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audio Ought To Be In Heaven

Discussion in 'Fix This MIX!' started by DonnyThompson, May 22, 2015.

  1. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    An update of a jazzy-funky kinda thing that my client and I have been working on for his album.

    I'm experimenting with using a different pan law in Samp... curious as to how this might effect the mix and the translation to other member's playback systems...

    OUGHT TO BE IN HEAVEN MAY 22 2015.mp3


    Attached Files:

  2. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

  3. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    I like the compressed wide stereo on the piano. Thick fat snare. Has your typical steely dan type of clean fidelity, but with some more warmth and a bit more girth, than usual? Does this have some tape sim or something on it?

    It'd be nice to hear a little more spotlight on the lead at the bridge. But other than that, nice mix, for some fun 'baby making music'.
  4. bouldersound

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

    If you're not actively panning things across the stereo field then what pan law you select won't matter. Of course changing it after setting levels will alter your settings, but that's not a comparison of pan law, that's a comparison of mix levels.
  5. eternalsound

    eternalsound Active Member

    Ok, here's MHO:

    Overall sounds really good as far as space and placement. However...

    - mix sounds kinda dark to me - just sounds too bassy all around
    - bass drum needs some more roll off. too floppy on the low end - too poofy
    - snare seems to have too much low and too. maybe a bit too much compression.
    - seems like the lead vocal could be a tad louder.

    I love the piano through and coming out of the first chorus ..that minor second sounds fabulous. It would be nice if it was a standard pattern for the choruses altogether.

  6. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Thanks for taking the time to listen and comment, guys. I really appreciate it.

    Boulder... Yes, I'm aware that the pan law only really matters when it comes to moving parts. There are several tracks that are auto panned in this mix ( rhodes riff, guitars,etc). I set the pan law to -4.5 and wanted to see how this would result.

    On the whole, I'm getting some conflicting comments.... and I'm not saying that any of them are wrong - I've heard from two other engineers on another forum I frequent that the vocals were a bit too bright, and perhaps too far forward in the mix.

    I have to assume that this is due to personal taste/preference, as ell as different monitoring systems, and, it's not really unexpected... I've said all along that when you present a mix to a room full of engineers, that you are likely to get different opinions from each. ;)

    I was using a few tracks off of Steely Dan's Two Against Nature as reference tracks. I also used a few Michael MacDonald songs as well, my reasoning is that this song kind of leans towards those musical styles, so they were good tracks to reference to.

    There is no tape sim on this mix, Kyle. I used some very light compression on the 2-Bus - Samplitude's Ammunition - on the second DAW. The drums bus did have a Fairchild 670 on it, but not a whole lot, I was just barely kissing the meters with the signal. I did, however, use an 1176 plug on the snare as an insert. Chuck may be right... there may be too much compression. I'll listen again and maybe dial it back a bit.
    kmetal and Smashh like this.
  7. Smashh

    Smashh Active Member

    thats awesome t Donny , (y) , listened to it a few times over and enjoyed it
    really love that cool groove .everything is singing in the arrangement .

    The panning is spot on for me , everything is in a good place here.

    If I was to be really nit picky Ill give you my 2 cents , IMHO

    The vocals arent quite talking to me enough. I found it hard to hear some words in parts, ( I wanted a touch more sibilance / less muddy when he's lower register , and maybe more presence.
    I love the reverb Im hearing on the vocals and wanna hear a bit more :)

    The hi hats and snare could have more prescence from here too. Those hats have a great happy groove and push the song along .

    On the pre chorus when the kick does the off time , the keys could hit with the kick ( would make the stop even more effective ), and then the brass stab , turn it right up and smack me in da face .(y) ( all the brass needs up more here )

    And since Im a bass lover , maybe the piano part could give away a little more of the lower end and hand it over to that massive bass playing. ( piano needs a touch of bite here too).

    I could imagine with more presence on those things , the reverb on the toms would not be as noticeable , and the kick wouldnt sound as big , It would be even closer to perfect in my little world.....lol

    Id be over the moon to get a song sounding anything close to that Donny , love your work :)
  8. Smashh

    Smashh Active Member

    Hey . after reading your latest post Donny I listenrd to Steely Dan , and have come back thinking that where I wanted to hear more snap and presence , the lower end up to maybe 600 hz ( not sure ) the instruments and
    vocals are fighting and masking the top end , so I take back my previous statements and say carve out around that area to let the prescence through . ok enough thinking out loud from me . Over and Out
  9. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Whoops... I take this back, Kyle... I remembered that I did two mixes to the second DAW, on one of the mixes I added a Slate VCC to the master bus - it was an SSL G setting, and this is apparently the mix I posted above. I don't know if this explains the "girth" you were referring to or not...

    Okay, so here's what I did based on the above comments...

    I've brought guitar solo up a bit. No further EQ, just a slight level change upwards.

    As per Chuck's suggestion, I rolled off some lows on the kick and added a bit of 2k for presence. I've also brought the lead vocal up. My suspicion is that I'm probably suffering from the very common engineering disease of lyrical familiarity - in that because I've heard it so many times, I already know the lyrics, so to me, they sit fine. But I've brought them more forward.

