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Author Topic: IMP7 discussion.  (Read 20873 times)

j.hall

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Re: IMP7 discussion.
« Reply #90 on: September 21, 2006, 12:21:14 pm »

yeah david, we're on the same page....no worries.
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Tom C

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Re: IMP7 discussion.
« Reply #91 on: September 21, 2006, 12:22:36 pm »

dikledoux wrote on Thu, 21 September 2006 15:36

Oh, and another thing.  I think we should have a separate thread for crits only and one for general discussion.  Just to keep it clean.  So much info and I don't want to miss stuff because I'm skimming.  But that's the anal/organizer goober in me <g>.
dik


Maybe one thread for the comments about other peoples mixes (that'd
be about 20 long postings) and one thread where you talk about
the what and why of your own mix and answer the questions
concerning your mix.

I like the idea to have one thread for EACH mix (like the CaPE guys
down at the MARSH), but with > 20 participants J.'s forum would
explode.
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Nizzle

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Re: IMP7 discussion.
« Reply #92 on: September 21, 2006, 12:39:00 pm »

j.hall wrote on Thu, 21 September 2006 15:07

OK, fair enough.
Nizzle:
(snip)
IMO, you balanced the mix well and stopped there.  getting a good balance is not easy, i'm not slighting you for being able to do that......that's something to be proud of.  the last little bit of "mojo" that separates mixers is the vibe.  i think you need to expand upon your vibe.


Cool - I appreciate the "in depth critique". I think I get whaat your after with these things - less on the "too much compression" stuff and more on the details that should proceed a comment like "too much compression".

You asked a question or 2 in your critique:
re: Acoustic bass - I did not blend it anywher, but I did use it alone in the breakdown.

re: Low end - I am cogniscent of it and do like it where it is. I am one who likes the lower octave in so much that I try to find a place where the subs in both th Kick drum and Bass Gtr can co exist peacefully, however I do respect those who let the bass gtr have alot of subs and let the kick drum's "girth" exist in the 75hz. to 110hz. area.

I really enjoyed your detailed critique..I also enjoy the usual "off the cuff" reactionary, one or two sentence critiques. I don't think I have the time to do an "in depth" critique of everyones submission, but I will at least return the favor of my thoughts on your mix.


First off - pretty solid mix from the macro view.

The Micro View:

Intro/V1 - I dig it.

Ch1 - B Vox Level distracts me. Too much "stereo going on" which also distracts me. Although the bvox certainly do "pop" upon entrance - The Chorus as a section does not to me.

Vamp1 - I wonder if 8 bars(19 seconds) is really necessary. My attention is lost after the first 4. The Elec gtr. that comes in during that section is supposed to keep my attention, but it seems uninspired both in performance,part,sound...I get bored. It is absolutely appropriate(imho) to alter such things as a mix engineer - whatever it takes so long as you are sensitive to the artists wishes....If were getting paid for this mix(aside from taking more time to mix it) I would have provided an edited and unedited version.

V2 - Sounds good. I wonder if the Kick can use some junk in the trunk....seems a bit thin to me, howver the bass sounds fine. I thought the tracking of the bass was interesting in that it had lots of information below 60hz, but pretty scooped in the 80 - 150 hz area.

CH2 - Samee impression as the 1st Chorus. Also - The drummer is alternating between left and right Crashes - I can't hear any of that in the mix...It's all sounding smeared. Perhapd you decided to go "mono" with the Oheads or drums for that matter.

Vamp 2 - Another boring 20 seconds (IMO)

M8 - Those electrics make me feel like the artists isn't sure idyomatically whether this is a rootsy/americana thing or a Hard Rock thing. It's my opinion that the heart of this song stylistically lay(lays?)  in the roots/ Americana idiom. WIth that said - thee gtrs have been EQ'd too aggressively for me and are also too loud (IMO - boy am I sick of this acronym)....B Vox still distracct me.

Breakdown - I like it, but I wonder if the 16th note reverb trail is not grooving/ distracting.

Banjo Vamp - The electric drum's kick syncopation with the acoustic drums kick doesn't feel good to me.


