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Author Topic: Mixoff Contest with Mike Senior - Win Mike's New Book!  (Read 123019 times)

  • ***
March 28, 2011, 09:48:22 PM
<a href="http://www.minorhead.com/resources/Bloodtobone_minorhead_lim.mp3">This </a>is my mix.

The low end feels a bit funny in this mix. For a start, the low frequencies of the bass guitar are rather inconsistent, and this won't be helped by the phase mismatches between the left and right channels (a side-effect of bass widening again, I imagine). However, I also think that it's got something to do with the bass tone in this mix relying a lot on its fundamental, something that puts it into direct conflict with the kick drum. As a result, the pulse ends up feeling slightly blurred, and seems to lose a definite punch somewhere along the line. (Fret squeaks are overprominent too.)

I like the snare sound, and there's no danger of it getting lost in the texture, which is great. Although some of this is undoubtedly down to the guitar EQ, the snare pops through fine even in the much more present middle sections. This is just the kind of thing I'd had in mind for the snare, although I do still wonder if it's a touch lightweight -- as indeed is the mix tonality as a whole -- in the octave around 400Hz or so. The blend also isn't as good as I'd hope, and I wonder whether you need to lean a bit more heavily on the overheads, the room mic, and the tom-mic spill. Speaking of the toms, they suffer from a problem we've had once before already -- they're hyper-wide, and that feels very odd within the context of a not-particularly-wide overheads image.

Vocals seem pretty well balanced, but I wonder again whether the low midrange power of the choruses would be better coming from the guitars than the vocals, nice though it makes the vocals sound in their own right. The thickening effects on the chorus are well-designed, I think, and thicken things in a really good way.

Despite the niggles, I find myself warming to this mix a lot, which means that long-term dynamics issues become more of an issue relatively speaking. I find myself wishing that the choruses filled out a bit more, that the second mid-section was rebalanced to smooth out the tone a little, and that the final chorus had some trick up its sleeve to avoid the otherwise almost inevitable arrangement letdown. I think compression/reverb and overhead/room rides are the order of the day here. (Here's a leftfield thought for anyone feeling adventuresome, though: what about doubling the final chorus, and making the first one a drop-chorus? That would negate the need for the final chorus entry to sound bigger than mid-section 2, and would allow the second final chorus to arrive with a bigger subjective bang, even if it included no extra parts... ;))

Anyway, thanks for putting this one together Minorhead -- it's a really strong submission, not least because it's upped the ante on that snare sound.
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!

  • ***
March 28, 2011, 09:53:27 PM
http://www.robrokkenaudio.com/stuff/mixoff-1.mp3

I can see that we're in no risk of running out of new ideas for this mix. What a menacing intro sound this is -- I like it! What I would say, though, is that I feel the drums could be much more menacing in response. At the moment they come across with fairly straightforward heavy rock aggression, but what if you shaved the top of the kick and slightly lo-fi'ed the cymbals instead, say? That bass entry has such character, I kind of feel I want to hear more of it. You could even give it a bit more presence at the expense of the lead guitar, because you sacrifice a lot of the bass line's internal rhythmic drive the way it currently is. The verse vocal tone and effects are already right on the button for a menacing kind of vibe too, and I think you'd get more atmosphere out of the opening that way, allowing you to leave extra aggression in reserve for the chorus.

Even when we get to the chorus, I think such spiky kick and snare sounds are perhaps counterproductive (even though the snare sustain seems to be heading along the right lines), because they concentrate a lot of energy into the 3-5kHz zone. By the time we get to Chorus 2, the guitars and the distorted vocals are all also cramming that region full of energy, with the result that the overall mix tone gets uncomfortably grating on my ear, and I find myself turning down the volume. (Kind of the opposite of what you'd want, really!) It's not that you don't want energy in that region; it's just that you don't want to pile everything in there at once, or else you lose all definition. This kind of situation is most likely to crop up if you make your EQ judgements with the track soloed, rather than within the context of the mix -- everyone instinctively has their favourite frequencies, and those that they aren't as fond of, so that will tend to translate into frequency peaks/troughs in your overall mix tonality. Everything can't sound great in every frequency region, so give your favourite frequencies to the most important instruments and then make sure the rest of the instruments make enough space for them to shine.

In addition to the 3-5kHz bunch-up, the low-midrange is quite recessed, presumably for similar reasons, but even if I adjusted with master EQ, it doesn't feel like the bass is nearly audible enough in the mix, especially in the light of the kick-drum's rock-solid low-end thud. The bass could contribute additional useful warmth and power, as well as driving the arrangement along with its nice melodic riffs and fills. The stereo picture feels a little narrow to me, yet the mono-compatibility feels less good than I'd expect from this. I'd guess that this probably comes down to your panning the drum and guitar multimics for width purposes without first confirming a decent phase-match for them in mono, although it's possible that some of the less hi-fi effects might also harbour hidden mono-compatibility problems -- you've got to be quite careful with freeware reverbs on that count, for example. Long-term dynamics are so-so at the moment, but I reckon a little rebalancing and some rides could make a big difference there. It's a shame to hear so little of the chorus BVs, for a start.

