You are here

Any advice for my Mix

For everything after the recording stage: hardware/software and how you use it.

Any advice for my Mix

Postby Hunter A. » Wed Oct 07, 2020 10:58 pm

Hey all,

I've been trying to produce music for awhile. Over time I've got down some stuff, but for the most part I'm kinda confused and lost. Anyways, I'm gonna post a track here that I'm really unsatisfied with in hopes that you guys can give me some advice in making it sound better.

Thanks.

Heres the link:

https://soundcloud.com/hunter-angstadt/ ... w9GBghsrXZ
User avatar
Hunter A.
New here
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2020 10:40 pm
Location: Somewhere in NC
Asphalt is Liquid

Re: Any advice for my Mix

Postby The Elf » Thu Oct 08, 2020 12:10 am

Welcome to the forum!

There's a lot to chew on here. Tell us about how you're making your recordings and what sort of sound you're aiming for. What don't *you* like about the mix? It may not be the same as anyone else's opinion!
User avatar
The Elf
Jedi Poster
Posts: 15029
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:00 am
Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Any advice for my Mix

Postby Hunter A. » Thu Oct 08, 2020 12:42 am

I don't have much in terms of recording equipment. To start, I will say that I use Cakewalk Sonar as a DAW. Cakewalk is free and stuff and I have not got around to saving enough money for a better DAW software. Other then that I typically record my guitar and vocals through a condensor mic running through a Focusrite Audio Interface. For drums I run my Alesis Nitro Electronic kit through my interface and for bass I also just plug into the interface.

I haven't really though about a target sound, but I do know that I aim for a more professional sounding recording. I just feel like my final mix is coming across and dull and weak. I guess if I was to base my sound off of anything it just be an alternative sound with an underground kind of rough feel. i.e. kind of an early Modest Mouse vibe.


I hope this information kind of clears up my request better.
User avatar
Hunter A.
New here
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2020 10:40 pm
Location: Somewhere in NC
Asphalt is Liquid

Re: Any advice for my Mix

Postby The Elf » Thu Oct 08, 2020 8:51 am

There's nothing wrong with your DAW. It is as perfectly capable of making professional-sounding recordings as any other.

I would begin by looking at how you are recording. I wonder if you are recording at sensible levels. Record with oodles of headroom - in my world that means peaks of no higher than -10dBFS - others will say even lower. Many beginners push the input levels in the mistaken belief that they need to see as strong a signal as possible - if you can avoid this you be be starting from a better place.

In your mix the guitar is swamping everything else. By making the guitar so loud it is leaving the rest sounding weak and lost.

Your vocals (buried under the guitar!) sound as if you are working very close to the microphone - back away from the mic a few inches (get a pop shield if you don't have one). Again, keep those levels down to get a clean recording.

I'm not noticing much in the way of stereo width in your mix, which is mking the stereo centre a bit of a battleground - maybe double-track your guitars and pan them out wide L/R to leave space in the centre - especially for vocals.

These are just starting points. I'd urge you to find some of the basic guides that SOS have done over the years, and as you work through the information in there your recordings and mixes will start to improve. The main thing is that you've made a start - and you will improve with every recording you make!
User avatar
The Elf
Jedi Poster
Posts: 15029
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:00 am
Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Any advice for my Mix

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Oct 08, 2020 11:41 am

I like it, it's a little different and I like raw and live sounding :thumbup:

I find mixing a rock trio plus vocals very difficult when it comes to stereo because everything wants to be in the middle. However I'd agree with everything The Elf says (he's much better at this than me but I have recently mixed a track with a similar line up and got similar advice from a couple of other forumites too). Try double tracking the rhythm guitar and panning hard left and right, the lead guitars, vocals and bass need to be central in the stereo image but other guitars can be panned to generate some width and record the drums in stereo for some width. Out of the box e-drums often spread the kit to the edges of the stereo image so split the stereo file into two mono tracks and only pan them part way to avoid the hi-hat appearing to be 15' from the floor tom.
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 13599
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Any advice for my Mix

Postby Hunter A. » Thu Oct 08, 2020 4:50 pm

Thank you all for the replies, the advice is really helpful.

Just to clarify, how much should I pan the guitar tracks? Right now I believe I have them at 25 L and R.

Also, do you think I should move into surround panning? I don't have an idea at how to set up surround so I've been avoiding it for quite awhile.
User avatar
Hunter A.
New here
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2020 10:40 pm
Location: Somewhere in NC
Asphalt is Liquid

Re: Any advice for my Mix

Postby The Elf » Thu Oct 08, 2020 4:57 pm

100% Left and Right for me - none of this namby-pamby 'nearly panning'! :protest: :lol:
User avatar
The Elf
Jedi Poster
Posts: 15029
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:00 am
Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Any advice for my Mix

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Oct 08, 2020 4:59 pm

Hunter A. wrote:Just to clarify, how much should I pan the guitar tracks? Right now I believe I have them at 25 L and R.

The Elf is an advocate of 'cardinal panning' where things are either hard left, centre, or hard right -- and this is a popular and effective way of working. I haven't listened to the track, but I see The Elf suggests it's crowded in the centre, in which case using more extreme panning would help...

But there are no rules... it's the art of mixing. Just be aware when using cardinal panning that the summed-mono mix could sound very different, with far less clarity between different components, specifically because you have lost that spatial separation.

Also, do you think I should move into surround panning? I don't have an idea at how to set up surround so I've been avoiding it for quite awhile.

Not if you're mixing to stereo... yes if you're mixing to a surround format! :D
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 28620
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Any advice for my Mix

Postby The Elf » Thu Oct 08, 2020 4:59 pm

Hunter A. wrote:Also, do you think I should move into surround panning? I don't have an idea at how to set up surround so I've been avoiding it for quite awhile.
Definitely not. Even seasoned mix engineers of decades struggle with surround - and it's not as simple as most people believe...

Just get the basics under your belt - that will be quite enough for some time, I guarantee.
User avatar
The Elf
Jedi Poster
Posts: 15029
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:00 am
Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Any advice for my Mix

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Oct 08, 2020 5:05 pm

Again I'll restate The Elf (edit :- and Hugh) is much better at this than me. FWIW I hard panned the double tracked rhythm guitars and 'cos I only had one lead guitar which replaced the vocal for a solo that was panned centrally. If I had some fills I think I would have tried them panned 50-60%. But I like recordings to sound like a live band playing in a room.

The drums, in stereo, definitely sounded unrealistic when I first got the track from the drummer with the HH panned hard left, I reversed the stereo so it sounded as if from an audience POV and narrowed it so the kit sounded more like you'd hear it sitting in the front row..
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 13599
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Any advice for my Mix

Postby Hunter A. » Thu Oct 08, 2020 7:08 pm

Okay, I'll fiddle around with some of this panning stuff. Right now I am gonna experiment with the track and see what helps and then in the future ill probably go back and rerecord the track entirely. Thanks for all the help and I will definitely look into those help guides in the future.
User avatar
Hunter A.
New here
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2020 10:40 pm
Location: Somewhere in NC
Asphalt is Liquid