Cutting through the mix. (JX 3P, M-VS1, Jupier 6)

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Cutting through the mix. (JX 3P, M-VS1, Jupier 6)

Post by smallsynth » Sun Jul 19, 2009 6:17 pm

Some synthesizers cut through the mix, and others don't. I've yet to figure out entirely what causes this, but it is pretty obvious which type of board you are dealing with once you get it in the band practice room. Unfortunately, I cannot really tell this when playing a board by itself.

I had been using Roland's M-VS1 (JX 30P Pipes patch) and it was working great. The sound was what I was looking for, and it cut through the mix like a hot knife through soft butter. Since I wanted more sonic flexibility, I decided to get the JX3P itself, thinking I would have more options to manipulate the tone.

Unfortunately, the JX-3P does not cut through the sound. In fact, you can barely hear it. We're not talking strictly volume output here (though the M-VS1 is much hotter). The patches between the two are different. It sounds like there is more going on with M-VS1 patch that I could not duplicate with the JX-3P, and there seems to be some internal effects on the VS1 as well. That aside, you can barely hear my melodies on the 3P and the sound is thin, whereas the VS1 adds a fullness to the sound and the melody is still detectable.

I've had other synths that cut through. Moog's The Source, for instance, almost cuts through too much.

I should probably add that the band is post-punk type music. The Omni 2 is a great stringer for this sound, but pretty heavy and sonically limited. So, any thoughts on this?

On a completely random note, I was thinking of picking up a Jupiter 6. Do these do pads and melodies that cut through? I'm looking for something to fill out the sound, and provide an occasional lead.

I should note that I'm not looking for suggestions for a new board, per se. I mean, if you know of the perfect, at least four-octave, light, analog strynger with decent control, let me know. But I'm more interested in understanding how I can cut through the mix, or know hot to determine a board or sound will do this.

-Geoffrey Smallsynth

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Re: Cutting through the mix. (JX 3P, M-VS1, Jupier 6)

Post by tallowwaters » Sun Jul 19, 2009 9:01 pm

Obvious answers like pulling down your mud frequencies (200-300 Hz) and putting a slight boost in the upper harmonics might help, as would doubling up an octave higher. You could also try cutting a notch out of your bandmates instruments for your synth to sit in, etc. Compression would be another answer, but might would suck out dynamics, especially on a string part.

There also some hardware answers like a s**t hot DI, playing through a guitar amp or an amp simulator (which is probably what I would do), using an octave pedal or a filter, etc.

I sometimes have this problem, and I usually try to solve it via composition. Try to pull a few things out of the mix for this synth part, have the guitar player play something complementary, etc.

Actually, in your situation, I know exactly what I would do and that would be to sample out my string parts into a sampler which would help with cutting through and carrying too much stuff. Again, that is just how I handle things.

Sorry if all of these answers are too obvious.
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Re: Cutting through the mix. (JX 3P, M-VS1, Jupier 6)

Post by Pro5 » Mon Jul 20, 2009 5:46 am

I've found the JX-3P does kinda sit in the background a bit (what it's GOOD for) and adds a bed of DCO-greatness to stuff.

However, you can try the suggestions above. A lot comes down to patch sound too. Also found after I tweaked the res up on the internal pots it was a bit more cutting... I think 3P does it's job well, it wasn't intended to be a SOLO/MONO lead synth and I still always find some use for mine.

Some of the brighter metallic bell sounds can cut through more but you'd still need to EQ to taste in the context of mix (same with anything I guess)

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Re: Cutting through the mix. (JX 3P, M-VS1, Jupier 6)

Post by Stab Frenzy » Mon Jul 20, 2009 7:05 am

Yeah I'd be looking at either EQ or an amp (or both) too. If you're running it mono check out an EQ pedal made for bass or guitar and find a frequency to boost that works for you.

