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Have I done a crap job on these mixes?

Postby chew_rocket » Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:24 pm

I'v just finished some mixes for a band and they're not happy with them. I asked what was wrong and they just said they sound 'flat' and wont really expand on that, no asking for the raw audio files to mix them themselves. I have spent more time on these mixes than i even like to think about so I'm a bit heartbroken.

I want to fix the things they dont like but they seem to have lost faith in me. Please be honest and tell me if they're any good and if they aren't what could I improve? Bear in mind they are completely unmastered.

Click here to have a listen.
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Re: Have I done a crap job on these mixes?

Postby Jonnypopisical » Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:44 pm

Hi - all of them sound very muffled to me - A-B against some material the band/you like that's in a similar vain - I'm sure you will hear the difference.

Could be your monitoring is the problem or you have just heard them so many times you can't tell anymore. The tracking seems fine (just had a VERY quick listen)

Take a break - clear your mind and have another go - an hour or two on each should get you much closer.

If you raw material sounds like the mixes then you have a bigger problem and it's salvage time!

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Re: Have I done a crap job on these mixes?

Postby Sam Inglis » Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:53 pm

Agreed, a quick listen suggests that the tracks and the basic balances are good, but the overall frequency balance is lacking high frequencies.
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Re: Have I done a crap job on these mixes?

Postby Phil O » Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:54 pm

I agree with JonnyP.Mixes seem quite 'muddy' and squashed. And, if it were me, I'd have to apply a bit of judicious tuning on the vocal for The Yetti.
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Re: Have I done a crap job on these mixes?

Postby johnny h » Mon Nov 26, 2012 2:09 pm

The tuning on the vocal is awful .. personally I hate pitch correction but if I had to deal with vocals like this I'd definitely fix them or have them rerecorded. If its this bad however I don't think the singer is capable of singing a whole song in tune.

Listening on the laptop, the mixing doesn't sound too bad but compared to commercial stuff it needs to be a little bit brighter and punchier. So have a look at the compression settings, try a transient modeller (SPL is best, Sonnox Oxford or Waves are good too), fix the tuning and sweeten it up with a good sounding EQ.

If it was a full commercial production I expect they would tighten up the drum and guitar playing too, it depends what sort of sound they want.
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Re: Have I done a crap job on these mixes?

Postby Jack Ruston » Mon Nov 26, 2012 2:12 pm

Yeah, I'd echo what's been said above. The fundamental problem here is that the drum sounds are not working at all. They sound completely dead and boxy in a genre which is generally the opposite. SO the first thing I'd do is completely replace those with samples. Once you have that foundation of bright punchy drums with some length, the rest of the mix should make a bit more sense. The guitar sounds on the whole seem better and you can then judge how much brightness you need to add to the vocal.

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Re: Have I done a crap job on these mixes?

Postby Rolandonioninator » Mon Nov 26, 2012 2:18 pm

I think you are almost there...I quite like the tunes - good energy. I agree with all that have posted here in regard to the 'flatness' of the higher frequencies, which could point to your monitoring. I would also encourage you to take a look at the snare. To my ears, it sounds like the top head mike is the dominant sound here(57?), along with some good doses of compression. Sometimes it is best to go to the source and see what is happening there with the original sound. (ie: is the actual snare itself the problem? Badly tuned? Muffled?? I have seen some drummers use heaps of gaffer tape) If so, a quick drum replacement could do the trick, and try blending the two. I have found that bringing up the room mics first helps to get more air on the snare (I am such a poet) before you introduce the top head mics. And as mentioned I would also look at the vocals more closely in terms of pitch. Just my two denari.

Fun songs, and decent balance.

Cheers
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Re: Have I done a crap job on these mixes?

Postby The Elf » Mon Nov 26, 2012 9:17 pm

I'll add my agreement to the observations above. There's a lack of air and life in the mix - much of this could be down to the source material, but it needs addressing if possible. There's a sense of congestion throughout.

The snare is poking through the mix nicely, but it sounds very dry and needs more support from the under-snare mic, or maybe the addition of a supporting sample.

And those vocals... they certainly need some tuning work.

The rest of the parts sound pretty good and the songs are decent.
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Re: Have I done a crap job on these mixes?

