Seeking Constructive Criticism on my Mix: SELF-PRODUCED INSTRUMENTAL PROG METAL EP

Christopher Har V

Real name: Max Prog
Joined
Apr 12, 2019
Messages
77
Reaction score
36
Location
Minneapolis, MN. USA
My bedroom studio is modest, and I know my limits. However, I am working with some noteworthy gear, such as Superior Drummer 2.0 w/Prog Foundry, a Royer 121 microphone, a pair of UA TwinFinity preamps, Mesa Boogie amplification, very good GK acoustic treatment & isolation for tracking, some pretty revealing monitors, and a very god genelec sub to pair with them. Also running a decent little RME ADI-2 AD/DA converter for tracking and monitoring.

Now that you know the context, I would sincerely appreciate any constructive criticism of my mix:

I'm looking to release another EP within about 5-6 months. I basically want to get the instruments to sit more independently of one another, and not sound so overlapping... I believe this will come from taming the mids back quite a bit more, but I really do not want to lose that lively breath that sits in the mids.

This is some pretty fun material to listen to in and of itself, so it shouldn't be too much of a chore for any fellow prog head out there!

Thank you for your time and attention! Cheers from MN, USA!
 
Last edited:

Exchanger

SS.org Regular
Joined
Jan 21, 2017
Messages
244
Reaction score
243
Location
The Netherlands
It's overall good, you have some nice tones.
However the biggest issue is that the rythm guitar is too loud, and it's hard to hear the nuances in the other instruments. On the clean passages without it, things are quite alright.
The lead lines tend to have too much delay/ reverb which puts them in the background. Of course you want that nice soaring tone, but I think it's a bit overdone here. Also in some occasions the delay just muddies things up into a soup of mid-range notes.
Then there's some fine tuning on the drums : the kick could use a little more of that click, and the sanre could have some more clarity, alo adding some high end rpesence, some attack a filtering the lows a bit.
 

Christopher Har V

Real name: Max Prog
Joined
Apr 12, 2019
Messages
77
Reaction score
36
Location
Minneapolis, MN. USA
Man thank you. These were my suspicions, but it's good to hear them affirmed by a good ear. I can't believe I let the rhythm guitars get so loud! Haha, a telltale sign that the guitarist did the mix. It is also VERY guitar-focused material, so that adds to that malfocus.

And yeah... the mid soup haha I feel it. That is a good point. I crave that soaring lead sound for the solos, but then yeah... that mid soup begins brewin.

And yeah, on laptop speakers the kick can disappear at parts, which is definitely that issue with it's click. Snare ended up being too quiet, and I think this was because I boosted 200Hz just a little too much, to where boosting the overall level made the snare's OOMPH overpowering. I also high-shelved my snare around, what was it... the 11500-12500Hz region? It was a pretty moderate shelf, sloping down to about -6dB at the 20kHz mark. Too much of that presence in the snare can make it sound awkwardly like some kind of marching band snare, imo. What do you think about that move, to high-shelf the snare? Maybe I should have only done it to the snare bottom.

Also, I'm looking to make the attack of the toms more distinct from the attack of the kick in my next mix. In this mix, however, I chose two very different points in the frequency spectrum to boost for that presence of attack. (Toms were somewhere around like 1750-2500 for that lower THWOCK, kick was somewhere around 6.8-7.5 kHz for a strong click that isn't too thin.) Yet the transients for both of them sound so identical (this is especially notable at the outro for "The Catch" beginning @ 14:08.)
 

Exchanger

SS.org Regular
Joined
Jan 21, 2017
Messages
244
Reaction score
243
Location
The Netherlands
a good ear
Note, I'm by no means a pro, in fact, if my mixes were like yours I would be already quite happy.

I crave that soaring lead sound for the solos, but then yeah... that mid soup begins brewin.
Some reverb plugins allow you to control how much high end and low end go into the reverb, maybe one of these can be the answer here ?

laptop speakers
I would definitely not use these to reference mixes. In fact, I left a band partly because the drummer was being a diva, telling the engineer his kick didn't have any oomph, and when I asked "are you sure, what are you listening the trial mixes on ?" he said "on my laptop". Then he complained that my e-mails to the engineer were not professional enough.

What do you think about that move, to high-shelf the snare?
Not a bad move in essence, but here I think you could roll back a bit on that. I mostly have a mild boost of the whole 3kHz and up and then a not too narrow peak boost somewhere between 2 and 5kHz wherever it sounds nicest to me.
 

