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Told that my mix sounds amateurish - how can I improve?
Old 4 days ago
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Told that my mix sounds amateurish - how can I improve?

How can I improve this mix? (asking for help on production, not the song or performance itself)

My track is here:



or here:



I admit it doesn't sound professional, but I don't know what specifically the problems are.

I mixed this with headphones.

I didn't use any compression. Just eq and reverb. I get the feeling maybe I didn't cut enough low end and it's causing muddiness?

Are there any problems that pop out immediately production-wise?

Thanks for your help.

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Old 4 days ago
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...
Old 4 days ago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cavern View Post
The video is broken.
Are you in the US? I think maybe the video doesn't work in other countries. Can you check out the soundcloud link instead?
Old 4 days ago
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Yeah I listened to the link.
Just off hand, the balance between the instruments and the vocals needs work.
The vocals sound pretty cloudy and dull, some eq/comp and reverb or delay needed there I think. Maybe combine 3/4 takes. I know you don't want advice on the song but a better vocal performance would make the mix sound more professional.
Performance and arrangements are the biggest part of a professional sounding mix.

The instruments sound small, maybe combine more than one take and again, I think they need eq/comp and some effects maybe different effect on the different take and send them to a bus with mild glue compression.
Comp on the master bus.
There are many ways to do it but it sounds like it needs balance overall.
JMO
Old 4 days ago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cavern View Post
Yeah I listened to the link.
Just off hand, the balance between the instruments and the vocals needs work.
The vocals sound pretty cloudy and dull, some eq/comp and reverb or delay needed there I think. Maybe combine 3/4 takes. I know you don't want advice on the song but a better vocal performance would make the mix sound more professional.
Performance and arrangements are the biggest part of a professional sounding mix.

The instruments sound small, maybe combine more than one take and again, I think they need eq/comp and some effects maybe different effect on the different take and send them to a bus with mild glue compression.
Comp on the master bus.
There are many ways to do it but it sounds like it needs balance overall.
JMO
Thanks for the information!

Can you elaborate on eqing a bit. How high would you high pass filter vocals... is around 150Hz ok... too high?
Old 4 days ago
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I don't think its a high pass issue. 150 is high for my taste. There is important information there. 100 or less for male vocals.

Depends what your going for but I would first put compression on them, maybe just 2/3 db just to level. Then I would try a broad but minor cut around 250/300 and add again a broad but minor boost centered at 1k. I would start there and see if I can clean and shape it.
Gotta start somewhere and move from there.
Old 4 days ago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cavern View Post
I don't think its a high pass issue. 150 is high for my taste. There is important information there. 100 or less for male vocals.

Depends what your going for but I would first put compression on them, maybe just 2/3 db just to level. Then I would try a broad but minor cut around 250/300 and add again a broad but minor boost centered at 1k. I would start there and see if I can clean and shape it.
Gotta start somewhere and move from there.
Thanks. So is the cloudy/muddy range for vocals usually around 250-300 Hz?
Old 4 days ago
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Old 4 days ago
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Originally Posted by Noisewagon View Post
whoa, so the vocals are that bad?
Old 4 days ago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rectifiedMind View Post
Thanks. So is the cloudy/muddy range for vocals usually around 250-300 Hz?
250/300 isn't always the cloudy/muddy range. It depends on the singer.
Start there, then sweep around. Same with the 1k thing sweep and listen.
Old 4 days ago
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Originally Posted by rectifiedMind View Post
whoa, so the vocals are that bad?
Yes.
Old 4 days ago
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Originally Posted by Noisewagon View Post
Yes.
So just practice everyday. I've known guys who sucked when I met them, who eventually had radio hits.
Old 4 days ago
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Be goal oriented, don't be all "willy-nilly". In other words, don't make every mix decision into an experiment about "what should I do on this track/sound/instrument", listen for things that are obvious first, like levels that are way wrong, things right on top of each other that can be panned apart without being distracting. Then listen for less obvious things.

Think about why they displease you. Is it the wrong sound or is it that the sound isn't sitting well? The wrong sound can't be made right by compression or EQ. Sometimes pitch and time based processors can help, but usually bad sounds should either be muted or replaced, or tucked behind something that covers the bad part of the timbre you don't like. The point is, you should know what each processor does, you're not going to find some special setting that fixes bad sounds. You might find a setting that makes something inconsistent into something more consistent, or something too small or too big into a just right size. Your long term goal is a pleasing and musical mix, you get to that goal by picking short term goals as described above. Never let your goal from the start be loudness, however making one instrument as loud as possible and mixing around that as an effect is a viable goal to get a rhythmically or melodically focused mix.

If two things that sit well together each need compression or eq (or delay, or reverb or flanger or chorus, etc) to sit with the rest of the mix, apply the same processor to both via a submix, rather than effecting them individually. You'll end up with much more cohesive overall timbre. Using two plugins and sharing them between 12 tracks will sound a lot better than 12 plugins on 12 tracks. The individual processing should have been done during tracking. Mixing isn't about fixing sounds, it's about FITTING sounds together.
Old 4 days ago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rectifiedMind View Post
Thanks. So is the cloudy/muddy range for vocals usually around 250-300 Hz?
This is a newbie mistake when you approach EQ like a mathematician and look to apply generic fixes without knowledge. Similar to using EQ presets. But many go through it including myself.

Lay down some songs with each track bounced down in isolation then pay for an experienced mixing/mastering engineer and sit in on the session. This is the single most valuable thing you can do and will save you years of stumbling in the dark. The next best thing is doing similar online and getting a feedback report. Also get familiar with spectrum analysers to analyse reference material. And ear training software can be useful.
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