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audio How can I make this sound better?

Discussion in 'Fix This MIX!' started by spooner248, Mar 24, 2013.

  1. spooner248

    spooner248 Guest

    I'm new here. I'd like suggestions on how I can make the mix on my track "Invincible" better. Home studio, one-man-band .... no friends. You know the scenario ... :)

    Thanks in advance.
  2. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Ah, a Polish friend, you have a similar style of me. Maybe because we are both Polish but could be because we both grew up in the 70's. I love this song! Yes, it can get much better!

    The plain and simple solution, it needs to be remixed.
  3. spooner248

    spooner248 Guest

    Thanks audiokid .... bit vague though.... remixed ....
    I'm a musician, not a boffin, I can sit and remix it for the next six months, till I'm blue in the face. I was rather hoping for specifics.
    BTW, Poland is my location, it does not mean that I'm Polish :)

    All the best,
    Bill D'oa
  4. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Hi Bill,

    Not Polish, well now I'm sad! okay, that doesn't matter, they are rubbing off on you lol and I still think you are cool!

    If I had the song I would totally remix it because it's too compressed for my tastes. I hear what you are going for ( and love the track!) but its all over processed but its close!
    The Drums, snare and hat can be seriously improved by remixing them all. The background is smearing the entire bed track all together. Its a cool vibe but washed together. The lead guitar sounds direct, which I would open it up more.

    The overall mix is squashed.

    Basically - you are victim to the most common problem in the digital world I hear day after day ( but maybe you are using tape lol). Its the sound of 2-bus smear and squish caused by the downfall of a whole variety of setbacks. You can improve this but you need to start over, learn how to keep the track volumes down, mix better and manage the 2-bus so its not sounding like a rock song going through a straw with a blanket wrapped around it. I know I sound a bit vague and stuffy but thats the reality of it, from my perspective anyway. Its why I use a high headroom analog mixing system. I am becoming very analog proactive.

    Others here may suggest more pointers for you, but I would simply remix it all. Try less Less compression. Hope that helps you.

    1. What are you using for a system?
    2. What was your basic approach to mixing this? (effects, EQ, compression, reverbs etc per track)
    3. What effects are you using?
  5. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Kind of reminds a me of this mix. All muffled and forced together. They have that sound, but, what a great song and look at the fame it received. So, your mix could be right.

    I would remix this song too so what do I know.
    The Sopranos - Soundtrack - Woke Up This Morning - YouTube

    What do you think is wrong with your mix?
  6. spooner248

    spooner248 Guest

    I don't know what's wrong with it..... it just doesn't sound as transparent as I would like.

    Okay, system .... Cubase 5 ... fx etc .. bass Focusrite liquid mix ... for compression. Vocals ...Waves doubler for the octaves, Liquid mix for compression, Blue tubes stereo spreader .... no verb, no delay.
    Guitars are running through Guitar Rig. The output has a Liquid mix compressor.
    Vocals have a 3 db gain at 1000hz Q1 .... everything else has minus 3db at 1000 hz
    I've dropped 120Hz down to the floor on all tracks.
    Drums are Addictive drums or Groove Agent, I don't remember. I recorded the drum output onto a stereo track as audio.

    I'm here to learn.... so shoot :)
    Glad you like the song, I have more :)
    I will remix it .... and the others ..... the more information I have, the better.
    Thanks a million
  7. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    So the bass goes out, through the Focusrite liquid mix, and back to the DAW, Yes?
    What happens to the imaging? Its a vicious circle.
  8. spooner248

    spooner248 Guest

    What happens to the imaging? Beats me, if I understood what you meant, I'd come up with an answer, maybe. Liquid Mix is a software plug using DSP hardware, I also have a powercore board installed to help my CPU. So apart from that, it's no different to using a dedicated software compressor, or?
  9. spooner248

    spooner248 Guest

    Another thing audiokid ... The email notification of your post contained a lot more information than the actual post shows here. Did you edit it yourself and chop a big chunk out?
  10. spooner248

    spooner248 Guest

    Ah, I think I see what you're getting at ... and I've thought about this before. So what I do is.... when I'm happy with a track, I export the track, soloed, and mix the results in a seperate project with only the Liquid Mix on the main output for the whole mix.
  11. Audiofreek

    Audiofreek Active Member

    I like the song,not crazy about the drum programming,too many fills,snare is and cymbals are a little too loud,once the cymbals start washing,the mix turns into a distorted mess,Hat needs to have a little ambience on it IMHO.
  12. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Ya, I chopped a bunch out but it related to your problem.

    How do you mix the result in a separate project? When you say "track", do you mean the mix or just a track and/or mix that processed track back into the session? sorry a bit confused here but I think I get it but don't like this because its what causes smearing.

