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Critique my mix

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Re: Critique my mix

Postby AJScott755 » Tue Jan 14, 2020 9:25 pm

AJScott755 wrote:HI guys

So here's my second attempt taking into account everyones feedback. The files haven't been re-recorded but I do think there's a dramatic improvement. While the drums certainly don't sound like a professional record theres a big change from the first recording. I'd appreciate a second round of feedback?

https://soundcloud.com/ajscotty/in-the- ... v5/s-pt4hh

Thanks again

Bump.

Any chance of feedback on version 2 of the mix?
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Re: Critique my mix

Postby The Elf » Tue Jan 14, 2020 9:36 pm

Reduce the kick by 3 dB. I also feel that the guitar is overpoweringly loud throughout. When you get a vocal in I suspect you'll feel the same way too.
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Re: Critique my mix

Postby DC-Choppah » Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:28 am

I like the stereo guitars. The feel of the rythm guitars is nice and makes me want to listen.

Dude, the drum fills are painful. Makes me want to turn it off. Hearing a computer play the drums is bad, hearing a computer play the drums badly is noise.

Sorry man. Performance is everything. Make some music first, then worry about mixing it.
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Re: Critique my mix

Postby Watchmaker » Wed Jan 15, 2020 2:08 am

Considering this is your first foray, I think you're off to a good start. As you're learning, mixing is not so easy as it seems :) I agree with the substance of the prior comments to an extent. It starts with the recorded sound, and then becomes a game of balancing elements. One of the hard parts is learning what those elements are, how they interact - as well as learning the tools you have to modify behaviors according to your intent. To be a performer and engineer takes a huge amount of knowledge and experience.

EZ Drummer will get you some of the way towards a drum sound but is probably better viewed as a songwriting aid rather than a source of killer sounds. I use SD3 and - being a retired drummer with 15 years touring under my belt - SD3 can be utterly convincing when programmed correctly. I do take the time to customize a kit and use the program's editing facilities to edit midi parameters, etc. I remove ALL Toontrack processing because it's overblown and I have better sounding tools in my DAW. So learning your options and selecting based on need is another part of the skillset. I'm a shameless acolyte of UAD plugins, but that's above your pay grade for now.

Many people here, me included, recommend Mike Senior's "Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio" as an excellent primer and reference book which you can find easily enough. Mike Senior is a contributing writer for SOS and really goes to serious lengths to help us mere mortals in our quest for a better understanding. Thanks Mike! *edit* There are a great many excellent helpful people associated with this endeavor who contribute copiously and generously. An oasis on the web. Thanks e'rybody *end*

I often go back and forth with mixing and writing AND honing my performances in an iterative process so that it's very hard to say "I wrote this, I performed this, I edited this, I mixed this..." in a linear way. Generally though, once I get to a level of clarity I'm comfortable with, then I'll go back and actually lay down tracks with focused intent and try to knock the fu**er out of the park. Hired (bribed/cajoled/begged for) help in front of or behind the desk is always welcome and generally ups the fun level significantly.

There are a million ways to do this and the absolute best way to learn some of them is to do exactly what you're doing. If you want to record, find people to record, find people who already record and ask for help. Be comfortable being vulnerable - and be at peace discarding or ignoring negativity. Stay focused on what's important to you and have fun!

The great thing about making mistakes is you get to learn from them!
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Re: Critique my mix

Postby AJScott755 » Wed Jan 15, 2020 12:42 pm

DC-Choppah wrote:I like the stereo guitars. The feel of the rythm guitars is nice and makes me want to listen.

Dude, the drum fills are painful. Makes me want to turn it off. Hearing a computer play the drums is bad, hearing a computer play the drums badly is noise.

Sorry man. Performance is everything. Make some music first, then worry about mixing it.

I think you could be a bit more specific? What's wrong with the drum fills? I believe they're almost identical to the original song.

I'm sure you can understand it's not practical for everyone to record drums as they wish.
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Re: Critique my mix

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:30 pm

The drums fills on your track are quantised to the click, the drums on the Incubus versions* are not. Drummers pull and push the timing around the click to add feel, playing ahead adds excitement, behind gives a lazy, laid back feel to the groove.

The guitar on the Incubus recording the guitar is a clean electric, your's, in the first half, sounds like an acoustic? And, in the beginning of second part, the electric guitar is way too loud and much more distorted than the Incubus recording. Yours also lacks the percussive attack to the notes (heavy compression) and modulation in there, possibly discrete pedals.

