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Song mix for review, brutal opinions wanted

Since I've just finished this new song for this band I'm trying to put together I got curious and decided to throw it up here and see what you guys think. :) Now, bear in mind I'm using hi-fi speakers to monitor and mix on (Sony home theater 1600w "near-fields" :lol:). I've never really looked into the "right" way of doing things to be honest and other than apprenticing at a very nice studio here in town, I've always just done my own thing and did what sounded best. I've done a few sessions here and there at a local studio for some friend's bands, mianly because of two reasons, 1) because I "know" my sh*t to a certain extent, and 2) I know how the music they play should sound, since it's the same music I play and listen to all the time. Anyway, the guy I work for here and there at the studio loves my style and we found out that we get the same sounds for a lot of things, only completely opposite ways. He likes to boost and turn the volume on something down, I like to cut and turn the volume on something up. I've heard that the way I do it is "correct", but I'm not saying that because I'm the last person to talk to about doing things "correctly" in this hobby/profession. Heh. Anyway, here's the link to the song. Be brutal, be real brutal, I want to step my game up, I personally think I'm horrible at this, but everyone says otherwise. :)

http://www.soundcli…"]Song by TS[/]="http://www.soundcli…"]Song by TS[/]

~TS

Comments

Pro Audio Guest Fri, 05/19/2006 - 07:03
The drum program is called Drumkit From Hell Superior. It's 80,000+ samples of a few different drum kits done in a very nice studio in Europe using an SSL console and some vintage Neumann and other industry standard mics. Left and Right hand and foot samples hits, over 100 velocity hits per peice of the kit (meaning, 100 different hits per peice, from barely touching the snare all the way up to banging the hell out of it, same goes for the other peices of the kit - kick, toms, hats, and cymbals). It's 30gb of samples..it's very elaborate and if you spend enough time, can sound like a real drummer. I've shown these two clips to several drummer friends of mine, that are extremely good at what they do, and I have a couple that still tell me there is no way these are programmed.

[="http://www.soundclick.com/util/getplayer.m3u?id=3539282&q=hi"]Clip 1[/]="http://www.soundcli…"]Clip 1[/]

[[url=http://="http://www.soundcli…"]Clip 2[/]="http://www.soundcli…"]Clip 2[/]

~TS

Pro Audio Guest Mon, 05/15/2006 - 17:06
somehow this reminds of the soundtracks a lot of the younger kids make these days:
using a sampled drumkit, direct injected guitar or recorded via a pedalboard.

doesnt sound realistic or 'rock&roll' to me at all.
but that;s just my opinion.

overall it sounds pretty clean and simple, but effective.
however, i dont know if thats positive or not

by the way: where is the bass?!

amishsixstringer Mon, 05/15/2006 - 17:52
I would second most of what was said here. The guitars actually sound about right for that hardcore music stuff, but are very overpowering to me. The snare, particularly, gets lost pretty fast. The kick holds it's own, but i think that's because of the lack of bass guitar. Is there a lot of fast attack compression on the snare drum? Maybe a little more breathing room there with some complimentary eq with the guitars would work. Also, I hit my mono switch here and the guitars got pretty little. Try to solo the 2 guitars and either pan them both center or mono your monitors to try to make your ears hear both guitars all the time. Then pan them apart (maybe a little less hard panning?). The drums did confuse me in the dense parts. Even the hihats went center for that. Was that an automation thing or did the guitars just kill all the outside with anti-phase? I think it has MEGA potential, and you should feel good about it.

Listening again, I think even just bringing the guitars down a dB or 2 would help the drums breathe a little bit. I still hear a fast attack slow release compression on the snare. Play with that a bit. A slow release will make your drums sound more stacatto.

Again, great job.

Neil

Davedog Mon, 05/15/2006 - 18:06
LARGE guitars...very good...disappearing drums...not so good. If the drums were to get as big as the guitars and there was an inkling of bass this would be a pretty cool sound. As a song......uhhh...there aint one ....is there.....


And as far as what you did to get that sound......GREAT! I dont believe you for a minute but thats just me. So WHATEVER you did, IF this is what you have in mind, then by all means continue doing it. No one really cares about the process if the results speak for themselves.