End Chorus - I like that you made this chorus jump out of the mix, however you made it happen with gtr hugeoscity....Again - I think the tone/ amount of distortion/ volume is not right for the song. Also - There is definitely some Crunchyness going on in this section...It's sounding claustrophobic, slightly distorted....Perhaps this section would be the right section to set your 2buss dynamic to.

Outro - Last 8 bars seem unenessary.

Ending - Sounds cool, but not terribly vibey....

Generally speaking - This is a fine mix(imho)....I could count the praises, but I think the critical impressions are what we all are after.....

Hope all is well.

-t
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UnderTow

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Re: IMP7 discussion.
« Reply #93 on: September 21, 2006, 01:09:47 pm »

dconstruction wrote on Thu, 21 September 2006 17:14


I'm going to go back and source out where that distortion was coming from (if I can even hear it).  I suspect the overheads.  I'm pretty careful when tracking, so I'm fairly certain there isn't pervasive clipping at the converters, but maybe the mic is squashing, or else the preamps get ugly when pushed.  If you have a specific suggestion for tracking these better, let me know.



If my memory serves me right, it is on the outside kick channel. You can actually see the wave flat top on some of those hard hits.

I can't really give any tracking advise. This really isn't my field. I'm just an audio post engineer that makes dance music for fun . Smile


Quote:


Overall, Under Tow, I was the most amused by your mix (I'm not being condescending).  I found it fun, and laughed out loud at that huge, cavernous drum hit coming out of the bridge into the breakdown.  All in all, I felt you brought a "dance" sensibility to the track, which I enjoyed.  I don't think I agree with your direction, and that's a matter of taste (so there's no accounting for it), but I will tell you I might steal some ideas from your outro.

Thanks again!



Thanks alot for your comments!  Smile I'm glad you had fun listening to my version. That is the whole point. Smile Feel free to use any ideas this might have given you. Isn't that the point of these IMPs? Smile

I'll be giving comments on the other versions but I have the flu and my RSI is flaring up so it might take a while.

Cheers,

Alistair
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UnderTow

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Re: IMP7 discussion.
« Reply #94 on: September 21, 2006, 01:11:45 pm »

j.hall wrote on Thu, 21 September 2006 17:55


PS- unter tow, i was typing my post when you corrected yourself so i didn't see it till after i posted.


Cool. I just wasn't sure you had seen my post as it was the last one on the previous page.

Cheers,

Alistair
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Calvin

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Re: IMP7 discussion.
« Reply #95 on: September 21, 2006, 01:46:31 pm »

j.hall wrote on Thu, 21 September 2006 11:55


i'm thinking i should take notes on whose mixes i've commented on so in furture IMPs i can continual comment on different mixers.  that way, you can get feedback from me, eventually.

i know it's kinda lame.....but is this ok?


Sounds like a good idea to me.  You're a busy guy (as are many (most?) of us).  I only started participating in the IMPs with IMP6, but it will be interesting to hear how the various mixers incorporate feedback and make improvements as time marches forward.

As for me, I KNOW I have to get my monitoring together (including room) before I participate in another IMP.  It's not really fair to have all of you critically listen to my mix when I KNOW it's not going to translate well.  For this IMP, I was working right up to the deadline (OK, several hours beyond but before thread lock) and wasn't able to check the mix against any other system, which would have immediately identified at least some of the issues with my mix, particularly in the low end.  So, no more mix submissions from me until I get my monitoring together, which will hopefully be before the next IMP, but if not I'm going to sit it out.

I'm in the process of accumulating my notes on the various mixes, and will post them before too long.  Given my statements above regarding my monitoring situation, I'll be restricting my comments to things I'm halfway confident I'm able to hear properly.

Thanks again to j.hall for running these IMPs and to those engineers/artists willing to give us access to the multi-tracks.  Obviously, without the tunes we'd have nothing to mix.
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NelsonL

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Re: IMP7 discussion.
« Reply #96 on: September 21, 2006, 02:21:42 pm »

Dconstruction,

I'm really pleased to read that you're bringing in a real banjo player... I'm a fan of real banjos.

