Mixing a song in Cubase question

Hi everyone!

I have a question about recording and exporting music in Cubase 5.

At the moment I’m using 3 microphones for an accoustic guitar (2 Shures and a Samson), these go into my Motu 8 Pre and from there into Cubase. I record the song, add a little compression, EQ, pan etc. It all sounds grand and I’m very happy. I hit “export mix” into an mp3 or WAV and the result sounds as if I’d recorded the song from behind a door with a cheap plastic kid’s recorder.

Something doesn’t add up: With the technology in front of me it should be impossible to bugger up a song to this extent. It should sound at least a bit good. Here it sounds like a demo done through an answering machine 20 years ago.

When I mix it down into a WAV and play back this WAV in Cubase it sounds the same as the original song. But when I play back this WAV in my 2nd computer (my laptop) it sounds awful.

What’s strange is that whether I put EQ or compression or denoiser it doesn’t change a thing. I’ve done 5 mixes and they’re all crap. The resulting mud is not affected by any of this.

Is there something I have missed?


Too many factors, no one will be able to accurately answer and pin point the problem. Cubase is like a tape machine except more accurate, what you put into it is what you get. The issues you are having are all related to sound engineering. Technology and gear will never be able to replace the skills of a sound engineer. This is why many people recording at home still go to recording studios to have their songs mixed by a professional engineer. This is also why many of the large studios are shutting down. Because talented engineers are operating smaller studios and turning out better material with less gear and less overheads and can therefore charge less. If you were to go into a good local recording studio and watch what they do and how they were to process your files, you would have a better idea of what you need to learn. There is a good possibility that the mics were out of phase if you used 3 mics, two of the same mic is enough to start with. Different brand and model mics can have the opposite phase to each other and can cause issues even if placed next to each other, one might need to be phase flipped if mixing and matching different brands and models and/or they were not measured in proper distance from the source and again are out of phase. Or they might just need some good EQ.

Just out of curiosity, did you use the same take for each mic in each edit/cut by using Cubase’s group editing? You can google that, plus google mic placement and then look up on some sound engineering forums but you will learn the most by going into an actual studio and paying the engineer for a lesson.

These are the things I can think of that could be wrong

  1. Out of phase by mic positioning or by mic type
  2. Out of phase by not using group editing in Cubase
  3. Crappy mics in a room with bad acoustics
  4. Not EQed correctly

To see if something is out of phase, solo a channel of one of the mics, solo a channel of another one of the mics. Did the volume not increase enough? If there a phaser/flanger type of sound? Does moving a channel up just turn the other one down? Try panning them hard left and hard right. Does turning up one side turn down the other side? If you get a yes to any of those, there were recording out of phase. Best just to re-record it. You can try phase flipping one of the channels of shifting the audio of one of one of the channels left or right but doing so will probably break group editing so it’s best just to re-record in that case. If that’s not the case, then it’s either issues 3 and 4.

Thanks for all that !

I’ll try researching those things. My first impression is "Can’t they just make a mic that works? "

Maybe they are out of phase, I have no idea. To me each individual track sounds great so I wouldn’t know if there is a phase problem.

I haven’t done any kind of group editing because I had no idea what it is. I just open 3 mono tracks and record into them at the same time from 3 microphones. Then I mix the 3 tracks individually to reach some sort of overall harmony.

I don’t think the mics are bad. They 're not fantastic but one is a Shure 57 and the other a Samson Co1. As for the room, it’s no by any means a recording studio, but with a mic 20cm from the guitar I’m not trying to capture the reverb of the room. Makes sense? I hope!

The thing at the moment is that I have a song that sounds good to me but can’t leave Cubase. The moment it does, it sounds awful.

In any case building on your advice I will research microphone placement and see if that changes anything.