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
mixing: artist wants lots of reverb, but i Hate it. what to do? Spatial Processor Plugins
Old 28th January 2012
  #1
Lives for gear
mixing: artist wants lots of reverb, but i Hate it. what to do?

I`m currently mixing a piano ballad type song. I also did the string arrangement. The artist wants to drown the vocal in reverb but I hate it. It just sounds so 80s. what schould I do? Right now the vocal is very intimate but not totally dry, I use several efx.. I feel I cant mix like this and it will just be embarrasing for me as crediting goes. I know the artist is always right in the end but I think shes not up to date with todays music and use of efx. Any advice?
Old 28th January 2012
  #2
time to open your mind, and experiment till you get something that works for the artist and doesn't make you twitch
Old 28th January 2012
  #3
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Just make her happy. A happy client who likes you is the most important thing.

Besides, if the reverb makes the record suck, it's a record nobody will ever hear so credit (or blame) for the mix doesn't matter. And once she goes away, you can always mix it however you want.
Old 28th January 2012
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Beat Poet's Avatar
 

It's a pity you couldn't use a room to get the sound, rather than a copious amount of reverb, which'll always sound fake.
Old 28th January 2012
  #5
Lives for gear
 
recordinghopkins's Avatar
have her bring you some music that sounds like what she is looking for. Make her search it out and do some homework, her taste may change when she finds something contemporary that has great vocals. What style of music is this?
Old 28th January 2012
  #6
Not the M7. Try one of those and it may change your mind.

I would also run a couple of mixes without, just to CYA if she comes back with her tail between her legs.
Old 28th January 2012
  #7
Lives for gear
thanks guys. I know. open my mind. good advice, and of course I can have my own version But I try to help her have the song as good as possible. And she sings very good. But I think she only listens to 80s music and I think that she will be more recognized with a more modern mixing approach. And her dream is being on the radio. I just want the song not to sound totally dated
Old 28th January 2012
  #8
Maybe eq the verb to sit more subtly in the mix and or automate it to wet the sexy spots while pulling back where the verb is getting in the way so the whole vocal isn't drowned.
Old 28th January 2012
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

I actually disagree that reverb is out of fashion - listen to Adele for example.

You should trust the artist as it is her vision then do a version that you would do and compare.

Reverb is in as far as I'm concerned.
Old 28th January 2012
  #10
Gear Maniac
 

Whose record is it, after all? Who is paying for it? Is it understood that you are the producer? If you really can't bear to do it the way the client wants it, maybe you should suggest she have someone else mix it, and request that your name be excluded from the album credits.
Old 28th January 2012
  #11
Yeah, what Daez said. Try automating the verb to only come in on the tail ends of the words so it rings out in the silence but doesn't get mushy when she sings. Also, try many different reverbs and various amounts of pre-delay. Sometimes more pre-delay and shorter verbs can add ambiance without being overwhelming.
It sounds like she might want something to fill in some space. Have you suggested a very quiet synth pad?
Also, be sure to complement her vocals a lot and often. If she thinks her voice sounds bad she will be more prone to want to bury it in reverb and effects.
Old 28th January 2012
  #12
Gear Maniac
 

Who's paying the bill? If she is, then you give her what she wants... regardless of what YOU want.

Now, if you are offering some services for free, then you have a right to give her your input and the reasoning behind it (and you should probably do that anyway... that's why she is working with you to begin with). But in the end, if she continues to fight you, then you need to give her what she wants.... because in the end, you can't be sure that what YOU want is the "right" way to do it either.

I'm in marketing... and heavily involved in an industry that "tests, tests and tests some more". I can't tell you the number of times that I've seen people say this test or that test is awesome and will win hands down. Only to see it completely flop. And I'm talking about creative people who have had years and years of experience in their field. As we say in the industry... "that's why we test". Because can never tell how the market will react and perceive something.

I will suggest to you... it can happen in the music industry too. What you think is a hit record, can often flop. In addition, your idea of producing a modern vocal sound may be exactly what you shouldn't be doing. There's an old saying... when everyone zigs, you gotta zag. Case in point... Foster the People. Not saying this is any great record or that I like it... but it's getting a lot of attention right now. Wet female vocals all over the place.

