How to Mix Acoustic Guitar with Ambience and Stereo Effects

Transcript:

Hey guys, Matt Weiss — theproaudiofiles.com, weiss-sound.com.

Last time I showed you how to treat up an acoustic guitar for this record. Hezekiah Jones – Borrowed Heart. Now we’re going to create an ambience on this guitar. First let’s listen to what we did, where we got to last time.

Man, great job on that guitar. Good job Matt. Sounds awesome and also sounds like it has ambience on it already. Okay we’re done. Nah i’m just kidding we’re gonna do a little more than that. But we wouldn’t necessarily have to depending on the arrangement and depending on the context of things. The guitar mic was able to pick up a good amount of room sound in there. So there’s already ambience in the track. The issue is that the ambience, and in fact the whole record, is really very mono. We already have a natural ambience on this. So maybe we can do something a little more interesting. And this is just me, I really like unique ambiences. And in this case I’m using Altiverb which I love because it’s just the greatest plugin ever. Go buy it. If you can afford it buy it. It’s totally worth it.

Anyway, I’ve selected this convolution of a spring reverb that is tube generated. So it’s going to have this glossy glowy harmonic to it, that tubes often times do. And it sort of has that wobbliness that a spring reverb has and it ends up sounds really cool. so here’s this:

[acoustic guitar]

That’s pretty cool. Unfortunately listening to it there’s a couple of things I feel like step on the sound of the guitar, and I don’t want my reverb to be stepping on the actual direct signal.

So, pulling up an EQ, getting rid of some top end and some pretense.

[acoustic guitar]

Pulling up another EQ, getting rid of a much wider shelf up top. And then there’s a couple little things in there that were bugging me. I’ll bring them in.

[acoustic guitar]

So that sounds a lot smoother to me now the reverb is just blending nicely in with the guitar. None of those extra tones are really jumping out. But Matt, it’s a mono reverb, how is that gonna help us with a stereo sound? Well, because we have our dry sound right in the middle, and it already has a reverb, kind of an ambience on it. Yoink, we’re going to pull that right off to the right.

[guitar]

Now we have a really, it’s not super wide, but we have a nice little stereo spread to the ambience. Which is cool. it’s gonna help give it that bigger bloom. Alright, now right there that’s pretty much enough. It sounds good, we can move on.

I decided to do something a little different because that’s how I am sometimes. I wanted to create something that I call smear. And smear is the spots, the clearest spots in the stereo field is the center, the left, and the right. Everything in between is a little ambiguous. So having something there, I call that smear. It sort of connect the center to the right or the center tot he left. So I’m making a smear track for the acoustic guitar. Now this is something you can do if you want it, you can not do it if you don’t. I liked it, here we go…

[music]

Starting with a delay, nothing weird about that. Now we’re adding another delay.

[delay]

That’s starting to sound pretty mushy and weird, right? We’ll let’s take some of the mushy and weird out. And here’s where we really get crazy. I’m taking an auto-panning program, and if you see this, I’m panning this delayed signal left and right really fast.

So what we have is almost like another reverb track. It’s just sort of like it’s subtle, it’s in the background, but now we have something that connects the center to the right.

[music]

Maybe it’s just me, but I think that sounds pretty cool. Anyway, there you go. That’s how I created the ambience on this acoustic guitar. All right, til next time.

Matthew Weiss

Matthew Weiss

Matthew Weiss is a Grammy nominated and Spellemann Award winning audio engineer from Philadelphia. Matthew has mixed songs for Snoop, Sonny Digital, Gorilla Zoe, Uri Caine, Dizzee Rascal, Arrested Development, 9th Wonder, !llmind & more. Get in touch: Weiss-Sound.com.
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