I would really appreciate some mix notes.

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by mthomps, Feb 11, 2012.

  1. mthomps

    mthomps Member

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    It's a youtube link. I know I know. I got smacked a little about that last time. But it's all I got to show right now. My apologies.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6iYx4OWfMq8

    I have gotten such a mixed response on this track. Some guys have told me it's not clear enough. Others have told me it's too clear. One guy told me it was very muddy. Not really sure what to do at this point. I thought I was finally learning my monitors and getting closer to a professional sound but I feel like I'm back to square one right now with my mixing.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2012
  2. sgv

    sgv Member

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    I would say that it's "not bad."

    The lead guitar throughout the song in the left channel is too loud...that should be backed down a bit. It's masking the vocals.

    You're singing in a "hushed" voice in a lower register and the direct, reverb-soaked lead guitar licks during the entire song punch through the mix incredible.

    The "lead guitar" section is lost a bit. The guitar sounds very distant, as if you did not close-mic the speaker.

    I would suggest more of a pop on the snare, rather than washing it out with reverb. A little more attack on the kick could help.

    I think you're off to a good start. A little more work with some placement within the mix will help the song, sonically.
     
  3. guzman

    guzman Member

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    Vocals are either a bit too low or buried in the mix. Not much though. Sounds pretty good on my hifi set up.
     
  4. rob2001

    rob2001 Member

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    I think constructive criticism can be a good thing, but I also think you need to be confident in what you want to get out of a recording and not let too many opinions paralyze you. That said, I've got some great advice here about specific issues.

    Opinions in general.....if you ask for them, you will get them, and a lot of them will be in direct opposition.

    To quote that Garden Party tune from the 70's...."you can't please everyone, you got to please yourself".
     
  5. Snap

    Snap Member

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    Sonically, you mix is pretty good. There is space for all of the instruments, and most of your EQ choices seem appropriate.

    As far as effects and fader levels go, I feel like the drums are a little too "wet" and could be more up front, and it seemed like the guitars were a bit loud at times.

    The vocals were definitely too low, but that is not entirely a mix problem.
    The vocal performance wasn't extremely dynamic (i.e. the "mood" of the vocals stayed the same no matter where the music was).
     
  6. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    Lead Vocal is a bit indistinct.

    If I were producing this song (by the way, it's quite good), I'd simply have you try re-cutting the vocal with a slightly less breathy delivery, because that's what's causing the problem in the mix, and recutting it is the easiest solution, if you can still deliver the goods in the lyric (it may or may not be possible, obviously).

    If a re-cut isn't an option: The mix problem, of course, is that the vocal is very thick. The low end is whispery and uses a lot of chest. As a result, it's almost too "full range"; there are masking issues and there's interference with the instruments. So you're going to have to walk that fine line between clearing out too much space in the backing track to make room for the vocal, and making the vocal a little too tight using EQ and compression to focus it.

    I'd use some EQ to add a little presence to the vocal, take out a little of the vocal's low end, and I'd use a "grabby" compressor like an 1176 at a fairly high compression ratio, because it needs to be a bit more concentrated.

    I'd also clear out some room around the vocal frequencies.

    Only after doing this would I play around with levels.
     
  7. Seektone

    Seektone Member

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    hi mthomps, it's a good song and it's really cool of you to put it up here for critique. That takes some cojones.
     
  8. Rex Anderson

    Rex Anderson Member

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    The vocals (lead and harmonies) are not as loud as the guitars.

    Try a mix with the vocals up one or 2 dB and/or bring some of the/guitar parts down a hair. Work the balance of those 2 parts so you can always hear the vocal line.

    I think the vocal line should be more forward and get more intelligibility so you know what the lyrics are.

    It may just be a level issue or it may take a touch of EQ (less bottom, more presence) on the vocal.

    Basically the same thing Les said in a different way.

    Nice song!
     
  9. Kevbo599

    Kevbo599 Silver Supporting Member

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    It's a good song! IMHO it has too many things (guitars, organ) in the same sonic space that can be improved through different EQ and panning choices.
     
