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Recording & Mixing Pimped rig but got no mojo? Learn from the experts here

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Old 25th July 2008 , 01:54 PM
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Default Tips for mixing VSTi's?

Hi. I mainly use VSTi's for creating music and record vocals.
I have quite a good selection of VSTi's :-

EzDrummer + Vintage Rock EZX and Latin Percussion EZX
ManyBass
ManyGuitar
TruePianos
Garritan Personal Orchestra
SampleTank 2XL
Steinberg Virtual Guitarist
Mr Ray 73 mkII

I also have quite a large collection of freeware VSTi's

I chose my collection of VSTi's based on how much I liked the mp3 demos of them on their websites.
I have been using them a lot for recording demos with a singer but have been unhappy with the mixes I've been getting. The VSTi's sounded very dull a lifeless

Are there any good tutorials online that are for mixing VSTi's?

Does anyone have any tips?
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Old 25th July 2008 , 02:27 PM
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Hi Dickiefunk
Mixing VSTi's should be no different to mixing any other instruments you should encounter. The main reason that they might sound a bit dull and lifeless is that they are generally recorded with little or no processing and so may benefit from the usual treatment of a little reverb, eq and compression.

Drums, strings and pianos will definately respond well to some reverb treatment, but try not to go too over the top. A short reverb on the drums will make them sound lively and you can move the drums forwards and backwards in the mix by adding or subtracting highs from the reverbs. In fact, with the EZDrummer vintage rock expansion you have some nice room mics that you can use instead of reverb to excite them a bit.

Piano's and orchestral instruments can take reverb a little more over the top to make them sound like they were recorded in grand concert halls. One of the strangest things I can hear is a 40 piece orchestra that sounds like it was recorded in a bedroom! Try and be realistic in your approach.

Bass is generally left dry and panned in the centre. You probably don't need to compress very much as you have total control over the dynamics with a vsti - unlike a wayward bass player! Compression for guitar and bass VSTi's are probably used more for effect and compression 'sound'. A bit of slap back delay can be effective on guitars.

When it comes to eq'ing - try not to be too drastic again (unless it sounds good of course). Cutting is generally better than boosting as it 'cleans' up the sound. You can afford to cut a lot of low end out of the guitars, strings and piano, as this may free up space in the mix and remove 'mudiness'.

That being said these are all generalisations, and apply to mixing most acoustic and electronic instruments as well as vocals... But as long as it sounds good then I guess there are no rules at the end of the day. Its important to experiment and push boundaries. Just like the Beatles did.

Hope this helps.
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Last edited by dvdan; 25th July 2008 at 02:32 PM. . <
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Old 25th July 2008 , 03:06 PM
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One of my favourite tricks to bring a sterile sounding virtual synth to life is to add a bit of ITB tape compression. My favourite tool for this is Massey's TapeHead but that's Pro Tools only. There are quite a few 'tape saturation' type plug-ins out there for all platforms though, you'll have to try a few and see which is best for you. Careful though - like with chili powder, a little goes a long way, so don't overdo it!
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Old 25th July 2008 , 04:41 PM
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another tip is if your using cubase is too send certain sounds too the same group bus..so if you want a phat sounding bass add 2 or 3 vsts too the same group channel and add a bit of chorus or distortion or whatever fx you want too make it sound thick as possible.
then the same goes for your pads ,group those together and add a good reverb but not too much ..then for the lead just go crazy use a few more lead type sounds group them together then goto each vst channel and start panning each one around so when they lead sound kicks in it will sound massive.
also dont forget too use compression to stop some sounds over powering the others ..

youve got some excellent vsts too start with and theres no way they should sound flat ..if after what tips weve gave you there still sounding flat then check your amp or eq you may have knocked your high end down.
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