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This Mix SUX!! Why is it hazy? Dynamic Microphones
Old 3rd August 2008
  #1
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CassidyGT's Avatar
 

This Mix SUX!! Why is it hazy?

I have screwed with this for far too long and I am unhappy.

This is a simple vocal/piano with a little pad at the chorus part.

I am looking for a Gabriel 'Here Comes the Flood' vibe but am failing miserably.

Aside from the very real cheesiness of the piece, why are the instruments ill defined? The whole things sounds like it has a haze over it?

What am I doing wrong?

Vocal is SM7b into an ISA 220. I was going for an intimate sound so it was close mic'd

Piano is just my M-Audio Pro-Keys 88 - I couldn't make any of my sampled piano instruments sound like anything but ****e! (Ivory, Dim Pro, NI Instruments) into a Mackie Onyx preamp.

I use a Mackie 400f as my interface.

Frustrated!!!!!

Any helpful thoughts appreciated. Thanks
Old 3rd August 2008
  #2
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It's almost certainly not what you want to hear, but Gabriel uses a real piano and a Neumann mic, which suits his voice - and would almost certainly suit yours. Try a TLM 103 at about 2ft distance.
Old 3rd August 2008
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Byre View Post
It's almost certainly not what you want to hear, but Gabriel uses a real piano and a Neumann mic, which suits his voice - and would almost certainly suit yours. Try a TLM 103 at about 2ft distance.
Actually, Gabriel rarely used a real piano- yamaha cp-80 with some chorus, all the way.

I wouldn't worry about your gear- the sounds are actually good.

Keep in mind that harmonically, and in terms of where the melody goes, this is way more american than what PG would be, so you'll never REALLY be satisfied thinking in those terms.

But, some things to try...

Put some dimension-d on that piano and pad harm stuff. The comb filtering will push it back behind the vocal but keep it clear. You'll need to tame some peaks as well.

The amount of vocal effect is about right.

Try to filter some of the highs on the verb.

Try more predelay on the verb so that the vocal gets out in front of the verb, instead of being within it.

Try a slap delay that has the lows and highs filtered to reinforce his dynamic.

Feed that delay into the verb so that it is felt in the verb as well.

Then you can lower the overall verb while having the same musical and spacial impact.

Try to get it more stereo by panning the delays. Filtering will be important if you do this.

Just some things to try.

Also, might want to take out a little four k to make all of it less up front.
Old 3rd August 2008
  #4
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CassidyGT's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by robdarling View Post
Actually, Gabriel rarely used a real piano- yamaha cp-80 with some chorus, all the way.

I wouldn't worry about your gear- the sounds are actually good.

Keep in mind that harmonically, and in terms of where the melody goes, this is way more american than what PG would be, so you'll never REALLY be satisfied thinking in those terms.

But, some things to try...

Put some dimension-d on that piano and pad harm stuff. The comb filtering will push it back behind the vocal but keep it clear. You'll need to tame some peaks as well.

The amount of vocal effect is about right.

Try to filter some of the highs on the verb.

Try more predelay on the verb so that the vocal gets out in front of the verb, instead of being within it.

Try a slap delay that has the lows and highs filtered to reinforce his dynamic.

Feed that delay into the verb so that it is felt in the verb as well.

Then you can lower the overall verb while having the same musical and spacial impact.

Try to get it more stereo by panning the delays. Filtering will be important if you do this.

Just some things to try.

Also, might want to take out a little four k to make all of it less up front.
Thanks so much for taking the time!!!!!!! That is exactly the kind of thing I am looking for!! You are seriously THE MAN
Old 3rd August 2008
  #5
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Just ask yourself, "What would the baby jesus do?"

Did a quick mod. uad 33609 across track. Send @ -12 to uad dim d on setting 3. uad Precision Multiband across stereo buss, knocking back 4k, but boosting it a little too, to smooth out the range. Then Sony eq across buss, a little boost in air at 16k, a dip at 2k, a little boost at 500 and 225.

You'll have to find a way to still get some more clarity back in- that's tough for me to do with just a stereo mix.
Attached Files

bernshort robd.mp3 (2.88 MB, 145 views)

Old 3rd August 2008
  #6
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Sk106's Avatar
 

Telling someone you don't like it, with still the outmost respect, is always a delicate task

The voice recording lacks brightness, sounds like a dynamic mic, and it sound like the singer is at different distances from the mic for every phrase. It's not a very fun sound.

The piano competes with the voice for the same general area of frequency.

The piano is real dull and kinda stale. I cannot believe any sampled or synthesized piano over $300 can sound like this out of the box. Are you recording it via the mic too?

On this, I would remove 1-2 db to 1050 hz and add 3-5 db to 850hz and 2250hz and a bit of high shelf brightness
Old 3rd August 2008
  #7
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CassidyGT's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by robdarling View Post
Just ask yourself, "What would the baby jesus do?"

Did a quick mod. uad 33609 across track. Send @ -12 to uad dim d on setting 3. uad Precision Multiband across stereo buss, knocking back 4k, but boosting it a little too, to smooth out the range. Then Sony eq across buss, a little boost in air at 16k, a dip at 2k, a little boost at 500 and 225.

