Guitar processing – Make it fit in the mix
So, how to mix metal guitars? Mixing is a science and an artform that takes time to master. I record everything in my project studio and here are some tips and tricks that I use during the pre-production stage. If you have a Kemper and are interested in profiles you can check out my Peavey JSX pack.
A limiter is a great tool to get that up-front “in your face” sound by maintaining consistency in volume. I use a limiter on each individual guitar channel. My personal choice here is the Waves L2 Ultramaximizer. Waves often have this on sale for $29 so be sure to check out their website now and then.
This is a trick I picked up at the Andy Sneap forum many years ago and I have been using it since then. A usual problem with distorted guitars in metal music is the “muddiness” that occur when palm muting. With a multiband compressor you can focus on just that problem area in the lower frequencies and make the guitars work better in the mix without without affecting the rest of the frequencies like a normal EQ would do. There are many different multiband compressors on the market but I’ve used the Waves C4 for as long as I can remember.
Last on my mix buss I use some tape emulation. This is a great way to add some gentle colouring and saturation. I use it on both rhythm and lead guitars. It really gives you a warmer and smoother lead tone. My personal favourites are Slate Digital VTM, Softube Tape or Waves J37 Tape. There are many more to choose from but these are the ones I use.