Looking for a frequency spectrum guide to give each instrument it's own space

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by Dr. Tweedbucket, Feb 22, 2012.

  1. Dr. Tweedbucket

    Dr. Tweedbucket Deluxe model available !!!11

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    I'm recording and mixing without the aid of visual EQ (no computers involved) and it's hard keeping definition between the kick drum and bass, and then the vocals and guitars.

    I'm assuming the kick would take the sub frequency, and bass would be higher, but now what I'm hearing is the bass and guitar overlapping and the bass is getting muddy sounding :huh

    Anyway, is there any chart or general guide for the fly by the seat of your pants guys like me?
     
  2. Pietro

    Pietro 2-Voice Guitar Junkie and All-Around Awesome Guy

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    There was always great stuff in this book.

    but...

    be careful not to get TOO much frequency separation between instruments in similar ranges... Otherwise, in my experience, it sounds like bad fusion-muzak. sterile, artificial, and boring... Some of my favorite mixes (both my own and "famous" stuff) have kick and bass "stepping on" each other quite a bit.
     
  3. Dr. Tweedbucket

    Dr. Tweedbucket Deluxe model available !!!11

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    oh cool! great idea, thanks!
     
  4. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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  5. rob2001

    rob2001 Member

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  6. rob2001

    rob2001 Member

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    Ha! Beat me to it Tom!

    Ya, I think it's an awesome chart.



    Otherwise, with bass and kick I think it totally depends on the song as to which might occupy the lower or upper range, or how much overlap there may be.
     
  7. Rex Anderson

    Rex Anderson Member

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    A lot of DAW programs have an RTA (real time analyzer) or spectral analyzer built in or you can add plug in software for that function. It's a valuable tool to have and cheaper than buying a hardware version. You can solo up an instrument and look at the spectral content to identify the fundamental frequency. Maybe it's time to get a basic DAW program just for this application to help learn.

    Knowing pitch to frequency relationships helps (low E bass guitar = 41.2 Hz etc).

    Not all kick drums etc have the same spectral content-it's based on the size of the drum, the tuning of the heads etc.

    In your EQ parameters (in a DAW), you should be able to adjust "Q" = CF/BW, that is, the center frequency divided by the band width. This makes the bell shaped curve narrower or wider around the center frequency. This will help focus in on how the EQ effects the character of the instrument you are "tone shaping".

    Use your ears, adjust the EQ until you get the sound you are looking for.

    I like to solo up instruments when doing EQ so I can hear what is happening better, but you have to make sure whatever EQ you use works in the context of the mix-soloing just helps me with that process. Many engineers say they don't solo for EQ. I go back and forth (solo/not solo) until it sits in the mix where I want it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2012
  8. mthomps

    mthomps Member

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    Here is a chart of frequencies and there notes.

    http://www.phy.mtu.edu/~suits/notefreqs.html

    For the vocal problem the first thing I would try is just rolling off the low end of your guitar bus then try it with the bass in that bus to see if that also takes care of the kick problem.
     
  9. Rex Anderson

    Rex Anderson Member

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    Bass and guitar frequencies do overlap. The fundamental Low E on bass is just one octave lower, so the E on the D string of the bass is the same E as the low E on the guitar = 82 Hz.

    Muddy bass guitar may be a result of tracking-it may be muddy sounding due to the pickup, the tone control etc. Solo it up and see if it lacks definition solo'd. EQ it for clarity. Combine kick and bass only (two things solo'd)and make them work together but have definition. Un-solo and adjust balance and fullness with EQ again.

    Depending on the tuning of the kick drum, it can be lower or higher than the bass guitar-ya gotta listen and carve out space on each one so they work together. Decide whether bass or kick carries the lowest frequency weight and then let it-low cut the other instrument so they aren't combining at the same frequency and getting cluttered. Many times the kick may be better off with more attack and midrange punch than deep low end. Listen on small speakers as well as big ones.

    Same with guitars and vocals-they sit in the same frequency range. Subtle (or less than subtle) panning helps separate things for clarity. Keep the vocal dead center and pan the guitars off center.
     

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