Noob Alert: Feedback Requested on mix

timvracer

New member
Tracks on this were recorded in a "home studio" and had some challenges, especially the drums. I've been listening to this for so many hours I fear I am losing perspective. I have produced 4 songs for the CD so far, this is one of them, but by far the most challenging. Lots of overlapping instruments/frequencies, I worked to find each of them a "home", but it was difficult, especially at the end when everyone is "all in".

The artists requested "natural" vocals, that is... very little reverb/delay/effects. I am using a very fast doubling delay just to smooth it out a bit, and of course, compression to bring up the quiets. I am using a split feed on the main vocal to create a compressed and an uncompressed track and then re-mix those to let the uncompressed tones come through on the peaks of the vocal.

Anyways, any feedback appreciated. I am very new at this... and I imagine it shows ;-)
 
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andrushkiwt

New member
lots of hiss/noise in the beginning...is it also buried under the rest of the song? The vocals are very sibilant, to me.

I think you did a great job finding the right space for most instruments...i would just work on hiss/essing/levels (many are too loud)/and maybe that snare sound. really nice though, and the vocals sound great aside from the esses..

on second listen, is that snare panned right some?
 

Robus

New member
You don't need to apologize for being new. The Clinic is a pretty welcoming place. If you stay and continue to post, people might expect you to reciprocate by listening and commenting on tracks others post.

The mix sounds pretty good to me. Apart from the sibilance mentioned, the vocals sound very good to me. Lyrics are important in your genre. I can hear each word clearly. The lead vocal is a bit dry for my taste, but if that's what the artist wants then so be it. I like your levels generally. I hear two problems that are likely related. First, it sounds overcompressed and lacking in dynamics. Second, there is a harshness to the whole track. I suspect whatever mastering you did, or whatever compression you added to the mix bus, is bringing out those midrange frequencies that start sounding nasty as they build up. I'll bet your raw mix sounded better. If the band insists on playing the "loudness wars" game, then you'll have to track down those frequencies and try to tame them. If you could talk them into accepting a recording with more natural dynamics, better still.
 

easlern

Boredom artist
Sounds like the upper mids might be emphasized a bit much? Drums sound like they might have been recorded in a not so great room? (Not blaming you, we do what we can with the spaces we got!) Not sure how you fix something like that. I think the vocals actually sound really good. What a great song, this band has talent.
 

timvracer

New member
Wow... thanks for the feedback all... really good stuff. Turned out the piano track has that nasty hiss in it all the way through. To get it out of the track my EQ sweep shows it buzzing from 1k->16k. I put a LPF starting around 4k, which does not seem impact the color of the track, and helped with the buzz/hiss.

Harshness/Sibilance: I tried reducing mids in a few places, and ensured my minimal mastering on the Final Mix bus is tame. I turned on my de-esser and also reduced the attack on my compressor for the vocals (which is variant based on the part of the mix - loud or soft vocal parts).

Drums: Yes, I pan the snare slightly right -- I have not read up on that, is that bad? I was trying to space the drums like... well, the drums. Floor tom is panned to the left, hi hat a bit right, kick down the middle. I just mixed it with the snare in the center instead, and it does sound good - I think that is better.

On the drums, yeah... recorded basically in a family room. I sent them all I could find on how to record drums, to try and isolate the parts -- they have done a good job for what they have. Based on this feedback, I really dug into the snare, and was able to remove the ear piercing bleed of the hi-hat mixed in with the snare. This lets the transient come through solidly without the hi frequencies breaking my eardrums. I do have some reverb on the drums -- is that maybe a problem (vs. the room they were in?)

On the compression, I don't have any compression on my mix track other than a very light multi-band compression. which is only engaging at the loudest parts, and max attenuation is about 3db at the peaks. Ultimately we will have this professionally mastered by someone trained in that dark art. Not sure how to address the "overcompressed" thing. Only real thing I am compressing individually is vocals and bass. Is there something else that could be causing that lack of dynamics?

I also had a Stereo Imager on my "Instruments" bus (guitars, piano, violin), and I took that off and only have it on the Piano now.

Here is the adjusted mix based on your feedback. THANK YOU - some great ears out there!

btw.. I am 95% deaf in my left ear and have bad tinnitus (a little party going on in my head all the time!) -- I've learned to adjust/adapt to create decent stereo mixes (sometimes I have to use my eyes instead of my ears -- I know that is bad).
 

Robus

New member
Big improvement. I'm not hearing so much of that harshness. If it wasn't compression, then something you did must have helped. Interesting, the lofi sound of the drums didn't really jump out at me on the first mix. I hear it more now, but maybe that's just having it pointed out.

They are very good. Lead vocals, harmony vocals, fiddle, the song itself all terrific. I hope they get some traction. I've consistently been impressed with the high level of music coming out of the Christian rock genre, though lyrically I find the themes somewhat lacking in variety. ;)
 

timvracer

New member
Thanks Robus... I did indeed redo my drums, and really got the kick and snare to be much better. I am just finishing up applying all the learning/changes to my other mixes (thankfully we are only 4 deep into this 13 song CD). Getting all my learning done on these first ones!

Thanks again!
 
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