Does this sound radio-ready? (120+ tracks, female vox, something different)

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by JohnIce, Mar 12, 2019.

  1. JohnIce

    JohnIce Singlecoil Enthusiast

    Messages:
    5,180
    Likes Received:
    2,032
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2009
    Location:
    Gothenburg, SWE
    Hey! Would appreciate some second opinions on this mix/master, I've got a busted speaker so I've had to rely on headphones only :ugh: I'm approaching deadline on it so I'm working overtime right now to get it done :) If you're not feeling the genre, a few skips through it and just telling me what you think of the overall clarity/quality would be super helpful :yesway:

    It's a pop/metal/electronic/symphonic collab me and my drummer did with a singer/songwriter friend of ours, kind of my first time producing another artist really. It's been great!

    LINK: https://soundcloud.com/jntzero/exhale-master-123/s-tQHRO

    It's pretty crammed with tracks, so it's been a bit of a trip to get everything together. I'm worried it lacks clarity and punch, basically. It sounds clear enough in phones but like I said, not being able to listen through real monitors makes me distrust it :lol: It's about 30 tracks of vocals only, full strings and horn sections, a crap ton of synths and about 20 drum tracks. Extremely overkill for sure, but that's all good as long as I can do my job properly :p
     
    mlp187 and KailM like this.
  2. sezna

    sezna undermotivated

    Messages:
    1,145
    Likes Received:
    370
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2013
    Location:
    Texas
    I really dig this, this is really cool! Really like the electric guitar layering.

    I am listening on my crappy work headphones and it seems ok, but I'll go home and listen on monitors and inspect that low to low mid "punch" area for you.

    Clarity is definitely not an issue, the layers interact beautifully. I might even bump the vocals down a hair in volume during the big climactic parts, let them join with the instruments instead of soaring above, but that is just personal preference and definitely not pop style.
     
  3. JohnIce

    JohnIce Singlecoil Enthusiast

    Messages:
    5,180
    Likes Received:
    2,032
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2009
    Location:
    Gothenburg, SWE
    Awesome, thank you so much! :) I'm glad you listened through crappy phones, cause I was worried the high end could be too sharp in cheaper phones :)

    Vocal volume wise, you're right, it's definitely a bit of a genre thing that could go either way. Or rather, I want the ear to be fixed on the lyrics, so I left them a bit loud.
     
  4. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

    Messages:
    6,286
    Likes Received:
    2,379
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2007
    Location:
    Gatineau, Quebec
    To my ears, you nailed the vocal processing, but I'm on the fence about the drums. Is this Superior Drummer? The samples sound familiar..... I suppose what I'm hearing doesn't strike me as "punchy", but I'm not sure that more "punch" would serve the song either. This kind of poppy production sort of calls for a smoother polished dynamic range. I also don't have anything good to listen through right now, so it's hard to tell. It sounds good, but I'm not sure I hear "120 tracks".
     
  5. Metropolis

    Metropolis SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    915
    Likes Received:
    627
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2010
    Location:
    Vantaa, Finland
    I did same observations as previous commenters... volume with vocals was too "in your face" at times and drums were kind of lifeless, they need more punch. I would also hope something else happening in the bridge part where was vocal lines and total silence between them, something was little bit off there but don't know if it has nothing to do with how this mix sounds.
     
  6. JohnIce

    JohnIce Singlecoil Enthusiast

    Messages:
    5,180
    Likes Received:
    2,032
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2009
    Location:
    Gothenburg, SWE
    Thanks! The vocals were honestly the worst recorded part in all this, we just rolled with the cheap condenser that was already plugged in when we got to the studio and I really came to regret that later, took forever to iron out its kinks and noise. So I'm glad you like them! Drums are live, no Toontrack :) It's our own studio so the drummer has been tweaking his kit and mic setup for months, he's getting some pretty nice raw tracks by now. Verse 2 is completely sample free, but there's a hint of a Drumforge snare blended in on the choruses to get a little extra transient.

    Yeah, punch is probably the wrong word. I want it to sound clear and open, really, given all the layering. There are a lot of tracks, but a lot of it is doubling and octaves and whatnot, so I'm glad it doesn't sound like 120 tracks cause that would be obnoxious as hell :lol: And a lot of the vocals and drum mics were redundant really, so I guess we could've achieved something similar in 80 tracks just as well.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019
    sezna likes this.
  7. sezna

    sezna undermotivated

    Messages:
    1,145
    Likes Received:
    370
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2013
    Location:
    Texas
    That probably is a good thing, 120 tracks that are actually serving a musical purpose and not just forming a cacophany.

    Also, if you want poppy "punch", synth bass and synth drum beats are where pop music is at right now. But that'd be a fundamental change to the song, not a mixing thing.
     
    JohnIce likes this.
  8. JohnIce

    JohnIce Singlecoil Enthusiast

    Messages:
    5,180
    Likes Received:
    2,032
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2009
    Location:
    Gothenburg, SWE
    Thanks for listening! :) You might be on to something with the vocals being too loud. I kept them completely dry in the verses because I wanted that "in your face" quality, as all things considered I think the lyrics are really the highlight of the song so I wanted them to feel really attention-grabbing.

    When you say "punch" on the drums, do you mean more body or more transients? It's been mastered so a lot of the bottom end and transients got smoothed out compared to the final mix, I could probably remaster it to bring a different colour to the kit.