Lastly, if you do what she wants in spite of the suggestions you make to the contrary... and she comes back later and agrees with you... you will have scored huge points with her and gained a huge amount of trust for future projects.

JMO
Old 28th January 2012
  #13
Lives for gear
 
travisbrown's Avatar
Either automate or key an expander on the reverb so it suppresses it while she's singing, only emphasizing the tails. And find the right reverb. Clears a lot of things up.

I'm noticing a general trend towards deep reverbs on vocals these days. Some really good (Adele), many terrible (Every local band on Fallon each week). Makes me think I have to practice because I find heavy reverb on vocals very difficult to get right.
Old 28th January 2012
  #14
Gear Guru
 

You could try reverse psychology, heh drown it in the most saccharine, cloying reverb preset you have, but she could LIKE that, and then you are screwed. It's a risk.

Whenever I mix a song, I mix it MY way, just the way I think it should go. Because of this, when the client asks for changes they are almost always things that I "disagree" with. I see my job, my true skill, as making those requested changes without ruining the song.

I feel like, anybody can do a "good" mix when there's no interference

Often I still think my mix was 'better', sometimes the client "comes around", and sometimes I honestly admit the effort at compromise made a better product in the end.

I personally have never asked for my credit to be removed, but if you can't give the client what she wants and also keep it from sucking, that's always an option.
Old 28th January 2012
  #15
Lives for gear
 
noiseflaw's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by musicmixer04 View Post
I`m currently mixing a piano ballad type song. I also did the string arrangement. The artist wants to drown the vocal in reverb but I hate it. It just sounds so 80s. what schould I do? Right now the vocal is very intimate but not totally dry, I use several efx.. I feel I cant mix like this and it will just be embarrasing for me as crediting goes. I know the artist is always right in the end but I think shes not up to date with todays music and use of efx. Any advice?
May also be a confidence thing... She may be uncomfortable hearing her voice so dry and up-front in the mix... Speak with her and encourage her about how great you think she sounds - play some examples of contemporary ballads with excellent use of early reflections and delays...
Old 28th January 2012
  #16
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
Whenever I mix a song, I mix it MY way, just the way I think it should go. Because of this, when the client asks for changes they are almost always things that I "disagree" with. I see my job, my true skill, as making those requested changes without ruining the song.

I feel like, anybody can do a "good" mix when there's no interference
Hahah that is so dead on!
Old 28th January 2012
  #17
Lives for gear
IT'S NOT YOUR RECORD!

If I think a client is asking for me to do something stupid, I advise them it's a bad idea. I'll advise a second time if they insist and I think it's a really really bad idea. If they still insist I do it becuase it's their record; not mine.

As far as embarassing credits.... if the record goes nowhere, nobody will know the horrible mix you did. If it blows up and everyone hears your horrible mix, they will ask you how you did such an AMAZING mix. Trust me. Been there, done that.
Old 28th January 2012
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by musicmixer04 View Post
I`m currently mixing a piano ballad type song. I also did the string arrangement. The artist wants to drown the vocal in reverb but I hate it. It just sounds so 80s. what schould I do? Right now the vocal is very intimate but not totally dry, I use several efx.. I feel I cant mix like this and it will just be embarrasing for me as crediting goes. I know the artist is always right in the end but I think shes not up to date with todays music and use of efx. Any advice?
Quite a bit of verb on the latest Adele record.
Old 28th January 2012
  #19
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by everglass View Post
I actually disagree that reverb is out of fashion - listen to Adele for example.

You should trust the artist as it is her vision then do a version that you would do and compare.

Reverb is in as far as I'm concerned.
I am hearing some pretty wet mixes these days as well. I don't know if the 80's are "back" yet, or if they will be any day now, but it's always a safe bet that any fashion that is out of fashion will be back in fashion before you know it.

The fact is, we only think our taste is "hipper" than the artist's taste. Very often they can pass us by simply standing still and having the world catch up to them. The stopped clock principle.

