Some time ago I wrote about ordering a new strat neck from Warmoth Direct. I ordered a maple-rosewood neck, with boat contour, brass/nickel medium jumbo frets, compound radius, corian nut, a truss rod, no binding, clear gloss finish, etc. The neck arrived promptly, looked just as I ordered, and felt as I expected. The rosewood looked a bit cracked, but maybe that is just the way it was supposed to be. There was one problem with the neck though: the keys were not mounted on.
In an attempt to get some interesting sounds out of a reverb, whether useful or not, I decided to experiment. To give credit where credit is due, I did spend some time reading articles on harmony-central.com about various properties of what I would consider non-natural reverbs.
I still want to write some more about reverb, but I decided that now will be a good time to take a break. So I will write a bit about my newest purchase – a custom made neck for my strat.
My last post was about reverb, but I managed to cover only the properties of the natural reverb and to talk a bit about the digital reverbs that we chose. Here is some information about the "unnatural" – i.e., simulated – reverb.
Reverb? Sure, but how much and which one? Reverb is needed. Our biggest mistake when releasing our first album was leaving it semi- dry and boring. We should have added more reverb to our songs. First, our songs would have been livelier as that is what reverb does – it simulates the real life effects of a sound in a room, a club, or a concert hall. Second and equally important – most music that we listen to has reverb artificially added and so that is what our listeners are used to. Our songs sounded "unnatural" with little reverb.
To be sure, contemporary home studio equalization uses digital equalizers. A couple of years ago, when I was trying to design a couple of equalizers, I finally understood what they actually do, so perhaps before we go into how we use equalization we should talk a bit about digital equalizers.
Panning is one way to separate clashing instruments. Equalizing is another. Equalization changes the amplitude of various frequencies in the sound mix. Some people even swear that equalization creates the perception of moving instruments up and down in the mix (as opposed to panning, which moves them left and right). Is that even possible? Perhaps. Having different instruments occupy different frequency ranges definitely makes them more distinct in the mix.
It is time to cover panning. On a scale from -100 to 100, where "-100" is "left channel only" and "100" is "right channel only", here is where one of my songs ended up:
The purpose of this and the next couple of post is to discuss the volume, pan, and equalization of the tracks in a mix. These are related – as you adjust one you may want to consider changing the other. For now though we will discuss them separately.
Mixing to get the sound that you want is not easy and so putting down some simple rules to guide you through the process is important. As always, these are my rules – yours may be different. You should do what sounds good to you. Hopefully though, my experience will help. Why a rock song? Because this is what I have experience with.