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Mix and mastering advice

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by Rick bales, Dec 20, 2019.

  1. Rick bales

    Rick bales Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2019
    Location:
    Palm harbor, Florida
    We just finished an album recording in a home studio using pro tools.

    the album has bee mixed and mastered by our engineer.

    we are overall happy with it ... but feel that it is missing something. What that is we aren’t sure but it lacks that ‘finished’ or ‘radio ready’ feel that commercial releases have.

    when comparing it to other releases it doesn’t seem to be as cohesive or glued together for lack of another way of describing it.

    here is a link to one of the songs.
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1giola6mHtkTvpehRf5W-EH3OfhxLyt41/view?usp=drivesdk

    Any advice would be much appreciated.

    Are we lacking something in the mastering? Or do we need to go back and fix things in the mix?

    thanks
    Rick
     
  2. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2010
    Location:
    Boulder, Colorado
    Home Page:
    The first thing I notice is that it's mastered very loud. I can hear things ducking with kick hits etc., and the bass seems distorted. My LUFS meter says it's coming in at -7.5 dB LUFS with a true peak of +2.6dB and a loudness range of only 2.2dB. On the TT DR Meter it shows a dynamic range of less than 6dB. For most streaming services you'll probably want levels to be more like -14dB LUFS and -1dBTP, with a DR of perhaps 9dB or so.

    I'd need to hear it before the mastering processes to properly assess the mix.
     
  3. Rick bales

    Rick bales Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2019
    Location:
    Palm harbor, Florida
    pcrecord likes this.
  4. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2010
    Location:
    Boulder, Colorado
    Home Page:
    That's actually quite a bit better than the mastered version. It's already louder than any of the standard levels for streaming (and my typical masters) by at least 4dB, as if this were a fairly hot master rather than an unmastered mix file. A limiter seems to have been applied to the master bus to get the volume unusually high. I'm really curious why it's mixed so loud. But the ducking effect is gone and the bass doesn't seem so distorted.

    I think the mix is okay. The drums sound a bit robotic, perhaps from being loop based or heavily edited. The drum/bass/vocal seems solid, but I might push the supporting instruments up a bit. Everything is pretty dry, which is fine, but I think a bit of subtle space would help.

    There's a glitch at 00:25 on the word "is" as the first chorus begins. Actually, I notice a less prominent sound in that spot in all the choruses. Maybe it's a drum sound, but it sounds like a glitch in all those spots.

    Image shows the heavily limited waveform:

    limited wave.png
     
    ZephyrPark likes this.
  5. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2014
    Location:
    Vancouver
    Home Page:
    One of the things it's missing is melody or counter melody in the arrangement. You've got a straight vocal and pretty straight rhythm tracks with the bass trying to be that extra melodic instrument but not quite enough to be the lead... then around 2:30 when the guitar comes in you've got it mixed way out to the right so it feels arbitrary in the mix .... I think you need to work of the arrangement to give it that extra sauce - make the performances hotter (not the mix) and give us more melody. it was pleasant enough as a song and performance - but pretty straight - almost lounge... super super white in that regard - but you need the masala here to come from the band not the mix engineer.
     
  6. stevie_m

    stevie_m Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2014
    Dude I really like this number. Definitely white AF, but not to the extent of Huey Lewis and the News or anything. Bass grove is catchy and flows well, almost feels like samba at times (which reduces the whiteness of your sound). Guitar work all sounds good, I don't have issues with the hard pan at 2:30. Cool use of subtle phaser on the left pan. How did you do the guitars? VST direct input or real mic'd amps? Did you have to cut a lot of bass to make them sound clean? I'm no master producer, but the lack of cohesiveness may come from the dryness of the drums - maybe wetten them up with some natural room reverbs or room presence. Cool abrupt ending, suits the song quite well.
     
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