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Brand New Sound Engineer Looking For Advice and Tips

Hello, I have been doing this for quite some time and well, i always felt like i was advancing in the quality of my craft, but recently i feel like since i cant go too school or afford classes that my knowledge of recording is very limited. and i was wondering if i could get tips to have my music sounding more professional. I'm going to leave a link to my latest work, (i did not produce the instrumental but i did record the vocals). i would greatly appreciate it if you told me what was wrong, and what i could do to fix this but please don't be snobby or criticize the style of music or mislead me i know how a mix is supposed to sound, its just that i dont have anyone around me that does the same to help me. thanks


kmetal Fri, 01/03/2014 - 18:57
well, the first thing i would do is make a clean version, because while it may be acceptable in some urban areas like the city i live in, people may get the wrong message of what some words are intended to mean. The "n" word may be interpreted as "my crew" "my friends" "my fellas", to most, some people may not take it that way, and you won't get on any collge radio, or many streaming services w/ the explicit version. My clients always request a clean version of their songs in the hip hop genre. this is obviously poetic license for you to do as you please, but there isn't a professional in the world that wouldn't agree that it's a great idea to have a clean version, any label distributor is gonna make you have one anyway. I did live sound for ghostface killa, jada kiss, and jim jones, any one of them would tell you the same thing. Radio stataionms need 'em, dj's need em for remix, and often an acapella vocal track for remixes as well.

Onto the mix.

First thing. the intro is way too long, the song doesn't kick in until 15 seconds. that's about 10 sec too long. Nobody will care about the media group logo unless they like the song, and if they don't, maybe you don't want them to know who you are. leave the first, part (5sec), it has motion, hints at professional, and get to the song before someone can click away.

The ad-lib track has a cool decapitator/overdrive effect, but it's too far in front (too loud). it's a distraction from the main lryics of the chorus. You want people to listen/sing along to the chorus, w/ the add lib as ear candy, which should not ever ever interfere w/ the main lines of a chorus.

next. in the first verse you stick w/ what sounds like that same effect (and settings) which may or may not be what you want. i think the delay, is great but, i would use a stereo delay that bounces left to right. somewhere between 10-30% L/R of center. this is again to keep the Lead Vocal the focus, and not interfere w/ the lyrical clarity. Also, it will add a great rythmic element to the track, and sound dope on headphones, and nice speakers. Movement in a song is crucial to keeping listener interest. You could just automate pan moves as well.

2nd/3rd verse, again, same effect/settings? again? it's lost it's appeal by now. it's not special anymore, because it never comes or goes. The key word in 'special effect' is "special". Groove is all about push/pull tension/release. So, you should decide which place is that sound better, the Verses? or the Choruses? it's one or the other, not both.

so lets say you pick that w/ a stereo delay for the chorus, for a little salt and pepper on the steak. (which is what i'd do)

Now, you have the opportunity to give each lyricist his own unique sound. This way it doesn't sound like each guy is going thru the same settings. They're is sooo many fun things you can try, different delay times on either side like (8th/ dotted 8th) a stereo pitch shifter (+6 L / -6 R), a chorus, how bout an envelope filter. Maybe just straight up in your face w/ no effects. how bout adding the pitch shifter after the delay? how bout no delay, but w/ much less distortion? many many ways to create an identity for each performer for their part, and then keep the repeated part the same, for some uniformity in the track.

the idea is to give Each and Every section of the song something that is unique to itself. if the chorus's are the same, copy pasted/same effx settings, you can get away w/ for something like this. But each verse is individual, and should be treated so in the mix. otherwise it won't have a new 'spark' for the listeners ear every 30 sec, and that is sink or swim in this genre.

overall it was good (on my laptop at least), and has good ideas, but these are some changes you can do to take your mix to a more polished, professional sounding product.