Feedback on a mix.

Discussion in 'Our Music' started by MrLyannMusic, Aug 1, 2021.

  1. MrLyannMusic

    MrLyannMusic Rock Star

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    Hey guys, it's been a while since i asked for your wisdom!

    Today i'm posting this seeking your feedback and honest thoughts! this is not my main genra, so bare with me... @GreyMakesMusic you on the other hand are allowed to go all out and destroy my soul. :bleh:


    I have changed my techniques and approaches to adapt it to this song, my main aim was something vintage and warm, and more importantly transparent, but i might have failed on the last one, as i usually go all in with compression and parallel compression and i had to restrain myself from doing so but my side that wishes to destroy a snare with compression has won the battle :mad:

    without any further due,






    In case you're interested in the stems :

    Stems or for more info Lewitt mixing contests
     
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  3. No Avenger

    No Avenger Moderator Staff Member

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    Since we all know that Pro Fools just doesn't sound warm, it's not your fault. :rofl:

    Additionally, I know that these Lewitt contests mostly have pretty bad recordings in terms of bleed (all over the place on every single mic/track).

    Well done. :like:

    EDIT: 32 AUX??? Really? That's more than I'm using in 5 songs. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2021
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  4. Amore_de_la_Vida

    Amore_de_la_Vida Producer

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    Nice song...

    Trebles seems far too exaggerated to me, I understand the need to someway flatter the ears with harmonics (remember Aphex Aural Exciter? :bleh: ), but voice and drums (everything cymbals) in this mix are very close to being aggressive...

    There is a way to have a lot of harmonics without make them sound too harsh: using a valve EQ, which will add second order harmonics (who are pleasing to the ears) who are the opposite in term of effect to third order harmonics, who are generally considered as "harsh".

    You can also introduce subtle doses of tape saturation, or use valve compressors or valve preamps / consoles emulator, etc. but whatever you do it have to be subtle and delicate.

    So to sum up: everything sounds good except drums and voice...

    EDIT: As usual, only use individual tracks insert plugins (with different settings, depending of the instrument), don't change anything on your master or auxiliary / group channels!

    (And I dare to suggest that you completely bypass your Master EQ, to set you free from any constrain / phase problem. Only use individual track settings and FX, this is my motto).

    Oh, last minute: I suggest you to make the bass sounds more "round", more warm, more authentic, for example by using a bass amp sim' (ex.: Mark Studio, you can also search in Amplitube presets with the term "bass", (some of them are actually very good!), or use IR cabinets...

    This electric bass deserves more love and more attention, because someway it is the motor of this (very) classic pop song.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2021
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  5. MrLyannMusic

    MrLyannMusic Rock Star

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    I tried at least didn't i ? :rofl:

    Indeed, Working with the drums was a bit hard it was more fix than mix actually, i tried to get the most out of it, i'm impressed with the piano Mics and the vocals mic, very good, a lot of characters and with a little bit of processing you can get them to a very very professional level, impressed, and i see myself actually using these in the future... (a very good promoting strategy on their part if you think about it actually).

    :mates::mates:

    The song needed a lot of atmosphere/character to get it the point i felt is natural for this type of song, i hope you liked what i was able to achieve with the vocals, i used the latest SSL plugin released by R²T, but let me tell you one thing, Kush plugins rules!

    i'm afraid you got it the other way around friend, the drums recording were harsh by nature, i had to dimm and tame the highs to get it to an acceptable level, and it took a lot to avoid any harshness which was a challenge actually...

    might i invite you do download the stems and take a listen?

    already did that friend :wink:

    I agree with you when it comes to drums, but vocals are by no mean harsh, what are you monitoring with?

    i'd love it if you explained this more :yes:

    Already did that, but let me remind you that this is not a render, it is recorded from the daw itself in real time, there might be some quality loss...

    On the subject of bass, i already used an amp to beef it up, the way i usually work is that i safely mix the bass in and leave any extra sauce or processing to the mastering phase, for extra control over the results :winker:
     
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  6. Amore_de_la_Vida

    Amore_de_la_Vida Producer

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    I generally use very few to zero plugins on the master / group tracks, because it tends to "amalgamate" sounds a bit too much to my ears, it could even add inter-modulation on very "loaded" songs (with a lot of different instruments / samples playing together, for ex. orchestral, cinematic music...).

    *I talk about inter-modulation when separate tracks have the neat tendency to "bleed" onto each other, to modulate each other. It happens sometimes, depending on the plugins you use to "glue" your tracks together.