Pro Audio Guest Mon, 05/15/2006 - 18:45
Well, you're all very helpful....with the exception of the one member who called it "gay", but hey - to each his own and it doesn't bother me :)

The guitars, as suspected, are from a PODxt Live. I use 0% room from the mic modeling, but a lot of people have told me they sound too direct. I guess I'll have to get over my hatred for that room sound and actually try it for once. It would probably help, as with the patches I've gotten from friends (that have amazing results with them) always have some room in them, around 16%-27% or so. Maybe there is a point to that, I will definitely re-record the guitars with some room in the mic.

The drums are Drumkit From Hell Superior. I don't use any bleeding when I bounce them out, maybe that is the cause for the "boring/dead center" snare? I don't use bleeding because I have to admit I'm still too amie to try and gate my drum tracks, so I use only the direct mics, plus the ambience mic (which is compressed all to hell) to give any room sound and body to the drums...the little bit of compressed to shit ambience mic that's there does make a huge difference, I can say that much. Maybe I will try adding some more in there and also giving it some more air by lessening the compression on it.

Yes, I really do use a Sony home theater system for my mon/mixing. I still haven't bought monitors, real ones, because I have noticed my mixes do translate fairly well over other systems. I guess I'm just so use to my speakers that I know where to cut/boost at certain areas to get a more accurate sound. I do, however, really want to get some monitors, I've been looking at the Event Tuned Reference 8 or 8XL, or a pair of KRK Rokit Powered 8's. I've used the KRK's at the studio I do freelancing at and they are really great, IMO. I've apprenticed at a very nice studio here in town that had Genelec 1031a nears and 1031c mains (huge mofo's) as well as Mackie HR824a nears in another suite. I was really impressed by the Mackie's as far as price/quality was concerned. The KRK's seem very similar to what I remember about the Mackie's, however the KRK's seem to fatigue my ears a little faster than I would like. I think I'll shoot for the Event's, but we'll see. I'm hoping that getting actual monitors will help me out a lot. My "interface" really is the M-Audio MobilePre USB :) I use to have an MBox with PTLE but editing in PT is just...not nearly as flexible/intuitive as Digital Performer, and I only got the MBox really to get ProTools since that what I had been using at the studio I apprenticed at. At the studio I freelance at he uses Vegas, which is rediculously easy to edit with. Too bad there's not a Mac version or I'd be all over it.

Anyway, I'll try the suggestions you guys mentioned, and actually, I'll make sure to get the settings on the plugs I'm using to give you an idea of where I'm at for compression and eq'ing, panning, etc.

Thanks for all the advice and tips and most of all, the kind words. I really appreciate it guys.

~TS

Reggie Fri, 05/19/2006 - 11:31
I've wanted to get DFH for a while to do some solo project type stuff (since I am not great at actually playing drums myself), but I'm worried that the amount of time spent sequencing that many hits would be rediculous and I would never use it. How long do you think it took you to sequence a song?

Pro Audio Guest Sun, 06/11/2006 - 02:21
TubeScreamer wrote:

For me, sequencing drums takes little time at all. Because you only need to start off with the basic beats, then copy and paste them over and over until you have 4 repeats or 8 or however many, then you go into the specifc pasted ones and add little embellishments and such (snare ghost notes, ride rolls, etc.). What helps alot is taking a peek at the included MIDI files from the ToonTrack demo songs, as well as user provided MIDI files you can get online. It really helps to show you how velocities are used to get certain sounds.

For instance, the two clips I posted, the MIDI was sequenced by somebody I know, and I just mixed the drums. However, I learned a lot about how to do snare stuff (ghost notes, etc.) more realistically from looking at it and applying it to what I was working on. Also, drum fills are harder than you would expect, even myself being a drummer, what I thought it would *look* like programmed, is not how it actually was. I had to actually learn how MIDI programming/sequencing related to actual playing to get it down. But soon after I learned myself (which took about 10 minutes tops) I found a user MIDI file that had a lot of really cool fills and it was identical to the stuff I was doing...so if I had gone to the site before that it would have been easier for me.

Also, you have to realize that you don't have to program the drums exactly how you want them when you are writing. Typically when I go to write some stuff, I just make the very basic beats, finish writing the guitar parts, and then once the song is done with writing, I go back and finish the drums with all of the embellishments and fills that I want. And like I said, it takes very little time to make the basic beats. Example real quick, say you want a simple 4/4 beat, hats on every beat, kick on 1, snare on 3. That would take 4 clicks for the hats, 1 click for the kick, 1 click for the snare. Done. You have your basic 4/4 beat. Then you just copy and paste it 3 times or however many repeats, and you have yourself a verse/chorus/intro whatever already sequenced.

