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New mix, Logic 9 all stock plugs
Old 20th November 2009
  #1
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
New mix, Logic 9 all stock plugs (2nd SONG ADDED!)

Let me know what you guys think, any tips critiques would help!

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/2883818/Tig...t%20Master.mp3

The only non stock plug I used was PSP Vintage Warmer 2 on the Master track.

-Zack

Second revision.

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/2883818/Tig...d%20Master.mp3

Third and final version!

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/2883818/Autu...d%20Master.mp3

Also, the other song!

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/2883818/Autu...d%20Master.mp3
Old 20th November 2009
  #2
Lives for gear
 
beingmf's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Overall i have the impression that - for my taste - it sounds very "digital"/"cold", not a bad mix though. In other words: the balance from low to high is tilted towards the top end.
If I would mix it, I'd cut "some" high mids from the electric and the vocals - they sound "scratchy" to me -, and have the low end (bass + low mids) "warmer", or "muddier", or "more prominent". Also the high end sizzle from the drum set is getting a little fatiguing after a while. I would compress overheads more, too.

Difficult start points though: the voice is not easy to record i can imagine (i would use a far darker mic!), and the cymbals (esp. ride) unfortunately don't sound good per se :(

Maybe you aimed for something "overanalytic", i don't know...

As always on Gearslutz YMMV
Old 20th November 2009 | Show parent
  #3
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks for the tips!

After referencing my mix on my ipod headphones (lame, but I know these very well) and comparing it to Kings of Leon, I agree there needs to be more bottom end "mud" so to speak.

How should I go about compressing the overheads? I sent all of the drums to a compressor bus and mixed it in slightly (parallel). The cymbals might be a little weak because I only had 1 overhead to work with (AT3528). I didn't want to do a mono overhead, but I'm not as unhappy with it as I thought I would be.

When you say sizzle, do you mean cymbals, or snare, or reverb sizzle?

I put an exciter plug on the guitars, so I might take it off/back it off.

I originally had the DI's going through Pod farm, but when I updated to Snow Leopard (finally M-Audio caught up), I forgot to update my UX2's drivers and it wouldn't connect. The studio is like 25 mins from my house so I just sucked it up and built some sounds in Amp Designer.

I used a SM7b on the vox. Any eq ranges I could look at to help with the vox? I did some small cuts at random frequencies that I found while sweeping to help with boxiness.

Thanks guys!
Old 20th November 2009 | Show parent
  #4
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I would agree with the previous poster that the mix tilts a bit too far on the side of "top end" in terms of frequency balance, although I think calling it to "digital" might imply that using various plug-ins that claim to "warm up" the sound will do the trick or that it is overly bright due to the brand or type of plug-ins used, which I doubt is the case. It doesn't sound to me as if the tracking itself is all that bad - it's just mixed in a way that can be fatiguing and a bit thin sounding. The good thing is that it sounds like your sense of balance as far as the instruments go is keen - everything is audible and has it's place, in spite the relative eq imbalance. I think the first thing I suggest revisiting is the drums and bass. On the drums, I again agree the previous poster that high end sizzle from the kit is a bit much. I'd try to experiment with parallel compressing the individual close mics (kick, snare, toms) a bit and the room mics a little if you have them - work towards giving the drums a but more body. I'd also listen to a lot of records and listen for how prominent the cymbals are in the mix - they're not always as up front as you might imagine. Also, if the overheads or room mics are still a bit much in the cymbal area, don't be afraid to pull some around 3-4khz (although I wouldn't recommend doing so with a shelving filter, cause you don't want to dull the air/shimmer of the cymbals). Another thing I noticed was, eq wise, the snare had a bit of a point on it, which is understandable - if you're not effectively employing parallel compression on the drums, it can be difficult in denser mixes to keep the transients cutting through and as the decay/body of the drums would also be overwhelmed, it can be tempting to overemphasize a frequency that will make the snare jump out. As far as the bass, if you're using a bass DI/amp combo or DI/amp sim combo make absolutely sure the too signals are phase aligned - this will make it way easier to get a nice full and consistent bass sound to deal with. Also, it can be tempting to overdo cutting out low mids in the bass guitar (and drums sometimes) for clarity purposes, but when you go to far, the mix tends to sound anemic and overly bright. I think you'll be better able to judge where the vocals and guitars are at ounce you have the drums and bass molded into a more solid and less sizzle-y (when it comes to the drums) foundation as right now, it might be hard to judge. Anyhow, very cool idea using only stock plugs - I should challenge myself to try the same - good luck - sounds like your off to a good start!
Old 20th November 2009 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks man! Great advice.

