EQ and Compression
All right, let's go into how if you didn't want to wake you uh a guitar and let's use amplitude for that example okay? Selling you make sure okay, so we got amplitude going here let's talk about you I got a a little leak you going for this? Um let me see if I can uh do okay, so let me do a typical example of what you may logically think when you're when you're mixing and then show you the correct thing to do man these shortcuts yes. Okay, so here's the same tone without that tiny little dip but you guys have seen that that's what I chose to do already but clear that from your minds who were just listening this tone for the first time so when you hear that it sounds to me when I hear that it sounds boxy is how it would um describe it. So what? Somewhat the way someone else might hear it and it's important to listen to things right? Someone else may hear and say, well, that doesn't have a lot of clarity in the high end and there's not a lot of balls to it like there's not a lot of bass t...
o that so what you might do is you might go over here and, uh, still here and put a put a bump over here like ok, well I'm going get some high end here and then let's just throw some throw some low end in there which is close to a solution because you do technically have a dip around the same area so let's copy this over here really quick to seek in your own time suddenly there's a problem one doesn't sound it but too you're adding a lot of this stuff in here so you're clipping so suddenly you have to turn this down um also any q you're using if you're adding especially it's going to change the character of the sound so if you're using an amp and you liked the character of the amp and you're adding things from your e q you have to understand that whatever q you choose is going to be adding the character of that e q into your tone so you might think you're doing yourself a favor um and making these changes when in actuality it's just ruining your tone further and further because you're adding things maybe it's not a high quality plug in uh maybe it has nothing to do with what you actually want how much do you actually use additive e q on qatar's um I usually don't like adding anything to you tars uh yes I'm always taking away so when you listen to atone uh if you know it's a good tone if you're if you're using a good plug and you're using and good and you know you have a good set up let's listen to listen for the good qualities in the tone I'm hearing a good clarity in the mid range on during the scrubs so there's no reason to boost that and whenever you boost the high end, you're boosting ah fizzy nous which is disgusting I I do not like that. So, um, it's important to mix contesting. So anyway, what I've chosen to do was just take away the boxing nous instead, so trying to target the problem and if there's try to target in the simplest way possible instead of saying whom there's not enough low in and there's none of high end well, hold on that that's a lot of changes it's a little boxy, you know? I mean, that is a simple change that it takes a lot of experience too. Just target something that quick, but this is something I've noticed boxing nissen guitar tone so we just got way just from doing that, um, it got they got based here. Uh, what you have to understand is a lot of the accused actually add frequencies when you take away, which seems to make no sense but it's true um, just by taking away the bok si nous we have added low end so we've added low end and we've added high end by making one simple move without adding anything nasty into it, I also noticed that for a lot of your e cuse you don't you don't do a low pass which most people would low pass it maybe it's a five or six k and for a lot of these you haven't done that well, if I'm going to do a low pass it's going to be if there's some strange problem that I'm noticing uh I don't know if I've seen people do just low passes like randomly I don't know uh low pass so like from, uh oh, I'm sorry you said at five, five or six yeah, so our seven somewhere you know depends on the person of a lot of people think it hurts a lot of people, a lot of people thought about this a lot of people chop it right off a five yeah, that's another thing I don't really like to do some people do like to do this they like teo I've seen people cut off like ten maybe, um I I would never go below that. Uh, yeah, I really like and there's a lot of clarity that does actually come from if you have the right tone, some clarity is actually coming through there sometimes it is just phys, so you are you would say if you can't fix it in the tone of the amp for the plug in or something or mic placement or you know what? Everyone over and that fixes the source that's your problem right? And the more you're doing two a guitar tone the stranger and stranger it's going to sound especially if it's post processing like like accuse and stuff so whatever you do and this is something that you have to keep in mind if you are cutting that high end you're also boosting frequencies that are very close to it so you have to is that what you want to do? You're not just doing one simple thing it's actually affecting several things and I really like this sound maybe I'm old school, but I like the sound of like a really amplifier in all of its high and low and whatever um and whenever you're you have a mix and the guitar comes through by itself suddenly you know it might sound good in the mix, but then it comes by itself and it just doesn't sound full it doesn't have that uh the high end and I enjoy that. But if it's if