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Critique & help me master an indie/post-rock album!
Old 17th October 2013
  #1
Critique & help me master an indie/post-rock album!

HERE is the entire album.

here are a few individual tracks:






As a guy with no serious production skills, I love making this music. I'm looking for some criticism of these mixes and some advice as to what to do with them. Before I register the tracks with CD Baby, I'd like to see if I could get them re-mixed in stems or at the very least, re-mastered. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Oh, and if you like the stuff, like us on Facebook @ www.facebook.com/marathonpa or follow us on twitter @ www.twitter.com/marathonband

Thank you! We'd all appreciate your responses.
Old 17th October 2013
  #2
Anyone?
Old 17th October 2013
  #3
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Not sure how to describe what I feel when I listen.
Nothing sounds wrong, so to speak.
Hard to put my finger on it, but everything sounds…..small? Bland?
Good songs and performances, but I think the mix is lacking something.
Dynamics?
Seems like it could be mixed a little more……exciting?
Are you using any reference tracks for mixing?
Maybe its just out of my genre?
Old 17th October 2013
  #4
I know exactly what you mean. Do you have any ideas as to how to sort of make things jump out? I will say a lot of things are pretty heavily compressed or limited which explains the loss of dynamics. I've got the Waves bundle which is what i use for the most part if that helps.
Old 17th October 2013
  #5
And I am using reference tracks though i have a pretty poor room for monitoring. I've got hs80m's though I don't think the room I'm in does them a ton of justice. So against the references when I take them to a different environment (usually in a car), the first thing I notice is the loss in things really "popping" and sounding 3d. Because this is more or less the case throughout entire mixes, would it be something I could sort of enhance in the mastering process?
Old 17th October 2013
  #6
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Maybe don't need so much compression. I usually start a rock mix like that with the drums……get them banging and breathing and grow it from there. All the tracks at a low level so I don't need any limiting on the 2 bus as I continue summing the tracks. All the tracks coming in down at like -18-20 DbFS so the 2 bus ends up bouncing around -6 or so. Crank the monitors up while mixing to account for the lower level. Worry about getting the volume up after its mixed during mastering. You'll end up with a clearer, more believable mix that breathes better and be able to push up the various parts that are soloing, vox, gtrs, synths, etc, as they take their turns and make them pop out. All subjective. Only my opinion, of course.
Old 17th October 2013
  #7
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I think you gotta get the mix right before mastering. Mastering should just be the final buff on the wax job. They're good songs and worth the trouble of working them some more.
Old 17th October 2013
  #8
Thanks man! I really appreciate the advice. Do you happen to know of any good/reputable & affordable mixing/mastering engineers I could get in contact with here on Gearslutz or do you think I should keep giving this a shot?
Old 17th October 2013
  #9
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Definitely keep giving it a shot IMO.
Focus on one song and keep your track levels low.
If they are recorded hot, put a gain or trim plugin as the first plugin on each track and turn them down.
That is the key.
Remember that as you bring up each track they are summing (adding together) at the 2 bus.
Keep the 2 bus fader at 0db with no limiter on it.
If you start to peak the 2 bus as you bring up tracks, then your tracks are too hot. Turn them down more.
You'll get it banging.


FYI - This is a mix of a licensed cover song I'm playing with. Mixed really low and volume brought up after with gentle limiting.

Old 18th October 2013
  #10
I can help you out (sent you a PM). I think you're off to a good start and I like the music.

If you're monitoring your gain from the beginning you will be in good shape. Keeping the levels low is a good practice. If you can keep the RMS around -18 on the mix buss you'll have plenty of room to work. It will be relatively quiet, so turn up the volume on those monitors to compensate. Don't compress the whole mix on the master buss and keep the track from sounding too "hollow" or "nasal" which is where I think it's going right now. A little more bass between 100 and 400Hz might help since I think that's what is making it sound weaker than it could.

Tweak that on one of the songs and send me a link.
Old 18th October 2013
  #11
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You need to send these tracks to a mix engineer.

Good tracks. The mix is way off though.
Old 19th October 2013
  #12
Thanks for the replies everyone! I really appreciate your advice and I've been chipping away at it based on what some of you PM'ed me.
Thanks Joe. I agree, the mixes are a bit of a mess. I've been looking to make stems and have someone do the mixing but I need to find someone relatively affordable. Could you point me in the right direction to a reputable and well-rounded engineer, possibly even someone here on Gearslutz?
Old 19th October 2013
  #13
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Start a new thread to look for an available mix engineer. I'm sure you'll get plenty of offers.
Old 21st October 2013
  #14
Well, before I throw in the towel and hire someone else to do it, I think I could use just a little more advice.

I understand that most of my mixes sound a little squashed so there probably isn't as much punchyness as there should be. That, I think, is a relatively easy fix. My biggest annoyance is the fact that the general EQ curve sounds off, especially in the bass & low mids area. I know this term gets thrown around on gearslutz far too often, but I feel my mixes completely lack the "warmth" of commercial recordings. I'm not sure how to add warmth that isn't really there in the first place. I'm starting to second guess whether or not it's actually possible haha. I always thought it could be because of hi-pass filtering, but I never go anywhere past 200 hz... but I'm sure it has plenty to do with the fact that while recording this album, I only used an interface with no preamp.

Anyone have any suggestions as far as EQing things and adding an overall warmth goes? I know it's all about trial and error, cutting more than you boost, and yada yada yada. Trust me, I've used plenty of different plugins, and read through thread after thread on plugins that give your mix that warmth, but it's been incredibly tough to integrate that into my recordings.
Old 21st October 2013
  #15
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Just mix it to get the dynamics and levels right. Don't filter or eq anything until after that and only after you have a specific problem you are trying to fix. No need to cut under 200 or anywhere else automatically. See what you get first. And make sure you listen to the mix somewhere else besides your monitors before you make eq decisions. Could be your monitoring tricking you.
Old 27th October 2013
  #16
Hey guys,

So I started a mix-off thread for those of you that might be interested in participating. HERE IT IS

I hope to hear from y'all!
Old 28th October 2013
  #17
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Sounds like fun! I'll take crack at it soon as I get a chance.
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