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audio The Reckoning - original song mix advice

Discussion in 'Fix This MIX!' started by DogsoverLava, Jul 2, 2016.

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  1. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Active Member

    Here's a new song of mine - came together pretty quick - interested in any mix critique and also strategies to tame the lead vocal - I'm not sure exactly what I'm trying to do - I don't think it's just volume envelope I'm after, but I don't know if I need some sort of compression or limiter or something to keep it out front but taming the idiosyncratic phrases or loud parts. I'm not sure how you guys accomplish that.

    Many Thanks

    The Reckoning Mix#2


    EDIT TO ADD: There are some weird enunciation things I've got to fix on a couple of vocal lines -- particularly the line "for your mean" in the chorus. I made the mistake of trying to sing the American "R".... should have sung it "fo' yo' mean"

    Here's a mix with fixed articulations - Once I heard them I couldn't leave them.
    The Reckoning MIX#3



    The Reckoning Mix#4
    I dropped the main vocal 2.5 db, and took out some mids on the master

     

    Attached Files:

    Brien Holcombe likes this.
  2. pcrecord

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

    Nice song
    I found the bass drum to be a bit thin and it could be louder.
    I like the Mix3 better, if this get to mastering having the vocal a bit louder will help. Althought you could automate volume changes for parts that may be a bit too loud... but I feel it's less than 2.5db and you might leave it like that to send to mastering...

    Many songs I hear have too many instruments and we end up with a messy mix. Yours is breath and have space, I like that. Maybe you could add some more element at the end of the song. Some lead vocal impro or a percussion and/or a low volume lead guitar.. (just a suggestion)

    Other than Great job !! ;)
     
    audiokid likes this.
  3. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Active Member

    Thanks PC - I think you are right about that kick - I gave it a little boost here plus I notched up the vocals a wee bit (and added a tiny bit of pitch correction on the vocals because I'm vain). I think you are also right about needing something on the end. There's no guitar solo here - I had to cut that section to try to tame the song length as it was running into 6 minutes at one point - but some punctuated guitar or vocal lines at the end would really ramp up the energy I think. I was hoping the slide guitar would accomplish that but it fits in more as a part. I'll work on that a bit and see if I can come up with anything that doesn't sound arbitrary.

    You mentioned leaving the vocals louder for the purposes of mastering --- does that related to the video Audiokid posted here? Seeing how the mastering guy could isolate the vocals (centre) from the sides and treat them in the mastering process was really interesting to me.

    As a producer my inexperience leads me to more simple and classic tones and textures so you'll see throwbacks to old school vocal harmonies, and relatively straight forward instrumentation (because that's what I have at hand) as I train my ear in knitting things together. This song was a challenge for me because I wanted to modernize the sound a wee bit but still keep sort of a classic Americana style rock song (with countryesque roots) with catchy hooks and some neat rhythmic interplay in the guitar parts.

     

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    Brien Holcombe and pcrecord like this.
  4. pcrecord

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

    Great job..
    Yes, the ME can manipulate the center channel but compression alone would bring up the instruments and therefor surpass the vocals if set too low..
    I like to catch the words of the song because for me the story has a greater importance. But that's just my opinion ;)
     
  5. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Active Member

    Thanks again PC -- I've decided to re-do the vocal track in it's entirety but thought it would be interesting to post the mix with the vocals excluded here for some feedback as well. Now in general I like what I hear - I've got a pretty clean mix with the various parts spread over the stereo spectrum but part of me thinks it's still relatively plain. Am I missing something obvious to punch this up? Is there something I could or should try-out technique wise? Is this a dated sound? Is there a sound or direction this is calling out for? The genre is a bit of a throwback - americana/rock - does it need modernization or does it live well enough where it's at?

    EDIT TO ADD: I listen to this and I think April Wine "Roller" kind of production sound... a bit dated for sure.

     

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    Brien Holcombe likes this.
  6. pcrecord

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

    I still think the bass drum could have more low end.. Or does it have too much room verb ?? .. Anyway.. if you like it, that's what mathers the most ;)
    Can't wait to hear it with the new lead vocal !
     
