Mix This: Cover of 'A Long December' by Counting Crows

Michael Ward

New member
Can you mix my cover of 'A Long December' by Counting Crows?
25 Tracks
Tempo: 76 bpm

Hi Guys. I would really appreciate it if anyone would like to have a stab at this. I've been working on it for quite a while, and I'm really excited to see what people do with it.

Notes:
All tracks are clean but for both bass and piano I also included a couple of alternate tracks. For bass: One with Amp/DI Sim. For piano: One EQ'd a bit brighter as used in my basic mix. Use whichever fits.

Vocal: Needs narrow frequency cut for a room resonance problem at roughly 10800hz. Maybe same for melodica, but it's less apparent. Please don't auto tune vocals, even if they're not perfect. :)

On the last pre-chorus (at 3:43): The idea if for the Melodica to grow smoothly from soft to *almost* irritatingly loud, then suddenly cut (this might work or really might not, but it would be good to try it out).

Tracks: LongDecember_MichaelWard_30Aug2016

Please come back with any tips/questions. Feel free to be creative.

I had a lot of fun making it, hope you have as much fun mixing it.

My basic mix: View attachment LongDecember_30-Aug-16.mp3
 
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Soendergaard

New member
Hi Michael!

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/6471045/A Long December - Homerecording.mp3

So i just did a quick mix/cut of what i would do, so there is no automation etc.

But basically i wanted to give some edge/character to the different sounds, and kind of find an atmosphere for the song. Wich you especially find in the vocal and melodica sounds :)
Anyhow got at lot of ideas for the Beat etc. but didn't have the time for it.

Great version by the way, lotta fun :)

Cheers
 

Michael Ward

New member
Hi Soendergaard,

Funny that the first mix back should be a semi-remix. :)

Thanks for that.

Do you have any time to give it one more pass? I liked the concept, and listened to it on a few different speakers. I noticed that the slap back delay is coming across a bit strongly on the vocals and snare. Could you make the delay a bit more subtle (about half as loud?). Also, I like that you brought out the soft glide synth at the end, but maybe a bit too much. Could we pull that one back a bit too? (but not so soft you can't hear it, I like hearing it clearly.)

Otherwise, a nicely creative mix. Thanks.

Just curious, what does your username mean?
 

Soendergaard

New member
Hi Soendergaard,

Funny that the first mix back should be a semi-remix. :)

Thanks for that.

Do you have any time to give it one more pass? I liked the concept, and listened to it on a few different speakers. I noticed that the slap back delay is coming across a bit strongly on the vocals and snare. Could you make the delay a bit more subtle (about half as loud?). Also, I like that you brought out the soft glide synth at the end, but maybe a bit too much. Could we pull that one back a bit too? (but not so soft you can't hear it, I like hearing it clearly.)

Otherwise, a nicely creative mix. Thanks.

Just curious, what does your username mean?

Ye sure, it wont take long..

Username is actually just my last name.. So nothing fancy there :)
 

Michael Ward

New member
Re: The mix

Hi Btyre,

Thanks for the compliments. :)

I listened on my good headphones, basic earbuds and PC speakers. I haven't had a chance to listen to it on a hi-fi or car speakers yet.

At one point my little daughter was listening to this mix with me and she kept asking me to put in on again and again (4 times), so you must be doing something right.

So...

I really like this mix.

THINGS I LIKE:
The overall clarity, and that I can hear all the instruments well. That is an accomplishment in and of itself.
The vocal/instrument balance is very good. The vocals gel well.
Your treatment of the piano. It really makes it stand out.
Bass has been brought out nicely (tho a few small points at the bottom)

FOR MY OWN LEARNING:
Can you tell me what all you did with the vocals? I like it, whatever it was. Did you have to do the narrow cut at 10800hz?

How much limiting has been done so far??

Which piano track did you use, the darker or brighter one?

Did you use the "Piano +1 octave" track? That's fine if not, and if you did it has been very subtly blended in.


A FEW THINGS TO PLAY WITH:
In this song, one of the ideas was to experiment with moving into dissonance (not exactly the right word here) and back to resolution/musicality.

The first 'dissonance' is the silent bit at 3:22 where the listener is thinking "Is that all? That was a strange ending..." and just as they start to wait for the next song, it comes back in with the reprise of the pre-chorus onto the chorus. It's OK if it's uncomfortably silent for a few moments there. Could we put it back to being completely silent? And don't worry if the timing sounds off, I added 2 extra beats of silence to not be too predictable.

The second bit (which I'm less sure about now) is just afterward where the Melodica rises up louder and louder, almost overwhelming the vocal until it suddenly cuts before the last chorus. This might interfere too much with the musicality, (or just be awful :) ), so maybe it would be worth trying still having it build up, but not too loudly.

Chorus Vocals: They sound a bit too distant. Could you make it more like an augmented version of the verse vocals? (i.e Primarily the main chorus vocal track, with the other 2 sat further back just adding 'weight'/support). Or try any other ideas that come to mind.