Basically what I'm trying to tell you, is that it does not kill any inspiration or anything. It doesn't hinder the writing process at all. Unlike some sequencers, or even some host programs that will make you so distracted with all this crap you have to do that by the time you get around to arming a guitar track to record you don't care anymore. I look at DFHS as an investment and an extremely useful tool. Some people can get very great professional results with it. Meshuggah used it for the entire Catch33 album for the drums. And if you've ever heard that album, I bet you didn't even think that until you just read it right now. :) Coincidentally, they are the ones who came up with the idea for DFH and worked on the development team when it was being created (Fredrik Thordendal and Thomas Haake - as well as Morgan Agren (who sits in for Haake on tour).

Anyway, DFHS is a great product, it's leading the industry as far as drum sample libraries are concerned and is well worth it's price.

~TS
first of all, let me give a standard disclaimer that i am on the downstairs machine, i.e. shitty speakers, three beers...

thank you for the tutorial. it still sounds like spam. processed ass in a can.
i have an xtl, i have kontakt 2 with various sample sets, i program drums, i play into the box, i work the same way you do. i write songs. you wrote a jam. so what? you want mix advice.

let me ask some questions. is the arrangement done? will there be vocals on the track? anything else to disclose? what market is this for? a commercial? a solo track? tv show? the mix has many factors that will determine its "rightness" depending on who is the audience as you have learned so far.

if the song is done, then i suggest mulling over all the previous tips and trying things out, like parallel compression and alternate panning scales for guitars, different comp settings on overheads, radical eqing with automation, etc. and get in the practice because the music will probably never see the light of day anyhow. it just sits there, and to analyze the pan law in how it sits there is only an exercise in knob twiddling.

we all realize that you are somewhat impressed with your technology but what seems to be missing here is purpose and heart. neither track to me has any discernible sense of humanity in the recording and it's not the machines' fault. you have good tools, but no real soul here. whether you let the machines suck it out or it wasn't there to begin with i don't know, but you do.

go sort your shit and come back with something worth caring about.

apologies if i was vague. i guess.

robert

Pro Audio Guest Mon, 06/05/2006 - 08:36
My opinion

Actually I've had many clients that come up to me and say, I want to record my guitars with my line 6 POD or my Boss GT8 because it's the best distortion in the WORLD, or the BEST I'VE EVER HEARD. When this happens I always mic up a Randall RG100 or a Yamaha (Soldano designed) T100 and their universe shatters when they hear a true warm and crunchy, but tight distortion that only the pure analog amplifiers can give. It's true, no Line 6 amp modulator or digital cabinet emulator can imitate a true analog feel, however, you can mic a guitar amplifier and have a really nice sound with less than 1000$, with your trusty sm57 and a RE20 you can get the best of a good amplifier and have the most dynamic guitar sound. For the drums, I recommend this, record your drum tracks in a nice room, USE YOUR OVERHEADS!!. No digital drumset can imitate what your overheads can give you, they make your whole drumset sound incredibly sparkling and alive. If you're going to replace drum sounds, I recommend that you use Drumagog 4 with your multisampled drums and keep the original track from your overheads, this will give you a great result

Pro Audio Guest Fri, 05/19/2006 - 18:51
The initial learning curve of the program is about a day or two until you really understand the concept of what everything does and how it works/affects things. I had DFH2 before this, so I was already familiar with how ToonTrack sets up their stuff, although it is much different, it's similar at the same time.

For me, sequencing drums takes little time at all. Because you only need to start off with the basic beats, then copy and paste them over and over until you have 4 repeats or 8 or however many, then you go into the specifc pasted ones and add little embellishments and such (snare ghost notes, ride rolls, etc.). What helps alot is taking a peek at the included MIDI files from the ToonTrack demo songs, as well as user provided MIDI files you can get online. It really helps to show you how velocities are used to get certain sounds.

For instance, the two clips I posted, the MIDI was sequenced by somebody I know, and I just mixed the drums. However, I learned a lot about how to do snare stuff (ghost notes, etc.) more realistically from looking at it and applying it to what I was working on. Also, drum fills are harder than you would expect, even myself being a drummer, what I thought it would *look* like programmed, is not how it actually was. I had to actually learn how MIDI programming/sequencing related to actual playing to get it down. But soon after I learned myself (which took about 10 minutes tops) I found a user MIDI file that had a lot of really cool fills and it was identical to the stuff I was doing...so if I had gone to the site before that it would have been easier for me.