  10. mthomps

    mthomps Member

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    Thank you for your reply. I am embarrassed about my singing so I have a 2-5k boost and I turned the track down. Guess I should get over it and turn the track up. I am going to dry up the drums. Which guitar track are you talking about? The rhythm/lead fill track or the slide guitar track?

    Thank you very much for your reply!

    Thank you for your reply. No disrespect intended but what I want is the opposition. I am not good enough yet to completely trust my own ear over someone else's.
    I actually have quite a bit of compression on the lead vocal. In tracking this part was almost whispered. During the quite part at 1:10 they were wayyy to low. So I had to even them out. It may have been to much though considering what you are saying.

    I'm really not happy about how the middle section (1:10 turned out) It was supposed to be quite but then to get the parts that I wanted to be heard (the strings and the ooohhs) I ended up with the same volume as the rest of the song.

    Not sure how to correct this other than to start from scratch and maybe bus everything but the vocals to an eq and scoop the hell out of the mid range.

    Thanks for posting sir!

    What frequencies do you think would bring out the presence of the vocal? They are quite mid scooped right now. I have a high pass rolling off around 150hz and a spike at 2-5k to bring out some sibilance, but people still have trouble hearing the words. This tune has been quite challenging for me to mix. I would like to keep the vocals very chesty still if possible. Maybe I'll just have to bus everything but the vocals to an eq and judiciously scoop out the low mids? Thank you for your input.

    Can't thank you enough for your support. I consider myself an engineer first and a musician/songwriter second and I want nothing more than to become a master at the craft.

    Any suggestions for what frequencies you are describing as the presence. I have big boost of the 2-5k range already. Someone not on this board mentioned the vocals sound to scooped so I don't know which way to go from here.

    I have the vocal reverb filtered to only allow the mid frequencies to get through right now which was hopefully bringing out the chesty vocal sound I was going for.

    Thank you very much! Any suggestions on on the eq for organ/guitars? Right now I have a pretty aggressive roll off at about 500hz.

    -----------------------------------------

    Do you think I should try panning things harder left and right, like the slide guitar? Or would a wider stereo image be annoying?
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2012
  11. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    Well the good news is, it's a good song, and everything sounds right about it.

    I'd just recut the vocals with a bit less breathiness, and you're there. Why do surgery on the whole track?
     
  12. cap217

    cap217 Supporting Member

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    I wouldnt redo the vox. I have a lot of experience in mixing and I have some suggestions.

    Remix it from scratch but brig up the vox first. I usually mix drums first and go from there but in this case the song needs to be built around the vox. The guitars are kind of jumping out. I would lower then and compress them a bit. I feel like the drums arent loud enough as well.

    Now when I say loud or quiet it isnt the volume always. The eq and compression have a lot to do with it. Instead of turning things up, turn the other things down. Pan differently. Eq differently. Lastly, mix into/through a buss compressor at 4:1 and compress 4-6db. Like the SSL master buss comp.

    Also, I like to compress instruments at a lower ratio and then a high ratio at a lower rate. Then send that to a buss and compress there if needed. So guitars to 3/4, bass to 5/6, bg vox to 7/8, vox to 9/10, drums to 1/2 or whatever. I like to have more control this way. Also use parallel comp on the drums after the buss.

    But I also mix in stems for certain projects. This may complicate things for you.

    Best advice?

    Mix from your ears... treat the mixing like an instrument. Dont worry about #'s and pans and comp ratios. Its all feel.
     
  13. rob2001

    rob2001 Member

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    Agree.
     
  14. newi123

    newi123 Member

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    Don´t be embarrassed by the vocals - I thought the style was great and suited the song perfectly. Very listenable.

    Have you got the most recent Ronnie Wood cd? Might be worth a listen - similar style and orchestration to what you are doing....... you can then see what they do with it all.
     
  15. taez555

    taez555 Member

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    That's a really cool, very catchy, song. Good job!!!

    As far as mixing... Yeah, the vocals really need to stand out more. So many people mix from the drums, to bass, to guitar to keys, etc... then leave the vocal for last. You really should go the other way around and get a killer vox that sits well with a key supporting instrument first and then mix around that.

