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Good song, Not so good mix
Old 16th June 2006
  #1
Good song, Not so good mix

I just spent a few hours mixing this song, and it's just not sounding like it should.

www.rackrecording.com/projects/Over_Me.mp3

Can anyone give me some direction where to go from here?

What do you like about the mix?

What are the problems?

What would you do to improve things?

It's recorded and mixed in Samplitude V8. I have mostly Waves and UAD-1 plug-ins.
Old 16th June 2006
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

The drums should be more roomy or maybe distorted at the start to give them some character.

Overall, the bass seems really high in the mix.
Old 16th June 2006
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by paulnowo
The drums should be more roomy or maybe distorted at the start to give them some character.

Overall, the bass seems really high in the mix.
Thanks for your comments. I agree that the drums in the beginning really need some kind of effect to make them more interesting. I'm still trying to figure out what works best. Maybe a lot of reverb and some kind of low-fi effect.

Is it the bass guitar that you're saying is too loud, or the overall bass in the mix?
Old 16th June 2006
  #4
SRS
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The Bass guitar is too high in the mix. It sounds like it is overcompressed to me. Nice song. Needs real drums, but I am partial to this.
Old 16th June 2006
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by SRS
The Bass guitar is too high in the mix. It sounds like it is overcompressed to me. Nice song. Needs real drums, but I am partial to this.
They actually are real drums. That's my DW at my home studio. Do they sound artificial?
Old 16th June 2006
  #6
SRS
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Sorry dude! I am spacing it right now... lack of sleep I suppose. They certainly are real drums. If you have the UAD set, use the Pultec pro on the kick and snare at least (if you have them in the set). Just passing them through it with no boost or cut will give the Kick and Snare more character. The mix is too compressed, or shall I say SLAMMED. My meters are pegged on many parts. The limiting is killing the dynamics. Good work and nice progress though.
Old 16th June 2006
  #7
I'll try running the kick and snare through the Pultec Pro. Any other tips for improving that snare sound?

I ran the Waves L2 to make it louder, but only let it slam a few DB. I don't want to compress it any more than necessary, but it's still quieter than the Jimmy Eat World song I was comparing it to. It's a real trick to make a song loud without it sounding "slammed" in a bad way.
Old 16th June 2006
  #8
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abit's Avatar
 

1st I'd check if U like to take toms just out from intro..
And start with these nice guitars only.
Coz whole this toms intro quite shaky(sloppy) rhythm wise.
If U not allowed to do this, U can try to place them very far away "back there"
Like timpani as I see this..
In this case, I'd defiantly edit in computer your audio,
so guitars and toms works together in the 1st hand.

And yes, if U find your drums it'll change everything to the good side.
Nice song.
Good luck.
Old 16th June 2006
  #9
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norman_nomad's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg B
I'll try running the kick and snare through the Pultec Pro. Any other tips for improving that snare sound?

I ran the Waves L2 to make it louder, but only let it slam a few DB. I don't want to compress it any more than necessary, but it's still quieter than the Jimmy Eat World song I was comparing it to. It's a real trick to make a song loud without it sounding "slammed" in a bad way.
Cool song.... mix sounds a little muddy... I agree that a better drum mix would really serve the song.

Here's an easy starting point for drums with the UAD... try something like this.:

Send all the drum tracks to a "Drum buss".

On the "Drum buss" Insert these plugs:

Slot 1. 140 plate with a small room preset (the "nice drum room" comes to mind). Notch the wet/dry knob to about 8 o'clock. (should be subtle)
Slot 2. Pultec Pro
Slot 3. 1176 - ratio 12:1, fastest release, slowest attack

Solo just your kick and snare channels so that they're running through the "drum buss"... tweak the Pultec Pro so that both the kick and snare sound better... a pretty generic set up would be a small boost at 60, 3k and 12k... then a small cut at 300k.

Now adjust the input of your 1176 so that you're shaving maybe two or 3 db with each kick and snare hit.

Play the rest of the song now with JUST the kick and snare playing through the "Drums Buss" ... adjust the kick and snare track volumes so that they sit well in the mix... they should feel upfront... like they're driving the mix.

Now mix the rest of the kit elements back into the drum buss with the goal of creating more space and dimension around your previous kick and snare sound.

This, of course, is just one approach to mixing drums for a tune like this...one I've had luck with in the past.

