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audio I'm Back After a Break w New Songs 4 u 2 Critique - 1st Up "Damned If I Do (Don't)"

Discussion in 'Fix This MIX!' started by CrazyLuke, Sep 17, 2015.

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  1. CrazyLuke

    CrazyLuke Active Member

    I have been absent from this forum (that has been helpful to me) for awhile, but I'm back to have you guys help me build the 1st CD of a 3 CD set of hard rock and metal songs.
    This song is called Damned If I Do (Don't), and if you could play it in your good listening environment, please let me know what adjustments I could make. I'm going for, at least, a good demo quality recording to give to fans of the band.
    Mix 87 is the latest, with more dynamic range, and is less squashed



    Mix 66 is the latest for "Damned if I Do (Don't), and hopefully exhibits more DR, and is less "squashed. Let me know if I'm right



     

    Attached Files:

  2. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Cool track - certainly a great classic rock vibe.

    It's a bit too compressed for my tastes, but the song has power and energy.

    Although, I'm hearing some lossy-type artifacts in this mix... did you do any type of post conversion, or down-sampling at some point? Or re-sampling of individual tracks - such as different tracks being originally recorded at different sampling rates and then converted in the project file?

    When you converted this from .wav to mp3, what were your conversion settings?
     
  3. CrazyLuke

    CrazyLuke Active Member

    Thx, Donny. I did indeed use a low bps of 192, but uped it to 320 on this track. The lead vox was imported from a different daw and session, and has been run through some pitch correction, if that explains some artifacts.
    Here is another mix of Damned If I Do (Don't) with a higher quality conversion, and more beef in the middle frequencies. I took 1/2 snare out of the 2-bus compressor so it would be less "squashed".

     

    Attached Files:

  4. CrazyLuke

    CrazyLuke Active Member

    Here are the lyrics for the song on this thread, Damned If I Do (Don't). Please listen the song first, to find out if the lead vocal is riding above the mix with enough clarity, then read the lyrics here. thx

    Damned If I Do (Don't)

    Sunday morning, chauffeured limousines
    But I’ll taste the dirt of the streets although it ain’t my scene
    Nymphomaniac woman is in heat tonight
    She stays high all the time on that cocaine flight, Well, I’m

    Damned if I do, damned if I don’t
    She's flying miles of the ground
    We’ll, she said that she will, but I know that she won’t
    When will she ever come down?

    Monday morning we've got bills to sign
    First term congressman, district 49
    Half wants it illegalized, and one half wants to choose
    Might as well flip a coin ‘cause either way I loose

    Damned if I do, damned if I don’t
    Still flying miles of the ground
    Said that she will, but I know that she won’t
    When will she ever come down?

    (Spoken) “Down on me”

    With my intern at the roulette wheel
    Lost all lobby cash on every deal
    Congress say’s this is no place for me
    But I’ll win my campaign money back, you just wait and see

    Damned if I do, damned if I don’t
    We’re flying miles of the ground
    Well, we say that we will, but I know that we won’t
    When will we ever come down?

    Bye!
     
  5. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Lyrical intelligibility floats in and out - I had to go to the lyrics several times to get what you were singing, although the hook is understandable, which is a good thing.
    The argument there is that there are many classic rock songs where you can't decipher every single word; and many times the energy of the song trumped the ability to hear the lyrics.
    Personally, I prefer to be able to hear what the words are without having to go to a lyric sheet, but that's just me.

    I'm hearing intermittent distortion on the kick and snare, the first time it occurs is on the very first note of the song; I don't know if this was intentional or not.
    When you reduced the amount of reduction did you also lower the MU gain a bit? It sounds like maybe you didn't, which would account for the distortion on those transients.

    The lossy-type thing I'm hearing isn't really on the LV, it seems to be most prevalent on the drums - not sure why, unless these were converted from another SR or something, only you would know what you did.

    And I still think it's a solid classic rock song.
     
  6. CrazyLuke

    CrazyLuke Active Member

    Yes, the first note is a problem. and it's probably due to the fact that I'm using a limiter on the 2-bus that doesn't have a "look-ahead" feature, and thus, doesn't kick in right away. Since I have bass, kick, floor tom and snare all on one, I will have to automate, and soften that intro. yet still keeping that abrupt "wake up" feeling at the start.
     
  7. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    What DAW program and limiter are you using?
     
  8. CrazyLuke

    CrazyLuke Active Member

    Nuendo 4
     
  9. CrazyLuke

    CrazyLuke Active Member

    And a free vst limiter called Limiter 6
     
  10. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I'm familiar with Limiter 6. It's intention is to emulate a more classic analog vibe. Not that this is bad, but I think you're overdoing it; either because you're over-limiting, or because your input gain to the limiter is too hot at that section...

    If it were me, I'd get into that first note and pull the gain back; start with a 1db increment and see if that does the trick ( gets rid of the distortion). You could also pull your amount of reduction back a bit as well.

    If it were me. ;)
     
  11. pcrecord

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

    I here distortion and even 0db crossing at some places (in the guitar intro it's pretty obvious)

    Distortions may have been introduced at the tracking level. If so, nothing could be done. If while mixing the signal is overdriven, this could be adjusted.