I have been around long enough to see many things come and go more than once. I can still 'identify' eras by their characteristic production styles, but I no longer maintain an "in" and "out", "hot" and "cold", "hip" and "square" association with them.
Old 28th January 2012
  #20
Lives for gear
 
travisbrown's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jroode;

I'm in marketing... and heavily involved in an industry that "tests, tests and tests some more". I can't tell you the number of times that I've seen people say this test or that test is awesome and will win hands down. Only to see it completely flop. And I'm talking about creative people who have had years and years of experience in their field. As we say in the industry... "that's why we test". Because can never tell how the market will react and perceive something.
Me too. And I've been in the design industry too. Same story. Someone started a thread a few years ago deriding the idea of demo recordings, that it was an insult to their "art" as a producer/engineer. My response was that demoing was akin to prototyping in any other industry, and that was invaluable and how you made sure you were on the right track. This is the hegemony of "artists" (who haven't really figured out it's a craft, not art).

When we propose multiple design variations to a client, we tell them sit it with them for a few days or a week. the one they love after a week is rarely the one that the first leaned towards. If the budget is there, we run test groups to garner responses.

So do a couple prototype mixes and give them to her. After a few days of listening and sharing with colleagues and friends, she'll figure out which sticks with her and which she gets tired of. Psychology always wins out. If she's super serious, put together a test group even. You also should have some industry peers whom can opine and give some guidance that you can share with her.
Old 28th January 2012
  #21
Lives for gear
thanks so much for all the feedback.
yes I was thinking about automating the reverb.good advice.
the problem I see is that the song already have some typical 80`s melodies on chord changes going, and some lyric cliches.It almost sounds like a mixture between richard marx and kate bush, In I good way. So my vision was to mix the song a little more intimate, and turn the arrangement more into a movie like feel ( thats what the artist told me she wanted too). She did record and mix with another guy before she called me. The previous mix had very much reverb and I have noticed from other projects that sometimes the original mix sticks with the artist and always is a reference, making it difficult to do radical changes.
The Adele stuff is great, but I think those songs sounds new regardless of efx use.In this case I think the song is good but needs production help not to fall too much into one category.
I think she wants me to be the producer. I did string arrangements etc through the mix. As far as payment.She pays for the mix but I offered to do the arrangement for free as I like the song/singing.
Quote:
If it blows up and everyone hears your horrible mix, they will ask you how you did such an AMAZING mix
I totally agree.
In the past I have worked with too much music I never felt and that went nowhere. I`m 100% sure some people will like this song so I may have some good projects go my way in the future, but as you all say. Its her record. thatks again guys , you saved my day
Old 28th January 2012
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Musiclab View Post
time to open your mind, and experiment till you get something that works for the artist and doesn't make you twitch
Yep.

I once talked one of my soon-to-be-former clients into a nice, modern, relatively dry reverb sound (it was the very end of the 80s), even though they wanted a lugubriously wet, bat-cave sort of sound on the vocals.

They seemed dubious, but went along with it. The whole time I kept referring them back to their wet mix and reminding them that it was their decision and they had to live with it. But I guess I was more persuasive than they were self-confident. They went with the dry mix -- and, apparently, every time they heard it, they hated it more. Next thing I knew, they were working with someone else on their next album.

Customer first.

(PS... the album they delivered didn't have the dry track on it, after all that. The album did have loads of reverb and sounded just plain awful. I bought the album just as a lesson to myself... but I've never figured out exactly what the lesson was. heh )
Old 28th January 2012
  #23
Lives for gear
 

I know what you mean about drowning in reverb. It's not my cup of tea either. My early mixes were totally guilty of it owing to my inexperience and the "coolness" of being able to add such an obvious effect and it seemed like such a good idea at the time. "New to recording" performers have the same hurdle when they get the chance to play around with their sound.
I am firmly in the camp of giving the final decision to the person paying the bills, however you can do a lot to educate by showing them several different options. Make some good mixes that sound right to you, or set up a good reverb, then open a new one for them to play around with, and save them for later comparison, and let them play around with things for a bit. Then "A-B" the results for the performer. Once they start to hear "good reverb", they may understand what you are talking about. Be sure to point out where the excess 'verb is muddying the mix and reducing the intelligibility/articulation. Also think about using delay instead to give them some tail without excessive reverb.
I still find that I err towards "too much reverb" when I take an additive approach. I often find it's better to start with too much, and set about subtracting till it sounds better. Often if I take a break and come back, I will still take even more reverb off the mix as well.
Old 28th January 2012
  #24
Lives for gear
 
swafford's Avatar
 

Sh it, if your working for free, do what ever you want.
Old 28th January 2012
  #25
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by everglass View Post
I actually disagree that reverb is out of fashion - listen to Adele for example.

