tips for mixing a poorly recorded track
Old 26th August 2010
  #31
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by justin81 View Post
aight, here's what i'm working with....
the first track is the rough mix that i was given...
notice how thin it is (but loud)...
terrible snare, etc etc...

the second is where i'm at, not done,
but christ, a headache...
i swapped the snare with a sample,
fattened everything up...

when i went to throw it thru my faux-mastering pre-sets,
it wasn't pretty...
so the "loudness" is noticeably lower for now...

give it to me, fellas...
eeeeeeeekkk?
You really think that's poorly recorded through and through?

You really think that's a terrible snare? Honestly?

...



I was expecting a trainwreck, but apparently you don't know what that sounds like, cause this ain't it. There are actually performances in this! There are people putting some effort into it! You're way better off than you think.

I would only call a project unmixable if it had no compelling factors whatsoever. I rarely base it on fidelity. Beautiful raw tracks are great and all, but there has to be something there first. If, perchance, it has technical limitations that stop me from doing my job, that's another red flag. Drum overheads submixed, guitars submixed, missing parts, etc. Stupid (and unintentional) decisions that don't help anyone.

Work with what you have and stop complaining. It's so much better than what you describe.
Old 26th August 2010
  #32
Lives for gear
 
Player1's Avatar
 

Player1

I would be more concerned about the tentative playing and lack of energy. I would drumagog the snare a kick at least and get samples that sound like the drums were hit a lot harder. I would first concentrate on big drums and bass to take the pressure off of the guitars. I would stick sans amp or some kind of plug in on the guitar tracks for edge and girth. Tasteful delays and some good compression and you could get it to come around. For me I would need to work on the feel so they don't feel like they are about to fall a sleep recording. Good and punchy drum samples would help that. After that...... it is what it is!
Old 26th August 2010
  #33
Lives for gear
 
headspin's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
hey guys,
thanks for the input, this site really is amazing!
to be clear, the original track is crisp, true. that's because it has no bottom!!
maybe it's just me, but getting a good bottom end is the most difficult task in recording and mixing....
that's what i tried to focus on with this remix.
adding a lower dimension...

so going with the census here, i tried to merge to urgency of my friend's rough mix with the bottom i thought it lacked...
i used the sample snare replacement, but it's blended with the room overheads which picked up a lot of the original snare....

and to the folks who thought i put too much 'verb on it, ahhh, i like 'verb...

so here again is the original, followed by my final remix (which i just finished a few minutes ago):::
of course, i'll prolly wake up tomorrow and change a few things with fresh ears...
but i'd still love to hear anyone's thoughts as to what's wrong with it...

and fyi, i'm not great at mastering, so mind the minor "loudness" distortion...
guess i'll fix that tomorrow too....
Attached Files
File Type: mp3 ct-scratch mix (10.09).mp3 (3.92 MB, 120 views)
File Type: mp3 ct3-remix-fm2.mp3 (4.87 MB, 155 views)
Old 26th August 2010
  #34
Gear interested
 

i REALLY like the vibe of this song. im not listening to it on anything worth listening to at the moment, but for now i wish the bassline was a little hotter in the second mix. there has to be a sweet spot there somewhere i really dig it. the vocals have this icy sound to them that i really dig. they arent like ice picks but they have this really cool slickness to them that is still lofi. very cool thumbsup
Old 26th August 2010
  #35
Gear addict
 

The snare on the scratch mix seems to have more low end, a deeper sound. On the remix, it sounds thinner to me. It seems like there's a little more reverb on it in the remix, which sounds nice. But that reverb applied to the original, deeper snare might bring out an ever better ambiance. I agree with other posts about the remix being darker. The lows in the bass and kick are boosted, but the mids aren't as punchy or defined. And like I said, the snare sounds like too many lows have been taken out, or it's the result of a sample that lacked the lows of the original in the first place. But other than that, I can definitely see the improvement that you made by boosting the lows. I'd say you got that right, which was the biggest concern that you had. Now it's just a matter of fine-tuning the minor issues.
Old 26th August 2010
  #36
Lives for gear
 
Hardtoe's Avatar
 

As several posters have already pointed out - that track is oozing vibe.

I am listening on a laptop right now (will check it out in the studio tomorrow), but the rough has bags of character and some really great energy.

Your mix seems to turn some wild, character filled shit into muzak.

