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Author Topic: Mixoff Contest with Mike Senior - Win Mike's New Book!  (Read 189239 times)

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April 04, 2011, 12:34:20 PM

Any chance you can enable the download link for the file. I can't get at it at the moment, I'm afraid.

Thanks, it should be enabled now.

I didnt know if it as OK to let people download it, so I disabled it, here it is the link again, for convenience.

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April 04, 2011, 01:03:10 PM

The overall tonality of this mix presented me with a few obstacles in terms of evaluating it, simply because it's very strong in the 3-4kHz zone and also quite heavily mid-scooped with rather too much HF 'zing' for these ears. Although the 3-4kHz region is important for a sense of upfront-ness and aggression in this mix, it's very easy to tip the scales and end up with a timbre that's rather shouty and fatiguing. In particular, this region makes it difficult to turn up the listening volume, and this is the kind of music that I'd want to be able to turn up good and loud, even while making allowances for the lower playback levels typical of mass-market listening.

Although both kick and snare punch through the texture well, the snare attack is making my ears bleed a bit! I'd try to tame that spike a little for the sake of children and small animals. :) It's partly just a question of the level of the transient, but also because the spike really hits the 3-6kHz region hard. The overheads feel like they could be higher in the mix for me, but more compressed to keep them from getting out of control during the thrashier sections. The low tom has the usual fundamental-frequency balance issue, but you probably only need quick EQ notch to sort that out. The main thing with the drums, though, is that they don't really seem to blend. Compression and short reverb are the two main tools I'd use to tackle this, although the general EQ overhaul I'd suggest in the light of the large-scale tonal issues will probably also make an impact too.

On a subjective level I do like a lot of your guitar sounds, and although it's tricky to comment on their frequency balance given the over-bright timbre of the whole mix, it seems to me that they're fairly well controlled in terms of not turning too abrasive in the mid-section. As in some of the other mixes so far, I think you could afford to leave a bit more low end in the guitar sounds, so that they do have some real power as well as clarity. However, my impressions may be being skewed by the level of the bass guitar, which does seems to be lacking a certain amount of low end -- it comes across fine on the small speaker (which is good), but feels a bit small on my nearfields.

The vocal in the verse sounds fairly respectable once the mix timbre is compensated for, but I found the lip noise in verse 2 a bit distracting. The chorus comes across as more brittle, though, and the 4kHz region of the sibilance feels overbearing despite what sounds like some de-essing going on. I think the vocal is probably too high in the balance as well most of the time, which risks belittling the backing track by comparison.

I love the way you've popped those backing vocals into the mid-section -- very clever to spot that they work so nicely there, although the tuning could perhaps be a little tighter. The downside, though, is that you don't leave yourself much in the way of ammunition to make the final chorus entry stand out, so you could see this as something of an 'own goal' in context. Shame, though, because I do like it, and it gives that long double mid-section stretch a definite additional shot of momentum. In general, the BVs could also be more heavily compressed, because they're not at all stable in the balance at the moment, and I think that's dissauding you from turning them up enough in the choruses.

Switching to mono presents this mix with some difficulties, as the wide-panned guitars take a big step down in mono, the overheads lose top end, and the chorus vocals appear to lose some important body. In terms of priorities, I'd therefore put addressing this issue up there with an EQ rethink at the top of the list.

Thanks for submitting this mix. The good news here is that I think that if you can iron out the main large-scale mix-timbre and mono-compatibility issues, a lot of the smaller points may cease to be much of an issue.
I believe your pretty much spot on with the critique. Im going to do my best to address these issues!!!
Mike Mercurio
You don't know what you don't know...until you don't know it.

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April 04, 2011, 01:10:37 PM
Thanx Mike for your input. I did use alot of subs in my mix only because I wanted to capture the sound of the bass as a whole (3 tracks of bass) I figured that would be one of the issues you'd have. When I did listen to it thru smaller speakers (my laptop) all the bass disappeared. Strange. Toms didn't have any verb on them and the over heads were low only because when I turned them up it created a horrible sound on the snare and the cymbals became uberly loud. I wound up duplicating the BV's to create a more stereo effect and to bring them out more for the third verse. The panning of the snare was to make it feel like a real drum kit but I left the vrb panned to the center to give it that in front feeling to the naked ear. What I would do differently next time is tweak the subs and put a deesser on the vocals and gate the overheads. I was able to check the mono on my system and was shocked that it was right on. Thanx again for the kind words, I am my own worst critic but that doesn't stop me from working twice as hard next time, Thanx again,

Mix It!

