General Question

auhsojsa's avatar

How would you go about mixing and mastering simple vocal and acoustic songs?

Asked by auhsojsa (2505 points ) February 14th, 2012

What would your mix board look like? Thanks.

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4 Answers

YoBob's avatar

My “mix board” is a computer screen.

Bottom line is you have one track per audio element. The absolute minimum is one track for the acoustic instrument and one for the vocal track. However, you usually want to do a vocal “double” track to boost the punch of the vocal line. Also there is often a harmony track or two as well as a couple of additional tracks for acoustic fills.

Each track has a basic volume control plus individual EQ as well as any filters you want to run them through plus a pan knob for their position in the final stereo mix. Finally, you have two “master” tracks that represent the stereo output. Each of these tracks also has EQ and filters if desired.

auhsojsa's avatar

@YoBob would you cut the acoustic track or add some top in the eq? i havent really seen anyone boost their acoustic so far, just cutting and i always wondered why

YoBob's avatar

It really depends on the sound you are looking for and how you mic your acoustic to begin with.

I generally lay down a click track to keep things in time, then lay down a scratch track with both vocal and acoustic, then the “real” production begins.

I record the “real” acoustic track while listening to the scratch track. I generally record that track on two channels, one from my sound hole pickup and one from a mic set near the sound hole. The two tracks have a bit different qualities and when mixed together produce a much fuller sound. EQ really depends on a lot of things, not the least of which is your particular instrument.

Next comes all the fill stuff, then finally the vocals, harmony, and final mix down.

For the vocals I highly recommend track doubling. It really makes a difference. Basically you sing the track as close to the same way as possible on two different takes and then mix one slightly lower than the other in the final mix. The result is it doesn’t sound like two voices (especially since they are both yours) but the supporting track really punches it up.

YoBob's avatar

As for “cutting”, the realities of filters (at least in the old school analog world) is they can’t add anything, only take stuff away. This is not so much true in the digital age, but you have to run that fine line of the end product being more machine than you if you go that route.

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