Mix Critique

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12/8/2018 4:53 PM
Edited Date/Time: 12/10/2018 4:33 PM

Would appreciate some feedback on this mix from you Musicians,Engineers, Etc..
Retired 10 years from 30 years mixing live trying my old ass analog hand at this new fangled (new to me) digital
in the box mixing.
Downloaded tracks from Telefunken Labs.

I realize it's not everyones favorite type music but critique the mix good or bad can't get better without some feedback.

Thanks
Edit: Upload issue see new upload below.

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12/8/2018 5:09 PM

Overall seems well done. A couple of spots where the vocals could be brought up a bit but hey, it's art. I think that just about everything I've recorded would be better if a real engineer would mix it.

It's so much goddam fun though.
Are you one of the musicians?
The singer is really good.

I have to say that I don't recognize any of the equipment you are using.


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12/8/2018 5:17 PM

borg wrote:

Overall seems well done. A couple of spots where the vocals could be brought up a bit but hey, it's art. I think that just about everything I've recorded would be better if a real engineer would mix it.

It's so much goddam fun though.
Are you one of the musicians?
The singer is really good.

I have to say that I don't recognize any of the equipment you are using.


Thanks
No I'm just an old retired sound engineer missing the thrill of mixing.
Building a studio for my retirement years and trying to wrap my head around all this digital stuff plus mixing live and mixing in a studio are about as different as you can get.
Not having a big ass PA pushing a bunch of air and just using some small studio monitors to make it happen is a bit difficult at this point but getting there.
Reason is a DAW like Pro Tools and the Universal Audio Apollo Twin is an interface but uses analog modeled plug ins
like the old shit i'm used to Ha!

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12/8/2018 6:19 PM

I cant really speak to the differences between DAW's and analog mixing. I did a very modest amount with a TEAC 3340S back in the day but it was not real mixing. Today's stuff is amazing to me. I have a couple of Polk shelf speakers as monitors and they work just fine. The world of VST's will get your head spinning.
I'm not sure how old you are, I'm 65, but the DAW's have given me a whole new life in music. Anything that will keep you away from modern media is gold.

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12/8/2018 9:48 PM

I'm 61. I do like the ease of use of the DAW. I use Pro Tools, Adobe Audition, and Propellerhead Reason.
Partial to Reason as they use a digitally modeled SSL 9000K Analog mixer unlike Pro Tools and Auditions generic digital layouts. I find it easier to navigate and is an awesome console.used in many of the best studios in the world still.


Yeah you can get lost in all the VST and other plugins but there are some pretty cool tools out there.
I mainly stick with the old school real analog and UA analog modeled compressors and effects though i have some newer VST s from Waves and Sound Toys that sound really nice.




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12/10/2018 4:31 PM

once again

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12/10/2018 6:48 PM

Do you use compression on the master track?

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12/11/2018 11:41 AM

borg wrote:

Do you use compression on the master track?

Yes but a bit differently depending on the material. Using the Reason software mixer which is a digitally modeled SSL 9000K analog console which has the famous SSL master bus compressor on board (Waves makes a nice modeled plug in of just the MBC for other DAW's)

Anyway i side chain it thru a hi pass filter and just apply compression 4:1 from 3K and up for music with a lot of bottom end information and open it up as there is less. This mix i think i'm somewhere around 3K for like an acoustic track would apply it full spectrum. Just depends a bit of moving it about to find the sweet spot for the material being mixed.
I also have an "Audiomatic" a Reason plug in the chain basically a retro plug in to add some in this case tape saturation to the whole mix to give it some git and harmonic distortion of analog equipment.
Loads of settings for a wide range of applications. I used several on different instruments in this mix for texture, tone, etc.

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12/11/2018 2:27 PM

I like it. Mixing and Mastering is such a subjective thing. There are so many video's on YouTube of famous Pro engineers and Producers that supposedly spill the beans on how they go about it but it's hard to believe they would give away their livelihood. Maybe they really have incredible ears! Good job mojomoto.

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12/11/2018 4:30 PM

Mojo, I haven't listened to it yet (but I will.)

If you're a sound engineer you already know much more than I do. The biggest thing I learned about recording and mixing in digital, however, is that the massive amount of headroom really frees you up. That whole mantra of "record hot" is completely out the window now. The noise floor is so low with digital, you can afford to record at an average signal around -15dB, then just turn each track up in the mixing stage. Gain stage it all up to somewhere between -6 and -3 when you go to final stereo, then put a limiter on it in the mastering phase and bring it up to 0dB. cool Easy peasy.

PS- go look for the plugin called "Klip Freak." It's a cool intentional clipping software that adds some good grit to certain sounds. I like it on the bass or chunky keyboard parts. cool

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Braaapin' aint easy.

12/11/2018 7:23 PM

-18dB digital is equivalent to 0dB analog.

