No Choice

GONZO-X

Well-known member
this reminds me a bit of no doubt....
the drum track seems a bit 'static', as if it's a drum machine with just the one groove programmed....

but i like the meter for this,
it's driving but not rushing.

it's a bit short, you could put at least one transition in there (maybe a modulation to another key for about 20-30 seconds would not be too much

at 1:12 there is an obvious fader move that really boosts one thing, or drops another,
in fact it happens again at around 1:54, during the 'chorus', the lead vox get over boosted.

dig the ending, it mirrors the opening.
 

JDOD

therecordingrebels.com
this reminds me a bit of no doubt....
the drum track seems a bit 'static', as if it's a drum machine with just the one groove programmed....

but i like the meter for this,
it's driving but not rushing.

it's a bit short, you could put at least one transition in there (maybe a modulation to another key for about 20-30 seconds would not be too much

at 1:12 there is an obvious fader move that really boosts one thing, or drops another,
in fact it happens again at around 1:54, during the 'chorus', the lead vox get over boosted.

dig the ending, it mirrors the opening.

Cheers, I suppose I could have got a bit more creative with them fills - oh well.
There's no key change in it 'cos it was written very fast. In fact the chords sequences were written in a couple of minutes based on the "You don't listen to a word I say" lyric that was bouncing about my head when I was driving one afternoon. I think I'd end up going proggy and spoiling it if I added other bits - that's what normally happens - my songs always have annoying proggy shit bits in them.

The chorus vocal and verse vocal are on separate tracks.
 

rayc

retroreprobate
Clash codreggae wasn't bad but it was, well, white.
Not bad #3 JDOD, though the guitars seem to create, in the non reggae sections, a big,solid block of sound,
The performance is cool & I like the vox as they are thanks.
 

JDOD

therecordingrebels.com
Clash codreggae wasn't bad but it was, well, white.
Not bad #3 JDOD, though the guitars seem to create, in the non reggae sections, a big,solid block of sound,
The performance is cool & I like the vox as they are thanks.
Thanks Ray, I did enjoy that. Hoping to finish off a bunch more tunes quite quickly now.

Yeah, it was kinda white and I agree it does sound really white - I originally had a vocal line that jumped up and down in a more melodic way to make it sound a bit more like "real" reggae. But it was laughably bad! have you ever listened back to your own stuff and laughed out loud at it 'cos its practically like comedy?
 

Greg_L

Banned
OK, can't add to the original post 'cos its too old - but I've totally re-mixed this now - can you take a listen:

View attachment 98256

I think you've still got reverb abuse happening. The whole thing sounds like it's in a box. It's still dark-ish. The mix sounds very dated, like it's off an old skate rock compilation, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The levels are good for the most part. That little lead line that comes in the verses is a little loud and/or unnecessary. I'd say clean everything up more, less reverb, and get rid of those background vocals or redo them. They'e pretty rough.
 

JDOD

therecordingrebels.com
I think you've still got reverb abuse happening. The whole thing sounds like it's in a box. It's still dark-ish. The mix sounds very dated, like it's off an old skate rock compilation, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The levels are good for the most part. That little lead line that comes in the verses is a little loud and/or unnecessary. I'd say clean everything up more, less reverb, and get rid of those background vocals or redo them. They'e pretty rough.
Cheers, Greg. I'll look into the reverbs next. That lead line in the verse was mainly to generate a bit of feedback - I'll either turn it down a bit or try something a bit different.

The backing vocal is full of mistakes - I ended up chopping together a few different takes there - my singing is much better now though than it was when I did that as I'm starting to practice more so I'll just redo them.

Still not entirely sure what you mean by a dated mix though - I didn't realise that style of mixing changed with the times.
 

Greg_L

Banned
Still not entirely sure what you mean by a dated mix though - I didn't realise that style of mixing changed with the times.

It's not really so much that mixing has changed. It has a bit, but really it's more about stylistic choices and what is available. I'll use Bad Religion again. Listen to a track from an early album....

It sounds like a typical 80s hardcore mix. It's great and all, but we don't have to sound like that anymore if we don't want to.
 

Greg_L

Banned
And then listen to a modern track...

