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Any tricks to cut down acoustic or vocal bleed?

Ryno1331

Member
Messages
2,582
I'm starting to get my feet wet recording and mixing some things. My friend sent me a song to mix that is only him singing and playing acoustic. He actually sent a guitar and vocal file separately but there is do much bleed in each one I can't effectively do what I want to one without affecting the other. Any tricks for such a situation?
 

Captngeetch

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,107
Yep. Asking him to redo it would be the best way or you can use a plugin like Accusonus ERA or Izotope RX8 which is pretty pricey and for one song, not worth it IMO. They do offer parts of RX8 separately too. RX Elements is just $29 and removes background noise and other annoying “elements” that end up on tracks. Waves also has a few different de-noising plugins

There is a post with a video of a well know mix engineer splitting a 2 track recording into 4-5 separate tracks posted on this forum. Can’t remember exactly who it was, but it’s on here.
 

Ryno1331

Member
Messages
2,582
Yep. Asking him to redo it would be the best way or you can use a plugin like Accusonus ERA or Izotope RX8 which is pretty pricey and for one song, not worth it IMO. They do offer parts of RX8 separately too. RX Elements is just $29 and removes background noise and other annoying “elements” that end up on tracks. Waves also has a few different de-noising plugins

There is a post with a video of a well know mix engineer splitting a 2 track recording into 4-5 separate tracks posted on this forum. Can’t remember exactly who it was, but it’s on here.
Good to know about those plugins - thanks. I agree not worth it though for just this situation. I'll try to get him over here to do individual tracks sometime and save the headache.
 

Bob Maximus

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
7,880
very hard to mix a singer/songwriter performance with significant bleed because plugins such as compression react much differently to vocals and acoustic. If I want separate tracks for the guitar and vocal for that type of performance to capture it live I resort to a couple of figure 8 pattern mics that when placed properly pretty much eliminate bleed.

I agree it's probably worth a redo.
 
Messages
1,644
very hard to mix a singer/songwriter performance with significant bleed because plugins such as compression react much differently to vocals and acoustic. If I want separate tracks for the guitar and vocal for that type of performance to capture it live I resort to a couple of figure 8 pattern mics that when placed properly pretty much eliminate bleed.

I agree it's probably worth a redo.
Figure 8 works well for this. Sometimes I'll do a figure 8 condenser on the acoustic guitar (12-18" out) and a dynamic up close on the vocal. Because the vocal mic is much closer than the acoustic mic, any bleed will be pretty phasey, but between the figure 8's strong null and the dynamics low sensitivity to off-axis sound, it comes out pretty clean. I've only pulled this off in a pretty dry acoustic environment though -- if you are recording in a live room, then it may not work since the reflections will get into the vocal mic.
 
Messages
1,074
I'm starting to get my feet wet recording and mixing some things. My friend sent me a song to mix that is only him singing and playing acoustic. He actually sent a guitar and vocal file separately but there is do much bleed in each one I can't effectively do what I want to one without affecting the other. Any tricks for such a situation?
How about you use the Acoustic track for attack on the acoustic. Emphasize that attack with a compressor. Then use the Vocal track to be your vocal track and 'body' of the acoustic. There are ways to work around bleed. Some people feel more comfortable singing while they play so you might get the best take that way. What exactly are you trying to do that the bleed is a problem? A lot of times mic bleed is the glue that holds tracks together. Completely isolated tracks are much harder to mix.
 

sleshnyc

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,331
yeah, just mix it like it's live. take the two tracks together and make it sound good. No reason to redo. start with the vocal track and bring the acoustic in the fill it out. You can prob put a low pass filter on the guitar so it stays out of the way of the vocal track if that's a problem.
 

JimRad

Member
Messages
99
I just did a testrecording to try using two figure 8 mics (SE X1R ribbons) and I think it worked out pretty good. There's still some bleed but way less that using the ususal mics setup.

The trick is to get the unwanted sound right in the null area of the figure 8 which means tilting the mic so the voice is 90 degrees off on the guitar mic and equally the other way around. Also, I moved the mics a little closer than I would normally do if recording guitar or voicce alone. Some careful gating on the voice track can also be used.

