Mixed Song using Ardour 2.7

Here’s a song from my band that I mixed/mastered in Ardour 2.7. Guitars prob. need some more work, but I got my bass drum sounding pretty sweet (sounds like it was triggered).


Please leave comments and suggestions!!

I took your advice, cbreeze34, and bought a Shure SM57 off of ebay (NIB). It is likely we will be re-recording all of our songs now since I have new mics (and the more recently purchased M-Audio Bx5a Deluxe Monitors).

I love the song dude…I usually don’t comment often, but I thought you guys sound excellent. My only suggestion is that in some parts the bass sounds weak but that can be easily fixed with more mixing, but all in all I love it. I hope that will help you!!!

Thanks!! Got any suggestions as far as EQ? I have ‘enveloped’ the bass track so it seems even by itself (mostly), but I think it gets lost in some of the high-end guitar parts (bass is high notes too so kinda hard to pull that out more).

What kind of effects do you use on the bass? Maybe be using a little bit of effects on the bass on certain parts if you can isolate parts with effects use…I hope this isn’t vague? I am new to ardour but I have done live mixing on boards.

I really just used a bit of EQ in the mid range and the SC4 mono compressor.

Changing subjects: Do you have any good tips for recording guitar. This topic seems to be subjective on the web. I’ve read there’s like 3 different methods:

  1. Mic right up against the speaker cabinet screen
  2. Mic about a foot away (to get room ambiance)
  3. Mic about 6" away, with a bedsheet covering the amp/mic setup.

My basement is essentially concrete walls with carpet on the floor. It’s dead! I don’t have a Sure m57 like the pros suggest, just a Samsun (I think that’s the brand) mic w/ the typical silver screen ball on a black mount. The track I posted in this thread was using the “about a foot away” method. But is sounds a little flat to me. Given the info about my basement, should I have put the mic right up against the speaker?

I’ve recently started miking guitar cabs front and back with two SM-57s, inverting the polarity on the rear one, and am loving the results. The front mic captures the definition, and the rear mic gets extra low-end that the front mic misses. It gives you two tracks you can use to “dial-in” the tone you’re looking for. There’s still plenty of room for experimentation with mic placement though.

What sort of audio interface are you using? If it has a Hi-Z input (or if you have a DI laying around), try recording the guitars directly and messing about with Guitar Rig 3 (free demo downloadable at native instruments, works flawlessly with fst/jack). What I usually do is set up my recording like so (for hard-rock guitar sounds, should work for metal as well):

  1. Guitar in an amp with SM57 pointed directly at the cone of the speaker, about 5cm (two inches) away. I just dial my live sound in this.
  2. Split the guitar signal before the amp, plug it directly in my Motu’s Hi-Z input and dial in a different, but similarly hard/distorted sound (usually a Marshall JCM-800 based sound with extra distortion :slight_smile: ) in Guitar Rig 3.
  3. Record the live signal, the GR3 signal and the dry signal in Ardour (gives me 3 tracks)
  4. Pan the live sound 80% to the left, the GR3 sound 80% to the right. If I’m not happy with the live sound, I take the dry signal and set up a second GR3 sound to replace it.

This is pretty easy to set up, and gives me the most flexibility afterwards. In a lot of situations, I just don’t bother with the amp anymore, you loose some feel when playing, but the resulting sound is just as good and it’s easier to record and make it sound right :).

I’ll post a song as soon as I have recorded the vocals and replaced the hydrogen drums with some real drums :).

I don’t have any direct input devices for guitars… I just mic the amp and have it pass through my Maya1010 breakout box (Delta1010 spin off). I was experimenting with two mics (front of cab/back of cab) but I didn’t hear/feel the real advantage of doing this since the “back” mic just picked up a bunch of bloated bass that sounded horrible by itself. I also have two guitarists; I pan each guitar 30% L and R, respectively. I’m going to post a new version of the song here in the next couple of days. Stay Tuned!!

I thought hippies did big djembe circles. :slight_smile:

A couple quick observations:
*snare drum; the “boing” sounds like a metal shell, yes? as a rule, I don’t use tape on drums with the exception of the snare where I use it to control that boing note that’s in your snare. A 4" x 2" strip of gaff tape with a couple squares of toilet paper rolled under it, taped to the drum rim, partially onto the head and directly under its microphone will dampen that invasive note/sound.
*high hat; I like the loud hats but too much of the low frequencies are EQd out. They’re on the verge of whistling. High Pass cymbals just enough to lose %80ish of drums then stop. That will get rid of enough bleed and still sound natural.

Panning the kit; kick noon, snare 1:00, hat 1:30/2:00, rackR 3:00, rackL 9:00, floor 8:00, overR/L hard left and right. We fill the stereo field from hard L to hard R with drums. Look at the kit and see that what I suggest will pretty much line up with the layout of a typical right handed drummer.

With the snare at 1:00 and the hat at 2:00 there’s a guitar whole at 11:00. Especially appropriate if 11:00 is where the guitarist stands on stage.

