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top 40 / dance production feedback
Old 25th January 2013
  #1
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Ain't Nobody's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
top 40 / dance ... production / mix / master feedback

Nearing album completion, here are samples:












Just looking for mix/master/production feedback. Pull no punches. It needs to be judged by the same criteria a major label would use to determine if it's ready for them to throw their weight behind.

I don't bruise easy... but I do want to make the mixes the best they can be.

thx
Old 26th January 2013
  #2
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Sample Seven's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
First thing that jumps out at me is that the drums need more punchiness. You could sidechain the mix with the kick to make the mix pump and give it a real dancefloor feel.
Old 26th January 2013 | Show parent
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sample Seven ➑️
First thing that jumps out at me is that the drums need more punchiness. You could sidechain the mix with the kick to make the mix pump and give it a real dancefloor feel.
Which tack or tracks are you referring to? Very different types of beats. The only 4 on the floor beat in the bunch is the first portion of "What's My Name", so is that the one you're talking about?
Old 26th January 2013 | Show parent
  #4
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aint Nobody ➑️
Which tack or tracks are you referring to? Very different types of beats. The only 4 on the floor beat in the bunch is the first portion of "What's My Name", so is that the one you're talking about?
I was referring "What's My Name" with the dancefloor feel comment, but I think they could all use some punchier sounding drums.
Old 27th January 2013
  #5
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ok.

thx.

Any other specific feedback?
Old 28th January 2013
  #6
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Over a hundred plays from here (two tracks got updated)... so there must be more than one person with a comment of some kind.
Old 29th January 2013
  #7
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🎧 15 years
I agree with the comment about 'punchiness'. Feels as if the drums should be a little more aggressive..?

You have some interesting production/songs. Sorta like a retro vibe, but not.
Old 29th January 2013
  #8
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Point taken.

On "A Little More Love," I've purposefully done what I can to take the "punch" out of them... to make them more pillowy to get a smooth sound that blends into the track more. If anything, I'd like them just a bit smoother.

As for the other two, though.... I've actually turned the drums down a bit in order to walk a balance between danceability and pop song aesthetics. Yes, I would like the mixes to work for play in top 40 clubs as is (for those clubs that won't only play sped up and stripped down dance mixes)... but at the end of the day, these are radio edits, and the primary focus needs to be pop playback... which means crystal clear lyrics, going a little lighter on the bass, etc.

Apparently I've pushed that a bit too far, though. Wonder if just turning the drums up a bit (mainly the house kick in "What's My Name" and the 808 and K/S in "Have Mercy") would do the trick, or does anyone have anything more specific in mind processing-wise.

Other sections of "What's my name" have hat in with the kick, so you get that hf attack in there too. Left it out for overall arrangement purposes in this first section... but I guess it needs something to punch it up a bit. I've also filtered out everything below 40hz to maximize playback on smaller systems with minimal distortion, and taken out a couple db below 100hz to try and find a balance between playback scenarios. Perhaps that could come up a db or so. Taking out some of the low end brings up in prominance some of the 100-300hz attack of the drum as the frequency dives into the sustained note. I would generally think of that "chest thumping" range (along with the attack) as the "punch", but perhaps we mean different things by the word.

The tracks have hit 9 db or so of brickwall to get them to this rms, and I'm using some enormous lookahead to smooth them out, so there's some attack lost from that. I seem to like them better that way, but maybe others don't share that aesthetic. Is it a frequency issue or an attack issue? I could always increase the transient going into the limiter and get more distinctive attack.

Anything you would do specifically for the drums?

What about the breakbeat section for "What's My Name?" I'm pretty happy with that section... had to crank up the attacks dramatically to adjust for the limiting. Maybe do the same for some of the other bits to get a bit of distortion at the attack?


*2 more tracks added*
Old 30th January 2013
  #9
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🎧 5 years
Definitely agree about the drums here. A lot of the kicks and snares/claps need to be brought up, and I think they could benefit from a little more high end. In terms of EQ, the clap in "A Little More Love" is pretty close to where it needs to be; try EQing your other snares/claps similarly.

As mentioned above, sidechaining the kick/bass would probably do a lot for these tracks.
Old 30th January 2013
  #10
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Sidechain not to pump the music, but to dip the bass down when kick hits so kick attack survives limiting. Gotcha.

I did a mix of each just going by intuition, then revisited them a/b with reference mixes. My original mixes all had quieter vocals and louder drums. From all the comments, seems like my intuition served me better.

Overall, though, first mixes were a bit dull and low mid/ bass heavy compared to the references, so I dialed down the low end, hpf a lot of things, added some air to both mix and vocals of each track...


All that bit seem ok?
Old 30th January 2013
  #11
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OK, will dig in and see what else can be done about "punch" for drums. Not sure besides turning them up, maybe accentuating attacks, or bringing up 100-300hz "chest thump" range.
Old 31st January 2013
  #12
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I think I figured out last night where the issue is... lookahead for the limiter across the music and drums. I like how it was smoothing everything out, and was personally ok with how it sort of rounds the drums a bit, but I think that's what's been bugging everyone... not that the drums were overly quiet or lacking in any particular frequency, but that they had their transients rounded.

So... Get Down and Have Mercy have now essentially had the drums turned up a bit (they may have also been a bit quiet), and the lookahead is much shorter, so crispier front end on the kicks and snares. I've also eased up on the lpf on the kick in Get Down in order to get more of the attack sound.




Do those two sound right now? Was that it?

Also... damn SC swishy distortion on triangle (and a bit on hats) in Get Down makes me want to re-record the parts to make sure song survives consumers doing low quality conversions, etc. Really not sure why that track suffers the compression so much worse than others... something about the high end.
Old 1st February 2013
  #13
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🎧 5 years
The kick sounds much punchier (from what I remember of the old mix at least)

Could use a teeny bit more snare in my opinion; the snare seems a little weak compared to the kick now.

I think the orchestral stabs (I guess that's what they are at least, sounds like a cello and some other stuff) are fighting with the vocal though. Would sound much better with them turned down, or at least with a little EQ scoop to give the vocal plenty of room.
Old 1st February 2013
  #14
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OK, well I got some mix philosophy back from a remix engineer buddy of mine yesterday that puts it in perspective and seems to jive with all of the above.

In many cases, it's my instrumentation that's inherently different from most dance/pop, so I have a tendency when mixing to accentuate the music. Unfortunately, what works in a dance/pop MIX is to have drums and vocals forward, and some sizzle on top.

So... will go back and revisit several places where music is stepping on vox in samples given.

In the meantime, I put a new track in my siggy. I revisited the mix this morning to enact the following: Drums up, music down, gate music to kick, and set phasers on "extra crispy."


According to all the feedback I'm getting, that one should now be just about right, no?



edit... forgot, doesn't copy my sig down here, so:

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