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Thread: Tips for mixing Symphonic Metal

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    Tips for mixing Symphonic Metal

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    Hey All!

    So my band recorded our first single at the weekend in my home studio (it's not the best setup, but we got a useable sound out of everything so I'll take that as a win!) and this is really the first time I've mixed symphonic metal before, so I would love some a) general tips for mixing this style (usually I just mix regular metal, alt rock, etc) and b) some feedback on my mix below if that's ok!



    Thanks all!

    Jamie

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    Listened mostly on Sennheiser HD600's and some on my monitors. I can't comment with any real expertise on much of the mix......as this is not my genre........however........I might work on the vocal level or at least how it sits in the mix. Sounds like the vocal work is excellent.....but it's not very intelligible in the mix. If that's normal.......ignore my comment. Thanks for the listen.
    Just A Song Writer..........

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    If this sounds "off" I apologize. I don't know if it's Soundcloud or not, but I'm hearing a LOT of "CRUSH" and very little clarity. I can't tell if it's at the mix level or at the individual element level. But it sounds extremely low in streaming quality. And if THAT's the case, it's nearly impossible to make a reasonable judgement.

    "Tips" in general...? For anything heavy, headroom. Gobs of it. More so for metal than anything else, as it tends to tilt toward "dense" over most genres. Symphonic metal is "sort of" a different beast, as most individual elements tend to have a freakishly wide dynamic range (so allow for even more headroom at every possible stage in the process). Everything tends to be fairly spacious, so having a good space and using the space while recording is pretty vital (record everything from one foot away and you have a mix that's one foot deep and has zero feet of relative space). EQ'ing out frequencies that interfere with other elements (common to everything anyway), starting the mix in mono helps a lot (also pretty common)... It's really just like mixing most things. The source is what makes it what it is and the mix should tell you what to do. If it's not, that's another story.
    Last edited by Massive Master; 6 Days Ago at 21:22.

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    Thanks for the feedback guys!

    @ Massive Master - can you define “crush” for me? None of the tracks are peaking in the mix and none of the track compressors or the mix bus compressor are doing a silly amount of heavy lifting. It could well be the streaming quality, as I find Soundcloud can dumb things down a bit. Equally, it may be the mastering style as it was mastered through Landr using the high intensity setting? Regardless, I would love to know how to gain some clarity beyond just cutting the bottom end off of things if you have any tips in that regard?

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    Crushed = Dynamically compromised by over-compression and/or limiting.

    For some reason, I can't even get the SC file to play at the moment (I'm hoping I can even post at this point). Certainly could be a streaming issue - A link to a raw PCM or at least a high bitrate MP3 would solve that.

    I'll save my thoughts on Landr and the like.

    Clarity comes from the source and it has to carry through every possible phase afterward. The core sound, in the right space, picked up by the right mic through the right preamp, tracked at a reasonable level with plenty of headroom ("plenty" doesn't mean "as hot as you can without clipping" but more like -18dBRMS or so, which is probably where the circuit was designed to run).

    Any compromise anywhere along the way in might be able to be "salvaged" but likely won't be "awesome" (for lack of a better term). "Great" mixes can take a bit of time, no doubt. But "pretty damn good" mixes should sound pretty damn good almost instantly. It's the mixes you need to "fight" with and mixes that need to be compromised at the source that give the most trouble. If you have to push the source to fit the mix, it probably wasn't the right source.

    Sorry if that doesn't make a lot of sense. It's late and the bourbon is doing a lot of the typing at the moment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Massive Master View Post
    Crushed = Dynamically compromised by over-compression and/or limiting.

    For some reason, I can't even get the SC file to play at the moment (I'm hoping I can even post at this point). Certainly could be a streaming issue - A link to a raw PCM or at least a high bitrate MP3 would solve that.

    I'll save my thoughts on Landr and the like.

    Clarity comes from the source and it has to carry through every possible phase afterward. The core sound, in the right space, picked up by the right mic through the right preamp, tracked at a reasonable level with plenty of headroom ("plenty" doesn't mean "as hot as you can without clipping" but more like -18dBRMS or so, which is probably where the circuit was designed to run).

    Any compromise anywhere along the way in might be able to be "salvaged" but likely won't be "awesome" (for lack of a better term). "Great" mixes can take a bit of time, no doubt. But "pretty damn good" mixes should sound pretty damn good almost instantly. It's the mixes you need to "fight" with and mixes that need to be compromised at the source that give the most trouble. If you have to push the source to fit the mix, it probably wasn't the right source.

    Sorry if that doesn't make a lot of sense. It's late and the bourbon is doing a lot of the typing at the moment.

    Please do tell us what you really think about landr

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    Quote Originally Posted by Massive Master View Post
    Crushed = Dynamically compromised by over-compression and/or limiting.

    For some reason, I can't even get the SC file to play at the moment (I'm hoping I can even post at this point). Certainly could be a streaming issue - A link to a raw PCM or at least a high bitrate MP3 would solve that.

    ...

    Sorry if that doesn't make a lot of sense. It's late and the bourbon is doing a lot of the typing at the moment.
    Sure thing, here's a link to the unmastered 24 Bit Wav version - Dropbox - Black Ritual MIX G.wav - Simplify your life

    Thanks for the input as well, the bourbon doesn't seem to be hurting too much!

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    [Gonna sound harsh] There's a lot of weird stuff going on here. There's no top end. There's some really weird distortion going on with the hat (but it's really weird because there's no top end). It almost sounds like everything has some weird distortion on it or is otherwise "smashed" sounding. Either tracked too hot or maybe weird compression / limiting...? Sounds like it's on nearly everything except the vocal (which is really hard to hear, but doesn't sound smashed).

    I'm trying to listen "through" the drums - The guitars might sound okay - maybe a little too "fuzzy" - but the drums just sound like they're being crushed somewhere in a not-good manner and it's hard to hear the other elements through that. The hat - even the single hits sound - it's hard to explain. Like it's going through a limiter with super-fast attack and release settings that are making it "stutter" a couple dozen times per second. Overheads too from what I can tell. *Maybe* not the ride, but the ride has such a fast and short transient that it might not be affected in the same way.

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