Altogether, then, my main message is to reasssess your EQ methodology and remember to check mono-compatibility. These issues aside, however, there's a lot to recommend this mix, and I reckon you could bring about big subjective improvements here without too much extra work. Thanks for letting us hear your ideas!
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!

  • No avatar
  • **
March 28, 2011, 09:55:23 PM
<a href="http://www.minorhead.com/resources/Bloodtobone_minorhead_lim.mp3">This </a>is my mix.

The low end feels a bit funny in this mix. For a start, the low frequencies of the bass guitar are rather inconsistent, and this won't be helped by the phase mismatches between the left and right channels (a side-effect of bass widening again, I imagine). However, I also think that it's got something to do with the bass tone in this mix relying a lot on its fundamental, something that puts it into direct conflict with the kick drum. As a result, the pulse ends up feeling slightly blurred, and seems to lose a definite punch somewhere along the line. (Fret squeaks are overprominent too.)

I like the snare sound, and there's no danger of it getting lost in the texture, which is great. Although some of this is undoubtedly down to the guitar EQ, the snare pops through fine even in the much more present middle sections. This is just the kind of thing I'd had in mind for the snare, although I do still wonder if it's a touch lightweight -- as indeed is the mix tonality as a whole -- in the octave around 400Hz or so. The blend also isn't as good as I'd hope, and I wonder whether you need to lean a bit more heavily on the overheads, the room mic, and the tom-mic spill. Speaking of the toms, they suffer from a problem we've had once before already -- they're hyper-wide, and that feels very odd within the context of a not-particularly-wide overheads image.

Vocals seem pretty well balanced, but I wonder again whether the low midrange power of the choruses would be better coming from the guitars than the vocals, nice though it makes the vocals sound in their own right. The thickening effects on the chorus are well-designed, I think, and thicken things in a really good way.

Despite the niggles, I find myself warming to this mix a lot, which means that long-term dynamics issues become more of an issue relatively speaking. I find myself wishing that the choruses filled out a bit more, that the second mid-section was rebalanced to smooth out the tone a little, and that the final chorus had some trick up its sleeve to avoid the otherwise almost inevitable arrangement letdown. I think compression/reverb and overhead/room rides are the order of the day here. (Here's a leftfield thought for anyone feeling adventuresome, though: what about doubling the final chorus, and making the first one a drop-chorus? That would negate the need for the final chorus entry to sound bigger than mid-section 2, and would allow the second final chorus to arrive with a bigger subjective bang, even if it included no extra parts... ;))

Anyway, thanks for putting this one together Minorhead -- it's a really strong submission, not least because it's upped the ante on that snare sound.

It's reply #51

  • ***
March 28, 2011, 09:57:30 PM
http://soundcloud.com/vvv-4/blood-to-the-bone-vvv-mix

Eek. Just realised I've skipped your mix by mistake. Never fear, though -- I'll put it to the top of the list tomorrow. Sorry! :-[
And mine too...

LOL...
errr... and mine too!

Sorry -- maybe I wasn't being clear. I'm still trying to attend to the mixes in order of submission, and I've not got through to yours yet. The problem with vvv is that I should have critiqued him before Fishmed, whereas he'll now have to wait until tomorrow. Don't panic, folks -- I'm doing my best not to be a doofus! (I'm sure you're all very reassured by that...  ;D)
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!

  • ***
March 28, 2011, 10:00:53 PM
It's reply #51

No, what I meant was, isn't my critique of your mix post #74? Here's a direct link to it.
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!

  • No avatar
  • **
March 28, 2011, 10:06:17 PM
I appreciate your detailed feedback and yeah, I went too far trying to de-ess that vocal... I could never quite get a good handle on it, the tone I wanted for it, and I did "steal the singers lips" didn't I?   ;D  That one made me laugh mostly because it was so damn true.

Great feedback, very much appreciated.   :)

  • ****
March 28, 2011, 10:22:48 PM
Thx Mike for reveiwing my mix!. Lots of good input to take with me and improving on. Im not gonna submit another mix as I want to take the lessons learned to the next mix rather than trying to make this "perfect" as to me its done. So I will let your critic sink in with a few more reads ;D
Thx for for doing this! it hopefully will help this site get off to a running start aswell :D

                     Salvation Army
            bringing music to the people
                       since 1865

  • No avatar
  • *
March 28, 2011, 10:37:04 PM
Hi Mike - here's my take on it.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/24660599/blood_to_bone%2024%2048%20MIX_290311.mp3

Many thanks for the time & thought you're putting in to this for all of us.

Cheers
Malcolm

  • ***
March 28, 2011, 10:55:20 PM
http://soundcloud.com/vvv-4/blood-to-the-bone-vvv-mix

Eek. Just realised I've skipped your mix by mistake. Never fear, though -- I'll put it to the top of the list tomorrow. Sorry! :-[

I want my money back!

Kidding, of course; thanks for all yer hard work; I'm learning tons from this thread alone, not to mention the whole freaking site and the practice in other people's work I'm getting, ...


... for free.  ;D

  • No avatar
  • *
March 29, 2011, 12:58:23 AM
Thank you Mike for taking the time to review my mix, especially on the bass guitar as I was never pleased with what I had... as much as I tried. I appologize for the 80's thing  ;D ... bad habits die hard, and bad music dies harder.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2011, 01:44:28 AM by Fishmed »