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Author Topic: Mixoff Contest with Mike Senior - Win Mike's New Book!  (Read 351537 times)

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March 29, 2011, 11:30:25 AM
Thank you!

And yep, bedroom monitoring with no attempt at mastering, minimal referencing, no samples (you might be hearing the plate reverb effect), lead pans done onna sub-mix, and a "dodgy edit".  :D
« Last Edit: March 29, 2011, 11:37:55 AM by vvv »

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March 29, 2011, 11:48:57 AM
Mine was done on akg 44 phones, they are tracking cans... All I could afford... Never really heard a set of real monitors haha... I hate listening to my speakers( some aiwa hifi things), stuff has no low end, can't hear anything clear..

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March 29, 2011, 01:24:01 PM
An unusual choice of delay spin on the verse vocal, simply because its un-sync'ed nature risks undermining the rhythm. But on balance I think that you've pulled it off -- always good to hear someone living a bit dangerously and getting away with it!

My idea behind it was to go for a dissident feel for the lyric content; kind of like the music in a horror movie when they want you to realize something is all of the sudden very wrong.

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March 29, 2011, 01:41:17 PM
Thanks for the feedback Mike, I hope you'll consider the post a way's back about giving a copy to the worst mix, sounds like I'd be in the running  ;D

Was expecting it to be a bit harsh as I've only been doing this for a few months so no hard feelings on my end. I've always found taking my licks to be a great driver for self improvement ;)

(Edit: Just to clarify, I didn't find this review to be as harsh as I'd been bracing for - I appreciate the tone of your review, which I found to be scholarly and constructive)

I've always thought a wide stereo-image was a good thing, but I see your point. Also, the low end sounds good (to me) in the cans, I thought it was borderline too loud in spots and had automated the bass down in a couple places - I guess these headphones have the bass enhancements you were talking about.

Reverb wise, I do my best not to use much as I know its a common pitfall - I had different pre-delays on each reverb (and one reverb on each of my group channels) in an attempt to create some depth (singer up front, drums behind etc) as has been discussed in another subforum on here recently. Maybe I'll try using track level delay, and send everything to the same reverb and see how that works.

Definitely a learning experience - I might have another go at it if I can find some time before the deadline and see if I can fix things up a bit. Will try monitoring on the computer speakers perhaps until I get the cash together for real monitors - I'm thinking of getting a pair of these to start:

Note: I wasn't sure about the harmony effect either, was mostly just experimenting in the wee hours of the night - I meant to automate it out during everything but the ending but forgot to do so - late night grogginess I suppose. Didn't realize it until after I posted the file. Cheers - J
« Last Edit: March 29, 2011, 02:43:50 PM by JoshERTW »
Josh Maitland - Red Room Recordings
Running Cubase 5 on the Tascam US-1800!

March 29, 2011, 04:40:06 PM

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March 29, 2011, 05:41:17 PM
My shot... thanks for providing!

Oh, just realized he sings fraud...haha, sorry for that.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2011, 05:51:37 PM by TonyPizza »

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March 29, 2011, 10:54:47 PM
Great contest! Here's my mix so far, feedback much appreciated:

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March 30, 2011, 03:20:44 AM
Alrighty, here's my resubmission, tried to incorporate Mike's suggestions - Did my monitoring on $40 computer speakers this time and went for making it sound decent on those instead of the just in the cans
Josh Maitland - Red Room Recordings
Running Cubase 5 on the Tascam US-1800!

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March 30, 2011, 08:09:47 AM

My first impression here is that the low end of this mix needs filling out a fair bit, and therefore feels quite lightweight compared with the references. It took around 6dB of low end shelving boost at 50Hz to bring things back into the ball-park for me. If this often happens to you, then I'd be suspicious that your monitoring (and/or room resonances) might be bloating the low end of what you're hearing. The main offender in this case appears to be the bass line, which isn't really delivering anything much in the bottom octaves, despite a great midrange tone which translates well to my Auratone. The kick could also have more welly down low -- the rest of its spectrum seems appropriate for the chorus, but is perhaps a little too aggressive for the verse. There's a good stereo width to this track, and although it's not too wide for the most part, I think that a lack of phase-alignment between the panned guitar multimics is causing their sound to recede unduly in the mono balance -- the secondary chorus guitar and the additional middle-section parts in particular.

Each of the drum/cymbal sounds in isolation seem otherwise pretty reasonable, and the snare has a good dose of sustain to prevent it getting lost in the guitars. The clarity you've achieved between the guitars and snare in the first chorus is admirable, so whatever you've done with the EQ there is working! However, the issue that should now be highest on your list is blend, because the drums in particular sound too much like a collection of inidividual pieces, and not much like a kit -- almost like BFD or something, rather than a live drummer. Either you can try to improve this with short reverb, or you could make use of the overheads, the room, and the spill on the tom mics -- my preferred approach usually, although in practice a combination of both is usually necessary in most cases. (Whichever you use doesn't really matter, though, as long as the kit blends.) It's apparent that you've added reverb already, but it's not really the best type for this kind of job -- too much high end and length.

In addition to this, I'd suggest looking at master-buss compression for a track like this, because I think you could add extra excitement to the mix with it. (It'll also help push the snare spike back into the mix balance a bit, compared with the sustain tail, which will blend it a little better with the texture as a whole. However, for buss compression to work right in your particular mix version you'll need to fundamentally reassess the balance of the lead vocals, which feel much too loud and full-sounding in the mix at the moment, especially in the choruses. If I set up a buss compressor to take 3-4dB off the Chorus 1 peaks, then the vocal severely ducks the backing track come Chorus 2. It's not just a question of allowing you to use a buss compressor to advantage, though, because it's also about the basic decisions that you make as to which instruments are most important to the sound. In a fairly heavy rock track like this, the power and impact of the rhythm section is usually quite a lot more important than the richness of the vocal sound -- as long as the vocals can be clearly heard and understood, then they're probably doing their job pretty well. (As long as they don't sound completely rubbish, but there's little risk of you ending up with something dreadful-sounding, judging by your other timbre decisions here.) Clearly the vocal sound in the verses can afford to have more warmth, simply because the context is so different, but even in the verses the balance feels quite vocal heavy. (I like your lead vocal delay/reverb effects, though!) Are your monitors too far apart? That can be a reason for over-balancing central instruments such as vocals. Whatever the problem is, single-point mono monitoring really highlights the issue -- the vocal almost gobbles up the chorus backing track on my Auratone! To some extent the loud vocal helps with the tricky transition into the final choruses, but not that much given that the guitars at the end of the middle section are so aggressive-sounding (probably a bit too much, in fact).

Finally, I do like your added spot SFX in the reintro (a section which feels like it needs something like that to justify its existence) and in the run-up to the outro. The icing on top of another respectable mix -- despite my focus on the niggles here, you've done a lot of good work, especially in terms of retaining clarity, which is a common stumbling-block for small-studio users.
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March 30, 2011, 09:08:26 AM
Thanks for the detail in your review Mike. Your effort is very much appreciated. Much respect.

It’s a weird thing. The morning after I sent the mix out to you I also played it in my car and I too felt that the bottom end was considerably lacking. I thought I was just having a bad hearing day! Usually I’m a culprit for over-cooking bass in the first iteration of a mix, so it came as a bit of a shock! I was soooo tempted to go and change it, but that seemed like cheating!  :D

I’ll take a look at the stuff you’ve pointed out. I’ve been working in isolation for so many years it’s nice to have some feedback from critical and trusty ears.

I did know my bright plate on the drums would be contentious – I loathe ‘roomy’ drums, I’m afraid! Ah, it’s just my age showing!  ;D