Sorry to say it, but I think you have totally the wrong focus here - you need to listen more like a producer and less like an insecure engineering school grad who thinks the other guys are laughing at his kik drum behind his back.

Any music with soul can be good - just find whats working and accentuate the strengths. It seems like you are working against the vibe is an effort to fix the sound - the opposite is your real goal. You want to enhance the vibe, even if the drums has to be in mono 10db lower than the vocal, of if the bass has to blob all other all the other shit just to make it happen (or whateva).

A totally balanced mix is not necessarily the most happening mix, or the mix that serves the artist/song the best. Listen to some old funk recorded in crude studios - sounds FANTASTIC and has all the balls needed to rock your ass off - not a clean or balanced sound in site.

People are sick of over produced, grided, tuned, flat ass shit.

Blow the doors off - show the modern public there still a little life left in the recording scene - it'll get a lot more attention than some more radio pap.

Check this out for reference:

http://www.phobospeepl.dk/documents/shitty1.pdf

http://www.phobospeepl.dk/documents/shitty2.pdf

"Shitty is Pretty" - These are written by Gabriel Roth who runs Daptone Studio - check it out.

Daptone Records - Keep Putting Soul Up

If it is such an effort to mix a cool band like this, then send em my way - I would enjoy it!
Old 26th August 2010
  #37
Lives for gear
 
KBOY's Avatar
 

I listened to the 1st version in it's entiretly. I shut down iTunes to post 4 bars into the 2 nd version..

You completely destroyed the original.....


Heres what my little pea brain thinks. I like this song, a lot kind of..

This band needs to practice more, but more importantly they need an old/new school producer to help set vibe and track this band properly.. The worst thing about this song is the way they all gel together. It sounds like they are not feeling each other, or that they are tracking alone. The drummer gets bored a lot and slows down or what ever it is and it messes with the grove..

The recording process that is becoming the norm can be waaaay too isolating..

This band needs to record basic tracks TOGETHER.. In a GREAT room.

I'd produce these guys in a minute.. Cool stuff!
Who are they?
Old 26th August 2010
  #38
Lives for gear
 
KBOY's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardtoe View Post
As several posters have already pointed out - that track is oozing vibe.

I am listening on a laptop right now (will check it out in the studio tomorrow), but the rough has bags of character and some really great energy.

Your mix seems to turn some wild, character filled shit into muzak.

Sorry to say it, but I think you have totally the wrong focus here - you need to listen more like a producer and less like an insecure engineering school grad who thinks the other guys are laughing at his kik drum behind his back.

Any music with soul can be good - just find whats working and accentuate the strengths. It seems like you are working against the vibe is an effort to fix the sound - the opposite is your real goal. You want to enhance the vibe, even if the drums has to be in mono 10db lower than the vocal, of if the bass has to blob all other all the other shit just to make it happen (or whateva).

A totally balanced mix is not necessarily the most happening mix, or the mix that serves the artist/song the best. Listen to some old funk recorded in crude studios - sounds FANTASTIC and has all the balls needed to rock your ass off - not a clean or balanced sound in site.

People are sick of over produced, grided, tuned, flat ass shit.

Blow the doors off - show the modern public there still a little life left in the recording scene - it'll get a lot more attention than some more radio pap.

Check this out for reference:

http://www.phobospeepl.dk/documents/shitty1.pdf

http://www.phobospeepl.dk/documents/shitty2.pdf

"Shitty is Pretty" - These are written by Gabriel Roth who runs Daptone Studio - check it out.

Daptone Records - Keep Putting Soul Up

If it is such an effort to mix a cool band like this, then send em my way - I would enjoy it!
Absolutely!!
Old 26th August 2010
  #39
Lives for gear
 
KBOY's Avatar
 

the original is still better in the most resent postings.
Old 26th August 2010
  #40
Gear Guru
 
AllAboutTone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beechwood View Post
imo you're trying to turn it into something that it's not. The original doesn't sound 'good' obviously, but it sounds a lot more 'right' to me.

You've sucked out all the mids, and the verb doesn't fit.

Not trying to rub you up the wrong way, but if you polish it that much, you're making it more turdy than it already was.

