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Author Topic: IMP8 mix discussion.  (Read 8192 times)

j.hall

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IMP8 mix discussion.
« on: November 22, 2006, 02:54:53 pm »

have at it.
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UnderTow

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Re: IMP8 mix discussion.
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2006, 04:39:35 pm »


All I can say so far is nice one Pieter! I like the vibe.  Smile

On the other hand, someone complaining about 192 Kbps MP3s managed to make the piano mono. Talk about missing the big picture. Rolling Eyes

Alistair
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garret

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Re: IMP8 mix discussion.
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2006, 05:03:58 pm »

Haven't listened to all your mixes much yet, so I'll hold off on commenting for now...

But some notes about my mix:

- Mixed in Cakewalk Sonar, with just a few plugins: Voxengo Tape Bus, Wavearts Trackplug, and Voxengo Impulse.

- I thought everything (well, all four tracks!) was very well recorded.  Helped to remind me again how important it is to start with a good source -- great instruments, a great space, a great performance, and a good song...  mixing this was a pleasure, and much easier than working on my own stuff.

- I put a low shelf on the piano L & R to bring the bottom up a bit.  Then I combined em and ran through tapebus to get some saturation/warmth and compress things a bit.

-- I used the room mix as is, and automated it through the mix for variety... I loved the vibe of the room at the start... the feeling I get is hearing someone playing far off in another room, liking what you're hearing, and wandering closer...

-- Vox also went through tapebus for some saturation/compression, then trackplug for eq and compression.  I kept the tonal balance pretty close to the source... just a high pass filter and a little dip at 8khz or so (I think it's my ears, but vocals with a lot of that always drive me nuts).    Judging from some of the other mixes (J's for example), perhaps my vox treatment is too dark... I like it though.   The vox went out to a plate impulse reverb, with a long predelay (160ms), and mixed wetter than usual for me.   Something about this track to me just called out for that heavy rich reverb.  Lots of automation on the vocal, to bury the pops and get the piano to vox balance right.   I also (gasp) autotuned about three notes with melodyne uno... maybe I should have left em alone, but I had a new toy and wanted to try it out.

-Garret
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TheViking

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Re: IMP8 mix discussion.
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2006, 05:07:33 pm »

tigeba, what effects did you use on the vocals?   I really like what you did...   just crank that up a little more.   It's like hiding there hinting at how awesome it could be.   Seriously, nice effects.   Don't fear the vibe!
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j.hall

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Re: IMP8 mix discussion.
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2006, 06:35:59 pm »

crazy how different just 4 tracks can get assembled isn't it?

this IMP has a specific purpose.  i'll wait till submissions are done and i'll dive in.
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chrisj

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Re: IMP8 mix discussion.
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2006, 06:42:57 pm »

I'm slammed for time so I'm diving in now- hope I don't trip over too many late submissions. I'm interested to know what the secret purpose was Smile

The Viking- Lush vox. Lush in general, in your lap (esp. piano)

J. Hall- Wow, lotsa polish on the vox. Piano sounds very nice, rounded. This time it's vox in your lap. Perhaps some sort of glare on the vox. That piano is big. Cool effect, you can feel the sustain pedal going.

Me (ChrisJ)- Discovered new reverb plugins, have we? Can we say NOT in your lap? Hmm. I do think I got decent textures, though.

Rankus- I'm liking how uncolored the voice sounds. Piano is big, big, big. Things feel a bit pushed- compression, I guess?

Tigeba- Yikes, that's a brite vocal. I'd say it's too bright, really. Piano is real sustainy because of heavy compression. Lots of compression on everything, hmm.

Matt Russell- Pretty natural, some kind of subdued spotlighting on the voice revealing the upper mids more. Piano feels sort of compressed but definitely big- I know I relied heavily on verbs to get this effect.

Garret- Relaxed. Hello, vox reverb. This is very gentle, which is how I approached the track. soul brother! Very Happy I like how human it feels, and there's some kind of delayed verb thing on the voice that is an interesting color.

Cerberus- Another natural-sounding take on it. I actually like how dry the vocal feels, if I'd thought of that (or didn't have new verbs) I shoulda tried that myself. It feels like something has been done but it's not getting in the way.... I think this one worked quite well.

