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Author Topic: Mixoff Contest with Mike Senior - Win Mike's New Book!  (Read 202309 times)

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March 29, 2011, 01:26:44 AM
Wait, shouldn't the WORST mix win the book?  Kinda makes sense lol...  ;D

~Rob.

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March 29, 2011, 02:11:00 AM
Wait, shouldn't the WORST mix win the book?  Kinda makes sense lol...  ;D

~Rob.

 Complete sense. I was thinking the same thing. Then I thought maybe both the best AND the worst should get it....the best because they worked hard and deserve a "cookie" for their efforts and skill, the worst, well, because they need some help and know that we still love them lol.

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March 29, 2011, 03:41:10 AM
Great song and great band. Anyone know what was used to track the bass?

Anyway, here's mine.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/22087900/Griffomix1.mp3
« Last Edit: March 29, 2011, 03:49:34 AM by Loon »

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March 29, 2011, 04:00:21 AM
Great song and great band. Anyone know what was used to track the bass?

Thanks Loon! Heres the bass gear used, also included guitar as well for anyone interested:

Bass - Custom Lowend Jazz Hollowbody Bass plugged into an Orange Tiny Terror 500 head and a Glockenklang Double 12 cab. Effects used: Dave Hall VT1 EQ Bass Preamp and a Dave Hall VT1 Mk3 Bass Overdrive.

Guitar - Maton MS2000 Deluxe plugged into an Orange RV50 and an Orange PPC212 cab. Effects used: Eventide Timefactor, Xotic RC Booster, Barber Trifecta Fuzz. The fuzz was only used in the outro (w/ clean channel), rest of the song used the Dirty channel. The bridge was over dubbed with a Vox AC15.

I assumed you meant the bass gear and now thinking you might have meant mics. If thats the case, let me know and I will try to remember  ;)

As a side note, we are all really enjoying listening to all the mixes and reading Mike's in depth critiques. There is a lot of great hard work in these mixes and some very creative ideas as well. Keep 'em coming!

Cheers,
Paul
Young Griffo

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March 29, 2011, 04:16:57 AM
Would you know specifically what bass was used? Including pickups? I personally thought even the DI tone was great.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2011, 04:21:27 AM by Loon »

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March 29, 2011, 04:21:41 AM
Thought I'd contribute a mix, though I have the book already!

I haven't listened to any other mixes yet (though I've read some of the posts!)

Glad to see so much excitement about the contest!

http://suitcaserecordings.com/ContestMixJohnSuitcase.mp3

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March 29, 2011, 06:18:41 AM
Would you know specifically what bass was used? Including pickups? I personally thought even the DI tone was great.

Here is a link to specs, images and review by our own, Mat Gilroy.
http://www.thelowend.net/gallery/viewtopic.php?t=4191

The pick ups are single coils made by Lowend

Cheers,
Paul
Young Griffo

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March 29, 2011, 08:47:24 AM
I was just adding some comments to a new monthly blog I'm doing in conjunction with Sound On Sound, and it occurred to me that it might be of interest to people reading this thread. The blog's called 'The Mix Review', and you can find it on-line in a dedicated SOS Sub-forum. It involves me doing similar mix/production critiques as I'm doing on this thread, but based on commercial chart releases. (It's also appearing as a monthly column in the print magazine, but there's more info and discussion via the forum of course.)



Mixing Secrets For The Small Studio
A complete mixing method based around the techniques of the world's most famous producers.
Free Mixing Resources On-line!

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March 29, 2011, 09:59:25 AM
http://soundcloud.com/vvv-4/blood-to-the-bone-vvv-mix

Again, apologies for the delay.  ::)

There's something very odd about the timing at the outset of this mix -- the guitar line sounds like it's slipped out of line. If this was intentional, then I'd be interested in knowing the thinking behind it. It does make it a bit trippier, I suppose, but it doesn't really work for me as it stands. Your dramatic reinvention of the bass sound makes for a nice swirly atmosphere in the verses, and also makes the contrast with the aggression of the chorus great. The downside, of course, is that it does also inevitably lose most of the rhythmic momentum of the verse part, and there are also phase mismatch issues at the low end on account of the deep stereo chorusing.

Before being able to judge anything else in the mix, I first had to adjust for the overall mix tonality, which is unfortunately very boxy, with a low-midrange emphasis and recessed frequency extremes -- a long way away from the references. Turning the playback volume up makes much more sense of the balance, though, which makes me think that you're monitoring too loud. Once I'd adjusted this frequency imbalance with some broad-brush master EQ, the mix was a lot easier to deal with.

The kick sound and general drum tone suits the verses pretty well, especially given the softer bass timbre. However, when the chorus hits, the overall drum sound feels very muffled. Although you do have to compromise some drum brilliance if you want to deliver clear-sounding guitars without harshness in a mix like this, it's gone a bit too far here, I think, and you could afford to be more sparing with your high cuts. The dull-sounding kick tone of the verse also gets mostly lost on smaller speakers during the choruses. Despite these things, I think there's actually a really good drum sound waiting to get out here, because if I mentally try to compensate for the drums' spectral tilt, the balance seems very respectable, and the snare's got exactly the kind of density, weight, and width that I'd hope for in this arrangement. The toms feel like they're maybe a bit too wide and not well enough blended, and the cymbals may be over-present in the outro particularly, but those are pretty small niggles, to be honest. (Did you trigger a snare sample in there, by the way?)

