ok...it seems i'll make the start :-)
Great job, karamba -- gets us off to a flying start! So here are some comments...
The kick has a nice controlled low end, but the high-frequency 'cut-through' works better in the choruses than in the verses -- it drives the rhythm along nicely, but feels just a bit too aggressive to me. The snare, on the other hand, seems to work a little better in the verses than the choruses, even though I like the sound of it in a general sense -- it's nice and clear, but its character begins to submerge a bit under the massed vocals and guitars. I like the guitar and bass sounds a lot, although the bass-guitar fret squeaks are a bit distracting and could be automated down. The lead vocals seem slightly too thinned out during the verses for me -- it keeps the tone clear, but somehow distances the vocal a little too much. The backing vocals feel understated in the choruses, where I think they could really open things out. The lyrics are quite indistinct during choruses, and automation might be the answer there, as well as maybe some anti-masking cuts elsewhere in the arrangement. Effects have been very tastefully used, without any of the all-too-common clutter problems. Overall tonality feels a bit more mid-scooped than the references, but I don't mind that personally.
It's testament to the quality of the overall tone and balance decisions here that my biggest criticism of this mix is that the long-term dynamics don't quite stack up. This first really niggles me at the start of the second chorus, where the entry of the vocals doesn't quite deliver what I'm hoping for in terms of emotional payoff. I'd probably do some vocal tuning to sweeten and gel the texture a bit better, which might help you fade up the vox more without losing blend. Something a bit more expansive in terms of effects there might also be an idea. My favourite bits of this mix are the two Mid-sections, which really work up a good head of steam, but the problem is that they make the energy-drop into the final chorus a lot starker, so the end of the song is left a touch disappointing.
Still, this is a great mix in most respects, and certainly flings down the gauntlet in style! Bring on the competition!
thank you very much for the detailed critics. you mainly nailed all my weak points. just some comments from my side. i did no automation here up to know, since i'm doing automation always at the end, normally when the client approved that my mixing-direction is fine. i have to admit, i'm slightly confused by the song structure, e.g. i don't understand the drop after midsection 2.
after i've read your comments & hearing the mix again, i've planned to make these changes:
- less high-klick on the the kick during softer parts
- try to make chorus 3 more interessting (maybe some FX stuff)
- feature the solo in the outro
- push the vox a bit more in the chorus
- try to automate the fret squeaks
- pan the right guitar a bit more to center
- try to optimize the snare (maybe i need to blend with a triggered snare here)
- some slight vox optimization
with "vocal tuning" you meant pitch? do you plan also to provide a mix at the end?
looking forward to hear further mixes!