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12/12/2018 11:11 AM

Mr. G wrote:

I like it. Mixing and Mastering is such a subjective thing. There are so many video's on YouTube of famous Pro engineers and Producers that supposedly spill the beans on how they go about it but it's hard to believe they would give away their livelihood. Maybe they really have incredible ears! Good job mojomoto.

Thanks Mr. G
Indeed a very subjective thing.
I try not to watch videos where someone is showing you how to do something then you try to emulate them
but not having their ears or experience it probably won't work quite like it does for them and they know that.

I just dive in and sort it out in my own way it's how i started and it worked for 30 years mixing live so hopefully will continue into the studio environment.




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12/12/2018 5:21 PM

Mr. G wrote:

-18dB digital is equivalent to 0dB analog.

Here's where I get super confused. I mix all my stuff like I described and it sounds pretty good. Crisp, loud, clean and limited at about -.5dB. You'd think that if it was equivalent to +17.5dB analog, it would be clipping all over the place.

Do you mean the reproduction quality sounds like 18dB louder? Or if I was to plug my DAW into an analog mixing board, would it peg the needles?

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Braaapin' aint easy.

12/12/2018 9:02 PM

Hey, I have a critique now that I've listened to it. I noticed the lead vocal has some processing on it... maybe a chorus and some gated reverb? In any case, the whole effect makes it a little muddy. I've had good luck myself with making a duplicate track and applying effects to that - then you can leave a very clean vocal track to cut through but use a second track to give it some wet effect and a little fuller sound. Nudge that 2nd track 15-20 milliseconds either direction to get a cool multi-vocal effect.
Also, the volume change at 1:06 is a little severe. I hear what you were going for just afterward, with the tinny-sounding, AM radio effect, but the dropoff just before that sounds out of place.

I can't wait to hear more stuff!

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Braaapin' aint easy.

12/12/2018 9:51 PM

Mr. G wrote:

-18dB digital is equivalent to 0dB analog.

Falcon wrote:

Here's where I get super confused. I mix all my stuff like I described and it sounds pretty good. Crisp, loud, clean and limited at about -.5dB. You'd think that if it was equivalent to +17.5dB analog, it would be clipping all over the place.

Do you mean the reproduction quality sounds like 18dB louder? Or if I was to plug my DAW into an analog mixing board, would it peg the needles?

I have noticed that too. Perhaps that "Law" is wrong? It would be a great experiment to make. I have a cousin with an all analog pro studio in new jersey and when he sends me stuff and I throw it in my DAW it is Pegged! He can get away with it being analog. Maybe I will send him a -18 and see what he sees on his board. By the by I think the -18 idea is not referring to the bus but the tracks. As it goes into mixing and mastering there is sometimes so much stuff added it really takes up the head room. And THEN you have to go about making it loud enough without getting into the loudness wars! It's like balancing a marble on a 2X4.

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12/12/2018 11:44 PM

Analog is DBU and Digital is DBFS. it's in the metering.
Unity is ideally the point at which there is no reduction or amplification of the signal, the inputs equal the outputs.
On an analog meter, this is 0dB, but you can still go above this (into amplification), typically to +10dB or +20dB, depending on manufacturer.
On a digital meter, 0dB is usually all the way at the top. This is why they are often referred to as "dBFS" instead of just dB. dB is the + or - distance away from unity in the analog world. In the digital world, it is dB from Full Scale (FS). So, 0dB analog would actually be equivalent to -18dbfs


HOWEVER, it depends on how your manufacturer labels the meter. Some the faders actually do have a 0dB unity marking on up to +10dB, same as an analog console. Many digital mixers do this to make it easier to equate to what analog folks are already used to. BUT, most use digital meter markings on the LEVEL meter next to the touch screen, and you will notice that -18dB is where it changes color from green to orange.


SO, when setting your levels by a digital style meter (with 0dB at the top), use -18dB as the equivalent to 0dB analog and depending on what your fader markings are, use 0dB as Unity if analog style, and -18dBFS as unity if digital style.

On analog gear the meters rarely went above +3Vu (+7dBu) which meant you could get away with burying the meters in the red with plenty of headroom. On a console where the red is 0dBfs there is no headroom above that, the processor has run out numbers.


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12/13/2018 10:47 AM

Falcon wrote:

Hey, I have a critique now that I've listened to it. I noticed the lead vocal has some processing on it... maybe a chorus and some gated reverb? In any case, the whole effect makes it a little muddy. I've had good luck myself with making a duplicate track and applying effects to that - then you can leave a very clean vocal track to cut through but use a second track to give it some wet effect and a little fuller sound. Nudge that 2nd track 15-20 milliseconds either direction to get a cool multi-vocal effect.
Also, the volume change at 1:06 is a little severe. I hear what you were going for just afterward, with the tinny-sounding, AM radio effect, but the dropoff just before that sounds out of place.

I can't wait to hear more stuff!

