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Michael Martinez

Please critique this mix - Grey Skies

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My second attempt at mixing is with this song. This time I do have dry vocal tracks to work with.

I feel the female vocal on the chorus comes in too abruptly? If so, maybe reduce or automate the level? Or perhaps apply compression? I applied compression to the male vocal track, but not to the female track.

Let me know if there's anything I can do differently with this mix to improve it:

http://clyp.it/xsslgsun

 

Edited by Michael Martinez

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I should note: for purposes of the critique, please ignore the "musicality" of the vocals. The guy recorded harmony line. The lady recorded lead for the whole song, but I don't like the way she is singing on the verse so I cut her out. I'm still trying to figure out what to do about that.

But ignore that for now, I welcome critique on the technical aspects of the whole mix, including how the vocals sit.

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Great job. Bass sounds great. Drums are a little bit low in the mix. A great drum sound and a great drum level will make a huge impact.

What are you using for a drum VST ?

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Hi Michael,

Having listened to Grey Skies and Blue Waters, my first impression is, the kick drum hardly has any definition.

I have listened on both headphones and my Tannoy Reveal nearfield monitors.

And I downloaded the file so that I could open it in Sound Forge and have SPAN running.

I notice at the start, when there is no kick or bass present, that there is stuff happening at the low end, when I, personally, do not think there should be.

image.png.1457703a0f27c51cd1171f9920b27164.png

It's not much at all, really, but it is there and could be helping to mask the kick.

What I do is use EQ on pretty much every audio track in a project and I use a high pass to cut out low end frequencies on elements that do not benefit the mix. It is surprising how much low end energy things like vocals and piano, well, anything really. Best cut it out, if it doesn't bring anything to the party, if you know what I mean.

Worth experimenting with EQ on one track at a time, and then sweep the high pass up to the mids, while listening to the track playing. You may find that you can cut quite a bit of that low end without any real detriment to the track.

 

Also the bass guitar is quite loud compared to the kick, so this is an obvious thing to tackle. Although I have never tried it myself you could experiment with using some kind of side chain, from the kick, to help reign in the bass guitar at the point that the kick sounds. Hopefully someone else could help further with that.

But it might be just a case of lowering the level of the bass guitar, and perhaps raising the kick a touch.

 

I have to say, take what I say with a pinch of salt as it has been so long since I have mixed a "proper" piece of music. And in the meantime, someone with the right experience will be along to help.

 

cheers

 

andy

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3 minutes ago, Chuck E Baby said:

Great job. Bass sounds great. Drums are a little bit low in the mix. A great drum sound and a great drum level will make a huge impact.

What are you using for a drum VST ?

Thanks for picking up on this, Chuck. I felt a bit uncomfortable posting what I did. Perhaps you could put me right on any points that might be misleading Michael.

cheers

andy

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Here's a capture of SPAN well into the song:-

image.png.4b61b263de2976b24b8046ba4b4a615d.png

Personally, I get rid of anything below 40Hz and anything above 14kHz (because hearing test I had some years ago showed that I can't hear anything above that frequency anyway).

But, overall, I think this shows that the mix is at least in the right ball park, notwithstanding the comments above.

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4 minutes ago, Michael Martinez said:

I'll will read it and respond later this afternoon.

Absolutely no rush, Michael, and we should wait for more comments from peeps that mix this stuff day to day. I think it safe to say that, given what I create myself, my guidance would not have that much respect here.

cheers

andy

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Excellent suggestions synkrotron, I'm going to go through the EQs on each channell again and see what's going on. If there's low end happenining when there's no kick or bass, then that's gotta go!

The drum track is a single audio track (kick, hi hat, toms, etc on single track) (that's how the drummer sent it to me). When I mixed it I had noticed the lack of kick, and I think I had already bumped up the EQ on the low end to try to compensate for that, but maybe I bumped it in the wrong place or something.

 

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4 minutes ago, Michael Martinez said:

The drum track is a single audio track

Ah, that's a shame, though not a total disaster. But you're right, EQ may not be able to totally fix it.

One other thing to consider when EQ'ing stuff, is to generally cut instead of boost. There's a good reason for that, apparently, but can't for the life of me think why... I suppose I learn stuff, apply it, and then forget all the background stuff. My bad :(

 

 

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30 minutes ago, synkrotron said:

Absolutely no rush, Michael, and we should wait for more comments from peeps that mix this stuff day to day. I think it safe to say that, given what I create myself, my guidance would not have that much respect here.

cheers

andy

Well, as a "listener" you're opinion is certainly valid. And you used to do audio mixing before, which is more than can be said for me.

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Just now, Michael Martinez said:

And you used to do audio mixing before

And, to be honest, most of what I learned back then was from all the helpful guys on the old Songs forum, I am sure some of them will remember those times haha!

A great help, around that time, was a website that had complete sets of stems for finished tracks. Name escapes me. But you downloaded the stems, threw them into SONAR and then set to creating a mix. It was a great learning experience from me, along with the aforementioned help.

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‘Just commenting on the song overall...not the mix.  I really like this song.  The vocals have a unique and pleasing quality.  The song is also interesting and different in a good way.  I enjoyed it.  Thanks for posting.

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I, too, like this song, and especially the unique vocals.  If you can't get past the drums on a single track, then I don't think it would be too hard to overdub the drums just the way you like them.  Overall, this could be a real gem just waiting for a little polish.

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1 hour ago, amiller said:

‘Just commenting on the song overall...not the mix.  I really like this song.  The vocals have a unique and pleasing quality.  The song is also interesting and different in a good way.  I enjoyed it.  Thanks for posting.

Thanks so much.  I'm in the process of re-mixing it (with plenty of helpful tips from Wooky and others on here), hopefully I can produce a nicer mix.

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19 hours ago, Michael Martinez said:

It's an audio track (acoustic drums).

IMO, a recorded drum kit (with microphones) will always sound better than a drum VST, However in order to do this correctly, you need to have 5 things...the Microphones, The Pre amps, A good desk Good drums and a good drummer.

When you use cheap Mic's running through a Mackie 1604, it becomes clearly evident the drum sound is weak. I Have no idea what you used im just saying this is how I would approach it...

No use re-recording drum tracks, that's too much time and effort (unless its going to Mr. Geffen). Ive been sent many tracks over the years to mix and each one requires something different always, sometimes there are the same old tricks but always independent from one another.

I've re-routed pre existing drums through 1073's to get a better sound, when that fails, I use samples. Samples will get you there and lucky for you Sonar/Bandlab has Drum replacer which works very well for those instances (I used to use Audio snap).

I have even gone as far as sound stacking drums - Low kick for boom ! Mid kick for a break through ! Hi kick for the thud ! You need to be careful as too many layers will turn to mush if not EQ'd properly. Remember Drum frequency's will hog up room that may interact with the vocals, so the vocals themselves will end up sitting in the mix much more professionally once drums are done correctly.

19 hours ago, synkrotron said:

Perhaps you could put me right on any points that might be misleading Michael.

No I cant, you've got this covered perfectly. You are one of the people on this forum I respect and often agree with, just as I do with your earlier assessment.

 

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