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Feedback/Advice Requested for Mix - Something Seems Off/Dark
Old 10th May 2019
  #1
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Feedback/Advice Requested for Mix - Something Seems Off/Dark

Hi everyone - first time poster here, but have been trying to teach myself audio engineering for a bit now. I've recorded a cover song I'd like to release - I've mixed it, had it mastered (by LANDR), and when I listen to it in of itself, I thought sounded fine - but when I compare it other recordings, it sounds a lot darker than everything else, even with mastering. It's not as bright as crisp as it could be, so I'm wondering what I'm missing.

Here's the song (with mastering) - https://drive.google.com/file/d/1rAz...ew?usp=sharing

Here's how I recorded and mixed. It was all done in Ableton, mostly with their factory processors and audio effect racks:

Vocals were all done with an AT2020. Have a compressor, EQ, more aggressive compressor, limiter, and lastly tight compressor as part of the chain.

Guitars are all recorded with an SM57, and a mix of an Orange Rockerverb 50 and a Traynor RG65. Have 3 distorted rhythm tracks, one panned hard left (Orange), one hard right (Orange), and one (the RG65) centered. Leads are all centered. Each guitar track has a Channel Strip and EQ, and the cleans and leads have a fairly classic compression on it in between the two.

Bass is just D.I. with a bass amp simulator, EQ and compressor.

On drums, I replaced the snare with a midi snare for uniformity sake. Bass drum was recorded with an AKG D112, and has a channel strip, hard compressor, Ableton's "Kick" processor, and EQ. Hi-Hat is recorded with an SM57 Ableton's "Hi-Hat" processor, and EQ. Toms and Overheads are recorded with the mics from the Apex Drum Mic set and just have EQ on them, and the overheads I gave slight pans to (L & R 30% in opposite directions).

Everything is then fed through sends. Send A is a Studio Reverb (TrueStereo), and just about everything is fed through it at varying degrees. Send B is a digital delay, and is mostly just for vocals. Left about -4.5 headroom for mastering.

Anything I missed or could improve on? Or is there anything I'm doing wrong? Anything too loud or quiet in the mix or can be EQ'd better?

Many thanks for your advice!
Old 21st May 2019
  #2
Please don't take any of this the wrong way, but I'll be honest. Personally I don't think your mix is ready for mastering yet. Here are my initial thoughts:

Your drums need more punch. Let them do what they do and drive the song more.

Those backing vocals are too loud. I think the lead could be polished a bit as well.

Overall the mix feels very closed up. Your lead vocal feels small and the choruses aren't explosive enough coming out of the verses.

Finally, let's forget about LANDR
That isn't mastering. It's just "processing" that isn't helping your song at all.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
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louisstamos's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nverxion View Post
Please don't take any of this the wrong way, but I'll be honest. Personally I don't think your mix is ready for mastering yet. Here are my initial thoughts:

Your drums need more punch. Let them do what they do and drive the song more.

Those backing vocals are too loud. I think the lead could be polished a bit as well.

Overall the mix feels very closed up. Your lead vocal feels small and the choruses aren't explosive enough coming out of the verses.

Finally, let's forget about LANDR
That isn't mastering. It's just "processing" that isn't helping your song at all.
Hi nverxion, and many thanks for the feedback! Not taking it in the wrong way at all - this is the exact sort of feedback I was looking for!

I guess my issue still being a relative n00b to audio engineering is how to achieve the things you set out. For example, I know what you mean by saying add more punch to the drums (I think the kick especially could use some), but I don't know *how* to do that. Is it achieved via different EQ? More/less compression or reverb? etc. Loud/quiet is easy to solve, but I wouldn't know how to get rid of the "closed up" feeling either. I agree with the sentiment, as it doesn't sound as "big" as the other recordings I listen to - but I can't figure out to make it sound bigger without getting louder (and I already had it peaking at at -4db prior to bouncing it).

But yeah - feedback is welcome! I think I agree with it in general! Thanks!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by louisstamos View Post
I know what you mean by saying add more punch to the drums (I think the kick especially could use some), but I don't know *how* to do that. Is it achieved via different EQ? More/less compression or reverb?
I think it is a combination of eq work and compression. Reverb isn't really a major part of that equation. It's also about balance with other instruments. For example, your bass may be a little too overpowering for your kick drum.


Quote:
Originally Posted by louisstamos View Post
Loud/quiet is easy to solve, but I wouldn't know how to get rid of the "closed up" feeling either. I agree with the sentiment, as it doesn't sound as "big" as the other recordings I listen to - but I can't figure out to make it sound bigger without getting louder (and I already had it peaking at at -4db prior to bouncing it).
Your guitars sounded pretty narrow if I remember correctly. How did you track/mix those?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nverxion View Post
Your guitars sounded pretty narrow if I remember correctly. How did you track/mix those?
I figure using screenshots might be best. Here's what I have for guitars:

I have 3 rhythm guitar tracks - one panned hard left, one panned hard right (both Orange Rockerverbs) and a Traynor RG65 centered. All 3 were recorded with an SM57.

They're all mixed similar to this:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/H92o7naaRDqkN9TP9 (I can't use the IMG function for some reason?)

Since I didn't use any mic preamps (went straight into the audio interface), I use the channel strip processor for a little bit of extra power and warmth. Then added the EQ and they're similar for all 3, with some subtle changes depending on the tone.

For the lead guitars, they were all done with the Traynor RG65. Here's the chain and waveform for that:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/4k3V7UTUVS8kmkuj6

Similar to the rhythm guitars, but with a compressor added and slightly different EQ. You'll see the sends on the right (it's 0 for the rhythm, which is basically 100%, and -7.5 for the lead) - those are all being sent to a Studio Reverb aux.

Anything flagrant that I might be doing wrong?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
For starters I think maybe you should throw the panned ones hard left and right. Try that, then see where everything sits.
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