Melodica: I'm not really a fan of audible reverb/delay, except when it's part of a guitar effect or that kind of thing. Here, I feel like it makes it almost a bit too happy. Can we make it more clean and do something to bring out the melancholy-ness of it? Think more 'sad french accordion' than saxophone. Also, can we try it with the second half of the track back in, through to the end? Feel free to adjust the volume/eq as needed wherever it overwhelms the vocal though. And let me know if you think there's anywhere it really doesn't work, especially at 2:59 (starting with '..talk a little lower about the things you could not show her..."), where I'm not sure it flows at all.



LITTLE THINGS:
Overall, you've found a good balance between the Piano and melodica levels. I'd like your opinion... could the melodica be just a bit louder on the solo?

The final 'Yeah' at the end: I like the reverse reverb idea. Could we make it a bit less wet though?

Bass: A bit clicky on PC speakers, but that might just be the nature of the beast. Also, is there anyway to bring out the 'meatiness' of the slides at 2:19 and 3:52.

Percussion:
I noticed that you didn't use the 'Brush beat delayed' track. Did you feel it muddied things too much?? That's fine if you did.

Crash cymbal: Might just be the samples I used, but there's too much 'gong', it needs to be crisper. Maybe a lowpass at about 3000-4000hz? Or whatever you think would help. (Also it's slightly too loud, but fixing the 'gong' might fix that too).

Anyhow, except for those two minor things, the percussion was otherwise very alive and well balanced. I liked how you brought out the HiHat, it was just what I had envisioned.


Gosh, that turned out a bit long and over-detailed, but I think it's just building on a really good initial mix. If you have any thoughts or any of these things you feel differently about, let me know. All things are open to discussion.

Also, I'm guessing from the cuts you made that you felt there was just a bit too much 'stuff' in there. I'm open to discussion about that too.
 

Btyre2013

New member
Hi Btyre,

Thanks for the compliments. :)

I listened on my good headphones, basic earbuds and PC speakers. I haven't had a chance to listen to it on a hi-fi or car speakers yet.

At one point my little daughter was listening to this mix with me and she kept asking me to put in on again and again (4 times), so you must be doing something right.

So...

I really like this mix.

THINGS I LIKE:
The overall clarity, and that I can hear all the instruments well. That is an accomplishment in and of itself.
The vocal/instrument balance is very good. The vocals gel well.
Your treatment of the piano. It really makes it stand out.
Bass has been brought out nicely (tho a few small points at the bottom)

FOR MY OWN LEARNING:
Can you tell me what all you did with the vocals? I like it, whatever it was. Did you have to do the narrow cut at 10800hz?

How much limiting has been done so far??

Which piano track did you use, the darker or brighter one?

Did you use the "Piano +1 octave" track? That's fine if not, and if you did it has been very subtly blended in.


A FEW THINGS TO PLAY WITH:
In this song, one of the ideas was to experiment with moving into dissonance (not exactly the right word here) and back to resolution/musicality.

The first 'dissonance' is the silent bit at 3:22 where the listener is thinking "Is that all? That was a strange ending..." and just as they start to wait for the next song, it comes back in with the reprise of the pre-chorus onto the chorus. It's OK if it's uncomfortably silent for a few moments there. Could we put it back to being completely silent? And don't worry if the timing sounds off, I added 2 extra beats of silence to not be too predictable.

The second bit (which I'm less sure about now) is just afterward where the Melodica rises up louder and louder, almost overwhelming the vocal until it suddenly cuts before the last chorus. This might interfere too much with the musicality, (or just be awful :) ), so maybe it would be worth trying still having it build up, but not too loudly.

Chorus Vocals: They sound a bit too distant. Could you make it more like an augmented version of the verse vocals? (i.e Primarily the main chorus vocal track, with the other 2 sat further back just adding 'weight'/support). Or try any other ideas that come to mind.

Melodica: I'm not really a fan of audible reverb/delay, except when it's part of a guitar effect or that kind of thing. Here, I feel like it makes it almost a bit too happy. Can we make it more clean and do something to bring out the melancholy-ness of it? Think more 'sad french accordion' than saxophone. Also, can we try it with the second half of the track back in, through to the end? Feel free to adjust the volume/eq as needed wherever it overwhelms the vocal though. And let me know if you think there's anywhere it really doesn't work, especially at 2:59 (starting with '..talk a little lower about the things you could not show her..."), where I'm not sure it flows at all.



LITTLE THINGS:
Overall, you've found a good balance between the Piano and melodica levels. I'd like your opinion... could the melodica be just a bit louder on the solo?

The final 'Yeah' at the end: I like the reverse reverb idea. Could we make it a bit less wet though?

Bass: A bit clicky on PC speakers, but that might just be the nature of the beast. Also, is there anyway to bring out the 'meatiness' of the slides at 2:19 and 3:52.

Percussion:
I noticed that you didn't use the 'Brush beat delayed' track. Did you feel it muddied things too much?? That's fine if you did.