Postby chew_rocket » Mon Nov 26, 2012 11:37 pm

When I read all these comments I completely 100% agree and on listening to the mix now I think 'why didn't i realise all this'?

I must admit i knew the snare sounded a bit crap but thats ALWAYS my main struggle in a mix, i can never get the right level of the bottom mic, it always just sounds... weird.

Gonna have a fiddle this week so will report back with the new mix.



P.s. This forum is a total asset to my progression as a producer and I'm always happy with the answers i receive... I cant thank you guys enough!
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Re: Have I done a crap job on these mixes?

Postby Jack Ruston » Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:44 am

It is often weird (snare bottom). Sometimes better to stick with the top mic and look for the sizzle with eq and the overheads. Again I think they're going to prefer samples unless you've got some lovely room sounds muted up in the session.

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Re: Have I done a crap job on these mixes?

Postby God Walking Amongst Mere Mortals » Tue Nov 27, 2012 3:08 am

Re-Mastered in 3 minutes...?

Click the Soundcloud link above for my interpretation. Sorry I will delete in 24 hours just don't know how to make it private...
Took less than 3 minutes with Ozone. Not so bad now. Please tell me you are not using earbud headphones? Monitoring is so important...
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Re: Have I done a crap job on these mixes?

Postby chew_rocket » Tue Nov 27, 2012 12:22 pm

Thanks... I'm at work at the moment so cant currently listen.

I actually did a quick master last night with a big high shelf boost and some compression, definitely breathes more life into it but I still need to work on the snare sound!
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Re: Have I done a crap job on these mixes?

Postby chew_rocket » Tue Nov 27, 2012 12:23 pm

And no I'v got Adam A7X monitors and an acoustically treated room. My monitoring is very good, my ears just need more practice.
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Re: Have I done a crap job on these mixes?

Postby A. AuCr » Tue Nov 27, 2012 5:02 pm

Even with the HF lift, do give some thought to getting the vocal a touch more forward and "bigger". Maybe some edge around 2.8k via a parallel exciter and swapping the reverb for delay, or more predelay on the verb. In the first verse it seemed a bit buried.
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Re: Have I done a crap job on these mixes?

Postby petev3.1 » Wed Nov 28, 2012 11:40 am

Not being a expert mixer I don't tend to comment on these things. But really, it is odd how a band that has obviously put in a lot of work and sometimes can sound really good can be happy with such regular sloppiness in the ensemble and such way out of tune singing.
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Re: Have I done a crap job on these mixes?

Postby DC-Choppah » Thu Nov 29, 2012 2:52 am

Just some of my initial reactions as an unbiased fresh set of ears for you:

- Snare sounds like it was recorded in a small drum room with an overloaded mic. The drum also has no ring, like the drummer has put severe dampening on his skins. Drums need to ring or the sound like just a thud.

- Vocals are pitchy

- Vocals don't sit right in the mix I think. They sound sort of muffled, and behind the band and dead center.

- Overall the mix does not have a lot of high end. No sparkle or sizzle or air.

- Only the guitars change going into the chorus. Drums sound even deader in the chorus.

- Guitars sound good.
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Re: Have I done a crap job on these mixes?

Postby chew_rocket » Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:28 am

OK i'v remixed it... i'v yet to retune the vocals but other than that i think its 10 times better, i really dont know what i was thinking before.... i think id mixed myself stupid!!

Any final suggestions before i tune the vocals and 'sign it off'?

remix and old mix - soundcloud set
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Re: Have I done a crap job on these mixes?

Postby The Elf » Mon Dec 03, 2012 7:01 am



+ maybe a little bright plate on the snare...
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Re: Have I done a crap job on these mixes?

Postby Scramble » Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:32 am

It's pretty decent (and a vast improvement than before), but it now sounds a little bit too bright and bass-light. I'd give that a tweak -- not a lot, just a bit.
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Re: Have I done a crap job on these mixes?

Postby chew_rocket » Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:27 pm

There is a bright short-ish plate on the snare.... maybe a little more of it??

In regards to the mix being a little bright thats probably to do with the high shelf i put on as a 'rough master'. I'll be taking that off and leaving the decision of how bright it should be with the mastering engineer.
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Re: Have I done a crap job on these mixes?

