Saturday, July 22, 2017
Mixing 2 or more Guitar Impulses
Hello everyone and welcome to this week's article!
Today we are going to talk about the subtle art of mixing two or more impulse responses, recreating in the digital age a technique, the multi-miking, that is a world professional studio standard.
As we know impulse responses are snapshots of an ambient response captured by a microphone/preamp chain, which mantains the eq curve of the captured moment and allows us to apply it to our sound, and this method has proven to be particularly effective with guitars and bass amp simulators, making it the best replacement for a real speaker.
Another interesting characteristic of impulses is that they can be also captured from a song, and applied to our chain to "steal" part of their sound (here is a tutorial on how to do it).
What we are talking about today is blending together the sound of two or more impulses recreating what producers are doing by decades: if one microphone only takes part of the total sound let's mix and match more than one in order to capture the full spectrum.
The first thing is to check out if there is any phasing issue: the best paid impulse packs are usually phase coherent, but if we are mixing impulses found in different sources or the free ones it's better to make sure that one impulse is not putting the other out of phase.
Once we are sure that our impulses are phase coherent we need to load an impulse loader that allows to use multiple impulses, for example the free Ignite Amps NadIR, which allows to load two impulses, or the paid Redwirez MixIR 2, which allows to load many more.
My suggestion is to start with one impulse that we really like; the first one is really important because it will be the fundament of our tone, then find out what is lacking (if anything), for example "in the mix the guitar sounds too dark", or "the mid frequences are not focused" and so on, and then try to apply some of the classic microphone techniques used by the famous studios (the three most common are listed here) or to experiment with some new one: the idea is to compensate and enhance the first tone with a second impulse that captures it from a different angle, then you blend this second impulse in, rising or lowering its volume, and then adjust the whole guitar track (or buss) volume in order to fit it perfectly in the mix.
The two microphones technique is very popular in studios everywhere because it widens enormously the scope of sounds we can achieve, and it's interesting to see how some producer likes to add more and more microphones (even 8 or 10!), but beware, because the more microphones (or impulses) you add, the more you need to be good, otherwise the sound will rapidly become cloudy and unmanageable.
Let us know your favourite multi-Ir techniques!
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