Seybsnilksz

SS.org Regular
Joined
Sep 13, 2013
Messages
646
Reaction score
335
Location
Gothenburg, Sweden
I agree with what's been said. Good tones, but issues in the balance, mainly with the guitars being too loud. Drums are on the natural side, which is great (a taste thing of course, personally I like both), but it becomes a problem when the guitars are loud. Especially kick and snare disappear in some sections (a lot of modern mixes has the opposite problem, too much kick/snare and the cymbals are quiet and tiny sounding).
 

Drew

Forum MVP
Joined
Aug 17, 2004
Messages
31,556
Reaction score
8,142
Location
Somerville, MA
Not a ton to add now that I can check these out on a real set of speakers - jumping around a bit, your lead tone is nice, your rhythm tone is kind of boxy and significantly louder than the rest of the mix. Goping out on a limb, I'm guessing the reason for this is it isn't really cutting when you back it off, so a little more high end bite in the call it 6-7khz range would probably help here. Bass is getting eaten alive by the rhythm guitars, too, which is odd because they sound like they have a lot of low mids, but that you probably did some aggressive high passing.

Referencing your other thread, if this was the 121 on its own, backing this off a few db below a carefully-placed SM57 and using it to support and fill out the SM57 as a primary mic for your rhythm tone would probably help a lot here.
 

Christopher Har V

Real name: Max Prog
Joined
Apr 12, 2019
Messages
77
Reaction score
36
Location
Minneapolis, MN. USA
"Referencing your other thread" haha dude, nice! Thank you:)
As much as I adore my 121, I would never use it in solitude. This is the 121 paired with the e609, which I have running about 5dB higher than the 121 in the mix. Each EQ'd independently, pretty minimally.
And this amp isn't even a recto, it's the JP-2C. I'm using a recto on my next EP because of the material -- it's prog metal covers of some very interesting synthwave pieces, so I want a bit more of an electrifying sound which I think the recto can put forth. Plus, the recto is newer to me than the JP2C, so I haven't even recorded formally with it yet.

But yeah, I think I tried to tame the harsh frequencies in my rhythm guitar tone too much, and this ended up making the tone lack BITE to the point where it had to be too loud in the mix to really CUT.
 

Drew

Forum MVP
Joined
Aug 17, 2004
Messages
31,556
Reaction score
8,142
Location
Somerville, MA
And this amp isn't even a recto, it's the JP-2C. I'm using a recto on my next EP because of the material -- it's prog metal covers of some very interesting synthwave pieces, so I want a bit more of an electrifying sound which I think the recto can put forth. Plus, the recto is newer to me than the JP2C, so I haven't even recorded formally with it yet.

But yeah, I think I tried to tame the harsh frequencies in my rhythm guitar tone too much, and this ended up making the tone lack BITE to the point where it had to be too loud in the mix to really CUT.
That makes way more sense - I have a Roadster that's mostly gathering dust since I bought a Mark-V, and I've always thought the Roadster is the most lead-friendly of the Rectos I've played, in Ch. 3 where it gets a lot smoother than I'm used to hearing from a Dual or Triple. I was wondering how the fuck you got an even smoother sound than I was getting out of a Rectifier on its own. :lol:

But yeah I think your conclusion there is on point - a brighter, more aggressive, more cutting rhythm tone would still carry plenty of weight in the mix and would sit really well, without having to be so loud as to overpower everything like your guitars are here. You've got a very BIG rhythm sound going here, but you'd be surprised just how small metal rhythm tones can be and still absolutely crush in a mix. Especially in an instrumental context like this where you also need to leave lots of space for a lead guitar, I'd err on going smaller and more present.
 

Christopher Har V

Real name: Max Prog
Joined
Apr 12, 2019
Messages
77
Reaction score
36
Location
Minneapolis, MN. USA
Aye, brilliant advice man, thank you for helping me think through this and plan ahead for my next recording. And that's an interesting note you say about the Roadster being superb for lead tones, I'll keep that in mind.
 

Drew

Forum MVP
Joined
Aug 17, 2004
Messages
31,556
Reaction score
8,142
Location
Somerville, MA
Hey, I've switched to my Mark V for leads for virtually everything, but it really was (IMO) the best of the bunch for a smooth lead sound.
 


Top