There, I said it. I like banjos, I own one in fact.
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iCombs

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Re: IMP7 discussion.
« Reply #97 on: September 21, 2006, 03:23:26 pm »

j.hall wrote on Thu, 21 September 2006 09:48



Some one said something about not being able to talk to the artist, therefore my idea of mixing for the song is basically impossible.  NOT TRUE.  I very RARELY get direction from an artist.  Granted I'm allowed to call and chat, but at the same time, I?m expect to do my thing.  And that's exactly what I do.  Personally, I don't really care what the artist wants until after I do the mix.  It?s my job as a mixer to also be one part producer.  Some one said I just don't believe in editing or something like that........HAHAHAHA  oh man, you just don't know how I normally work.  If I dig the vibe of a song, I won't touch it and I'll increase what I think the vibe is.

Some one else mentioned mixing all the tracks that come in.  no way man, if you don?t dig the part, mute it.  That?s the whole point.  Your job as a mixer is to focus the song to it?s purest form and present it to the public in a way that makes them feel compelled to keep listening.  If that means muting a mandolin part, then DO IT!



I believe both those comments are directed in the general vicinity of me.  First, I'll clarify my own meanings and then I'll address your comments.

I didn't at any point say that editing was IMPOSSIBLE or an absolute no-no...it's just not something I'd do as my first course of action, and I'd almost DEFINITELY not edit an arrangement without talking to a member of the group first...I might make the cuts and give them a ref as an example, but I don't think I'd ever be so brash as to just cut out breaks and outros...at least as far as that thinking goes in my head...yes, the band has brought something to me so that I can do "my thing," but on the other hand that's like taking a truck into a custom shop...you say "do your stuff" expecting to come out with a big burly ass mud truck and they deliver a lowrider.  

I also think it's a bit of a dangerous blanket statement to say "if you don't like a part; mute it."  I think that, like your above statement about "doing you thing" can easily morph into "whatever I like and only what I like."  Granted, you follow that immediately with "serving the song,"  but at that, it seems to me as though the first responsibility is to the song, then the artist, then yourself.  For all the ways I disagree with Steve Albini, I do agree that ultimately it's their album; not mine.  Now, I'm completely with you in that I don't want some yahoo drummer sitting over my shoulder telling me just exactly how he wants his drums to sound...but at the same time I feel like as a someone hired to do a job, I want to do a job that that I'm happy with, but most importantly, that sounds great to the client...one that the artist feels is representative of their vision.  Now, that isn't to say that I won't mute offensive tracks, but I will say that the mixes that all but ignored the ancillary instrumentation (mandolins, accordion, banjo, etc.) seemed to run counter to the (at least to me) obvious vision of the song.  In that, I'm not sure that the way it was most liked was the truest to the vision of the track.

I'd like to end this by simply saying that I'm not attacking or judging anyone else's mix decisions, per se, but I do think that since this question has inspired more than a couple answers that it must be a debate of philosophy rather than an issue of being right/being wrong.  I think it's good that we discuss the philosophy of this work, because on the whole, I think it's more enlightening than knowing exactly how "LaGrange P. Hamster" got that slammin' kick sound on the last "Stomach Contents" CD.  It's  of way more value to know how he'd approach a situation from a philosophical standpoint becuase then the difference in outcome is just tools and exectuion (if you are looking to do it like LaGrange P. Hamster would...if not, you still have another prespective from which to view your own work).  In this, I think this IMP is incredibly valuable.
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Ian Combs
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rankus

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Re: IMP7 discussion.
« Reply #98 on: September 21, 2006, 03:27:19 pm »

On the song:
Yup, that was top of my wish list on the tracks... real banjo! Glad it's gonna happen.  Love this song, had lots of heads stuck in the CR door when I was mixing asking "what's that?"... Always an indication of a good song!  The TE asks why some folks buried or omitted the BG vocals..  I loved them, and wanted to have more than I did, but there are some subtle timing issues that blur things for me, and no time to align anything.. so I compromised.  I would have omitted the midi tracks, (or in reality I would tried to "upsell" the client on having me call in studio cats to re-track those instruments.)  Always think of the upsell kids.

