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Beginner looking to improve(critique needed)

This is my first, and hopefully one of many, posts here, so Hello Everyone.

So I decided to start a home studio about a year ago, and I really like it and I'm even considering to make it a full time job. The problem is, at this point I'm in no way good enough to actually pull that of. I spend tons of time trying to improve my self, and I do improve, but I find it really hard finding honest opinions on my mixes, and there is no "real education" on this topic in my area. I'm hoping you can help me better my self with a healthy dose of critique.

The things I struggle the most with are the low end, especially the bass guitar, I'm having trouble to "sit" it in a mix and make it sound good in general. The other thing is high mid harshness(not all the time though), that's not the only problems of course, but that's the main ones.

On a side note, when I mix professionally recorded tracks, my mixes are considerably better(I didn't include an example since the "READ BEFORE YOU POST" thread said: "ANY SONG YOU POST MUST INCLUDE AT LEAST ONE TRACK OF AUDIO THAT HAS ACTUALLY BEEN PERFORMED BY YOU AND RECORDED USING A MICROPHONE", I'll gladly share it if it's not conflicting with the rules). I do understand that the final result is only as good as the previous one in the chain, so hopefully you can advice on bettering the recording process as well.

Here are two song, fully recorded and mixed by me, the drums for the second track are VSTi(Addictive Drums), I do have a real drum set, but the recording wasn't good enough to use, so we decided to use VSTi instead.

Critique is much obliged... Tank You!

[MEDIA=soundcloud]arnie-band/home[/MEDIA]

[MEDIA=soundcloud]arnie-band/dolphins[/MEDIA]

PS: I hope I din't bore you with details, let me know if I did and I'll keep it short next time.

Comments

pcrecord Wed, 04/05/2017 - 16:29
Home sounds good,
The lowmids are a bit undefined (maybe tweak the percs a bit) and the vocal is a bit pitchy but it got some emotion, so not bad !

Dolphins drum are not at all convincing and not in the pocket. It should lock better with the rest of the band which sounds nice. Did you record the drum after the rest ??
It's kind of a show stopper for me, I can't pass the drum to analyse the rest of the mix.. sorry.

DonnyThompson Thu, 04/06/2017 - 04:09
Dima, post: 448564, member: 50447 wrote: when I mix professionally recorded tracks, my mixes are considerably better

Of course they are. That's the way it is, the way it's always been, and what so few home recording "hobbyists" fail to grasp.

Pay attention to the details while recording - such as mics and mic placement, gain structure, and solid performances ( as opposed to relying on some new flavor of the month plug-in to "fix it in the mix" later).

If you have a set of tracks that were recorded nicely, your final mixes will absolutely show it. And, the better the original tracks sound, the less you'll need to do to them in the mix, and the less time you'll end up spending working on the mix, which means that you're not burning out your ears working on a "compensation" session - that can take sometimes DAYS to do, and more often than not, still doesn't sound all that great.

But ... when you are working with tracks that are well-recorded to begin with, you are doing an actual mix session - instead of a "repair" session ( compensating for poorly recorded tracks).
Having done my fair share of both types of mix sessions over the years, I can absolutely and unequivocally state that working with great-sounding tracks in an actual mix session, is a lot more fun and less taxing than working with tracks that were poorly recorded to begin with. ;)

FWIW

Dima Sun, 04/09/2017 - 01:19
pcrecord, post: 449215, member: 46460 wrote: Home sounds good,
The lowmids are a bit undefined (maybe tweak the percs a bit) and the vocal is a bit pitchy but it got some emotion, so not bad !

Dolphins drum are not at all convincing and not in the pocket. It should lock better with the rest of the band which sounds nice. Did you record the drum after the rest ??
It's kind of a show stopper for me, I can't pass the drum to analyse the rest of the mix.. sorry.

Thank you for the replay... The drum track on Dolphins was added last. The track is VSTi(Addictive Drums), the original acoustic Drum track was badly performed so we decided to remove it all together and replace it with VSTi.
When you say "drum are not at all convincing and not in the pocket" do you mean the part it self could be improved or do you mean that more work should be done to improve the mix it self?

DonnyThompson Sun, 04/09/2017 - 02:12
Dima, post: 449374, member: 50447 wrote: "drum are not at all convincing and not in the pocket" do you mean the part it self could be improved or do you mean that more work should be done to improve the mix it self?
If I'm correct, this is in relation to "Dolphin", and I think what Marco is saying is that the drums are sitting "outside the pocket" - the "pocket" being the general groove and feel of the song.

You've got moments where other instruments are doing that too, as well as sections of lead vocals that are rushing against the drum track...or in this case, perhaps the drum track is lagging behind the vocal.

If you were to listen to just the drums, I don't think you'd hear much of a problem, but when the other tracks are relating to it, is where the groove sorta falls apart.
This can be typical of a drum part when the drums are added after the other instruments have already been recorded; it's not easy to play a drum part to a song that's already had other parts recorded.

A certain amount of "push-pull" is cool to have, as it's a human feel thing... but it doesn't really work unless all the parts are pushing and pulling together, at the same time.

And, shuffle grooves are tough to lock to begin with. There's a certain "relaxation" to a shuffle groove. If you've got some instruments sitting "too high" ( on top of the beat) and other tracks pulling back in a more "late" ( sitting back) feel, then you've got rhythmic conflict going on, and it's tough to feel the groove.

As per the sounds of the drums themselves, that's a personal taste thing. I don't think that any opinions on the sound of the drums would be definitive - it's all about what the person listening prefers, and that's hard to call it as being "right" or "wrong".
What sounds good to you might not be my sonic preference, or vice versa; at that point you should stick to your own vision for the overall sound.

But the "feel" part of it - at least as it stands now - would probably bother real drummers, and the real drummers among us here on RO ( present company included ;) ) because of the nature of the groove you are after but aren't really getting.

IMHO of course... take all the above for what it's worth. ;)
x

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