it's too harsh what I have done in the past though, I wouldn't like doing a cut that dramatically and I will say it may seem like I'm contradicting myself because in the line six tone it looks like a um like a low pass filter but it was actually just a nick you turning it down which when you do that it conserves the high end it's not getting rid of it completely like when you do this just cutting it off all the way down so if if it is too much I would say just bump it down like that a little bit or use the viking technique that we talked about andrew question are there any particular excuse he liked that are transparent don't further color your tone? Uh well, coloring is nice when you're talking about a hue and every week you will color your tone unfortunately, what color do you like is the good question to ask? I enjoy ssl what'd you say blue uh I enjoy the s s l q um it has, uh really awesome uh, harmonic distortion in the high mid range. Yeah, I know is that they all have a little bit different flavor too. And I am for guitar towns and bass tones and kick drums. I'm a huge fan of the pole tick of clones that universal audio has I think they're absolutely phenomenal that's another and you know, they those air kind of on the extreme end of that coloration, you know, because they really do color the tone a lot I mean, just loading it on to attract without even adjusting any parameters changed it's the way it sounds so that you know there's different flavors but you know when you find one that you really like it can become part of your sound too absolutely if I'm going to boost sometimes the frequency that I just cut out of that um that tone from amplitude sometimes that's the frequency that's missing from guitar tones and if you do want to add that in or maybe a little bit lower at like one fifty or something um the s s l q uh is an excellent one toe add in that kind of low end it ah colors in a pleasing way I think very musical way all right so uh thank you is not the only thing that we do with guitars here at the way studio now all these things I try to keep small if you're doing a lot of crazy stuff something's probably wrong and there's my panting at ninety two again um so if you're doing a ton of crazy stuff you might want to go back to the source you might want to try to figure out if you actually did at it things correctly or if it was played correctly do you have the right strings picks all that stuff so let's route thiss uh this this really quick if I'm a talk about this um in pro tools you khun name all your buses I encourage everyone to keep all their sessions as organized as possible name all the buses that you're going teo possibly be using will save you time and uh if someone else gets your session it'll save them time too so quick tip all right, so we got rhythm guitar okay, so I just routed these two ah, a bus so we can throw compression on it so you kind of herd with the, uh with the base that there was compression there was a little bit of compression on there let me play that one more time just so to point out the exact thing that I'm about to show you on the guitar. So so at the beginning of every phrase here a didn't denna denna didn't so there's like a there's like a peek at the beginning of everything is like an attack um and that's what? I that's what I want to add so if you add that kind of a thing across the board you're going to have a really nice attack really nice sound when everything comes together so I showed a little bit about the the compressor built in teo pro tools today I'm gonna show you the compressor uh one of my favorites the ssl compressor made by waves okay, so first let's see what we got okay it's not even being compressed right now, all right, let's uh okay so I'm going over compress it just so you can hear the exact difference that that I'm making whatever I'm doing this because it is subtle and it's easy to overdo it whenever you're working on one specific thing like you're trying to add this little attack to the guitars it's easy to two way overdue it um and then have it sound wacky instead of just adding just the amount that you need so if you're getting that effect then you you know you've gone far enough but you don't need to go further than that otherwise you start to mess up other things like the low end is too compressed and another rift sound strange so let me just over compressed so you can hear what I'm talking about ah so every time it comes in ah sounds like it gets louder for a second so it's kind of cool toe over compress at first so you can actually hear what the beginning of each little phrase sounds like and then back off ah so if you can hear the difference and it is it is subtle but it's something that's going to make a big difference if you understand this and as you're going through your base your guitar maybe your leads are matching up and your kick drum and everything is playing together you're going to have very clear punchy, aggressive sounding chugs ah so you guys could hear when I turned it off there um the uh play with it off and then I'm gonna turn it on so watch watch from my mouse here the beginning of those little phrases it just adds those little spikes which make a huge difference so it's easy to overdo it I wouldn't I would probably not go over for d b of compression that's whatever you'll notice as you get into other rifts in the song that is just messing with strange things that it shouldn't really be touching yeah yeah I can distort if you're if you're compressing too fast um you know it can distort and stuff like that so you want to make sure well