TPolce- Hey, loud. Very upfront. There's not going to be any dynamics here, it sounds like it's on the radio already. It does sound balanced in a 'studio recording' sort of way.

ATOR- What the hell is that? Very Happy I'm not sure that's QUITE in the spirit of no overdubs. *hehehe* hilarious! I think I get the idea Smile My wife would like this as she didn't like the actual song Smile

Liam- Hmm. I thought I was gonna be the most distant perspective. Cavernous. That's very ambient of you Smile

Gatino- Hey, more reverb fans! People seem to like a lot of pre-delay, which might be good to remember. That's one massive piano. Stuff is a little bit split up into different effects, like piano-vox-voice edge-resonant voice tones-predelay etc etc. It's not real cohesive, it's all in different places.

Max- Whee! Echo and pre-echo FX. Not only that, pitch shift echo FX. Too bad it doesn't harmonize with the song... I'd like to hear this treatment on a solo piano/vox tune by Robyn Hitchcock. This performer is too sincere and it's like it's mocking him, so it doesn't work that well. Mind-bender of an effect, though Smile and handled well, too.

Undertow- Solid clanging reverbs on the piano- I had a plate effect that was doing that, though I buried it. Nice solid processed vox- good if you're not shooting for uber natural, because it's bringing out all the right stuff. This one feels extra-solid, like sound has been packed into all the crevices to stop it sounding too relaxed and empty. I think maybe it's OK for it to be sort of empty, but a more commercial approach has its merits. Also I think maybe I hear more harmonizer in there- hmmm.

Stragglers:

iCombs- Nice and upfront on the piano. Intimate quality on the vocal- interesting move, doing whisper echoes like that. I'm liking the simplicity of your main vocal better than the echo FX- to my mind, this would stand without the echoes, no question. Possibly the piano gets a bit loud relative to the vox.

Scotch- Very dry piano somehow, something about it is really lean and spare. I like the way the vocal dominates the piano when it comes in, that being the main focus of attention for the song even though it's not as continuous. Vox sounds a little bright and airy, verging on being over-bright and barely avoiding it- definitely more on the breathy side rather than chesty. Piano gets very chimey when the guy digs into it hard.

Fantomas- some kind of funny boost WAY up there. I stopped several times trying to sort out whether I was hearing bits of background noise higher than I can usually hear anything... sure enough there's a lot of very high stuff, though it's handled well- it just gives a sort of tense feeling. Anytime ffff feels as trebly as ssss, you could say the super highs are too much. If vvvv starts to hint at sibilance too, watch out Smile remember that stuff won't translate to most playback systems, and confuses lossy encoding terribly! I can't imagine what the master WAV/AIFF was like if this much super-high survived the mp3 process Smile

Starscream2010- Another studio-sound one, with more brightness than the original track had, but it's not anywhere near as narrow a boost as Fantomas' track- I can hear the edge, but it applies to loud notes and keeps S loudest, next F, next V like it should. I think maybe it's still a little fatiguing. Also, we have compression, as the vocal dynamics are a bit inverted- when the guy goes loud, the sound obviously clamps and makes it seem quieter than the soft parts. That's not too good- I'd rather hear quite a bit less compression. In the last bit he does manage to overpower the compression and stay loud but it's a lot of compression to fight through.

OK, I think that's everybody...

gatino

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Re: IMP8 mix discussion.
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2006, 08:00:12 pm »

chrisj wrote on Wed, 22 November 2006 17:42


Stuff is a little bit split up into different effects, like piano-vox-voice edge-resonant voice tones-predelay etc etc. It's not real cohesive, it's all in different places.


hey y'all, i'm not fit to tie laces around here let alone comment on all these cool mixes, of which mine is the least. maybe after a few more imps i'll have something to say worth listening to. Smile

i have nothing but Qs. i'd really like to understand this comment above better. if chrisj or anyone would elaorate i'd be appreciative, esp. "piano-vox-voice edge-resonant voice tones." i know i have a lot to learn.

one thing, i thought i'd be tying the vox to the piano more by giving it some spatial treatment somewhat like the piano track has. i guess i took "very large old church" to heart.

chrisj: thx for taking the time to listen and comment!
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chrisj

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Re: IMP8 mix discussion.
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2006, 08:28:09 pm »

I'm sorry for being confusing- too informal in the old remarks there.

