Cutting Through The Mix

CharlyG

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I just was thinking, if EVERYONE in the band wants to cut thru the mix, then the "cut thru" IS the mix, and I would assume engineers would be the ones that should decide how much you "cut thru the mix"..


:munch
 

mbargav

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:huh

Hmm. I don't know about other folks, but when I use the phrase, I generally mean sitting in the mix so you aren't constantly overlapping someone else. If you are sitting where you should be in the mix (varies according to band of course), don't you immediately cut through?
 

CharlyG

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well, it seems to me when folks talk about it, they want to hear themselves a bit above everyone else. Maybe I am wrong. I don't go above high E on the bass as it is in the same audio space as the guitar after that.
 

SW33THAND5

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I just was thinking, if EVERYONE in the band wants to cut thru the mix, then the "cut thru" IS the mix, and I would assume engineers would be the ones that should decide how much you "cut thru the mix"..


:munch

#1 regardless if everyone wants to cut through the mix or not... not everyone should. each section has its place in a song. sometimes that place is in the back.

#2 i see engineers who have terrible mixes, all the time. in fact, who knows better how your music should sound than you? now its good to listen to a producer, but untimately, i make the final decision on music that i have written.

#3 everyone can be clearly mixed if things are done right. the hardest part is for two guitars to be mixed together and still be clearly different. that is why a lot of bands will have one guy that uses humbuckers and a marshal (for instance) and another guy who uses single coils and an overdriven BF type of fender. sonically they are less likely to MUSH together

#4 as a bass player, you probably need to turn down. i know that and i haven't even heard you play. ;)
 

SW33THAND5

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:huh

Hmm. I don't know about other folks, but when I use the phrase, I generally mean sitting in the mix so you aren't constantly overlapping someone else. If you are sitting where you should be in the mix (varies according to band of course), don't you immediately cut through?

i agree with you. being clearly heard and cutting through a mix doesn't always mean "louder" ...(thats what p90s are for) :)


also... use your volume knob. turn it down when the singer sings and during the verses as needed. on heavier parts or on solos, turn it up.


simple things to be clear in a mix
 

CharlyG

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umm, no I have used a wireless and checked out my place in the "mix".

The cut thru topic is most noticeable among lead guitar players it seems.
 

jspax7

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Cutting through the mix has more to do with EQ than volume. Same with recording. Two instruments with the same EQ will "mask" each other. (frequency masking)
Reverb tends to reduce presence and making instruments sound distant. Effects that sound great at home can muddy up a mix live. Especially in a "live" room.

If you play in a group with 2 guitarists, using a different type of guitar, (Strat vs Les Paul for example) will help you to cut through. If both players use Strats, try a different pickup than the other guitarist. Use a differnt EQ setting on your amp too.

If you mic the amps, and run a stereo mix, panning the guitars can help too. A good sound man can should know this, but help him out by having a clean on stage mix to start with.

Bottom line is: if everyone has their place in the mix, everyone can be heard and volume wars can be eliminated.
 

ksandvik

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Yep, it's all in the eq. And cutting through the mix does not always mean to boost the EQ, rather decreasing the eq of other instruments at certain frequencies so everything fits well. If all the instruments compete on let's say the 1k frequency, it is not 'cutting through the mix.'
 

jspax7

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well, it seems to me when folks talk about it, they want to hear themselves a bit above everyone else. Maybe I am wrong. I don't go above high E on the bass as it is in the same audio space as the guitar after that.
One other thing that I noticed when I played Bass: If I wasn't running a line out to the board, I would dial in a brighter tone. Out front the brighter tone would become a nice round, but distinct note.

I hate going to hear concerts where the bass is washed out in sub frequencies. Kinda' like the kid with the car stereo where the bass shakes the house from a block away...
 

Brian D

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...in fact, who knows better how your music should sound than you?
Maybe so, but the engineer knows better than you how the mix sounds out in the house while you're performing it. He/she not only hears the complete blend of all the instruments together, but also how the venue/crowd is affecting the sound. A good one will compensate for things that aren't apparent on stage, and make it sound better for the audience.

Cutting through the mix has more to do with EQ than volume. Same with recording.
Yep, it's all in the eq. And cutting through the mix does not always mean to boost the EQ, rather decreasing the eq of other instruments at certain frequencies so everything fits well. If all the instruments compete on let's say the 1k frequency, it is not 'cutting through the mix.'
Yep, EQ is king. And in general, it's always best to try cutting before boosting.
 

CharlyG

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^^^^^That's what I was tryin to say about the engineer, he's out there and knows WAY better what it sounds like out in the audience.
 

SW33THAND5

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^^^^^That's what I was tryin to say about the engineer, he's out there and knows WAY better what it sounds like out in the audience.
you guys must play better clubs than i do. i find that most of the board guys SUCK at getting a good mix. i always have a friend that i trust walk and listen to the mix while we are on the stage, because i agree. the mix that you hear in the audience can sound much different than what is on the monitors
 

Cody

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From Deep Purple's 'Made In Japan' - I forget before which song:

"Everything louder than everything else".
 

DGTCrazy

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FWIW....I use the term "Cut through the Mix" to refer to TONE, and not VOLUME. I want to be in a tonal area that doesn't compete with either my Bass Player, Rhythm Guitarist or Keyboard player.

Some of what we do guitar-wise for example, is my rhythm guitarist uses a Humbucker equipped guitar, when I use a single coil. He plays his parts in the Cowboy Chord area, I usually use simple triads, 4th's, 5'th and/or alternate chord voicings. He uses an EL 84 based amp, I use a 6L6.

Getting louder does nothing more than make the "MUD" more noticeable IMO. We have a full-time sound engineer with one job: Provide a good mix...LOL

In cutting through the Mix, it's all about knowing what instrument falls into what Frequency, as this chart illustrates. The guitar falls into the 50 Hz to 1 KHz range.

 

guitfiddle

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Lots of times, when a player wishes for more cut, what they really want is for the band to put themselves in the right place volume wise. Solos stand out in the best bands without the lead player having to boost the hell out of the volume for them, because the rest of the band lays back enough to let them come forward.
 

Lance

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For me, what seems to work best is turning down the low end. To almost nothing. This is in a 5 piece with two guitars and keys. Usually the only time I get washed out now, is when the keyboard player hits the lower register stuff on the B3. This was a suggestion made by the bass player, and I stupidly fought him on this. Until we broke out a sound analyzer, and he proved it to me. I think was around 2003 or 2004. I did go back and apologize to him. It was a real eye opener, and that band sounded a lot better after that. I was playing through a SFTR, and though I only had the bass knob around 4, it was still way too much low end. This really wasn't a bedroom player sitch either, as I had been playing out for a very long time before this band. It was more of an idiot sitch, and just being stubborn and really liking the sound I was getting from that amp. I just didn't want to screw up that beautiful clean tone I was getting.
 

smallbutmighty

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The previous three posts are dead on.

It's all about frequencies and inter-band dynamics.

A guitar that sounds great solo'ed doesn't always sound good in a mix. In fact I would go so far as to say usually doesn't sound good in a mix. There is invariably too much low end, too much distortion, and too many frequencies competing with other instruments for sonic space.
 




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