Which mix sounds better?

Discussion in 'Lounge' started by RMorgan, Mar 24, 2019.

  1. RMorgan

    RMorgan Rock Star

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    Hey guys,

    So, I have two mixes here.

    They were made using different DAWs. They sound very different from each other.

    What I'm trying to measure here is that different DAWs have different ergonomics, which consequently leads to follow a different mixing strategy which culminates in different results.

    In both mixes I've used a minimalist approach regarding plugins. I used mostly one channel strip (eq+comp) per track and some saturation here and there.

    There's a lot of panning automation going on.

    You'll notice that one mix is generally louder than the other. This is because one DAW led to a more compressed approach, while the other tends to induce more dynamics results, I think.

    Anyway, here they are:





    Which one do you think sounds better and why?

    This is a Led Zeppelin cover song, by the way. Down By The Seaside. Just voice and soprano ukulele. Nothing more.

    It's pretty fun to translate complex and rich arrangements like this to such a simple instrument. :)

    Thanks!

    R.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2019
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  3. Seedz

    Seedz Rock Star

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    Kinda horses for courses moosh, A sounds a little brighter because of less comp and B sounds a little rounder because of the comp, both sound good, but it really depends on what you're aiming at.........if I had to pick one it'd be B simply because the make up and the transient rounding has made it a little "richer" sounding which is offsetting the bleedin' harshness that my poxy laptop speakers are producing on the highs.

    I'm not really getting whatcha mean by the above moosh, but then I've never attempted this apporoach..........so why would one DAW push you one way or the other?
     
  4. RMorgan

    RMorgan Rock Star

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    First, thanks for the feedback, man. Appreciate it.

    One DAW is Studio One 4 using its native Console Shaping technology, Brainworx SSL 4000 E as channel strip and Black Rooster's Magnetite as tape on buses.

    The other is Harrison Mixbus 32C v5, using its default channel strips and tape.

    Both workflows are very different, which, in my opinion, lead to different decisions while mixing.

    For example, Mixbus is faster to mix because it's all right there in your face, while Studio One tends to lead to more tweaking because of opening/closing so many plugin windows so many times.

    Mixbus seems to favor the use of its inbuilt tools, again, because it's all there. Studio One tends to lead to experimenting with more plugins, which can lead to an over-processed mix.

    Now, as for each one sounds more "analogue", since both have their own inbuilt console emulating technology, that's up for you guys to decide.
     
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  5. Gramofon

    Gramofon Producer

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    A... Sounds a bit more natural to me (reverb/delay I'd tone down in both). Probably more era-appropriate, kinda more laid-back and roomy.
     
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  6. RMorgan

    RMorgan Rock Star

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    Thanks man.

    The apparent overuse of reverb/delay was indeed to try to match the mood of the original track, which has a lot of ambiance fx going on.
     
  7. Spyfxmk2

    Spyfxmk2 Audiosexual

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    nice ! :wink:,both mixes need strong de-essing imho :bow: & thanks for sharing :wink:
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
  8. KungPaoFist

    KungPaoFist Rock Star

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    "A" sounds the best to me. The instrument is more clear, dynamic, and musical and the vocal doesn't overpower and sounds more relaxed which fits the vibe of the song more. cool stuff!
     
  9. No Avenger

    No Avenger Audiosexual

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    I can totally understand that Mixbus and 'normal' DAW lead to two different results (I always wanted to try this too).

    In B the volcals benefit from sounding more upfront, but the overall sound is a bit too obstrusive [pushy?].
    So what I would do is reduce the vocal's compression a bit, the instrument's compression a bit more and you have your winner.

    BTW, I suppose A is made with Mixbus?
     
  10. ampworks

    ampworks Ultrasonic

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    A is nicer to me
     
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  11. RMorgan

    RMorgan Rock Star

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    Totally agree, and you're correct: A is Mixbus 32C, B is Studio One 4.

    Brainworx SSL 4000 E channel strip is absolutely great, but it's aggressive. The G model is even more. You have to be extremely careful not to over-compress and/or over-saturate.

    Mixbus' channel strip, on the other hand, is extremely open and forgiving. It visually encourages you not to overuse it, specially its compressors. The faux LED compression meters really help.

    Overall, the current version of Mixbus 32C is very stable and a totally capable piece of software. I think you can deliver perfectly good mixes using only its native tools. It's very pleasant to mix within its environment as well...And fast, specially.

    Studio One is generally a much more robust program. It's great for recording, editing and automating stuff...And mostly everything else.

