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Author Topic: Mixoff Contest with Mike Senior - Win Mike's New Book!  (Read 351588 times)

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April 15, 2011, 02:21:31 AM
A very nice balance this, with a lovely natural open sound and a decent sense of both size and long-term dynamics. Up there with the best on this thread I'd say, in those terms, and possibly the slickest-sounding mix I've heard so far in terms of straight sonics. A lovely thing to listen to, and also pretty well in line with the reference sonics -- although I might add a speck at 800Hz and take out a sliver at 3.5kHz. The clarity is great, as is the blend, and there are just enough more expansive effects to enlarge the field of battle nicely without washing anything out or adding clutter.

In a situation like this where the sounds have been so carefully woven together, I find that the interaction of the different timbres makes all the tonal choices seem logical, irrespective of whether they match my own tonal preferences. So, for example, if I really concentrate :-\, then I can come up with a number of little things that I'd tweak personally. I might want the opening bass tone to have a bit more 1kHz solidity, for example, or the kick to have slightly less click in the verses -- perhaps that's what you meant by the kick being too loud?. The snare could have a little less transient and a fraction more 'boosh' (to use the technical term :D) or the toms might be blended slightly more with the entire kit. The bass might have a touch more weight and warmth below 500Hz... But, to be honest, in the grand scheme of things there's such a cohesive overall vision here that it's hard not to just get swept along by it and forget about any minor niggles. A big factor in this, I think, is automation, because it seems to me that things just ease themselves forward in the mix slightly whenever they want to be heard, directing my attention and making it very easy to take everything in without having to work too hard as a listener. This reminds me very much of Andy Wallace's mixing technique, where he uses extensive rides so that he doesn't have to rely on EQ or other processing as much.

As with Daunt's entry, though, your version sticks fairly strictly within the parameters of the supplied tracks, which means that despite a sterling 'pure mixing' job, the musical 'light and shade' isn't as dramatic as I think it might be, and the long-term dynamics don't quite deliver the spine-tingling pay-offs I'm hoping for in the final chorus and outro. The mono-compatibility could do with some additional consideration, as well, because the cymbals are really suffering in mono, and the hard-panning you've used for the guitar and backing-vocal parts leaves the backing feeling slightly skeletal and mid-less against the drums/vocals on a single speaker. You're sounding great in stereo, admittedly, but I'd be more inclined to go for slightly more of a compromise position. (Bear in mind, though, that opinions do vary quite a bit amongst engineers on mono/stereo balance issues, even if there is something of a more general concensus on the issue of left/right phase-match.)

You've left a good deal of natural dynamics in your submission, and while that's commendable, I do wonder if a bit more attitude in the buss compression might not help to add some worthwhile extra excitement here. The thing is, though, that adding this in will inevitably change things like the lead-vocal balance and intelligibility (which are good, despite the remaining tuning/timing issues), so it would make sense to mix with the compressor in place rather than leaving this until mastering.

All in all, you probably deserve some kind of medal for making the band and the recording engineer look so good! This is a really great mix, and it's been a pleasure listening to it -- thanks!

Thanks a lot for the feedback and your kind words!

There´s definitely more tweeking to be done, to get it real good. Sadly, since I don´t have melodyne/autotune, tuning issues would have taken to much time sorting out with a pitch shifter, so I had to let it go, to make it before deadline.

The bass drum and snare have a litte too much transient I agree, and the solution was simply to turn the drum bus compressor off. :D But I found that out after I printed and posted my mix... Using a limiter and parallell compression worked better.

Snare could be a bit warmer, but I couldn´t get it done with eq. Boosting low mids didn´t do much other than it made the bass drum spill noticable in a way that I didn´t feel worked so well. Drastic eq tweeks on one element in the drumkit, can make an other element sound really weird...

The bass is, as you noticed, has some cuts in the low mids/hi bass, more than I would like normally, but it made the chordal part a little bit clearer in the intro and verse. Should probably be a bit fatter on the other parts.  

