tips for mixing lots of layers?

Discussion in 'Tracking / Mixing / Editing' started by sharkfistsound, Sep 5, 2012.

  1. sharkfistsound

    sharkfistsound Active Member

    Hey everyone I'm mixing a cd for a client and in his Chorus' or "hooks" there is alot of vocal layers going on, and i'm having a hell of a time making them sit right. Anybody have any tips or suggestions on how to handle this? There's typically 4 main parts on the hook plus 2 emphasis tracks and then 2 adlib tracks all together. If it were up to me I would take some out but I dont think the chorus' would work as well without them. any help is much appreciated thank you
  2. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    HPF, LPF, reverb, panning, pitch, eq, compression,

    Here is a great video resource too How To Eq Vocals - PUREMIX
  3. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    In addition to what audiokid said.

    maybe, add the 'lib' gradually into further choruses as to build to an "apex, or peak". you could just blast it all into the first chorus and 'pull back'. it depends on the momentum of the song. Just make sure the parts are sung in tune, or relate well, unless your going for like an old skool punk thing were it's just raw emotion and raw feeling vs tuning.

    i'd tend to create an atmosphere w/ the backups that varied from chorus to chorus. take it back, no backups, gradually bring it back in.
    You don't need everything all at once.

    When, and If, all at once is important. This will effect the the processing of the parts.
  4. sharkfistsound

    sharkfistsound Active Member

    finished product

    Thanks for the replies dudes, Here's a link to what I did with the song. audiokid I was pretty much going along those lines with the mix already, one thing throwing it off I think is the amount of layers that occupy similar frequencies, seemed to sort of build up too much around them. So as I was working with the layers I went less surgical with the eq and brought them down (not the main vocal track) a couple db. I feel like this rounded them out a little bit and made them more "atmospheric" and balanced in the background. You'll hear the hook right after the little intro part he does. Curious to see what you guys think, and as always thank you for your input \m/

    layer example by sharkfistsound on SoundCloud - Create, record and share your sounds for free
  5. ZXYZ

    ZXYZ Active Member

    Just my .02 but I would add a lot more stomp (bottom) to it and remove the vocal parts that are not in perfect harmony.
  6. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    I found it quite nice, and it's not quite my cup of tea. I found it quite listenable. The out of tune background vocals just sort of give you that " in the hood " sound, which I think you did very well. It sounds real. You sound real. So I wouldn't be messin' WIF you. And you know that to be true, since I came from MOTOWN, Deeetroit, Michigan.

    I lived north of the city since I liked Pontiacs better than Ford's.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  7. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    well done sir. After working at a nightclub for 4 years (and testing my mixes there) i appreciate your restraint in the low end. it'll bump.
  8. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Ya, I like it too. Nice mix. Slightly too much low end for me on the bass track but I like it !
  9. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    It's not my bag but I have to admit I enjoyed it. I like the sounds you're using. It sounds musical, which for me is a stretch when talking about hip hop.
  10. sharkfistsound

    sharkfistsound Active Member

    thanks a bunch everyone! I was skeptical about it at first but I was completely burnt out on these tracks and was hoping for the best. The artist is happy, beat producer happy, you guys are happy, I guess I can be happy now too haha
  11. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Now that we are all happy, how are we going to replace some of the old with you guys? Keep up the great work.
  12. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    So now it's Miller time. Tonight is kind of special so the beer you pour should say something more. Let it stay low in brow, LOL.

    Mx. Remy Ann David
  13. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    if replacement is anything like i experience, it's being "loudly micro-managed" as well as insulting comments on taste. dealing w/ the truth/allusion that its never 'as good as it was'. hearing stories of signal chains that cost more than the current studio itself. I take no personal offense, and just keep trying my best.
    The owner is just a real 'nice dude', even tho he came up under the same obnoxiously successful dude i'm getting schooled by. Good thing, or not, said loud guy doesn't know how to manipulate a cpu, or i'd have less work.
  14. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    At nearly 57 years of age, I am approaching input overload. I'm not sure what I have to gain by staging, some kind of comeback? I have a 25-year-old pot to excrete in will that help my sound?

    When you are looking at 100 bellybuttons, is that a decibel?
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  15. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    This is to the OP. The "best' thing to learn is when to step away long enough for your brain filters to reset. I read a recent interview with some guy named Bruce Swedien who told a story about mixing some little known song called Thriller. He and the Artist had made 91 mixes and were sure that the last one was the greatest. They brought the Producer in and he said, "Thats great, but I'd like to hear mix 2." Of course mix 2 was the best. Its hard to let go of something where you think that the next pass is going to be the one. I have found that this almost NEVER happens.

    The advice you got from Chris was spot on and these things were simply techniques that allow the music to sit well in a dense mix form. A lot of younger mix engineers dont understand these techniques and fail to get their mixes to a high level of clarity because of it.

    I , personally, dont look much at the mistakes unless they are glaring and the stop the flow when they occur. The same with slightly outta tune things. Although lately I've been keeping a tight control on the instrumental tunings.....more so than ever before and at tracking more than any other time. For those using a lot of keyboards and samples (do people use samples anymore???) it behooves you to actually check the tuning as even the best keyboards will 'drift' with the variety of voltages coming into a residence or a building. Having a solid in-tune foundation at tracking makes the mixing a much easier task regardless of the style of the material. Just my nickel.
  16. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    right on. Isn't that interview great Dave.

    From my experiences, its usually the 2nd take of everything that has that perfected version of take one (somewhere between tight and raw vibe and attitude).
    After take two, that's where the professional ability to be able to keep the vibe without getting to perfectly boring comes in. I stand firm on this: Build around vibe rather than perfection.

    Live and learn. Most times something that didn't sound so well ends up being magic. Solo's are like this for me. Trying to redo a lead brake that you think needs to go a certain way, but if you leave it, take a long brake "long enough for your brain filters to reset." the part you wanted to redo become the magic moment that is so difficult to ever replace, it just happened for that moment in time. Those precious mistakes end up being something you actually have to practice to be able to do it again! How many times have we kept trying to get something so perfect at the expense of the entire life of a song (marriage, friend and so on..). Music to me is real life without the video added. Don't need the video messing up my innocence.

    To expand on tuning. The only time I mess with tuning is if it effects the harmonics between other instruments. You know its bad when everything looses sustain.

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