On mixing for hire:  I stand with J on this.. I try to make sure every track recorded gets into the mix... Why would it be there if the artist hates it?  Of course I will mute things here and there, but I try to include even "Yoko" if that's what John intended. Same goes for editing arrangements... I am mixing here not editing, god dammit Jim...  The process is this in my mind: Tracking, then editing, then mixing, then mastering... we need to keep these separate.  I assume when I get these tracks they are ready for mixing... in other words the editing has been done to the satisfaction of the client... of course in a real world scenario, I would call the client to point out areas that may need further attention. (can I align these vocals for you) (Possibly with a small upcharge involved)

Regarding my comments on compression:  First let me note that I am 48 years old and bring some "baggage" from the "old days" when comps were not as prevalent. (And high end harshness was to be avoided, but that's another thread)  (aside: I have a 22 year punk group coming in that want nothing but Cymbals and Fenders in the mix LOL) (I digress/rant)

In particular I mentioned several mixes that had pumping comps in the choruses.. including MY mix.  I sat down last night and attempted to find a 2 buss comp that would NOT pump in the choruses... I failed.  This song will be a real challenge for a mastering house I'll bet.

Also, I don't think that pumping comps are a bad thing.. they just need to do it in time and pump in a complimentary way.

I believe it was RattleYour's mix (amongst others) that I commented that the track compression was making the tracks sound small.  I do not have a problem with this if that was the intention. I generally use comps on almost every instrument whether that be on a buss or on the track itself.  But, in order to preserve the "punch" of the track I tend to use longer attack times in order to allow the transient to "hit" before the comp clamps down.  Percussive instruments like Bass and Drums especially.

On J Halls mix I also noted that the 2 buss comp was pumping (as was mine)... J.,  I did not intend to say that your mix was "over compressed" .  I thought it was well done in all respects, including comps,  but felt compelled to mention the 2 buss pumping as it seems to be a tricky aspect of this song... As I said above, I am unable to get rid of this myself.  This might be a great area for discussion.... Songs with quieter verses and huge/louder 1/4 beat choruses ... eek.

On the IMP itself:  I feel that just listening to what others have done is enough for my level of experience. I can hear an aspect of someone's mix and know how it was done, and that is educational for me.  But I feel compelled to comment on the mixes in order to give back something, as well as to help the less experienced members that are still trying to develop their listening skills .  Their ears may not be developed enough to hear say a pumping comp, and if I point out some subtleties they can go back and listen and thereby develop their chops.  We must all keep in mind there are several levels of experience on these forums and attempt to cater to everyone.... IMO.

And finally:  I love J's idea of (him) commenting on the mixes in detail spaced across several IMP's... this lends a "you never know when the teacher is gonna hall my ass in front of the class"  aspect.....  that will be FUN!

Most of all I think this is why we are all here? FUN.  (And it is!)

Thanks to everyone for being so mature and civil... in a lesser forum this sort of event could easily break down into a flame fest... GOOD PEOPLE!!!!  Love it here. sniff sniff... (wipes a tear...)
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scott volthause

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Re: IMP7 discussion.
« Reply #99 on: September 21, 2006, 03:28:54 pm »

I don't know if I'm a fan of banjo so much, but a real banjo player would definitely make that track a little more enjoyable. I've never heard a banjo player play a Travis-style picked arpeggio that cleanly.

edit damn this thread moves fast!
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rankus

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Re: IMP7 discussion.
« Reply #100 on: September 21, 2006, 03:45:50 pm »

iCombs wrote on Thu, 21 September 2006 12:23



but I will say that the mixes that all but ignored the ancillary instrumentation (mandolins, accordion, banjo, etc.) seemed to run counter to the (at least to me) obvious vision of the song.  


Amen brother.

It's one thing to mute out parts in a chorus or bridge etc. , but probably not a good idea to lose entire tracks. Let Yoko have a part even if it's tiny...
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Rick Welin - Clark Drive Studios http://www.myspace.com/clarkdrivestudios

Ive done stuff I'm not proud of.. and the stuff I am proud of is disgusting ~ Moe Sizlack

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cerberus

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Re: IMP7 discussion.
« Reply #101 on: September 21, 2006, 03:56:33 pm »

dconstruction wrote on Thu, 21 September 2006 11:14

What an interesting conversation!  I'm learning so much; thank you all for tackling these tracks.

