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Old 05-08-2011, 10:47 PM   #1
Epidemechanical
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hey guys what do you think of my vocal mix?

http://soundcloud.com/raayl/skin-and-bones

pretty straight forward. did some panning, some surgery on the EQ

150 HPF, narrow notch kill at 1.5k and 3k, and slight band boost at 4.5.

comp settings:

ratio - 2:1
threshold: -17 dB
hard knee
3 ms attack
auto release

vocal tracks are stereospread, with two tracks 100 right/left, and one center. then i copypasted all 3 of those and doubled them again just to fatten it up. mixed this copy 4 dB lower.

also applied a de-esser for the 15k+ range and a slight band drop after 17k.

for the growly bits i did one clean track, then two distorted tracks panned 100 right/left. just a compressor on here with the distortions, same settings as listed above.
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Old 05-09-2011, 12:03 AM   #2
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Dude, that sounds like ass. Not just the vocals, but the whole mix.

Drums:
Kick has very little low end to it, could use some more presence in the 4-5 kHz and up range.
Snare is alright.
Cymbals/overheads have a tinny sound to them - sounds like you boosted like crazy at around 5 kHz. It clouds the whole mix.
Couldn't really hear the toms/distinguish them from the kick drum at all.

Bass
Either inaudible or too loud in the mix. Compress the fuck out of it, I like to use a compressor that has a setting that adds harmonic distortion to emphasize the 1st and 2nd order harmonics. Perform any EQ before compression in order to keep levels consistent across the whole song. It could also use some more low end in the 80-160 Hz range (I high-pass bass at 50).

Vocals
First, I'm going to ask what mic you are using to record vocals with. With a good mic, very minimal EQ/processing is required.
I'm of the opinion that your high pass filter is a little high. I don't go higher than 110 for male vocals, but whatever.
I don't hear any of the stereo spreading that you mention.

Do you know how high 15kHz really is? Most people over age 20 can't hear much higher than that, especially musicians. Get a test tone plugin to see how high it goes. One of these can also be useful in determining where your room modes are and what frequencies are notable/absent in your speakers. The frequency range for most sibilance is around 8-12 kHz anyway. Your de-esser probably isn't doing anything really useful.

NEVER copy+paste the same take to 'fatten' something up. At best, you'll just make it louder and at worst, you'll end up with lots of comb filtering. This isn't an issue if you record multiple takes and mix those, because the spectral content is different.

Everything else
The mix as a whole lacks a lot of stereo spread, and the things that are panned wide are so low as to not have much of an effect. There isn't really any definition between what is a guitar and what is synth, etc. They both compete for the same spot in the mix and it ends up being a mess.

My guess is that you are mixing on headphones (due to the narrow stereo spread of the mix) that have a substantial low-end boost and dip at 5 kHz.

Compare your song to professional hard rock mix. You'll see how different it really is.

EDIT: I'm listening on calibrated JBL LSR4328P monitors

Last edited by ares; 05-09-2011 at 12:08 AM.
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Old 05-09-2011, 12:43 AM   #3
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i'm listening on HFI-550 headphones.

and to be honest Ares really nailed most of it.
aside from the use of panning. most DAW's come with a stereo image "spreader" i know there is one stock in Logic Pro. and i'm sure there is something similar in pro tools. Try using a bit of that on the synth, but not too much.

also in Logic, i've found use of a stock plug-in "sample delay" use it in stereo and delay the left or right side a few ms. should help your mix breathe a bit.

hope this helps some.
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Old 05-09-2011, 12:58 AM   #4
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Quote:
Drums:
Kick has very little low end to it, could use some more presence in the 4-5 kHz and up range.
Snare is alright.
Cymbals/overheads have a tinny sound to them - sounds like you boosted like crazy at around 5 kHz. It clouds the whole mix.
Couldn't really hear the toms/distinguish them from the kick drum at all.
cymbals sound decent to me but to be honest i didnt mix the drums. i use presets, no idea what im doing drum-mix wise. not a lot of tom work going on in the song other than the fill in the intro

Quote:
Bass
Either inaudible or too loud in the mix. Compress the fuck out of it, I like to use a compressor that has a setting that adds harmonic distortion to emphasize the 1st and 2nd order harmonics. Perform any EQ before compression in order to keep levels consistent across the whole song. It could also use some more low end in the 80-160 Hz range (I high-pass bass at 50).
inaudible or too loud? that doesnt make any sense. it is compressed pretty hard, ratio inf:1, and its mixed down with another track of the same bassline with a distortion and EQ (lopass+hipass+800 boost)

Quote:
Vocals
First, I'm going to ask what mic you are using to record vocals with. With a good mic, very minimal EQ/processing is required.
I'm of the opinion that your high pass filter is a little high. I don't go higher than 110 for male vocals, but whatever.
I don't hear any of the stereo spreading that you mention.
shure KSM27. its not the best but it works. maybe youre right on the HPF, but i can't hear much difference between 100-150 on my vocal tracks. its a gentle band, not a hard cut.