Keep the drums real and dirty, don't use any fancy verbs, probably convolution of real smallish spaces, then just balance it well. Keep it real, in your face. Think garage rather than big hall. Try riding faders instead of over compressing or you might bring out loads of crap you don't want.
I agree, but the compression was better, added life and the sidechain (if any) was working for the track.
Old 26th August 2010
  #41
Listening on Aurora+NS10s & sub and the rough mix is very nice. It is a bit bright and could maybe use some sub-lows but there are many sexy elements-- 1) the typewriter-ish guitars 2) creative vocal fx/panning 3)drums have a nice sense of space

The fm2 mix sounds more clouded and although it has more bass, it isn't really sexy bass. I'm trying to pinpoint something sexy in this mix but I'm having a tough time. It sounds like there isn't much hi-freq carving going on and there seems to be a big cloud of "bleh" in the 200-300-ish range. Techical preferences aside, this mix is just not as creative as the other one. I don't mean to be insulting or anything but it just seems like the other guy's style might be a better match for this artist.
Old 26th August 2010
  #42
Gear nut
 
Bobine's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardtoe View Post
...you need to listen more like a producer....

Any music with soul can be good - just find whats working and accentuate the strengths.
thumbsupthumbsupthumbsup

I'd pass the bass through an 1176, maybe the vocals through a great tube preamp, make some edits, coax it all into shape then stand back. You're lucky to get to work on a recording like that. I listened all the way through, liked it...and still remember it. Um, that's pretty rare, ya know...
Old 26th August 2010
  #43
Gear interested
 

Seems like the one thing everyone agrees on is that that band doesn't need a new recording session just to get better micing and less noise. They need another session because we all feel they have talent that isn't coming through the way they recorded it. They don't sound quite tight enough in some places, the song drags, and there is no ending. The good news, though, is that it still might work as a demo, since, again, everyone seems to like them.

About the second mix, I like what you did with the guitar but I would warn once again away from overtreating the vocals and the piano. I dunno, though, I guess you can't spend your whole life on a free project. You eliminated a fair amount of the annoying noise and got it to sound a little fuller so regardless of our differences in taste, you gave them what I presume they brought it to you to get!
Old 26th August 2010
  #44
Moderator
 
Blast9's Avatar
 

Turn the vocals up!
Old 26th August 2010
  #45
Lives for gear
 
Crash's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by KBOY View Post
....but more importantly they need an old/new school producer to help set vibe and track this band properly..
If I were their producer, the first thing I would do is kill the minute long intro...that is killing me. One quarter of the song is the intro and it is not really doing anything other than same groove bar after bar. Same for the break in the middle of the tune. It just has an unfinished feel to me.

As for mixing, I might consider sample replacing the kick but I would work with the rest of the sounds. Some of them are not that bad and I think it has more life when the original stuff is there in my opinion.
Old 26th August 2010
  #46
3 + infractions, forum membership suspended.
 
RARStudios's Avatar
I agree with the above posts...dont complain.

I just mixed 18 rap tracks and mastered and melodyned them.

EVERY vocal track was literally peaking the whole time.

Talk about HARD to please this guy complained about everything even though theres NO way I coulda made it sound any better than I did.

Get over it. Things will only get harder if you are complaining about this.

-Evan
Old 26th August 2010
  #47
Lives for gear
 
headspin's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
i guess i should offer a few more details about the track....

it was a quick demo done by members of a friend's band (the drummer and bassist/keys/singer dude who did all the overdubs).... the track is for one of their friends who raps... so the long instrumental parts are designed to be rapped over....

they did a quick mix when they initially did the song, which i posted.. the rapper dude didn't like the mix, the band didn't like the mix, the drummer hates the drum tones, etc etc....
(and i don't like the original, the snare drum is annoying, the vox/guitar way too thin)

so they gave it to me to make "sound good"... while i agree the original has a freshness and urgency, i was, after all, asked to remix it!

i understand the sentiment that i'm trying to "make it into something it's not"... again, that's what i was asked to do. literally, i'm trying to re-envision someone's poorly recorded demo for semi-professional use!

to those who gave me useful input, i truly appreciate it...
thanks yall
Old 26th August 2010
  #48
Gear addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by justin81 View Post
(and i don't like the original, the snare drum is annoying
Really? I don't know - the second version with the sampled "snare" sounds more like a hi-hat than a snare. Way too thin. I like the deeper sound of the original snare, especially if you're remixing to boose the low end anyway. The hi-hat snare sticks out as being out of place with the rest of the kit in that mix.
Old 26th August 2010
  #49
has all the gear he needs
 
Unclenny's Avatar
 

Just got a chance to listen.

