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Since I'm just getting adjusted to this again after a few years, here is another I just put together for a quick critique. I went for a little more volume here.



Thanks much.

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kmetal Wed, 08/08/2018 - 14:54

what notice from the mix to the master, is a change in the eq curve with the volume increase. it seems to accent the mids too much. i think things that may not have been recorded top tier all the way from the get go [ie great room, big name producer, 10k hi hat signal chain, ect ect] tends to break apart sonically, a little faster than the alternative. i think is has to do with headroom, conversion, signal to noise ratios, all sorts of little tiny things that eventually add up, to start losing fidelity just a hair sooner. im not talking about distortions, but rather the depth, and the density, the dimension.

this eq curve happens with a volume knob, and speakers of any type. theirs a certain spot where the music sounds loud clear and full, and then suddenly gets strident and flat.

im not suggesting music not be mastered loudly if appropriate, but rather theres technical limitations based on the recording as to how much it can be enhanced, before it starts to degrade.

LarryQualm2 Thu, 08/09/2018 - 04:48

Ok fellas....

mix (again)

Low end is still difficult to work with. Ideally this mix should be corrected a bit - I'm dealing with the increase one/lose the other/vice versa syndrome.

I actually cut a lot of the low then replaced it with some sub frequencies to balance things out a bit - (I do this in these situations at times.)


kmetal Thu, 08/09/2018 - 21:13

hey man, cool tune.

the first thing i notice in both mixes and masters, is in the intro, the background instruments dont seem to have enough distinction/separation in the frequency range. the volume difference is fine, but to me the vocals and background is in the same 800-3k range. id really prefer to hear the background with a much more exaggerated telephone effect, or narrow band boost. its cool how everything comes in full range, that contrast is good. what im saying is really spike the eq on the background, leaving the voice clear in its range. i think the idea is to have less masking, by giving the background its own narrow space in what is otherwise the vocal range generally.

mastering seems to bring up the "pad" instrument a bit too much, not sure what instrument it is. i'm thinking it may be due to some 'apparent loudness' type processing like an l2 or other maximizer, as they tend to bring up the mid range, where our ears are Most sensitive. to me this version sounds obviously "mastered" as opposed to finished. i like the roundness of the mix, i dont think every song needs to have alot of cut or high end definition. i hear a paul simon style to the voice. to me the mix sounds like it could have been done to tape in the late 80's, and the mastering sounds modern. to me the mix is cool, and the master should be the mix, just louder, and maybe a little taller {deeper/higher}, but not much. like just a little salt and pepper on the steak, as opposed to a salty peppery steak. i think perhaps the issue with the lows is simply too much highs, especially pertaining to the master. i dont notice anything unusual going on in the lows.

i think sometimes mastering is a case of bringing out whats not there, or is subdued, but sometimes like in this case, its simply about presenting whats there, with maybe a little fairy dust.

the acoustic guitar could stand to have a little more highs and lows, giving it some tone, and pick attack, without creeping on the vocals.

again, just my thoughts, as a non mastering engineer, on a set of 10$ computer speakers. so ya know...

im also curious what your employing as far as processing on the mastering in particular.

LarryQualm2 Thu, 08/09/2018 - 23:14

Yea, it's a good jingle I got off another forum in a "mix-off" kinda thing thread. One guys mix was at least good for a "criticizable" master, I thought. There are a lot of issues with the mix as you point out that would need fixing before they really considered a "finished" product, I agree. (There is that what appears to be tape noise and tap instrument that seems overloaded from the get-go.)

One thing I thought was that in the mix the low end was about a loose and floppy as you could get. I'm not sure if I'm just losing it though because they keep doing this in their mixes and some even go on to master it this way. In my master I cut the low end significantly, shelved it all the way down a little further up, then replaced some low end with a sub plug so it would pick up a more blended bass and kick. I am going to do a bit of a redo and only place the sub on the mid channel, as apposes to all three.

Some of highs are my fault but were a compromise - I used an exciter plug and the result, which is supposed to be more glassy sounding, actually just resulted in more brightness (I think this is the weakest point in "digital" in that the ultra-ultra high frequencies perish due mainly to sample rates.)

Yes, very Paul Simon-like. Has a good hook too.

I think if your mix suggestions were applied it would be awesome. The pick attack, voice-to-guitar frequency variation etc., would major improvements. I bet your mixes with these critiques, are pretty stellar. :)

Hope you don't mind, but I'd like to make another run at this ..say a few days for you to check out. I'll deal with some of these brightness issues and test a little less loudness.

My chain (per audiokid's recommendation :p) is all analog (JUST KIDDIN BRO! :LOL:). Basic eq/compress/limit etc., with a few plugs added before and after the analog returns.


kmetal Fri, 08/10/2018 - 20:59

so your using both hardware and software in the mastering? what units, and which plugs? i think what im hearing is the exciter, as far as the brightness goes. i feel the opposite to you as far as highs in digital, i think that they are preserved in digital so add up to become overbearing. my mixes sounded better when i discovered LPF's [high cut filters] recently. it clears the air, so its not so sharp. our ears, and analog tape, both have a natural roll-off in the highs, so it's often pleasing to boost highs, or leave things unfiltered. in digital it captured the full 20hz-20k {or more} spectrum on everything, so things that dont need them, still have energy up there on the recording. so in a mix or a master they add up, or in master can cause problems by revealing themselves when highs are boosted for say vocal air, all the sudden the 10k that was left on the guitar track, kik drum, and conga, becomes apparent, and things get out of balance. digital is far less forgiving in many ways relative to analog, imho.

