Youth on Fire

WhiteStrat

Don't stare at the eye.
I posted a very rough instrument-only sketch of this song a few weeks ago. Here's the tune with vocals. This is my nephew's band--he wrote the song and plays the rhythm and lead guitars. Obviously, it's a freebie, since it's family, but I still want to get it right. This is not my genre, so i'm at a bit of a loss for how the mix should sound.

There are some performance issues that I'll address with him later this week (vocal pitch, some drum timing), but in the meantime, I'd love some input as to the general sound of the mix. (For what it's worth, my nephew is 17--the other three in the band are 16, 16 and 17.)

 

dobro

Well-known member
Really unpleasant guitar sound at 1.04. Vocal's getting a bit lost in the chorus. The drums sound way overcompressed to my ears. They're all attack and thump.
 

WhiteStrat

Don't stare at the eye.
Really unpleasant guitar sound at 1.04. Vocal's getting a bit lost in the chorus. The drums sound way overcompressed to my ears. They're all attack and thump.

Thanks dobro! I appreciate the input..I'm hoping to convince them that the drum should be more "real." And I didn't even hear that harsh guitar sound--thanks for the heads up!
 

DM60

Well-known member
Seems like the vocals are pulsing and there is some distortion on them when they hit the peaks. Might have been that was the guitar.

Glad to hear younger folks playing instruments instead "what ever". Tell them to keep up the good work. They are not bad, just need a little time and practice.
 

MikeyCanzonetta

New member
I hate mixing out of my genre, very nice job and very courageous to take the leap!!

A few things I noticed. Sounded like the kick was triggering a compressor that was pumping a bit too much. Maybe your ducking the bass?

The vocal had a bit too much verb (shorter pre delay) and could use a little more comp to smooth it out. Not sure what gear/plugs you have but it could use a "micropitch shift", and a 1/4 note delay. If you don't have anything to pitch shift with, maybe you could use a very short slap back delay along with the 1/4.

Guitars had good separation but just for fun try panning the L at 8 o'clock and the R at 4 o'clock. It may give you that 80's wall of guitars sound. Then again it may fuck everything up! Hahaha.

Overall awesome job dude!!
 

Greg_L

Banned
I'm torn on the drums. I don't think they're great, but in a weird way they fit the style of the song. That squashed boxy reverby snare is pretty authentic to those 80s hair mixes. The kick is a little woofy and lacks some slap. They do seem to be hammered pretty hard with compression. Maybe lighten up on that and let them breathe more. I do like the way the toms are over-the-top. They jump and I like it. The drum performance.....I won't even go there. Lol. At least they tried.

The guitar tones could use some work. They sound cheap and flat to me. Like a cheap amp or mediocre sim. There's no chunk. The leads are thin and nasally. I know you're a beast on the guitar and can get good tones, maybe help him out there.

I echo the others on the vocals. The delay/reverb is kind of bleh, and it isn't helped by his young sounding voice. I agree with Mikey, slam em more with compression to beef em up and smooth them out, and try some different delay settings.

The mix seems mostly pretty balanced to me though. The levels seems good, and nothing really jumps out as super bad. Just little things with each element need to be addressed and cleaned up.
 

WhiteStrat

Don't stare at the eye.
Sorry I'm just now getting back around to responding. Haven't worked on this in a few days, but I really appreciate the input. So here are some replies:

Seems like the vocals are pulsing and there is some distortion on them when they hit the peaks. Might have been that was the guitar.

Glad to hear younger folks playing instruments instead "what ever". Tell them to keep up the good work. They are not bad, just need a little time and practice.

You're right about the pulsing. I always go crazy with the limiter on the stereo buss when I mix too quietly late at night. And I agree about how cool it is to see them actually writing and playing. I have seen them play live since we tracked this, and while the sound was rough (lousy little club) they've got some real stage swagger for 16 & 17. Very fun to see!

I hate mixing out of my genre, very nice job and very courageous to take the leap!!

A few things I noticed. Sounded like the kick was triggering a compressor that was pumping a bit too much. Maybe your ducking the bass?

The vocal had a bit too much verb (shorter pre delay) and could use a little more comp to smooth it out. Not sure what gear/plugs you have but it could use a "micropitch shift", and a 1/4 note delay. If you don't have anything to pitch shift with, maybe you could use a very short slap back delay along with the 1/4.