Hope this is helpful!
Old 16th June 2006
  #10
Here for the gear
to me the first thing to fix is the kick sound, it's way to "clicky" to my taste

good song good performance, but it could sound punchier i guess thanx to a better mix

maybe bass its too loud
drums not loud enough

drums sound out of time in the beginning
Old 16th June 2006
  #11
Thanks for the tips guys. I'm going to work with the intro. The drums do need some editing. Since it's a repeating drum part, maybe I can make one good loop and repeat it? That could be hard to sink up though since the guitars have already played over the existing drums.

Thanks for the specific advice on the drums Norman. I havn't worked with the UAD plugins too much yet, since I just got them a few months ago. I'm still more comfortable with the Waves stuff, though most folks tend to praise the UA plugs more. I've been using Samplitude's reverb, and I havn't attempted to use the UA reverbs yet. I'll try the "nice drum room" setting.

No one's mentioned the guitars and vocals. Besides turning the bass guitar down a little, any suggestions for helping the guitar sound? Do you think the the vocals fit into the mix ok?

I'm preparing this for local radio, and I keep comparing it to the pros, and thinking, "Why doesn't my mix sound like that?"
Old 16th June 2006
  #12
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norman_nomad's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg B

Thanks for the specific advice on the drums Norman. I havn't worked with the UAD plugins too much yet, since I just got them a few months ago. I'm still more comfortable with the Waves stuff, though most folks tend to praise the UA plugs more. I've been using Samplitude's reverb, and I havn't attempted to use the UA reverbs yet. I'll try the "nice drum room" setting.

No one's mentioned the guitars and vocals. Besides turning the bass guitar down a little, any suggestions for helping the guitar sound? Do you think the the vocals fit into the mix ok?

I'm preparing this for local radio, and I keep comparing it to the pros, and thinking, "Why doesn't my mix sound like that?"
The Waves can be very useful, but the UAD plugs have a lot more "character" ... I think it'd be worth investing some time with them.

I liked the clean guitars but did not care for the distorted guitar tone... the vocals work well right now... however they feel a bit untreated... If you start working over the other elements of the song, you very well might have to come back to the vocal.
Old 16th June 2006
  #13
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norman_nomad's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg B
I'm preparing this for local radio, and I keep comparing it to the pros, and thinking, "Why doesn't my mix sound like that?"
You know... that's a good question to ask yourself. To turn this back around on you: Greg, what sticks out to you about your mix that doesn't quite match up a modern radio mix?
Old 16th June 2006
  #14
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abit's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg B
That could be hard to sink up
Yeah, the opening (when ppl say nah.. or yes!) is not very cool now,
but it is getting better as deeper we go.
Loop probably will not work(triggered from sampler).
I guess U don't have any other choice but to just note by note to sync them vertically with guitar.
Or as he plays now or pick any 2 let say bars, and than repeat it,
and then adjust every bar differently.

It's up to U, but I probably wouldn't kill myself, but take drums out.
Why?
Coz intro guitar thing and coda sort of mirroring and there is a obviously a logic in it form wise.
+ it'll add dynamic to the song too, which is +.
But it's IMHO.
Old 16th June 2006
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by norman_nomad
You know... that's a good question to ask yourself. To turn this back around on you: Greg, what sticks out to you about your mix that doesn't quite match up a modern radio mix?
I agree with pretty much everything that's been said so far. I know the distorted guitars don't sound amazing. We tried Marshall, Mesa Boogie, Soldano, and Vox amps with multiple mics and mic placements, with four different expensive guitars, and did the best we could when tracking. I just can't figure out how other producer's achieve "that sound". I've read a lot of books and they all say things like "I just use a good 'ol SM57 shoved up against the cab". Well, I've tried that and it doesn't sound the same. I suspect there might be a little more too it than that.

To me the drums sound decent, but not good enough. I want the snare to have punch but still should sound kinda soft and pillowy at the same time. I'm using Jimmy Eat World's Futures album and Dashboard Confessional as a reference (or basic production sound I'm going for on this particular album).

I think the vocals don't sound "produced" enough, but most effects I add to them just kinda sound cheezy. For now the vocals have no EQ, Samplitude's Analog Tape simulator, a little reverb, and the Waves De-esser.