  7. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Active Member

    I'll return with a new vocal track (and possibly a surprise addition to the track) -- One question I have is about the acoustic guitar you hear in the right side There are 4 guitar tracks (plus the two slide parts) on this: Lefts side - main dirty guitar, Centre rhythm guitar, Slightly right Nashville tuned guitar, then full right acoustic ------ is the acoustic too much? Does it work there? I kept it to connect the overall sound mix to it's Americana roots but am open to the idea of redistributing these guitars if you think it doesn't work.
     
    pcrecord likes this.
  8. pcrecord

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

    The acoustic guitar doesn't disturb me. But you may want to experiment sending an electric at its place and put the acoustic in the center..
    The only reason I'd suggest that is because of frequency contents which are different on the sides. So the Center one could go to the right and the acoustic to the center..
    Give it a try, you might like it.. if not leave it as it is.. you have an instrument full left, it's logical to have one full right..
    Well at least in my mind it makes sens ;)
     
  9. bouldersound

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

    I'd like to hear the kick with as much, or almost as much, authority as the snare. The 1s and 3s need to keep up with the 2s and 4s.
     
  10. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Active Member

    Posting a new mix of this which features a few dynamics, lvl, and EQ changes as well as some cleaning up of the vocals and some time alignment of the backup vocals (using Melodyne for the first time). I just picked one section (a problematic one) to do some very basic pitch correction on as I taught myself how to use the program without all the horrible artifacts that can occur. It's amazing how it can change how you feel about a song (a couple of bad vocal notes can kill your love for sure).

     

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  11. Brother Junk

    Brother Junk Active Member

    I'm not a bonafide musician. But if you are interested in an opinion....

    I like it a lot. I listened to quite a few of the mixes too. In my opinion, the last one is the clear winner. If anything, I would give the kick a tiny bit more. Just slightly. I feel like I get the impact but a tiny bit shy under it. The rest of the drums sound amazing in my opinion. I get a lot of the low end from the bass instrument and the drum stays a little hidden. I think the bass in the instrumentation being a little heavy leads to the vocal. I'm being super picky, fyi. And what do I know. But I would try a little bump at 40-50 on the kick track. Very subtle.

    Your vocal to me sounds a little thin, but it kind of progresses to that. In the beginning it's better than the end. It sounds like a little bump somewhere in the 200-350 hz area, and maybe shave a little off around 3k? Again, I'm being extremely picky. And my studio is not the same caliber as you people's, but I would go through the vocal and automate some of the volume. A couple spots it's a lil soft or loud (the falsetto parts get loud for me, but that may be my environment).

    Your falsetto is amazing man, wow. I'd kill to have that tone in falsetto. I kind of hate you a little bit now.

    Please tell me your ugly... so that I can believe there is some sense of balance in the universe ; )

    But seriously, it's really good. The mix, I would say is 93/100. For me, 100/100 is Dire Straits (I think every cd) or Focal Labs material. So what I mean to say is, it's pretty damn good lol. You may not even hear what I did, so, take it for what it's worth.

    I use it all the time, and don't notice any artifacting. I'll pay more attention. I know people who can make a terrible singer sound amazing with melodyne. But it takes a long time to get that good with it. But I've had the opportunity (a few times) to be there when the vocal was recorded, and then hear it after Melodyne, and it's pretty amazing.

    I tend to think more like a purist. I'd rather get it right than use Melodyne, but sometimes, people want to pay you to make 'em sound like a singer. But it doesn't need to be used as a total overhaul tool. Like you said, if you know how to use it, it can fix something that would be a pain in the neck otherwise. It's one of the craziest plug ins I know of, no matter how many times I use it, I'm amazed it can do what it does.

    Really good song man.

    **Edit - I'm not any kind of musician lol.
     
  12. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Active Member

    Thanks man - much appreciated on the feedback. This was a good track for me to work with and I'm still revisiting it. The vocal take was always supposed to be scratch as I've had a persistent lung issue and cough hounding me all year which has played hell on my vocal cords. I DL'd the trial version of Melodyne and thought I'd give it a go on a couple of phrases that stood out where my vocal was shaky. Melodyne definitely has issues with male vocals and you really need to develop a skill set with it to get the most out of it. It took me hours to do what I did on just a few lines. As part of the process I redid the corrections from scratch about 8 or 9 times - each time getting better and quicker with higher qiuality results. What it taught me was the need for more mindfulness when I am singing. I have not sung since about 1991. Although I've had professional vocal training as part of the musical degree program I was in, I am so far from the days when I could sing any specific interval on demand that I have lost a lot of that skill set. As I corrected pitches in Melodyne I sat at the computer looking at the waves -- that visual feedback of my pitches and how I was locking into them or sliding into them showed me how lazy my singing had become and really helped me understand where I needed to concentrate on my technique. I think it will be interesting when my voice is solid enough to retrack this vocal because I suspect I will be much more purposeful with each take. I think Melodyne might be a great producer's tool during sessions to help give feedback to vocalists while tracking. I can imagine by looking at the graphic files in Melodyne you could tell a vocalist in real-time "try to lock the pitch from that slide on this particular consonant and tighten up the depth of the vibrato on you end phrases - particularly the tails." Essentially using something like Melodyne as a real time feedback tool to facilitate better takes not correct them.

