New song (rock) mix help

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by packrobottom, Sep 13, 2017.

  1. packrobottom

    packrobottom Active Member

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  2. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

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    I'd like to hear maybe some more ring on the snare during the verse. Maybe a few subtle delays 8th, dotted 8, and even a 16th, or maybe a medium room verb with some pre delay? Just something to take sharp cut off of the snares decay and ease it out a bit.

    I also think maybe it's a bit backwards as far as the upfront snare during the quiet part and the thinner/mask snare when the chorus comes in. If you listen to a classic quiet/loud type rock song like nirvana's smells like teen spirit, or heart shaped box, when the ummph of the chorus comes in, the snare supports that by becoming louder along with the guitar (layers). It could be a matter of changing the snare(s) sound, blend, or arranging the guitar sound or part around it. Maybe some volume automation as well.

    There's also something a little odd about one of the cymbals that happens a few times, like it's been stereo widened maybe? I'm not saying it's necessarily bad, but maybe a bit to prevalent?

    Overall it's getting there, a little work on the guitar sound, or even the arrangement in the chorus would go a long way I think. Big sounding guitars are often not heavily layered or overdriven. It's the cranking (often little amp) and the player really digging in that gives it its size and intensity, that on the brink sound.

    On second listen, I'd think about some buildup in the verse, maybe some feedback ringing or swell, or maybe an open chord panned toward the left or right side, maybe a syncopated staccato rhythmic thing. Something to eleveate the tension and keep the momentum moving.

    It's a catchy intro riff, maybe incorporate that?

    I think more than anything (again on second listen) it's the vocal and guitars being in the same register that's causing some masking. It sounds like excessive top end was added to both (get and vocals) to try and define the guitars and vocals in the space, as opposed to dulling one of them, or playing the part in a lower or higher register.

    3rd listen, it's definately the bass, guitar, cymbals, snare, and vocals, all in the same register in the chorus, fighting for space and masking each other while doing so. If you want an upper register bass part, maybe use that as the buildup in the verses 2nd half? Either way something(s) have to get out of the upper register for the sake of clarity and power during that chorus. It should blossom not become pointy.

    Also, it sounds like maybe things are a bit pushed level wise? I think more headroom would help things be bigger in the bottom, and more pleasing/less edgy in the top.

    Where are your faders? Are there more than a couple above unity gain? Did you track at the standard digital range somewhere around -24 to -16 dbfs?
     
  3. packrobottom

    packrobottom Active Member

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    great suggestions. I'm going to look at carving some eq out of guitars for vocals and reduce the cymbal crashes to start your right they are too loud.
     
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  4. packrobottom

    packrobottom Active Member

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    kmetal likes this.
  5. packrobottom

    packrobottom Active Member

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    I eqed out some ringing from the snare.

    "3rd listen, it's definately the bass, guitar, cymbals, snare, and vocals, all in the same register in the chorus, fighting for space and masking each other while doing so. If you want an upper register bass part, maybe use that as the buildup in the verses 2nd half? Either way something(s) have to get out of the upper register for the sake of clarity and power during that chorus. It should blossom not become pointy."

    bass part isn't upper register? There is a distorted synth in background are you talking about that?
     
  6. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

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    I think it's a good improvement overall. As far as the chorus goes my thinking isn't it's an arrangement solution rather than a mix thing. Is it possible to do the guitar chords in a different place on the neck (transpose) I'm thinking some basic Palm muted root/5th power chords on the 6th/5th strings. Something to remove some energy in the 1-5k mid range, and add some heft. The vocals and drums open up the chorus nicely as far as building off the verse, I think it's the guitar that's interfering with things. I'd say go low, for some power, but you could also go way high too.

    As far as the verse ear candy, me like! If I had a thought about it, perhaps some ambience (delay/reverb/both) or some volume automation, to give it its own space, and give the mix some depth/dimension as far as Front to Back image. It's a nice punchy, in your face mix, so there's some space available. It doesn't have to sound like a Radiohead song, but it's amazing what a little bit of ambience can do to help things sit well. It's can be so subtle you barely notice it, or a little bit more obvious for effect, that's an artistic choice.

    Overall though I like the improvements. It's sounding more well rounded and pro.
     
  7. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

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    I must have been hearing the synth. I'm listening on a phone and Bluetooth speaker so my ability to decipher detail is quite limited relative to the studio I'm working out of. That's part of the reason I'm being general about things. Sorry about that.

