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Critique my mix

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Re: Critique my mix

Postby The Elf » Wed Jan 15, 2020 6:19 pm

IME 'Humanize' processes are usually anything but. Adding purely random elements to your drums will not make them sound more 'human'. Humans are not random - they react to what they're hearing around them. Drummers will add intensity when the volume goes up in the chorus and may speed up slightly, or relax back on the beat when a verse returns, for example.

Instead, go through every beat of your drums and think about what a drummer would be doing. Is he hitting with left or right hand? Left hand hits will often be softer; fast repeated hits will be softer; hits going into a chorus will likely be heavier. Ruffs and ghost hits are critical to getting drums sounding subjectively 'real'.

And then there's the timing. I will allow a slight bit of randomisation to happen there, but I will also steer it ahead or behind the beat to get the feel I'm after.

It's painstaking stuff (I will often spend several hours programming convincing drums for a song), but if you want to get it sounding right there's really no short cut.
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Re: Critique my mix

Postby The Bunk » Wed Jan 15, 2020 7:57 pm

AJScott755 wrote: I'm not trying to replicate the Incubus tone, I didn't think that was a good idea, I don't think much could be learnt by just trying to replicate another song/tone.


That's a good way to work on something, absolutely, although earlier you say in relation to the drum fills:

"What's wrong with the drum fills? I believe they're almost identical to the original song."

So if you're not worried about just trying to replicate another song, I'd not worry about getting the fills 100% either. My approach to doing covers is absolutely NOT to try absolute total like-for-like accuracy because there can be times when the more you try, the more people will listen to it and either consciously or sub-consciously be comparing it to the original and not listening to it for a what it is - in this case, YOUR version.

Personally I've always found the EZD1 fills - along with other drum machine/programme fills - very formulaic anyway and very very rarely use them as they are. And will people who are going to listen to this say "Yep all good stuff but you got that fill at 2:07 wrong"? So maybe tweak them or create your own - which it sounds like you may have done in some cases?

Another technique I use with EZD is, whilst keeping the same drum pattern, change the hi-hat pattern over it which again reduces the "monotony" of a programmed drum. And it also sounds like you have done that in paces as well...; so honestly, it's a good start.

Do also bear in mind that we're still listening to this without a vocal; so our attention and listening focus has nowhere to go to other than guitar, bass and drums which is not how the song was meant to be listened to. AND...it's long at over 7 minutes. All that can lead to a slightly unbalanced judgement which you could argue is "harsh but fair"?

I'm not saying that what's been suggested by others above is wrong but, as someone whose memories of staring out on this road, as you are now, are still very fresh, I would get to the point of not tweaking any further until I'd got everything I want in there. I still think (and I said so earlier) that the basis of what's there is good as well.

BTW how much time are you spending on this? Maybe give the ears a break for a bit; you might hear things differently if you leave it for a week and then re-visit?
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Re: Critique my mix

Postby The Bunk » Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:01 pm

The Elf wrote:
It's painstaking stuff (I will often spend several hours programming convincing drums for a song), but if you want to get it sounding right there's really no short cut.

...and just before I go and start the dinner....+1.
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Re: Critique my mix

Postby AJScott755 » Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:42 pm

The Bunk wrote:
AJScott755 wrote: I'm not trying to replicate the Incubus tone, I didn't think that was a good idea, I don't think much could be learnt by just trying to replicate another song/tone.


That's a good way to work on something, absolutely, although earlier you say in relation to the drum fills:

"What's wrong with the drum fills? I believe they're almost identical to the original song."

So if you're not worried about just trying to replicate another song, I'd not worry about getting the fills 100% either. My approach to doing covers is absolutely NOT to try absolute total like-for-like accuracy because there can be times when the more you try, the more people will listen to it and either consciously or sub-consciously be comparing it to the original and not listening to it for a what it is - in this case, YOUR version.

Personally I've always found the EZD1 fills - along with other drum machine/programme fills - very formulaic anyway and very very rarely use them as they are. And will people who are going to listen to this say "Yep all good stuff but you got that fill at 2:07 wrong"? So maybe tweak them or create your own - which it sounds like you may have done in some cases?

