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

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

  1. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Given your prior work and the improbability of a project described like this being posted on sevenstring.org, I will DEFINITELY be listening tonight. :lol:
     
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  2. Descent

    Descent SS.org Regular

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    This absolutely blew my mind being on this forum, where is the djent???? :) :) :)

    Thank you for the variety!

    I don't like the opening vocal, honestly the femme vox have this somewhat nasty dull nasal range and occasional lisp, that maybe some of it you can shave off, maybe different mic, don't like her verses, it's like a cat meow meow...it needs brightness. Or maybe it needs more of a "telephone vocal" treatment. I think they have too much lows and low mids on verses.

    The choruses layered rather well. Love the orchestration, mixed well. The drums, could be heavier, deeper, although I do not have an issue with them. Don't hear the bass guitar much but its OK in this mix contest.
    El guitar could have a bit more bite, again works as it is.

    What makes or brakes this genre is the femme vocals and there's just something off-putting about the verse tonality and delivery.
     
  3. JohnIce

    JohnIce Singlecoil Enthusiast

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    Thanks, I'm glad to hear that! It's really not that much louder technically, like half a dB, but it's a lot more present in the 1-3k range so it sounds way louder. 10 years after learning about Fletcher/Munson and I'm still surprised by it :lol:

    Thanks! :) Yeah the vocals were a major hassle, we just used a really bad mic especially for her voice, and that's kind of the root of all the problems. I learned a valuable lesson there. The performance is great but the mic was noisy, harsh and just generally dull in her midrange, just full of frequencies I wanted to take out but nothing I wanted to leave in :lol: Because of how sparse the arrangement in verse 1 and the bridge is, I even had to use a noise reduction plugin on the lead vocal. For me, that's true desperation :lol: It became a fix it in the mix kinda deal, which as we all know never really fixes it. I absolutely agree that it's at times boxy or lispy or harsh or dull and it kind of is what it is. I've certainly done the best I could.

    As for heavier drums, more bite in the guits etc., that's all things I'd normally do but for this song I just sort of made the choice to reel it in. As mild as this is, I'm pretty sure 90% of her normal fanbase are gonna hear this and think it's death metal compared to her usual stuff :lol:
     
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  4. JohnIce

    JohnIce Singlecoil Enthusiast

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  5. Descent

    Descent SS.org Regular

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    I don't mean mix it like a metal song but put more meat in the drums, more like a good 80s Michael Jackson or GnR track.

    For vocals there was an Antares mic modeling plugin which might save the thing, or maybe some kind of paralel compression. I still hear too much dullness in there which I think could be eq-ed out. No chance to re-record the vocal? Cause seriously, the choruses are great but I'd love to hear the verses redone, even if you do it thru a SM57.
     
  6. Descent

    Descent SS.org Regular

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  7. Guitarmiester

    Guitarmiester Awesome-O

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    Listened on my laptop and again with my DT-990's. Everything is nice and clear so very nice job there. The next part is personal preference and highly subjective, so please don't take it the wrong way. I understand the emphasis on the vocals to keep them up front but it's too apparent making them sound detached from the instruments. The reverb throughout the track is interesting. Some elements are nice and spacey in some places while other things are very dry and up front. It adds to the detachment of the instruments as a whole. Some minor tweaks to volume levels and reverb choices could really make this song shine. For example, the main vox are dry throughout while the drums (especially the snare) are chilling back with more than enough reverb.

    I read your comments about the bridge section before actually listening. It surely grabs attention once I heard it. Again, it's all preference. As a listener, the transition is abrupt, in your face and lingers. It's not bad by any means, just different. I like the song and how clean everything is. Overall, it just lacks cohesiveness that my ears like to be hit with.

    Again, this comes down to my own preferences and is in no way meant to tear down your mix. It's a fun challenge working with singers that can really sing like the one you've got on your hands. I know the struggle because I've been working on a song in a similar style.
     
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  8. Descent

    Descent SS.org Regular

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    Can she really sing though? On some of the parts the vocal really falls apart for me, nothing to do with the mix, just vox need a redo IMO.
     
  9. axxessdenied

    axxessdenied Arium Addict

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    This is a cool song.
    There's a really audible pop at 2:08 right when everything fades out.
    Your cymbals sound really weird in certain spots, possibly excess saturation. The kick gets lost in the dense section. Sounds like it could be lower in (frequency-wise not volume) mix imo.
     
  10. JohnIce

    JohnIce Singlecoil Enthusiast

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    Thanks for the replies @Descent, @axxessdenied and @Guitarmiester! Been hard at work on what I hope is the final master, but I am noticing that the vocals do appear louder on my single Adam speaker than in my headphones, so I made two versions, one with the original vocal volume and one with less. I'd love to know which you prefer!

