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Author Topic: Mixoff Contest with Mike Senior - Win Mike's New Book!  (Read 351236 times)

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April 05, 2011, 12:20:39 PM
woops download was disabled-__-

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April 05, 2011, 01:00:04 PM

This mix has nice atmospheric opening that sets the stage well for the overall level of effects usage. Nice transition effects into the first chorus and outro too, and I like the 'feel like a failure' fly-in as well -- you've correctly identified a potential lull in vocal proceedings and filled that gap imaginatively.

The kick here has similar issues as in mixerMB's version, but less severe on account of a greater relative 60-70Hz contribution. A fairly aggressive click to the sound gives it more than adequate small-speaker translation (I'd tone that down a bit, in fact -- perhaps move the current HF emphasis more into the midrange around 800Hz), but I did find myself hankering after more 80-100Hz in the sound. The bass feels, on the other hand, like it has a bit too much information in that area, and that its fundamental frequency could be pulled back a bit in the mix to allow you to feature more of the harmonics above it, especially in the light of the current balance change when switching to small speakers. I'd also try to give the guitars some more body in the lower midrange, simply because they're feeling slightly scratchy at the moment, and seem to be contributing to an excessive mid-scoop in the overall mix tonality. I'd also look at the relationship between the 1-2kHz, 2-4kHz, and 4-8kHz octaves, because it feels to me as if the second of these is a bit proud of the others, making things sound a touch nasal.

I like the snare sound a lot, and the cymbals appear to be fairly well balanced against it. I do wonder, however, whether there's a fraction too much going on in the overheads in the top couple of octaves by comparison with the other parts, so I'd probably shelve a couple of decibels of them, even if that means you end up lifting the high end of the whole mix to return to your original level of 'air' overall. The vocals feel a bit low in the 1kHz region, but otherwise very well controlled and without any trace of sibilance issues. I like the balance of these parts too, in relation to the rest of the arrangement.

Mono summing affects the balance quite a lot, given the hard-panned guitars, but you've sensibly (in my view) chosen to favour the mono balance over the stereo, which means that the dynamics still work just fine on an Auratone. The cymbals are still losing quite a bit of HF, though, and the vocal effects seem to add a degree of murkiness to the vocal tone when they're collapsed down to the single channel, so those might warrant some further attention.

In total, though, this is another great Auratone balance, which surely only needs a few tweaks to make the best of its qualities in full-range stereo. Thanks for submitting it!

Mixing Secrets For The Small Studio
A complete mixing method based around the techniques of the world's most famous producers.
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April 05, 2011, 02:53:28 PM
Is there a good/better/best time for submitting our "final" contest mixes?

(I feel like I've engaged enough on this one, and am ready for the wedding date.)

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April 05, 2011, 03:07:46 PM
OK, We're done with submissions for critique, but you can still submit your final mix until the 18th. Just post it here, as usual.

I'd recommend submitting your mix whenever it's done, but do wait for Mike's critique on your mix, if you haven't received it yet. There's gold in those critiques!

Great mixes so far, there some real talent here, and I think everyone is going to learn a ton from their critiques, as well as going through the other mixes and critiques.

Thanks again to Mike, and to Young Griffo, and to everyone who has submitted mixes thus far!

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April 05, 2011, 05:32:56 PM

Whoa! That's an awful lot of bass you've got going on there! I'm not sure what you're monitoring on, but whatever it is, I'm afraid that I don't think it's telling you anything useful below about 100Hz. The difference between the low end of your mix and the low end of any of the reference mixes is as clear as day, but only if your monitoring is actually telling you what's going on. Given that it appears you're faced with a situation where you can't really rely on what you're hearing down there, then, what can you actually do to improve the situation? Well, in the first instance, you could have a look at the 'Low-end Damage Limitation' chapter of my book, where I go into this in detail -- it's one of the free-to-view sample chapters available here. That gives lots of workarounds catering for exactly this kind of situation.