When I get to remix it, with pod farm instead of logic's bass amp I will run a dual rig, and mix an alesis pre with a svt and hi/lo pass two tracks to get that bass sounding how I want.

I also "mastered" the track, so that might be bringing the high's up and the low's down. I know that a lot of times mixes are too bassy and not bright enough, and maybe assuming that, I over compensated for an already well balanced mix. I'll look at my master's eq when I go back.
Old 20th November 2009 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
I'll let the engineers comment on your mix.

As a songwriter and producer, I really like the song. Good lyric, good vocals and
and impressive guitar work.
Old 20th November 2009 | Show parent
  #7
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks man! I'll tell the guys you said that.

The band's kinda neat themselves. They are 3 of the 5 members of a local metal/rock band, and this singer song writer guy that they found on Craigslist or something. They wanted him to try out for their band, and he didn't like their style, but after they heard him, they decided they would do a side project in his style, as his band.

I actually wrote all the leads (part wise, not note for note). Their lead guy is a ripper, but had no idea what to do in the song, so that's where having a guitar player produce you can come in handy!

The other song I did for them (not finished yet) is ever better! I really love this project.
Old 20th November 2009 | Show parent
  #8
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Two things:
If you are using POD Farm, it won't report it's actual latency to Logic and in at least some models, it inverts the phase, which can confuse things further. For instance, I'll often use the SVT model, 8*10 with the U87 Far simulation (think that's what it is - have to check) - if I am in 44.1, I'll have to use Expert Sleepers Latency Fixer, set to 128 samples and flip the phase on the "amped" track using the Gain plug-in. I believe most amp sims do not accurately report their delay (including the bass amp sim in logic), so the best way to figure it out is to bounce the bass track with the amp sim as an insert, then line it up with the DI, which, depending on the plug, might involve flipping the phase of the resulting audio. Figure out how many samples you have to drag the exported "amp" treated audio back to line up (and whether you half to flip it's phase), and then you can build a channel strip with the bass amp modeler, latency fixer and the gain plug that will make it a quick and easy process next time.

The other thing is this: when you dynamically push down hard on something, the most dominant frequency pre-compress/limiter will become the predominant sound post-compressor. Think of it like pressing your face against glass - because your nose is likely (at least in my case - hahahah) to be the feature that most protrudes from your face as is, it will become an even more pronounced feature as it is flattened against the glass and takes up more space on your face. So if you are pushing down hard on a sound where the loudest peaks happen round 3-4k, that are will become more and more pronounced as you press down harder. This is one of the reasons it's best, if you can, to use an unmastered mix as a reference, or at least a mastered mix where the top end isn't overly hyped (I tend to use Jimmy Eat World's The Middle, which has some unusual things going on in the low mids which may not be everyone's thing, but top is really not all that hyped, relative to some modern records). Don't try and go to far to match the top or low end of a mastered record when you are mixing, because the compression and limiting at the mastering stage will no doubt bring those elements forward. Again, good luck!
Old 20th November 2009 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Sweet advice man. You slutz always know what's up.

I reference Use Somebody by Kings of Leon.

Holy **** that song is smashed and bassy as all get out.
Old 20th November 2009 | Show parent
  #10
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Should I put the bass channel's compressor before or after the amp sim?