    The bridge had chords underneath it at first, but we just muted them. It's one of those things that are supposed to make you question what the hell we're doing :lol: We don't know if it's good, but it gets reactions, so we're committing to it :p
     
  9. Metropolis

    Metropolis SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    915
    Likes Received:
    627
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2010
    Location:
    Vantaa, Finland
    Okay, so lot of it was intentional and more a style choice, interesting :) I mean more body, maybe in the snare and kick. But I listened with headphones which don't represent low end in a space accurately and all that.
     
  10. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

    Messages:
    6,286
    Likes Received:
    2,379
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2007
    Location:
    Gatineau, Quebec
    If they're real drums, I'll give some props for that as well -> I'm used to having to fight with drums I tracked myself that sound pretty garbage on their own, almost always replacing kicks outright, etc. The section from about a minute in sounds super consistent, so I assumed it was a sample.
     
  11. JohnIce

    JohnIce Singlecoil Enthusiast

    Messages:
    5,180
    Likes Received:
    2,032
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2009
    Location:
    Gothenburg, SWE
    Cool! I'll revisit the master and see if i can ease off on some of the midrange cuts, this is definitely an area where I don't trust my headphones all that much.
     
  12. GunpointMetal

    GunpointMetal SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    1,977
    Likes Received:
    586
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2011
    Location:
    Madison, WI
    Just personal preference stuff, but I feel like the kick/snare need more "beef", and I would probably back the vocals off just a touch. Everything sounds really good, really really good, and that style of vocal at the beginning always melts me, but I feel like it could feel "stronger" when it gets going.
     
  13. JohnIce

    JohnIce Singlecoil Enthusiast

    Messages:
    5,180
    Likes Received:
    2,032
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2009
    Location:
    Gothenburg, SWE
    Can't take much credit myself, our drummer is stellar and the other guitarist in my band (who wasn't involved in this song) is really good with mic placement and all that too so the two of them are always working on it. To further gush over our drummer, this performance is also unedited and done in 2 takes, he is the easiest in the world to work with :) I tried quantizing the drums to see if it could get better, and I'm sure it could in some spots, but the vibe just went away so I decided to just leave it.
     
    TedEH likes this.
  14. JohnIce

    JohnIce Singlecoil Enthusiast

    Messages:
    5,180
    Likes Received:
    2,032
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2009
    Location:
    Gothenburg, SWE
    Thanks! :) A few of you have said that about the drums so you're probably right, I'll see what I can do. It's been a bit of a challenge getting the drums to be big without masking everything else, the OH tracks where a bit shite (we need better mics :lol:) so I had to get rid of a lot of the body in them, but the room mics have a ton of juicy mids in them that I might be able to bring up without doing too much damage to the wall of guitars, choirs, strings and pianos fighting for that space :)

    As for getting "stronger" when it gets going, I hear you. I'd say the unmastered mix has that down, but once you get to limiting it's so hard to keep that sense of "Boom: Here comes the Chorus!" That's really down to me being inexperienced with mastering, I've sent the final mix to two other guys to see if they can do a better job than I.
     
  15. JohnIce

    JohnIce Singlecoil Enthusiast

    Messages:
    5,180
    Likes Received:
    2,032
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2009
    Location:
    Gothenburg, SWE
    Alright guys, I took your advice and made the drums a bit rounder in the low mids, and turned down the overheads to let the shells out more. Did a few more tweaks, all of it allowed me to master it a bit louder too which tamed some additional snap from the snare which I think suits the song :) What do you think?

    LINK: https://soundcloud.com/jntzero/exhale-master-133-more-crisp/s-ksQC3

    I also referenced it to some chart pop, Ariana Grande etc., and noticed it was a bit too mild in the 1-3k range by comparison, and a little too much 500Hz. So I changed that as well, and I'm starting to dig it :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019
    Metropolis likes this.
  16. MSS

    MSS Active Member

    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    24
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2019
    Did you do anything with the bass? I am just a novice and I have no sub (Adam A7x's) but I think you nailed it. It sounds so good! It also sounds better than a LOT of other mixes out there IMO. My first thought with the original was the vocals hit me in face a bit and that the bass could be louder. Maybe the drums filled in that area with this mix?
     
  17. Chrisesp

    Chrisesp SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    87
    Likes Received:
    54
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2011
    Location:
    Dunedin, NZ
    Sounds amazing on my MSP5's.
     
  18. JohnIce

    JohnIce Singlecoil Enthusiast

    Messages:
    5,180
    Likes Received:
    2,032
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2009
    Location:
    Gothenburg, SWE
    Awesome, thanks! :) I really appreciate that! I did bring down the kick and bring up the bass a bit in the mix, which allowed the final limiter to work a little more smoothly for the benefit of the entire track really. I also added just a tiny bit of an exciter to the sub in the mastering to help it stay present on smaller speakers.


    Great, thanks! :)
     
  19. sezna

    sezna undermotivated

    Messages:
    1,145
    Likes Received:
    370
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2013
    Location:
    Texas
    It sounds lovely on my monitors. Really digging the tweaks you made to the drums. I'm still not liking the vocal volume, but in the end that's up to you. :)
     
    JohnIce likes this.
  20. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

    Messages:
    6,286
    Likes Received:
    2,379
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2007
    Location:
    Gatineau, Quebec
    I dig it like this. I'm trying not to fall into that "it's a bit louder and louder is better by default" kind of reaction, but I think the whole balance is legit better. I'm also on board with the loud vocals- I think it suits the style. Good work. :yesway:
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.