Quantcast
What's wrong with this mix? (Radio-friendly pop/rock) - Gearspace.com
The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
What's wrong with this mix? (Radio-friendly pop/rock)
Old 22nd January 2013
  #1
Lives for gear
 
tkaitkai's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
What's wrong with this mix? (Radio-friendly pop/rock)

Mixed/mastered this a little while ago -- was a little frustrated with some of the results.



Overall, I'm happy with most of the instruments sonically, but there's definitely room for improvement. What I'd like to fix:


-The lead vocals are a little hot in some areas (i.e. "day" at the end of each chorus).

-The intro is really mid-rangey and sounds a little harsh.

-There's some clipping in the low end during the choruses (I tried adjusting the bass level, but to no avail).

-The master is a little too compressed (this was really the only way to get the track as loud as it is without even more clipping).

-The mix needs more width overall.


Any suggestions welcome! I can provide an unmastered mix if necessary. Thanks guys!
Old 22nd January 2013
  #2
Lives for gear
 
jeremycox's Avatar
Vocals sound way too tuned to me.
Old 22nd January 2013
  #3
Lives for gear
 
tkaitkai's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Really? That's interesting -- I really only did some light correction in Waves Tune. I did compress the hell out of the vocals, which might be a contributing factor. Are there any specific phrases that stand out to you?

Thanks for the input!
Old 22nd January 2013
  #4
Lives for gear
 
jeremycox's Avatar
There are at least 6 or 8 parts that it stood out noticeably. What Percentage of correction are you using?
Also, the drums dont seem very cohesive. Did you buss them together? Were they recorded live? Maybe Pan the tom you have dead center over to the left a bit? It is indistinguishable from the snare sometimes.
There is some stereo-width, but it feels phasey (bells? Acoustic Guitar? Crash?)
You could probably turn the bass guitar up...
Old 22nd January 2013
  #5
Lives for gear
 
tkaitkai's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
For whatever reason, the vocals for this track were a pain to correct. Anytime I tried my normal process in Melodyne (split beginnings/ends of notes, bring notes close to 0ct, adjust drifts), the results were REALLY over-processed and nasally. In Waves Tune, all I did was bring the notes to 0ct and even out the pitch curves so that they were more centered.

The drums are all Slate samples. I totally overlooked tom panning when mixing this -- pretty ridiculous, I know, but thanks for the suggestion! One of those painfully obvious things I didn't even think about.

As far as the phasing issue goes, I didn't do much to change the stereo image aside from panning. I used the double/millisecond delay trick on a few tracks, and then used S1 and Vacuumsound ADT on a few others (parallel comp drums, vocal reverbs, verse clean guitars). Not too well-versed in stereo imaging, haha!

Thanks again.
Old 22nd January 2013 | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
jeremycox's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by tkaitkai ➑️
For whatever reason, the vocals for this track were a pain to correct. Anytime I tried my normal process in Melodyne (split beginnings/ends of notes, bring notes close to 0ct, adjust drifts), the results were REALLY over-processed and nasally. In Waves Tune, all I did was bring the notes to act and even out the pitch curves so that they were more centered.

The drums are all Slate samples. I totally overlooked tom panning when mixing this -- pretty ridiculous, I know, but thanks for the suggestion! One of those painfully obvious things I didn't even think about.

As far as the phasing issue goes, I didn't do much to change the stereo image aside from panning. I used the double/millisecond delay trick on a few tracks, and then used S1 and Vacuumsound ADT on a few others (parallel comp drums, vocal reverbs, verse clean guitars). Not too well-versed in stereo imaging, haha!

Thanks again.
Yeah. Maybe you can take some of your panning a little farther?
Also, s1 works best for widening things that have been recorded in stereo to begin with. Otherwise its just plain phase manipulation.
Old 30th January 2013
  #7
Lives for gear
 
tkaitkai's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Bump -- wanna get some more feedback on this!
Old 30th January 2013
  #8
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
a) I like your tune. Great job on the most important aspect of a recording!

b) I would brighten the cymbals just a bit and ride them up for impact where need be.

c) If there is a bass guitar in there, well, I'd make it a bit more noticeable.

Just my quick thoughts. Great job!
Old 31st January 2013
  #9
Lives for gear
 
tkaitkai's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Thanks, man, glad you like the track!

There's definitely a bass in there, but my speakers and headphones DO have a lot of low end, which could be why I kinda glossed over that. Good tip about the cymbals, too, I'll be sure to ride them a little louder in chorus areas from now on. Thanks for the feedback!
Old 31st January 2013
  #10
Lives for gear
 
jrhager84's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
The biggest issue I have, is the drum sound. Just kinda sound like a mash of different sounds. Also sounds painfully grid-mapped... Kick sounds especially 'fake' to me. I agree about sweetening the cymbals a bit. I'd slap a touch of Clariphonic on it, but that's me.

