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Tipes for mixing Piano and guitars

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LemonCrush
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Tipes for mixing Piano and guitars Feb. 17th, 2013 @ 02:00 AM Reply

I have a hard time separating them. They cove each other up because they're both mid-range based instrument.

So if you guys have a clean, electric guitar, and a piano on the same track, how do you EQ them so they each have a distinct sound? How do you keep them from clashing drowning each other out?

The-iMortal
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Response to Tipes for mixing Piano and guitars Feb. 17th, 2013 @ 03:20 AM Reply

Is the guitar playing the lead melody, and the piano playing harmony/backing chords? Or vice versa?

MetalRenard
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Response to Tipes for mixing Piano and guitars Feb. 17th, 2013 @ 04:43 AM Reply

Piano is mid-range? Nah, piano is EVERY range. Haha
Piano covers every frequency almost, while guitar covers from 200 up to 20k (depending on tone), nearly everything.
I mix guitar and piano all the time. I exaggerate the piano's lows and highs then cut the guitar below 250hz and boost it in the high mids around 2k-5k.
Erm.. I have some examples I can show you but I guess that might be seen as advertising. -_-


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ChainsawPolice
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Response to Tipes for mixing Piano and guitars Feb. 17th, 2013 @ 05:36 AM Reply

At 2/17/13 04:43 AM, MetalRenard wrote: I have some examples I can show you but I guess that might be seen as advertising. -_-

Advertising and assistance are two totally different things. It's all about the intent!


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Ragamuffin
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Response to Tipes for mixing Piano and guitars Feb. 17th, 2013 @ 06:10 AM Reply

At 2/17/13 02:00 AM, LemonCrush wrote: I have a hard time separating them. They cove each other up because they're both mid-range based instrument.

So if you guys have a clean, electric guitar, and a piano on the same track, how do you EQ them so they each have a distinct sound? How do you keep them from clashing drowning each other out?

Exaggerate the stereo width of the piano, shrink the stereo width of the guitar.
Find any frequencies on the piano that are sticking out and kill those fucks back down gently.
If the guitar is a lead instrument in this situation, there's nothing wrong with trying a 1k boost of ~3db, which will make it stick out quite a bit, without lowering the piano much.
The biggest problem I had with instruments drowning each-other was before I learned not to compress the master like a crazy. So make sure you're not doing anything like that.


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SourJovis
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Response to Tipes for mixing Piano and guitars Feb. 17th, 2013 @ 08:20 AM Reply

The best solution for avoiding similar frequency instruments drowning each other out is in the composition itself. Have them play different notes, and/or at different frequencies. If they do play the same notes you at least make the octaves different. In my experience a piano has a much wider range than a guitar, so play the mid notes with the guitar and mostly high and low ones with the piano. When both instruments are deliberately on the same frequency you can do some extreme panning. Other people have mentioned eq-ing and I think they're right in what they say, just I think the composition is more important. Eq-ing should complement the composition not counteract it in an attempt to fix problems that shouldnâEUTMt have been there in the first place.


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Ragamuffin
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Response to Tipes for mixing Piano and guitars Feb. 17th, 2013 @ 09:05 AM Reply

At 2/17/13 08:20 AM, SourJovis wrote: The best solution for avoiding similar frequency instruments drowning each other out is in the composition itself.

This is great advice, but some of us are audio engineers, and in our day-to-day work, we can't always alter the composition. We're handed audio and it's our job to make it work, no matter what. I'm currently only interning, but I can already see how important tricks like EQ and Compression are to fixing bad audio in the mix.

I still say that properly recorded sound doesn't need EQ.

For the musicians, here's an interactive, intuitive explanation of the different frequency bands and the most important instruments that sit within them. n.n

http://www.independentrecording.net/irn/resources/freqchart/
main_display.htm

Learn it. At the bottom, there are descriptive words of different sonic characteristics. Best thing ever.


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LemonCrush
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Response to Tipes for mixing Piano and guitars Feb. 17th, 2013 @ 11:53 AM Reply

At 2/17/13 03:20 AM, The-iMortal wrote: Is the guitar playing the lead melody, and the piano playing harmony/backing chords? Or vice versa?

It's playing chords, and the guitar is playing arpeggiated of the same chords

LemonCrush
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Response to Tipes for mixing Piano and guitars Feb. 17th, 2013 @ 11:56 AM Reply

At 2/17/13 06:10 AM, ATTW7-Envy wrote: Exaggerate the stereo width of the piano, shrink the stereo width of the guitar.
Find any frequencies on the piano that are sticking out and kill those fucks back down gently.
If the guitar is a lead instrument in this situation, there's nothing wrong with trying a 1k boost of ~3db, which will make it stick out quite a bit, without lowering the piano much.

