A Rough Mix

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by ClarkJaman, Dec 18, 2016.

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  1. ClarkJaman

    ClarkJaman Active Member

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    Hey ya'll,

    Long time no see! I am working on this mix for a client. It's still got a ways to go, but I feel like I could use the opinions of trusted mixers such as yourselves to help make sure I'm on the right track. Let me know what you think. I am particularly wondering about the esses and whether I should keep both guitars in the middle or pan them out to the sides. They are both recorded in stereo, so keeping them in the middle means they can each have a nice wide feel, but I wonder if they are competing too much in the middle.

     

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  2. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    Hi Clark !!
    Glad to read and hear you again !

    I find your mix a bit hot on the mid low, if you remove a bit on the guitar and give it a bit clarity, the acoustic will take a better place in the song.
    The violin sounds really good, the cello, again a bit hot on the low mids.. (is it possible you don't hear them well on your system ?
    The room sound on the vocal isn't the best fit to my taste and I'm not sure on the lenght of the pre delay. I'd like it to be a bit longer reverb. (taste again)

    It's a great song, well perform. Good job so far ! ;)
     
  3. ClarkJaman

    ClarkJaman Active Member

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    Hi pcrecord, great feedback.


    Yeah I don't do music full time any more so I don't post as often, but I still read some threads around RO. Thanks for welcoming me back though! :D

    The low mids aren't because of my system. It's because I am so used to having a bass guitar in the mix to fill out that area of the spectrum I gave the guitar and cello some extra low end to make up for it. Do you think this is bad? To me it feels like I am making this move out of fear and lack of confidence, which is an indication that it might be a bad move...

    How did the esses sound? They sounded kind of lispy before, but they sound ok to me now.
     
  4. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Hi Clark, nice to see you back and doing another track.
    I'm echoing all of what Marco just said.

    I would rather see some low freq added on her voice over the strings. Her voice sounds a bit boxy, thin and lifeless. A better reverb, even a nice delay would be my move.

    The sss are a bit present but it didn't really bother me. I think songs that are slow and sobering like this actually have huge potential for dynamics. There are no dynamics in this. I know you can do better :)

    Hope that helps.
     
  5. ClarkJaman

    ClarkJaman Active Member

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    Thanks Chris, I will try adding more low end to the vox instead of the cello and guitars.

    What sense of the word "dynamics" are you using?
     
  6. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    The overall production of this.

    Nothing blooms or subsides. It just stays steady on one level to the end. It may well be what you want but its not how I would produce this.
    A technique I always do either at the end of a mix or during the creation of one, especially in this style, I would play a guitar live right through this to help it become more fluid and musical. It often helps the singer as well. As an example, if I was with you during the making of this, I would grab my guitar and force her to feel more emotion. You can always remove the live performance after. But it would help bring the song into more life. The music or true feeling isn't connected to the story being told.

    Some songs sound great polished, others sound beautiful when they are care free and full of inconsistencies. Does that make sense?
     
  7. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    Like Chris, it didn't bother me.
    In my first post I nearly wrote about dynamics too.. but I found it was enough comments with what I said..
    Thanks to Chris who described it so well, I too would like the song to have more movement. Quiet parts and louder parts helps engage the listener.
    We need to keep the interest up to the end of the song and adding elements and or dynamics are great ways to do it.. (some back vocals ??)

    I wouldn't say bad but unnatural and a bit muddy. What prevents you from adding a bass if you feel the song is too lite without one ? ;)
     
  8. ClarkJaman

    ClarkJaman Active Member

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    Your guys comments about dynamics are definitely valid, but I can't do anything about those aspects of the recording. I'm just mixing this, I can't go back and re-write and re-record the song. Besides, I don't see how you can listen to the cello solo into the final verse and say there are no dynamics.

    I did try adding more low to the vox, taking some of the cello, and lots of the guitars. It sounds a lot better to me now. More balanced. Let me know what you think now. :)

    Firstly, because I would be using the bass guitar as a crutch. Secondly, because I think contemporary music in general is moving away from the bass guitar, (no offence fellow bass players) and I don't want to be left behind!



     

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  9. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    No offense taken at all. I actually find this comment interesting and pro active in regards to understanding where sound flavours are going in the pop world. I wouldn't say we are moving away from bass guitar, I would say we have a wider variety of "culturally accepted" choices and tastes of bass sounds in pop music today. Keyboards and fat analog synths come to mind.

    Marco and I weren't bothered by your cello per-say. It is the hot freqs that are out of control down there. Regardless of what we sound, instrumentation used to fill the sub freq space of a song/ mix, it should be smooth and not surging in some freq. I don't have my surgical spectral tools here but I'm just guessing that the subs in the cello are really hot between 100 and 250 hz. Those freq can be terrible when they overlap other percussive, vocals etc in a mix.
    I'm suspecting your monitors are shy in this are which is why you aren't hearing them as excessively as we are.

    Overall, though, you've done a fine job. You know I am fussy like you so I think you can fix that area up without too much trouble, just as long as you can hear what we are talking about.
     
  10. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    PS, I will listen to the second mix later tonight. Cheers.
     
  11. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    I like mix3 a lot.
    I'm not sure about the echo or slapback effect but (is it a predelay on the reverb ?)
    Anyway, it's very good !!
     
  12. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Hey Clark, its much better. I would like to share my visual image of the song, maybe it will inspire you. :whistle:

    I see this song in a playground (family park) with children around, swings, families all going about the day in a hectic world we all live in... the short time we get with our children or time to reflect during a sober moment.
    The sound of the mix could reflect this. If you took that approach, her voice would need to sound more open like she is outside and we (the audience) are hearing both inner voice with the sound of nature.
    Its a thinking song that has a boxy room that is not serving the mix well. It needs to sound more open, mixed and on that approach I would be adding a track that a has the sound of the playground mixed into this song.

    You simply add an outdoor stereo ambience track on aux 2 bus, (like a reverb effect) and mix both the vox and music together so it has a common ambience to the entire mix (sonically believable).

    Never the less.... its always fun working around you.
     
  13. ClarkJaman

    ClarkJaman Active Member

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    Thanks for the help guys. I feel way more confident now that you pros helped me fix a flaw that I wouldn't have found myself. I have two other mixes on the go that I'll post after Christmas!
     
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  14. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    looking forward to hearing your next few songs! Happy Holidays.

    Being said, regardless if you take my outdoor sound approach I want to briefly explain how I would do this.
    Grab (record) an outdoor stereo ambience track (could come from a library or youtube for that matter) and import it on a aux 2 bus, (like a reverb effect).
    Mix both the vox and musical counterparts together so the overall song has a common ambience to the entire mix (sonically believable). Which will also help distract from hearing that unnatural boxy vocal room sound).

    I do this all the time. Its a wonderful effect.
     
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