Quote:
Do you know how high 15kHz really is? Most people over age 20 can't hear much higher than that, especially musicians. Get a test tone plugin to see how high it goes. One of these can also be useful in determining where your room modes are and what frequencies are notable/absent in your speakers. The frequency range for most sibilance is around 8-12 kHz anyway. Your de-esser probably isn't doing anything really useful.
15k+ cuts are for any "esses" that may have survived the original surgery

Quote:
NEVER copy+paste the same take to 'fatten' something up. At best, you'll just make it louder and at worst, you'll end up with lots of comb filtering. This isn't an issue if you record multiple takes and mix those, because the spectral content is different.
right but on analysis (and mixing significantly lower) the copypasta added clarity, which in my original mix, lacked even more. any suggestions on a way to post-process to increase clarity is appreciated
Quote:
Everything else
The mix as a whole lacks a lot of stereo spread, and the things that are panned wide are so low as to not have much of an effect. There isn't really any definition between what is a guitar and what is synth, etc. They both compete for the same spot in the mix and it ends up being a mess.
i'm not sure there are any synths playing while guitars play, other than simply the breathy "ambient" sound which i introduced later in the song

Quote:
My guess is that you are mixing on headphones (due to the narrow stereo spread of the mix) that have a substantial low-end boost and dip at 5 kHz.

Compare your song to professional hard rock mix. You'll see how different it really is.
well i wouldn't consider this a hard rock song nor do i listen to any hard rock so im not sure why i would do that but ok

Last edited by Epidemechanical; 05-09-2011 at 01:01 AM.
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Old 05-09-2011, 01:02 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peytonnn View Post
also in Logic, i've found use of a stock plug-in "sample delay" use it in stereo and delay the left or right side a few ms. should help your mix breathe a bit.
Don't do this, or your mix will end up with comb filtering if it is ever summed to mono. The 'stereo spreader' in logic pans alternating ~octave bands left/right above a certain cutoff frequency in order to provide depth without any comb filtering.
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Old 05-09-2011, 01:02 AM   #6
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the bass seems to jump out every now and then. i totally get what he's saying. and it's not in a good way. it makes the bass sound dumpy. you almost want it inaudible lololol
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Old 05-09-2011, 01:07 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ares View Post
Don't do this, or your mix will end up with comb filtering if it is ever summed to mono. The 'stereo spreader' in logic pans alternating ~octave bands left/right above a certain cutoff frequency in order to provide depth without any comb filtering.
didn't know that! thanks!
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Old 05-09-2011, 01:15 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Epidemechanical View Post
inaudible or too loud? that doesnt make any sense. it is compressed pretty hard, ratio inf:1, and its mixed down with another track of the same bassline with a distortion and EQ (lopass+hipass+800 boost)
(Bass)
In some parts of the song it is definitely much more prominent than in others. This is probably an EQ thing that you don't notice because of speaker/room influence.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Epidemechanical View Post
15k+ cuts are for any "esses" that may have survived the original surgery
Do you have any reason to cut it, or are you just doing it because you read about de-essing in a book or on a forum? Unless you know that there is for sure something to fix, don't mess with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Epidemechanical View Post
right but on analysis (and mixing significantly lower) the copypasta added clarity, which in my original mix, lacked even more. any suggestions on a way to post-process to increase clarity is appreciated
This is probably just the comb filtering causing constructive interference at a particular frequency that enhances 'clarity'. If you didn't delay the doubled tracks at all, they are just making it louder.

Not really sure what you mean by 'clarity'. Without hearing the raw tracks I can't really say what you should do. Mixing is an ad hoc process and there are no formulae for success.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Epidemechanical View Post
well i wouldn't consider this a hard rock song nor do i listen to any hard rock so im not sure why i would do that but ok
Well, compare it to excellently recorded music within whatever genre. I was using the term 'hard rock' as a generic term for anything loud.
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Old 05-09-2011, 01:19 AM   #9
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ares i would love your opinion on my mix whenever you get time

http://www.sputnikmusic.com/forums/showthread.php?t=593273
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Old 05-09-2011, 01:28 AM   #10
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ares i recently updated the vocal mix applying some of your suggestions. check it out and let me know.
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Old 05-09-2011, 01:38 AM   #11
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It sounds slightly better (not great though), but I already deleted the original file so I can't really A/B them.
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Old 05-09-2011, 10:27 AM   #12
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so i revisited the instrumentals and idk what the fuck happened i must have been drunk

a lot of errors that i made like

i forgot to clip the electro drums from the intro so they were just doubled the whole song (that phat sounding distorted kick from the beginning)

the verse synths were playing in the chours - which added nothing but mud (they were supposed to be clipped too)

added some high end 8-16k boost with a small boost at 2k on the vocals

lets see what happens
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Old 05-09-2011, 10:57 AM   #13
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http://soundcloud.com/raayl/skin-and-bones-final-mix

ok guys here is the new mix. re-leveled a lot of stuff, mixed the drums, re-panned some stuff, and did some mastering EQ
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Old 05-09-2011, 01:56 PM   #14
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You gotta raise the low frequencies on the whole mix, I think. It doesn't jump out at you like it should.
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Old 05-10-2011, 01:30 AM   #15
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ok how is this?

http://soundcloud.com/raayl/skin-and-bones-album-version

totally redid drums. new riffs and everything. changes the feel of the song almost
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Old 05-10-2011, 02:10 AM   #16
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Now it sounds like you put a large blanket over the drum kit.