All I meant was, everything was separating out. You had the piano, and you had the voice, and various reverb. Sometimes it would feel like the reverb returns were hard L and R and in front of the piano source. Even more so for the vocal reverb- the voice would come in and you'd get a big bloom off the roundness of the voice, but the breathiness would be sort of separating from it a bit- little sounds like breaths would feel like a separate track, and then there would be big pre-delayed reverb washes, more warm than bright, coming in very much hard left and hard right and feeling really stereo, plus they wouldn't actually feel very distant exactly, they would feel like objects panned hard L/R.

I guess what I'm saying is, to get wide stereo you really have to have elements that can be panned that way- I'm not hearing it work that well making wide stereo out of reverb returns. It seems to just peel off the verb and leave it hanging in the air.

I seem to have erred just as much in the opposite direction- I have probably as much verb as you, but rather than separating out and being super-wide, it's blending in so much and being so unwide that you can hardly hear it at all. In mine you can hear the bright vocal ambience, sort of, but the plate and hall stuff is absolutely vanishing, which is disconcerting. Well- first time working with these verbs and you learn something new every day...

I'd be very interested to know how many people prefer each style. I put a lot of effort into making verbs felt and not heard, but the risk of that is that it can sound just sort of distant and low in presence. Maybe I should have done much bigger pre-delays Smile

gatino

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Re: IMP8 mix discussion.
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2006, 11:37:19 pm »

thank you! i see what you mean now. spreading the voice was poorly done and even ill conceived. no verb on the piano, left as is. you probably heard the bleed on the vocal track.

i was using very short delays left and right inserted on vocal track. that went to aux verb and the 2 mixed. maybe  works better if the delay is also on an aux like the verb so that they were separate and then mix the 3. convoluted experiment i guess.

i'd like to know how undertow got that big beautiful vocal.
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chrisj

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Re: IMP8 mix discussion.
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2006, 01:40:32 am »

Added the last four entries Smile

Please, other people go through all the entries and make comments, observations, criticisms, arTiculaTe anNouncemenTs, etc...

cerberus

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Re: IMP8 mix discussion.
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2006, 04:30:26 am »

UnderTow wrote on Wed, 22 November 2006 16:39


On the other hand, someone complaining about 192 Kbps MP3s managed to make the piano mono. Talk about missing the big picture. Rolling Eyes
i do deserve this kind of abuse... i sent an apology to j.hall, and  i'll stay on topic from now on.

so you think it's mono? i know you don't "hear" what you expect, the piano is not crawling off the walls, ok....but do you feel the song?   ears are just an entry point for me on this.    the soundboard of the piano spread out to fill the whole room was not part of the vibe for me.  maybe that works for elton john, but i took this differently.  i left the white sequined jacket and the hair plugs out. the protagonist here does not afford a 100 foot wide piano for a stadium, it is a stark scene to paint here, not a carnival ride, imo.

the piano micing's suggestively exagerated proportions focusing on  the innards of the piano.... you miss that?  it held no meaning to me in this context. i felt the instrument should be solid and true sounding...and cut straight to the heart...one singer, one piano (contained in a large wooden enclosure, open the lid to taste...but the listener sits or stands outside, right?)  and of course there was the room. physically much larger than the piano.    

so i mixed it "honestly", meaning i  tried to keep the purity of the message unadulterated by gratuitous ear candy. this song is at a place for me that everyone has been at or will be at some time in life...  it could have been acapella and still be the same song for me... it happens that the piano is superb, really superb playing and i am touched by it,  the player's sense of rhythm and dynamics really make the instrument sing like a full orchestra...

but it is still just in a supporting role for the message, imo. so it needed to fit that way for me, not ever to compete with the vocal for the listener's attention.  when the singer is silent, i want the listener  to think about what he said, not get so "entertained" as to lose the message as it's being delivered.

but mono?  like i am some kind of old fart?  ok hit me again please. tell me it sounds like an old table radio; at least i would know i have evoked some feeling with it.

