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Thread: Solo won't "sit" in the mix

  1. #1
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    Solo won't "sit" in the mix

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    I'm working on a demo of a song. It's my first project in Reaper so I'm just figuring things out, but I laid down a solo using a different sound from the rhythm guitar and it sounds like it was just sort of duct taped into place as an afterthought into the mix. I've tried adding adding a little reverb to it but it still sounds like it was just like I said, an afterthought.

    Any tips or tricks for making solos and, dare I say it, vocals sit in the mix like they belong there instead of hanging out on the periphery like a wallflower at the school dance?
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    Quote Originally Posted by bemo View Post
    I'm working on a demo of a song. It's my first project in Reaper so I'm just figuring things out, but I laid down a solo using a different sound from the rhythm guitar and it sounds like it was just sort of duct taped into place as an afterthought into the mix. I've tried adding adding a little reverb to it but it still sounds like it was just like I said, an afterthought.

    Any tips or tricks for making solos and, dare I say it, vocals sit in the mix like they belong there instead of hanging out on the periphery like a wallflower at the school dance?
    You should really post this in the Mp3 Mixing Clinic with a sample of the recording. You'll arrive at a much better solution that way.
    Last edited by PDP; 12-02-2020 at 20:21.

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    Applying the same reverb as used on other tracks helps - I use a reverb 'bus' and send all the instruments to it, adjusting the amount of reverb on each one appropriately, this puts them all in the same 'room'.
    A little light compression on the track can help. Carving some EQ space in the mix for the track can help. Every mix is different of course.
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    Ooooo yea I think we've all been here Bemo. Atleast in one way, shape, or form.

    I like to think of mixes as layers of frequencies and if you've built up a mix already, but now you want to add a a new layer, you are going to have to carve out some sonic space. So the first task, and this is just the way I would do it, should be to figure out where that solo is going to sit in the frequency spectrum, secondly find out which instruments of the current mix are sitting in the region, thirdly carve those instruments out with eq adjustments, and lastly tuck your new layer in the new space with eq shaping and compression and blend it in to match the land scape with some reverbs and delays.

    Word of warning, don't apply the reverbs and delays too early, get the new layer under control dynamically and ensure its low end will play nicely with the other layers before you start introducing reverb and delay. This can be done by applying a Low Pass Filter to the entire mix and listening to the interactions of between your new layer and the mix below 500 Hz.

    It all takes practice to make it blend nicely, but you seem like you have a good ear and can figure it out.

    Best.

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    There are many possible solutions to that issue;

    - Use a different mic for the solo track. If you don't, you'll have the same sonic characteristics on both the rhythm- and the lead guitar - and they'll be struggling for the space.

    - High and low pass the solo rack as much you can without removing the core sonics of the track. In fact; do that to all your tracks. All the time. Try listening to the rhythm track together with your bass track. How much low end do you really need on the rhythm track? Remove what you don't need.

    - Carve a hole in the rhythm track, using eq or, even better, dynamic eq, so the lead will sit better in that frequency hole.

    - Add delays to the lead. High and low cut the repeats drastically - like HP 300Hz and LP 1kHz.

    - Add a bit of ambient reverb to all of the tracks to make the sound like they are in the same room. It will glue them together.

    - Add compression to the lead track. Just a smooth 1-2 dB opto will help. Don't overdo it.

    - A mastercomp on the mix will make everything sound "together" in a way that I can't get in any other way.

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