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Find the good reverb / good effects

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Find the good reverb / good effects

Postby jdutheil » Mon Jan 06, 2020 5:49 pm

Hi everyone,

With my gipsy jazz duet (accordion / guitar), we decided to record our first album at home. We have a very small budget, and so small equipment ; accordion is taken with Prodipe static mics (designed for it), and guitar by a static usb mic (thomann).

We're pretty much "happy" with the recorded sound, even if there is some mic bleed in the guitar. I succeeded in applying some EQ to clear the spectrum and clarify everything.

Problem is now, I'm not able to "make it sound good". I try some reverb presets, but everytime it doesn't sound "natural" at all. It's a bit better, but we ear the reverb a lot, sounding not so good..

Here are my first premix : https://drive.google.com/open?id=11qMFI ... PVD8hRYA6s

Can you give me some idea about global EQ ? Maybe I completely missed something ?

I'd like to go for a sound near these references :

- https://www.deezer.com/fr/album/125377822
- https://www.deezer.com/fr/album/99571
- https://www.deezer.com/fr/album/10913064

Do you have some advice ? A specific reverb settings, some effect, frequencies to put behind ? I'm working with Studio One 4.5

Thanks !
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Re: Find the good reverb / good effects

Postby CS70 » Mon Jan 06, 2020 9:49 pm

Listened in a hurry on headphones, but - your premixes have no bass? That alone makes for a much different in tonality overall. On the references, the accordion seems to be the lead, not the guitar. I'd start by carving out frequency space in the backing instrument so allow the solo instrument to breath.

Your recordings are more dry and with rawer tonality, which I suspect may come from the recordings environment or just the fact that you've mixed very conservatively. There's also what sounds like digital distortion at some points, which suggest a bad gain structure someplace (or maybe something was touching the mic :-) ).

For space and glue, it shouldn't be hard to find a couple reverbs to provide both, which I agree would provide more warmth. Play with predelay on the accordion, for example, to allow you to increase the reverb level without sending it on the other side of the room. :) You could try with short delays as well, sometimes they work better as they also mellow the tones.
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Re: Find the good reverb / good effects

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Jan 06, 2020 10:03 pm

I won't attempt to give you specifics (particularly WRT recording technique) I'm a live sound guy but also a Gypsy Jazzer. But I think the reverbs are a little inconsistent as is the balance between the guitar and box. Also, while I'm a huge fan of live sounding recordings I would prefer to hear the whole tracks supported by a rhythm guitar track (and a bass if possible), obviously you can't easily do this live (without employing more guys that is ;) ) but recorded is a different matter.

Also my (not highly developed) sense of timing suggests that the timing of the rhythm guitar playing is slightly off. I hate clicks so would not suggest using one especially for this music but paying more attention to the rhythm parts would make a big difference.

Either way there's some lovely playing from both of you, better than I can manage so take my comments with a pinch of salt and I hope you won't be offended (FWIW I find rhythm playing the hardest part of Gypsy Jazz).

edit :- CS' comment about the accordion taking the lead is valid, are you the accordion player by any chance? ;) The difference between the box on lead and comping his a bit large to me.

And welcome to the forum
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Re: Find the good reverb / good effects

Postby blinddrew » Tue Jan 07, 2020 12:11 am

Hmmm. I like the tonality you've captured but there are a couple of things that i'd be looking at before i started on the reverb.
Firstly, the panning is a bit interesting. I've got some of the accordion in my left and then some lower end way over in my right. It's confusing the sound stage, as is the way things are moving around. I'd emphasise prominence with level rather than position. Which brings me to...
Secondly, levels. The accordion is a bit high and is over-powering the guitar a bit too much. I think, as has been mentioned above, you need to carve each instrument a bit of space as at the moment they're fighting for the same frequency range.
Thirdly, reverb. I'm only listening on headphones but it doesn't sound like your sends are consistent. The left side of the accordion sounds much closer than the right, and the guitar sounds a bit further back still. Are you using separate reverbs as inserts or are you sending to a single plugin?
Hope that helps, it might be worth looking at the sticky thread further up and seeing if SOS want to look at it for a mix rescue project. :)
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Re: Find the good reverb / good effects

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:41 pm

Problem is now, I'm not able to "make it sound good".

This is your big mistake. For something to 'sound good' it generally has to sound good from the beginning of the process. The stuff you do afterwards should be more about polishing. Especially for acoustic instruments like yours.

So I'd concentrate much more on getting the sounds 'right' at source before worrying about reverb and eq. As CS70 points out there is digital distortion clearly audible, this probably means the signal going into your computer is too 'hot' ie loud. This suggests that you're not taking enough care with your upfront setup.

It's always a temptation to stick the microphones up any old how and hit record then try and sort it out afterwards but, especially with acoustic instruments, it's well worth spending a lot of time moving the microphones around and really thinking about the sound you're capturing before you do the fun bit!.

Also, I'd experiment with recording two ways. First, try isolating the two instruments from each other, so you essentially get just the accordion and just the guitar on their own channels. Get further away from each other, point the mics so that they only pick up the instrument they're meant to. Make them both sound as good as you can separately then blend them together in Studio One.

Second, try recording where you allow the sounds to 'bleed' into the other instrument's microphones and you create a full stereo balance of the combined sound as you record. This is arguably much harder and you may have phase issues to worry about where the sound from eg the guitar reaches the accordion mic late and creates whooshy sounds. You can correct this in the DAW to some extent but, again, experiment with where you put the microphones to minimise this effect. If you get this method right you really don't need much mixing, perhaps just a tiny touch of reverb if you feel the stereo recording is a little dry. But if you don't need it, don't use it.
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Re: Find the good reverb / good effects

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:56 pm

I've just listened to the links (don't have Deezer just now so only get a 30 seconds of each). They all have bass and at least one rhythm guitar throughout which make for a much fuller and more consistent sound than your duo line up. As I said above you can't change that live and still be a duo but recordings are a different animal. This music needs driving along (even the slower tunes) and it's the rhythm guitar that does that.

I'm just listening to your recording of Douce Ambience* and if you're looking for a 'live sounding recording I'd pan the rhythm guitar and rhythm accordion closer to the centre, the guitar in particular appears 100%L

* It really is excellent from the playing POV :clap: :clap: :clap:
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