You could get close to a mix like this if you wanted to. It's entirely up to you. Neither is better or worse, but even with home recording budget gear we can sound more modern and less like low budget 80s punk mixes. Bad Religion obviously went with the slicker sound approach, and if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for us.
 

JDOD

therecordingrebels.com
I guess the best place to start is to listen to them both back to back and see if I can work out how they are different, what the differences are in the mixing. I guess I've just not got enough experience of listening to mixes critically to work out what people are doing.

I was listening to True North in the car this morning actually and did think at the time that it sounded really good - fuck knows how they did it though.

I'm guessing that 80s Hardcore style mix is probably easier to achieve when you don't know what you're doing... which is why I'm doing it. I'm not trying to mix in any particular way, I'm just doing what seems to sound best when I don't know what I'm supposed to be doing.

I do try and read a lot about recording/mixing and watch a lot of YouTube about it - lots of tips on how to capture good sound - mic position, EQ tips and stuff - not many tips on how to try spreading things out in a mix. I get that every mix will need something different and what works for one mix won't necessarily work for another but I don't even know where to start with a different mixing technique to achieve a different sound.
 

JDOD

therecordingrebels.com
Right, listening to both mixes back to back.

Along The Way - I (think) I can hear:

Two hand panned double tracked rhythms. (with too much verb)
Kick drum centred with the rest of the kit spread around it between the guitars.
Centred bass
Centred Vox
Lead guitar just off centre with a bit of verb.

This is what I did with my cover of Along The Way and what I've done with all of my punk mixes - actually probably all of my mixes since then - I'd never tried hard panning my rhythms before until you suggested it - and I like it!

Now, from a mix point of view Robin Hood in Reverse sounds similar to me.
Double-tracked guitars panned L/R - not sure how wide though.
Centred kick, centred vox, harmonies panned L/R and double tracked.
Bass seems like it might be slightly off centre.
Lead guitars double tracked and panned not as wide as the rhythms - I like their thin lizzy harmonies :)

I can't work out what on earth is going on with the reverbs in that track - its way to complex for me to work it out.

Basically - to me it doesn't seem like its mixed that different to Along The Way - just much better and I can't put my finger on what better means! But I think its something do do with reverbs.

Any help you can give me would be much appreciated as always!
 

Greg_L

Banned
They're not mixed that differently because mixing is pretty much always the same for music like that. But the sounds are way more clear and defined in the modern mix. It's not just about reverb. Fuck reverb. The best reverb is reverb you can't hear. You can tell when it's gone, but you can't actually tell it's there. Unless you're doing surf, rockabilly, or corny 80s spandex buttrock, go light on the reverb until you get a handle on it.

I think you could do better than the early 80s punk-on-a-budget mix, probably not as good as the professional modern mix, so shoot for something in between. Your mix to me just needs better clarity and definition. Some air. Some shine. The stock drum samples and direct bass isn't helping. I think mixing on headphones is holding you back for now, but you can learn them. Decide what you actually want your mix to sound like and go for it. Maybe this is what you want, and that's cool too. If so, you nailed it. Nothing wrong with that. All that matters really is what you think about it. No one else matters.
 

JDOD

therecordingrebels.com
They're not mixed that differently because mixing is pretty much always the same for music like that. But the sounds are way more clear and defined in the modern mix. It's not just about reverb. Fuck reverb. The best reverb is reverb you can't hear. You can tell when it's gone, but you can't actually tell it's there. Unless you're doing surf, rockabilly, or corny 80s spandex buttrock, go light on the reverb until you get a handle on it.

I think you could do better than the early 80s punk-on-a-budget mix, probably not as good as the professional modern mix, so shoot for something in between. Your mix to me just needs better clarity and definition. Some air. Some shine. The stock drum samples and direct bass isn't helping. I think mixing on headphones is holding you back for now, but you can learn them. Decide what you actually want your mix to sound like and go for it. Maybe this is what you want, and that's cool too. If so, you nailed it. Nothing wrong with that. All that matters really is what you think about it. No one else matters.

Regarding reverbs - I'll probably drop them all right back, to nothing, bring them up to where I can just hear them, then move them back just to the edge of being obvious then work from there.

