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audio Delving Into Metal Mixes with "Beware the Wiccan" - Asking for FB

Discussion in 'Fix This MIX!' started by CrazyLuke, Sep 18, 2014.

  1. CrazyLuke

    CrazyLuke Active Member

    Here is a song I've played on and producing called, Beware the Wiccan, which evolves double kick. Please let me no how I can improve on this demo mix.
  2. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I dunno Luke... I'm not really a fan of this genre, but from a musicians POV, I kinda dig the song... it's got a cool rhythmic vibe... interesting time-sig changeups, and fun to analyze in that regard. Musically, it's cool. I like songs that have change-ups like this, and I respect the musicianship it takes to think with these outside angles.


    The whole mix is very harsh, very brittle, and as an engineer I find it to be really tough to listen to, from a frequency perspective.

    It's got upper mids and hi's that are... well... I won't sugar coat it... They are cutting my head off. And, this isn't isolated to just one part in particular, either - it's on the whole mix - and even at a listening level that is below "average", I still find it pretty painful to listen to.

    Big Disclaimer: You need to take my opinion with an infinitesimally small grain of salt - I'm not the only guy to take advice on for this mix, as this style isn't generally my thang.

    And because of this, I can't say whether or not the overall frequency curve on this mix would be considered to be "acceptable" for the genre.

    This really needs someone else to weigh in... someone who is far more familiar with this style, mix-wise, than I am.

    IMHO of course.

  3. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Active Member

    Very interesting composition wise == Vocals and drums are a bit too out front for me (and again slightly removed from the "band" performance in the mix) -- and I dislike the synth patches; but those are very Euro in this genre (which I generally dislike so my dislike is personal not objective) so it might be what you are going for. Guitars are fantastic - really fantastic. You've got the Brian May thing going on with some great almost neo-classical metal. Check out Invisible Man from Queen's "The Miracle". I wish to hear more - particularly from the rhythm guitar (which I wish would replace the keys - but again that's just a style preference from me not a criticism). I'd love the Rhythm guitar to be louder with more body. I'd like to have my lungs shake from the rhythm work - it doesn't shake me there and I played this loud.

    I think you've got a challenge with this vocalist - his voice and register is very very distinct -- and that's what's cool about him. I talked about The Sweet before but I'd also consider Bon Scott -- another guy with a distinct voice in a very unique register. In those AC/DC mixes they managed to warm Bon up quite a bit and tame the pierce while still keeping it in the mix. I think that's what I'd want a bit more of here -- just a bit less piercing from the voice with more warmth. I'm still humming some of your earlier stuff from this vocalist. Are these still the old vocal cuts or are these new sessions?

    Really cool piece of work though -- I'd love to know more about your workflow recording and performing this because it's awesomely big as a project. Very ambitious. I plan several more listens.
  4. CrazyLuke

    CrazyLuke Active Member

    Yea, Donny, I heard that there is a 3K area that's called the "pain frequency," and you might have got an overdose of it on this mix. I'm working with a vocalist who hits ALL of his syllables too hard, so I'm going to need to do some subtractive EQ on him.
    I mixed this on headphones late last night, but heard the mix in my car today, and it blew my head off. I'll work on it.
    Yo, Dog, glad you liked the song - I'll be working on balancing and EQing it properly soon. Gigging this weekend, so Sunday night I might come up with a better mix.
  5. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    With this posts and others you posted before, I suspect you might not have an Ideal listening environment.
    I might be wrong but I guess you could fix 70% of your mixing problems with better monitors and/or room acoustics.

    You current monitoring may not have clear enough hi-end and it forces you to put too much in your mixes.
    If so, I suggest you put some money down to invest in that direction.

    OR, your ears are damage from intense db listening and you know have a HF deficiency.
    In that case, you may need to rely a bit more on spectrum analyser to have a better balance
  6. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    I've been into agressive heavy music since the Cali skate punk thing happened in the 90's, and from doing live rock bands and for the past five or so years, and being a fan of the early 2000s 'new wave of heavy metal' I am familiar w how a lot of different genres within metal sound.