You'll have to find a way to still get some more clarity back in- that's tough for me to do with just a stereo mix.

THanks man! That sounds alot more gelled to me and probably as good as it gets given the comments of SK106 - which I agree with completely.
Old 3rd August 2008
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sk106 View Post
Telling someone you don't like it, with still the outmost respect, is always a delicate task

The voice recording lacks brightness, sounds like a dynamic mic, and it sound like the the singer is at different distances from the mic for every phrase. It's not a very fun sound.

The piano competes with the voice for the same general area of frequency.

The piano is real dull and kinda stale. I cannot believe any sampled or synthesized piano over $300 can sound like this out of the box. Are you recording it via the mic too?

On this, I would add a few db to 1050 hz and remove 3-5 db at 850hz and 2250hz.
Hey - don't hold back. I'm here to learn. I appreciate your comments and I agree with them. Short of getting a baby grand, I am not sure what the heck to do about piano sounds. I can't get my Ivory or NI piano sampled sounds to sound right and this one isn't any better.

Assuming I can someday get a better piano sound - how to get the voice and piano to stop competing in the same general frequency range?

Also, it is a dynamic SM7b and more care needs to be taken during tracking at the same distance for a smoother sound? Maybe try a condenser? Any other tips on the vocal?

Thanks again guys - this stuff is invaluable!
Old 3rd August 2008
  #9
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ps- a better PG track to compare might be "The Drop" from Up, after the opening (you have none of these high notes- the piano under his vox is closer to what you have.)

More contemporary sound (you just can't sound like 30 years ago tape machines in dodgey studios) and the arrangement is much more similar.

Dont' get caught up in the mic thing- the sounds could be nine million times worse. The melody and harmony are what they are and they are well conveyed.

You have plenty of all the freqs you need and, more importantly, the musical balance in the piano is right, in terms of the melody, rhythm, and harmony.

Look at space, rhythm, and dynamics, a little bit of eq, and you'll be there, or as close to there as you can get.
Old 3rd August 2008
  #10
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Best way to learn is usually trial and error. This mix is kinda hazy and dull .. and you noted that, you heard that. That's good news, means you got ears to hear when it's not really good.

The archetype engineer are people who tries different procedures, using all kinds of equipment, even things that seems nutsy at first thought ... all to find a better way, as a lifelong and neverending process.

Start trying, you will hear when you find your way
Old 3rd August 2008
  #11
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CassidyGT's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sk106 View Post
Best way to learn is usually trial and error. This mix is kinda hazy and dull .. and you noted that, you heard that. That's good news, means you got ears to hear when it's not really good.

The archetype engineer are people who tries different procedures, using all kinds of equipment, even things that seems nutsy at first thought ... all to find a better way, as a lifelong and neverending process.

Start trying, you will hear when you find your way
Yes - I reached the end of my knowledge and got frustrated. However, the mix sounds alot better through my monitors - when I render it to MP3 format, it loses alot of clarity and detail. That is why I began to think maybe my conversion was substandard.

Here's my effort after taking advice into account. I boosted the highs on my MBuss EQ, and did alot with the advice I got on delays, verbs etc.
Old 3rd August 2008
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CassidyGT View Post
Yes - I reached the end of my knowledge and got frustrated. However, the mix sounds alot better through my monitors - when I render it to MP3 format, it loses alot of clarity and detail. That is why I began to think maybe my conversion was substandard.
Nah, it ain't about the mp3. Mp3 does steal definition but not like this and not this much.

And ... knowledge is nothing you "have", knowledge is collected from the outside, mostly, so how can you reach the end of it
Old 3rd August 2008
  #13
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See above for the latest after incorporating ideas and advice. I think it sounds alot brighter and more clear. Perhaps too bright now? LOL

Thanks for all the input!!!!!
Old 4th August 2008
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robdarling View Post
ps- a better PG track to compare might be "The Drop" from Up, after the opening (you have none of these high notes- the piano under his vox is closer to what you have.)

More contemporary sound (you just can't sound like 30 years ago tape machines in dodgey studios) and the arrangement is much more similar.

Dont' get caught up in the mic thing- the sounds could be nine million times worse. The melody and harmony are what they are and they are well conveyed.

You have plenty of all the freqs you need and, more importantly, the musical balance in the piano is right, in terms of the melody, rhythm, and harmony.

Look at space, rhythm, and dynamics, a little bit of eq, and you'll be there, or as close to there as you can get.
Where can I find the band UP?
Old 4th August 2008
  #15
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Up is the last Peter Gabriel record (PG)

Much more interesting.

The delays do the job they should do creating an illusion of space without the muddying of verb.

It would be nice to see if you can get the vocal to be wide and present as well- it feels small now that the piano has so much drama.
Old 4th August 2008
  #16
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CassidyGT's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by robdarling View Post
Up is the last Peter Gabriel record (PG)

Much more interesting.