I was having a hard time pulling the deepness out of the bass.
Old 20th November 2009 | Show parent
  #11
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I usually only compress the DI signal very gently if at all (depends on the player) and on the amp track, if I compress, I'll do so after the amp. Then I'll sum those to channels on an aux track, EQ the combination (there's some eqing going on on the "amped" track as well, beyond the amp itself) and then go into a compressor. With any instrument, it's important to understand what the attack will do to the transient of the signal - too fast will flatten the peaks to the point where it has no punch, but too slow an attack (with a mid to long release) will widen the gap between the attack of the signal and the decay/body. Bob Katz "Mastering Audio" has a great way of explaining this concept. With bass intruments, it's also important to note that release time that are too fast will cause an unpleasant distorting (in a farty way) sound. I try to keep release times on anything with a lot of bass info above 100ms to avoid such issues. Also, make sure you play with the threshold a bit - don't always assume more compressions is the way to go. Good luck!
Old 20th November 2009 | Show parent
  #12
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
One last thing: overemphasis of areas of the top and low end that are not as much heard as "felt" (the sub/thunder-ish area 50hz and below and "air" and "openness" 10k and above) can eat away at your headroom for little to no advantage (just fatigue and an uneasy stomach - hahaha). Try to avoiding adding to those areas and I might want to roll off bassy instruments at 30-50hz in general. Good luck!
Old 20th November 2009 | Show parent
  #13
Lives for gear
 
beingmf's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Great tips from Dubnick as well! About the bass "reamping": somewhere on the net there's a huge bunch of guitar and bass cab impulses in wav format, so you can use them with space designer - not the Beamsonic ones, i don't remember really what they were called, sorry. Some of them are really really good - some close+far mic's, too, which makes absolute sense in some mixes...
And: yes, the "sharpness" is on the whole drum set, not only the cymbals. Let me add one thing to Dubnicks posts: you *could* indeed try a smooth high shelf on the drum bus, depending on how the other elements in the mix will end up now and on the beefiness of the drum sound you're going for.
Old 20th November 2009 | Show parent
  #14
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
I don't have much to add in regards to the mix that haven't already been stated. I hope you post a follow up once you work on it some more.

The vocals are absolutely outstanding. You are lucky to be involved with this project. This is the kind of vocalist that could seriously go somewhere and take everyone else along for the ride. I don't think it would matter which band you put behind this guy. The song itself is composed well (although nothing stand-out or memorable in absence of this vocalist (just my honest opinion)). Sounds like you recorded it well.

I'd add a bit of a 10ish k crack to the snare and definitely look at some parallel comp on the drums though. Nice job.
Old 20th November 2009 | Show parent
  #15
Gear Nut
 
newrigel's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mitchel ➑️
This is the kind of vocalist that could seriously go somewhere
Why haven't they gone yet then if your so sure?
If he's all that he would have gotten signed from a live show or way before this! I think he has a very nervous sounding vibrato and a strained embouchure like James Blunt... not my cup of tea for sure!
Already been done before.
Old 20th November 2009 | Show parent
  #16
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I'm no master engineer myself, but first impressions:

The first is a matter of personal preference. If you want the widest audience possible, I think the vocals could come out front just a touch more. De-essing slightly may let you get just a hair more push on the level without throwing the balance off, and easing up on vocal reverb would help bring them forward. Again, personal preference. Singer is decent, tho, so a tiny push couldn't be too bad.

Also... same thought without changing the level: If the rhythm guitar sound were weighted a bit more toward the low mids with a little dip in it (maybe 1.5k or so) to let the vocals shine through, that might do the trick as well.

Overall, it sounds good. The only part that stands out to me in any way as less professional is the drum sound. Drums just lack some punch, most noticeably in the snare sound and the overall kit interaction. I'm not working with live drums, so there are much more qualified people on here than me to give advice as to how to get them punchier, whether it's snare replacement, parallel compression, or whatever, but if the drum sound was more solid, it would gel quickly because the other elements are all good, as is the overall mix.
Old 20th November 2009 | Show parent
  #17
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by newrigel ➑️
Why haven't they gone yet then if your so sure?
If he's all that he would have gotten signed from a live show or way before this! I think he has a very nervous sounding vibrato and a strained embouchure like James Blunt... not my cup of tea for sure!
Already been done before.
Well, that's a weirdly bitter response...