So I guess I'm not totally happy with any aspect of the mix, even though I put 150% into the tracking. All I really know is that good mixing could make it better, and I know there are folks on Gearslutz that know how to do it. So I humbly ask for direction.
Old 16th June 2006
  #16
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rlnyc's Avatar
 

might just be the computer speakers i am listening to the tune on, but the whole thing is rumbling on the main bass frequencies. the bass is tubby and is covering everything else. personally i am not sure that it is too loud, but it certainly is flabby in the pedaled notes. gotta tighten that up.

i disagree that the vocals have to sound "produced". what's that? just gotta let the song shine through. right now everything is overpowered by the low end.

good luck.

best,
rlnyc
Old 16th June 2006
  #17
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GYMusic's Avatar
Good song. Don't do like so many others do, by putting the cart in front of the horse. Fix the performance before attempting a mix or you'll never get it right. Instruments are fighting each other for tempo a bit. Drums need to be redone. Too loose in the beginning. No dynamics where there needs to be, especially the cymbals. Kick too clicky sounding. Guitars are good and could be mixed up and down in certain key places to give some dynamics. Bass is okay and probably usable with some EQ. Vocal is a little thin or something at the first verse, then it's okay. Unless the song is an instrumental, the vocal is the most important track of the song and needs to be exceptional.

It's so time consuming to give a decent critique over the Internet. Much easier in person/real time. Wish you lived down the road from me!
Old 16th June 2006
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by GYMusic
Instruments are fighting each other for tempo a bit. Drums need to be redone. Too loose in the beginning. No dynamics where there needs to be, especially the cymbals.
Do you think the drums are loose just in the intro, or the entire song? Are you saying you don't think the drums accent the guitars throughout the song, and that the whole song needs to be redone? Or do you think some editing would help?


Quote:
Originally Posted by GYMusic
Kick too clicky sounding.
The kick does have a bit of a click sound which I think is partly because of a little noise from the kick pedal. I have Drumagog drum replacement software, which I havn't used in a mix before, but perhaps replacing the kick drum would help?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GYMusic
Vocal is a little thin or something at the first verse, then it's okay.
The first verse is the only verse where the vocal isn't doubled. We didn't want to double it for 100% of the song. Do you think we should? Or does the vocal just need a little something to fatten it up?

It's really great to hear everyone's first impression. After working on a project for awhile it's easy to lose perspective.
Old 16th June 2006
  #19
Gear Maniac
 

I have no suggestions for you, but I like the song.

It's just nice to see that you've already put 150% into the song and you still accept that it could sound better.

Respect! :D
Old 16th June 2006
  #20
Gear Maniac
 

I really like the Bleed American CD actually although I'm not usually a fan of rock.

I have a little advice which may help.

I think the Jimmy songs sound a little bigger than yours currently does.

I think the toms at the start sound a little gated and perhaps a little too upfront in the mix.

The lead vocal could be pushed further back also with a bit bigger delay or verb.

The guitars sound good but the chorus guitar sound doesnt sound thick enough.

After a relisten, at 0:50 I think the snare disappears and throughout the chorus.


CT
Old 16th June 2006
  #21
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norman_nomad's Avatar
I relistened to this on headphones....

Did you use Renbass or Maxxbass on the bass guitar? The bass really just drones over the whole song... not enough notes or movement...

GYMusic makes a really good point... if you wanted this on commercial radio, a lot of elements would need to be redone... right now this is sounding more college radio.

The song is good... and I actually like his vocal performances... they could be embelished upon with more harmonies and whatnot...
Old 16th June 2006
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by norman_nomad
I relistened to this on headphones....

Did you use Renbass or Maxxbass on the bass guitar? The bass really just drones over the whole song... not enough notes or movement...
The bass was recorded Bass POD -> Vipre -> STC-8 -> Apogee AD16X
The bass distortion at the end was a Beta 52 on an amp

There's no digital compression added to the bass track, but I probably compressed it too much on the way in. I also recorded the DI signal from the POD, so I have the uncompressed version too. Maybe it will add a little life to the bass if I turn up the DI signal which is more dynamic.

The verses really aren't intended to have bass movement. Just a constant low end playing the same note constantly. We thought it was appropriately simple, but maybe less isn't more in this case...
Old 16th June 2006
  #23
Remix #1

Ok, I considered everyone's advice and made a few simple changes. Here's another mix:

http://www.rackrecording.com/projects/Over_Me2.mp3


I know it still needs a lot of work, but here are the changes I made:

Changed the drum intro to be more subtle with more reverb
Lowered bass guitar volume, expecially in the verses
Added a little more reverb to the entire mix
Added Pultec-Pro eq to kick and snare, trying to make the kick sound less "clicky"
turned up the drum bus just a little
eq'd the distorted guitars a bit
turned down the L2 limiter 1 dB to make it just a little less "slammed"

Is it any better?
Old 16th June 2006
  #24
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norman_nomad's Avatar
Better... that cleared up some stuff…

I still think the bass is too loud... more that you’re centering most of its energy too low in the frequency spectrum…. Depending on your monitoring situation you might not even hear it.

