Alright, so I got schooled...

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by Ian MacGregor, Oct 15, 2002.

  1. Hey guys,
    There's this band where I used to live and I recorded a little 3 song demo for them for very little money; my motivation was to learn. Anyway, they seemed pretty stoked with the recording, then a couple weeks later they got another demo recorded at a pro studio (read pro tools and neve). Anyway, in my opinion, if recording was a competition, I got my ass kicked. :mad:

    Instead of getting all bummed out, I think this is even better becuase it allows me to compare my recordings with that of a pro studio on the same band.

    What I was wondering was if a few of you guys/gals could take a listen to a song I recorded and one the other studio recorded and give me feedback on the differences, what I did wrong/right, and any other advice you think I need.

    I know it's a lot to ask, but I would really appreciate it and I figure I'm lucky to have this opportunity, so I might as well make us of it. Here's the links,

    My Recording:

    Their Recording:
    (the songs are at the top pf the page, "November in my soul" and "Don't look back to Minnesota".)

    Thanks a ton, your feedback means a lot to me,
  2. sserendipity

    sserendipity Member

    Jul 3, 2001
    >What I was wondering was if a few of you >guys/gals could take a listen to a song I >recorded and one the other studio recorded and >give me feedback on the differences, what I did >wrong/right, and any other advice you think I >need.

    Now, don't confuse me with a real engineer :> but I hear some stuff on the 'pro' track that you could probably change easily and cheaply.

    The 'pro' track is totally slammed - a very, very heavily compressed/limited final mix. It would sound good on an FM radio, or through a tv speaker, but an album like this would be tiring to listen to. It's also got tons more bass - tons more. Lack of bass would be my biggest criticism of your recording.

    The individual tracks are also heavily compressed separately, compared to your tracks. There's barely any dynamic range anywhere on the track :>

    The bass and guitar on the 'pro' track aren't fighting for the same frequencies either - mainly because the bass has so much more room below, so the guitar can be given greater mid range presence.

    I didn't like the reverb sound on your vocals - it didn't jibe with the sounds of the other instruments. The vocals were also undercompressed - of all the instruments they needed it the most.

    Special effects: The vocals they did have a teensy delay on them for that fatter 'chorusy' sound. During the chorus section, the vox were doubled.

    Don't feel too bad. Their cookie cutter 'pro' demo sounds like a 'pro' band demos - I'd wager that your track sounds a lot more like what the band really sounds like, rather than the sound of the engineer and his toys :>

    Here's a recent track o'mine, so you know who's critiqueing your work :>

    Warning - I really shouldn't be making this public in it's current state - it's just a demo
    I threw up for the singer, and has a two page 'fix-it' list to be worked through. Still, I'd like to hear what you think :>

    I'll post the final version to the song critique board after the weekend.

  3. sserendipity

    sserendipity Member

    Jul 3, 2001
    >Don't feel too bad. Their cookie cutter 'pro' >demo sounds like a 'pro' band demos - I'd wager >that your track sounds a lot more like what the >band really sounds like, rather than the sound >of the engineer and his toys :>

    I meant to say, like a million other band demos, where the band has ponied up the cash for their 'big break'.
  4. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    Jun 29, 2001
    I will look at it.
    Too Often Studios produce mixes that are not "masterable".
    They try to "final" the mix there and then.

    This is not the best way to do it.

    I have not looked at your work...but I can guess that your work properly mastered may give their work a run for the money. Of course, mic pres, capturing, mix and good equipment and acoustics will cause things to be splended.

    Doing "compression on the 2-bus" before a mastering engineer has a whirl at not a good situation.

    It takes at least 5 times as long to make a compressed mix sound proper in mastering than it does to take a raw clean mix to mastering final.

    I want a crusade to start in mixdown of not applying compression to the 2 mix...great for a demo..not for a final just sucks profusely , unless the mix house has a full time mastering facility and engineer dedicated to the art.

    My 4 cents.
  5. Nate Tschetter

    Nate Tschetter Active Member

    Feb 28, 2001
    Hi Ian

    I noticed phase issues in the "stereo guitar" part (all but around 2k cancels in mono) as well as the drum ambience (disappears in mono).

    Some stuff is too loud (lead guitar), some isn't loud enough (the vocal, bass). Some stuff needs EQ (attenuating the low end of the guitar to make room for the bass).

    That "tight" metric feeling either comes from the players naturally (and sounds that way) or from the "DAWist" (and sounds that way).

    If you want it "loud", just turn the faders up. If you go over and its not loud enough, start mildly compressing the peaky instruments.

    Tell us how you recorded it, what equipment you used.
  6. Hey,
    Thanks to all for replying so far. Nate, with the suggestions you gave, were you referring to my recorded track, or the other one?

    As for me, I recorded it using my fairly meager mic selection:

    Modded MXL 2001 (vocals, some clean guitars, some bass)
    SM57 (snare,bass guitar, dist guitars)
    D112 (kick)
    Senn Tom mics
    Senn 421 (bass gtr.)
    Marshall 603's (oh's)

    All pre's were Millennia Media Hv-3's except for some gtr, bass, and kick which was a homemade neve clone.Everything was going into a DAW at 48k with a Gadget Labs card (ouch) and mixed with n-track. My monitors are Paradigm Mini Monitors, I like them, but I'm starting to doubt my ability to mix on them(as well as my ability to mix at all)

    Anyway, thanks for the comments, please keep them coming.

  7. themidiroom

    themidiroom Active Member

    Apr 20, 2002
    St Louis
    I'm with you Bill. Why would anyone want to do this type of compression during the mix? Even mixes I do for demo purposes are mixed raw and compressed, EQed and limited after the fact. I'm no mastering engineer, but I think the results are better than trying to make those decisions while the mix is in progress.
  8. Ok, so the "pro" mix has been really squashed?! Interesting. I would still think that the band "sounds" better with his recording than mine, maybe not accurate to what the band sounds like live, but if I heard the two recordings in a blind test (and I hadn't been involved in one) I would probably choose the "pro" recording as sounding the best to me. Maybe I like more "smashing" than others?

    I do agree that it is compressed too much, but would you say that this is the key difference between the two mixes? I trying to figure out whether you guys are talking about compression on the mix bus, or individual instruments/buses. On my mix I did use compression, but I guess I try to not use too much, and there isn't any on the mix bus.

    Is the amount of compression being used the only major differnece here??

    Ian :c:
  9. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    Jun 29, 2001
    Test yourself..Listen to this...follow instructions.
    (Dead Link Removed)

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