You sort of answered yourself there didn't you?

I am making assumptions here, but it could be the case that he hasn't been exposed to the right people yet (evidenced by 1 - he's very good; and 2 - as you said he's nervous sounding and strained).

James Blunt sucks - not many people's cup of tea I'd imagine. This guy doesn't sound anything like that. I would liken him more to someone like Cedric Bixler-Zavala. Very expressive, but a little on the raw side.

I am guessing you are a singer who hasn't been recognized for his talents yet? Hmmm?
Old 20th November 2009 | Show parent
  #18
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
The singer is good, and I sense some energy in the performances at least occasionally, but...

For me the mix was just average (it was stale and uninspiring) and so was the production. Maybe the arrangement made it too monotonic, not a bad attempt though.
Old 20th November 2009 | Show parent
  #19
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
As far as I know this is his first band. These are their first demos ever, so the whole "if he's so good, why's he not huge already?" argument's a little assumptive. Besides... look at Miley Cyrus... Enough said.

Also, these are demos. He sang this song as well as another song in about 6 takes. Total.

Thanks for all the tips on the mix guys!

Keep in mind, this is a quick first draft that had to be made on a deadline to promote their debut show. The only reference I had for this mix was my monitors. I will be taking into account all of the great advice both here and from all my other peers/mentors in the music business for the 2nd draft and so on.
Old 20th November 2009 | Show parent
  #20
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by StereoPari ➑️
The singer is good, and I sense some energy in the performances at least occasionally, but...

For me the mix was just average (it was stale and uninspiring) and so was the production. Maybe the arrangement made it too monotonic, not a bad attempt though.
Hopefully you will like the other song we did together. This song can be a little redundant, whereas this other track is very dynamic. Thanks for the input!
Old 20th November 2009 | Show parent
  #21
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Unlike most of the critics here, I don't think the mix is half bad. I wouldn't even say it's all that top heavy as others have stated. Perhaps lacking some POWER down low, but not overly bright IMO. Try turning the bass up a tad and putting some low mids back into the guitars... My only real criticism, is that the vocal doesn't "sit" well in the mix. I would experiment with a few different treatments to see if you can get it to settle in a bit...right now it sounds like it's scotch taped on top of the band.

On a musical note, the lead guitar doesn't move me at all. Just regurgitated pentatonic blues licks that every 14 year old guitar student has been learning since 1971. IMO, it just makes the song sound dated. I'm sure many would disagree...
Old 21st November 2009 | Show parent
  #22
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by zakco ➑️
Unlike most of the critics here, I don't think the mix is half bad. I wouldn't even say it's all that top heavy as others have stated. Perhaps lacking some POWER down low, but not overly bright IMO. Try turning the bass up a tad and putting some low mids back into the guitars... My only real criticism, is that the vocal doesn't "sit" well in the mix. I would experiment with a few different treatments to see if you can get it to settle in a bit...right now it sounds like it's scotch taped on top of the band.

On a musical note, the lead guitar doesn't move me at all. Just regurgitated pentatonic blues licks that every 14 year old guitar student has been learning since 1971. IMO, it just makes the song sound dated. I'm sure many would disagree...
I was trying to keep my comments to the mix, but I'd have to agree that the lead isn't adding anything... rhythm has a decent tone...

I was thinking at first that the tone was uninspiring for the lead, but frankly, so is the part...

I like the other elements, tho.
Old 21st November 2009 | Show parent
  #23
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Something weird with the position of the vocals for me. Don't seem to be coming from the center. almost like they are split hard left and right and doubled.
Old 21st November 2009 | Show parent
  #24
Lives for gear
 
carllock's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Singer-Killer
Playing-Killer
Song/Arangement-Better than most at demo stage

Mix-Slight Bright....and I agree a singer like that needs to be brought in front of music 1.5 db see if that sits well.
Old 21st November 2009 | Show parent
  #25
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
With making the vocals sit better, I have a few ideas of how to do this, you all can elaborate on which would be best.