    Along with bringing up the lead vocal, I also rolled off around 125 or so by a few db, and added a little around 8k. Brought up the reverb aux 1 db.
    I've moved the HPF on the piano up from 200 to 300Hz, and added some 4k for presence. I've also brought the level of the hi hat up a bit and added around 1db of 5k for more sizzle.

    To all... I've shelved some of the low end on the mix on the whole... -1.5 db @ 80 Hz, -6db slope.

    So, based on suggestions:

    OUGHT TO BE IN HEAVEN MAY 23 2015.mp3

    (I'm not gonna lie, the lead vocals on this mix sound really hot to me, too far up front... but I'm more than happy to make this change, if that's the general consensus.. after all, that's what this forum section is all about, right? ;) )


    Attached Files:

    Smashh likes this.
  10. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    I think it's just the versus that the vocals are a couple db hot. Not un acceptable, or mistakenly loud, just a little bit too much. Other than that, I like it.

    Ah, the slate stuff. Maybe that's it. It seems to add a bit of scoop to anything I put it on. I like the Kik too. The perfect sound and amount of pop for this type of tune. Mm mm.
  11. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Side comment. I just caught myself wishing for some grandiose 'church lady choir' gospel type vocals at the end. Then I realized how much I liked the lack of doubleing, and layering so common in (vocal) production these days. The swells of the horn section take care of that effect (choir). I like the simplicity of it all.
  12. Smashh

    Smashh Active Member

    Yeah thats exciting . Love the vocals there for me (y)
    Hats may be overdone a touch here and I wanna hear some more low end bass guitar for me.

    I was rocking to that , got me going :sneaky::cool:
  13. bouldersound

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

    Sorry, I did listen to some of it but didn't hear the active pans.
  14. eternalsound

    eternalsound Active Member

    Sounds great! More enjoyable to listen to now. The floppy("ish") low end is now "punchy/poofy" - it now sits at that threshold of not too much, not too little. Nice and round now. Awesome!

    This how I feel too. It's the verse and chorus levels that seem to be different. The chorus level is now perfect but yea, the verses are a little hot. Maybe a little volume automation ...unless something else is causing it.

    I really think it sounds great now, though!

    -Chuck :^)
  15. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Did some volume envelope on the verses to get them to sit back a little.

    pulled the HH back a scoodge... reduced the shelf attenuation the bass guitar by 2 db at 80Hz.

    LOL.. don't think we didn't think about that, Kyle. We were struggling to find a way to get exactly that.. that southern black gospel sound. We're just up against it budget-wise, and couldn't find any way to afford it... ;)

    Last question, does this need a funky Nile Rogers kinda rhythm guitar? Or is that gonna make it too busy? Keep in mind that there will eventually be some backing vox on the choruses...
    OUGHT TO BE IN HEAVEN MIX 3 MAY 23 2015.mp3


    Attached Files:

  16. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    it's a cool song. good vocals. recorded /mixed well. good job Donny! BUT, i don't care much for any of the vst sounds. i mean, they sound ok (good even) but not real. too perfect. too homogenized. of course, imo.
  17. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Believe me, if I'd had access to a real piano, a real Rhodes, and a real Hammond with a real Leslie 122 - along with having enough room in my house to put those things - I would have happily used them. ;) Alas, like most home studios, we didn't have any of those things, so we used VSTi's. (Personally, I'm not unhappy with the results).

    Although, the guitar was played through an amp - a Fender HR Deville 4 x 10 - that was miked... two mics, actually... one was a 421 up close, slightly off center/axis, and the other was a ribbon mic - backed off by about 5 ft, and bused to its own track - to capture the ambiance of the hallway where the amp was located. I liked the sound of the space when I heard the amp played in it.

    The bass guitar was a Fender Jazz, DI'd, through an ADK AP-1 pre, using a Sowter 9820c input XFO and a John Hardy 990c Op Amp. I put the bass into the pre via XLR, so I could take advantage of the input transformer ... the AP-1 does have a 1/4" instrument jack on the front, but - using that input jack bypasses the input transformer and sends the signal directly to the Op Amp. I wanted to be able to add a little character to the bass, and take advantage of the input XFO, so I used a 1/4" to XLR passive DI and brought it in thru the mic input on the AP-1 instead.
  18. Smashh

    Smashh Active Member

    Yes , there's room for a funky percussive guitar line . I would love to hear that and the harmonies . ( It would take attention away from the vst elements too :) )
    Ive seen somewhere on a Pensado episode where he automates the volume and nudges it up and down ever so slightly on VSTi s ( almost randomly ) to get it to sit in mix better )
    For this song , its definitely worth going the extra yards Donny (y)
  19. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Thanks Smash. We tracked some backing vox yesterday, I just haven't gotten around to mixing them in yet. I'm gonna try a rhythm guitar, maybe a Nile Rogers kind of thing, but not a lot of it, I want to make sure that whatever I do compliments the song and doesn't become distracting.
    Smashh and pcrecord like this.
  20. bouldersound

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

    I kind of hate to say it but we've got a nice C3 and Leslie that's been banished to the garage since the studio is too full.

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