    As for my falsetto -- that's called use what you got -- and my wife doesn't sing so I just got me!. Funny thing -- with all the background vocals - I didn't correct any pitches. Some of my pitches on this and other BG tracks have been so locked on I've been surprised. Probably because my BG vocal lines are more note specific as opposed to word specific performances. I did use Melodyne to correct align the time so I didn't have any vocal tails stick out.

    I'll keep playing with this though - There are things I still want to do with drums (maybe see if I can open up the pocket on those a bit like I did with Stairway) and I still want to do what I think PC recommended - change the array of where the guitars are currently panned in the mix and see how that changes things. I'll work on taming those vocal levels and revisit the EQ there too - the high parts of the vocal are slightly jarring to me as well.
     
  13. Brother Junk

    Brother Junk Active Member

    I did forget to mention something now that you said it.

    One of the bass guitars or pedal tone I forget, but it was panned L, and after a few listens it started to become fatiguing. It was almost like the panning for it was too one sided.

    I don't have one at all. Literally, cannot make that flip into falsetto, there is nothing there. But, my point was, yours is gorgeous.

    I've never thought to use it that fast, but, yeah, the visual is helpful. I sometimes take pics of the melodyne screen and send it to the singer. It's helpful for me....I never knew I sang so flat.

    I'm not that flat in my head....but the mic don't lie. My copy of Melodyne must be faulty.
     
  14. CrazyLuke

    CrazyLuke Active Member

    More presence on the drums and guitars which are too far behind the bass.
     
  15. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Active Member

    Dropped the levels on the bass, slight EQ adjust there, bumped up presence on the electric guitars, dropped back the
    'verb on the bg vocals, drums a little more forward and balanced ---- getting closer?

     

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  16. bouldersound

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

    I think I would push the vocal up one or two dB, at least in spots. I would start with judicious use of clip gain adjustments. There may be some low-mid that needs cutting, around 250 perhaps.

    I want to say turn up the guitars but it may be that they just need a little space, like an early reflection effect. They sound small against the drums. The bass could use more definition, a boost somewhere between 500 and 3k and/or a cut between 100 and 250, and maybe it could come up a little.
     
  17. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Active Member

    I rode that vocal fader through the whole mix and tamed it quite a bit for this mix. Made the suggested adjustments to the bass to give it more clarity and definition and tried to get rid of the mud in the mix where some of the elements were competing for sonic space. Getting that balance between clarity and warmth is tough. Really had to take care of all the clip gain. I did also give the guitars a little bit more of the early reflections you were talking about so that it felt with the drums more - they are sonically more together here I think. All in all some very good suggestions guys. This is really helping me get inside these mixes and go deeper as I advance my skills and understanding here.

     

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  18. CrazyLuke

    CrazyLuke Active Member

    So you've got the distortion guitar on the left side, and the overdrive near the right. In the rock genre, as a listener, I want to be ensconced in guitars, while still hearing the lead singer - maybe you could experiment on one mix where you have the dist guitar hard L/R with the second copy about 30 to 50 ms pushed forward. Then do the same on the OD guit, but at 25%L, 75% R. This could add fullness to your mix, which is improving as of v3.
     
  19. Brother Junk

    Brother Junk Active Member

    I read your whole post, but I'm curious exactly what this above is supposed to do? Does it not create a little confusion?

    And the OP is well aware of the L panned guitar being a little fatiguing after a bit.

    It's not even fatiguing @DogsoverLava , man, I don't know how to describe it....but after a little bit, that distorted guitar sound that is panned L starts to ride on your brain. "Fatiguing" makes it sound like it sounds bad. It sounds great....maybe it's a volume problem, I dunno....but that is the only thing left that I hear that is off. But I don't know how to tell you what it is about it....

    But that is some quality sound and writing there bud. A+
     
  20. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Active Member

    Here's the isolated guitars from that same mix so you can hear better how they are arranged.

    1. Guitar 1 - main distorted riff, 80%L
    2. Guitar 2 - Rhythm G, centre
    3. Guitar 3 - Nashville tuned, staccato rhythm, 75%R
    4. Guitar 4 - Acoustic Rhythm, 94%R
    Additional Guitars:
    1. Guitar - Big Slide Overdub - 32%R
    2. Guitar - End Slide Figures Overdub - 32%R

     

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