eternalsound, post: 458534, member: 48927 wrote: I bet your mixes with these critiques, are pretty stellar. :)

eh ya know its easy to verbally mix someone elses stuff. much harder to mix it any better than they have. my knowledge far outweighs my skill set, im very average at mixing, and rarely get results that would be considered album quality or commercial. my mentor stressed arrangement and songwriting, rather than over analyzing every half db, so he was a good balance to my hyper attention to details. ive just done alot of reading, and messing around in the studios, home, and live, so im fairly well rounded, hence, able to identify a wide variety of issues. im a jerk of many trades. being a jerk is certainly one of them. ive been fortunate enough to work with and talk to some very talented people over the years in different areas of the music world.

i particularly enjoy these critiques lately as im on a terrible monitoring system for the interim, so for me its a test of if i can properly hear 'thru' the anomalies, and hear the meat of the song.

upper mids often irk me, perhaps because i came into music in the 90's when scooped sound was the rage, or because crappy conversion and mics and rooms often accentuate that range in order to sound initially good, or because they're technically limited. badly coded plugins will also mess this range up quickly. mid range has a ton of complex harmonics, much more than bass or treble, so its very difficult to get right, especially in digital. i think higher sample rates will aid this. analog can saturate in that range and smooth things out, where digital just gets confused, and has cancellations, and spikes [re-inforcements] because it has to pick 0 or 1, with no in-between. at least thats what i think anyway. its part of digital being non-linear, and it cant place the electrons captured in the in-betweens like tape can.

cheers bro, looking forward to the next version.

LarryQualm2 Sat, 08/11/2018 - 04:13

You're quite lucky - I've been alone in this since the beginning and let me tell ya, it's been a BITCH of a task. I'm certainly no pro but it's honestly taken me about 20 years to understand things (like instrument shape EQ'ing, ducking, parallel compression, TAPE SATURATION!, etc. ..the list goes on) that I so desperately wanted to know. All I had was my own "what is that I'm hearing" then the grueling task of putting it together as something I would know and could do. (It actually took me about 10 years to figure out what that "radio kinda sound" actually was! Bless you and your mentor for sure!

Ahhh ...the '90's. The era of SCOOP for sure! Personally I come from the '80's and it was all about the mids! :LOL: When the '90's came around I was a "mids snob" (Randy Rhoads tone) and seriously frowned on the guys that "scooped" and didn't slam guitar solos. It was just a different time and I was "ABSALUTE '80's!". You are certainly right on the harsh uppers though since we all know they can scratch quite hard on our eardrums. As you said ..most sensitive area. Crappy conversion ...crappy mics ..all part of the lessons learned right?? I remember starting out and a guy said "make sure you use a really good mic recording digital". Well I was like "yea whatever" ...ended up probably costing me a few years between that and converters. Uggg.

I definitely look forward to you critiquing this next one - I just got a new set of Audeze LCD-X cans and I think things are going to be better. (I needed good phones since it's not feasible right now to set up my speakers.) The cans are unbelievable and sound so good that they have made most modern audio (youtube, MP3, etc.) sound like doo-doo. I guess that's a good thing itself. I can't wait to do another master with them because I can already hear things I want to change.

TTYS bro! :)

LarryQualm2 Mon, 08/20/2018 - 01:23


- Tailored the low end in general
- Rounded and centered the low end and tied the kick and bass together better
- Tried to carve a bit more of a left - void - middle - void - right style spectrum
- Small amount of reverb to set the vocal more into the mix (which still needs to be automated out of the intro)
- Took away some of the "driving" kinda harshness in the high mids and highs

kmetal Sun, 08/26/2018 - 21:13

Hey I tried checking it out on one of my Android phones (Motorola Moto 4) and it promted me to download it to my Dropbox Wich I did then it wouldn't play, said to use an app that can play it. My laptop is packed up right now so I'm not sure when I'll have access to it next (remodeling house) it might be easier if you just upload the file to RO directly. It has to be an MP3 but can be the max bit rate. That's generally how it's done on this site, so people don't get dead links in the future or have to download the files. I'm new to Android so maybe I'm doing something wrong.

kmetal Tue, 08/28/2018 - 18:00

Not being very familiar with this phone, v3 sounds the best so far. I do hear some distortion, which may be the phone or a artifact from a maximizer, or maybe a little of both. The audio is generally bad on this phone so I can't really offer much more of my impression on the mastering.

I will say congrats on getting some focals. They have a great reputation. New speakers are fun stuff!

LarryQualm2 Wed, 08/29/2018 - 13:05

Yea, there are a few hot-spots with distortion - I believe this is in the mix, at a lower volume, obviously.

Thanks for the input. I think this one is pretty close to being right (give or take some personal preference). I'm kinda at the point with it (through the iterations here) that I just don't know what else I could do with it - it sounds pretty right to me for the most-part.

Thanks much again for all your help in paving this one out, Kyle. (y)


kmetal Wed, 08/29/2018 - 20:21

eternalsound, post: 458781, member: 48927 wrote: I'm kinda at the point with it (through the iterations here) that I just don't know what else I could do with it - it sounds pretty right to me for the most-part.

That's usually when I realized I'm done with a song as well. Looking forward to your next one, cheers buddy!


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