Without a vocal the track doesn't have any context which makes it difficult to engage with it.

So, from me it's a good start to learning to mix but you would undoubtedly benefit from developing your listening skills and finding a real drummer to program the drums for you.

* I'm enjoying the "Live on Letterman" version and Incubus are not a band I would have bothered to seek out TBH
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Re: Critique my mix

Postby Rich Hanson » Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:53 pm

I'll echo what Sam said about distorted guitars, as this was something I learned in my early days. As a guitarist, it's tempting to crank up the distortion because it feels powerful to play, but when you record it it can often sound quite limp.

I found that if I backed off the distortion, in particularly for rhythm parts, it could often make a much more powerful sound. I presume that this is likely because you're allowing more dynamics to come through from your playing, which would otherwise be flattened by extreme distortion.
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Re: Critique my mix

Postby CS70 » Wed Jan 15, 2020 2:01 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:and finding a real drummer to program the drums for you

Sign of the times.. :D :D
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Re: Critique my mix

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Jan 15, 2020 2:51 pm

:bouncy: :bouncy: :bouncy: TBF the OP has said he can't record real drums or afford to pay a drummer to record them for him.
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Re: Critique my mix

Postby AJScott755 » Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:00 pm

So when talking about guitars, what's wrong with the distortion? It's actually really quite low in distortion, less than 12'oclock on the amp. Which particular parts of the song have too much distortion and is that just a comparison to the original song? 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.

Or are the guitar tracks simply too loud?
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Re: Critique my mix

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:07 pm

It's not my genre TBH though I've played everything from folk and Gypsy Jazz to Heavy Rock over the years. You can't use the visual position of a knob to ascertain how much distortion is present, you need to use your ears. However, if it was a conscious decision to significantly change the guitar sound then that's fine*. In which case, yes it is too loud relative to other parts, another thing that will become easier to judge as your listening skills improve.

* Actually I really like that guitar sound and use something very similar myself, but I would not, personally, have used it there.
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Re: Critique my mix

Postby AJScott755 » Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:54 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:It's not my genre TBH though I've played everything from folk and Gypsy Jazz to Heavy Rock over the years. You can't use the visual position of a knob to ascertain how much distortion is present, you need to use your ears. However, if it was a conscious decision to significantly change the guitar sound then that's fine*. In which case, yes it is too loud relative to other parts, another thing that will become easier to judge as your listening skills improve.

* Actually I really like that guitar sound and use something very similar myself, but I would not, personally, have used it there.

Thanks, that's much more informative.

Regarding the quantized drum programming, a real drummer did actually program them. However yes they could use some humanization, I think every drum hit is at max velocity perfectly quantized. No reason I couldn't go through it and manual adjust each one or use the humanise function in Reaper.
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Re: Critique my mix

Postby AJScott755 » Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:56 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:* I'm enjoying the "Live on Letterman" version and Incubus are not a band I would have bothered to seek out TBH


I really commend them for playing that song on Letterman, I get the impression this song is the kind of music they really want to make. It's quite different from their mainstream heavier songs and it suits them better.
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Re: Critique my mix

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:31 pm

I have found quite often that I hear a song I really like and, on going to listen to the rest of that band's output I find much of it disappointingly 'mainstream' (read predictable). That song is almost Prog which I usually do like though.
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Re: Critique my mix

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:34 pm

AJScott755 wrote:
Sam Spoons wrote:It's not my genre TBH though I've played everything from folk and Gypsy Jazz to Heavy Rock over the years. You can't use the visual position of a knob to ascertain how much distortion is present, you need to use your ears. However, if it was a conscious decision to significantly change the guitar sound then that's fine*. In which case, yes it is too loud relative to other parts, another thing that will become easier to judge as your listening skills improve.

* Actually I really like that guitar sound and use something very similar myself, but I would not, personally, have used it there.

Thanks, that's much more informative.

Regarding the quantized drum programming, a real drummer did actually program them. However yes they could use some humanization, I think every drum hit is at max velocity perfectly quantized. No reason I couldn't go through it and manual adjust each one or use the humanise function in Reaper.

A real drummer might not know how to program the slight variations, or might not even realise he's doing it himself as it's often instinctive. Hard quantized and max velocity is definitely at the root of the problem though.
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