the way to get that I didn't even explain that but I wouldn't what you're hearing spike is is the attack here and this is a ten milliseconds you could experience with with the higher like thirty milliseconds or something that but anything below ten milliseconds you might not even notice uh but it will be there but I'd say ten milliseconds to me is ideal um and ratio is how much it's going to be compressed what is your ratio there I can't quite see three shows ten to one yeah this is smashing right now um this is a pretty smooth uh compressor so you kind of get away with a lot and there's a character it adds to it um that the the compressor in pro tools makes everything a little mid rangy sounding this one kind of it almost brightens everything up and makes it sound a little clearer in my opinion so uh I would recommend using this if you're going to use compression on guitars I wouldn't really recommend the the one that's built into pro tools chris andersen it says in the past I've been advised not to leave the analog button enabled in the ssl comp do you have a comment on that feature? Oh yeah um whatever it's on it uh what I the biggest difference that I've ever noticed in a mix is that it has it leaves a hiss and everything I'm sure is probably doing something else but I it's not something that sonically noticeable so I do I do turn it off I don't know do you have the analog button on your stuff? Yeah and I usually just keep it off all the time you know, because it I think what that's basically doing is just emulating you know this button, right? So so we might be wrong but that's the main difference, sire if it's doing something else it's not even noticeable to me um so yeah, I leave the unknown chat room agrees says the analog button only adds noise nothing else it's been tested by some audio engineers that's fine that's I don't know why sometimes I actually have had to add his into things like if you have if you're doing voice overs this's a completely different subject but sometimes they'll stop talking and there's no natural light kiss between the thing so you need to add it so maybe it's first for weird things like that acoustic acoustic guitar overdubs for instance when you're doing very delicate things maybe you'll turn that on so you can't hear when things there you've edited out the silence so it may be helpful in some weird situation like that, but we're doing loud, aggressive music he's probably turn it off um okay uh leads just touch on leads I almost think leads should be an entire class on its own because there are a lot there are a lot to leeds pure keith will probably be teaching that class I don't know if that's true in this song uh I'm just gonna go over different kinds of leads and what kind of tone you kind of wood would use on these? So this one at at the beginning of the song here we have a lead and it's just kind of atmospheric actually it's supposed to be atmosphere excellent student now if you do have the rial version of the song, you'll notice that it sounds a lot different than that sounds more like so um for ah uh whatever you're doing leads in a song again it's kind of like the base it's kinda like everything you go part by part to make sure you have the best tone for the riff you had the best tone for the part um and that part uh the beginning there is, you know, supposed to be ambien so it has a lot of reverb what I would uh what I usually do on the more ambient parts is I lower the gain so I'm not just cluttering up the mix for no reason um and then uh let's see what else we got theo the lead for the choruses is even lower gain um there's a lot to say about leeds uh I would say the guitarist the lead whoever is playing the leads in the most ideal situation should really be kind of in control of the tones and how they feel. Yeah mixing solos I think is a really situational thing too because a lot of times you know with rhythm tones you kind of find a foundation and that's that's your base you know, but with lead tones a lot of times it could be a completely different type of sound and, you know, using your neck pick up or using your bridge pick up using effects or not using effects you know there's a lot of different things, so how you handle mixing solo's really just depends on what the solo is you know and making it fit in the mix is is just kind of depending on what the source tone is yeah, you know there's no formula for that at all exactly it's uh and and whenever you're doing your leads you gotta have a vibe with the tone as your recording right? Absolutely if you're not getting that right it's it's kind of going to translate poorly onto the final result absolutely um so that's that's whatever talent comes in and it's kind of not replaceable by anything else vibe the vibe is huge when it comes to that especially yeah, I mean when it comes to solos especially you know, you pick a town that is sort of inspiring to begin with and you know, and so when you when you're playing the solo it's it's just kind of accentuating what the players doing it's you know, you can't just pick a town and then just rip a solo out and expect it to sound amazing it does kind of have to fit the vibe of what you're playing on dh you know, all that stuff a situational really depends on the part depends on the player and then you know, the player needs to kind of dialling tone are pick something that feels inspiring actually record absolutely uh so what I the way I look att whenever I'm not what I'm not doing something that's more like a solo uh like sometimes you know, a lot of the more rock'n'roll parts will just