I don’t like the click in the kick personally… and I’d bump the snare and vocals a bit ...

Not sure if I'm crazy about the mix reverb.

edit:

Whoa... I hadn't listened all the way to the end of the song... there's a whole instrumental breakdown... are you going to edit that down for the radio?
Old 16th June 2006
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by norman_nomad
Better... that cleared up some stuff…

I still think the bass is too loud... more that you’re centering most of its energy too low in the frequency spectrum…. Depending on your monitoring situation you might not even hear it.
I must have a monitoring (or hearing) problem cause I don't hear much bass guitar either in my monitors, my headphones, or my car. I also compared the average frequencies of the song to Jimmy Eat World's Futures song, and the program showed that the amount of bass was almost identical in both songs. To me the mix is actually sounding a little bright now, and it's hard for me to make out the bass sometimes. I'll try eqing some of the lower frequencies out of the bass, because there's obviously some low rumbling down there that I can't hear in my room. Maybe I should get a sub.

Quote:
Originally Posted by norman_nomad
I don’t like the click in the kick personally…
Sigh...I've tried four different eq's on the kick, and I can't seem to get rid of that click sound. I think it's the wooden beater hitting the head. I tried using Drumagog to replace the kick but all their different kicks sounded worse to me. I'll keep at it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by norman_nomad
Not sure if I'm crazy about the mix reverb.
It's my first time using the UA reverb so I've gotta get the hang of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by norman_nomad
Whoa... I hadn't listened all the way to the end of the song... there's a whole instrumental breakdown... are you going to edit that down for the radio?
I thought about editing it down for radio, but the instrumental ending is our favorite part of the song. I thought maybe I'd send the whole song and let the radio DJs cut it short if they don't want to hear the whole ending
Old 17th June 2006
  #26
Gear Maniac
 

The intro sounds 1000 times better.

The mix overall sounds better.

You havent added reverb to the whole mix have you?

The bass is still has too much low frequency build up. I'm listening on computer speakers and it sounds more evident.
Old 17th June 2006
  #27
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norman_nomad's Avatar
I think you're doin pretty good.

Let some others chime in on the bass... I've only been able to listen to the new mix through headphones... I'll check it out again when I can get to my monitors.

Check yer PM's....
Old 17th June 2006
  #28
I think you're right that I need to cut some lows in the bass and bring out the mids. Don't want to make little speakers distort. I should put a pair of cheap computer speakers in my control room to check for that.

Any ideas of how to make the mix sound louder without over-limiting? It's still quiet compared to commercial CDs.
Old 17th June 2006
  #29
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abit's Avatar
 

Bass - I'd ride automation, - loud.
0:24 Loud.
Starting 1:00 better.
In the end at least 6db down.
Overall - bass is loud.

Drums - 3:53 cymbal is late
Intro much better though.
May be KIK need to be a little louder. Just an intro.
Overall drums still week.
Try parallel compression
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/showt...el+compression
http://www.mbrauer.com/articles/tapeop.asp?pp=1

1:04 and 2:10 guitars - I hear power chords and all weight feels more like
on the left site of the whole picture.
Could be my puter speakers - just check it.

Check more with preferences, if it has the same amount of bass.
If yes, then speakers are probably lying to you.(?)
Do U have sub.
Coz what U might think is a bass, could be something below 75hz.
And U trying to push it around 200hz now.

But it is getting better.


PS
I would take L2 out for now.
It's little early to cheat yourself.
Old 17th June 2006
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by abit

Drums - 3:53 cymbal is late
I listened to 3:53 about 10 times and didn't hear a late cymbal? The crash hits right on beat. Are you talking about how the ride comes in right after the cymbal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by abit
1:04 and 2:10 guitars - I hear power chords and all weight feels more like
on the left site of the whole picture.
Could be my puter speakers - just check it.
The distorted guitar is intentionally stronger on the left to leave a little space on the right for the clean picking guitar. Do you think I should pan the clean guitar center and make the distorted guitars even? I just don't want the clean guitar and lead vocal competing. Maybe I'll make the guitars more even and just turn the clean up until it's heard. I do like it off to the side.
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