/Jim
 

Ryno1331

Member
Messages
2,582
How about you use the Acoustic track for attack on the acoustic. Emphasize that attack with a compressor. Then use the Vocal track to be your vocal track and 'body' of the acoustic. There are ways to work around bleed. Some people feel more comfortable singing while they play so you might get the best take that way. What exactly are you trying to do that the bleed is a problem? A lot of times mic bleed is the glue that holds tracks together. Completely isolated tracks are much harder to mix.
yeah, just mix it like it's live. take the two tracks together and make it sound good. No reason to redo. start with the vocal track and bring the acoustic in the fill it out. You can prob put a low pass filter on the guitar so it stays out of the way of the vocal track if that's a problem.
There's so much bleed in each track that they are hardly that different. I'm applying different things to each to emphasize or cut down what I want but I'm having major phase issues. As a beginner (this is my first go around) I haven't figured out how to fix the phase thing but if I do that I can definitely work with them both.
 

sleshnyc

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,331
There's so much bleed in each track that they are hardly that different. I'm applying different things to each to emphasize or cut down what I want but I'm having major phase issues. As a beginner (this is my first go around) I haven't figured out how to fix the phase thing but if I do that I can definitely work with them both.
First try flipping the phase in one. Use a simple eq plugin with a phase switch. In pro tools q1 does this
more you can line up the waveforms manuallly.
 

JiveJust

Member
Messages
2,764
This might be a long short for the OP’s situation but it works so well on drums that now I do it now on kick snare and toms.

I wonder if it would work on vocals or guitar. Basically you copy the track, flip the phase and use a compressor and high or lo passing to drastically reduce bleed.

 
Messages
1,074
There's so much bleed in each track that they are hardly that different. I'm applying different things to each to emphasize or cut down what I want but I'm having major phase issues. As a beginner (this is my first go around) I haven't figured out how to fix the phase thing but if I do that I can definitely work with them both.
Invert the phase on one of the tracks... Or align the waveform. Given there are only two tracks I'd just do it quick and dirty by hitting the phase inversion button on your EQ or trim plugin.

Mixing with all the bleed is actually a good exercise as it's basically how every drum kit is mixed. I'd actually prefer to mix with the bleed in this scenario because it gels the tracks together. Unless you are very good with compressors, isolated tracks are harder to mix.
 

Ryno1331

Member
Messages
2,582
This might be a long short for the OP’s situation but it works so well on drums that now I do it now on kick snare and toms.

I wonder if it would work on vocals or guitar. Basically you copy the track, flip the phase and use a compressor and high or lo passing to drastically reduce bleed.

Invert the phase on one of the tracks... Or align the waveform. Given there are only two tracks I'd just do it quick and dirty by hitting the phase inversion button on your EQ or trim plugin.

Mixing with all the bleed is actually a good exercise as it's basically how every drum kit is mixed. I'd actually prefer to mix with the bleed in this scenario because it gels the tracks together. Unless you are very good with compressors, isolated tracks are harder to mix.
Super thanks guys. This should work well.
 

Motterpaul

Tone is in the Ears
Messages
13,085
I mixed a whole album like that and found that if I split the tracks mostly left/right and processed each one with different delay plus EQ/compression that they both sounded pretty isolated. It worked better than I expected.

Something to do with the Hass effect?


BTW: I just noticed in this video he focuses mostly on just delay - but you can get Hass effect with compressors also by using different attack & release times.
 
Last edited:

MikeMcK

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,407
[QUOTE="d'djembe mut
This might be a long short for the OP’s situation but it works so well on drums that now I do it now on kick snare and toms.

I wonder if it would work on vocals or guitar. Basically you copy the track, flip the phase and use a compressor and high or lo passing to drastically reduce bleed.

[/QUOTE]
It works when the 2 mics aren't that close to each other. Not only do you want to minimize bleed, but the the distance between them affects how much you have to shift one or the other track, and that affects how much of the wanted signal stays unaffected.

I've done something similar when a singer insisted on singing into a condenser with monitors and no cans. Just record a second track with no singer (without moving the mic or adjusting the monitor feed) and flip the phase. The best part is that it's like a magic trick when someone sees you instantly remove the background.
 

John Quinn

Member
Messages
2,180
I'm starting to get my feet wet recording and mixing some things. My friend sent me a song to mix that is only him singing and playing acoustic. He actually sent a guitar and vocal file separately but there is do much bleed in each one I can't effectively do what I want to one without affecting the other. Any tricks for such a situation?
I think your best solution is to mix the two tracks as one. There is a lot less fuss - and you won't have to
trick the tracks. Now you could take the two tracks to four then null two of tracks for guitar and two for
vocals. Ultimately that is a lot of tweaking - and you won't end up with better tracks - just different sounding.
 

JiveJust

Member
Messages
2,764
The phase inverter compression trick JiveJust shared is legit. However, it does take some dialing in, and even after that takes some top end off the tracks.
Interesting, I haven't noticed any loss in the top end. Did you use the other suggestions in the video such and the high and low pass filtering?
 
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nsureit

Old Guy...but not too old
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,749
I ask the musician to record the vocal using a hypercardiod microphone (such as a Telefunken M80) as it will provide the greatest rejection of other sound sources, even while playing acoustic guitar. Takes some getting used to, but vocalist must be snug against the mic. When ideally recording guitar and vocal separately, I can use monitors positioned behind the hypercardiod mic and get little, if any bleed. Use a gate plugin to tune out the undesirable frequencies.
 




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