    In other terms: I don't like "glued" tracks. I appreciate better when there is AiR (lol) between tracks...

    My monitoring: Sennheiser HD800

    EDIT: Downloaded the stems, will try to remix this in my taste, dunno if you will appreciate the result though... Give me one day or two (or less, depends of a lot of things).
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2021
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  7. Amore_de_la_Vida

    Amore_de_la_Vida Producer

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    Here is my attempt at mixing with Nuendo!

    https://we.tl/t-NKKYpf8J5h

    For the bass, I used Ampeg SVT suite, preset "Daisley Pick Tribute" followed by Fabfilter C2 and L2.
    I hope you'll find the warm presence and preserved attacks pleasing... or not? :dunno:

    For the voice, because it's a retro song, I had to use retro reverb. So I chosen Eventide Spring Reverb, followed by a Lexicon Plate, which is only there to bring "deepness" (I can't find other term). But before that, I used Antares Mic Model, just to bring nice lamp saturation and warmness. Finally, you have Kush Novatron, this is really a savior in this case, I was not satisfied at all by the overall sound of the voice, certainly because of the mike chosen.

    And I finally found the main culprit, the why I said to you it sounds "harsh" earlier: the HiHat, which is really, really... How can I say it without disrespect? The reason is the dynamic mike used: a simili-Shure SM53 which sounds like a pisssed off grandma!
    IMAHO, I'd use a large condenser mic to fully capture the harmonics...

    Anyway, I managed someway to correct the harshness, using unorthodox EQ settings, a de-esser (AVOX Sybil) and a very special comp (DrumForge DrumFlex). At the end of the chain, I put BlueCat's Dynamics 4 to achieve my crime... :bleh:

    The rest is straight-forward and is nothing but ordinary. It's obviously not masterised, it's directly exported from the master channel, so perhaps you'll find the result underachieved, a little rough on the edges, a little amateur, but hey, it's exactly what I am...

    EDIT: I didn't have time to remove noises (and obviously, there is!) and / or other discrete parasites or useless sounds, I didn't even put noise gates or other NR, sorry...

    With a little bit of reflection, after re-listening I found that I exaggerated Bass a little bit far too much... Amateur I am, amateur I will die...

    Here's a sneak peek of my Nuendo session, with the settings and plugs used for the HiHat:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2021
  8. MrLyannMusic

    MrLyannMusic Rock Star

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    I gave this a listen, quite a few actually, but i'm gonna be honest so i hope you don't take this the wrong way, and i hope you won't react same as @GreyMakesMusic did :rofl:

    first of all results are typical of mixing on headphones, so i'll take that in mind and try to be a little less severe...

    - It sounds a little bit dark mono-ish
    - Elements feels that they're just put on top of each other
    - Mids aren't cleaned enough
    - Vocals are a bit buried in the background at least for my liking
    - It feels more of a 15 minutes draft mix than a mix...
    - Lacks atmosphere that i think this kind of songs impose upon the mix engineer...
    - You kind of stole my panning :bleh::rofl:

    Now to all seriousness, mixing on headphones, is very hard and very tricky, it does not translate how we actually hear things therefore our decisions are being deceived by an unreliable monitoring system. It is always suggested to actually mix monitors, then see how it translates to your headphones in order to build what i would call your in-brain sonarworks profile...

    Bass is a bit louder(i think) than my version, but it feels 2d, but my question is why would you use a limiter on the bass with this kind of songs?..

    Let's agree to disagree on this one, i actually really like the mic used on the vocals, i think they are good, with enough balance between overall quality harmonics and body....

    if you wish pm and i'll send you my chain so you can compare it to yours?...

    I think on this matter your knowledge supersedes mine, as i don't have enough experience working with drum recording, vocals on the other hand are another story...

    we're here to learn friend nothing wrong about that :mates:

    I didn't bother cleaning vocals, i felt it adds to the authenticity in this case, i just deleted a little part at the start because it sounded like a weird gate tryna catch some breaths and horribly fails...:rofl:

    We're here to learn, nothing wrong about being an amateur, but if you die as one, then that's a problem :bleh:

    Looks nicely colourful :bow:

    on a final note i would recommend you make the transition to mixing on monitors, it is indeed a day and night differences, :wink:
     
  9. Amore_de_la_Vida

    Amore_de_la_Vida Producer

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    Thank you to have wasted your time listening to my trial! :mates:

    I know my sound could be far better if I had actual monitors, but this is actually a problem, I live in a very old (collective) building, my flat is not isolated at all from the rest of the world, so In this particular situation I cannot make any noise, I have to do everything on headphone, no other choice.