This actually helped immensely.
Thanks much. I'll be sure to keep it in mind in the future

Ragamuffin
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Response to Tipes for mixing Piano and guitars Feb. 17th, 2013 @ 12:00 PM Reply

At 2/17/13 11:53 AM, LemonCrush wrote: It's playing chords, and the guitar is playing arpeggiated of the same chords

If this is your own music, I would definitely take Jovis' advice, and move the arpeggiatation down and up octaves. Plus, the piano hitting the strong, low notes adds power to the sound.
Are there other instruments (bass guitar) in the mix?


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Ragamuffin
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Response to Tipes for mixing Piano and guitars Feb. 17th, 2013 @ 12:01 PM Reply

At 2/17/13 11:56 AM, LemonCrush wrote: This actually helped immensely.
Thanks much. I'll be sure to keep it in mind in the future

Oh, lovely.
Anytime. c:


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DavidOrr
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Response to Tipes for mixing Piano and guitars Feb. 17th, 2013 @ 12:56 PM Reply

Given both instruments have accompaniment roles, you can also pan them to give each their own breathing room. I'm working on a track with 3 accordion parts right now, and the only way I've been able to get them to play nicely is the combine slight EQing with some pretty heavy panning. The problem with only using EQ to give each instrument their own space is that you can severely weaken each sound in the process.

Likewise, you can experiment with slight reverb and delay adjustments to give the impression they are at different points in the room/stage. Just be careful not to overdo it or else you'll give your headphone listeners a headache!


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MetalRenard
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Response to Tipes for mixing Piano and guitars Feb. 17th, 2013 @ 02:06 PM Reply

Damn, we're all silly. Nobody asked what genre of music he's mixing for. -_-

Following previous (good) suggestions...
Pop or rock - make the piano wider and pan the guitar to one side
Hard rock - make everything wide by recording all the guitar parts twice, one for each side, but make the piano wider than the guitar
Heavy metal - make the guitar wider than the piano.

Also a boost at 1k for guitar is always good for lead guitar. *thumbs up*.


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LemonCrush
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Response to Tipes for mixing Piano and guitars Feb. 17th, 2013 @ 02:39 PM Reply

At 2/17/13 02:06 PM, MetalRenard wrote: Damn, we're all silly. Nobody asked what genre of music he's mixing for. -_-

Following previous (good) suggestions...
Pop or rock - make the piano wider and pan the guitar to one side
Hard rock - make everything wide by recording all the guitar parts twice, one for each side, but make the piano wider than the guitar
Heavy metal - make the guitar wider than the piano.

Also a boost at 1k for guitar is always good for lead guitar. *thumbs up*.

It wouldn't have mattered, I don't know how to categorize what I play xD

But I wil def. keep these tips in mind!!

SourJovis
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Response to Tipes for mixing Piano and guitars Feb. 17th, 2013 @ 06:51 PM Reply

At 2/17/13 09:05 AM, ATTW7-Envy wrote: This is great advice, but some of us are audio engineers, and in our day-to-day work, we can't always alter the composition. We're handed audio and it's our job to make it work, no matter what. I'm currently only interning, but I can already see how important tricks like EQ and Compression are to fixing bad audio in the mix.
I still say that properly recorded sound doesn't need EQ.

True. Work for an audio engineer is never done. Even good recordings can be improved. Still, prevention is better than cure. Also in my experience good recordings are easier to clean than bad ones, you can do much more with them mixing wise and it's much more rewarding. I think good recordings can still use EQing, but avoid overdoing it.

For the musicians, here's an interactive, intuitive explanation of the different frequency bands and the most important instruments that sit within them. n.n

Nice chart. Very helpful.


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MetalRenard
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Response to Tipes for mixing Piano and guitars Feb. 17th, 2013 @ 07:37 PM Reply

At 2/17/13 09:05 AM, ATTW7-Envy wrote: I'm currently only interning, but I can already see how important tricks like EQ and Compression are to fixing bad audio in the mix.
I still say that properly recorded sound doesn't need EQ.

*sigh* This again? You're missing the point of what a mix engineer's job is. EQ, compression, all that mixing stuff, is not just "a way to FIX recording issues", they're a way to ENHANCE them. Sure, you don't NEED to enhance a good recording, but that's what, in the words of iMortal in the last thread this came up, "makes a good mix GREAT". It's like "I don't need a $2000 mic to record vocals", sure you don't, but that mic will sound better than your $100 mic every time. It's not NECESSARY, but wouldn't you rather have it?


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Ragamuffin
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Response to Tipes for mixing Piano and guitars Feb. 18th, 2013 @ 02:46 AM Reply

At 2/17/13 07:37 PM, MetalRenard wrote: *sigh* This again?

Guess what.

Tipes for mixing Piano and guitars


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LemonCrush
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Response to Tipes for mixing Piano and guitars Feb. 18th, 2013 @ 03:45 AM Reply

Well, the Reaper freezes whenever I try to listen to a playback and only on this project....so I'll have to start from scratch anyway lol.

Wasn't doing this earlier today, just randomly started doing it now. And evidently there's no fix for it. fuuuuuuuuuuu-

MetalRenard
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Response to Tipes for mixing Piano and guitars Feb. 18th, 2013 @ 06:06 AM Reply

At 2/18/13 02:46 AM, ATTW7-Envy wrote:
At 2/17/13 07:37 PM, MetalRenard wrote: *sigh* This again?
Guess what.