Cool Thanks
I actually do run a dry vocal and a paralleled comp'ed effect vocal.
Processing on the vocal is first part just a bit of plate and a slight chorus.
second "it's entirely up to you and me" same plate and chorus plus a big delay zero repeats and additional heavy chorus.
back to plate and chorus and the tinny voice part. Working on that still and yes it does drop out a bit much at that point.
The effect i'm trying to achieve here is as the song is about a Frankenstein type chick hence the title Mary Shelley
is the guys mental breakdown as he is trying to please this un-pleasable bitch removing all emotion from the vocal
and at the same time bring the overall level down to set up for the full on sonic hit when the song kicks in. A little creative licence on my part as the record version is way different.
The middle section vocal same plate and slight chorus plus a vocal double delay.

I have experimented with moving instrument parallel tracks off a few milliseconds from the main but not vocal will give that a listen.

It's a lot of fun to be able to play around and experiment with things as live you can't do much experimenting.
Just mix the band as well as possible and make it sound as good as possible for the venue you are in and the gear you have to work with then try again tomorrow.

I have a shitload of live stuff uploaded if you are interested .https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrhuZ-FGtzGo_I3KoDfz9GQ
Of course it's all just 2 track board mixes right out of the 2 track outs to a cassette deck(no digital back in the day) and mixing live you only have one chance to get it per night so you have to be on your game every night.
Started digitizing them a few years ago and uploading.
Here's one of from the archives vintage 1993 just uploaded these recently.



Also to your previous comment. " That whole mantra of "record hot" is completely out the window now. The noise floor is so low with digital, you can afford to record at an average signal around -15dB, then just turn each track up in the mixing stage."
Your cleanest best signal is the pre amp so while you can record at -15DBFS you are still better off recording at -4 so you don't have to gain it up later. As long as you don't hit zero or above DBFS you are good.
All the practice tracks i have downloaded to mix have all been recorded to the -4 to -3 range peak per track so you still want to record "hot" as it were just not clipping. Now you can clip the shit out of the signal on your analog mixer to get the tone you want but just cannot allow it to get to or above zero DBFS in the DAW while recording.

I don't pay much attention to channel levels as long as the master out stays under -8 or -10 peak. and leaves plenty of headroom for mastering. My kick and snare will always be in the red. Bass and guitars will be lightly hitting red or more and vocals will run red most of the time.I will pull down the master fader to keep things in the -18 to -8 range till ready to master. Here's a really good explanation of it for reason but i'm sure it works in all DAWs the same as they are all digital.

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12/13/2018 12:08 PM

I'm using a preset that comes with Reaper. These are the settings:
Photo

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12/13/2018 12:50 PM

borg wrote:

I'm using a preset that comes with Reaper. These are the settings:
Photo

Haven't used Reaper so not familiar with their software plugins.
I dump into Abode Audition to master i really like their mastering plug in.
They have some stock presets but i usually create my own.


Photo

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12/13/2018 3:32 PM

borg wrote:

I'm using a preset that comes with Reaper. These are the settings:
Photo

Same here. Do you actually hear a difference with that?

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12/13/2018 3:35 PM

I hear a difference when I use auto make-up though. I am so bad with compression.

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12/13/2018 4:30 PM

Mr. G wrote:

I hear a difference when I use auto make-up though. I am so bad with compression.

You can apply suspension compression knowledge to audio compression.
You want enough to tame the hard hits peaks but not so much to make it too stiff for everything else.

Always make sure the input and output match if you compress 3 DB add 3 DB to the make up gain
so the track stays the same level.
You are just limiting dynamic range by bringing the peaks closer to the valleys. Lowering the peaks by 3 DB but raising in effect the valley's by 3 DB as well. The track will have less dynamic range but the quieter parts will get a boost.

really good video on compression

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12/15/2018 10:53 AM

Mr. G wrote:

Same here. Do you actually hear a difference with that?

On some stuff I do but I spend a lot of time mixing and use compression in quite a few tracks. Vocals for sure, sometimes guitars too because I mic that and the raw input can be a little rough. Same for bass but I plug straight in for that.

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12/23/2018 11:45 AM

So a real amp for guitar and a DI for bass? I am really becoming a big fan of DI for bass. I use Guitar Rig 5 for guitar because this is the only amp I have. Photo

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12/26/2018 7:07 AM

Mr. G wrote:

So a real amp for guitar and a DI for bass? I am really becoming a big fan of DI for bass. I use Guitar Rig 5 for guitar because this is the only amp I have. Photo

Remember this one?

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12/26/2018 11:03 AM

I don't. Is that yours?

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12/26/2018 11:24 AM

Mr. G wrote:

I don't. Is that yours?

No, it's yours. You posted a guitar track a few years ago and I asked you if I could play around with it. It has possibility.

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12/26/2018 11:25 AM

I think you called id Mid Eastern Goulash or something like that.

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12/26/2018 10:46 PM

This one is mine. I think it may have possibilities too. I am in the middle of trying to fix it.
https://soundcloud.com/russ-e-gregory/middle-eastern-goulash

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12/26/2018 10:49 PM

It's hard. I wish I was Steve Vai, it would make things much easier.

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