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Critique of mix?

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Critique of mix?

Postby Ginridge » Sun May 20, 2018 5:55 pm

Hi Folks,

I'm relatively new to the forum and hope you can give me some feedback on a current project. I've been mixing a live performance featuring a primarily acoustic 4 piece band (acoustic and resonator guitars + 1 electric guitar, bass, percussion, lead an harmony vocals) plus a 42 piece choir in various forms from 8 voices to the full 42. This will ultimately be synced to a 4 camera shoot of the concert for a DVD and broadcast on Illinois PBS stations.

The live tracks were full of all the issues you'd expect, particularly heavy bleed into the choral mics. The tracks were recorded flat using a pre-fader source from the live mix board and were dumped into Pro Tools for the mix. I'm running PT 12 with the WAVES Gold bundle of processors and the CLA Classic compressors plug in on a 2017 Macbook Pro, a Glyph Studio Raid 4 TB external drive monitoring through Emotiva Stealth 8 monitors. There is a more in depth discussion of the set up and work process I've been using on the AVID pro Tools forum under the tips and tricks section (Oh Freedom! MixProject) if anyone wants more background.

I've got a mix up on Soundcloud and would really appreciate the comments of the community on how it sounds toyour ears and ways to improve it, particularly for a video and broadcast use. He's the link: https://soundcloud.com/gin-ridge-records/we-shall-overcome-5-19-18-w-reverb

Thanks very much!
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Re: Critique of mix?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon May 21, 2018 12:06 pm

I'm sure that would work perfectly well against a video on TV.

If I was being picky, the bass player might appreciate being more audible, the percussion inched back a little, and perhaps the mix could be a bit stronger and wider for the choir lifts. If you've the time and tools, a little re-tuning of the main vocal would add some polish at the start, too.

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Re: Critique of mix?

Postby Ginridge » Mon May 21, 2018 10:21 pm

Thanks very much. I appreciate the feedback ... picky is what I want!

I'll play with those changes and see how it works out. The bass was a Fender Jazz direct to the board. I'm currently running a bit of EQ (minor cut at 123 htz, and 309 htz plus a small bump at 717 and running the bass through a CLA-76 compressor plug in with the attack @3 and the release at 4. Is there a better setting or compressor I could use to bring the bass up but not get things muddy in the mix?

Also, regarding the choir lifts (I assume you mean their emotional high points?), there are 5 mics in play. A single mic Stage Left, a L - R pair Stage Right and a L - R pair behind the band. I currently have each of the L-R pairs spread out with the Stage Right Pair panned Hard left and hard right and the Center stage pair panned 70 Left and 70 R. The final mic is at 37 R. Would you recommend panning farther out or perhaps some other configuration to make things wider?

Thanks!
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Re: Critique of mix?

Postby Sam Inglis » Tue May 22, 2018 11:09 am

I think that considering the challenges involved, you've done a very good job here. The only sources that audibly suffer from the live recording are the acoustic guitar -- a DI never really sounds quite like the real thing -- and the drums. It sounds as though what we are hearing of the drums is coming mostly from spill onto other mics, and it's pretty nasty and cardboardy. I can appreciate why you wouldn't want the drums too loud in the mix, but I wonder whether bringing up their own mics might help to overshadow the ugliness that's coming from the drum spill into other mics.

On a more general note, though, if I have a comment it's that in the absence of visuals, it doesn't always feel like a live recording. The most prominent elements are the close miked lead vocal and the DI'd bass and acoustic guitar, and there's not very much sense of them all being on a stage together with an excited audience in front of them. Bringing up the audience or ambient mics a bit might compromise the mix in a technical sense, but it might help to reintroduce some of that excitement of a live event, which is a bit lacking at the moment.

(I also winced slightly at the moment in the introduction where the narrator mentioned the "freedom movement" in Ireland alongside the civil rights movement in the US and the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. That struck me as ill-advised, to put it mildly.)
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Re: Critique of mix?

Postby Ginridge » Tue May 22, 2018 2:54 pm

Yes, I agree with the DI issue. I also had a Neumann KM-184 on each of the acoustic mics but the stage bleed was so big that it rendered the tracks unusable in the mix. I equed as much of the pick-up "zing" out as possible but do agree it's not the best sound.