----
alistair... i listened to yours on an ibook this afternoon... you are good, i liked it; but what is with showing off the reverbs ?  now that i hear it on real speakers, that is a very nice reverb i hear,  it makes me wonder if your empty warehouse is made of metal or brick?  fantastic sound, but for me, the song is hiding behind your stadium-sized vision.

----
chrisj,..   i feel it, but it seems you got stricken with "new toy" syndrome again.(balderdash, ballyhoo..) alistair may have the better reverb, and a more dynamic piano.  but you have captured tons of the vibe. even through all that reverb, i feel the singer's ennui. the piano does not overwhelm, but it is interesting that you tried to remove some of the room to help make the two parts meet in the center, imo, an interesting strategy. the sound is a bit evocative of some classic records... not the most modern dynamics, more like classic elton john, in a good way, i think. do i hear the space designer?   try the "thunderstruck" i.r. sometime; it's wicked! (small talk, talk that trash...)

----
icombs...  surfing the reverbs and delays... cool!  great tones, lots of pleasure. only flaw other than reverbs which draw my attention to you and not the song is the piano seems to be pressing on a limiter in it's louder and denser moments toward the middle of the song, but you do deliver the ending in a breathtaking way... i wish but i didn't have to wade through so much wetness to get there.

----
scotch...   i feel this mix, nice blend of the ambiences, very natural, but also quite polished sounding. no flaws here for me... although i would prefer slightly less reverb lingering past  the tail ends of phrases.  i think the piano could have been a touch softer, but this seems a very modern and current sounding mix that could even perhaps succeed in the pop radio market, lots of good energy here. and way to keep distortion out of the vocal... beautiful ending;  i am very moved.

----
gatino-daverome...  i am having problems because your reverb sounds like a very rectangular shaped room... and not at all the same room as the piano... i do like that you got some nice growl out of the piano, but as a mix, it is very schizophrenic feeling to me.

----
liam...  this is very sad sounding, but the vocal is much too crudely filtered, i hear no articulation so it is a struggle to follow the story... a lot is gone here, and that is sad too. dynamics lack too.
----

mattrussel... i feel the singer is slightly too in my face, but thankfully you have totally removed the proximity artifacts, not just the plosions, but the low end feels totally under control, very deft... but i think the top end of the vocal is less well controlled, could have used de-essing perhaps.. also i find the piano is too full, there is a lot of midrange in this mix.... and  is relatively lacking in bottom.   the middle starts to feel  really overcrowded at the end.
----

ATOR... been looking forward to this one. hehehe.. it's making me laugh.. the "little bullhorn" repeat delay.... some is very cool... some i just wish you'd learn to be subtle, it definately competes with the song everything is a distraction, but you are so fun.. the funnest!    kind of a sports audience going on now...or something back there... hung jury perhaps?  you are gonna have to justify all this stuff musically... i guess the little mini-me bullorn delay is working better once i get used to it... now we come to the ending:  was this supposed to have been recorded on the starship enterprise or perhaps inside a centrifuge? what kinda drugs dude?  i want some!  beam me up, scotty!
----

hi garett, how's the new kid doing?    ok this is filtered.. lemme turn it up.. real thick.. is vibey.. but.. somewhat hollow, sounding i mean....  is very thick, but the dynamics are not sitting in it quite right for me. when the singer holds a long note, it sounds kinda electronic... also some plosions pop though.. seems you panned the piano a bit to the right and singer to the left? i think when it solos you should have moved it back if that is the case. overall too overproduced, a bit too much of everything that engineers do.. the room, for example is very minimal, which would be ok, but it doesn't sound quite like a studio recording situation either.
---

TPolce... it is mastered sounding... and very harshly, so i think it was not worth doing the mastering at the same time. the vibe cannot be here for me because the dynamics of the piano are wild and not natural, it's pounding too hard smashing into distortion on the more percussive notes.  your vocals are nice, but i can hardly hear them, except for the plosions and proximity artifacts you didn't fix.. top is nice i assume, but is hard to tell it's so far back there, but i think you have a good vocal track in there.

