Spare an Ear?

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by Guitarmiester, Sep 10, 2017.

  1. Guitarmiester

    Guitarmiester Awesome-O

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    Hey guys, wrapped up the mixing and mastering processes this weekend on a new song for my side project. I'd really like to hear what you all think of the song.

    By Chance or Choice - by Are We Ghosts

    https://soundcloud.com/areweghosts/by-chance-or-choice

    Any and all comments, likes, dislikes, criticism, questions, etc. are totally appreciated and welcome. Quick rundown of the minimal gear used:

    Guitars: Ibanez & EBMM
    Pedals: TC Spark Booster & Empress Tape Delay
    Amp: Mesa Recto Preamp into a Two Notes Torpedo Live
    Interface: Focusrite Scarlett
    DAW: Reason 9.5

    Bass: Ibanez (DI)

    Drums: EzDrummer 2 (mapped in Reason)

    Enjoy!
     
  2. jerm

    jerm SS.org Regular

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    Drums and vocals are too drowned out in the mix compared to the guitars. The overall mix/master could be a little brighter also.

    Song is really sweet though. Awesome stuff
     
    AkiraSpectrum likes this.
  3. Guitarmiester

    Guitarmiester Awesome-O

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    Thanks for the listen, jerm! Out of curiosity, what did you listen to the track on/through? I had a few mixes for this track. The first three were brighter but wasn't thrilled with that direction. Ended up taming the highs a bit for clarity. I'll have to check out drums again. Hotter, in your face drums clashed too much with vocals so I opted for a more organic mix.

    I'll have to revisit volume levels. Everything was pretty balanced upon final run through but ear fatigue could have sunk in by then.

    I really appreciate the honest feedback. It all helps me improve.
     
  4. schwiz

    schwiz Lefty

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    I agree with what Jeremy said. Overall the mix is a bit dark and sounds like you high passed the whole thing at 12khz or something. I really like the song though as well. If I had to pick one element to change/define further, it would be the vocals. They are not up front and center like they should be. If I had a visual of the band playing this song, the singer would be standing behind the drummer. You should be able to achieve better results if you hit the EQ again, and don't be afraid to push the upper frequencies if you have to.

    Your mixing is getting a lot better though, like, a lot better. Keep at it!
     
  5. bpprox22

    bpprox22 String Breaker

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    I have no ears -- Thus, I have none to spare.

    Really though, I really dig the music but agree with pretty much everyone above.
     
  6. jerm

    jerm SS.org Regular

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    I was listening on my Yamaha HS7's.
     
  7. Guitarmiester

    Guitarmiester Awesome-O

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    Thanks for the replies and thoughts. I'll definitely revisit the mix. I originally had a brighter mix and may have tamed the high end a little much. That'll be an easy tweak.

    Thanks for the kind words. That's a nice push for me to keep at it. It's funny how sensitive the highs and lows really are when getting the mix adjusted.
     
  8. billinder33

    billinder33 SS.org Regular

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    I'd brighten the vocals and bring them up, bring the guitars down, and put a little more snap on the kick. That should cure the 'brightness' issues others have mentioned.

    Also not sure how you mastered this, but it sounds like some kind of limiting comp (L3?) that was hit a little too hard. I'd back off that some.
     
  9. Guitarmiester

    Guitarmiester Awesome-O

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    Vocals had a strange high frequency hiss going on that kept me from being able to add some extra sparkles on the highs. You can almost hear it in the first verse. Any time the vocals kick in there's this high end hiss that was really hard to combat without totally dulling the highs. Any ideas on what to do there? I'm guessing the mic may have been the culprit.

    Guitar levels will be an easy fix. I'll probably even fine tune the mids to make sure they're not fighting too much with the vocals. Kick will also be an easy fix, so thanks for that too!

    By the time I was done mixing, mastering was a breeze. Probably should have gone back to the mix but got lazy and rolled some of the lows from just the sides since there was a slight boomy-ness I didn't catch while mixing. There's very light tape saturation applied on the low mids and mids and then from there limiting. Didn't use L3 but I have a weird habit of running two limiters. The first doing very little except for catching the most extreme peaks and the second doing the heavy lifting. I don't hit the limiter very hard but I'll go back and make sure there weren't parts that I may have missed that need scaling back.
     
  10. billinder33

    billinder33 SS.org Regular

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    When I listened, I was in a bit of a hurry, so I kind of paged through different sections of the track, so missed some of the variances in the vocals. There are 3 things you can do here, and possibly some combination of these three approaches will get where you need:

    1) You can use a de-esser to selectively tame those highs when they pop up. If you don't have a de-esser plugin, you can build one by splitting the signal, side-chaining a compressor, and blending the two back together, but this is complex and you'd be way better off with a dedicated de-esser.

    2) a more time consuming and less ideal standalone solution to-de-essing would be to automate an eq plugin to selectively dial-in or dial-back. what you need. A combination approach may be needed between #1 and #2 depending upon the severity of the problem and the effectiveness of the de-esser.

    3) if you have spots in the vocals that come in really hot that a the above solutions mixed in with a compressor doesn't tame, you can use fader automation to turn down vocals a couple db when it gets really hot.

    When you build this signal chain, make sure your broader vocal compressor is at the end of the signal chain (De-Esser > EQ > comp)

    In terms of workflow, if I were approaching this problem, I'd probably solo the vocal track, and try to fix on it's own first using one or both of the solutions above. Then I'd bring it back into the mix and work the guitars and vocal levels until you get the right mix where the vocals are pop through at the right level. In this style of music, you want the words to be able to be understood by someone who's never heard the song... that's what will make the song really pop.

    If none of this works to your satisfaction, you may end up needing to re-track the vocals.

    You have the raw ingredients for a really good song there... just a little fine tuning and you'll be golden!!!
     
  11. cwhitey2

    cwhitey2 BlackendCrust Metalâ„¢

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    As always great work!
     
  12. nollyflip

    nollyflip SS.org Regular

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    So good.
    What EZ Drummer drums did you use?
     
  13. DaybridgeGhost

    DaybridgeGhost SS.org Regular

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    Sounds great, I dig! What I might have said about vocals is already discussed above. Take both my ears, and fill them with your music.
     
  14. Guitarmiester

    Guitarmiester Awesome-O

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    As time consuming as this seems, this has turned out to be my favorite approach. I can high shelve the guitars a little bit any time vocals kick in for a more natural sound. Very good idea.

    Thanks for the support! Keeps me writing to post more songs to share with you all.

    Thanks man. I used one of the kits within the Progressive pack. The kicks are a little bass heavy but easy to tame.

    More music to come thanks to all the support for the music. Keep the ears ready...
     
  15. newamerikangospel

    newamerikangospel Tonight.......you

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    Did you use a bunch of tape saturation on this?
     
  16. Guitarmiester

    Guitarmiester Awesome-O

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    Nope. Only a small amount was applied during the mastering process on the low-mids and highs.
     

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