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Sound check (and sense check)

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Sound check (and sense check)

Postby blinddrew » Tue Apr 09, 2019 10:49 pm

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.
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Re: Sound check (and sense check)

Postby awjoe » Wed Apr 10, 2019 5:51 am

The kick's too clicky for my taste, but I think you're closing in on this one.
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Re: Sound check (and sense check)

Postby Wonks » Wed Apr 10, 2019 9:53 am

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! ;)
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Re: Sound check (and sense check)

Postby John Egan » Wed Apr 10, 2019 11:06 am

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
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Re: Sound check (and sense check)

Postby Martin Walker » Wed Apr 10, 2019 4:14 pm

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-)


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Re: Sound check (and sense check)

Postby Logarhythm » Wed Apr 10, 2019 6:49 pm

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:
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Re: Sound check (and sense check)

Postby blinddrew » Wed Apr 10, 2019 9:05 pm

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. :)
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Re: Sound check (and sense check)

Postby awjoe » Thu Apr 11, 2019 4:38 am

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.
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Re: Sound check (and sense check)

Postby The Elf » Thu Apr 11, 2019 8:35 am

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.
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Re: Sound check (and sense check)

Postby Wonks » Thu Apr 11, 2019 8:53 am

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
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Re: Sound check (and sense check)

Postby blinddrew » Thu Apr 11, 2019 11:06 am

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?
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Re: Sound check (and sense check)

Postby blinddrew » Thu Apr 11, 2019 11:07 am

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...
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Re: Sound check (and sense check)

Postby awjoe » Thu Apr 11, 2019 7:45 pm

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?
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Re: Sound check (and sense check)

Postby The Elf » Thu Apr 11, 2019 8:02 pm

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!
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Re: Sound check (and sense check)

Postby Tim Gillett » Fri Apr 12, 2019 4:34 am

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.
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Re: Sound check (and sense check)

Postby blinddrew » Fri Apr 12, 2019 8:15 am

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.
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Re: Sound check (and sense check)

Postby blinddrew » Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:37 pm

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.
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Re: Sound check (and sense check)

Postby Logarhythm » Fri Jul 19, 2019 11:16 pm

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.
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Re: Sound check (and sense check)

Postby DC-Choppah » Sat Jul 20, 2019 4:17 am

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.
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Re: Sound check (and sense check)

Postby blinddrew » Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:16 am

Cheers folks, useful stuff. :)
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