    Limiters have Attacks and ratio settings as any other dynamic processor. At some point the levels can go too high if the settings ain't right.
    You can setup the limiter as a brick wall or to retain a part of the transients. The tip here is to find a good balance to fit the song and style.
    Now a day more and more engineer admit, high volume isn't a priority. By keeping the levels down, the sound retain is purity and dynamics that were captured when tracking.
     
  12. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    True. But we also know that VST limiters aren't all the same in the way they effect the sound. Many are meant to add coloration while compressing, others are designed to be cleaner and more transparent.

    As a follow-up to that statement, and having used Limiter 6 several times in the past, I can say that personally, I wouldn't be reaching for Limiter 6 for use as a master bus/program limiter.

    As I mentioned in an earlier post, it's designed an intended as more of a "mojo" type of GR, modeled after various Tube and Opto model limiters of the past, ( but really not emulating any one in particular ) and is better for adding a certain type of coloration/character, than it is an actual DAW program/bus limiter. I'm not saying it's bad, and I'm not saying that you shouldn't ever use it, either. But you may want to reserve it for certain independent tracks or sub groups on those parts where you'd like to add some "unique" analog-type character; and instead, use something more modern, more precise, and more transparent for digital master bus gain reduction.

    Solid choices for this would be VST's such as FabFilter's Pro L, Izotope Ozone, or, you could even use the L1/L2 or L3 from Waves - any of these would be a better choice than Limiter 6.

    Remember... Limiter 6 is freeware - so, you're kinda "getting what you pay for" - and while it can occasionally be an interesting choice for those special circumstances where its somewhat "odd" character can sound cool and "vibey", it's really not the best choice for accurate, transparent, master bus limiting in today's digital realm.

    And, I'll mention it one more time .... don't ignore the possibility that the input gain to the limiter on those offending tracks may be too hot, ( and this is possible on any limiter) and that you might want to pull it/them down in -.5 db increments until the distortion disappears.

    IMHO of course.

    d.
     
  13. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Overall there's a bit of sharpness in the 2.5kHz zone, mostly from the vocals, and it seems light in the lows or low mids, perhaps centered on 200Hz or so. And it's really, really loud.

    damned_if_i_do_dynamics.jpg
     
  14. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    yea, -5.8 RMS is ungodly hot. I also notice by the meter that Boulder posted that you've got overs as well.
     
  15. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    It's possible the overs are from the conversion to mp3. Peaks can shift around with such processing. Also, I think this tool uses 0dB peak sine wave reference which makes levels look higher than measurement using square wave reference. But that's still very loud.
     
  16. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I don't disagree. I just don't think that a song needs to be that hot, and that close to the potential clipping range to begin with.

    It's even possible that the song, as it stands now, and based on current EBU R128 Broadcast Standards, might not even be allowed to be played on some stations/broadcast outlets, because of its Overs and its very hot RMS/LUFS level.

    Based on what I read a few months ago in the EBU Journal, the song, as it is now at its current -5db RMS, far exceeds acceptable standards ...by at least 10db, maybe even more, depending on the criteria of the broadcaster.
    There are some broadcasters who go as far as to not allow anything above -23 db LUFS.

    The result is, that if it was played, it would most likely be turned down by the station ... way down... To the point where it would end up sounding a lot less "powerful" than those songs that are currently meeting the newer broadcast db criteria.

    I could be wrong - I haven't checked in awhile, and things are changing fast out there - but based on the song's current RMS measurement, I don't think that iTunes would accept it, and maybe not YouTube, either.
    The last time I researched it, they were after an RMS/ LUFS of "around -12db" .... with -10db being the max. This may have changed - but if it hasn't, the song would have to be re-mastered to a lower RMS, and, there could be no clipping/overs, either.


    FWIW

    d.
     
  17. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    I think the way things are going loud songs will just get automatically lowered to match the LUFS standard of the broadcaster. And I agree that leaving more of the dynamics and some headroom in the master would sound better.

    Otherwise it's a good song. It takes me back to the 80s hair bands but with a late 70s proto-hair vibe as well.
     
  18. pcrecord

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

    I use Fabfilter's on every projects now.. Ozone is good for getting the right frequency balance, M/S processing etc.. but as for getting it loud, I don't like its limiter. It give saturation too easy. I usually use ozone then Pro L for that reason...
     
  19. CrazyLuke

    CrazyLuke Active Member

    Here is a new version of the song with the following adjustments
    1: It hits the 2-bus comp with less volume
    2: Backed off on the harshness of the snare - more "twack", less "schhhh"
    3" Reduced the lead vox volume - he's back in the mix
    4: Low-passed the guitar to reduce harsness
    5; Automated the intro - less abrupt

    lmk if it's better
     
  20. CrazyLuke

    CrazyLuke Active Member

    Here is the newest version of Damned If I Do (Don't)
    BTW, I think I fixed the overs - the older version didn't have the snare hit the limiter.



     

    Attached Files:

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