    Gotta say this is a pretty cool song. Once in a while it's fun hear people take themselves seriously, but not too seriously.

    Now I hear a lot of things going on w this tune. I like where the vocals are level wise. You can't bury a voice like this, it's gonna stand out not matter what, and it should, the dude is a capable singer. Level wise vocals the mix is in par w primus or megadeath or fugazi. So the level is cool in my book, i think that the first few lines could be sung w some more breath.

    My question is were the vocals tracked with excessive sibalince, or is it a mix thing. Windscreens and socks can help, also having the singer turn his head to the side for the harsh consonants could help. If u have multiple mics, the importance of the right one is huge.

    I'm guessing your gonna go thru and dull out some of the spikey frequecny peaks.

    One of the things besides balance issues of the rhythm guitar and it's scooped tone, and the chorus synths being quite high, even for a black metal band like cradle of filth. If the vocals and drums were were eq'd to be smoother and more defined, the balance between the two is decent, and in the right ballpark.

    So that leaves whatever left over room for the bass, syhtns and guitars it's tough to judge on an ipad but the bass needs more than just a 1k slap sound so it can stand strong as some of the other elements in that range come in.

    I like the leads, but would have them at a more consistent volume throughout.

    One thing thing that can be deciveing is when your mixing something in solo mode, which you could end up with a bunch of the same frequency. Our ears are most sensitive in the 1-5k range, so in general those are where our sense presence/clarity lives. Details up in the highs, and power/bigness in the lows.

    I think there's a lot of masking in this mix, where things are fighting for volume w eq instead of a fader. Also, I sense of space on the drums and vocals would be nice, an eighth note delay and nice tight verb can go a long way to the overall blend. Mixes are both left to right and front to back. So for instance if your guitar part is hard to hear, maybe take a little reverb/effx off to make it easier to hear, but without touching volume and eq?

    Also just wondering how you employed compression in this mix, and if you used a lot?

    I think that there are some places to cut on the instruments, but it's easy to suck the life and energy out of something, I def try to be just as selective w cuts as boosts. A little distortion on the bass and a little on the vocals could help as well, to give some edge and presence, with no eq.

    Overall man an enjoyable listen, and there's potential for some really awsome guitar and vocal riffing, if you take more time tracking, and organize the arrangement better. That way if you need a searing 5k tapping lick to rip thru the mix, it's for an intended effect, and you can make sure the timing is right, and ther is room for it both volume and frequency wise. Sometimes the best way to make something louder is to turn something else down.

    Jw if you by chance used a 58 or something like that for the vocals?
  7. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    in a nut shell, I'm with kmetal! Pretty cool chops here but I also share everyone's opinion on the mix.

    The vocals remind me of David Byrne(y)

    I don't personally like this style but appreciate the talent. Listing to this strictly from a mixing POV, I'm with the others regarding the metallic sound you have here. I think this is a clear example of hearing fatigue and poor ADDA conversion. The entire mix, sounds very rash. Its beyond your mix itself though. I do know you could improve the mix greatly,but it will still will have that sonic footprint.
    If I was doing this style, I would definitely invest in high end tube gear and stellar conversion that can handle the upper mids this style demands. This genre is all about fast transient capture and preserving the sweetness to the end.
  8. Smashh

    Smashh Active Member

    Cool song Luke , For me the drums are distracting in the verses but in the chorus they are great . Everything else in the verses breathes great , If
    you let the drums breathe more naturally in the verses , then the chorus would have an even more awesome impact , and the song will start mixing itself (y)
    Thats just my five cents worth , really cool work :)
  9. CrazyLuke

    CrazyLuke Active Member

    Here is an updated mix for "Beware the Wiccan" that incorporates more filtering and volume automation to make things sit better.

    Also, here is the mic I'm using to record all my vocals.
    Pro Tools
    I used some lo-pass filtering to dampened the lead vox a bit

    I brought up the Rhythm Guitars, especially at times when the vocals aren't running

    This is my first 5/4 song verse, and I think I overplayed it. Would love to re-track with a real drummer on drums or midi pads.

