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How do YOU handle multiple mic'd guitar tracks in a mix?
Old 21st December 2011
  #1
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ryst's Avatar
 

How do YOU handle multiple mic'd guitar tracks in a mix?

With a mix I'm currently working on, each guitar take has 2-3 mics so that's 2-3 tracks per guitar take.

I ended up processing each mic source (track) differently and/or muted some tracks as well. The recordings were done pretty well and there were no real phase issues.

However, after listening to the mix with fresh ears, I think my biggest mistake was how I approached the guitars. In hindsight, I think I would have come up with a better sound by grouping each guitar take, getting the blend I wanted, and then running each take through a master aux for whatever processing needed.

So my question is, how do you normally handle multi mic'd guitars in a mix? Do you usually processes or handle them individually or do you treat them as a group for each take? Just curious about other people's workflow.
Old 21st December 2011
  #2
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What I'd do would depend on how many guitar track groups you have (so is it just rhythm and lead or multiple rhythm layering?), how each microphone is positioned and what other instruments are in the mix. For example, if its a standard 4 piece band (drums, bass, rhythm, lead) and rhythm has 2 SM57s on each speaker cone of the amp and an ambient mic further back off the amp (central) I'd pan each SM57 (depending on spacing in the mix I'd probably do quarter to/quarter past or ten to/ten past) and process them exactly the same (whether it's a bus or plugins in a DAW which can be copied from one track to the other - bus more logical for volume control) and then process the ambient mic separately because it has more ambient content so will react differently to the processing. That would form the rhythmic foundation of the track, I'd then probably bus the lead guitar and process it in the same way but not pan it individually but pan it as a bus. I hope that helps! With multiple layering you'd probably have to take a different approach but some concepts in there might be useful! Oh and if it is layered, make sure the EQ allows for room in the mix between each layer so that they all take their own space! So there will be some boost similarities in the ambient mic in the same group with the close mics, but the boost will be different from the next group.
Old 21st December 2011
  #3
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My first approach is to simply blend both mics and see if I get a great sound. If not, (and assuming I've already decided that I want both, or three as the case may be, mics), then I will EQ/etc. individual tracks as necessary. But ideally, I'll get a good sound just with the blend. When I have a solid relationship between the tracks, then I will group them (unless it's a really simple mix, but I seem to rarely get those mixes!) and process the group buss as necessary.
Old 22nd December 2011
  #4
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cjogo's Avatar
We spend time getting the right placement of the mic to cab to room ( 57 on cab--ribbon in room ) I also generally have a direct signal ~ I can blend. Dipping frequencies and panning is the next move= to get them to set right in the mix ,,,and then automix....
Old 22nd December 2011
  #5
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mecaudio's Avatar
I would normally group the tracks if they are of the same source. Depending on your mic placement your dynamics of the recording of each microphone should be very similar. If I am doing automation I first get a blend of each mic and direct. Then I group them them to do a couple automation passes. Once I get a good foundation I un-group them and make automation adjustments to each individual track to my liking. Hope this helps. I did not talk about eq and compression ect because that is all up to the genre and your mixing style. Hope this helps.
Old 22nd December 2011
  #6
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75% of the time- pick the best sounding mic for the part. mute the others.

20% of the time- blend the mics, bus them to a mono aux, process that aux.

5% of the time - process the mics individually.
Old 22nd December 2011
  #7
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I find a blend I like.. and PRINT it that way. ONE track, not three.

I like the old-school approach of actually making decisions and living with them.. for me, leaving everything in there as an option and ending up with 100 tracks and having to pick through it all later just makes it a mess I don't like to deal with.

Get it how you like it.. print it and move on.
Old 22nd December 2011
  #8
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John Suitcase's Avatar
 

I used to take one mic, pan it to one side, then another mic, pan it and delay it to the other side. This can create nice big guitars, but you have mono compatibility issues.

Nowadays, I'll almost always pick the best track and mute the others. If I find a blend that sounds good (I don't love the phasey sound you get from two mics, but sometimes it works) I'll print that to one new track, and mute the originals.

I find that the fewer mics you use, the better the end product. That's true of guitars, drums, vocals, etc. Every new mic is just another opportunity for comb filtering.
Old 22nd December 2011
  #9
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cjogo's Avatar
We like having the option with the direct sound ~~~ we track with each session. Can then blend a clean signal > with the room and cab mics
Old 22nd December 2011
  #10
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Use all mics if they are worth it for the main gtrs, for the rest, mute every mic and choose the one that sounds best....
Old 22nd December 2011
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryst View Post
So my question is, how do you normally handle multi mic'd guitars in a mix?
seriously, my preferred method is to turn all of them off but one

if the second mic is a distant mic or a room mic, I might keep it, but usually pan it away and effect it.

When I am tracking guitars, I am thinking a lot about tone, and tempted to set up multi-mics to 'catch everything'. But at mix time, the clarity of a single source often seems more valuable than the elusive "perfect tone"
Old 22nd December 2011
  #12
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ryst's Avatar
 

Thanks for all the info guys. With this particular song I mixed I chose mainly one source for each take. But I think for this song I need to revisit all the mic'd tracks and will probably have a better overall sound with blending more sources together. I'm missing some important mid range that would be better to get from blending than eq.
Old 22nd December 2011
  #13
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Beyersound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by biggator6 View Post
I find a blend I like.. and PRINT it that way. ONE track, not three.

I like the old-school approach of actually making decisions and living with them.. for me, leaving everything in there as an option and ending up with 100 tracks and having to pick through it all later just makes it a mess I don't like to deal with.

Get it how you like it.. print it and move on.
It's kinda like the old Jack Douglas approach Nathan, you blend the 2 or 3 mics (same source) until you get the tone you like (he called it "phase eq"), with the processing on a buss.
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