A few points, as the producer/engineer of this track:
1.) I hate the pizz. violins; they're ported straight from the artist's bedroom demo because he's still in love with them.  In all my mixes, they're muted.  I threw them in because they're there, and I was interested in what you guys could do with them.  In general, I've heard some very interesting approaches, but I think the consensus is that they shouldn't be there, and I agree.
2.) The accordion is the same (ported from the demo), but since it's more of a pad, it doesn't bother me much.  We'll be replacing this track with an old pump organ I found.
3.) And yes, the banjo is from the demo, too, though it is perhaps the most successful.  I've got a banjo player coming in this weekend to record a replacement track.  The bells are from the demo, too.  Don't really have an opinion about them.  They're probably superfluous.
4.) The background vocals are, as I opined earlier, the key to this song.  Even if I had prepared a creative brief to outline the vision for this song, I think I might not have mentioned this point, as it is so obvious to me.  I was very interested in those mixes that deemphasized them, have listened to them over and over, and just cannot like them as much as those where a wall of vocals hits me in the chorus.  Maybe I'm too close to the material.
5.) Acoustic bass.  What a nightmare.  So very out of tune.  I threw it in, really only because it might sound nice on the break.  Some of you picked up on that.  Others ignored it completely, which is probably what should happen.
6.)
Quote:

Straight away I noticed that alot of instruments just kept playing through out the whole recording (or alot of it) and all came in at the same time. I had two explanations for this: 1) They were intended to play throughout the whole track 2) They were played throughout the whole track for practical reasons.

Yep. Option 2. This is nearly always how I work. I've got the disc space so, by God, I'm going to use it

WOW!    you see... i heard all these little things... banjo, mandos, accordian, fiddle... and this said  "southern/country  rock" to me. and i was glad the "twang" wasn't so exagerrated, you know...tasteful country!  like alison kraus, or johnny cash, or the wallflowers like i mentioned. purely american music, and as i hear it, from well below mason dixon, not seattle!   but... if i had thought they were from.. say... boston, i would have mixed it way differently.

now i am getting the idea that being a "good ole boy"  is not what this band is about!

the pizzicatos... i feel that is a quite a literal representation of the sexual aspect of the story. i was very amused by this interpretation, it made for lighthearted moments in what is a very heavy song.  counterpoint, paradox, perspective.. the mysteries of the delights of life... i think  the artist would say  that's why it's important to the song.

so once i identified their importance, the other "hokey country" sounds went with that.  the banjo. i used to represent the "good ole boy" roots... it solos in the "simple part" and contrasts with the e-drums in a perfect way for me in this case.   and the very "offspring like" guitars, (which i know sound gated, but actually i didn't touch them!) make the contrast with the "growing up and venturing into urban life" experience of encounters that thrill, but lack the kind of personal intimacy that relationships developed in fast paced urban envornments often do.  

the cycle of contrast-paradox-irony-thrill-boredom agony is very important i think. the reference to the moon comes to mind. the distaff part.. [even chris' wife it seems forgot to insist upon...] how would a woman hear this track?  do they buy these types of records?  i think so.
rankus wrote on Thu, 21 September 2006 15:45

iCombs wrote on Thu, 21 September 2006 12:23


but I will say that the mixes that all but ignored the ancillary instrumentation (mandolins, accordion, banjo, etc.) seemed to run counter to the (at least to me) obvious vision of the song.  
Amen brother.

it seemed like the whole point of the song, in fact. otherwise it's just a rant that is one sided and one dimensional, imo.

for me the hammond sits right between "quaint church" and "house of ill repute".  it is a sound used to represent the lord's glory and the devil's penetration into life... a universal sound, so i considered it to spearhead the choruses and allowed it to dominate  parts where i intended to bring  on orchestral-like fury, so as to highlight the "tortured paradox" outlined by the story.

to leave any of these instruments out is to help yourself make a more coherent mix, but i thought it would decimate the song...

then again some of these mixes would be very cool worked into "remixes"... sometimes a single is released with lots of remixes on the b-side...that can be fun.
---------
thanks j. hall for jumping into the pool with us. my comments about your mix assumed my opinion that  the acoustic instruments are more important than lindsay's assessment of the track. now i would say that you probably came closer than i first thought.