"clarity and definition. Some air. Some shine" This is all pretty subjective stuff... I can't do anything about the drums - I don't have space for a drum-kit anymore and am unlikely to in the foreseeable future.
Bass - I can do some thing about this - for a start I might buy one of them little boxes that Ray suggested, it was a cheap version of something well known and good - can't remember what now but I'll check back over the thread and shortlist it. My current bass tone is just a compression preset, EQ preset and a reverb impulse - this seems to sound better than the old GearBox bass sim I used to use.

I might be able to get some monitors soon - which will probably be quite handy.
 

Greg_L

Banned
You don't have to get a drum kit to get the drums to pop more. Work with what you have. I don't know what you're using and I'm not savvy with drum programs anyway so I probably can't help you there.

Reverb on bass is something that can really fuck up a mix IMO. I'd get rid of that. If you just must reverb everything, do it on a reverb buss. Send everything to one reverb and adjust how much of each track goes to that reverb.

Monitors are always better, I don't care what any of the n00b knuckle draggers say otherwise in here. But that doesn't mean you can't mix with headphones. If you know them well enough you can make good mixes with headphones.

All of this is subjective, of course. I'm wanting to hear a certain something from your mix, but that doesn't mean that it has to be that way. You make it how you want it.
 

JDOD

therecordingrebels.com
You don't have to get a drum kit to get the drums to pop more. Work with what you have. I don't know what you're using and I'm not savvy with drum programs anyway so I probably can't help you there.

Reverb on bass is something that can really fuck up a mix IMO. I'd get rid of that. If you just must reverb everything, do it on a reverb buss. Send everything to one reverb and adjust how much of each track goes to that reverb.

Monitors are always better, I don't care what any of the n00b knuckle draggers say otherwise in here. But that doesn't mean you can't mix with headphones. If you know them well enough you can make good mixes with headphones.

All of this is subjective, of course. I'm wanting to hear a certain something from your mix, but that doesn't mean that it has to be that way. You make it how you want it.

Of course its subjective, but then I like Bastard Azul so I'm interested to know what you want to hear from my mix - you're clearly capable of doing something I like! You've heard various other songs, coming out in the Tone Thread too, which are fairly similar to No Choice so I'd like to really crack the mixing on this one while I finish recording the guitar parts, the lyrics and vocals on the others.

I'm using EZ Drummer - but I'm killing all of the ambience/reverbs and stuff, sending the dry Kick, Snare, Hats, Toms and OHs to separate tracks, adjusting their levels as I feel is right. Then I'm sticking them all in a folder and applying "Snare Trash" to the folder.

I don't have a particular desire to reverb everything, I'm just trying to make it sound like the drums aren't miles behind it all! So I add a little bit of "Guitar Room" to everything to make it sound like they're in the same space as the drums.

When you say a "bus" so you mean a track? So I could just set up one track with a reverb impulse in it, then send varying amounts of each track to my reverb track? I don't know how to send varying amounts of a track to a "reverb bus" But I'm sure its not that hard. When you say a "bus" do you just mean a track or folder?

I know monitors are obviously better, especially if you have a decent room - but if you lack a dedicated studio space (as I do) decent headphones are a must! I do actually have access to a friend of mine's dedicated studio room with good monitors (she's a classical composer) but I want to get my mixes as good as I can before I fine tune them in her studio.
 

K-dub

Well-known member
The issue with your "bring them to someone else who has monitors" plan is rife w/ holes. Don't bother. You need to know your room's response, and you need to compare on multiple sound sources in a room you're familiar with.

Yamaha NS10M speakers suck ... but you know why they're the industry standard? Because if you can get your mix to sound good on them, they'll sound good on better stuff. My main mixing speakers are old Realistic Minimus 7s ... all of $35 for the pair on eBay. Same principle applies.

Yes, I've better monitors, but you have to work to the lowest common denominator.

I DO use headphones as a reference source, but you have to mix w/ multiple sources and come to a balance between. For instance, the M7s are terrible w/ low end response ... so I find that I tend to pump a little too much low through them. How do I know this? It isn't from my big monitors, for they can handle the lows and it sounds fine. I can tell when I put on my headphones, and the lows dominate the sound on them. That's when I know I have to bring things back a bit.

But the point is you cannot do you mix in a room and then run out to the car to see how it sounds and expect to fix things from your car. You need multiple references in one spot your used to listening to music to and know how it is supposed to sound there.
 
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