Mixing a Live Band from a Zoom H4n Stereo Recording?

I am totally new to this whole recording thing. I recorded a live show of my band (vocals, harmonica, guitar, bass, and drums) using a Zoom H4n in stereo (internal mics). I would like to use pieces of it for a demo of the covers we do. Right now, I am trying to mix with Audacity.

I was under the impression that that stereo mics would give me two separate tracks to work with, but what I have is one stereo track. I am looking for help/plug ins/eq settings to try and accomplish the following:

  1. The bass and bass drum might be “ok” in the mix, but I’d like a little more if possible.

  2. The guitar is very low in the mix (biggest issue)…I had one internal mic aimed pretty much right at it and was hoping to isolate that track and make it louder, but I am looking for a relatively easy to do fix.

  3. I’d like to add a very subtle reverb to the overall mix - especially for the vocals. I briefly tried the included verb and found it difficult to use. I might just use the “Echo”.

I did compress the WAV a little bit via Audacity, but haven’t touched it beyond that. Any general advice, links, YouTubes, etc. would be FANTASTIC!


The mix you recorded is it. There is no way to bring up individual instruments. Despite the fact the one of the internal mics in the Zoom was “aimed” at the guitar, that mic picked up everything else, including the “room sound”. Imagine sitting where the Zoom was located and pointing one ear at the guitar and covering the other ear.

There are some tips on adding reverb to a recording here: http://wiki.audacityteam.org/index.php?title=GVerb

– Bill

I think I might be able to monkey with it a little bit as I am pretty sure now I can split the WAV into the two stereo mixes. If I turn up the one with more guitar and then mix them together, I might be able to make something work…maybe.

My other thought is to just take down the vocals - which I’ve seen reference to taking out by inverting, etc. Maybe there is a way to do that without taking out all the vocals…

At any rate, I may know enough now to at least experiment and listen on some good speakers. Thanks.

http://mikefugazzi.com/files/Embassy3 for Demo.mp3
http://mikefugazzi.com/files/Embassy3 for Demo2.mp3

Here is my first attempt at mixing…Demo2 has the bass boost. I don’t think there is anything I can do for the weak sounding guitar. The stereo tracks sound nearly identical in this instance. All I did was add a bit of reverb and compression. I then made sure the volume from song to song was close. Other than the bass boost in Demo2, I didn’t eq the track as I found the built in eq difficult to tweak - unless I wanted to make huge changes.

***Please note that 1.) I am brand new to this 2.) I wouldn’t use these clips from these songs as a demo, but it served as good practice. I have another set of better song selection, but it has a stereo and line in of the vocals and harmonica (which are already plenty hot in the mix rendering their track useless).

I am really just trying to get the hang of Audacity and hoping to make a tight “clip” demo of popular cover songs for clubs and bookers. Thanks!

This is why the grownups mic everything individually. Pulling apart a mixed performance into individual instruments is stunningly hard to do – if you can do it at all.

There was a posting further up the forum from someone who got really good results splitting a performance. He wouldn’t tell us how he did it and only left contact information. Several bad signs.

You have the same problems that people over on the video forums do. “I recorded the band with the mic on top of the camcorder. Can I remix it and make the singer louder.?”

Probably not.


Don’t boost the bass: it’s too bassy/muffled already.
Try boosting the mid/high frequencies, say everything above 500Hz by about +10db, (then apply “Amplify”) , e.g.

This makes the guitar and vocals clearer, e.g. …

There are quite a few glitches in your recording, e.g. on the first “remember”, they can be fixed by applying Audacity’s “Repair” effect individually to each glitch, (which would take a helluva long time given how many there are).

[ BTW is the lead singer channelling Michael Hutchins :slight_smile: ].

This uses the same equalization as above and some stereo effects (including stereo widener and “fat” reverb) for that blues-club sound…

I agree about boosting the treble (centred somewhere around 2.5 kHz) to bring out the vocal, but what else you do depends on the kind of sound you want.
The bass can be tightened up (made less muddy) while retaining most of the low bass by just cutting frequencies around 200-250Hz.

Compression can help to tame the drums (which have peaks that slightly dominate the mix) and allow previously buried sounds to be brought more to the fore.

Just to give an example of the kind of variety that can be achieved, here’s a before/after where the after uses pretty heavy compression (using the built in compressor from Audacity 1.3.12), the treble is raised a bit (centred around 2.5 kHz) and the mid-bass (around 200-250 Hz) is dropped down. The stereo field has been widened using the Channel Mixer plug-in ( https://forum.audacityteam.org/t/channel-mixer/14632/8 ) and a “concert reverb” added using Freeverb.

Your fictional blues club is bigger than mine.

With the benefit of hindsight (or should that be hindhearing) I’ve overcompensated and cut too much bass from my mix, new curve suggestion …