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New Song - Need Feedback on Mix

Sidivan

Fractal Fanatic
I've been away for awhile working hard on band stuff. We've got enough material now for a full album and decided to try out a couple studios and see who we like working with and such. Here's the latest mix from the studio we picked and I'm curious as to what you guys think about it. Be as honest as possible, even if it's brutal. The cleans are 100% Axe FX, but the distortion is a mix of Axe FX and a real 5150.

Everything You Say (Studio Sample) by sidivan on SoundCloud - Create, record and share your sounds for free
 
First off, great song and nice riffs. For my tastes I think the vocals spend too much time in the same octave region. Some added variance in pitch region could go a long way. That is subjective to my taste so don't waste your time if you dig it.

I do have a problem with how your vocals sit in the mix. It seems to me that the vocal track needs to be eased off as it sits atop the band mix somewhat awkwardly. I think that the singer needs compression. The dynamic range of the lyrical phrases jump all over the place. Limited dynamic range will help control the mix and help add a punch to the vocal track. Perhaps you guys can add some effects to the vocals as well (more reverb, or maybe detune). Guitars could be a bit fatter. Not sure if you are already quad-tracking your guitars or not but if not, this could really help.
HTH
 

thewizardguy

Inspired
Agreed about the vocal track sitting strangely -- fatten it up with multiple melody takes with the "everything you say" that already has a harmony.

The distortion at 2:07 sounds a bit thin -- add a bit of "chuggah chuggah."

The "everything you say" at 2:33~ needs a chorus behind it (a few guys or a whole chorus will work, just need to emphasize that portion without making it louder). Alternatively, or additionally, you could add a guitar solo in the background.

The entire vocal track sounds like hes rasping -- but it does also sound like that is his vocal range. Only rasp for emphasis, rather, and sing "full voice" for regular portions.

I'm sure this happened in the recording process and isn't the case live, but there doesn't feel like a lot of emotion is taking place in the vocal track; once more -- with feeling!

Lastly, the beginning drags a tiny bit (I know thats not mix issues, but while I'm on the subject =P). Recommend starting it at 0:25.
 

Sidivan

Fractal Fanatic
Awesome feedback, thank you! The band is discussing how it does not have the same impact on the recording as it does live and I think it's missing some low mids in the guitars. Part of the problem is the bass is big and fat, but doesn't follow the guitar, so it creates this sonic gap. I wanted to get some outside opinion from some knowledgeable folks, which is why I posted here, so I can't thank you enough. We've got 8 more that, in my opinion, are even better songs, so check out a few (poorly recorded versions) on our site! Chaos In Question
 

guittarzzan

Inspired
Just listened through computer speakers. Not the best monitoring enviornment, but a great way to a/b a mix so here are my quick and brutally honest:

-Intro a bit too long and if you're set on that length, then more layers needed to come in as it develops to make it more interesting

-singer sounded a bit pitchy in parts-a touch of Melodyne might be a good idea

-Vox a little loud in the mix-especially in verses-more vox harmonies would really help the song sound "bigger"
-2nd set of verses could use something to keep more energy going-maybe bring in some minor electric parts leading up to chorus...or something

Overall-cool song and decent mix. One thing I've had to learn, the hard way, is to make damn certain I have my parts and arrangment down to a T, exactly how I want them before spending the money on any studio time. If you have it 90% down and are just not sure what is missing, you might hire a local, decent producer for a consultation etc to get their 2 cents on how to really finish it off before tracking.

that's my 2 cents,
Steve
 

guitarzpt

Experienced
Hello,

For me the biggest improvement you need to make is with the vocals. They are very pitchy!
Pop in Melodyne or retrack!

Just my humble opinion...

I've been away for awhile working hard on band stuff. We've got enough material now for a full album and decided to try out a couple studios and see who we like working with and such. Here's the latest mix from the studio we picked and I'm curious as to what you guys think about it. Be as honest as possible, even if it's brutal. The cleans are 100% Axe FX, but the distortion is a mix of Axe FX and a real 5150.

Everything You Say (Studio Sample) by sidivan on SoundCloud - Create, record and share your sounds for free
 

greyanaroth

Inspired
I think everything has pretty much been said! Vocals are too loud, sitting on top of the mix, aside from being pitchy and sounding like the vocalist had a LOT to drink the previous night!

Guitars sound too thin and scooped when they do kick in. And it sounds like way too much gain was used.

Overall, to my ears at least, the mix sounds REALLY small. A good thing to do is to do some very basic volume maximisation when listening to a mix in anything other than a studio environment.

Ok, as the track goes along, the vocals are really beginning to annoy! Sorry friend, just giving brutal feedback that could help you along! IMHO you should definitely retrack the vocals, and this is not a matter of taste, this is going on record, and unfortunately, with most people, the vocals seem to make or break a song. With these takes, it'll break it!