    Beyond that though, other than some eq and compression and level stuff (at this point it really sounds like a mix being mixed by a guitar player), the sounds are there. The drums are solid and sound great. Basically the song just needs some tweaking to fit in the groove and feel of the song a bit more.

    The fact that the song lyrics and melody are still in my head minutes after listening to it is a really good sign. Good stuff!
     
  16. Rex Anderson

    Rex Anderson Member

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    I'm sure some guys will disagree with this (so many ways to skin the cat), but here's how I'd approach it:

    Solo up the vocal so you can hear it and work with EQ so it clears up.

    If you already have a boost at 2-5 kHz, it still isn't enough, because that's where the presence region is. Maybe you haven't centered in on where the EQ needs to be. You might also need more top end 8-12 kHz. You might need some cut at lower frequencies (try 100, 200 Hz etc) as well as a low cut below 80Hz.

    Q = center freq/bandwidth. You can adjust that parameter to narrow or spread out the bell shaped curve.

    For example, a Q of 1 would be a center freq of 3kHz and a bandwidth of 3KHz, meaning it would go down to 1.5Khz and up to 4.5kHz at the -3dB points. That is probably too wide of a Q, so narrow it so it only goes down to 2.5k and up to 3.5k (thus bandwidth is only 1 kHZ and Q narrows to 3). Learn to work that parameter-very important.

    Work with the EQ until it sounds like it will fit in the mix better, then un-solo and adjust level so it sits just on top of the mix.

    Same thing with the reverb-solo it up so you can hear what just the reverb sounds like-maybe it's muddying up the vocal-EQ the reverb and combine it with the vocal (2 things soloed together). Adjust balance of wet to dry. Un-solo and adjust to taste so it works in the mix.

    I find soloing helps me hear things easier. But it is what it sounds like in the mix that matters. Keep working solo/un-solo back and forth until it is all good.
     
  17. mthomps

    mthomps Member

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    Unfortunately I'm afraid I won't be able to recreate the performance. I am not a natural singer and my range is very limited. On this track I happened to get a performance I liked on the first take and only had to punch in twice to correct some off notes. Each time I punched though I could feel the performance getting weaker so I corrected what I had to and then got the hell out of there.

    Thanks for the tips. The lead slide guitar is already heavily compressed. Do you think I should just go crazy with it? On the raw performance the transients are very loud and then drop out quickly so I have the release on the compressor timed to sustain the notes until the performer stopped them. I also have an aggressive high pass filter on the track because raw the performance was very bass heavy.

    On the master bus I do not have any compression, just some slight hard limiting right now.

    Could you give me a link to a track you feel is most similar to mine? This song is heavily influenced by a band called lucero but unfortunately they are a low profile DIY act and their recordings aren't the best examples of a pro mix so I tend to not follow their lead on the production.


    Thank you very much! I spent a lot of time with the drum micing. I'm finding out how important getting the right mic sound in tracking is to the overall project. And yes, I have been playing the guitar for almost 9 years and have been a student of the DAW for only one, so I tend to be guitar influenced :)

    I'll have to work in solo mode a bit more. I generally try to avoid soloing for too long because in the past I've left things too full range. I'll keep experimenting, thanks for the tips.
     
  18. newi123

    newi123 Member

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    The whole ´I feel like playing´ cd is worth checking out. But I thought particularly of this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SK0ft4g9IuI

    Similar laid back vibe, similar instruments and Ronnie is not a traditionally strong big ranged vocalist - so interesting particularly to see how the vocals are dealt with. As per most comments - on his track they are more in front than on yours.......... Hope this helps!
     
  19. mthomps

    mthomps Member

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    That sounds wonderful. I love that kick drum sound. Thank you for showing me this. Do you have or no where I can find any information on the tracking/mixing of this? The kick is centred but I can distinctly here it through both channels at the same time.
     
  20. newi123

    newi123 Member

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    Don´t think there´s much info out there - he was interviewed in a few guitar mags including guitar player following the release - but this of course doesn´t cover tracking & mixing in any depth.
     

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