Mix feedback please

edited February 11 in Creations

I'm submitting this track to the Australia Benefit compilation over on the Audiobus forum and would be grateful for some feedback on the mix to help with any glaring errors (drums too loud/bass too quiet etc).

Here is a Dropbox link to the song, any help gratefully appreciated!

https://www.dropbox.com/s/055nvsp9c0e1jrv/A Beautiful Girl In A Photograph.wav?dl=0

The song was composed and arranged in NS2, with vocals tracked and final mix in Auria.

Comments

  • Cool song Richard!
    I’ve given it a thorough listen and just a few of my cents advice
    I’d like to hear the drums have that biting quality it has at the beginning of the song to continue throughout, I find it gets a little compressed here and there and slightly gets buried at times. Leave your vocals alone they’re fine. I would like to here a bit more presence and edge to your rhythm guitar in slight volume and more grit (weight) to match your voice better. The last note of your bass at the end of the song needs a tweak rather than stopping suddenly have it crumbled and fade away to match the character and mood of the song.
    Great idea for a song congrats👍🎼

  • @Arpseechord said:
    Cool song Richard!
    I’ve given it a thorough listen and just a few of my cents advice
    I’d like to hear the drums have that biting quality it has at the beginning of the song to continue throughout, I find it gets a little compressed here and there and slightly gets buried at times. Leave your vocals alone they’re fine. I would like to here a bit more presence and edge to your rhythm guitar in slight volume and more grit (weight) to match your voice better. The last note of your bass at the end of the song needs a tweak rather than stopping suddenly have it crumbled and fade away to match the character and mood of the song.
    Great idea for a song congrats👍🎼

    Thanks! That's a very thorough breakdown, I'll see what I can do. There's only a smidge of bus compression on the master bus (with a ratio of around 1.7), but it does affect the drum sound, so I'll consider dialling it back.

    I'm glad to hear the vocal sounds good as that's obviously the main concern, and I was interested to hear if anyone objected to the delay on the chorus vocal.

    The song is based on a photograph of my mother that my father keeps on his desk, taken around 1970 :)

  • edited February 11

    i would remove reverb from drums... or at least i would put it just very short, almost unoticeable, just adding some presence to drums. Now it is making drums too much airy, they feel like they do not belomg to rest of track... or, at leat, reverb needs a bit of HP filterimg, it has too much low frequencies...

    rest is nice !

  • @dendy said:
    i would remove reverb from drums... or at least i would put it just very short, almost unoticeable, just adding some presence to drums. Now it is making drums too much airy, they feel like they do not belomg to rest of track... or, at leat, reverb needs a bit of HP filterimg, it has too much low frequencies...

    rest is nice !

    OK - thanks! I'll revisit the drum verb, there isn't really that much but with the transients it is very obvious.

  • @richardyot said:

    @Arpseechord said:
    Cool song Richard!
    I’ve given it a thorough listen and just a few of my cents advice
    I’d like to hear the drums have that biting quality it has at the beginning of the song to continue throughout, I find it gets a little compressed here and there and slightly gets buried at times. Leave your vocals alone they’re fine. I would like to here a bit more presence and edge to your rhythm guitar in slight volume and more grit (weight) to match your voice better. The last note of your bass at the end of the song needs a tweak rather than stopping suddenly have it crumbled and fade away to match the character and mood of the song.
    Great idea for a song congrats👍🎼

    Thanks! That's a very thorough breakdown, I'll see what I can do. There's only a smidge of bus compression on the master bus (with a ratio of around 1.7), but it does affect the drum sound, so I'll consider dialling it back.

    I'm glad to hear the vocal sounds good as that's obviously the main concern, and I was interested to hear if anyone objected to the delay on the chorus vocal.

    The song is based on a photograph of my mother that my father keeps on his desk, taken around 1970 :)

    As @dendy recommended look at the reverb first and then assess the compression you may not have to touch it then😉
    No don’t touch the vocals! The blend and effects are very good, it was just the bigger picture I was referring to how each main element jives with everything else. Still want to hear just a bit more guitar presence but maybe that’s just my problem
    Good work

  • edited February 12

    Thanks for the feedback, I've tweaked the mix by reducing and high-passing the drum reverb, and I've also dialled down the bus compression ratio to 1.4 to 1, so hopefully the drums will be crisper.