    I've never used that product so I am only guessing. However, I wouldn't simply because of how you process things. If you are trying to build a tight and fat mix, anything that can create a phase shift, or src within a track of a session is a bad move. Without going on and on about that, its what my chopped post was all about too.
    You gain the effect but you loose imaging. The more times you do this, the worse it gets imho. Something to think about...

    Back to your drums, I'm with Audiofreek. I think you can get great mixes with virtual drums but you need to be extra careful processing them. Meaning, they are already processed, mixed, perfect and created on a different system. Toss them into your session and then start compressing them instantly makes them sound like over processed real drums gone goofy.

    The main focus I have with virtual drums is how I can achieve ambience and the feeling that they are real and alive, part of my recording, not something that was added after. Thats the secret. They can easily sound over processed and not part of your mix if you aren't careful.

    You aren't alone. I choose specialized hybrid gear and methods to help overcome these setbacks.
    Knowing why its happening is half the battle. Hope that helps some.
  13. pcrecord

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

    Ok, I'd remove (or deactivate) all compressor. Lower all the instruments tracks at once, to make sure the master (when on 0db) don't pass -12 to -9 db
    Now listen to what you get. If an instrument is burried and you don't hear it at all. Lower all other instruments but this one. To keep you master around the target. If you hear an instrument but it is mask by another, before playing with the volume, check the EQ and Stereo placement. If some parts of an instrument is too loud and the rest is ok, use a volume automation.

    If from note to notes, there's some peaks in an instrument that are disturbing, then use a compressor. But, start light: a 2:1 or 4:1 ratio is often enough. Don't put the attack too fast (30ms and more) and the release should be longer than the attack (100-300 ms to start with) Your goal is to lower those peaks without removing the dynamic. Ajust the input and the threshold to affect only the peaks. Then again, make sure the master (when on 0db) don't pass -12 to -9 db.

    Send a link of this pre mix (no compressor or any effect on the master). Don't worry about the master level being lower than commercial CD for now. It's taking care in another step which is the Mastering.
  14. spooner248

    spooner248 Guest

    Thank you all for your input. I'll try your suggestions out tomorrow when I'm at work. I did mix another new track today, completely without compression and am really pleased with the results so far. I'll air my new mixes here when they're ready, let you pull them to pieces too. Once again, thank you so much.
  15. spooner248

    spooner248 Guest

    So, I took your advice on board and started remixing another song ..... I took all the compression out.... still not perfect but it's a step in the right deirection, methinks. I'm so pleased to have found this forum, you guys are so helpfull.
    Audiofreak, you're right about the drums.... I'll make a bit more effort with them.

    Take a listen, and remember, YOU mixed some of this...... I'll finish the mix this week sometime.
    Thank you.

  16. pcrecord

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

    What a difference !! Congratulation, this mix is much closer to be perfect..

    A lot of the following is a question of taste.
    At the point you are in the mix process, I always ask my self ; does it sound natural. I try to put the instruments as they would be if they were on stage or at least in the same room. I find the vocal to be a bit seperated from the rest of the band. A bit too loud, a bit too clear... ??

    Also, if you find that the band don't sound together, a tinny bit of reverb on the whole mix might help. I always try to use a reverb on a bus and send many instruments to it so they share the same ambiance. (not saying your mix has a problem)

    So keep on mixing you're getting better no doubt !!
  17. thewonders

    thewonders Active Member

    I just listened to the latest mix - I really like the song - nice work!

    I know that you're working on several elements of the mix, and the one that I noticed right away was the vocal sound. It's thin, as though you're singing through a telephone. I don't know if it's your mic or processing but you'll need to put some warmth into it.
  18. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I have to agree that this sounds pretty squashed. I'd back off on your compression - mostly on drums, but you may find that after you do that you might want to back off on other tracks' GR as well.

    Personally I'd be letting this track "breathe" more. You're into a compression territory that is very likely starting to change tones. When you squash a snare or kick to that degree, you are starting to lose some of the nuances that give those sonics the pleasing characteristics they could have if you opened them up.

    Here's another thing...

    You have a "roomy" live sound on the kick and snare, but the hi hat is very dry and up front, as is the ride, which is a bit sonically deceiving in that it doesn't sound as if it's all the same kit recorded at the same time.

    The vocals are also pretty heavily processed, which is wiping out some definition and making the track somewhat unintelligible.

    Needs a remix with less GR and some even-ing out of reflective ambiance to match the performance.

  19. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Second mix posted is much better. Flows nicer, more open. Nice B3 too.
  20. spooner248

    spooner248 Guest

    Hope everyone is having a wonderful Easter weekend.

    Please don't use abbreviations in your answers, I'm too stupid to understand them. What is GR?

    I've mixed invincible again, but I'm having issues with the vocal volume. I'll have to put some track automation and I'll post a link after easter. You have all been so helpful, thank you.
    So, what exactly is the point of me owning my Liquid Mix and Powercore board? What exactly is the point of compression?

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