have actives being played and I'm just like those two to blend in kind of with the guitar so sometimes I've actually used the same tone I don't like those two b really harsh and high end so I actually kind of duck out in that in that spot uh thank you yeah I try to eat you as little as possible like we said try to get it right at the source this is huge don't get a tone and this is why I try to get it right at the source don't get a tone and think I'll just take you that thing out of it that weird thing whenever that is I'll just get rid of it whenever I want I write you no your tone is going to sound weird you can't do that get a tone that sounds incredible and then just improve it in small ways um yeah the higher low pass few small cuts is enough that's kind of what we went over um yeah and this this is a summary of what I what I said but I didn't actually say it this is clear whenever I'm cutting the stocky cues or you know not as good of any q is ok in my opinion that what I've noticed but when you're boosting you've got to use a high quality one because that is adding the most to your sound might my go to is the waves ssl when you're cutting your also adding but not nearly as extreme yeah so this is the setting for that cue that we we showed I kind of oh yes compression I didn't say this, but I will say that I have you ever compressed the d I track if it's like a rhythm no, I have compressed maybe the d I tracked when it's a clean tone yeah, I mean we're trying to get, like, a consistent cool sounds out of that yeah for a clean sound or something like that if you're trying to just, you know, get it toe level out really nicely and you need to, you know, kind of, you know, great on the on the whole are you need to boost up, you know, that the valleys in the you know, the d I tracked just to make it, you know, blend in a little better than I could see doing that, but never for like, aggressive guitars because if you were to compress it, it also kind of raised the noise floor to absolutely be introducing a lot of stuff that isn't actually there oh, my god is no, it would be ridiculous people definitely do that, um and I tried it a few times and what I realized as it was just to cover up for sloppy playing on my part and the solution was just tow redo the takes with better plane and you, uh you ran out of the room screaming when you did that for the first time let me show you, let me show you what it sounds like I kind of like to deal with this, I like to show the bad things as well as the good because sometimes people we'll be like, oh, hey, mind sounds like that that's what I'm doing wrong, you know, I didn't think I had to change the order of the compression versus the distortion I don't know that matter, so let me show you what this khun sound like, so at the cut of everything in tow do so it's on that could happen from over compression in any department, really, especially before the signal, and if you ever try to play live with compression on with distortion before the amp, you're going to have the worst feedback you've ever experienced so says easy is taking this stuff off. If we have any, what do we want to do? Some questions or key takeaways theirs there's one here that I'm actually interested in, curious to see what you think too, and the reason I mentioned this is because I've heard a few people kind of express ah skepticism about the meters in software which is how much do you refer to the plug ins meters for volume and gain reduction on compressors come to me I know the uh okay that's a great question because let's talk about vocals for a second I heard somewhere when I didn't know anything way back in the day never compress vocals more than sixty bee or something like that and um it is absolutely outrageous teo ever say that I I I'll put several compressors on vocal tracks and compress it a lot but I have just showed you what happens whenever you do do it too much and, uh what you're seeing on the meters in the plug ins on this particular part may just be two or three d b but in other parts of the song I guarantee when theyre sustained when there's more bass in it it's compressing even more than that and to me it z it's like a good visual interpretation of hey, I know that when I compress more than this, I have these problems over and over and over again. So with these settings, if you caught them if you're only compressing that amount in this situation it's it's a very helpful tip so it it may not always be true yeah, I'd say that they're they're a guideline more than an exact science, you know a lot of times, especially with some of the high end of you know, plug ins it seems to me like a lot of this stuff just kind of eye candy, you know, yeah, that the end of the day you're going to use your ears, you know, I would just go, you know, look at the controls and see where those air said and those air going to give you an idea of what's happening and the meters they're just going to kind of, you know, help you understand what it's doing, but I don't necessarily think that it's going to be it's just like little having to show wave forms in a did w for instance, you don't have to look at that you could still make a song without it for instance, they did that for generations. So um this is here it's like it's a reference it helps you it makes things quicker and I I feel like for me personally and I'm pretty sure I'm not alone on this that sometimes, um, that stuff can almost be khun b a bad thing like, for example, I was using any q that has like, the before and after analyzer and stuff and all that stuff and I was trying