==========
i'm doing these reviews in alphabetical order of file names...but it's almost turkey time ..more to follow later..
==========

just reading through chris' reviews after i wrote mine. i agree with his advice to gatino, you guys really broke it down.  

with pre-delay, i find it is not "more" or "less" that one ever needs for the future, but the precise amount that makes a seamless blend with whatever is already on the track. unless it was recorded in an anechoic chamber, it will always be something. i used 2 reverbs on the vocal, but i wonder if you would have guessed that?  i hope not.  

jeff dinces

UnderTow

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Re: IMP8 mix discussion.
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2006, 07:02:08 am »

Post updated with more reviews.

Cerberus: Some artefacts in sound. (clicks/pops and some weirdness in piano?). Could just be that it isn't buried in ear candy like other mixes but it is distracting me. Serious lack of stereo field which isn't to my taste. Piano sounds as though it isn't quite in the same space as the vox. Yes Jeff, I like things big. Smile So your mix decisions arn't quite my cup of tea.

Matt Russell: Nice full intimate vocal and nice large Piano. The Piano is big but never overpowers the vocal. I like it. Smile

Chris J: Could use more predelay on the verbs which would make the piano and vocals closer to the listener. (Predelay determines the time for the first reflections from the walls compared to the direct sound from the source. If you have no predelay, it makes things sound as though they are right up against the back walls of a room/hall. With longer predelays, the sense of space is kept but the source is closer to the listener. You might allready know this but maybe someone finds this info usefull). The tone, balance and dynamcis are ok but the distance is distracting me too much. There is a slight (EQ?) sharpness to the vocal that could be tamed. Also I would have controlled the sibilance more.

IMP8 - Homesick (Author unknown. Get your ID3 tags right!): Quite upfront vocal with enough weight. Could have used a touch more control on the plosives/pops. A bit too much of an EQ edge on the vocals. I find the reverb a touch bright on the vocal. (Could have EQed the reverb send a bit). Vocal gets a bit too much compressed down at the end peak of the track when it should fly. Stereo bus compression being triggerd by the piano probably. (It happens in other places too btw). The piano has a nice tone but could use a touch more weight.

Anthony Hoisington: Interesting delay effect on voice although I wouldn't have used throughout the whole song. It is a little bit distracting and pulls the attention to the lef tof the mix. Slightly too much low-mid in vocal for my taste. Actually the whole mix sound a bit too low-midish. Vocal could use more sibilance control.

homesick (Author unknown. Get your ID3 tags right!): Vocals lacks sibilance control and has a bit too much of an EQ edge. Recording artefacts on vocal track not fixed. Piano is ok but lacks a bit of weight. Space is ok but a bit disjointed. (Vox and piano not in same space).

Gatino Daverome: Loads of space. Smile I would have made things closer to the listener. Some vocal track artefacts not fixed. Vocal is in a bigger space than the piano. Things are a bit disjointed and don't quite blend. The vocal delay->reverb seems out wide and is distracting from the actual vocal. Piano could be wider for my taste but it kind of fits the extra distance at which you placed it so it isn't distracting.

Ni Idea: Vocal is a bit dull and sounds closer than the piano. I'm trying to figure out what I'm hearing. My brain is having difficulty wrapping itself arround the space you created. The vocal seems to have some phasing artefacts. Its a bit strange. (What MP3 encoder did you use? Or what SRC?)  Vocal has a bit too much mid frequencies (400Hz - 800Hz I'm guessing).

ATOR: Weeehaaa! Smile I like the FX you added but I'm not really sure it fits this song unless things are even more manipulated and made very poppy. (Addition of drums in the climax, some violins, backing VOX etc). The FX go a touch too far resonance wise and they tear up a bit. Thats a bit too much for this song.  Also, the vocal is too burried in the mix for my taste in this particular song. Actually, if you would lower the FX tracks/busses/auxes/whatever by 6 - 9 dB I think they would just add that nice vibe without taking over. The vocal lacks weight and is a little sharp. Again that EQ edge. The piano is now a kind of backing track that never grabs my attention. A bit of a shame because the playing is very nice.