Also whats with the real fizzy shit on the guitars?


I think you need better monitors dude, if you can't hear all this shit, there's something way wrong?
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Old 05-10-2011, 02:14 AM   #17
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The mix sounds a lot better then the first one. the vocals have been cleared up and i can actually discipher the lyrics. The drums still need some work, the snare sounds good, but is too loud. its not over bearing, it just sticks out a bit, perhaps you want this.

somethign needs to happen to make that bass louder. maybe try fiddling with a hpf around 30-35, a lpf around 5k, a nice boost band 40-200, and a cut between 250 and 450. this is a setting i use often for bass...might work idk.

the growl rap sound much better, idk if you did a different take.

Im not really qualified/my monitoring sitch isnt good enough to really advise on any specific technical details. so yeah imo, bring the snare down a bit, bring the bass up. its sound each time i listen.
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Old 05-10-2011, 08:33 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Convectuoso View Post
Now it sounds like you put a large blanket over the drum kit.

Also whats with the real fizzy shit on the guitars?


I think you need better monitors dude, if you can't hear all this shit, there's something way wrong?
no i hear both of those things especially the guitar

pretty sure its just the VST i use man ive tried to correct it but it doesnt bother me too much so id rather focus on other areas of the mix before i address it

the drums well i wanted to go a different route because they were pissing me off so i mirror mixed the new 30 seconds to mars album - the drums are actually really low on that album and it still sounded decent. i think i like them better mixed lower and without so much comp. i also put a light reverb on them and mixed in the room mic totally dry.
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Old 05-10-2011, 01:46 PM   #19
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I actually really liked the chorus. Catchy vocals.

The snare drum didn't really do it for me. I think it was overly compressed and needs more high end on it; sounds dull and squashed right now.
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Old 05-10-2011, 01:53 PM   #20
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ya for sure addictive drums are stupid im thinking about superior maybe

metal foundry lol
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Old 05-10-2011, 02:04 PM   #21
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no i hear both of those things especially the guitar

pretty sure its just the VST i use man ive tried to correct it but it doesnt bother me too much so id rather focus on other areas of the mix before i address it

the drums well i wanted to go a different route because they were pissing me off so i mirror mixed the new 30 seconds to mars album - the drums are actually really low on that album and it still sounded decent. i think i like them better mixed lower and without so much comp. i also put a light reverb on them and mixed in the room mic totally dry.
I don't mean in level but tonally, it sounds like you cut all of the highs out of them?

I'd tried a LPF on those guitars, like just gradually bring it down from 20khz until you can't hear the fizz but you can hear the guitar. Might work.
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Old 05-10-2011, 04:18 PM   #22
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tried that already with a couple of different settings from sharp drop HPF to a gradual band

the result was usually reducing the fizzing but at the cost of darkening the guitars and making the mix even muddier than it already is
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Old 05-10-2011, 06:08 PM   #23
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I would suggest Superior for toms and cymbals and Steven slate drums for snare, kick and Hi-Hats. I have managed to get some excellent sounding drums this way.

Last edited by Shadows Within; 05-10-2011 at 06:21 PM.
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Old 05-10-2011, 09:38 PM   #24
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Guitar presence is in the 2kHz to 5 kHz range, try boosting there and doing a shelving cut above 5kHz (not a LPF).

Superior 2.0 for drums works just fine if you know to EQ/compress properly, plus blend the different mics it gives you for kick/snare.

This is a song (sans vocals) that I've done recently with SD 2.0:
http://www.expireband.com/shape.mp3
(yes, I know there is mastering clipping on the toms especially, it's not a final mix)
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Old 05-10-2011, 10:43 PM   #25
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yeah I could use superior by itself but i prefer the snare and kick in ssd, the kick is less clicky and more rounded than the ones they have and the snare has less bottom end to it and more crack, but that mix sounds pretty good.
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Old 05-10-2011, 10:54 PM   #26
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http://soundcloud.com/raayl/skin-and-bones-mastered

tried some mastering guys what do you think
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Old 05-10-2011, 11:03 PM   #27
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It's better but still missing a lot of bottom end. Kick drum still sound like a puff of air, you have to add some click at 3-5kHz to fix that. Snare needs more 5kHz+.

I'm curious what you're listening on. That could help shed some light on why you're having problems.
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Old 05-10-2011, 11:16 PM   #28
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mixing on presonus monitor headphones

i know

it sucks
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Old 05-11-2011, 12:46 AM   #29
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Get some Mackie HR824's

Or...get some Senny HD555's do the mod to them (google it) and you've got the $300 595's. They're okay for mixing on. But you've got to realize they're not bright, and getting vocal levels is really hard.
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