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Sound check (and sense check)

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Sound check (and sense check)

PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2019 10:49 pm
by blinddrew
First a bit of background. Feel free to jump ahead.
My brother got married last year and asked me to play a couple of songs at his wedding, I was happy to oblige naturally. As a wedding present he then asked if I'd mind making a recording of them. Messing around with music being my major hobby these days I was, once again, happy to oblige. A couple of the songs were covers however, which is why, unusually, I'm asking for some thoughts and opinions on a song that isn't mine.
Right, that's the backstory out of the way...

Jumpers re-enter here:
I've been working on this cover of Josh Ritter's Good Man for the last few weeks (months maybe), and it's at a point where I feel like I need to come up for air and ask for second opinions. Otherwise I find I can lose too much perspective.
https://soundcloud.com/blinddrew/good-m ... 07/s-tkr8o
It's not finished, but it is, I think, in a reasonable state for some critique.
Stuff that still needs doing:
- Sorting the lead vocal (comping, fattening up, and a bit of fader riding).
- adding a few bits of percussion ear-candy.
- adding some backing vocals.
- reviewing the overall to remove various bits of over-candying* and possibly stripping out some larger bits of orchestration in places.

I'm after any opinions at all really, either on production, mixing, recording - anything except the song-writing, that's out of my hands. :)

Here's the original for reference by the way: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C81SyunWMAQ

As always thanks in advance! :)

* I always have to do it this way round, start with too much and then strip back, I hope that in time I'll get a bit better at this.

Re: Sound check (and sense check)

PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2019 5:51 am
by awjoe
The kick's too clicky for my taste, but I think you're closing in on this one.

Re: Sound check (and sense check)

PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2019 9:53 am
by Wonks
Agree on the clicky kick.

Where it changes into the next section at about 1 minute, it all suddenly seems to get very confusing, with lots of short echoes that don't seem to be in time (at least to me).

Vocals sound a bit muffled to me.

Banjo track count is spot on! ;)

Re: Sound check (and sense check)

PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2019 11:06 am
by John Egan
Hi Drew,
Nice song, and I think your version's nearly there. Personally, I think it could stand some strong, simple country rock style guitar lines in the intro and between verses. I think they might provide nice punctuation, definition and contrast to the busy vocal (which I like very much).
Regards, John

Re: Sound check (and sense check)

PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2019 4:14 pm
by Martin Walker
Sounds great Drew! :clap:

I agree about the clicky kick, but I also think the bass is a little too overblown for the style of song. Your high notes sound fine, but the low notes sound more like powerful EDM than country, so I suspect some gentle HPF on your bass will help balance the mix up a bit.

I also found the single punctuating snare hits between around 2:02 and 2:20 a bit distracting - I'd have gone for some delicate cymbal work here instead, but of course that's totally an artistic decision ;)

Great work though, and I look forward to listening to the final mix when it's even better! 8-)


Martin

Re: Sound check (and sense check)

PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2019 6:49 pm
by Logarhythm
Nice work, Drew (again) :thumbup:
Also picked up the slight muddle that Wonks noted around the 1 min mark.
And agree with Martin on the bass - it's not often something I notice on my small sealed monitors, but I imagine it would be positively room-shaking on a bigger system so would personally cut it a bit. Unless you're adding some sort of surprise transition into a Drum 'n' Bass remix further on? ;)

I disagree with Wonks on the banjo though. My ears aren't the best, but I could hardly hear it... :mrgreen:

Re: Sound check (and sense check)

PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2019 9:05 pm
by blinddrew
Thanks for all feedback folks, exactly what I needed. So things to focus on:
- Clicky kick,
- overblown bass,
- muffled vocals (I haven't done the tidying on these yet but that's useful),
- Country rock guitar lines is probably out of my capability but cleaning up the transitions (including mudd at around a minute is definitely part of my cleaning up plan),
- I might try dropping those snare hits a bit - delicate cymbal is definitely also outside my capabilities.

So apart from the drums, the bass, the guitar and the vocals, we're all good! :D

P.S. I'm now tempted to add some banjo just for Wonks. :)

Re: Sound check (and sense check)

PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 4:38 am
by awjoe
Martin Walker wrote:...but I also think the bass is a little too overblown for the style of song. Your high notes sound fine, but the low notes sound more like powerful EDM than country, so I suspect some gentle HPF on your bass will help balance the mix up a bit.


Thanks. You put words to what I was hearing but not ID'ing.