    For the vocal track, If I had enough time I'd make a volume (VCA) automation, so that the voice adapt more to the rest of the instruments, you're right it have to be always above everything else, but in this case the volume I chosen is a sort of compromise.

    For the bass (that is definitely too prominent!) I wanted to put a limiter at the end so it is always at the same perceived level from the beginning to the end, but you're right, it's not a smart decision because the compressor is already taming the dynamics a LOT.
    So, from a volume point of view, this bass is in fact very flat, far too flat for this style of music.

    For the HH, I have the chance as a live guitarist to have worked with a bunch of actual human drummers, so I could say I know how it sounds irl, and I found that this choice of mike and its orientation is not servicing the instrument.

    I have not worked at all on the mediums, I should have put much more attention and efforts on this frequency range, because live instruments are very rich on this zone... Next time!

    Thanks a LOT for your review! :wink: I'll try to be better next time (if there is a next time), for now I will try to apply your wise advice on my own compositions, in the hope to sound less amateur and more...hem... artist? :winker:
     
  10. JMOUTTON

    JMOUTTON Rock Star

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    Both are interesting and both are a bit of their own things.

    I listened to the raw stems to hear what you guys were working with before I opened my big mouth.

    The originals are actually pretty clean but there is a lot performance movement and those microphones seem to have some capture dynamic range quite well. I don't think the drums are recorded poorly and I am going to assume the all the AIR tags mean that those mics have extended higher frequency range capture. Overall I think that it's a very detailed recording that should work for whoever and that the end product isn't going to suffer from the quality or the material. The performer seems like she moves a lot and the vocal track is very open so gain automation or layering on the vocal is must as loud parts are kind of buried as she moves away for her own internal mind's effect and the comes in close for the quiet parts and get all clicky and popping.

    Allan's version is more subtle and benefits from what looks like some serious time spent thinking about busing for saturation and space. For the most part it works. There are though a lot of sibilant vocal artifacts and it has that Lyann squeeze on everything. It could have done with some gating/expansion and some cuts or gain automation to smooth things out. The bass is fine for me, the drums are a little buried and meh, especially the plates and high hats are just too fuzzy and yucky to me anyways, it might be YT. The voice overall is just too upfront but that is just more Lyann style and it definitely has that Lyann squeeze on it with more saturation than what I would choose but that's also kind of his thing. This might all be the case in the pursuit of loudness as always everyone makes their own choices on where to compromise and that this is within the stylistic range of what Allan usually puts out, not too many risks taken.

    Love of the Life's revision is a bit bassy, really bassy but the drums breather more and the vocal actually sits in there quite nicely for the most part and could have use some layering or automation to bring up those quiet parts. I think it's in a good groove but the bass does muddy up the mids a bit too much. Like Allan said it is probably a consequence of headphones, or it could just be Amore's style, but it's a pit much for my taste. The drums meta bits though do sound quite nice and clear and have that beautiful transient plink and smooth wash decay that makes bells and plates so sonically interesting. All the rest is personal taste.

    Either way well done to both of you nice to see you two guys talking it out in detail and being civil about it.
     
  11. GreyMakesMusic

    GreyMakesMusic Member

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    I don't make a habit of destroying soul, well...maybe the odd one or two who really really deserve it ‍♂️...but not yours
     
  12. Amore_de_la_Vida

    Amore_de_la_Vida Producer

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    New trial, I hope it's a little better? :winker:

    https://we.tl/t-tYStifjZwN

    - More stereo space, especially on the piano
    - More mediums
    - Bass: removed everything but the Ampeg bass amp sim', to fully respect the musician's nuances => no more boring flatness
    - Tried to tame harmonics on the snare => less aggressive, more warm, more 60's
    - More voice!

    Master dithered With A.O.M Sakura dither, converted from 32-bit floating (the internal resolution of my session) to 44.1khz/16 bit.
    Internal loudness reference: -23 Lufs

    Speaking of loudness, I've red somewhere that for pop-rock-edm songs destined mainly to radio stations, we can push the loudness to -14 Lufs, is it true? (Seems that -23 is more for film soundtracks / orchestral / classical music)
     
  13. Donut Nyamer

    Donut Nyamer Audiosexual

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    Voice is great but I feel like the pianos could be fuller and I agree with a previous point that the highs have too much air. Some is great so I would still leave it just less of it.