Also, you have to realize that you don't have to program the drums exactly how you want them when you are writing. Typically when I go to write some stuff, I just make the very basic beats, finish writing the guitar parts, and then once the song is done with writing, I go back and finish the drums with all of the embellishments and fills that I want. And like I said, it takes very little time to make the basic beats. Example real quick, say you want a simple 4/4 beat, hats on every beat, kick on 1, snare on 3. That would take 4 clicks for the hats, 1 click for the kick, 1 click for the snare. Done. You have your basic 4/4 beat. Then you just copy and paste it 3 times or however many repeats, and you have yourself a verse/chorus/intro whatever already sequenced.

Basically what I'm trying to tell you, is that it does not kill any inspiration or anything. It doesn't hinder the writing process at all. Unlike some sequencers, or even some host programs that will make you so distracted with all this crap you have to do that by the time you get around to arming a guitar track to record you don't care anymore. I look at DFHS as an investment and an extremely useful tool. Some people can get very great professional results with it. Meshuggah used it for the entire Catch33 album for the drums. And if you've ever heard that album, I bet you didn't even think that until you just read it right now. :) Coincidentally, they are the ones who came up with the idea for DFH and worked on the development team when it was being created (Fredrik Thordendal and Thomas Haake - as well as Morgan Agren (who sits in for Haake on tour).

Anyway, DFHS is a great product, it's leading the industry as far as drum sample libraries are concerned and is well worth it's price.

~TS

Pro Audio Guest Tue, 05/16/2006 - 11:40
exactly what i suspected.
ever heard of velocity?! you should try using it on the drumkit-midi-notes..
especially the hihat sounds like its a repeated sample over and over and over again.
shit, why dont you just record the drums with a decent drummer?!? its much more fun!!
and that pod sounds awful without at least sending it through a real cabinet or adding some kind of early reflections.

the distortion is pretty ok, but its not very dynamic, is it.
anyway, you should hire a band!..

Pro Audio Guest Tue, 05/16/2006 - 13:39
Ok, well. Here is my take.

Pod xt live
Drum kit from hell.

where is the engineering?

There is no right/wrong way to eq, those knobs boost and cut for a reason.

honestly, I wouldn't make a post in a recording forum stating that "I know my shit" and then prove it by giving us a sampled drum kit and modeled guitar sounds.

If your going to do it digital, try this... bored on the plane ride from LA to Indiana, busted out a mic on the laptop and recorded myself tapping the capsule to catch some nice transients. did some quick sound replacing and had scratch drums by the time my flight landed. listened to it on the way home from the airport and then tracked them live when I got home.

I get annoyed even running digital pedals into amps and mic'ing that, it's just not the sound most of us desire. For scratch tracks or grabbing ideas on the road Pod's are nice, not so much for actual tracking.

Use some microphones, amps, drums, rooms, and make it sound real because it is real. 1's and 0's cannot create the sound of a room *accurately* I know of this guy Neal who uses a $99 Alesis reverb unit on a few recordings you might know by this guy named Stevie. However the drums are all tracked in amazing studios and mic'd up by true professionals.

Keep at it, just don't let the noggin inflate.

Cheers,
-Ryan-

RemyRAD Tue, 05/16/2006 - 21:15
I simply love the sound of my TOILET POD! It makes all of my turds hitting the water sounds so realistic, without the water!

It's amazing, my analog tape recorder doesn't seem to make any noise when I don't have any tape on it?? You suppose there is something wrong??

All of the right wrong answers
I never lie about things I'm lying about, honest
Ms. Remy Ann David

Pro Audio Guest Wed, 05/17/2006 - 05:33
djrr3k - When I said that I was referring to the stuff I did freelance for my friend's bands at a local studio here. Which I wouldn't have been able to do without recording my own things here and there, at home, over the past couple of years.