Do you think it would be better to:

1. Raise the vocal fader 1-2dB (It's currently at -4)
2. Boot the compressor a little more.
3. Side chain the guitars to the vocals.

Thanks!

-Zack
Old 21st November 2009 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by quincyg ➑️
Something weird with the position of the vocals for me. Don't seem to be coming from the center. almost like they are split hard left and right and doubled.
They are coming from the center. I do have reverb and stereo delay on there....anyone else notice this?
Old 21st November 2009 | Show parent
  #27
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by zakco ➑️
Unlike most of the critics here, I don't think the mix is half bad. I wouldn't even say it's all that top heavy as others have stated. Perhaps lacking some POWER down low, but not overly bright IMO. Try turning the bass up a tad and putting some low mids back into the guitars... My only real criticism, is that the vocal doesn't "sit" well in the mix. I would experiment with a few different treatments to see if you can get it to settle in a bit...right now it sounds like it's scotch taped on top of the band.

On a musical note, the lead guitar doesn't move me at all. Just regurgitated pentatonic blues licks that every 14 year old guitar student has been learning since 1971. IMO, it just makes the song sound dated. I'm sure many would disagree...

Good tips. I actually wrote that lead on the fly for their lead guy. He's a ripper, but not much of writer. I felt like the part needed something so that's what we came up with in a pinch. Without it the chorus, prechorus, verse are all the same chords...Pop rock for ya!
Old 21st November 2009 | Show parent
  #28
Lives for gear
 
Firechild's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Very good vocals.
The mix sounds like a live recording with no editing/comping at all. It is not about some dBΒ΄s up and down. it is about to have a tight and punchy sound to make it sound like a professional mix. If the band played to a click, you could try the new audio quantize feature in Logic 9. It is not about to ruin the human feel but to have all musicians to play on the beat together without flaming all over the place. I guess the track sounds like it was made on a multitrack tapemachine to be honest. And that is not always bad, but in this case, donΒ΄t be afraid to use the technology lurking around inside your computer.
Old 21st November 2009 | Show parent
  #29
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Firechild ➑️
Very good vocals.
The mix sounds like a live recording with no editing/comping at all.
In a way it is. The drums were done in about 3 takes, the vocals as well.

The bass ironically took the most takes/punching and guitar did a little as well.

The kit is replaced (not cymbals) but he was close enough to the click that I didn't quantize it because the song has a natural bounce to it.

I also did this for free to get practice and exposure. This is the first thing I've ever actually recorded/mixed other than a demo song for my band a while back (that sucks looking back at it lol)

Thanks for all the input guys!
Old 21st November 2009 | Show parent
  #30
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by zackpennington ➑️
With making the vocals sit better, I have a few ideas of how to do this, you all can elaborate on which would be best.

Do you think it would be better to:

1. Raise the vocal fader 1-2dB (It's currently at -4)
2. Boot the compressor a little more.
3. Side chain the guitars to the vocals.

Thanks!

-Zack
Here is what I might be inclined to try:

1. First thing on the vocals (after N/R if you have any) should be a compressor doing about 6 dB gain reduction from 4:1 or 8:1 (to taste).
2. Go through the guitar tracks and slightly curve between say 700 Hz and 1.2k. Better to cut to make room rather than boost, IMO.
3. If you are going to sidechain, do it on a full instrument submix and only duck by about 1dB at 1.5:1 to 3:1. Feels like the whole band is gelling and reacting to each other that way, but it is subtle enough that you can't tell that it was 'engineered' to do that.
4. Lose the current vocal effects and listen to the full mix to judge what it needs.

That's what I would do anyway.

PS - Don't forget parallel compression on the kick and snare. Rough Rider is particularly good for this.
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