Guitar Production
On the black metal album I’m producing now, I spent a full day running around town listening to guitar amps with an obsessed guitar fiend. We listened to many amps and none of them impressed me until the jcm 800. What a kick ass amp.

I did the typical front/back dual mic configuration. The jcm 800 was noisey as hell in the studio. We couldn’t figure it out until half the service panel in the building lost power. The wire coming into the building broke neutral which explains the noise and then it broke one of two positives. I kept some guitar tracks with the noise and did A/B comparisons to the new tracks with proper ground. Nite and day. Even if you can’t hear the noise during full on playing it’s compromising the tone to an incredible degree. Suck!

Despite songs with up to 13 tempo and signature changes, we were lucky to have someone that took the time to program the tempo maps. Because of the maps, we could mult both guitarists to produce eight tracks without softening the guitar mix-think of a photographic picture thats out of focus, aka soft. Suck!

I’m mixing now and it seems that panning guitarist #1 and his four tracks hard left with #2 hard right is the biggest and most distinct sound. The only time it’s uncomfortable is when one of the guitarists suspends to mute. Several solutions come to mind, I’ll probably send the guitars into a stereo reverb to give each a more natural in the room presence. If I don’t like that, I’ll auto pan one of the two mults from it’s hard left or right position to 12:00 and then return back when the other guitar comes back in.

Anyway, I think you’ve done a fine job and maybe I’ve shared a couple tangible strategies that you can experiment with.

That was an excellent contribution to this thread. Now, to answer your questions (Hehehehe).

Yes, it is a metal shell 14" snare (old school). I actually placed two moon gels on it to add a bit of muffle, so I’m surprised you picked out a lot of “boing.” I may have added too much reverb or gate? I’ll try the toilet paper approach and compare sounds.

Hi Hats… yeah, I have a habit of taking out just about everything less than 500Hz. My guitar player said I made them too tinny too so I’ll work on that when I get the new guitar tracks imported.

Drum panning: That setup is actually in the mix (but opposite). My Bass is center, Snare @ 11. Hats @ 9, Toms @ 10, 2, and 4 (respectively), and Condesers @ 30% L/R. You must have a left handed drummer!!! Sound-On-Sound articles gave me that insight some time ago. I’m not sure if you didn’t hear it in the mix… or just posted that as an FYI. Either way, great stuff for anyone reading this thread.

On guitars: You may have given me a revelation!! I have one guitar amp that’s quiet and another that’s noisy as hell. I wonder if it’s the power strip my other guitar player is using? Cause my basement outlets are direct wired to a new fuse in the fuse panel (really short runs and like 10gauge wire). As for the panning… I tried 100% R & L, respectively, but I just have a problem with panning all the way when one guitar kicks out or when stereo playback is lost (like… if you lose a speaker, you don’t lose a guitar!). Sound-On-Sound articles seem to imply 30-30 is a good “safe” method so I went that route.

Thank you for the kind words and strategies… look forward to hearing the mix your working on (cause Death metal RULZ!!). Now, back to my hacky-sack “Circle!”.

BTW… Know how to “Reverse Polarity” on a waveform in Ardour?

UPDATE: Nvrmnd… found it in the Mixer (click on track name).

Without listening again, the first several notes of your snare tell the story. I didn’t mention it previously but either the reverb room wasn’t exactly right or the tail was long and those notes are louder than any others in the song. I don’t know what moon gels are but imagine they lay on top of the drum head. they won’t do anything for the boing that originates in the metal rim. I should snap a picture of the dampener.

Designing Reverb for Drum Kits
Why the gated reverb? We’re attempting to cut the snare sustain/length before the kick drum plays. If the snare doesn’t play over the kick, it can’t compete for space. Follow me? Think of it as tightening the mix. You can imagine how many opportunities to tighten exist in a song with 32 tracks.

The pan concept you learned from SOS is wrong. We don’t pan for drummers and their less important counterparts; singers, guitarists and flutists. Our perspective is that of the listener. Where does the listener hear the snare? At 1:00, not 11:00. Maybe your drummer is left handed. :slight_smile: I learned this many years before SOS existed. Your hat sounded like it was dead on at noon which is why I described panning–I have no explanation for that. The kick and bass sounded on at noon.

Drums are the foundation we build upon. The stereo field is what describes our spacial opportunities or limits. Panning the over heads hard Left and Right uses the full potential of the stereo field. I like to have all the space I can get when designing mixes.

I’m not sure if it’s OK with my client to post their music. It might be acceptable to post partial examples like a segment of drums. And thats an interesting study because our philosophies have 180 degrees of difference.

I’ve enjoyed listening to your song and discussing production. When I get done decimating all misconceptions within the world of music production, I’m gonna take a hard look at the fashion industry. The problem is that I know more than anybody and am never wrong. Ever. I’m so incredible, I can’t stand to talk to myself anymore.

CRAP!!! You’re right!
I didn’t even think about that… that the audience would hear the instruments backwards from my own perspective. I have my guitarists panned to the wrong side too then. I panned the sound as though I was behind the stage, not in front of it/facing it. While my left ear always hears the solos (behind the kit), the audience actually hears them in their right ears. AHHH… the madness to mixing!