    The high hats and snare for example are just too saturated. The snare could be fuller with more low end too. Those vocals are perfect though so the music should support the intense vocals for a track like this imo. It's overall very good though, great job on it.
     
  14. Amore_de_la_Vida

    Amore_de_la_Vida Producer

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    Thank you @Donut Nyamer, for your advice on @MrLyannMusic's mix!

    At first I thought almost the same as you, it's why I tried to propose an (amateur's) alternative, but my first attempt was really not great.

    If ever you have 3 minutes to waste, could you try to listen also to my last mix just above you? I'm not as experienced as MrLyann but I try to improve my skills listening to the advices (including those of @JMOUTTON above, very interesting).

    (Note: It's very possible now that I pushed the voice's volume a little too high... or not, you decide!)
     
  15. Donut Nyamer

    Donut Nyamer Audiosexual

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    Listening now and right away I though that snare might have just been too dry so a bit of reverb could go a long way but I can hear the drums much better now and the piano feels to be more in my face but supportive enough behind the vocals in parts. Actually the snare could have been mixed exactly as before just with a bit of reverb.

    The piano interacts better or at least I noticed those higher keys more.

    The vocals are a tad bit too dark now though compared to previously. Maybe a bit more air overall actually.

    Should have mentioned how much I like the saturation on the vocals on both versions. Sounds so god damn good.

    Just that maybe this track could sound fuller with more reverb because the pianos, vocals and guitars are all going that way now.
    Love the live bass too.

    It just felt like either the vocals are leading too much or the track wasn't up front enough is all before like if you could just tilt it so they are closer together is what I probably meant to say. Either way both versions are great.
     
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  16. Amore_de_la_Vida

    Amore_de_la_Vida Producer

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    Thanks a lot, @Donut Nyamer! Very nice of you to spend time on both mixes and to share your impressions, I dully noted all your remarks for my next steps, unfortunately I have other mixes and compositions to finish, so starting now I will have less time for experimenting / learning...

    More air on the vocals, and a little less volume? I agree completely!

    I noted too that you think the song could benefit of a little more reverb, here I hesitated because I didn't wanna introduce confusion, it's the problem I faced: most of the reverbs are pleasing to the ears but have the tendency to "blur" the message, it's why I use mainly individual reverbs, instead of global ones (those that you put on the master track).

    Difficult to find the just middle here, I suppose it's why Lewitt always propose to mix live instruments: in fact it's very hard to find the just balance, so overall it's a very good challenge for (aspiring) mixers! :wink:
     
  17. Donut Nyamer

    Donut Nyamer Audiosexual

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    You're welcome, they are only suggestions and the tracks is good already so it's up to you if you even want to go through with any further edits. You don't know how many tracks I messed up by doing too much to the track. I notice pro's won't even touch something unless they feel it needs it.

    Not that it's my place to give this advice but when I have a track with what I think is a lot of potential, I actually make 2 or 3 versions that are vastly different with the same vocals just to see which instrumental suits it best. Good luck to the both of you on your track!
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2021
  18. JMOUTTON

    JMOUTTON Rock Star

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    I agree with Nyamer for the most part but you've crossed from retro to country very quickly. You have to decide where you want to be, though you could turn the vocal down a bit.

    One thing though, I can hear your compressor working when it grabs you vocal track especially on onset from quiet. It is killing off that first phrase and the initial transient at the start of phrases. I am not sure how much automation you did but it has fixed some of the issues associated with performance but you've also added a heavy does of compression that wasn't really necessary along with a considerable boost in the mid range you are now in a completely other space.

    Also remember that bass isn't a DI so you are re-amping an amp, it's still a bit much but it's somewhat of more modern sound. You might want to try a transient sharper if you are going to have everything that up-front the decays are all mushing into each other.

    Also I agree with Donut's assessment about the having too much saturation on the plates, it looses a bit sparkle and turns into mush just like if you stood too close to the drummer on stage and your ears are overwhelmed by the SPL it's not as pleasant. I think his solution to add reverb is the correct one but gate that reverb a bit so you don't get all washed out by reflections.

