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audio Indie Rock / Fusion / Progressive / Ambient - Worked really hard on mix - its complicated

Discussion in 'Fix This MIX!' started by Polyblip, Aug 14, 2016.

  1. Polyblip

    Polyblip Active Member

    Hey All,

    I originally posted this on reddit and in the comments a user recommended that I post this song at this site in this particular thread. Here was his feedback on this mix:

    I like what this could be but I found the oscillation of the sound way too distracting -- I wanted longer decays and a more smoothed out or gentle oscillation --- maybe the effect of that in particular much less wet in your mix (lower level), and then a generally wetter mix altogether. The effect of this instead sounded more like someone futzing with a volume knob which changed air pressure and actually hurt my ears --- I liked it - but I wanted more psy or trance -- more Bristol sound.
    It did get me to go back to this mix and try to fix some things. I originally had the logic space designer small recording room reverb on the entire mix set really low (-30DB). But when I switched it to small recording stage it really helped open up the mix. I tried some medium room reverbs like Nice Room and I thought the small studio stage sounded better.

    But anyways, I have been working on this mix for awhile and I've got it to a point where its the best I can make it.

    I never studied audio engineering or anything, I do have many years of experience recording music and have learnt things a long the way just from experimentation. I still do a lot of guessing.

    Here is the track:

    I would love to hear your feedback. Really appreciate it, thanks!
  2. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    So where is the track ?

    Try using the "Upload A File" button at the bottom right of the post window. You can upload an Mp3 @ 320kbps maximum (no wav files).

    You will get more responses uploading the file here than just posting an external link to your song.

    I for one, like many others here will not click on a link I am unfamiliar with.

    - Sean.
  3. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Sean's preferences echo that of many RO members, in that generally, most RO members don't like to be directed to another site to listen to music, and we are all very cautious and hesitant about actually downloading any file posted by someone whom we aren't yet familiar with.

    As Sean suggested to you, when seeking a mix critique, your best chance is to upload your file directly here.

    You can upload your song here by clicking on the "upload a file" button, located below the post window, at the bottom right side, just to the right of the "post reply" button. This will open your computer's directory, where you can choose the file you wish to upload.
    RO's player will support MP3's as high as 320kbps; the higher the resolution of the file, and depending on your connection speed, the longer it will take, but at "common" upload speeds and average file resolution, (128kbp) it shouldn't take any longer than a few minutes or so... Although the better the resolution you upload, the more we can help, because we don't have to deal with listening thru wizzly sonic artifacts that can occur with lower res files, and that aren't indicative of your actual mix.

    Also, if you can provide some basic info on your recording rig - things such as preamp/interface, particular mics used, DAW platform, your studio monitors make and model, if you are mixing through monitors or headphones, any acoustic treatment you have in your mixing space, etc., this info can help us to be more helpful to you in terms of engineering/production suggestions and advice.
    Generally, we focus on the engineering end of things, and tend to shy away from making any musical suggestions - unless asked, or unless there is something happening musically that we feel may be adversely affecting the sonics of the mix.

    Welcome to RO. :)
  4. Polyblip

    Polyblip Active Member

    Here it is a mp3 version. Thanks a lot!


    Attached Files:

  5. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Active Member

    Hey guys - I was the one that suggested Polyblip come over here - I hope we can help him with his tracks. I'll give this a new listen tonight and comment then.
  6. bouldersound

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

    The left channel is clipping on practically every kick beat. There's a bunch of 130Hz energy in the left channel that isn't in the right, as if the bass is panned left, and that seems to be contributing to the clipping kick. It sounds like the kick is also making a mix compressor pump. Overall it's fairly loud at about -8.5dB RMS on the left and about -11dB RMS on the right (square wave). The TT DR Meter dynamic range reads 4.9 left/6.8 right.
    pcrecord likes this.
  7. pcrecord

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

    Hey Welcome Polyblip !

    To add to Bouldersound comments. The first thing that disturb me is that the dynamics are all screwed up with too much compression.
    I'd suggest you try to present us with a mix not an attempt to be the loudest possible. The final levels are taken care at mastering not in the mixing phase. We are in fix that mix after all ;)
    The thing with the dynamics is that it isn't just the pumping but the sounds of the vibratos are also making the ears go nuts..
    Passed those problems, I didn't have energy left to listen to the song. The arangement seems nice... I'm sure it could be better without that ton of compression...
    Please post another version !
  8. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Arrangement and art aside, truthfully, I didn't get very far into the song before I hit "stop", as the compression pumping made it really tough for me to listen to. I'll take Boulder's word for it about the other stuff mentioned.

    Time to go back to square one on this mix, I think.
  9. Polyblip

    Polyblip Active Member

    Hey thanks for the feedback!

    Wow I didn't know that it was painful to listen too. That sucks, as the goal is the opposite :) But thats why I am here.

    So what I am hearing so far is that its way to loud with too much compression.

    Here is what I changed.

    Lowered all tracks in the mix by about 6.0DB. Removed master compression. Panned bass more towards the center.

    So here is another version. Hopefully this one is listenable. Should I lower it even more?

    Let me know what changes you think should be made and I will keep making the changes and uploading a new version. Maybe by the end we can compare the original with the new one after feedback and see what the comparison is like.