Postby The Elf » Mon Dec 03, 2012 2:57 pm

chew_rocket wrote:There is a bright short-ish plate on the snare.... maybe a little more of it??

I'd say so, yes. Just enough to make the snare sound 'wet' in the mix. Maybe a bit more, maybe a bit longer - just a bit of balancing until it sounds subjectively 'natural'.
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Re: Have I done a crap job on these mixes?

Postby Persuazion » Mon Dec 03, 2012 4:42 pm

Night and day, well done. You're about 85% there with that remix I'd say. Hopefully you feel slightly less like jumping off the nearest bridge now?
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Re: Have I done a crap job on these mixes?

Postby Persuazion » Mon Dec 03, 2012 4:45 pm

The Elf wrote:
chew_rocket wrote:There is a bright short-ish plate on the snare.... maybe a little more of it??
I'd say so, yes. Just enough to make the snare sound 'wet' in the mix. Maybe a bit more, maybe a bit longer - just a bit of balancing until it sounds subjectively 'natural'.

Yeah, itd have been nice to have some thumping room mics in those choruses. The dist guitar could do with a bit of something. It sounds good but you want more of it. A bit of stero depth to it oo maybe. And the vocal are maybe slightly bigger than the rest of the song.
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Re: Have I done a crap job on these mixes?

Postby chew_rocket » Mon Dec 03, 2012 6:57 pm

Persuazion wrote:Hopefully you feel slightly less like jumping off the nearest bridge now?

hehe yeah this is true!

thanks for the tips. I'll give that snare a tweak... unfortunately the room mics dont sound very good (not a great room!).
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Re: Have I done a crap job on these mixes?

Postby The Elf » Mon Dec 03, 2012 7:06 pm

An artificial room wouldn't hurt, but shave off all the lows and dip the honky mids.
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Re: Have I done a crap job on these mixes?

Postby BJG145 » Mon Dec 03, 2012 7:28 pm

chew_rocket wrote:OK i'v remixed it... i'v yet to retune the vocals but other than that i think its 10 times better, i really dont know what i was thinking before.... i think id mixed myself stupid!!

Any final suggestions before i tune the vocals and 'sign it off'?
Listening to this track for the first time, headphones...

Really distracted by the lack of vocal tuning; in general I think it would be a good idea to fix this early before getting mix feedback.

Vocals sound on the quiet side, most noticeable on the chorus.

Would have liked an extra push on the final chorus at 2.25; think I wanted to hear more high melodic or rhythm guitar, or power chords or something...the track sounds dominated by bass, grungy guitar bass-doubling, and drums. Not crazy about the snare sound.

Apart from that...great job! Well done.
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Re: Have I done a crap job on these mixes?

Postby chew_rocket » Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:34 pm

Some very contradicting opinions here... someone mentioned earlier that its bass light, someone said later that its bass heavy. Someone said the vocals were overpowering, then someone said they are too quiet.

Are we not all listening to this mix in the exact same room with the exact same monitors???
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Re: Have I done a crap job on these mixes?

Postby christianmurphy » Tue Dec 04, 2012 1:03 am

I listened quietly on macbook pro speakers. Not exactly what you need for solid advice, but sometimes exactly what you need!
I listened to the re-mix whilst reading the comments thinking that's what the original comments were about and thought it was very harsh and didn't really get it. Then realised! The remix is tonnes better. First two things that stand out in this listening style is snare doesn't sound as big and solid as it needs to or compared to similar songs in this genre. I'd personally say 100% needs a decent sample. Then the tuning on the vox, and it would be sounding pretty good.
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Re: Have I done a crap job on these mixes?

Postby DC-Choppah » Tue Dec 04, 2012 1:14 am

This rocks! Good energy. Much improved.

And by the way, Big Foot is real they say now. They have his DNA!

Long live the Yeti.
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Re: Have I done a crap job on these mixes?

Postby A. AuCr » Wed Dec 05, 2012 4:36 pm

If you're getting an evenly split response on the bass levels then you're probably in the vicinity of "right".

Much improved for sure. Good job!

Question for the "vocals need tuning" crew, could y'all point out a couple of moments where they're off? I'm greatly disturbed that I'm not hearing the problem. (Or I'm dismissing it as a performance choice.)
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