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Could I get some extra ears for a new mix?


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#1 DaveG

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Posted 12 June 2016 - 09:32 PM

I realized a little while ago that a lot of the mixes I had done over the past year were becoming a bit bottom-heavy and overly subdued on the top end, so I'm trying to get back in the zone. I've gone around with this one the last couple of days trying to dial in the mix and figured it would be good to step back from it and let a few friends check it out on their own sound systems to see how it hits other people's ears.

 

If you have a moment to check it out on whatever speakers/phones you usually use to listen to music, how is it translating? Balance between mix elements? Anything coming across as boomy/muddy or overly strident? Thanks in advance, guys!

 

https://www.dropbox....16-bit.wav?dl=0



#2 Three Eyes

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Posted 12 June 2016 - 10:17 PM

Typically stellar, Dave. I'm just wondering if it's a tad muddy in the mid-range? Bear in mind, it would take me three lifetimes to achieve a mix this good. lol.

 

I'm listening on Yamaha YST-M10 powered speakers which I think sound pretty good for what they are. Here's a sample I found on You Tube of how I'm more or less hearing your mix.

 

 

 

 

 


Hey there goes Alex. He's loaded with money. Wow he's really set himself up great.


#3 stoopid

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Posted 12 June 2016 - 10:49 PM

Can't listen on my monitors atm, but on my ATH-M50 (tracking headphones) which I listen to most of my music, this sounds very good!  [you usually have impeccable mixes]  The only nit, and this could be a preference thing, is the toms and floor tom are not very rich.  I think the low end on them is trimmed a bit too much, the floor tom especially should have at least a little rumble to it.

 

I noticed it wasn't mastered so I wanted to hear how it would stand up to some multiband compression.  I uploaded a MP3 of what I came up with as a quick pass (just used the presets for the songs I've been working on recently).  It sounds good, so you won't need to do much in the mastering phase!   :)

 

 

I can't put my finger on exactly what '80s song you're ripping off at the beginning.  It will probably haunt my dreams tonight and I'll wake up screaming the song's name.  lol


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#4 Three Eyes

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Posted 13 June 2016 - 12:33 AM

^^^ Sounds really good. It brightened things up and gave it more balls. And Dave's voice cuts through more. Maybe a little too loud in places but not terrible.

 

I don't hear anything ripped off.


Hey there goes Alex. He's loaded with money. Wow he's really set himself up great.


#5 DaveG

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Posted 13 June 2016 - 02:50 AM

Thanks for taking the time to do some critical listening guys, and for giving it a run through your mastering chain, Kevin. I appreciate it!

 

I admit it got a bit bright for me on that test master, but I realize that's more how a lot of modern recordings are mixed/mastered - when I pulled up a couple of tracks from Clockwork Angels for one of my references, I couldn't believe how uber-bright they were. I found "Test for Echo" a little closer to where I like to hear things, in terms of having a top end that's clear but less emphasized. But I could probably get away with opening up my top end a little more than it is, since I don't want listeners to perceive my next release as sounding dull vs. most of the other things they listen to. If you're both hearing it as not having quite enough top end, a lot of others probably will too, so I probably need to split the difference. I actually already have a Clariphonic DSP plugin on my master channel in the DAW opening up the upper mids and high end some...I can inch the top end dial up a few more notches and see how that does.

 

I might could deepen that dip around 300Hz just a little more too. I try not to scoop the low mids too aggressively because I like a mix to have some meat down there, but if it's coming across as a tad muddy, I probably left a bit too much in.


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#6 stoopid

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Posted 13 June 2016 - 10:51 AM

Thanks for taking the time to do some critical listening guys, and for giving it a run through your mastering chain, Kevin. I appreciate it!

 

I admit it got a bit bright for me on that test master, but I realize that's more how a lot of modern recordings are mixed/mastered - when I pulled up a couple of tracks from Clockwork Angels for one of my references, I couldn't believe how uber-bright they were. I found "Test for Echo" a little closer to where I like to hear things, in terms of having a top end that's clear but less emphasized. But I could probably get away with opening up my top end a little more than it is, since I don't want listeners to perceive my next release as sounding dull vs. most of the other things they listen to. If you're both hearing it as not having quite enough top end, a lot of others probably will too, so I probably need to split the difference. I actually already have a Clariphonic DSP plugin on my master channel in the DAW opening up the upper mids and high end some...I can inch the top end dial up a few more notches and see how that does.