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Re: Cutting through the mix. (JX 3P, M-VS1, Jupier 6)

Post by clusterchord » Mon Jul 20, 2009 12:20 pm

ive done live keyboards in a guitar rock band, for a few yrs. you want to go mono if/when u can. you can add stereo element at mixer level , by sending slight aux to some stereo reverb/etc

a good quality D.I. will help preserving original HF information. a good tube-based DI can add some desirable coloration and non linearity. ditto on all EQ carving-out and arrangement stuff tallow mentioned. that's probably most important. to know who plays where, and how loud.

a fuzz/od/dist pedal capable of gradual non-linearity can help JX-3P. a touch to make the high end little more edgy. however, you'll have more luck here with monophonic sounds like leads and bass. not so much with polyphonic lines.

compared to JX3P, i would agree Jupiter 6 will fare better in this regard. i played a few recording sessions on one, and its more cutting in the highend. in this price range, you may also want to take a look at Oberheim OB-Xa. it is quite limited compared to JP6, but sounds way bigger, saturated in all frequencies.. a screaming filter. bcs of all this, it most definetely cuts thru, can hold its own, and loves doubling guitars. a good DI is also recommended live, bcs it has a rather low output, so you want to go into a mixer's mic pre with it. for much cheaper than both of these, take a look at Prophet600. that will work as well. best-buy.

if you want, stuff a BBD delay at the output of your polyanalog. by giving u some space/distance, it will help you sound bigger whilst retaining same level. especially great when you slightly overload their inputs (like memoryman), and your repeats are getting driven.. that helps a LOT when drums n guitars start bangin'

so, id go analog -> BBD -> D.I. -> mixer pre -> mixer EQ (if needed)
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Re: Cutting through the mix. (JX 3P, M-VS1, Jupier 6)

Post by smallsynth » Wed Jul 22, 2009 4:53 am

good suggestions so far.... thanks much,.

i used a carvin 1015 amp (1000W solid state). the amp seems to be capable, as other boards do cut through, and i've used this amp for a few years now. well, maybe a tube amp would cut through better, but i'm not sure i want to mess with that right now.

i think the first thing to try will be the equalizer. i never really thought this would make a difference in this matter. i've only used them to fine tune the sound or for solo boost. but yeah, i'll try that out.

a couple of you mentioned going mono. is this because of the sound cancellation? i use a boss dimension c that i really like... i run mono to the pedal. what should i watch for here?

thanks

-geoffrey smallsynth

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Re: Cutting through the mix. (JX 3P, M-VS1, Jupier 6)

Post by Stab Frenzy » Wed Jul 22, 2009 5:47 am

I only mentioned mono cause all the EQ pedals out there designed for guitar and bass are mono.

Try cutting the lo-mid on your amp and boosting the hi-mid. Might sound annoying when you're just playing by yourself but when you're playing with a band it'll make stuff cut through more. If you're using an EQ with frequencies marked on it look to boost 1-2kHz, although the guitar might be sitting around the same frequency range as that. If you boost a different frequency to that which is coming through from other instruments you'll cut through a lot more.

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Re: Cutting through the mix. (JX 3P, M-VS1, Jupier 6)

Post by Solderman » Thu Sep 10, 2009 2:21 am

Well I can't speak for the shoe salesbot above(or hopefully banned at some point), but I was thinking similar to Stab, in that my Voyager's leads that really cut through seem to be loudest at around 2-3khz, and when you look at the waveform in an audio editor, this range seems to "sit on top" of the remaining harmonics. Maybe it looks that way because the filter is generating these harmonics, and they are out of phase with the oscillators. I'm not sure.

My guess is that, like any good mix, every instrument must fit in the audio spectrum like a big jigsaw puzzle. The amplitude of harmonics will inevitably play in to how loud you set your instrument's master volume in said mix. The phase of any two mixed frequencies that are the same or nearly the same, which are heard for some perceivable period, are key to how they cancel each other out, or add together.
Most of the recommendations here seem to warrant "adding" harmonics with pedals or the like, or notching out an offending range. I thought I'd suggest one more addition: The exciter/sonic maximizer. They come in both pedal and rack forms, are usually overpriced, but usually work as advertised.
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Re: Cutting through the mix. (JX 3P, M-VS1, Jupier 6)

Post by Stab Frenzy » Thu Sep 10, 2009 2:39 am

Solderman wrote:Well I can't speak for the shoe salesbot above(or hopefully banned at some point)
Done. Thanks for hitting the report button, it makes life easier for the mods. :thumbright:

