The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
How? ** Up Close and Intimate mix ** Reverb & Delay Plugins
Old 2nd January 2011
Gear Nut

How? ** Up Close and Intimate mix **

I'm currently working on a song that is very different from anything I've ever done (similar to --> Natalie - "Stay")
YouTube - Natalie- Stay.

I usually do hip hop, techno, R&B etc, but I have never worked on something as slow as this. HERE IS MY QUESTION:::

How did they get each and every instrument/percussion piece to sound so up close & personal without covering up the vocals and sounding over compressed?

I know that some of it has to do with the amount of headroom freed up from the lack of bass...but what other techniques can be used to best imitate the sound of this record?

I'm using this mix as a reference and whenever I A/B it to my mix, my mix always sounds a lot 'further away' than "Stay".
Old 2nd January 2011
Lives for gear
There are so few elements in the mix and everything fits around the vocal.

I recommend you start with getting the vocal sound you want in tracking (the fewer the elements, the more crucial it is to get the sound right). Make sure the vocal is not recorded too dry, personally I prefer some good room tone to this kind of vocal. It kind of sneaks up and makes it larger when you compress the vocal right (early reflections especially). You can make a tiny vocal sound kind of large by utilizing natural room reflections, but it's really important to use your ears.

When mixing, don't go for lots of verb, since it'll be likely to push the vocal back, which of course is the last thing you want to do for an up close and intimate mix. Instead, do some automation on a delay send if you want a little "spiff" here and there.

Another little trick, if you're not using this already, is to mimic kind of a tape delay to broaden up the vocal a little. If you have SoundToys EchoBoy, they have a great preset called Tape 15 ips to go by. Else you can send the vocal to two delays panned hard left/right, setting the delays to very short delay times with no feedback, will sort of create an illusion that the vocal has a slight stereo bounce to it. This technique takes some getting used to in order to get the desired effect - consider stuff like de-essing heavily before hitting the delays, distorting the delays slightly, or EQ'ing them to sound more warm and fuzzy rather than clear and sharp (don't create low-end build-up though).

As for the instruments, make sure they're played and recorded nicely so they sound great from the get-go. If you have trouble making them sit in their place somewhere behind the vocal using EQ and proper levels, you can try a delay, or even some verb, but always use your ears and make sure you realize what each step is doing to the signal.

That's a few pieces of advice, remember it's trial and error, use your ears and all that good stuff..
Old 2nd January 2011
Lives for gear
Storyville's Avatar
Well - first - take a second listen. What you focus on in that mix is what's close - but in fact there are things that are quite distant. The ambient effects are very separated from the dry sources, creating a sense of large space with the sounds very close. Also, the guitar is a bit under the vocals, and the snaps are bit under that as well - and similarly the ambient effects are a we bit further up to those elements. This reinforces the idea of a big sense of space with the vocals very close.

Now, take a second listen. Are the elements not stepping on each other? That piano line that comes in every now and then does in fact step right in the vocals path - but it happens only for a moment. You'll notice that the piano parts are actually separated as well - there is a close piano chord that plays - but there's also a run that sounds further away.

On the production level - I would say the vocalist was probably pretty durn close to the mic. This is where those ol' U47-87s really shine.

Oh, also, there aren't any heavy drums in the mix. That allows for everything to get really loud without actually having to take out much dynamics - which makes things seem bigger and more in your face.

But I digress - the conclusion is that there is a lot of contrast in the mix, and not everything is truly up close and intimate. But the contrast is a work of subtlety.

Nice reference.

Also, nice track in your sig.
Old 2nd January 2011
Gear Nut

T. Gundersen & Storyville ::::: Thanks for the mix tips and advice. I'll experiment with some of these and see if it helps me out

If anyone else has tips, please post...thanks!
Old 2nd January 2011
Lives for gear

Also subtile panning of the vocals or its mults voire delays..
The guitar is slighlty in the back through volume and I guess high freq damping... (sounds to me like the vocals show more "freq above 8kHz than the guitar"..)
the syncopation of the production helps as was said before.

As far as making suff closer, I would try using soft clipping and an increase on transient sustains.

The rest is taste in the leveling I guess..

NB : this is just my 2cents... might be utterly false
Old 4th January 2011
Gear Nut

B.A.S.E , Thanks for the tips : )
Old 5th January 2011
Gear Nut

Originally Posted by Mr.Cheese View Post
About the sig song, if you did the song, would you be able to describe how you got that effect on the main bass synth with the stutter effect? Was it a gate you used? Was that the patch?
I created this in Ableton using Beat patch, all manual
Top Mentioned Products
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.

Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread Starter / Forum
SDB_12 / Work In Progress / Advice Requested / Show and Tell / Artist Showcase / Mix-Offs
csiking / Work In Progress / Advice Requested / Show and Tell / Artist Showcase / Mix-Offs
Docmattic / Rap + Hip Hop engineering and production

Forum Jump
Forum Jump