    Attached Files:

  10. bouldersound

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

    It's still clipping frequently on the left channel. Overall and especially from the guitars I'm hearing a ton of 440Hz. There's also a lot of energy below 100Hz. You're going to have to rein something in, whether it's cutting low bass or reducing mastering volume. As it is you're trying to stuff ten pounds into a five pound sack.
  11. Polyblip

    Polyblip Active Member

    hi, thanks bouldersound

    so I did leave one multiband compressor on the entire mix, because I felt like the song needed it. But I took it out. The song is way quieter now and it should not be clipping anymore. I think this might be a good base to work off of.

    So now the clipping and loudness issue fixed? If it is, then where should I go from here?


    Attached Files:

  12. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I'm still hearing something distorting on the left side... dunno, maybe it's just the sound of the patch you are using.

    What are your individual track levels like feeding your 2 bus? Do you have any individual tracks clipping? Any compression or MBC on any individual tracks?
  13. bouldersound

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

    I think there's a bit of a crack to some/many kick hits, but now it seems to be just at the track level, not at the mix level. Oh, and I meant to ask about panning the snare left and then stacking the tambourine right over it. How about a more traditional snare position in the center and leave the tambourine over to the side to counterbalance that ride on the right? Then maybe move the keyboard part to the center. It seems to be lacking activity in the middle other than kick/bass.

    Even if all you did was lower the volume it's an improvement.
  14. Polyblip

    Polyblip Active Member

    Donny you were right, some individual tracks were clipping. I turned on pre-fader metering and all was revealed. I fixed it so no tracks were clipping.

    I also panned the snare more towards the center.

    Overall comparing the original and the new with edits I can see how terrible all the compression was making the song. I can now hear details I could not before. So this helped a lot. Here is the newest version.

    Please keep offering advice, this helps a lot.

    One of my concerns is the level of the bass volume. How is it? Can you comment on the level of the drums n bass in the mix?



    Attached Files:

  15. bouldersound

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

    The next thing I hear is a frequency spike in the kick at about 4.1kHz. The drums and bass on this are like reggae or even dub reggae, and some of that has surprisingly thin or clicky kick. I just don't think it sounds right in this mix. Maybe the kick and bass could go down a dB each but I'm not positive.
  16. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Active Member

    What I like about this song Poly and why I recommended you come here is the groove you have going, but when I first heard the track it was very painful to listen to, not just all the clipping but then all the sound oscillation that actually made my ears revolt - - this is already much much better but I still have issues with the first 10 or 15 seconds of the track and then the way the oscillations are handled ------- something about that still feels unpleasant to my ears physically.

    You do a novel kind of thing with the rest of the track, using both the sound oscillation and the swells & panning rhythmically which is cool --- but there's still something there pushing me away from the track. I want you to listen to the song "Lucky Man" by The Verve off of the album Urban Hymns and see how they handle oscillations and panning and see if that gives you any ideas. I'm not experienced enough as a producer to be sure but part of what I think it is that your track lacks is the anchor soundbed to hold my orientation in the space - like the whole track is going through these volume and tones swells so my ears get have nothing to hold on to to keep the focus and I get disorientated and almost ear sick. Is it that you need a part of the track to hold the centre line while you dance on the outsides? I'm not sure - I hope others speak to this -- but there's still something physically unpleasant about how my ears handle this track - particularly with any volume and with headphones.
  17. bouldersound

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

    A more defined center would be nice.

    Something you might try: cross panned early reflections on the oscillating parts. That is, one set of early reflections on the left for tracks panned right and one set on the right for tracks panned left. That can make panning less stark.
  18. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Active Member

    I just sorted that out on the Stairway mix - I had the acoustic guitar right and sent a verb to the left but I forgot to do the opposite with the recorder parts - sorted that out and the whole track changed for the better.
  19. Polyblip

    Polyblip Active Member

    Thanks for the advice Lava, really helpful. I'm not 100% clear though on the reference to oscillation. Does this mean that the sounds intensify in one ear and then the other in rhythmic manner? Or too much tremolo? On a specific instrument? Just a little lost on what oscillations is referring too specifically. But overall I did try and reduce what I think you mean by oscillations.

    Here is the updated version. I played around with the panning on some instruments to help define a center. I noticed some tracks were still clipping especially one guitar track so I fixed that. I slight added reverb to the master to help give it more depth.


    Attached Files:

  20. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Active Member

    That works much much better for me as a listener. My ears can handle the track much better in this state.

    What I'd want from this now is just a bit more subtlety overall -- it still sounds very hot ..... but what's with the drop out at 2.45? ---- like you rolled the tone knob off ?(if the mix had one) What was the point of that sudden drop out of frequencies?
    It's working much better for me though -- now I'd generally direct you to try to make it more elegant production wise --- think of it this way -- imagine a really graceful dancer doing an interpretive dance to this track -- now imagine an MMA wrestler or football player dancing to this track --- for me the track itself wants to be the dancer but it's more the football player --- how can you grace this up a bit and add grace to it -- it's heavy footed.

    What I hear here is a conflict between Portishead & Oasis --- Cool vs Hot


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