The percussion was mic'd with a single KM-84 overhead and in retrospect, we should have used 2 mics a bit closer. Unfortunately, time and resources did not allow that happen. I had to pull a large amount of low and mid out of the percussion mic as well to clean up stage noise (and the band was fairly quiet!). Perhaps I can re-visit the drum EQ and make that less nasty.

I can't see a way to upload a picture of the set up but if I find one, but I can, I'll post the stage set up.

Audience mics were set up (not by me) and they completely failed to capture the crowd response. I've used the choir mics to bring that out as much as possible.

On another note, just out of curiosity, the reference to the other freedom movements was a historical reference in regard to the song We Shall Overcome, which did play a significant role in those events. I'm wondering how that would offend?

Thanks!
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Re: Critique of mix?

Postby Sam Inglis » Tue May 22, 2018 3:32 pm

Ginridge wrote: I had to pull a large amount of low and mid out of the percussion mic as well to clean up stage noise (and the band was fairly quiet!). Perhaps I can re-visit the drum EQ and make that less nasty.

It sounds quite 'blatty' to me, which suggests that a cut somewhere in the mid-range might be a good thing -- maybe somewhere in the 500 - 800 Hz region?


Ginridge wrote:On another note, just out of curiosity, the reference to the other freedom movements was a historical reference in regard to the song We Shall Overcome, which did play a significant role in those events. I'm wondering how that would offend?

I'm not sure it's offensive, exactly, but I think it's pretty contentious to apply the term "freedom movement" to any of the participants in the Troubles, or to draw parallels with the US civil rights movement or the anti-apartheid campaigners.
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Re: Critique of mix?

Postby Ginridge » Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:11 pm

Hi, I've been working on a re-mix of the project based on the comments above (Thanks!) and here's the latest version.

Based on your suggestions, I've made the following changes:

In an attempt to bring up the bass but keep things from getting too muddy, I changed the settings on the CLA-76 from 8 to All and adjusted the output for a bit more in your face (for folk music!) bass. I lowered the lead vocal reverb from 8.9 to 11 and rolled off a bit of lowed on the reverb. I re-eq’ed the acoustic guitar DIs to make more natural pulling frequencies down at several points in the 6 to 7 k range, cut a bit 600-700 on the percussion and brought it down a bit. I panned Choir positions 3 and 4 hard Left and hard Right, left Choir 2 as mixed, about 70% Right . Also put a VERY small amount of CLA 2A on the master.

After that, I re-balanced everything again all the way through.

The new track is on Soundcloud at this link: https://soundcloud.com/gin-ridge-records/we-shall-overcome-6-21-18-mix. The old mix is also up if you want to A/B them. As always your frank comments are appreciated!
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Re: Critique of mix?

Postby Ginridge » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:06 pm

After listening to the above mix on headphones, I dropped the lead vocal a hare...
https://soundcloud.com/gin-ridge-records/we-shall-overcome-6-21-18-mix-1
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Re: Critique of mix?

Postby Ginridge » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:58 pm

Apologies for the multiple posts, but there were some errant clips in the last mix I'd been moving and hadn't deleted! Here's the latest. https://soundcloud.com/gin-ridge-records/we-shall-overcome-6-21-18-mix-2
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Re: Critique of mix?

Postby DC-Choppah » Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:23 pm

Just listening to that last post with fresh ears, I wish I could hear the bass better. He sounds swallowed up.
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Re: Critique of mix?

Postby Ginridge » Fri Jun 22, 2018 7:25 am

Hmmm. Any thoughts on how to make it pop more in the mix? I'm Listening on Emotiva Stealth 8's and I'm hearing bass about as much as any other instrument, perhaps a bit more than percussion. It's a Fender Jazz DI w/ 1 to 2 db cuts at 122 and 303, a 3 db boost at 717, a tight Q boost at 2k and a 4 db shelf cut @ 5.35k. CLA-76 is set at 3 for attack and 4 for release with the all ratio pushed in.

Working on a video...
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Re: Critique of mix?

Postby Ginridge » Fri Jun 22, 2018 4:45 pm

OK, here's a video that has this mix with it. FYI, this is a quick and dirty combination of the edited video and the WAV file made in I-movie. The syncing isn't perfect (I meet with the videographer Monday to do this properly).

https://youtu.be/7cT4ly_iQaA

Again, thoughts, suggestions, comments greatly appreciated!
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