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Humble request for mix help Special Ef­fects Plugins
Old 16th March 2008
Humble request for mix help

I try to stay out here but I hope someone may be kind enough to help me.

I was assigned to write and record a song for a tribute to 911 dispatchers. Got the song and I have been tracking towards an acoustic-unplugged feel with acoustic, bass and some electric blended in.

Here is the interesting part. I am blending, into the musical bridge I provided, actual 911 recording footage. The guy who hired me has this cleared legally.

Prior to the bridge the song is in the 2nd chorus, is big and full and sounds great... then comes the phone recording. In this scenario, how would an experienced guy like yourselves fit this in?

So far, I have killed the electric to make room but I am wondering if I will have to duck the rest of the guitars to make it natural.

The recording is panned mono center, all the guitars start at about 30, on out to 100 L/R and the bass is centered as well. There is no singing in this section.

In theory, how would one approach this? Thanks very much in advance.

Old 16th March 2008
Lives for gear

Basically impossible without hearing the material. However, I can have a guess at what it might sound like ... this is a recorded phone conversation right?

I'm guessing you want to make a bit of a feature of it? Sort of like a psuedo solo?

Just an idea ... to make it stand out in the mix, and have a bit of movement to it ...

Consider playing this back through a very small speaker, to focus on the telephone range (1kHz - 3kHz ish). Mic it up with a hand held condensor mic, and slowly pan the mic around the speaker so you get a natural sense of movement. Not actually doppler, but the changing room reflections and mic response gives a real sense of the mic being moved.

Then pan the sample in the mix across the stereo field, matching the mic movement. That should add quite a bit of interest.

Depending on what the material and mix needs, I would consider flying in other samples - perhaps of running, heavy breathing, sirens - whatever it takes. Basically build up a little montage of sound effects to tell a story. Maybe supplemented with a lead guitar or two, coming from opposing sides ...

But really - wouldn't have a clue without hearing anything first.
Old 16th March 2008
Lives for gear

An effect I like sometimes is to use a filter or eq to change the entire mix to make it sound like somebody just shut a door, or moved outside. It's a trick often used with soundtracks in movies. If you need to carve out some space, you might try that.
Old 16th March 2008
Gear Nut

Bus all the instruments to a single stereo bus and, when the phone calls start, dip the EQ of that bus's mids to offset the increased mids of the telephone material. Then you are free to put each call anywhere in the stereo field.

I would take each call and have it at a different place in the stereo field to portray how they are coming in from different places. I would slightly overlap the calls to give a continuity. Remember to give various levels of higher-mid or lower-mid and slightly different ambiance for each different call to place the calls differently in the floor-ceiling space and the fore-back space (as well as the panning space).

I think that would be cool.
Old 16th March 2008
Thanks very much for the help thus far. I have a clip for you to get a better perspective of what I am looking at.

The clips starts in the tail end of the chorus. The Vox is not there yet as I am still tracking. These are mostly unprocessed tracks. I do have the bass limited and the ebow, which is too grainy as of now, has a super tap on it. I need to smooth it out when I re-track it. There is no EQ or Ambience added yet so it is a bit rough.

The 911 recording was jut dumped in at the last minute, last night, before I had to shut down. It needs heavy editing. The boy's and the dispatcher's voices are radically different in tone. After reading the great tips above, one additional thing I thought of was to split the 2 voices into 2 different tracks, EQ the boy thinner, closer to the dispatcher and pan them at about 30, so there is a bounce back and forth.

I think the overlapping suggestion would be great like that as well.

I love all the suggestions. I think I may add a siren and will notch the mix during the segment a bit.

Thank you

Thanks again for the help
Attached Files

Mix Help.wav (5.72 MB, 74 views)

Old 16th March 2008
Here for the gear
Joe Belmaati's Avatar

Admittedly, I have not listened to your clip yet, so this is in response to your first post.

What I would normally do for a section like this would be to mute ALL effect returns and make space for the feature part by experimenting with what works musically - typically muting out lots of parts.

Also, you may have to worry about tying everything in with what comes AFTER your featured part. If, for instance, you've got the big climax chorus out situation happening, then you will likely benefit from riding some of the instruments to create the build up.

Hope some of that helps.
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