Further to that, I'd suggest removing any EQ or bass-enhancement plug-ins from the kick, bass, and tom tracks straight away, and taking those back to basics. In rebuilding their balance, try not to do any EQ boosting at the low end, because this is I think one of the reasons for your LF problems -- the low frequencies appear to be ringing in an uncontrolled manner, and this just leaves you with a muddy swamp without providing any real subjective power or punch. If you have to EQ to keep the instruments sounding clear and defined when they're together, try to use EQ cuts (rather than boosts) wherever possible. Keep any effects returns which are fed from the drums or bass high-pass filtered to stop them adding undesirable rumble, and also high-pass filter any non-bass parts as high as you can without changing their useful tone (or the weight of their attack) in the mix.

The bass issue puts the whole mix tonality out of alignment, and makes it very difficult to make meaningful judgements about things like relative balance and tone of the instruments. On top of this, though, I'm suspicious that the whole mix is going through some kind of extremely aggressive multi-band dynamics setup, presumable to increase loudness and aid mix cohesion, but this is a sticking plaster that won't solve any underlying mix problems, irrespective of how much the processing tries to smoosh the frequency response of your mix into an static profile. It also doesn't help that it sounds like it's introducing a bunch of very strange pumping and distortion artefacts -- I wonder whether it's set rather too fast. This is the kind of mix processing that's too complicated, powerful, and delicate to start using during the cut and thrust of the mixing process, so if you're using it while mixing, then ditch it -- you'll be able to hear much better what you're doing and the fact that you'll have to work harder to get a consistent tone in your mix will mean that your mix will respond much better to this kind of processing if you choose to add it at the mastering stage. (On the other hand, slower-acting full-band buss-compression is fine at mixdown in rock styles like this, but the reason for doing it is not primarily to increase the loudness or homogenise the frequency contour; it's to 'glue' the mix together, create pumping effects, and/or colour the mix tone. It can be tricky, in fact, to get a rock mix to balance right without hearing the mix in the context of the buss compression, so I usually recommend mixing through it. Mastering processing it isn't, though.)

In the light of these two overriding issues, I'm not sure I can actually provide any more detailed advice about the inner workings of the mix itself with any confidence, because it's very much like trying to hit a moving target. Sorry! Can you maybe upload a version with any of the buss/mastering processing and maybe then I can give some pointers?
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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April 05, 2011, 06:57:25 PM
Many thanks for taking the time to put this mix together. It's truly been a pleasure to listen to, and I hope that it will be an inspiration to anyone following this thread.

Wow, thanks a lot for the critique! I agree with everything you said about the production side of things. I have to say that I really don't see myself as a producer at this point of "career". I'm slowly getting there but it's a long road :)

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April 05, 2011, 07:24:31 PM
Just to let everyone know that I'm off to the Frankfurt Musikmesse tomorrow, so I'm afraid there'll be no new critiques until I get back on Friday.

Feel free to critique amongst yourselves, though till then.  8)
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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April 05, 2011, 07:54:37 PM
Quote from: mrtuesday on Today at 01:44:03 AM

What a drop! I just wish I hadn't been taking a sip of my tea at the end of mid-section 2. It wasn't pretty. 

Thanks again for all your time & effort.

My pleasure. More than worth it for a drop like that. I had to listen to it again three times straight away. That's a serious stunt you've pulled there. Love it!

brilliant mix i'm loving some of the effects added! how did you manage to create that drop effect by the way it sounds really slick! :-)

I copied a bigger drum "hit" from another section of the song & applied a short "tape stop" effect to make it sound like it's being sort of "sucked in".
Then added some reverse reverb (that i eq'd heavily) & aligned to match when everything comes back in (so it feels like everything jumps out again).
Plus lots of edits & automation of tracks & sends etc.

Wasn't sure how it would translate from my head to reality but pretty happy with how it came out.

Mike - hope the tea wasn't too hot  :)
you said it needed something to highlight the last chorus.


Yeah came out very well! thanks for sharing :-)


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April 05, 2011, 11:33:17 PM
Sorry not sure why this isnt working.  i've just got my mail now so this should work.

Ah. I'm getting it now, but I still need the download option to be active to listen to it in the studio. It should be in the options somewhere.

I swear one day I'll manage to get things done in one go.  Sorry again, hope you enjoy.

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April 06, 2011, 09:29:06 AM