OH. OH!... OH!!! XD
Good one. Hahahahaahahaha


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SourJovis
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Response to Tipes for mixing Piano and guitars Feb. 18th, 2013 @ 09:54 AM Reply

At 2/18/13 03:45 AM, LemonCrush wrote: Well, the Reaper freezes whenever I try to listen to a playback and only on this project....so I'll have to start from scratch anyway lol.

Make it better.


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LemonCrush
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Response to Tipes for mixing Piano and guitars Feb. 18th, 2013 @ 12:24 PM Reply

At 2/18/13 09:54 AM, SourJovis wrote: Make it better.

I'll try. It was coming along really really well.

Ragamuffin
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Response to Tipes for mixing Piano and guitars Feb. 20th, 2013 @ 02:40 AM Reply

At 2/18/13 03:45 AM, LemonCrush wrote: Well, the Reaper freezes

What. Whoa whoa whoa.
Has it ever done that before?!

I told my friend to buy Reaper as his entry-level DAW, but if it does this kind of mess, I don't want him to have to deal with it.

Please respond, etc.

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MetalRenard
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Response to Tipes for mixing Piano and guitars Feb. 20th, 2013 @ 04:55 AM Reply

At 2/20/13 02:40 AM, ATTW7-Envy wrote:
At 2/18/13 03:45 AM, LemonCrush wrote: Well, the Reaper freezes
What. Whoa whoa whoa.
Has it ever done that before?!

I told my friend to buy Reaper as his entry-level DAW, but if it does this kind of mess, I don't want him to have to deal with it.
Please respond, etc.

Lol I expect it's not REAPER that's to blame, but one of his instruments.
Try starting the project in recovery mode (hit the check box before you open the project FROM INSIDE REAPER) and it will open just fine. Then you can test and see which VST is being a bitch and kill it.

REAPER is very steady, don't worry.


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mshonkw1
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Response to Tipes for mixing Piano and guitars Feb. 20th, 2013 @ 09:48 AM Reply

At 2/17/13 02:00 AM, LemonCrush wrote: I have a hard time separating them. They cove each other up because they're both mid-range based instrument.

So if you guys have a clean, electric guitar, and a piano on the same track, how do you EQ them so they each have a distinct sound? How do you keep them from clashing drowning each other out?

Mirror EQ-ing helps a lot. Boost a range in one instrument you need more of, then scoop that same range out of the other. Effective panning helps a lot as well. My favorite trick for guitars is to double the track, pan one hard left, and the other hard right. Adding some delay to the right one (20-30 ms) REALLY fattens up the tone and leaves everywhere but the extreme ends open for the piano spread. This lets them both live in their own space.

Experiment with the delay time on the guitar, as this can sometimes cause phase issues and make the guitar sound funny. Even without the delay, this ghost copy idea is extremely effective.

Ragamuffin
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Response to Tipes for mixing Piano and guitars Feb. 20th, 2013 @ 01:33 PM Reply

At 2/20/13 04:55 AM, MetalRenard wrote: REAPER is very steady, don't worry.

Oh, right, that. I forget that all DAWs don't handle plugins like Bitwig does..

They should, though.


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Response to Tipes for mixing Piano and guitars Feb. 20th, 2013 @ 01:45 PM Reply

At 2/20/13 02:40 AM, ATTW7-Envy wrote:
At 2/18/13 03:45 AM, LemonCrush wrote: Well, the Reaper freezes
What. Whoa whoa whoa.
Has it ever done that before?!

I told my friend to buy Reaper as his entry-level DAW, but if it does this kind of mess, I don't want him to have to deal with it.
Please respond, etc.

The only time I had Reaper "freeze" on me was when, during playback, communication with my audio interface was interrupted. That is, the USB cable to said interface was disconnected while in use. Playback would just stop and just connecting the cable back fixed "the problem". Playback also stops if I assign the audio drivers currently in use to something else (such as minimizing Reaper. Which is great because you don't have to close it and reopen it if you want to listen to other things).

Using FL Studio at a friend's PC, if the above happened to me (sometimes because I was careless or just unplugged the interface without thinking twice) I'd get blue screened with some driver malfunction bullshit.

That said, I could probably keep 5 instances of Reaper running at the same time without slowing down performance or crashing issues.

Just personal experience.

MetalRenard
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Response to Tipes for mixing Piano and guitars Feb. 20th, 2013 @ 02:08 PM Reply

At 2/20/13 01:33 PM, ATTW7-Envy wrote:
At 2/20/13 04:55 AM, MetalRenard wrote: REAPER is very steady, don't worry.
Oh, right, that. I forget that all DAWs don't handle plugins like Bitwig does..

They should, though.

Actually REAPER does have a plugin firewall. You have to choose to use the plugin as a "dedicated process". You can set this as default too. It's less efficient, but you can do it.


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