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April 04, 2011, 01:29:01 PM
sorry but I missed that part: where do I upload my mix?

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April 04, 2011, 01:57:43 PM
Sorry, I know this is out of place but....

If you click on the first post of the fourm, and then try to get to page #2 by using the 'next' link it brings you to the last page. So if there is no page number shown for the page a post is listed on, there is no way to get to it. Is this just happening to me?

Just asking because I think my entry was on page 11, which I can no longer get to.

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April 04, 2011, 02:32:16 PM
Yeah, the "previous and "next"  buttons don't work for me, either.

So, click the individual page numbers at the lower left, next to "Pages:".

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April 04, 2011, 03:24:30 PM
Here's my last-minute-only-found-it-yesterday mix:

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April 04, 2011, 04:03:43 PM
Hi.  Here's my mix, I hope I'm not too late:

I just found out about this site at the weekend, what a great idea!  Thanks to Mike & Young Griffo for making this possible.

-- Simon

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April 04, 2011, 06:02:38 PM

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April 04, 2011, 06:14:12 PM
I gave it a whirl, and this is what I got....

Your mix tonality needs addressing first of all, because there's a general tilt to the frequency spectrum towards the lows: a kind of ramp which feels roughly 5dB too strong at 40Hz and roughly 4dB too weak at 10kHz. The good news, however is that this kind of broad tonal bias can be very successfully addressed by master-buss EQ, and I was pleased to find that a couple of very gentle shelves revealed what is actually a pretty reasonable balance -- so I kept that EQ in for my further listening.

In general terms the drums are fairly sensibly put together in terms of relative levels and overall tone. The kick is the main exception to this, though, because it doesn't really provide anything much for the small-speaker listener -- it's almost all low end, so sinks from view almost completely in the chorus. (The bass is better in this regard, exhibiting enough mid-frequency information to carry the line through on an Auratone.) While the snare feels like it's tonally in the right kind of zone, it feels a little anaemic in its sustain phase, and could probably be blended slightly better. I like the sound of the toms, but their drier sound and hard-left/right panning makes them stick out unduly -- panning them to 50-60% and adding a dash of snare reverb would probably get them to gel better. The tone of the overheads is good too, but I feel that these (and probably the kit as a whole) would benefit from a bit more compression, both in terms of level consistency and sustain.

I like the bass sound in the verses (where you've managed the fret squeaks well), and it makes a good transition to the chorus as well. It's only in the mid-section that it strays from the straight and narrow for me, providing too little support in mid-section 1, and then eating Manhattan in mid-section 2! :) Guitar sounds are for the most part very nicely judged, my main gripe being that I wish I could hear the secondary guitar in the choruses a bit more clearly. The spread of the parts across the stereo picture also feels a little narrow, especially given the wide spread of the drums. (Although the narrow guitar spread ensures a certain degree of mono-compatibility, that doesn't stop the overheads losing quite a lot of high end. See if some subtle inter-channel timing or phase shifts might help there.) Having said that, though, the little bit of automated panning in the reintro is surprisingly good at grabbing the attention -- simple, but effective!

When it comes to vocals, the basic tone feels to me over-bright, compared to the rest of the tracks in the arrangement, and that's not helping the sibilance (which needs the attentions of a de-esser) or the lip noise in the reintro and verse 2. The bright timbre of the vocal effects is no help to the essing either, because they therefore spray the sibilance energy all round the stereo spread. De-essing of the effects sends would be advisable if you're wedded to this particular effect sound, but to be honest I think it's probably not the most suitable treatment under the circumstances anyway. It's not that you couldn't make it work in the right context, but the comparatively conventional sounds of the rest of the instruments don't seem to justify such an extrovert vocal presentation. If the overall vibe were a bit trippier and effect-saturated, then it would work better. That said, the effects in the choruses work a lot better for me, thickening and blending, even though they do also feel like they need a healthy HF cut to tuck them better into the mix. In general I think you could also probably just turn down the vocals a notch or two, because they're making everything else sound a bit Matchbox by comparison.

In general, though, this is mix with a lot of good basic balance decisions and some nice tones into the bargain. Thanks for letting us all hear it!
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