I found out about this mix off a bit late, and wanted to post my mix within the deadline(although I don´t know which time zone you´re in, I had to guess...), so I had to let a couple of things go, so I agree that my mix might be little too static.

The mono/stereo issue, didn´t notice any abnormal changes to the cymbals in mono. Have to check what´s going on there. Decided to go with hardpanned guitars and backing vocals. Kept one guitar in the middle at one place though, so there would be at least some rock ´n roll left in mono. :)

Funny you mentioned Andy Wallace, I always use an old RATM record as reference when I need to dail in a punchy bass drum...

Thanks for your critique! What an awesome job you done reviewing all of these mixes. Hats off!

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April 15, 2011, 05:29:16 AM
Alright, I tried to buid some more drama between the sections the and tuned the vocals. This is the final version.


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April 15, 2011, 05:15:37 PM

I am surprised that you did not mention that the overall guitar volume IMHO is fairly to low (I noticed that AFTER posting … bummer).

That's always the way, isn't it! :D I'd agree with you about the guitars, though. It was just that I was hearing those in relation more to the overheads and vocals, where there isn't as much of a level mismatch as between the guitars and bass/snare.

Thanks a LOT Mike for clarifying. I took your advises serious and re-thought the whole mix. For my ears it now sounds too mid (400-800Hz) heavy. I am always drawn to level those frequencies down, making me think that the assumption, that my room could really be poorly treated, is maybe true. (The room's resonant frequencies are just roughly @ 682 and 837Hz at 85dB - bad, bad, baaaad.)

Mike, I assume you don't have the time but if you could find a quick spot in your busy schedule, it would help me very much, for future projects, if you could tell me, if I am heading into the right direction with my new mix now:


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April 16, 2011, 03:02:15 AM
Hi i'm new at mixing and just found this forum. sorry i'm kind of late for the critique but if enyone
has eny feedback it would be nice to hear. here is my mix hope you like it?here it is....
« Last Edit: April 16, 2011, 03:09:19 AM by Chico11 »

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April 16, 2011, 08:51:13 AM
John- Big thanks for this site, a great concept indeed.

I have been following this contest for some days after coming across the MixOff site, this is just what I was looking for, the multiple perceptions and opinions on mixes and techniques throughout this forum are incredible. 

Mike- Your critiques on this were outstanding and very dedicated and a valuable learning tool to say the least, I listen to a mix and write down my opinions on it, then I go over your detailed descriptions and listen to it several times over, this helps very much so with what to listen for and how to transcribe it.  I have not seen critiques this in depth since some Berklee courses I took, and they charge A LOT of money, I appreciate the value in this!
If you have no confidence in your mix, then why should anybody else?
~Wolf Langis~

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April 16, 2011, 01:30:03 PM

Thanks for your comments and listening ;)

In fact, i finished this mix in a hurry, late, because the day before i received a phone call, gone to a job interview the same day and needed to start my new job the day after, day of the dead line.
Combine this with my 2 years old daughter and you get the picture  :D

Thanks again for your advices
This was my first rock mix, and it is not the last one  :)

PS : the opening sound is a very good freeware (and even open source) delay/echo/granular... effect, Fragmental :
It is semi-modular, automatable, LFOable ;D...very impressive.
I just applied/tweaked it on bass.
Learn to use it from inside out, there is nothing like it  ;)

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April 16, 2011, 02:50:46 PM
Hi there! I just saw this competition yesterday, so I had a very quick go at it, for fun. Here it is:


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April 16, 2011, 09:02:26 PM
There are some nice mixes on here. I'm having so much trouble getting drop box to work. I can't post a link that works. It always times out. Any ideas?

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April 16, 2011, 09:08:30 PM
There are some nice mixes on here. I'm having so much trouble getting drop box to work. I can't post a link that works. It always times out. Any ideas?

Why not post the Mp3 straight to the thread ?

We never finish a mix - We simply abandon them.  Adam A7's , Focusrite Pro24 DSP, Focusrite LiquidMix, Presonus FaderPort, Sennheiser HD250 Linear II

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April 16, 2011, 09:20:36 PM
It only seems to post a download link.