to like each visually like spike and just be like, I have to get rid of that and so you're seeing your kind of seeing a visual thing that you don't like you like visually that this looks like it should not be right and that's why I brought this way for exactly you know, at the end of the day it doesn't matter it doesn't matter what equipment used it doesn't matter I mean it does but the thing that matters most is the sound the end result how you got there could be some crazy wacky thing I've never heard of and you know, maybe I'll take advice from you if you get a good result from it but the only thing that I care about is and result I don't use this ant because I think that has a cool logo I don't use this cabinet because my favorite bands use it I don't care about any of that stuff block letter fifty one fifty obviously had a cooler logo exactly so you know, those were those were not the things that matter I had a band coming my studio that wouldn't use one of my aunts because they didn't like the way it looked and that absolutely sickened me I'm not going to mention who it was but they would not use the ant because it didn't match there's the style of their band that would never play with it live because of the way it looked so that's where you and I know ah hughes and kettner do itto um yeah it's a it's an outrageous looking in but that doesn't matter they didn't even hear it by the way so, um what I like to do whenever that happens and it happens a lot when people get is like, oh you're using a bala I heard that blood this in that it's like I don't care I get this result you like what I get then let's we're going to use it so um my tip to engineers out there that have to deal with these kinds of strange prejudices against things that don't matter acts the next fix is only for gents style, etcetera, etcetera I get the best clean tone on expects I've ever gotten jen isn't folk music, but you would use that same tone and a folk band um so my tip is to blind test people you get you do things you say here, let me try a few things you solo out stuff don't let him see the screen whatever just label things abc and play it say which one do you like and have them choose their favorite thing because in the end, nobody knows what you did in studio nobody cares unless they're trying to record like everyone at home which you do care, but fans don't really care if they just they just want oh have it sound good and in the end that's all that's all that matters andrew, a guest in the chat, said when you hear self mixed demos from a band, what are the top two or three mistakes you hear on the guitar track? Ex um, I don't know there's a lot there's a lot there's a lot of time it's got to be one of the players got to be number one, I mean, well, usually like may I'm gonna get a demo on the vocals will be so bad that I just can't even hear the guitar, but, um, I don't know there's so many problems like sometimes I mean, I don't want to put words in my mouth, I know you've talked about over editing a lot and that's something that you know for, like the like metal chord, of course I get situations, but I also get such a wide range of demos I have bands do things live all together and they send me that I have bands do things in guitar pro, I have bins that do things like a mixture of this and that I don't know whenever I hear demos, though, um that man said to me, if that's what they mean, um, it's uh, it's always very different usually, but unless they're talking about movement, we said self mixed demos, we gotta talk, tell me your thoughts on this like if someone wants to know what you mean from more like a critique standpoint like you check out my mix because if it's a demo, it doesn't really necessarily matter they're sending you a demo because this is what we're going to come studio and do that's different than it, right? Okay, that's kind of what I was thinking, I'm like some of this home really self produced releases rather gives you like what, what, what holmes twos are kind of putting out now? Yes, over editing is a huge thing that I hear editing incorrectly, um, cutting cutting information off of the guitar tracks that is absolutely important, like the pick sound before every every single, everything single, you know, strum on the guitar it's so easy to cut that off and you never knew that, you know, it was missing. So as faras guitar tone goes, I'd say that that's a huge thing just really knowing how to edit, and that was in day one of of this whole thing, we're going to get our tones in the mix, not soloed this kind of is it's, not always the case, but I like to hear it in a mix because it's one little piece of the tone pie where you got your kick drum your bass and guitar tone, how did they all interact together? But listen to it by itself, too, because they're probably gonna be parts where it's being played by itself and you don't want it to sound weird. Um, if you can't get the guitar tone right, try to just in other parts of the mix instead of the guitars. So if you do hear, like whatever, I broke out up this song, dead and buried, and you heard the kick drum in the base and the guitars, sometimes you might actually have an incredible guitar tone. But your bass sounds terrible or it's, really muddy or something like that, and you would never know it until you went through and you get all the other factors right. And, uh, the bases it is is huge when it comes to this kind of thing. Yeah, thank you, and or compression will not make a crappy tone into a good one. You've got to get it right at the source. I can't emphasize that enough.