Garret Gengler: Some vocal track artefacts not fixed. Vocal is a bit distant and sitting behind the piano. Could use more sibilance control. Nice verb sound. Piano takes over. Piano could be a bit brighter.

Ok, I'm running out of steam. I'll write more reviews later on. Smile

A bit later on ...

T Polce: Piano a touch bright. Nice upfront vocal but so very slightly ... phased I think. Still I like it. Weird effect at 2:52 and 3:01 on the vocal. Sounds like a weird panned flange effect. MP3 codec artefact, limiter/clipper or effect? 3:08-3:09 compression gets audible on the vocal. Vocal gets compressed by piano from 4 mins onwards. Still overall a good mix.

Fantomas: You can hear the MP3 encoding artefacts so I'll try and listen through them. Smile Vocal a touch veiled. Could use a tiny bit more presence. Some nice restrained use of delays. Piano could be a little bit more forward in the mix. A bit closer to the vocal. Hard to give a real judgement at 128Kbps.

imp8 (Author unknown. Get your ID3 tags right!): Another 128 Kbps version with codec artefacts. Weird effect on piano at the beginning. (Or very bad codec). Strange panned delay effects on vocals that distracts. A bit distracting. Not enough plosive control. Out of tune effect not nice. It gives a very angsty feel that really doesn't fit the music. (Pitched delays?).

Rankus: Clean vocal but could use a little more plosive control. Big piano. Might be a touch big compared to the vocal as it sounds bigger in physical size or the singer got a bit shrinked Smile . Nice delicate delay effect.

Tigeba: Some EQ (?) phasing on vocal. Makes it very "eF-y" (sounds like the singer has a lisp or I should say a lifp Smile ). It could be due to the delay effect. At least it seems like the first echo is real short. Could be wrong. Not sure really. Otherwise nice balance in mix.

Homesick (Author unknown. Get your ID3 tags right!): Vocal quite dry. Could be made a bit bigger and enhanced a bit. Again a mix with the piano sounding bigger than the vocal. Delay is quite nice but maybe a bit overused. Slight clang in upper mids of piano. The vocal _just_ doesn't get burried in the piano but that is because it is so dry making it up front. So I would like a slightly more processed vocal to balance out the piano.

Scotch: Nice upfront vocal. A few recording artefacts that could have been fixed. Slight EQ edge on vocal. Could have a bit more sibiliance/F's control. Good relative balance. Slight pumping ov vox on climax during piano notes. (Or my ears are getting tired). Overall nice mix.

I think I have to explain this EQ edge thing: I'm not sure exactly what causes it but I often hear a tone/frequency that is slightly detached from the actual vocal like the EQ is phasing the freqeuncies causing an "edge" to the sound. Like a seperate layer closely matched to the vocal. I know the Waves Q series eqs cause this. Also some multiband treatment can cause the same problem. There are probably other things causing it too. Alot of sequenctial processing can often do it. (I hear it ALOT on TV).


Alistair
PS: Oh I forgot the usual disclaimers about my home listening environement. Not the most expensive monitors and not the best acoustics.

I also forgot to add the usual disclaimers about taste, nitpicking etc. All comments are done in one listening pass unless something caught my attention and needed more carefull checking. Smile
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ATOR

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Re: IMP8 mix discussion.
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2006, 12:15:24 pm »

Looks like some of you noticed my subtle use of FX  Very Happy

This is what I did:
- took the letter 'o' from a 'know' word and turned it into a padlike sound.
- manually added some delayed vocals in the chorus
- doubled the vocals in the 2nd and 3rd chorus with the vocals from the previous chorus
- went totally beserk with the UAD RE-201 tapedelay.

I did some listening and was amazed by how different the mixes sounded from each other. I also made another mix without FX to be able to compare what I did with the other mixes.

I'll post my notes in a few days.


Happy Thanksgiving!

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Pieter Vincenten - ATORmastering

UnderTow

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Re: IMP8 mix discussion.
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2006, 12:33:51 pm »

cerberus wrote on Thu, 23 November 2006 10:30

 i do deserve this kind of abuse... i sent an apology to j.hall, and  i'll stay on topic from now on.