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/lct59wkmgt48hn0/A Beautiful Girl In A Photograph.wav?dl=0

  • what do you think about this ? did small master (a bit of EQ-ing and sidechain compression big kick)

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/6prbfjxn4wxk2hx/richardyot_master.wav?dl=0

  • @dendy said:
    what do you think about this ? did small master (a bit of EQ-ing and sidechain compression big kick)

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/6prbfjxn4wxk2hx/richardyot_master.wav?dl=0

    Wow - thanks for taking the time to do this! The intro sounds a lot better in your version IMO, however once the vocal comes in then the voice is less clear and the pumping is a bit distracting. It might be fixable with some automation though.

    Did you do this in NS2? Without audio tracks maybe not, but then again you might have just used Slate for the audio. If so could you share the project and I'll see if I can incorporate your ideas into my mix.

  • edited February 12

    no this was quick job in Logic .. you should be able to reproduce it in auria, or even better if you export 2 tracks - just kick and rest of track into auria ..

    This is what i did, nothing complicated .. second audio track serves just as sidechain trigger, i inserted very narrow lowpass/hipass filter there to isolate just kick - so kick is sidechaining rest of track .. maybe just less ratio or higher treshold would make it sound more natural

    btw. those small dips at 200, 250 and 500 may not be necessary - i felt like there is some resonance or mud at those bands, but maybe it was just placebo :)
    I filtered out also very low band - this is just source of unnecesary hum, and a added a bit into mid and high spectrum, to add a bit more brilliance to sound ..

    In ideal case i would recomment you:

    • in NS, make KICK sidechaining REST of tracks (jus group together everithing except of kick, then put NS compressor on it and send to it's sidechain input from kicktrack.
    • leave VOCAL untouched in auria (i would put it a tiny little bitqueiter and maube some sharp HP filter around 140hz)
  • @dendy thanks very much for this, I will take it all back to Auria and experiment with your suggestions. I have the tracks grouped in Auria so I can do the sidechaining there without it affecting the vocals which are in their own groups.

  • edited February 12

    @richardyot said:
    Thanks for the feedback, I've tweaked the mix by reducing and high-passing the drum reverb, and I've also dialled down the bus compression ratio to 1.4 to 1, so hopefully the drums will be crisper.

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/lct59wkmgt48hn0/A Beautiful Girl In A Photograph.wav?dl=0

    Excellent Richard! That brings out the dynamics much better, nice crisp driving drums! I like it and the guitar seems slightly crisper too. Would liked to have heard dendys ’ mix for comparison but it’s been removed, Great work and congrats 😀🎹🎼🎧
    Thanks for letting us listen and critique

  • @Arpseechord said:

    @richardyot said:
    Thanks for the feedback, I've tweaked the mix by reducing and high-passing the drum reverb, and I've also dialled down the bus compression ratio to 1.4 to 1, so hopefully the drums will be crisper.

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/lct59wkmgt48hn0/A Beautiful Girl In A Photograph.wav?dl=0

    Excellent Richard! That brings out the dynamics much better, nice crisp driving drums! I like it and the guitar seems slightly crisper too. Would liked to have heard dendys ’ mix for comparison but it’s been removed, Great work and congrats 😀🎹🎼🎧
    Thanks for letting us listen and critique

    And thank you! When you're doing everything by yourself it's super-valuable to have an impartial pair of ears or two to give a different perspective. I really appreciate the help and advice I've received in this thread.

  • When you're doing everything by yourself it's super-valuable to have an impartial pair of ears or two to give a different perspective

    Yeah i'm very much know what you're talking about. I'm now in phase of finalising my new album but i totally haven't courage to do mastering for myself because of exatly that reason. But i also haven't money to pay to somebody else to do it right way... at the moment i'm thinkig to sell some HW gear to pay proper mastering engineer .. which is kinda funny because i haven't any problem to master tracks of other people, and i think i can do it at very good level.. but.. i simply cannot master my own tracks :)))

  • edited February 12

    @richardyot I am not here to comment much on mixing, I’m not good at it I think:) but this piece of yours I like probably most so far, that moogish bass is that obsidian? and that updated version sounds quite good to me. Nice work

  • @Cray23 said:
    @richardyot I am not here to comment much on mixing, I’m not good at it I think:) but this piece of yours I like probably most so far, that moogish bass is that obsidian? and that updated version sounds quite good to me. Nice work

    Thanks! The bass is iSem with some additional distortion from Klevgrand ReAmp.

