Part Mixing; In the mix vs. Up Front.

Re: Mixing

Sometimes a part sounds “off” if soloed, in the clear, but it fits in the mix just right. However, what do you do when that part has to take the lead? For example, a Bass part sits fine in the mix, but then has a moment when it’s "the star. I don’t want it to sound like a different instrument and just making it a little louder isn’t it, either. I’ve worked with EQ and Dynamics somewhat successfully, but would appreciate any insights you might have about this. It’s tricky. I suppose this could apply to vocals or other instrument, but it was bass part that prompted this post. However, any comments need not be limited to bass tracks, per se.

Obviously, no right or wrong answers on this – unless you count my wrong answers. :wink: Anyway, any creative or tech tips welcome.

Hope all’s well.

My toolbox is limited since I’ve done mostly post. Depending on the mix in general though you might get away with far more than you’d think. Some of my favourite tracks are probably fairly “jagged” and it never occurs to me. I just love the song and the playing. In some cases I love the mix too but don’t really analyze it, just love listening to it all.

So in other words I’d just throw everything at it from blending in a doubled distorted version to reamped to… I don’t know… just try. It’s probably hard to say what will work without hearing the song, you know?

I think the last time I struggled with bass it was my friends band and the bass player tends to go overboard just in general. He insisted on a direct bass signal, plus amp, plus outputs of two distortion chains… k… Just good old rock trio eh? Anyway, other than personality stuff and being in love with one’s instrument I really did end up automating those four sources throughout the song. Punchy bass fill? Make it scream more by bringing up the distorted parts. Guitar drops out during a chorus? Maybe make it all more mellow and go the other way there…

It’s hard to say really without hearing the material in question as different situations can require different solutions.

Re bass guitar solos, i mixed some tracks for a local, superb fusion guitarist back at the end of last year, one of which had a beautifully performed fretless with a solo part, in that case the writer had allowed for the solo so made space for it arrangement and dynamics wise so it was just a case of using a reverb (uad lex224 in this case) to help push it forward and create a ‘bloom’ to it. i inserted a high pass filter somewhere around 300hz to stop the bottom end and lower mids getting muddy and that was all it needed.
A delay with a wide stereo setting can help vocals pop by pushing the vocal into the sides a bit more as can ‘stereoising’ a vocal, all context sensitive and subjective of course though :wink:
Hope that helps a bit…

@Mattias… that sounds like an awkward session, sounds like someone had some serious insecurities going on and resorted to diversion with a bit of attention seeking thrown in :frowning:

Matjones, fortunately it was a remote session, so minimal interaction.

At least you could mute your talkback and hurl abuse at them in private then :laughing:

Thanks Mattias and Mat,

Mattias, I think I know that bass player (kidding).

Good suggestions and thoughts. I’ll try different things. A duplicate track, or perhaps a parallel bus, mixed with the original at key points seems like a good “try.” I’m sure I’ll find something workable. It’s one of those things everyone will hear but no one will notice – if I get it right, that is.

Thanks for helping me think this out a bit. :slight_smile: