depending on the type of reverb and settings).
From time to time, make a test mixdown (Tracks menu > Mix and Render) and convert the stereo mix down to mono, to check that the mix still sounds OK in mono. it’s generally good to maintain mono compatibility because you don’t know how or where your audience will be listening to the final “product”. These temporary mixdown tracks can be “Undone” (Ctrl+Z) after you have listened to them.