The first mix does it for me. I'd be drawing in some careful volume automation until it sounded ....right.

.......then some compression.
Old 26th August 2010
  #50
Lives for gear
 
headspin's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
final remix

as promised, i tweaked my remix with fresh morning ears...
while i didn't like the old snare as some of you did, i did realize that a "dirt" was missing from it, and that 'grit' was a driving factor in the song...
so i added a triplet 16th note delay to the sampled snare to fill it up, dirty it...
also i boosted the vocal, and made the bass not as deep (but still fuller than the original)...
and so this is done. i like it. hate if you want. lol
Attached Files
File Type: mp3 ct3-final-remix.mp3 (4.87 MB, 82 views)
Old 26th August 2010
  #51
Gear maniac
 
who?'s Avatar
 

Hmm... this thread is so subjective it hurts.

It seems to me like this band wants to sound like all the stuff on the radio - and accidently hit on something that sounded mega cool (to those of us who appreciate that lofi vibey sound)

The tracks are simply recorded too lofi for the sound that could work for them - if they wanted to go in a different direction. I could hear this sounding mega produced and sounding just as kick ass.

As it stands this track is lying in some in between place - where it isn't vibey enough for the lofi guys - and definitely isn't hifi enough for the pop crowd.

The advice in this thread is solid - and you would be unwise to write it off and do things that a general consensus of people find to be negative. Although it's very opinion oriented - you would be hard-pressed to find any group of people who wouldn't come to the same conclusions on this track. Who is the audience here - the band or the people listening to the music?

I would suggest maybe even showing the band this thread. Try to remove EGO from the equation and do what is best for the track. If they want a pop hifi recording and image - they are falling way short if they don't retrack things. If they are going for the modern lofi sound - it's already there.

I realize you are in a tough spot in all of this - especially doing it for free. Your mixes definitely have solid improvements - but they are improvements that belong in something that was tracked entirely different.

Good luck in your endeavors - and I personally feel that the vocals STILL need to come up in the mix.
Old 26th August 2010
  #52
Lives for gear
 
Hardtoe's Avatar
 

I dont hate it - but I dont like it.

I still stand by my earlier sentiments that the newer mixes (including the last one) do not really pay attention to the strengths of the recording.

The band may buy that it sounds more "modern", which it does, but the groove is weakened and the mistakes are a lot more obvious. All the coolest sounds are minimized - it is the mixers stamp at the cost of the soul of the track.

I think that it would be better to build on the foundation that you were given (which had some strong features aside from its overly loose moments).

Here is a rough version of what I suggest - I have compressed the mix to have more groove and eq'ed the mix to give a better balance (although it is still a touch crispy in the choruses, it is what I could achieve with a 128 kbps mp3 that was pretty flippin clipped).

To me this captures the groove of the tune and presents it in a good light.

Maybe this is an example of how some bands need to let mixers come up with a good sound for "them" instead of trying to ape the latest radio mixes.

(Note that it is just a segment as I had to make an MP3 out of an already tortured audio file so I did a 320 bit rate to keep things as good as possible)

Happy Mixing.
Attached Files
Old 26th August 2010
  #53
Lives for gear
 
Darm's Avatar
 

The first mix is pretty good, the synth bass line needs a bit of eq, and kickdrum needs some lows, otherways its cool)
The second mix is extremely boring and has these horrible fake drumsounds
Old 26th August 2010
  #54
Lives for gear
 
headspin's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
i guess it's cool to approach this as a philosophical question, and i can't argue the cases made against lofi/hifi, the intention of the band, etc etc...

but remember, i was asked to do a job (albeit free).

if you hired someone to remodel your kitchen, and they came over to tell you your kitchen was fine, you'd be pissed, eh?

the band doesn't like the original mix, and wants a higher degree of sonic quality. they don't want it to sound like a 70's funk record, however cool anyone thinks that is (i certainly do)...

again, the OP was asking how to improve poorly tracked signals.
NOT whether or not they should be remixed!!

to the people who offered ideas on how to make the remix sound good/better, i thank you.
to those who offered philosophical points, that's good conversation topic, but irrelevant to how i can do the job i was asked to do...
Old 26th August 2010
  #55
Lives for gear
 
Hardtoe's Avatar
 

A higher degree of sonic quality comes mostly from the tracking.



You did what you could, but only really gave them a different kind of modern shitty - your mix is not higher fidelity - only a more more "pressed" sound.