    More Vocals: https://soundcloud.com/jntzero/exhale-master-more-vox/s-SJ6HD
    Less Vocals: https://soundcloud.com/jntzero/exhale-master-less-vox/s-OFulU

    @Guitarmiester Thanks for the detailed response :) I like that you managed to see what you didn't like about it as personal preference rather than calling me a n00b :lol: I see what you mean about cohesiveness, I've experimented with testing some verb and delay on the main vocal to blend it into the track, or ease off on the verb on the drums, but it ended up being a win some/lose some deal. Bone-dry vocals have an intimate quality to them that just can't be had any other way, I think. And this drum recording didn't lend itself well to less reverb, because of how shite the OH mics sounded. Having to lower the OHs in the mix meant losing a lot of sustain from the drums into the midrange ocean of other instruments, so it sounds kind of like a tight funk kit without the reverb. Cool sound, just not for this song :lol: I absolutely see what you mean, it just comes down to circumstance really (and a little bit of personal preference of course :))

    @axxessdenied Thanks! :) You're right about the pop, it was a badly cut guitar that I'd failed to notice. I've fixed that since, but good ear for hearing that! :) The cymbals are absolutely crap, I agree. Part of that is we've talked for a year about needing to buy better OH mics, and part of it is we didn't pay enough attention while tracking to see if we could've placed them better. There's no saturation on them at all, they just sound really bad :) As far as the kick goes, it's been a trip for me figuring out really what type of kick the song needs. This kit is really set up for metal which we didn't necessarily want, we did detune and dampen the kick quite a bit for this session and I do think we got it to a good ballpark, but at the end of the day a lot of what I could or couldn't do with the drums was dictated by all the other instruments. The kit sounds massive on its own but as soon as you add the other 100-ish tracks of noise it shrinks again :lol: As it is now, it's at its most "cut through without sounding like Vinnie Paul" place I could find.
     
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  11. Zombie13

    Zombie13 XIII

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    I listened to the "Less Vocals" version about a few times. To me, it has a Meg Myers feel to it and sounds like something I would blast on the regular. Great job.
     
  12. prlgmnr

    prlgmnr ...that kind of idea

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    I would like it if the drums could give the impression of slamming in a bit harder when the chorus hits.
     
  13. KailM

    KailM SS.org Regular

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    I can't pretend to make any recommendations for this mix, but it sounded pretty damned professional if you ask me. That, and like others have mentioned, since it's not the usual SS.O djent or "prog" it's okay in my book. Nice work!

    Edit: That spot where it's just her vocals with no reverb; that sounded like she was standing right behind me. The performance sounded good, but it might be interesting to, as someone else said, give it a "telephone/am radio" treatment (all mids, no highs or lows).
     
  14. JohnIce

    JohnIce Singlecoil Enthusiast

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    Thanks, I'm glad to hear that! :) I hadn't heard of Meg Myers before, thanks for telling me about her, it's right up my alley for sure! :)

    Yeah I've definitely been doing a lot of automation and added fx swooshes and stuff to make that happen. Did you listen to the version in the OP, or the latest one I posted? I've definitely tried to get that effect, sadly the overhead mics sound so bad that it's hard for me to get the drums to "slam" without bringing a ton of nasty high mid frequencies when doing so.

    Thanks! :) I'm not really a fan of the telephone effect as I think it's just been overdone at this point, but it's also part of the point of the bridge to "feel" like something's missing, make you spike your ears a bit and wonder what happened. Like I mentioned earlier, we used to have some chords underneath that section and some verb on the vocals and standard stuff like that, and the bridge kind of just felt like a transport section in between choruses because of it. Now, because it's so completely stripped of anything, it's become the talking point of the song instead :lol: I don't know if that's objectively good or bad, but to me as a producer, it's really interesting as an experiment :)
     
  15. prlgmnr

    prlgmnr ...that kind of idea

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    My inclination would be to back up the kick drum with a sample but that might be stepping on the vibe a bit, maybe a bit more of the dry snare right in the front to give a bit more 'crack'.

    (Actually my biggest instinct is saying MASSIVE FUCK OFF SUB BASS KICK just for a few seconds of the chorus but I can't be certain I'm not an idiot)
     
  16. JohnIce

    JohnIce Singlecoil Enthusiast

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    Haha yeah I hear what you're saying, the drums do get a bit tamed in the mastering, it's unfortunate but that's the price to pay if you want radio play. Maybe a better mastering engineer than myself could do a better job, but we're limited on both time and budget :) I'd love to release a more dynamic version of the song but the goal is radio and pop playlists, which I think is totally the right move for this artist, so it is what it is.
     
  17. JohnIce

    JohnIce Singlecoil Enthusiast

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    Btw, I do think this is the final master now :) Thanks for all the suggestions, I went for the "less vocals" version but added some extra Exciter to the high mids and top end to bring out the consonants of the vocal and a little more crack in the overall mix.

    LINK: https://soundcloud.com/jntzero/exhale-final-master1/s-8mF2U
     
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  18. Descent

    Descent SS.org Regular

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    Nice, that bass now really drives the song nicely. The vocals don't piss me off as much, still shaky IMO but not as badly so.
    Works for me - good job man!
     
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  19. MSS

    MSS SS.org Regular

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    sounds great!
     
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  20. Solodini

    Solodini MORE RESTS!

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    The final mix sounds great and I really like the music. It seems like in the time it took for me to see this, you "fixed" all the things which weren't to my tastes. I'd love to hear more of what you could do with this project. Keep us in the loop?
     
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