In regards to Drumkit From Hell...maybe you are not familiar with the program or how it works. A quick rundown: It's a multisampled kit. A real kit. Every peice of the kit, when bounced out as audio, has bleeding in their mics. When working with it, it's nearly exactly the same as working with a real kit, in a room. The entire kit is completey raw in sound, exactly like when you mic up a kit and then walk into the control room, you hear the raw kit before you start doing anything to it...that's what it is. You have to eq it, compress it, gate it, slap reverb on, eq the hats out of the snare, vice versa...It's all there. So that's where the engineering is...main difference? You don't have to set up microphones, the program doesn't talk back and sounds great. I don't have room at my house to bring a drummer in to record little BS ideas all the time. Nor do I have enough microphones or an interface to take on all the inputs. So thank you for just rubbing in the fact that I can't do what I want to do. If I had the room, the mics, and the i/o, I would definitely be recording drums all the time. But we're all not as lucky as you to have a space for all that and the equipment.

And I agree...it was funny that everyone had pretty positive comments about it, and once I revealed what was used, it was a completely different story. In any case, I just wanted some opinions on the mix itself. Instead my track was called "gay". I'm not sure about you, but where I'm from I've never heard anybody refer to a mix as "gay". So I'm not sure how that helped. Also...who cares what I'm using? PODxt, Zoom 505, guitar vsti in FruityLoops....I mean....I didn't ask "what do you guys think of my PODxt tone" or "do you like my drum programming"...I asked about the mix.

I don't want to sound like I'm trying to start anything, it's just I've had this problem on so many forums lately. I'll post something, ask a specific question...and get something completely off-topic (in my opinion) that I don't even care about. What good is a community to turn to for help when they don't even listen to you?

~TS

JoeH Wed, 05/17/2006 - 08:26
I would remind you that the very TITLE of you post says: "BRUTAL OPINIONS WANTED." (I think that's what you got for the most part.)

If you didn't really mean that, perhaps you shouldn't have put it that way.

My opinion was one of the earlier ones, and nothing's changed here. It still sounds like an intro, not a song. I'm still waiting for the vocals to come in, and the guitars (however they were done), sound entirely disconnected from the drums. Now knowing how you did them still doesn't change the fact that they too sound odd - the stereo imaging is weird at times, and there still ain't no bass.

You also started this whole thing with bragging about your maverick approach of using unprofessional speakers. You set yourself up on that; most people really expected something special, esp since implied you were on to something the rest of us didn't know.

I'm not at all surprised at the response you got, once the turth came out.

Davedog Wed, 05/17/2006 - 08:42
Like I said earlier, I could give a rats ass about how you got the sound. However, when you start flinging out small details like they're some kind of challenge and then ask for brutal honesty, you had better be prepared.

Like Joe, I never did see a song in there, nor did I experience a cohesive glue to the mix. There's NO BASS and you have heard this several times yet have not addressed it.

I am one of those recordists who will use any tool available to record. A Pod is not my favorite guitar sound, but it IS a sound and as such can viewed as a tool for creating something.

As long as a person doesnt go around claiming its as good as something organic and real, I have no problem at all with em. Simply put, there is no substitute for a real mic in a real room on a really good guitar setup.

The same holds true for drums.

So, when you ask for brutal honesty here on my forum, expect it. The kids here are all straight shooters and ya got what ya asked for.

If this turns into a pissing contest I'll be forced to moderate it as is my choice.

Keep up the good work but dont come on like you've discovered the bread slicer. Its all been done before.

BobRogers Wed, 05/17/2006 - 10:03
I don't have any problems with the POD sounds. I've found this type of thing to be what the POD does best. Frankly, when people play in this style with a great amp in a great room and use a great mic and preamp to record .... sounds just about like this.

Also, you've learned to use the Sony speakers quite well. The eq and levels are the strength of the cut.

That said, I agree with most of the other criticisms about the weakness of the song, weak snare, lack of bass. And the biggest problems are the dynamnics and the stereo image. In both cases you have these radical shifts. You have two distinct dynamic levels and you switch abruptly between them. Stereo image is either hard left, hard right, or dead center. (I read some quote from a pro engineer that those are the three places that you should never put a track unless there is a really strong reason.)

Pro Audio Guest Wed, 05/17/2006 - 16:03
look dude
i still think your mix is pretty ok. but its like this:
when you take a dump in a box, put a nice little wrapping around it and spray some deodorant on it, when someone unwraps it, it'll still be smelly and messy.
it dont matter if you mix right if the shit in it aint right
shit in=shit out
its like polished turds

and im done with it cause im gonna have to stop talking about shit allnight.
x