Fair enough.  Smile

Quote:


so you think it's mono? i know you don't "hear" what you expect, the piano is not crawling off the walls, ok....but do you feel the song?   ears are just an entry point for me on this.    the soundboard of the piano spread out to fill the whole room was not part of the vibe for me.  maybe that works for elton john, but i took this differently.  i left the white sequined jacket and the hair plugs out. the protagonist here does not afford a 100 foot wide piano for a stadium, it is a stark scene to paint here, not a carnival ride, imo.



Well mono might be an exageration but it is certainly very narrow. My girlfriend's comment, who doesn't have a clue about stereo/mono or any of the wizardry we do, without any prompting from me, was "It sounds as though part of the music is missing." That can't have been you intention, right?

One way of looking at it is not as making the piano or singer larger but getting in closer to them. Sitting on the singer's lap if you will. Close and intimate.

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the piano micing's suggestively exagerated proportions focusing on  the innards of the piano.... you miss that?  it held no meaning to me in this context. i felt the instrument should be solid and true sounding...and cut straight to the heart...one singer, one piano (contained in a large wooden enclosure, open the lid to taste...but the listener sits or stands outside, right?)  and of course there was the room. physically much larger than the piano.    



Yes but I don't get a sense of a large room from your mix. I get a sense of a quite small room with the listener sitting of in a (open) corridor a bit further down. This description is exagerated but it is to give you a mental picture of what I mean. I don't feel it is intimate enough.

Btw, I feel that one way to cut straight to the heart is by making things slitghly larger than life. I guess it is a question of different strokes ...

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so i mixed it "honestly", meaning i  tried to keep the purity of the message unadulterated by gratuitous ear candy. this song is at a place for me that everyone has been at or will be at some time in life...
it could have been acapella and still be the same song for me...  



Could be. I didn't listen to the lyrics. Smile As I've said before, I listen to the emotional content, the melodies and, in this case, the piano playing. Oh ... and I like ear candy. Smile

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it happens that the piano is superb, really superb playing and i am touched by it,  the player's sense of rhythm and dynamics really make the instrument sing like a full orchestra...



The piano playing is very nice, yes. Smile

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but it is still just in a supporting role for the message, imo.



Oh I don't know. If the message isn't in the music, it isn't music for me. It is poetry. Different thing.

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so it needed to fit that way for me, not ever to compete with the vocal for the listener's attention.  when the singer is silent, i want the listener  to think about what he said, not get so "entertained" as to lose the message as it's being delivered.



I don't think my mix distracts from the music. There is very little in the way of effects. (Just a tine little momentary touch of delay on part of one word because I couldn't resist Very Happy ). I don't feel like making things bigger or closer distracts. On the contrary. I think it pulls you in and melts any potential resistance. Smile

Also, I don't think anyone but audio engineers will actually listen to the reverbs. Casual listeners might not even notice them. They will just get a feel from the whole.

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but mono?  like i am some kind of old fart?  ok hit me again please. tell me it sounds like an old table radio; at least i would know i have evoked some feeling with it.



*whack* *whack*.  Laughing Like I said above, a bit of an exageration but I was a bit annoyed with your MP3 comments.

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alistair... i listened to yours on an ibook this afternoon... you are good, i liked it; but what is with showing off the reverbs ?  now that i hear it on real speakers, that is a very nice reverb i hear,  it makes me wonder if your empty warehouse is made of metal or brick?  fantastic sound, but for me, the song is hiding behind your stadium-sized vision.



Actually, like most (european) churches or cathedrals, the walls are made of brick/rock. Smile

*Camera on crane starts at top of the central neve. Flys in, down and pans slowly sideways. The glass in lead windows are lit from behind to cause coloured light rays through the slightly hazey/smokey air. The cathedral has about 7000 candles all over the place lighting everything up. Camera zooms in to a shot of the singer, wearing a black cape and alot of make-up, behind his black Steinway grand sitting under the apex just as the first vocal starts. We have the setting. The camera does some nice surround panoramic fly bys during musical climaxes and we see closer shots of the singer during more intimate phrases.
At the point that the singer sings. "You've got it all in your eyes" you have a shot of a girl sitting in the back row of the piews with a budgeoning tear in her eye. (The singer doesn't know she is there). (ok ok, you made me listen to the lyrics!). When the singer finishes his last phrase, she stands up and walks out of the church. This has to be timed with the "In me"  for maximum dramatic effect and leave the viewer/listener with a nice yearning melancholia (lets keep this a bit melodramatic).*