Re: Sound check (and sense check)

PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 8:35 am
by The Elf
I think the others have summed it up very well. The other thing I would suggest is drying up a few of the lows in the sides - I love the width, but the sides have a lot of low-end weight in them that makes the mix 'wrap' around my head, rather than presenting a soundstage in front of me - a bit of HPF in the sides should cure this.

As a stylistic choice I would push the vocal much further back in this song.

Re: Sound check (and sense check)

PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 8:53 am
by Wonks
blinddrew wrote:P.S. I'm now tempted to add some banjo just for Wonks. :)

As it's to celebrate your Brother's wedding, add banjo and you might as well throw in a cover of D.I.V.O.R.C.E. :D

Re: Sound check (and sense check)

PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 11:06 am
by blinddrew
The Elf wrote:I think the others have summed it up very well. The other thing I would suggest is drying up a few of the lows in the sides - I love the width, but the sides have a lot of low-end weight in them that makes the mix 'wrap' around my head, rather than presenting a soundstage in front of me - a bit of HPF in the sides should cure this.
Thank you. I knew something was bugging me about the wide stuff but i couldn't put my finger on it. I don't normally start looking at my MS stuff until the mastering stage, i shall bring that forward a bit.
The Elf wrote:As a stylistic choice I would push the vocal much further back in this song.
Curious about your thinking there? Most of the singer-songwriter stuff i listen to tends to keep the vocal fairly upfront, just wondering what's suggesting a more distant approach for this?

Re: Sound check (and sense check)

PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 11:07 am
by blinddrew
Wonks wrote:
blinddrew wrote:P.S. I'm now tempted to add some banjo just for Wonks. :)

As it's to celebrate your Brother's wedding, add banjo and you might as well throw in a cover of D.I.V.O.R.C.E. :D

You're right, clearly accordion is the way to go...

Re: Sound check (and sense check)

PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 7:45 pm
by awjoe
The Elf wrote:The other thing I would suggest is drying up a few of the lows in the sides - I love the width, but the sides have a lot of low-end weight in them that makes the mix 'wrap' around my head, rather than presenting a soundstage in front of me - a bit of HPF in the sides should cure this.

I'd like to ask a question about this if I may, because I'm just getting into the mid/side aspects of mixing. Mix 1 with mid/side EQ like you mentioned compared to Mix 2 which applied the EQ on the master bus - played back in mono, there won't be much difference between them, true or false? I'm guessing there WILL be a difference because the EQ is applied to some of the mix, not all of the mix, is that right?

Re: Sound check (and sense check)

PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 8:02 pm
by The Elf
Yes, there's a difference. Add an HPF to the side signal and the stereo centre will not be affected. It's a neat way to manipulate the perceived stereo soundstage. Add a bit of HF lift to the sides and the mix will appear wider, for example.

It's also a great way to use mono processors that lack stereo linking to manipulate a stereo mix!

Re: Sound check (and sense check)

PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 4:34 am
by Tim Gillett
Re the bass again, maybe you meant it that way but it has almost no harmonics in it, pretty much just the fundamentals. Those fundamentals may sound too loud on a good system but on a bass light system, the bass line may disappear altogether.

Re: Sound check (and sense check)

PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 8:15 am
by blinddrew
Useful, thanks Tim. It wasn't intentional so i'll have another look at that. I was in a less-than-ideal situation when i recorded the bass so there may be a compromise too far there.
Might need re-recording when the external environment is a bit better.

Re: Sound check (and sense check)

PostPosted: Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:37 pm
by blinddrew
Chasing my tail a bit on this one still. https://soundcloud.com/blinddrew/good-m ... 19/s-igz06
Parked it for a bit and thought i was making bit of progress but now I'm not so sure.
Any comments gratefully received.

Re: Sound check (and sense check)

PostPosted: Fri Jul 19, 2019 11:16 pm
by Logarhythm
I'm not a proficient mixer and never do anything with vocals, to the extent that I'm not even convinced that I have the vocabulary to convey what I'm hearing, and my comments rightly deserve lots of scepticism, but for me the vocal is a bit too prominent; it doesn't quite feel like part of the same space as the music.

Re: Sound check (and sense check)

PostPosted: Sat Jul 20, 2019 4:17 am
by DC-Choppah
The Elf wrote:As a stylistic choice I would push the vocal much further back in this song.

Fresh ears here. I just listened and I am giving you my first impressions as a fresh listener. The vocals stick way out of the mix and if I was mixing this I would try to blend them in. It caught my ear right away and was the only thing that I really noticed mix-wise. I just noticed the Elf said the same thing too.

There are places where the drum timing sounds wrong and is distracting.

Re: Sound check (and sense check)

PostPosted: Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:16 am
by blinddrew
Cheers folks, useful stuff. :)