but i am into the sublime, the delicate lace held just close enough to the roaring fire that it begins to char or even melt, but is not destroyed.

it seems most of us would have needed more time.. so then the compromises we made... the choices... such as my [vocal was strong, not the weakest part, so i'll work on the bass first] strategy.
---------
my mix:   jaegermeister!   wish for grey goose.

those of you who made the perceptive comments, you know who you are... yes, correct 100%. you guys are trusted ears for me.  

forgetting about the vocal please, i ran out of time. what should i try to do more of in general?
---------
my desire from this learning experience is to develop a consistent and distinctive sound which i can sell... just being "good" or competent or not enough... if that is the case, i'd want to be known as "a chameleon".  i am here to find a signature style and sound.  that would reflect on all of my work.  that i could sell.
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scott... do you intentionally make this very strong characteristic image for yourself that extends to your  sound?  or is it all a coincidence?!  yes, i read you use: paris [!]
but that is just a tool, so not to focus on it... but it makes me think that either you are willfully different?  or are sticking with something old and proven?

so much remains not understood to me.  because your imp mixes are very distinctive sounding.   i think that if we did imp8 anonymously like we do wumps lately,  i would identify your signature sound easily.

could you please try to explain that better?  this song was nothing like the other imp song you mixed where i heard exactly the same sound, and liked it then too.

but, you must know what i refer to! [i refer to even order harmonics, i think. that is my subjective perception; so saying you work "itb" or providing a gear list does not even begin to explain what i want to know.]

jeff dinces

j.hall

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Re: IMP7 discussion.
« Reply #102 on: September 21, 2006, 03:58:28 pm »

iCombs......what i mean by muting whateve ryou want without hesitation is all based in my personal world.

i do exactly what i want to do because if the band isn't digging it, they will ask for a recall.

i don't work with bands that don't understand the process....not that i won't, i just haven't had to yet.

i figure i get hired because of what it is i do.....therefore, i do it.  if they want a certain part back that i muted, it comes back......but i'm not going to waste my time putting my name on a record without putting myself into the work.  the end product always reflects what the artist (or the person paying the bill) wants......but when you hear records i've mixed, you should know that it started off with what i thought was best and went from there.  so really, it's a give and take.....1part what i thought was best, and 1 part artist tweaks to finish it off.

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NelsonL

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Re: IMP7 discussion.
« Reply #103 on: September 21, 2006, 04:00:44 pm »

Hey Rankus,

I'm just going to take away from your comments that you think the backing tracks sound small.

About your comments though, nothing was compressed with a fast attack. Our Tubetech in particular just isn't fast at all, it doesn't bite down like a FET compressor-- can't in fact.

If you check my response a few pages back, you'll see that I only compressed the Kick, Snare, Vox, and Bells. No buss compression.

So I think it's more a question of how I placed the VOX up on top of everything else than how I compressed anything. Which doesn't make your opinion any less valid, I just think the diagnosis is off.

In fact, when I AB our mixes the first verses sound quite similar in terms of drum level and impact.

I appreaciate your taking the time to comment, I'll try and get something up before too long becasue I do agree about reciprocation.
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rankus

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Re: IMP7 discussion.
« Reply #104 on: September 21, 2006, 04:14:07 pm »

Rattle,  I just listened again... yer right I was out to lunch.. I think it must have been the missing instruments in the choruses made the choruses sound smaller when compared to the other mixes...  Upon listening again, I see where you were going... the choruses build as the song goes along... Probably as I say, the fact I listened to about 18 mixes back to back... and your first chorus was smaller... LOL Working fast over here.. stream of conciseness kinda thing... need to slow down....

EDIT: It's worth noting that as you turn up the vocal the "band" tends get "smaller"  I usually use this trick to help ballance the vox/band.... I turn up the vox until the band starts to feel smaller, then use that point as a benchmark for making further decisions. I make this comment for the general population... not aimed at you rattle in any way... your shit is good.
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Rick Welin - Clark Drive Studios http://www.myspace.com/clarkdrivestudios

Ive done stuff I'm not proud of.. and the stuff I am proud of is disgusting ~ Moe Sizlack

"There is no crisis in energy, the crisis is in imagination" ~ Buckminster Fuller
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