  • @richardyot said:

    @Arpseechord said:

    @richardyot said:
    Thanks for the feedback, I've tweaked the mix by reducing and high-passing the drum reverb, and I've also dialled down the bus compression ratio to 1.4 to 1, so hopefully the drums will be crisper.

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/lct59wkmgt48hn0/A Beautiful Girl In A Photograph.wav?dl=0

    Excellent Richard! That brings out the dynamics much better, nice crisp driving drums! I like it and the guitar seems slightly crisper too. Would liked to have heard dendys ’ mix for comparison but it’s been removed, Great work and congrats 😀🎹🎼🎧
    Thanks for letting us listen and critique

    And thank you! When you're doing everything by yourself it's super-valuable to have an impartial pair of ears or two to give a different perspective. I really appreciate the help and advice I've received in this thread.

    My pleasure
    Richard I’m not on audiobus forum and I don’t wish to be rude so I’d like to thank you here for your most excellent soundpack floatation mutations that I did download from your link. Thanks for your work on that, we are so lucky to have such gifted sound designers amongst us who are generous too!👍🎼

  • @Arpseechord said:

    @richardyot said:

    @Arpseechord said:

    @richardyot said:
    Thanks for the feedback, I've tweaked the mix by reducing and high-passing the drum reverb, and I've also dialled down the bus compression ratio to 1.4 to 1, so hopefully the drums will be crisper.

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/lct59wkmgt48hn0/A Beautiful Girl In A Photograph.wav?dl=0

    Excellent Richard! That brings out the dynamics much better, nice crisp driving drums! I like it and the guitar seems slightly crisper too. Would liked to have heard dendys ’ mix for comparison but it’s been removed, Great work and congrats 😀🎹🎼🎧
    Thanks for letting us listen and critique

    And thank you! When you're doing everything by yourself it's super-valuable to have an impartial pair of ears or two to give a different perspective. I really appreciate the help and advice I've received in this thread.

    My pleasure
    Richard I’m not on audiobus forum and I don’t wish to be rude so I’d like to thank you here for your most excellent soundpack floatation mutations that I did download from your link. Thanks for your work on that, we are so lucky to have such gifted sound designers amongst us who are generous too!👍🎼

    Thanks - glad you like them!

  • @dendy thanks again for your tips, I've made a new mix where I use the kick as a sidechain to duck the bass (I found that just compressing the bass rather than the whole music group was enough actually).

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/nrms4w7ybj3lmqa/Auria - A Beautiful Girl In A Photograph SC.wav?dl=0

    This should be a really obvious technique, but most people tend to use EQ to separate the kick and bass, but sidechain compression works even better it seems, and actually makes both the kick and the bass more punchy, even though the bass is being ducked by the kick the muddiness between them is gone so the transient from the kick makes the bass seem more punchy.

    Anyway thanks for the tip, I will definitely use it again. I think this is more of an EDM technique, which is why maybe more traditional mixing tutorials and videos don't mention it, and favour EQ instead.

  • sidechain is magic .. there are genres where it's use is more obvious (like you mentioned EDM), but it is very useable basically everywhere - sometimes you just need to make it more subtle, not so obvious on first look .. bud sidechaining is good way to clean, transparent but still full and rich sound ...

  • @dendy said:
    sidechain is magic .. there are genres where it's use is more obvious (like you mentioned EDM), but it is very useable basically everywhere - sometimes you just need to make it more subtle, not so obvious on first look .. bud sidechaining is good way to clean, transparent but still full and rich sound ...

    Yeah totally - but the funny thing is that I've watched dozens of mixing videos on YouTube, and read several books on mixing, and it's always EQ to separate the kick and bass. Obviously sidechaining is mentioned in other contexts (ducking music behind vocals, or to make a mix pump), but I'd never thought about using it to solve the perennial kick/bass issue. And it works so well.