Crash cymbal: Might just be the samples I used, but there's too much 'gong', it needs to be crisper. Maybe a lowpass at about 3000-4000hz? Or whatever you think would help. (Also it's slightly too loud, but fixing the 'gong' might fix that too).

Anyhow, except for those two minor things, the percussion was otherwise very alive and well balanced. I liked how you brought out the HiHat, it was just what I had envisioned.


Gosh, that turned out a bit long and over-detailed, but I think it's just building on a really good initial mix. If you have any thoughts or any of these things you feel differently about, let me know. All things are open to discussion.

Also, I'm guessing from the cuts you made that you felt there was just a bit too much 'stuff' in there. I'm open to discussion about that too.

that's some extremely detailed feedback, at the moment though I am way too busy to do a revision, I am about to start a major mixing project.

For your info, I boosted the vocals at 2.5k, and cut the muddyness out somewhere around 300Hz, there was actually a low pass filter on it as well to remove the extreme high end. I compressed it as well but didn't have time to automate it, automation then compression would be even better, I did not notch out the 10k frequency you mention. for the vox compression it's all about getting the release time perfect so it sounds upfront constantly, the ratio was 2:1 I think, it's only turning down the louder sections, with no automation at all, I didn't want to take away from the performance.

I used all 3 piano tracks, but reversed the phase on the high octave piano, it's just carefully blended together. I used high pass filtering and made sure they sound good together.

At the final stage I compressed it at a 1:2 ratio then used a voxengo elephant brickwall limiter to bring the volume up.
 

Michael Ward

New member
OK yeah... sorry I went over the top there on the feedback.

Thanks for the tips. I never would have thought of doing that with the high piano.

Still, thanks very much for the mix, I really like it.
 

bouldersoundguy

Well-known member
Here's mine. I never heard the original or any of the other mixes of your cover until after I did my mix.

[MP3]98973[/MP3]
 

Attachments

  • Long December BSG mix 1.mp3
    4.3 MB · Views: 120

andrushkiwt

New member
Here's mine. I never heard the original or any of the other mixes of your cover until after I did my mix.

[MP3]98973[/MP3]

nice one, Boulder. didn't listen to the others either, FYI. nice air around everything. very smooth but powerful. man dude...i need to pass my mixes onto you :) great work
 

bouldersoundguy

Well-known member
nice one, Boulder. didn't listen to the others either, FYI. nice air around everything. very smooth but powerful. man dude...i need to pass my mixes onto you :) great work

Ha, thanks. Keeping the momentum going is a bit of a challenge with the arrangement. You should check the other mixes.
 

Michael Ward

New member
Thanks for the mixes BoulderSoundGuy and Toveco. It's nice to hear the different approaches different people take. :)

It's also interesting to see that most mixers felt like it needed something more added into the 'moment of silence' bit near the end (just before the final "And it's one more day up in the canyons..."). Maybe I misjudged that pause.

Ha, thanks. Keeping the momentum going is a bit of a challenge with the arrangement...

That's an interesting comment about the momentum.... any comments/tips/what would you have done differently?
Did it build and fall too slowly?

I'm always looking to improve for next time.

Anyone else?
 

bouldersoundguy

Well-known member
That's an interesting comment about the momentum.... any comments/tips/what would you have done differently?
Did it build and fall too slowly?

It was more the slow tempo and sparse arrangement. My bias for rock music probably contributed. I like mixing more upbeat stuff.

Listening back I can hear things I could improve. The vocal sits on top of the mix a bit more than I like. I think the solo could be louder, closer to the vocal level. That's why I like to leave a mix alone for a while and come back to it, it gives me perspective.
 

spantini

COO of me, inc.
...It's also interesting to see that most mixers felt like it needed something more added into the 'moment of silence' bit near the end (just before the final "And it's one more day up in the canyons..."). Maybe I misjudged that pause....

I like that 'moment of silence'.

After going over it 100 times, here's my remix. Minimalist..

This is a nice song. Wish I had written it.

Long December Remix by j dowing | Free Listening on SoundCloud
 
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Nola

Active member
You should use some pitch correction on the vocal. A song like this needs the vocal on pitch.
I like the original, and was digging this cover until about a minute in when the pitch became too much of a problem to continue.

The cover lacks the emotion and (subtle) energy of the original. It sounds more like a Bell and Sebastian vocal than Adam Duritz. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, but it was just interesting because the original is already pretty low key.
 

seb.fr

New member
Hello,
Here is my mix.

It is the first time I try to made mix which is not for a band I have known before, and for song I have never listen in live or other way.
And if mixing is things I love, it was some miles away from my job... and not long time I try to learn it.

So please feel free to comment, I will be happy to read you and learn some things from your comments :)

Wav One
Mp3 Two


I take pleasure to mix this song, I do it consciously without trying to listen the original version or other ones posted here. Just too make it with free ears and free mind and do it by follow my only feelings.
Now I can download other mix posted here, but not today, my ears was not :drunk:... but just something like tired ;)

It take me around 10/11 hours to make this mix, don't know if this mean something for you but I like to count time, it was just one more factor to feel how I get better.


See you
seb
 
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