Does NLS have any type of internal document/chart that indicates:
ideal frequency ranges for common elements (drum components, guitar, male/female vox, bass, keys, brass, symph)?
common EQ curves for each element (basic guide for reductive/additive)?
same question but regarding reverb and/or delay frequency adjustment?
There are plenty of resources online, of course, but I’m trying not to get to many outside voices influencing my mixing and would much prefer something approved/composed by NLS
If not, I’ll differ to google, no worries!
I would defer to the charts you can find online that specify the frequency ranges of various instruments. However IIRC they don’t really speak to overtones at all which is definitely something to keep in mind when eq-ing them within an ensemble.
There are some basic guidelines I generally follow from some of Danny’s lectures as well as personal experience - e.g. attenuating a kick drum with a bell at about 500Hz or cutting lows of guitars and other mid range instruments below the lowest tones they can produce as well as live basses which generally don’t go below 41Hz on a 4 string or 31Hz on a 5/6 string - which tend to work well as shortcuts.
For additive work I usually sweep with a narrow boost and listening for when I find something in the sound of an instrument I really want to bring out but this is usually best done within at least some of the ensemble so you can hear the effect a boost will have on the other instruments. There’s only so much space to work with.
Anything below human hearing range - 20Hz - is helpful to cut in general during reductive EQ phase. I usually apply a cut then perhaps a low shelf but of course your ears should be the final arbiter.
I’ve tried using published guides for EQ work - e.g. Bobby Owsinski - but I’ll be damned if they don’t always throw me off so I’ve given up on any of that. Best to just practice getting the sound you want as you go along and over time you’ll develop a strong inner sense of what’s working between what you hear and the feedback you generally get from others whose ears you trust.
If you want to practice identifying frequencies a good practice tool I’ve used is SoundGym. They also have exercises for identifying compression and panning by ear.
My general approach is keeping instruments that share frequency ranges - especially in the mids - separated in the soundscape. Panning can spread them apart horizontally, learning how to have instruments share space within a shared frequency range is helpful from a vertical perspective, and reverb/delay can spread them apart in terms of depth, from up close to further back. And then deciding in which part of a piece which instruments/elements are to designated as the “star” of the overall sound - e.g vocal during verses, soloing instrument during their solos, building up the entire ensemble for climaxes. Experimentation is your friend.
And finally over time as you keep working and keep listening you’ll likely find your sensitivity to all kinds of aspects of audio and sound will change, your ears will become “seasoned” and you’ll not even be able to unhear things you couldn’t even hear before.
Thank you kindly for this very thoughtful reply! It’s great to hear what you’ve tried over the years vs. what truly works for you. I’ll take some key notes from you’ve written here. The more i mix with the NLS workflow, the more I’m able to commit a lot of this to memory so hopefully that continues haha.
I’m going to try Soundgym, sounds interesting.