    Anyways, you have some decisions to make on your next attempt

    -14LU to -12LU with TP @ -1DBFS is a loose target as streaming services were normalizing, however you do what sounds good to you. If you leave a lot of room in a song like this I don't think you have to force loudness onto it for the sake of loudness, it's not that kind of song, and that's a whole different can of worms.

    If you are working on your mixes I would stick with -27LU to -21LU with peaks between -6dBFS & -3dBFS since LU is a linear scale raising your peaks from -3 to 0 will get you to -18 some compression and limiting for 3dB will get you to -14 comfortably without altering your sound too much. Remember that precised balance does change with SPL and saturation.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2021
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  19. Amore_de_la_Vida

    Amore_de_la_Vida Producer

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    You're right, I'm not completely at ease with compressors in general, and tend to use mainly presets, I think I have missed the point of this mix which is to find an equilibrium, a balance that is not ruining the human's dynamic live performance, nor the "retro pop" aspect of the song.

    So I retain:

    - Remove the (beloved) Ampeg amp sim' (though this one is very pleasing to my ears, very realistic, so I think I will use it anyway in my own creations) and try to use a transcient shaper instead, to respect the original sound of the musician...

    ...Or perhaps it could be best to let this track "as it is"? There is a real risk here to "sur-intervene", to do too much, as the original material is already great, it's a real musician doing a lot of nuances, accenting some notes and diminishing others, following the drummer in an always dynamic way...

    - Voice is not clear enough, still too dark and doesn't sound "natural" (as it was my first intention): I have to tame the reverbs and find a way to let all the natural harmonics pass without render the sound too aggressive, which is a real challenge. Though I don't forget the "retro" aspect of this song (hence the use of a spring reverb + plate), I think there is a compromise to find here... perhaps by removing the spring and set more precisely the length of the plate?

    - The compression on the voice is... "not OK" :winker:, it's ruining the intro and the artistic performance, so there is work to do on this domain...

    - Using a gate on the drum's reverb to diminish mudiness, and find a way to make the drum less... "close to the ears", "in your face", more "integrated" perhaps...?

    Thank you @JMOUTTON, and thank you guys for your precious counsels and tips, nice conversation! :wink::wink::wink:
     
  20. MrLyannMusic

    MrLyannMusic Rock Star

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    In this exemple the way i put this up, is the following, instead of automating the out vocal gain (after compression and all) i controlled, how mush vocal gain is hitting the compressor, it is a bit tricky but if it is set right the benefits are beyond extraordinary, with a healthy compression of 7/10 dB of gain reduction you have enough room to play with input gain, this way, when there's quite parts, the vocals aren't hitting mush as hard and the results are bit smoother, but as soon as everything hits and vocals gets loud, things change and compressor (and the chain after the compressor, as this is very important to get that old console distorted/saturated vocals, the whole chain was me emulating those old consoles flavor especially when she screams) starts reacting differently...

    one last thing, you mix enough materials you start doing steps that aren't necessary for the mix, but it is very necessary for it to translate well into other systems, from phones to headphones even earphones, vocal being the most relatable "instrument of all" i take extra care into making it or making sure it gets heard very well...

    if you take the time and listen to this on any system you have, even thought it is still not properly mastered, the mix WILL translate, and i'm willing to put my arse on the line for this :metal:

    That for sure better, less clashing a bit more friendly just because you gave it another shot, i'll share my Piano or at least my favorite Piano compressor that will work 90% of time, Comp TUBE-STA, this compressor can hold so many compression :rofl:use it on the piano to get a more upfront pianos because in your second try it feels a bit in the back.

    Pretty sure from what you stated earlier that you work with buses, i suggest you try using stereo image enhancer, on a per bus basis, giving each elements their own space and helps with frequency masking, with a bit of mids control i think you will have a Very solid mix :winker:

    There was no need to render to 16bit or dither for that matter.

    Let loudness be whatever you can achieve, i usually target -6dB LUFS, i can hit -5 but not with this genra not in this case, i suggest you at least try to hit -14~12dB for best results... in the version i shared i was able to hit -9 without even trying, but i haven't even mastered yet.

    Noted for future reference friend.

    Agree with you on snare, but hihats are just what they are, i might go in there and tame it further, and i appreciate your comment :mates:



    one last thing, love the way this post has blossomed into fellas:cheers:
     
  21. anonymouse

    anonymouse Kapellmeister

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    For me, it's the compression everywhere that puts me off. Makes the whole sound squashed, flat and obviously processed. But, what do I know *flies off* :)
     
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