Is there any way you could provide a few screenshots of your mixer for the drums and guitars? It would be so helpful to understand what the panning looks like and what plugins your using. The idea is not to copy everything and hope it does magic for me… but to understand what I can be using to improve the sound quality. To be perfectly honest, the screenshot on Ardour’s homepage is what got me started!!!
(email: hippie AT cynonyte DOT com (to fend off the spam bots)).

I want to talk about myself one day! For now, I’ll remain humble and awed by your greatness!!

Gratzie thorgal,

Yeah, this recording was my first attempt at mixing with Ardour (and I was pretty proud of it at the time… hehehehe). Obviously, general opinions have influenced how I move forward and since starting this thread, I’ve purchased new M-Audio monitors, new Shure SM57 mics, and even rearranged my basement. I have new guitar tracks recorded so far… but the singer wants to redo his vox too, so still waiting on that to get done. I hope to have a new rendition of the song posted here soon. The feedback is awesome and I want to get some opinions as to whether I’m getting better or worse at this whole thing!!!


there are four images that might be helpful. somewhere i have a more complete series in that style. Drew Circles, visual artist, does a fine job of interpreting my oddball directives, “comical, obsessed” and within a minute appears the disneyesque blood shot eyeballs.

i’ll try to provide more visual and audible examples as time permits.

I did the typical front/back dual mic configuration. The jcm 800 was noisey as hell in the studio. We couldn’t figure it out until half the service panel in the building lost power. The wire coming into the building broke neutral which explains the noise and then it broke one of two positives. I kept some guitar tracks with the noise and did A/B comparisons to the new tracks with proper ground. Nite and day. Even if you can’t hear the noise during full on playing it’s compromising the tone to an incredible degree. Suck!

Despite songs with up to 13 tempo and signature changes, we were lucky to have someone that took the time to program the tempo maps. Because of the maps, we could mult both guitarists to produce eight tracks without softening the guitar mix-think of a photographic picture thats out of focus, aka soft. Suck!
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Comical indeed… yet very self-descriptive. Thanks (in advance too).

ciao Hippie,

while rtp has valuable comments, consider them as suggestions. You do what sounds OK to your ears. Talking about that, your mp3 does not come out right from my studio speakers, sounds like there’s a lot of room for improvement. I even hear some buzz from the guitar amp :smiley:

yes, it sounds quite squashed and does not breathe too much. I am not really into this style of music so I cannot really judge but the sound mix reminds me of what comes out of some cheap boomblaster playing on the beach :smiley:

I know this guitar sound is typical of the genre, but I really don’t like it. It has totally no depth, wich is essential in metal. What kind of amps do you use ? maybe that’s the problem (and then, it cannot be solved easily). The common error is to have a typical ‘V’ eq on the amp. The low end get lost in the bass drum, which result in high end noisy sound (the bee sound that can be heard on all early 80’s black and thrash production - remember the two first bathory, endless pain by kreator and other kick ass stuff like these with the low-fi production ?). If you have a high gain amp at hand (recitfier, 5150, engl, krank, whatever) don’t put to much gain. Last time I recorded guitars with my death metal band on an engl fireball, gain was at 4-5, and it was nearly too much. the eq was the following : not too much bass (around 4-5 I guess), little mid (around 3), more high (around 6). Extreme eqs make the guitars sound less within the mix.

Try different eq, but remember that what you hear is not what will be heard after the mix. Sometimes you think that guitars are less punchy at the recording, but after the mix they are really powerfull and aggressive. Sometimes it’s the opposite : you think the guitars are a killing machine, but after the mix they are drown in the other instruments and the final result is totally flat.

btw, you want something aggressive, right ? So put the mic right against the cab, that the way it sound the most brutal. the farther, the smoother.

otherwise that sounded great! It’s cool to have metal done with ardour. the song is great and well done (lot of cool melodies, great vox), I like it :slight_smile:

keep it evil !


Great Comment!! I too think the guitars are a bit flat which is why I posed the question about mic placement. To answer your questions directly, one guitar is played through a Johnson amp/Cabinet, the other through a Laney Head (old English tube) w/ Krank cabinet. I was thinking about buying a Shure SM57 mic before I get too carried away with recording, but don’t want to spend the money if there’s no real reason other than popularity. The other option was to isolate the amps more and put the mic right up against the cabinet (which you suggested will add more brutal-ness to it (and who doesn’t want that?)). I’m the drummer, so I know what I want… ya know? Its hard for me to “hear” the other instruments in the same way a pair of well-tuned ears hear them.

I recorded the guitars peaking at or around -10 to -11 decibels. Should I have gone closer to -5, -6? And lastly, should I have normalized the tracks once they’re layed out in Ardour? On this recording, I mostly relied on enveloping, tube warmth, and satan maximizer to create volume/loudness; there’s very little EQ cause I didn’t want to stray too far away from their “natural” sound.