In part 3 of this series on mixing with Alloy iZotope turn their attention to the keyboards. Getting the perfect piano sound is one of the great challenges of recording. Due to variations in piano size, shape, and mic placement, no two jobs are ever the same. But whether you’re mixing concert hall piano or the next pop/rock epic, check out these iZotope Alloy 2 mixing tips and techniques.
- Alloy 2’s Harmonic Exciter can give your piano a brighter sound while still retaining the character of its natural tone. And for exceptional clarity and shimmer, try the tape harmonic profile. Increasing the drive will brighten your tone and make the chords sound fuller. Also, try experimenting with stereo Width Control in the Harmonic Exciter. By panning the piano either wide or narrow in the stereo spectrum, you can achieve a sense of width in your mixes that creates a unique, enveloping listening experience.
- Adding EQ to your piano track cleans up and enhances the richness of the original tone. Apply one of Alloy 2’s hi-pass filters to reduce any unwanted low-end rumble that may be cluttering the mix. Then sweeten the highs with a Baxandall filter. This will accentuate the sparkling highs of the piano without throwing off your frequency balance.
- If there is any unwanted noise in your recording such as fingernails tapping on the keys or buzzing hardware, try using a De-esser. Isolate the frequencies where the noises live, and bring down their levels. It’s important not to remove these frequencies entirely or else there will be a hole in your sound.
- The level of compression used when mixing piano depends on genre. When mixing piano for jazz ensembles, engineers often embrace the wide dynamic range of the instrument and refrain from using compression. But with genres such as rock and pop, compression is often used so the instruments don’t compete for the same sonic space.
You can get more tips and tricks on mixing with Alloy on the Tips & Tutorials section of the iZotope web site.
We hope you have enjoyed this series and if you haven't got iZotope Alloy then you can download a free 10 day trial and check it out for yourself.