You should trust the artist as it is her vision then do a version that you would do and compare.

Reverb is in as far as I'm concerned.
Yeah and listen to Foster the People's Pumped Up Kicks. First time I heard it I thought the vocals were recorded in a bathroom in the 70s, if I were mixing it I wouldn't have used so much reverb, but yet it sold millions, so sometimes you just have to respect the artist's decision.

Couldn't you just do a version with lots of reverb for her and a version for yourself without?
Old 28th January 2012
  #26
Lives for gear
 
recordinghopkins's Avatar
Ever since I got an analog plate it's been the reverse of your problem for me. Clients want less reverb because I want to drown everything in it's warm soupy glistening halo of awesomeness. Ultimately, they're right. I like more verb than most people, because of the amount of live music I record. I always have to keep myself in check when doing studio gigs.

With the increasing emphasis placed on live music, I don't see that it would be unreasonable for consumers taste to return to more reverberant mixes.

And I'll be waiting, with 400 pounds of tape delay and steel. Muahahaha! Reverb shall live again! Put it at UNITY!
Old 28th January 2012
  #27
Gear Nut
 
SMCrock's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by recordinghopkins View Post
have her bring you some music that sounds like what she is looking for. Make her search it out and do some homework, her taste may change when she finds something contemporary that has great vocals. What style of music is this?
This is great advice.

More pre delay always helps me get wet vocals without sounding cheesy. Around 50-70ms. I usually use the music math iPhone app to find out the exact delay time to match with the tempo.
Old 29th January 2012
  #28
Here for the gear
 

Years ago I had a singer ask for too much reverb. I gave him a mix and asked him to listen to it over the next several days. Begged me to change it after suffering through a day of listening to it.
Old 29th January 2012
  #29
Lives for gear
 

You know I think the best thing to do is take this as an opportunity..

Basically its like.. well just cause it's reverb-e doesn't mean it has to sound 80s. I mean..

Ok.. so first off you have a bag of tricks.. all the techniques you know and have used however many times before.. and blah blah blah.. ok.. well.. now the challenge is to find / invent some new techniques... Invent a new sound..

So basically the trick there is just to do a lot of experimentation

But the other thing is re-imagining the song in some way.. I mean if reverb is a part of a kind of sonic syntext and language... if you just put reverb on it the way the song currently is.. maybe that's like writing a bad paragraph.. maybe you need to re write the paragraph.. so that the reverb is not like bad grammar or something..

Or maybe it is bad grammar.. like in the sense of a writer trying to write in someone else's voice.. who doesn't use proper grammar.. so.. maybe the real question is who is this crazy character anyway.. and what's up with that reverb fixation?

Like maybe that fixation is the interesting thing.

And I mean what the hell.. think of like.. Phil Spector or something.. or times pre 80s where reverb.. by today's tastes.. we might say was over used.

I really don't believe in this whole business about fixating on where we think the trends / fashion of our time is.. at the expense of.. well.. making something great. I mean lets face it.. nobody what's to hear music that sounds like nothing but empty fashion.. I mean except maybe the pre pubescent crowd... but a lot of that is probably just cause they haven't heard all the cliche's before.. right?

Also.. I disagree with a lot of people whom are sorta screaming at you "it's the client paying the bills, you do what the client wants." I disagree cause I don't think you're taking an attitude that's like.. "I'm not doing that cause it's bad and never mind the client," I mean you're searching for solution for both of you..

But I would say.. don't worry too much about being credited to something that you think doesn't reflect well on you because the client asked for something that.. well.. it would embarrass you to put out.

Cause I mean think of your favorite artist's.. they all got there stinkers.. and just cause they got there stinkers.. doesn't mean we don't see there greatness.
Old 29th January 2012
  #30
Lives for gear
 

Start by singing in the shower. Learn to love the verb.
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 Reverb.com 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
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
Remoteness / Remote Possibilities in Acoustic Music and Location Recording
67
Remoteness / Remote Possibilities in Acoustic Music and Location Recording
62
I.R.Baboon / Remote Possibilities in Acoustic Music and Location Recording
14
zarembo / Geekslutz Forum
8
Dog BBQ / Remote Possibilities in Acoustic Music and Location Recording
68

Forum Jump
Forum Jump