  • @richardyot said:

    @dendy said:
    sidechain is magic .. there are genres where it's use is more obvious (like you mentioned EDM), but it is very useable basically everywhere - sometimes you just need to make it more subtle, not so obvious on first look .. bud sidechaining is good way to clean, transparent but still full and rich sound ...

    Yeah totally - but the funny thing is that I've watched dozens of mixing videos on YouTube, and read several books on mixing, and it's always EQ to separate the kick and bass. Obviously sidechaining is mentioned in other contexts (ducking music behind vocals, or to make a mix pump), but I'd never thought about using it to solve the perennial kick/bass issue. And it works so well.

    I think it’s because traditionally in rock bands the sidechain effect has been achieved with basic compression – drive a kick (and snare) harder and it will duck everything it’s compressed with - hence the umSHHH type crash cymbals you hear so much. EQ is enough in most cases but the powerful sub bass and kick with prominent sub component in modern dance music makes sidechaining a requisite.

  • Very cool! You've done well, and great to see collaboration here :)

    I'd like to hear that guitar up a little more as well. It just seems to be hiding at the moment.

    I'd also try EQing to have a little less bass in your vocals, since in parts (e.g. at 48 seconds in) it sounds to me like your voice is clashing with the long bass notes.

    Hope these help! Love the composition, by the way. Little details like the way that lead synth just after the bridge/middle 8 holds onto the previous note until one beat into the bar...

  • @Trigger_the_Monkey said:
    Very cool! You've done well, and great to see collaboration here :)

    I'd like to hear that guitar up a little more as well. It just seems to be hiding at the moment.

    I'd also try EQing to have a little less bass in your vocals, since in parts (e.g. at 48 seconds in) it sounds to me like your voice is clashing with the long bass notes.

    Hope these help! Love the composition, by the way. Little details like the way that lead synth just after the bridge/middle 8 holds onto the previous note until one beat into the bar...

    Thanks, I'll try EQing the vocal to see if it helps. As for the guitar, there isn't one in this track, it's all synths. The bass is iSem and the pads in the verse are custom Factory patches of mine, in the chorus there is Factory, Syntronik, and Hillman.

  • edited February 14

    generally you should put sharp (at least 36dB) hipass filter on everything around 140-160hz, or even higher.. which is not kick or bass .. ideally not exactly same frequency on all tracks of course, because every filter has little "bump" around cutoff frequency ...

    very good are sharp filter in FabFilter equaliser ...

    also VERY oftern is good to put down few decibels short area around 200hz (everything except of kick and snare) because this is in most cases source of mud in mix

  • @dendy said:
    generally you should put sharp (at least 36dB) hipass filter on everything around 140-160hz, or even higher.. which is not kick or bass .. ideally not exactly same frequency on all tracks of course, because every filter has little "bump" around cutoff frequency ...

    very good are sharp filter in FabFilter equaliser ...

    also VERY oftern is good to put down few decibels short area around 200hz (everything except of kick and snare) because this is in most cases source of mud in mix

    I always add a high-pass to the vocals because the mic adds some hum and background noise, but usually I leave the soft synths alone, since they're not from analogue sources they shouldn't have too much mud anyway, but I will go back and check them with an EQ. I usually use FabFilter (been using them since 2013 in Auria), for the UI and spectrum analyser.

    I also often high-pass the bass, just to clean any potential low-end rumble.

  • I think there's an interesting balance to be had between clarity and what some people call "glue" as well. A mix that is too clean and clear can sound sterile, and I think that's why the sound of tape is still popular - it is audibly less clear than modern digital recording, and that can make a mix sound more cohesive and exciting than a crystal-clear digital mix.

    If you listen to old recordings, even ones considered to be "good" recordings, there's a lot of tape saturation there. A great example is Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon, which is an audiophile classic, in the loud passages (the chorus of "Us And Them" for example) there's a ton of tape distortion and very little clarity and separation compared to more modern recordings.

  • I agree about glue but I find that once the clarity is there in the mix (as good as I can get it) then it's easier to add glue, especially in some form of saturation. And I love Dark Side of the Moon!

    And I also find that it's easy to play with a mix forever and never be happy, not because it's a bad mix, but because it's easier to find fault with your own creations. That's one benefit to paying a pro to do it for you - eventually the money will run out and you've got to accept the mix as it is and move on ;)

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