The overall balance is also pretty well-judged once the mix tonality is taken out of the equation. I think you could balance the main guitar during the verses a little lower compared with the vocal, because it feels like it's stealing a shade too much of the limelight. I like the sound of the guitar, though, because it's a nice contrast to the bass and drums, ringing out nice and clearly. The overall stereo width of the mix is also rather well-judged, although it's difficult to ascertain how the mono-compatibility holds up given the mix tonality issues.

You've introduced some interesting production touches here as well, although I think they could probably still do with some polishing as far as execution is concerned. I liked the delay overlap into the second chorus, for instance, especially because the chorus vocal melody doesn't start until the middle of the first bar of the chorus. However, the delay's timing feels a bit out of sync with the chorus, subjectively speaking, and that bugs me a bit. The alternating panning was also cool in the first mid-section, but the editing needs to be cleaner for this to really work properly, I think -- especially bar six, which rather stumbles over itself as a result. The reverb features on the drums in the second verse are also nice, but I reckon there's a danger of dating the whole production unless you differentiate these a bit more from the overall drum/production sound. Finally, is the lump in the final cymbal tail meant to be a production feature, or is it a dodgy edit?

On the whole I think you've explored lots of interesting new angles here, and you've clearly got a good ear for balance and blend already, so just paying a little more attention to your monitoring/referencing technique should hopefully improve things no end.
Mixing Secrets For The Small Studio
A complete mixing method based around the techniques of the world's most famous producers.
Free Mixing Resources On-line!

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March 29, 2011, 11:01:03 AM
http://soundcloud.com/red-room-recordings/young-griffo-blood-to-bone-mix

The first problem with this mix hits me straight away: the stereo image is very wide indeed. While there's an understandable tendency to think that 'more is more' in this respect when working on stereo systems, you put yourself at the mercy of serious balance side-effects on mono systems. Your bass guitar in this case suffers tremendously in mono, for example. It's not that surprising that you say you're working on headphones, as cans won't provide nearly the same giveaway 'beyond the speakers' stereo-imaging clue about potential mono-incompatibility, plus you're already used to hearing much wider images on headphones simply by nature of the lack of L/R crossfeed between your ears. My advice would be to get yourself a good stereo vectorscope plug-in to give yourself a bit more visual information to go on while mixing -- there are some suggestions under the 'Affordable Middle & Sides (M&S) Plug-ins' heading here, as well as lots of other examples/resources on that page relating to stereo-enhancement tricks.

Having reduced the stereo Sides signal by 6dB for auditioning purposes, I was able to concentrate more on other aspects of the mix. The top of my list of tweaks would be to bring the bass and drums up in the balance, because they're currently not very representative of the reference tracks. In my experience listening volume is much more critical when trying to mix on headphones, and you can often end up with low drum levels just like this if the listening volume is turned up too high -- it's natural to avoid sharp transients when the headphone drivers are only a fraction of an inch from your ears. You might expect bass to be overcooked and/or uncontrolled on headphones normally, but in my experience it's usually the other way around, for any number of potential reasons: mass-market headphones often incorporate an enormous bass boost to give them a flattering sound, and often distort the LF too; overloud monitoring is especially easy on headphones, leading to a natural low-end tip-up in your hearing system; and the anticipation of bass lightness by headphone users often leads them to over-egg the low end in an attempt to compensate. Your best tool here (other than a set of decent full-range monitors ;)) is a decent spectrum analyser. Again, you can find some affordable suggestions here. Having said that, there are other balance issues too (the lead vocals are ducking and diving into the balance, and the backing vocals are all but buried in the choruses), so I'd very much recommend you start checking your mixes in single-point mono as a matter of course to evaluate this aspect of the production more easily. You can find some little speakers I personally recommend for this here.

Despite the moderate use of different reverb/delay effects in your mix, the blend could be improved further, I think. It sounds to me like you're currently running different reverb effects for every part, which won't help. Try setting up a couple of global effects and then use your mixer's send controls to share them between a number of different tracks. That should help pull things together a bit more without washing everything out. (Having said that, the drums seem to blend with themselves pretty well already, albeit at the expense of a sound which feels a bit wet/distant most of the time.) The vocal ambience patch you've applied in the verses feels too prominent, and too audible as an artificial effect. This makes me think that you're trying to use it to achieve an enhancement which it's not good at providing. I'm guessing that you need to add some longer reverb/delay to give a sense of size and/or sustain, and then pull back the ambience into a more subtle blending role -- this might require EQ in addition to fader adjustment on the reverb's return channel.

All in all I think your choice of monitoring is currently holding you back in your quest for the perfect mix. While it's actually possible to create effective mixes when working primarily on headphones, you do need to be familiar with all the various workarounds to avoid various inherent stereo, EQ, and balance traps. As far as the low end is concerned, you might want to have a look at Chapter 3 of my book (which is one of the two free sample chapters I've put on my site), as that goes into a lot more detail about this than I have space to do here.

Hope this helps!
Mixing Secrets For The Small Studio
A complete mixing method based around the techniques of the world's most famous producers.
Free Mixing Resources On-line!