The other stuff I agree with, but in lesser degrees. Good track!
Old 31st January 2013 | Show parent
  #11
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Aside from all the stuff you've already noticed or been told about --- the excessive compression, the warbly/obvious vocal tuning, the unpleasant distortions --- the vocal isn't supported by the music nor does it connect back to it in any way.

So it sounds like an overcompressed and unmoving wall of sound with an overly processed vocal plopped on top. There's no journey, no story being told, no emotionally evolving sections, no visceral shifts in dynamics.

Mostly, it's just way too much processing on everything, and not enough time or attention spent on figuring out what gets highlighted and what gets lowlighted. When everything is equally presented all the time, there is nothing to focus on, nothing to pay attention to, nothing to grab me and suck me in.

Try mixing this purely instrumental first, no vocals at all. Get the song to move and pop all on its own. Then, when you've got a musical bed that has meaning and contrasts, carve the vocal to fit inside it. Not on top, and not in front, but as far inside it as you can get it.

As an exercise in restraint, slow up the releases on your comps, keep everything in the 300-500ms range, and keep your ratios below 4:1 and your attacks no faster than 10ms, preferably 20, and don't do more than 4dB of reduction. If you think you need more than 4dB of reduction, play with your balances first to see if you can create more space. If not, pull up a second, different comp, and use different settings to lay on more compression.

Mix 'bottom up'. Get a stark, minimal drum groove happening, make it *feel* good at loud volume. Then mix sounds upwards from silence by creeping them up to the least amount where they're audible, then live with it for a minute, let your brain adjust to the new groove. Creep the sound up a touch more if you think you need to, but only 1-2dB. Mute and unmute the sound to hear what the groove is like without it, and what the groove is like with it. Don't listen for balance or clarity, feel the groove, feel the way the song bounces. Always go for maximum bounce, not maximum audibility.

Slowly add in elements, notice what they do to the groove. Do they clutter? Weigh down? Push? Pull? Again, add in the least amount possible to achieve the right feel. Listen for that 'tipping' point where the sound is tucked but visceral.

Shave the mix into shape like that, slowly, using small moves, taking time to adjust your ears to new balances. Novices tend to move too many things too fast with too much processing in strokes that are too broad.

Can't stress enough the importance of muting/unmuting and really listening to what's going on with the bigger picture.

And breaks. Every 30 minutes, stop for 5, step out of the room into a different acoustic space, listen to your footsteps, the sound of someone's living voice. Drink a little water. Get back to it.

Lather, rinse, repeat. Do your best, finish it, move on to the next. Don't endlessly rework the same song, keep moving forward. You will learn things, hear what you should have done differently; use that knowledge to craft a better mix of a newer, better song.

Above all, patience. It usually takes years to be able to make work you're truly happy with. There's no hurry, enjoy the ride.


Gregory Scott - ubk
Old 31st January 2013 | Show parent
  #12
Lives for gear
 
tkaitkai's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrhager84 ➑️
The biggest issue I have, is the drum sound. Just kinda sound like a mash of different sounds. Also sounds painfully grid-mapped... Kick sounds especially 'fake' to me. I agree about sweetening the cymbals a bit. I'd slap a touch of Clariphonic on it, but that's me.

The other stuff I agree with, but in lesser degrees. Good track!
Yeah, the drums are 100% SSD EX3, haha! I'm no drummer (no kit or drum mics, either, unfortunately), so programming is what I'll have to stick to for now, but I might invest in Superior or BFD or some more natural sample packs/plugins. As for the drums sounding grid-mapped, I did the MIDI for the entire song by hand, so the quantization is pretty much at 100%. Would you recommend loosening that up a bit?

Thanks for the Clariphonic rec, hadn't heard of that before!

u b k, That was an awesome, very detailed post. Thank you for taking the time to write that. I'll definitely use that to improve future mixes!

Thanks again guys!
Old 31st January 2013
  #13
Lives for gear
 
jrhager84's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tkaitkai ➑️
Yeah, the drums are 100% SSD EX3, haha! I'm no drummer (no kit or drum mics, either, unfortunately), so programming is what I'll have to stick to for now, but I might invest in Superior or BFD or some more natural sample packs/plugins. As for the drums sounding grid-mapped, I did the MIDI for the entire song by hand, so the quantization is pretty much at 100%. Would you recommend loosening that up a bit?

Thanks for the Clariphonic rec, hadn't heard of that before!

u b k, That was an awesome, very detailed post. Thank you for taking the time to write that. I'll definitely use that to improve future mixes!

Thanks again guys!
Depending on your daw, you can humanize the parts with nearly indistinguishable transparency. I definitely recommend humanizing them...

Funnily enough, Kush (ubk) sells the clariphonic.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I777
πŸ“ Reply
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearspace Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…

Forum Jump
Forum Jump