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Messages - Smelly Biscuits

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I got the book a few weeks ago, I think it was great, but it lulled at bit about half way through for me.

There is one thing that had me miffed though; He mentions that He wished that the German Hass guy was French, that went right over my head - what did I miss there?

I have to admit, I didn't get that joke, either!

I thought the section on reverb was very useful, what part did you find slow?

There were a few things that could have been fleshed out a bit more, like the difference between eq for balance and eq for tone, the same for reverb for tone. I understand what he means, but I suspect a beginner might have a little trouble seeing the difference.

It was part 3 that lulled for me. Don't get me wrong, it was very informative and a great resource, I just stared reading in smaller time slices when I got to that point, where as previously I would have been hooked for a much longer period of time. 

I got the book a few weeks ago, I think it was great, but it lulled at bit about half way through for me.

There is one thing that had me miffed though; He mentions that He wished that the German Hass guy was French, that went right over my head - what did I miss there?

Congrats to all that are still in it, I think this is a great idea right from the start and hope to see more of it.

I think Mike has been right on with alot of his comments, and has done a great job in offering constructive critism as well as solutions to the issues with some of the problems with the submissions. I think He should also be commended for taking his time and dedicating it to something like this, and the way that He was able to deal with us in a very professional manner, even though alot of us are just hobbiest or relitively unknown in the field. I'm usually not one for taking instruction or learning things from a book as I like to learn things by doing them myself, but Mike was so dead on with issues that He described in mixes and was able to describe them in such detail, that I just can't resist buying his book.

I also think that John Suitcase should be recongnized for his efforts with this site, and this contest. I think He is doing an incredible job.

One issue that has been bouncing around in the last few posts involves fixing the pitch of the vocals. Unless I was asked specifically to do so, I don't think that this is something that should be messed with. I think the track sounds good as it was recorded, if it breaks some rule of Music theory, then so be it - if it sounds good it's good. A very large percentage of the listening audience will never even notice if the pitch is off a bit. I think fixing issues like this is somewhat dishonest and makes things sound homoganized and sterile. I think a little dissonance can make things more interesting.

Can you fix the link to buy the book, it's broke  ;)

Great idea on the 'short list poll'. once you have a list, I'll set up another thread with the poll.

Thanks again to Mike and Young Griffos, and everyone who took the time to post a mix or two! This has been a great experience for me and I think we all have learned a lot. Feel free to post comments on other mixes at this point, if you like, Since the contest entry period is over, no new mixes will be considered, but that doesn't mean you can't post them just to get input from other members (though I don't know that you'll get the level of insight Mike provided with his amazing critiques!)

And if you don't win the book, I highly recommend picking up a copy, I just finished reading it, and it's loaded with great tips and techniques, but more importantly provides a nice logical framework and methodology for mixing a commercial-quality product. And it's full of Mike's great writing, to boot!

Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio

Now we can await the results from Mike & the band!

Here is mine - almost forgot  ;)

Thanks for the critique Mike!

As usual, you seem to be spot on. I mixed this on the road using my laptop and some computer speakers, and it sounds like I was both overcompensating for the low end and under compensating for the top end. I've picked up a cheap set of monitors, so I'll give it another go when I have a few hours to burn.


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!

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.

Mixing Talk / Re: Loudness Wars
« on: April 04, 2011, 06:15:32 AM »
Didn't this start happeneing about the time the Sony Walkman came out, and people started shoving ear buds into their ears?

Mixing Talk / Re: How is this wonderful guitar sound achieved?
« on: April 04, 2011, 05:39:07 AM »
You mean the part that sounds like a cat meowing? That sounds like a volume pedal with loads of reverb to me.

Mixing Talk / Re: Real World Reference Monitors
« on: April 04, 2011, 05:34:20 AM »
Comming from the live sound world, I've allways listened to some sort of reference material that I like the production on and am really familiar with and EQ (yes I said EQ) my monitors to that.

I just picked up a cheap set of Numark NPM5 monitors ($99.00) that I use on the road with my laptop. They sound like ass before I EQ them, but once I tweek them up, they sound fairly decent.

At home I use a pair of Mirage M90s and a 10" sub. I'm just dabling into the recording side of things, so it's just a hobby at this point. If I can make scale, I'll buy some real monitors ;)

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