Another technique I use with EZD is, whilst keeping the same drum pattern, change the hi-hat pattern over it which again reduces the "monotony" of a programmed drum. And it also sounds like you have done that in paces as well...; so honestly, it's a good start.

Do also bear in mind that we're still listening to this without a vocal; so our attention and listening focus has nowhere to go to other than guitar, bass and drums which is not how the song was meant to be listened to. AND...it's long at over 7 minutes. All that can lead to a slightly unbalanced judgement which you could argue is "harsh but fair"?

I'm not saying that what's been suggested by others above is wrong but, as someone whose memories of staring out on this road, as you are now, are still very fresh, I would get to the point of not tweaking any further until I'd got everything I want in there. I still think (and I said so earlier) that the basis of what's there is good as well.

BTW how much time are you spending on this? Maybe give the ears a break for a bit; you might hear things differently if you leave it for a week and then re-visit?

Thanks for the feedback man.

Regarding time....well I spent probably a day learning the song on guitar and getting it good enough to record with. I've then done 2 mix sessions in it, the version 1 I spent quite a lot of time on probably about 6 hours. The second version which is probably the one you've all heard now took me a lot less time. I mixed everything with a lot more headroom, probably about 4 hours mix time? Hard to say exactly
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Re: Critique my mix

Postby The Bunk » Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:54 pm

:thumbup:
The time point didn't need to be exact, more a matter of principle really...have you just got to the stage where you can't see the wood for the trees etc etc? It can happen without realising it and there isn't a right or wrong, "too little" / "too much" answer. It's just a thought really....maybe work on something else for a bit and go back to it. There's been stuff I've done that I never wanted to hear again after completing it!
Onwards and Upwards !
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Re: Critique my mix

Postby James Perrett » Wed Jan 15, 2020 10:56 pm

Having had a quick listen again, my feeling is that you should take the quantising off the drums and allow them to push and pull - just as the guitars and bass are doing already. Any timing corrections that are needed should be done by hand and with reference to the guitar rather than with reference to the sequencer's timeline. Can you get hold of a version of the drum track with the velocities as they were originally played? This would help to make them sound more natural.
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Re: Critique my mix

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:03 pm

So if you're not worried about just trying to replicate another song, I'd not worry about getting the fills 100% either. My approach to doing covers is absolutely NOT to try absolute total like-for-like accuracy because there can be times when the more you try, the more people will listen to it and either consciously or sub-consciously be comparing it to the original and not listening to it for a what it is - in this case, YOUR version.

I'm a live guy, I play live, I do live PA and I want to record things that sound like a great live performance. Partly it's 'cos I don't have the skill or patience to record and mix 100+ tracks (like a young mate of mine did, but he refused to do any acoustic treatment in his room :headbang: ) and partly 'cos those are the recordings that I like to listen to so please take my comments with an appropriate pinch of sodium chloride.

But, while I don't have 'golden ears' I have realised that I can hear the differences between what I play and what Eric played and have decided that I'm not good enough to do an exact copy. So, I play it my way, it may be close to it may be racially different (mostly the extent of my creativity) but the audience either fill in the gaps (Santana's version of Black Magic Woman played by a power trio) or appreciate the new take on it (Basket Case in DADGAD on an acoustic). I've even been complimented on my tone by the local 'tone hound' after playing Sultans of Swing on a Les Paul with a pick.... proof positive that it's all in the fingers...).

The point being that, while you don't have to slavishly copy, it does take practice to get something which sounds good and respects* the original.

* or possibly parodies.
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Re: Critique my mix

Postby CS70 » Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:57 pm

AJScott755 wrote:Or are the guitar tracks simply too loud?

Speaking as a guitarist, when I first got into recording I was very surprised on how low guitars need be in most mixes. In many cases, short of the occasional automation which brings up a specific lick or interesting part, they mostly provide the kind of tapestry that makes other stuff work.

It's not so dissimilar what happens live...
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Re: Critique my mix

Postby The Bunk » Thu Jan 16, 2020 12:44 am

Sam Spoons wrote:But, while I don't have 'golden ears' I have realised that I can hear the differences between what I play and what Eric played and have decided that I'm not good enough to do an exact copy.

...and actually in my case that is the absolute first reason!
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