Song's pretty nice :) You might wanna tighten up a lot of parts though. And the ending is like a fizzle, not a bang that a ballady tune like this really needs. It sounds like you copy pasted the chorus for the ending. Ideally, you should have used the Bogner Shiva sim on the AFX - it would have been perfect for this kind of song! eg. on Creed's new album, especially on the song Bread Of Shame, the real shiva and XTC sound friggin awesome! Huge, meaty yet very very musical!

Hey, you wanted feedback :p

EDIT: The song has great potential, some parts are stuck in my head which is awesome! It just needs better representation on record :) Best of luck!
 
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Sidivan

Fractal Fanatic
Thanks everybody!

As far as the song goes, from a writing perspective, it's exactly how we want it. The structure, the riffs, the vocal melodies, the harmonies, everything is precisely where we want to put it. We don't take the song-writing process lightly and these 9 songs we're recording have taken almost 3 years to write. So, believe me when I say every single note is discussed in detail and placed meticulously where we feel they should go. That being said, feedback is always great and I'll keep those tips in mind for future songs.

The mix is really what I'm looking for advice on. I knew it didn't sound "right", but couldn't put my finger on it. I think dialing the vocals back a little is going to help quite a bit and fattening up the guitars is going to fix the "no impact" issue. For me, it sounds like there's not enough attack when the guitars kick in. It needs to be a kick to the face when it hits, but something is missing there. It's definitely NOT too much gain. We recorded a dry signal and a processed one (thank you Axe FX) simultaneously for re-amping and originally there was a lot of gain, but have since re-amped with considerably less.

As far as the vocals rasping, having too much to drink, etc... that's actually something we like about his voice. That's just what he sounds like. I don't even notice it anymore, to be honest. Just sounds like... us.

I've got a meeting with the engineer about melodyne, vocal compression, and fattening up the guitars this week! Thanks again!

greyanaroth said:
It sounds like you copy pasted the chorus for the ending.
That actually made me chuckle. It's a different key (changes from minor to major even!), different progression, and different rhythm. Also, we use a static arpeggio suspended over the entire progression to accentuate the key change. You didn't notice that the entire song is the same 2 chords up until the outro, but you thought the ending was a copy/paste? :p
 
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greyanaroth

Inspired
That actually made me chuckle. It's a different key (changes from minor to major even!), different progression, and different rhythm. Also, we use a static arpeggio suspended over the entire progression to accentuate the key change. You didn't notice that the entire song is the same 2 chords up until the outro, but you thought the ending was a copy/paste? :p

Hehe what I really meant was that it sounded that way, not implying that you did, and it had nothing to do with key, progression, but just the way he tails off I guess. It didn't sound like he was singing the end of the song, but instead building up to a bridge or something!!

It's nice that you're so clear on what you guys want :) Like I said, there's some nice potential there, and if you're cool with his voice then all of us can shove it :D But definitely melodyne that shit, and do a dummy master - it'll put a LOT of things in perspective!

Have fun!
 

Sidivan

Fractal Fanatic
Hehe what I really meant was that it sounded that way, not implying that you did, and it had nothing to do with key, progression, but just the way he tails off I guess. It didn't sound like he was singing the end of the song, but instead building up to a bridge or something!!

It's nice that you're so clear on what you guys want :) Like I said, there's some nice potential there, and if you're cool with his voice then all of us can shove it :D But definitely melodyne that shit, and do a dummy master - it'll put a LOT of things in perspective!

Have fun!

Ah, I hear what you're saying there about the way he sings the outro. There is some mastering on this track, which I told the engineer not to do as we're sending off for mastering, and I think that's where some of the magic is lost in the guitars. What's a dummy master?
 

greyanaroth

Inspired
Dummy master is just to see how your mix would hold up during an actual master. Usually it's just some basic volume maximisation and limiting. It brings your entire track up and most importantly, shows how your levels will be once it goes through mastering. Alot of great mastering guys preserve your mix perfectly, but usually, your levels do tend to change a bit, with the drums going slightly back, and the guitars coming more up front. Sort of like how your mix would sound in the studio if you really pumped up the monitors LOUD! Or how a PA sounds at loud volumes.

Also, send stems (divided into kick, snare, toms, cymbals, guitars, bass, vocals, reverb, etc) to your mastering guy. And please, send it to a PROPER mastering studio, like gateway mastering or sterling sound, and not some hack. If you're not sending it to a guy who has a great roster, some mindblowing analog gear and a perfect room, you're better off just slapping a volume maximiser and calling it a day!! Here in India, people have this hang up about sending stuff to a "foreign" mastering studio, especially in the commercial circuit - the amount of complete shit I've heard coming out of these "studios" is mindblowing! Choose your mastering guy carefully!
 
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