I think these cliches will go well with the reverb treatment.  Very Happy

Alistair
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iCombs

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Re: IMP8 mix discussion.
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2006, 12:39:45 pm »

I'm working on my listening portions right now...just listened to 4 tracks front to back...will be putting together a large and fairly detailed post, so it's going to take a while.  Since I'm taking an ear break right now, anyways, I figured I'd take a sec and go through my mix.

First and foremost...the tracking on this IMP was GREAT.  The raw sounds that we had to work with could pretty much just get pushed up and called a pretty good mix.  The performance was really good, too, which makes mixing that much easier.  I didn't feel like I had to cover anything up, but rather I felt like I had to make sure that everything was revealed correctly.

For whatever reason, the first thing I thought when I heard this was "Counting Crows," along the lines of "Long December," but without the band.  The tracked piano and vocal felt a little too big for me, though.  It's like all the information was way up at the top and way down at the bottom and I wanted to hear a little more old-school sort of midrange focus.  So I started with the Vocal.  I bounced it out through one of my TAB/Funkenwerks V78's and into my Drawmer 1968 for some compression.  I'm slowly learning that that 1968 is an amazing compressor for solo vocals, as it will level them out nicely without making them sound crushed.  When I brought it back into the computer, it got a touch of REQ 2-band...a highpass filter to take care of the now fairly-well-noted plosive issue (and again, to fit the vocal into a somewhat smaller frequency range), and a bit of a very wide bell 6K boost (2.5 dB) to focus the vocal.  

I tackled the room next.  I knew I didn't want to use artifical verb when I had this honest-to-god big room to use, so I bussed that out through my Toft EC-1 for some pretty extreme compression and some EQ.  I compressed it pretty heavily so I could make the room ring a little longer and use it where someone might use a plate or something of the sort...just to make the room "hang" a little more.  I also EQ'ed using the Toft...pushed up the highs a little bit and I want to say I cut some around 5 or 6 hundred to keep it from sounding too boxy and to keep it out of the way of the piano.

The piano got bounced out through the Drawmer and got some compression, but I also beat the shit out of the output on the Drawmer to get the tubes and transformers into it a little more...just to kinda round the piano off at the top (both in terms of frequency and amplitude).  Then in the computer, I carved out a wide bell at 875...I pulled 4 dB out to keep the piano form fighting the vocal, as he was singing in the same range he was playing.  I also boosted 6.5K by about 4.5 dB, so i could hear the hammers some more.

Then I set up a buss with a Super Tap, EQ, and R Comp.  The delay return got a highpass at 400, and a lowpass at just belw 5K, and saw about 10 dB of compression at 4:1.  Then I automated the send to that buss and used it to emphasize ends of lines, or words I thought seemed to carry a lot of weight.  Obviously that seems to be the controversial element of my mix, but after the last IMP where J admonished me to "sell the mix" some more, I figured I'd do something a little out of the box for me.  I was incredibly tempted to leave the mix as just a simple mix that didn't have anything really crazy on it, but then I remembered that I love delay.  And it seemed like a good way to highlight the lyrics.  So I did it.  I rather like it.

At the end, I summed ITB, but in that live pass I ran the full mix through the Drawmer one more time, for the tiniest bit of compression (1 dB at the second slowest attack and release setting this box has), and again I slammed the outputs to add some more glass and iron treatment.  

It will probably take me another day or two to get through all the mixes (17 by my current count), and I'll probably only go an hour or so at a shot so I can listen with fresh ears and give quality feedback.  Stay tuned!

*EDIT*  It appears as though this is also my hundredth post on PSW!  I think I'll celebrate by eating more turkey today than I probably should!  Happy Thanksgiving!
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Ian Combs
Producer/Engineer
Lightspeed Group, Inc.
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"Mista apareeatah... can I have maar beass at all frequencies?"
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