    I'm compressing, but with some free plugins, will soon be purchasing some good software soon.
  10. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    The mix is better Luke !
    It is just sad that some of the upper mids and HF are squasht. I don't know if it comes from the converters used at capture or at the mix down, but I can hear some defects as if it was a LoFi mp3. The hi hat, the snare and some parts of the vocal are the places that bother me the most.

    Did you post a wave version of the song on Soundcloud or an mp3 ?
  11. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    "I talked about The Sweet before but I'd also consider Bon Scott -- another guy with a distinct voice in a very unique register. In those AC/DC mixes they managed to warm Bon up quite a bit and tame the pierce while still keeping it in the mix..."

    Don't forget that much of that sound - with those two singers/bands you mentioned - (Brian Connally from The Sweet and Bon Scott (AC/DC) - is that they were also tracked to tape - not to mention being recorded through a nice analog desk as well - I would assume because of the time frame that the console could have been a Neve, or maybe a Trident, etc. - and those two things - the desk and the deck together - had a tendency to be nicely forgiving (and more than a little warm LOL) and could really go a long way in smoothing-out harsh frequencies on vocals.


  12. Voiceofallanger

    Voiceofallanger Active Member

    This is really cool as a piece of music mate but I think I can sum this up for you in my opinion of course. As you know my mixes tend to be of rock/metal.. The performances sound great and really tight to me. Extremely well done. If I were to be handed this in a project file and say "fix it" I would approach the following first.

    Guitars (rhythm) I don't care how, they just need to come up. All I can hear is drums. The rhythm guitar is completely buried even after you've nudged them. In this style of music it goes without saying that the guitars are the real balls. Might I suggest a boost at 1-2k on the rhythm too just to brighten it up? It's very... um.. dull methinks. The lead balance and tone is fine. I'm down. Sidenote - If I ever have a dull sounding tone, particularly if I've been handed a really bad DI then I'll often use a harmonic exciter on the guitars. Try it.. it works wonders, honestly. And cut somewhere in the 200hz-250hz area on all of your guitars.. It's really muddy in that area. I think I'd be spot on with that suggestion if I'm honest. To be honest I tend to high pass all my guitars up to 120hz and then most of the time end up cutting that area regardless because personally .. I just hate that frequency in guitars.. It sounds like boxy nonsense to my ears. Hehe! :D

    Bass - the middle part of the EQ on the bass sounds just great, really clear and really nice. The bass end though ? Not really getting that. I think this actually needs a bit more low end.

    Kick drum - I get that clicky thin kick drum is a total metal thing but it JUST seems to be click for me ? Donno if it's my headphones. I am in work listening on just normal ones, but that in itself can be very useful.

    If you focus on those three things I reckon it'll really help you out. I don't want to ramble too much as I know we all have our own approach to doing things after all and that's what makes this so fun.

    Cool tune mate, like it :)
  13. CrazyLuke

    CrazyLuke Active Member

    Thanks. Voiceofallanger. I haven't been on this sight in awhile. I've been recording a couple of bands. I'm working on that song right know. For the rhythm guitar section, I like to use a Strat on one side and my Schecter on the other, but my Strat is having some fretwork done, and is still at the shop
  14. Jathon Delsy

    Jathon Delsy Active Member

    Listening to the latest mix, it's clear that the whole mix is too trebly, too brittle. But this is exciting music, kind of a crazy showtune meets modern metal, full of inventive frenetic brilliance. You need to soften the overall mix, make it richer in the lower frequencies, as sonically this is tiring to listen to. Which is a shame because musically this is brilliant, and also the musicianship and singing is similarly brilliant.
  15. eternalsound

    eternalsound Active Member

    I don't care for the tune but I highly respect the musicianship. I'm pretty impressed with the odd time signatures and know they can be complicated to work with. Especially singing over the top of them. Kudos!

    As far as the mix, it is a bit harsh, brittle, and bright. Combined with the style of music it makes it exponential. All in all I don't think it's far off.

    Good stuff all around. It's nice to hear some modern progressive metal type music these days. Makes me think Dream Theatre.


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