 

I might could deepen that dip around 300Hz just a little more too. I try not to scoop the low mids too aggressively because I like a mix to have some meat down there, but if it's coming across as a tad muddy, I probably left a bit too much in.

 

Like I said, I have a scooped multiband preset I used on the compressor, which matches my mixing style and needs.  Mastering your mix would require some adjustment, perhaps even some pre-compressor EQ'ing, or a different compression strategy altogether.  I like how compression unifies a mix, but sometimes it also reveals little things that have to be adjusted.  I've gone back plenty of times when I thought I was through and brought up/down elements in the mix that the compressor revealed weren't quite right.

 

But I still liked how easily it came together.  Like me, you seem to mix with the philosophy that very little should need to be done at mastering.  Mastering for me is really just about keeping consistency from track to track, and most of that in the end process is just having the rough volume/levels right from track to track.  I still let some tracks be a bit bassier than others, or allow the vocals to be center stage.  Mixes are allowed to have personality.

 

You vocals are very front stage, which is fine especially for 80s style music.


Putting the oOgEyMe back in Boogeymen.

#7 stoopid

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Posted 13 June 2016 - 11:07 AM

Finally was able to play more than a couple bars in my head, and figured it out :D .

 

A couple years before the '80s... it's the opening guitars in your song (repeated later) that struck me as being very similar.

 


Putting the oOgEyMe back in Boogeymen.

#8 DaveG

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Posted 13 June 2016 - 12:32 PM

Like me, you seem to mix with the philosophy that very little should need to be done at mastering.

Oh definitely. Avoids any nasty surprises at the mastering stage since, as you guys noted on this mix, if you make major changes to the frequency contour in the mastering stage, the balance of the mix can be thrown off - vocals suddenly too forward, etc.

 

As far as Toto goes, I'll have to chalk that one up to coincidence...gosh, I haven't heard or thought about that song in forever!



#9 stoopid

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Posted 13 June 2016 - 02:55 PM

As far as Toto goes, I'll have to chalk that one up to coincidence...gosh, I haven't heard or thought about that song in forever!

 

It's pretty common that we subconsciously or as you say, by chance, replicate things.  Can't reinvent the wheel, right?


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#10 Three Eyes

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Posted 13 June 2016 - 08:32 PM

Finally was able to play more than a couple bars in my head, and figured it out :D .

 

A couple years before the '80s... it's the opening guitars in your song (repeated later) that struck me as being very similar.

 

 

That was the song that came to my mind too but I didn't mention it because it's not really a rip-off. It's only kinda/sorta reminiscent which is perfectly acceptable.

 

God does Hold The Line remind me of high school.


Hey there goes Alex. He's loaded with money. Wow he's really set himself up great.


#11 stoopid

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Posted 13 June 2016 - 08:49 PM

Maybe ripoff wasn't the right word.  The similarities in that section is undeniable.  "Heavily inspired to the point of obvious"?

 

I was a tad young (about 3) to have this be part of my childhood soundtrack, but it certainly has seen its fair share of rock radio airplay over the years.  I kinda like Toto, I think my parents probably played it a bit around the house when I was a kid.  .38 Special, REO Speedwagon, Fleetwood Mac, John Cougar, Moody Blues, Boston, Jackson Browne, etc etc etc.  Very [pop] musical household, but only I ever play(ed) an instrument.  My father always had good playback gear, despite us being poor most of my memory.  I think it was important to him/them.  I've always wondered why those with musical interests and gifts choose not to utilize them.   ;)


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#12 DaveG

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Posted 13 June 2016 - 09:56 PM

Honestly, not even heavily-inspired, LOL. I liked Toto reasonably well when I heard "Africa" or something on the radio in the '80s, but I was never into them enough for them to be any sort of influence. This song actually started its life as a piano/bass/drums piece, with the punctuations on top of the repeating chord being played by low piano notes and bass chords. It was only when I decided to make it into something more guitar-based that the power chords replaced that chordal bass part.

 

Sometimes the influences we think we hear between one piece of music and another only exist in our minds as a listener because of the natural human need to categorize and index things based on what we have prior experience with. I have a friend who is really bad for that. He'll be like dude, that new song you did reminds me so much of Ergo's Philharmonic Flea Compunction (or some other obscure outfit I've never heard of). And I'm like....who? what?


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#13 grep

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Posted 13 June 2016 - 10:10 PM

Well, I just think the mix sounds good. If I happened to buy this song I'd be happy with the quality of the mix.

 

i don't know much about the mastering process, or the real need - so i can't say if it needs it or not.

 

Great song too.