    Also you might try a pan sweep back and forth for the ear candy too, just tossing ideas around.
     
  8. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

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    Also, the issue may be headroom on the chorus. How are your levels? Are there a lot of faders above unity gain on the mix?
     
  9. packrobottom

    packrobottom Active Member

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    I'm using mastering plugins on 2 bus but with out them nothing clips. I don't think it's a headroom issue just need to carve some space out of guitars.
     
  10. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

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    How many faders are above unity? Are there any clips on any of the mix pluggins? Are a lot of things in the yellow on the meters?

    In general a 'good' mix is gonna have most the the faders somewhere around unity, with only a few above. This is a very general statement.

    I bring this up for two reasons. Low end (power/bass) needs room to develop, and peak meters might not tell the whole story. And mid range starts to strain when levels get higher. So you can have negative side effects on the sound well before clipping occurs.

    I spent a day with the tech for abbey roads tape machines, who's also a great engineer, and he told me he tracks kicks at -30/-40 dbfs, so he can capture the full dynamic range of the drum. I was facinated by this.

    It's easy enough to group all the faders, except the master fader and pull them down a little. The mastering plugs will make sure you don't lose volume.

    Obviously it's your mix, I'm just tossing things around.
     
  11. packrobottom

    packrobottom Active Member

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  12. packrobottom

    packrobottom Active Member

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    Calling this done now. New Bass. How does current mix sound?
     
  13. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

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    I’m referring to the sept 21 mix. I think it’s excellent overall. Sounds nice and balanced and full on my iPhone. Very good job, sounds pro. I love the little vocal add Lib and telephone effect right before the second chorus.

    I’d leave the whole thing alone, except the choruses, particularly 1&2 get a bit edgy or forward. What it sounds like to me is a buildup of the distortion effect on the layers. The chorus is cool to have a little in your face and loud, but there’s a build up somewhere between 1-8k probably around 5k, that’s just a bit too much. It gets harsh. I’d either automate a little less distortion on that part, setup another Duplicate track just for the choruses with the effect dial back, or maybe bring the vocals down a dB or 2, or maybe put a less distortion on the backups, or maybe take the whole chorus down a hair if after it’s mixed to two track.

    To me I want to be able to “listen in” to the chorus and that harsh frequency is preventing that. The harmonies are good, they are the candy.

    Otherwise I like the level of vocal distortion and it’s not harsh.

    So beyond that little thing I mentioned, I can’t hear anything else I would change. It’s come out nicely. Good work.
     
  14. packrobottom

    packrobottom Active Member

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    Thanks kmetal. Still trying to work on removing some of the harshness
    Current mix is
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/s/7wpoqu2ls9j8pnj/Even an Ostrich Doesn't Bury its Head in the Sand.mp3?dl=0
     
  15. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

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    Nice!

    Keep in mind I’m probably one of the most critical “see’s negatives first” people you’ll meet, in pursuit of the best. So that said, the only thing that stands out is the Sh in shades in the first chorus. I’d try and take that syllable only, down like a dB or maybe 1.5 or two.

    Beyond that the mix is not harsh anymore, and nothing else seems to have been messed up along the way.

    Considering I’m on my iPhone 6, which I know the sound of very very well, you may not want to change anything. I’m on hiatus from the commercial studio of which I work out of, so I don’t have a true “ accurate “ listening spot at the moment. So take what I say for what it’s worth. I tend to get detail obsessed. I wouldn’t call the Sh out of the range of tolerance for a good mix, just something that issue fix personally.

    Anyway good work, it’s a fun catchy tune with a nice arrangement. Well done.
     
  16. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

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    Oh and I dunno if maybe it’s volume but there’s something a bit jarring when the snare comes in on the intro. It’s possibly a little loud or the kick that follows a little soft? Not sure but there’s like a brief pause in momentum there. Maybe a dB or two down on the snare there? It sounds like a compressor or limiter is grabbing it or something.

    Sorry to be obnoxious. Opinions are like.... well you or probably know the saying.
     
  17. packrobottom

    packrobottom Active Member

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    Jul 22, 2005
    thx kmetal great points. you are talking about the 2 tom hits right? before guitar comes in?
     
  18. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

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    Yes the two Tom hits are what I meant. My bad.
     

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