My point was that a good mix could come out of their tracking as it is - to go further they really need to hire you from the start (with, dare I say it, money).

This is not a dig against you, but really is more about the philosophy of mixing and the potential of any given tracks which a mixer might receive (which come at MANY levels of quality).
Old 26th August 2010
  #56
Gear maniac
 
Beechwood's Avatar
 

I quite like your last remix, it's a good compromise. The only things I would try from here is wider panning on the guitars, stick a bit of LA2A style compression on the piano, and maybe try distorting the bass a bit, maybe in parallel. Still not certain about the verb on the piano, if I were you I would try to find an EMT 140 impulse or a similar plate; a darker characterful verb rather than a pretty bright one.

But I think you've done a good job, sounds like the band should be happy.

Anyway, you think this is bad, you should try eqing a vocal where the singer sang into the wrong side of the mic. Fun.
Old 26th August 2010
  #57
3 + infractions, forum membership suspended.
I like this song
Old 26th August 2010
  #58
Gear addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by justin81 View Post
i guess it's cool to approach this as a philosophical question, and i can't argue the cases made against lofi/hifi, the intention of the band, etc etc...

but remember, i was asked to do a job (albeit free).

if you hired someone to remodel your kitchen, and they came over to tell you your kitchen was fine, you'd be pissed, eh?

the band doesn't like the original mix, and wants a higher degree of sonic quality. they don't want it to sound like a 70's funk record, however cool anyone thinks that is (i certainly do)...

again, the OP was asking how to improve poorly tracked signals.
NOT whether or not they should be remixed!!

to the people who offered ideas on how to make the remix sound good/better, i thank you.
to those who offered philosophical points, that's good conversation topic, but irrelevant to how i can do the job i was asked to do...
Well, was your problem with how the song was tracked, or how it was originially mixed? There's a difference. While the original mix may have made some of the tracking issues painfully obvious, the mix could have also gotten certain elements right. It shouldn't be so hard to consider dealing with the issues on the individual tracks (eq, compression, reverb, etc), and then keeping a similar mix with regard to track volume levels and panning.
Old 27th August 2010
  #59
Gear interested
 

A rap, really!? Not to sound like a know-it-all, but I've rapped over lazily played drums before and it was incredibly challenging to sound punchy and authoritative. So unless your rapper is very new school (or what we would've called back in the day very west coast), I think he is going to hate it until you get that drummer to tighten up.

OK, but if you're absolutely stuck with this then I think your second mix is moving in the right direction. I think you're going to want more, more, more emphasis on the bass, and ease off on the snare a little, and bring the guitars up more. They're the most reliable rhythm instrument in this, actually, because the drums are a mess and the bass line is too fluid to be very punchy. The guitarist has good time. Also, I honestly do like most of the improvements you've made, but the phase effects in the vocals are starting to annoy me. Maybe I should try giving it a listen on some speakers instead of headphones... ^^;
Old 27th August 2010
  #60
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by justin81 View Post
i guess it's cool to approach this as a philosophical question, and i can't argue the cases made against lofi/hifi, the intention of the band, etc etc...

but remember, i was asked to do a job (albeit free).

if you hired someone to remodel your kitchen, and they came over to tell you your kitchen was fine, you'd be pissed, eh?

the band doesn't like the original mix, and wants a higher degree of sonic quality. they don't want it to sound like a 70's funk record, however cool anyone thinks that is (i certainly do)...

again, the OP was asking how to improve poorly tracked signals.
NOT whether or not they should be remixed!!

to the people who offered ideas on how to make the remix sound good/better, i thank you.
to those who offered philosophical points, that's good conversation topic, but irrelevant to how i can do the job i was asked to do...
-Time correction

-Tuning

-Automation including mutes

-Compression; multiband compression

-EQ

-Multing or parallel processing

-Sample replacement

-FX (sometimes masking)

-Re-amping

-Re-tracking (usually out of the question)
New Reply Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook  Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter  Submit Thread to LinkedIn LinkedIn  Submit Thread to Google+ Google+ 
 
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
Creative Apathy / Rap + Hip Hop engineering & production
28
I-am-challenged / So much gear, so little time!
22
Boochiezooka / So much gear, so little time!
0
juicylime / So much gear, so little time!
8

Forum Jump
 
Register FAQ Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

SEO by vBSEO ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.