Guitars had good separation but just for fun try panning the L at 8 o'clock and the R at 4 o'clock. It may give you that 80's wall of guitars sound. Then again it may fuck everything up! Hahaha.

Overall awesome job dude!!

Thanks, Mikey. I'm not ducking the bass, but the kick was pumping. Again--too much limiting on the final stereo buss, I think.

As far as the vocal goes--it's compressed fairly heavily--maybe I'll spend some more time with a bit of volume automation. And I thought about the micro pitch thing, but for the harmonies. I'll try it on the lead vocal as well--good idea.

And the guitars are hard panned L & R--that's my first approach. I'll nudge 'em in see what happens. (I think in the end, I may find that there's not enough tonal difference between the two rhythm parts.)

Thanks for the suggestions!

I'm torn on the drums. I don't think they're great, but in a weird way they fit the style of the song. That squashed boxy reverby snare is pretty authentic to those 80s hair mixes. The kick is a little woofy and lacks some slap. They do seem to be hammered pretty hard with compression. Maybe lighten up on that and let them breathe more. I do like the way the toms are over-the-top. They jump and I like it. The drum performance.....I won't even go there. Lol. At least they tried.

The guitar tones could use some work. They sound cheap and flat to me. Like a cheap amp or mediocre sim. There's no chunk. The leads are thin and nasally. I know you're a beast on the guitar and can get good tones, maybe help him out there.

I echo the others on the vocals. The delay/reverb is kind of bleh, and it isn't helped by his young sounding voice. I agree with Mikey, slam em more with compression to beef em up and smooth them out, and try some different delay settings.

The mix seems mostly pretty balanced to me though. The levels seems good, and nothing really jumps out as super bad. Just little things with each element need to be addressed and cleaned up.

Greg--I agree 100% on the drums. I thought they sounded way better about 2 mixes ago, but like I said, it's not my genre, and these kids kept pushing them in a "different" direction (don't worry, they were very polite about it!). So in the end, maybe you're also right about them fitting the style. I will back off the compression and let 'em breathe a bit. And the toms--yep, my favorite part of the drums as well.

Guitars? All sims. I recorded scratch tracks with a sim (during the drum session) and my nephew--the guitarist--loved 'em. I fully intended on having him track through some amps, though. Maybe I'll re-amp the clean tracks through some of my amps and open his eyes a bit.

Again, thanks for all the comments. I've been musically dry for months, so I'm having a blast at least working in the studio again. My nephew plays guitar because he grew up watching me play, and he made the mistake of thinking I was cool. The thing is, he really is cool (or maybe I'm just jealous?). And it's nice knowing I've inspired someone.

He and his bandmates are great kids--as much as they try to play badass rockstars (and maybe they will be), they're just decent, respectful kids. Even if we're only tracking one part, they all wanna come to the studio. They say "yes sir," "thank you," "what can we help move, plug in, or set up?" and they wanna learn every damn thing there is to learn.

So I just want to get a grip on their style and give 'em something they can blow away their high school friends with, y'know? I'll make some (hopefully) final tweaks this weekend and post up another mix.
 

Schwarzenyaeger

Formerly "Dog-In-Door"
Everything was pumping so intensly :(
Didn't like that.

The guitars definitely had no heaviness that those palm muted parts are supposed to bring. Maybe reamp the DIs instead of a sim.
 

GONZO-X

Well-known member
whoa,
the mix is ruined with unnecessary compression.

but hey, these kids are rocking, for their age, they have a vision of what they are trying to put out....

i just can't comment on the mix because it sounds like there are problems that have to be overcome before it can come together.

is this compression/limiting coming from an attempt at mastering, or is this the straight mix?
 

rayc

retroreprobate
G'day WS,
The section in the 3.30secs seems to suffer most from pumping - it's the combination of instruments and the a rhythm they're playing I think - mainly the rhythm guitars & drums together.
I didn't like the tone of the intro solo but the main solo seems to sound better, (could be the same tone but seems to be more "appropriate").
Reamping would probably lift the guitar tracks.
Open mixing sessions are difficult: trying to do what sounds right AND accommodate the band.
I'd do a sneaky & do a separate remix without them then A - B the mixes for them.
As it is there are some issues well illuminated by the other folk which will give you enough to tweak.
Good work thus far.
 
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