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Re: Cutting through the mix. (JX 3P, M-VS1, Jupier 6)

Post by 0e0 » Tue Sep 22, 2009 11:34 pm

maybe the Roland Alpha Juno would be good? there are really bright oscillators and the same filter chip found in the JX-8p (which will be a lot more bright and brittle compared to the one found in the JX-3p which might be a good thing for competing in a rock band setting). The mono/poly/chord modes might be interesting to play with.. And you get a lot of fun oscillator settings to play with for making novel almost Sync-like tones for leads.

or something like the Sequential Circuits Max (although the key action is pretty terrible)....the sound from CEM chips cut through a lot of different mix scenarios really nicely. Everything can be controlled VIA Midi CCs so you can get a really cheap controller for it aswell if you want to edit on the fly.

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Re: Cutting through the mix. (JX 3P, M-VS1, Jupier 6)

Post by V301H » Sat Oct 03, 2009 6:34 am

The way a synth sits in the mix may not have so much to do with what specific model you are using. Often it's that the guitar is playing too much. If a guitar is playing thick and heavy six-note power chords no keyboard is likely to be heard distinctly. Try having the guitarist arrange his playing to accommodate what the keyboard is doing. If the keyboard is playing full chords there is less need for the guitarist to be doing a lot of chord work too. The guitar can do heavy single note lines, arpeggios, or keep the chord work confined to the top four strings. If the guitar is carrying the chord work the synth may work best playing single notes or more sparse parts outside of the guitar's frequency range. A good example of a guitarist that works well with a keyboardist is Ritchie Blackmore. He rarely plays a full chord, but still sounds heavy while letting the keyboard have it's space. Also listen to Robbie Krieger and Carlos Santana. These guys work with prominent keyboardists and and play interesting parts without getting in the way.
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Re: Cutting through the mix. (JX 3P, M-VS1, Jupier 6)

Post by hageir » Sun Oct 04, 2009 4:14 pm

Some synths (like my Roland Alpha Juno 1) are tuned a bit higher; the AJ-1 to: 442 (instead of 440).
I just found out that sometimes guitar-players and musicians tune their instruments a bit higher/brighter to make it stand out..

You could do that :)

Also, panning (for me at least) is key.
The bass in the middle and then different synths, anywhere on either side, that usually clears stuff up..
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Re: Cutting through the mix. (JX 3P, M-VS1, Jupier 6)

Post by gtivr6fan » Sun Oct 18, 2009 2:27 am

hageir wrote: Also, panning (for me at least) is key.
The bass in the middle and then different synths, anywhere on either side, that usually clears stuff up..
Ah, yes, you are correct sir. And thers actually no wrong way to do it, I do the same only I pan from the perspective of a drummer where the kick drum is the center of the mix and everything else is on either side of it. =D>

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Re: Cutting through the mix. (JX 3P, M-VS1, Jupier 6)

Post by tallowwaters » Sun Oct 18, 2009 4:20 pm

In relation to panning - I tend to think about where those instruments would be in relation to each other on a live stage.
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Re: Cutting through the mix. (JX 3P, M-VS1, Jupier 6)

Post by druzz » Tue Oct 27, 2009 4:31 am

V301H wrote:The way a synth sits in the mix may not have so much to do with what specific model you are using. Often it's that the guitar is playing too much. If a guitar is playing thick and heavy six-note power chords no keyboard is likely to be heard distinctly. Try having the guitarist arrange his playing to accommodate what the keyboard is doing. If the keyboard is playing full chords there is less need for the guitarist to be doing a lot of chord work too. The guitar can do heavy single note lines, arpeggios, or keep the chord work confined to the top four strings. If the guitar is carrying the chord work the synth may work best playing single notes or more sparse parts outside of the guitar's frequency range. A good example of a guitarist that works well with a keyboardist is Ritchie Blackmore. He rarely plays a full chord, but still sounds heavy while letting the keyboard have it's space. Also listen to Robbie Krieger and Carlos Santana. These guys work with prominent keyboardists and and play interesting parts without getting in the way.
yeah! thanks for bringing that up . cant do a good mix if the arrangements sucks. thats the most impotant thing when you want your song to sound good or just hear whats going on.

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