The delays do the job they should do creating an illusion of space without the muddying of verb.

It would be nice to see if you can get the vocal to be wide and present as well- it feels small now that the piano has so much drama.

I'll work on that. Thank you very much for taking the time! I really appreciate it! What a great forum!
Old 4th August 2008
  #17
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Beyersound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by robdarling View Post
Actually, Gabriel rarely used a real piano- yamaha cp-80 with some chorus, all the way.

I wouldn't worry about your gear- the sounds are actually good.

Keep in mind that harmonically, and in terms of where the melody goes, this is way more american than what PG would be, so you'll never REALLY be satisfied thinking in those terms.

But, some things to try...

Put some dimension-d on that piano and pad harm stuff. The comb filtering will push it back behind the vocal but keep it clear. You'll need to tame some peaks as well.

The amount of vocal effect is about right.

Try to filter some of the highs on the verb.

Try more predelay on the verb so that the vocal gets out in front of the verb, instead of being within it.

Try a slap delay that has the lows and highs filtered to reinforce his dynamic.

Feed that delay into the verb so that it is felt in the verb as well.

Then you can lower the overall verb while having the same musical and spacial impact.

Try to get it more stereo by panning the delays. Filtering will be important if you do this.

Just some things to try.

Also, might want to take out a little four k to make all of it less up front.
You're right about the CP-80, but that song is off the first Gabriel record, the pre CP-80 period LOL!!! I love that record, and will take a listen when I get home tonight CassidyGT.
Old 4th August 2008
  #18
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Beyersound's Avatar
Hi Cassidy, just listened to your original and Rob's edit. Obviously the compression helps. What do you have in the way of vocal compression? How close were you on the SM-7 when you tracked? With a few minor changes in tracking, the mix gets much easier. Rob's right, your piano sound is fine, just needs a bit of proper mangling and effects. Love the Dimension D(especially setting 3!), I have a hardware version in my SDX-330. It rules! It would be great across the vocal also. With the right mic and distance, the right good bit of squashing, the vocal will sound much closer and very intimate. Please get back to me on the questions. Cheers
Old 4th August 2008
  #19
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Beyersound - The vocal was quite close on tracking and had light compression on the ISA220 going in through the SM7. Should the vocal have more distance? I'll try putting the DimD across the track rather than through a send. I did try that out and thought it sounded a bit severe, but maybe with a little HF rolloff it might sound less so.

Thanks for the input I really appreciate it!
Old 4th August 2008
  #20
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Crash's Avatar
I too listened to the different versions of this.... Hazy didn't come to mind to me when I listened but rather cold and small are the words that came to mind for me. I pulled up the graphic in Itunes and pulled up 125hz about 4-6 db, pulled back a touch of 4k and 2k as well and the song immediately sounded bigger and more intimate. Maybe all the upper midrange is what you are hearing as hazy..everyone has different words to describe what they hear.

Anyway, there is my $1.50 worth of opinion.........
Old 4th August 2008
  #21
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Sourceq's Avatar
 

Good advices there..... I think too that this latest mix is way too bright so if you want to sound PG Here comes the flood you need to smooth the vocal & piano with eq...then add very wide & smooth reverb, maybe add de-esser before reverb to cut out the sibilance.

I know it's usual to add brightness to the vocal sound when trying to bring it closer but it can very soon sound too bright. So don't eq too much heh
Old 5th August 2008
  #22
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Yes - after listening to it- it is way too bright.

I pulled down the high shelf by about 2/3rds, put a bump in at 125 and added some delay sends to the vocal. I think it sounds alot better now. Bigger and fuller. I still don't think it is as crystal clear as I'd like it .... but maybe I need to work on my tracking technique for that.

I can't thank you guys enough. I was very hesitant about putting any of my stuff up on the web, but I learned more from you all over the last couple of days than I have learned over the last couple of months on my own.

Thanks to all!!
Old 5th August 2008
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CassidyGT View Post
Beyersound - The vocal was quite close on tracking and had light compression on the ISA220 going in through the SM7. Should the vocal have more distance? I'll try putting the DimD across the track rather than through a send. I did try that out and thought it sounded a bit severe, but maybe with a little HF rolloff it might sound less so.

Thanks for the input I really appreciate it!
Try about 4-6 inches away and at least 8-10db of compression. The bulk of the compression should be done in the mix, it will help bring the vocal forward and make it more breathy and intimate. Use a medium attack time and a longish release, depending on which comp you use. I would still use the Dimension D on a send, and shelve down the highs a couple of db.
Old 5th August 2008
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beyersound View Post
Try about 4-6 inches away and at least 8-10db of compression. The bulk of the compression should be done in the mix, it will help bring the vocal forward and make it more breathy and intimate. Use a medium attack time and a longish release, depending on which comp you use. I would still use the Dimension D on a send, and shelve down the highs a couple of db.

Wow - Beyersound! Really great sounds on your myspace page! Thanks for the great adavice. I actually copy notes like this and put them into my mixing technique folder to remind me of all the pointers people like yourself give me. THanks again.
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