    Generally, I think both sound great and I can't hear one sounding more "analog" than the other. I think it's perfectly possible to achieve fairly similar mixes on both, once you are aware of the biases induced by their workflow.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2019
  12. EddieXx

    EddieXx Rock Star

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    hmm..
    in general terms I like the A mix approach, B drifted away from the "minimalistic" area a bit to much in comparison.

    the vocals seemed fine in mix A, the ukelele though contained unpleasant frequencies. it wasn't properly/enough mixed and compressed, in my taste. those are the things im most "sure" of.



    ps: the extra fun part with these threads is of course listening but then to state a spontaneous opinion before reading the existing comments, and then start checking what others members said, one finds some surprises, some to agree and some to discover the whys in. :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2019
  13. RMorgan

    RMorgan Rock Star

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    Hey guys,

    This is fun, so here are two more mixes. Same principle, different song (Don't Let It Bring You Down, by Neil Young).





    Which one do you like the most and why?
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2019
  14. mozee

    mozee Audiosexual

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    On your second set Mix D is a bit more open, Mix C is a bit more wooly. Seems like the DAWs are in reverse order now. Though they are both a bit more mid stacked and wooly than the first set of tracks. The bottom also seems to have been filtered out of the vocal which is a personal choice I guess... it leaves the ukelele all the space it needs between 270 and 500 but then doesn't really have the range to fill the voids below that which contributes even more to the mid-forward sound of the recordings.



    Also it's not just how much compression you are putting on it's how deep this this compression is reaching, in some places there is almost four times the volume drop on the Mixbus track versus the ones done on SO, so it's not just total compression but a much lower threshold and as well as a much higher ratio. THB you get them to sound very similar with just EQ.

    Also, when presenting A/B with a soundcloud link - remember that is you have a frequency build up and peaks near 14K that filter is just going to make them more obvious this contributing to the /over-bright/essy/cutting character people have described on the on the Mixbus tracks.

    Also the reverb and delay sound different from DAW to DAW this could be down to choices in EQ or settings if it is the same processor used in both attempts or just the Harrison reverb being brighter and more airy... who knows but it is a significant color in the sound.

    I don't know if that made any sense, if it didn't sorry.

    cheers man.
     
  15. EddieXx

    EddieXx Rock Star

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    I think I will have to sit in the studio to listen to this, because right now with some simple earpieces these new mixes sound very thin and harsh
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2019
  16. Evo

    Evo Kapellmeister

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    Trust your ears. Mix D is comp and more bright and wide. Maybe too much wide for compensate the lack of drums i guess. In mix C i ear more reverb in the guitar, is not a good way in mixing becouse the vocal is hidden behind the guitar, the reverb take all the space was a good way if there was a bass and some percussions to make more stereo field using haas and avoiding reverb on guitar. But you know, is my opinion.
     
  17. RMorgan

    RMorgan Rock Star

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    It's a soprano ukulele EVO, not a guitar (If it was a guitar, it would indeed be a pretty weird sounding one lol).

    Anyway, it's a pretty tiny sounding instrument, so it's indeed a bit challenging to make it sound right in this voice+uke scenario...It doesn't have any bass at all, and it's got some piano like harmonics that are hard to tame.

    Reverb is a good way to make it sound bigger and wider, but you may be right: Too much reverb can be a problem, and sometimes it's pretty hard to know when it's too much, specially when using it creatively.
     
  18. Evo

    Evo Kapellmeister

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    Ukelele is a member of the guitar family :) but yeah plucked strings like lute indeed (i have one)
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2019
  19. Gramofon

    Gramofon Producer

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    C made more of an impression at first, because it's more upfront, but then D grew on me after the first minute or so. The reverb creates more excitement and movement, but again I feel it's a bit much. It fits the track's style a bit more though. The volume also jumps a bit at some points. I'd probably opt for an E that would be something between the two.
     
  20. CosmicStorm

    CosmicStorm Member

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    Man, I love this song and your cover sounds great. I'd stick with B, A sounds a little bit too bright. But great job, my guy
     
  21. RMorgan

    RMorgan Rock Star

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    Yep. Totally agree.

    This experiment has been very useful to find out how Studio One, at least in my case, tends to lead to an overmixed approach. Knowing that, now I can police myself not to overdo stuff while using it.

    I guess I'll stick to Studio One because it's a way more mature software than Mixbus 32C, but it's been pretty eye opening to see how my mixes can significantly change by simply swapping DAWs.
    Thanks so much man! What's no to love about the whole album? It's not just an album, it's a pure artistic sonic sweetness experience...What a band...

    I'm working on a Rain Song version, by the way, just for fun. Just uke and voice. :)

    Maybe I'll drop an uke centered cover album one of these days. It's a pretty sweet instrument which's been growing in popularity, but there's very few uke specific material out there.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
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