#14 SpaceGhost2112

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Posted 13 June 2016 - 11:27 PM

Sounds pretty damn good to me!  I don't hear anything lacking in the mix.  The kick is punchy and things are clear.  If ANYthing, maybe a bit of mid-range could be bumped up a smidgen. Otherwise, I thought it was a finished master.  :)



#15 Greg

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Posted 14 June 2016 - 01:13 AM

As usual, Dave, great stuff.  I think it sounds excellent.  Stoopid's 'remix' is excellent too, has a ballsy-er low end without being punchy.  If it's one thing that annoys me is a punchy low end.  This sounds great...and great song!


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#16 Three Eyes

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Posted 14 June 2016 - 08:09 AM

Honestly, not even heavily-inspired, LOL. I liked Toto reasonably well when I heard "Africa" or something on the radio in the '80s, but I was never into them enough for them to be any sort of influence. This song actually started its life as a piano/bass/drums piece, with the punctuations on top of the repeating chord being played by low piano notes and bass chords. It was only when I decided to make it into something more guitar-based that the power chords replaced that chordal bass part.

 

Sometimes the influences we think we hear between one piece of music and another only exist in our minds as a listener because of the natural human need to categorize and index things based on what we have prior experience with. I have a friend who is really bad for that. He'll be like dude, that new song you did reminds me so much of Ergo's Philharmonic Flea Compunction (or some other obscure outfit I've never heard of). And I'm like....who? what?

 

I was once told a song I'd written sounded a lot like a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers tune. I told the guy truthfully that I'd never heard of the song he was citing. It wasn't one of the hits. But the guy was adamant to the point that it was obvious he thought I wasn't being honest. "I don't knooooww..." he said accusingly.  I'll never forget that.


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#17 stoopid

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Posted 14 June 2016 - 10:54 AM

Honestly, not even heavily-inspired, LOL. I liked Toto reasonably well when I heard "Africa" or something on the radio in the '80s, but I was never into them enough for them to be any sort of influence. This song actually started its life as a piano/bass/drums piece, with the punctuations on top of the repeating chord being played by low piano notes and bass chords. It was only when I decided to make it into something more guitar-based that the power chords replaced that chordal bass part.

 

Sometimes the influences we think we hear between one piece of music and another only exist in our minds as a listener because of the natural human need to categorize and index things based on what we have prior experience with. I have a friend who is really bad for that. He'll be like dude, that new song you did reminds me so much of Ergo's Philharmonic Flea Compunction (or some other obscure outfit I've never heard of). And I'm like....who? what?

 

Oh I believe you Dave.   :rolleyes:

 

Hey everyone, Dave's a Toto fan!

 

"Dave's a Toto Fan!"

"Dave's a Toto Fan!"

 

:D


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#18 stoopid

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Posted 14 June 2016 - 11:00 AM

I was once told a song I'd written sounded a lot like a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers tune. I told the guy truthfully that I'd never heard of the song he was citing. It wasn't one of the hits. But the guy was adamant to the point that it was obvious he thought I wasn't being honest. "I don't knooooww..." he said accusingly.  I'll never forget that.

 

It's a matter of odds - only so many combinations of chords in 4/4 in various tempos before melodies and song structures get repeated.  On top of that, certain melodies are more appealing than others and tend to get replicated just because of our (human) draw.  I recall reading something about this once upon a time, it showed going back to classical through today how certain structures get repeated in similar ways in popular music.  There's also been some musicians and comedians (like Weird Al's polka medleys, and the many mashups found online today) that demonstrate this phenomena at work as part of their act.


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#19 DaveG

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Posted 14 June 2016 - 02:52 PM

Thanks very much for the input and kind words, guys. I incorporated some of your feedback into some mix adjustments before uploading the preview to my website last night (some fairly conservative adjustments to overall frequency balance, putting a little bit of the low end back into the toms, etc.). I guess any tweaks beyond this I can probably leave to my mastering guy in his properly-treated facility with ears more experienced than mine!


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#20 stoopid

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Posted 14 June 2016 - 04:26 PM

Thanks very much for the input and kind words, guys. I incorporated some of your feedback into some mix adjustments before uploading the preview to my website last night (some fairly conservative adjustments to overall frequency balance, putting a little bit of the low end back into the toms, etc.). I guess any tweaks beyond this I can probably leave to my mastering guy in his properly-treated facility with ears more experienced than mine!

 

Unfortunately some of the former regulars of this section have jumped ship a while back.  I wish even more ears could have listened.


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