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Author Topic: IMP8 mix discussion.  (Read 8896 times)

iCombs

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Re: IMP8 mix discussion.
« Reply #45 on: November 26, 2006, 02:31:43 pm »

maxim wrote on Sat, 25 November 2006 16:00

kevin wrote:

"..But I wonder what a healthy dose of vocals is these days?"

thanks for the track, btw

imo, the vocal level varies from style to style, and culture to culture

eg, i like french pop mixes, especially, the blokes, but, compared to australian music, the vocal levels are about 6 db higher on average




Funny that this should get brought up.  I was listening to Zep 4 not too long ago and was actually a little shocked at how far back in the mix the vocals actually were.  I know I get constant beef that my vocals aren't far enough up front.  But I just can't stand the feeling that the vocal is jumping up out of the track, and I can't stand mega-hyper-overcompressed vocals, either.  And I'm a little hyper sensitive to sibilant vocals, so I'm really careful about how I boost the top of my vox tracks...so what's a boy to do?
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scottoliphant

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Re: IMP8 mix discussion.
« Reply #46 on: November 26, 2006, 05:19:20 pm »

Quote:

Funny that this should get brought up. I was listening to Zep 4 not too long ago and was actually a little shocked at how far back in the mix the vocals actually were.
same with old stones records. the early beatles stuff was at the other end of the spectrum =) nice job everyone on the mixes, didn't get a chance this go with all the coming and going for thanksgiving

gatino

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Re: IMP8 mix discussion.
« Reply #47 on: November 26, 2006, 10:18:11 pm »

iCombs wrote on Sun, 26 November 2006 13:31

I was listening to Zep 4 not too long ago and was actually a little shocked at how far back in the mix the vocals actually were.  I know I get constant beef that my vocals aren't far enough up front.  But I just can't stand the feeling that the vocal is jumping up out of the track, and I can't stand mega-hyper-overcompressed vocals, either.  And I'm a little hyper sensitive to sibilant vocals, so I'm really careful about how I boost the top of my vox tracks...so what's a boy to do?


i think the time will soon come when in-yer-face vocals will be pass
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TheViking

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Re: IMP8 mix discussion.
« Reply #48 on: November 26, 2006, 11:06:59 pm »

gatino wrote on Sun, 26 November 2006 22:18


i think the time will soon come when in-yer-face vocals will be pass
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Kevin Bruchert / The Viking
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ATOR

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Re: IMP8 mix discussion.
« Reply #49 on: November 27, 2006, 07:55:44 am »

Cerberus
really intimate, as if I'm sitting behind the piano myself. I like the sound. It's very mono, I'd like the piano to be more stereo. There's some low-end resonance in the plosive vocal-area. There are two weird sounds around 4:00 and 4:15

Chris J
Bring on the big verbs! Sibilance and plosives could be tamed more. Maybe you could put in a larger pre-delay to make the vocal sound closer. I like the idea of drenching the vocal in reverb, the one man big as a choir idea.

Fantomas
Vocal and piano have a silk-like quality but lack something in the high >8k region. I like the delays. Could use plosive control. Vocal struggles to be on top of the piano in some places.

Garret
Big lush warm reverb on the vox. Low end of the reverb blurs piano a little bit. Dry Vocal could be louder, sometimes it almost drowns in the piano and the reverbs. Tick in latest Baby.

Gatino
And the price for biggest reverb goes to... I like it. Did you use a separate reverb for left and right or have different delays before the l+r reverb tails? Piano could use more definition and presence. Vocal sounds good.

iCombs
I like the subtle delays but I wouldn't use them throughout the whole song. Piano sounds great. The singer sounds much closer than the piano, but could be bigger, the piano is a little overwelming.

J Hall
Wow, bigger than life piano and vocal, sounds grand. Especially in the quiet parts. In the louder parts, the compression clamps down the vocal and piano and takes away a lot of the dynamics and excitement. The space is great too.

Matt Russell
Piano vand vocal are in a very different in space. To me it also sounds as if the dynamics from the piano and the vocal are separated, they don't follow each other like in the raw recording. They both sound good though. The vocal gets smaller when it should get louder and bigger. Piano starts to distort at loud parts. there's a small tick just before 1:00

Maxim
A Frankenstein piano Smile Vocal and piano lack top end. The extra vocals are so horribly out of tune it gets real funny Smile Could use some extra plosive control. I'd like a little less reverb on the piano, right now it's blurring the mix.

Rankus
Piano is a little heavy in the mid-lows and too big for the vocal. Vocal could me more in the spotlight, now the piano attracks most attention. I like the delays on the end.

Rattleyour
Vocal is very distant (little dull and too wet) almost 10m/30ft behind the piano. Piano sounds good. I'd like it all to be closer.  Vocal sounds weird in the last loud part, as if it goes out of phase.

Scotch
Sounds good. Little too much sibilance. There's a separation between piano and vocal dynamics. You can hear the compression clamp down the vocal in louder parts. I mis the piano and the vocal dynamics, the song loses a lot of excitement and tension without them. tick just before 1:00

Starscream
Piano has a nice big space without being distant. Vocal sounds good too. Already in the beginning I hear compression clamping down the piano and the vocal and this gets real ugly as the song proceeds. Sounds great where there's no compression.

The Viking
I like the dynamics, the balance piano/vocal and the fullbodied sound. Sibilance is distracting in vocal and delay. It's a bit heavy in the midlows and lacking high end but nothing a little mastering can't fix.

Tigeba
Hey you didn't pan the tracks like the rest of us did Smile Sibilance needs taming. Too bad the compression kills the dynamics, space and excitement. I like the delay.

TPolce
Nice space. Sibilance needs taming. Vocal gets clamped down when it's loud. In the louder parts the piano overwhelmes the vocal. In some parts there's some flanging on the vocal

Undertow
Vocal sounds great and big. Good space. You did a great job at controling the dynamics without compression artefacts. It did rob the song of excitement and it sounds weird when the vocal has the same loudness when he's whispering and singing on the top of his lungs. The same thing goes for the piano, at the end he's banging the keys but the loudness is the same as normal playing. I like the subtle reverb automation.

------------------------------------

Dynamics

To me the dynamics are very important in this song, it's what creates the tension and makes the differences between parts of the song. There are no extra instruments. It's just piano and vocal and the dynamics make the song.

I do like the mixes with a fullbodied vocalsound like J.Halls, I don't know how he did it but I guess compression is a big part of it. In most mixes with compression already working at the start the vocal gets clamped down and ugly in the louder parts except for Undertows mix. I think he used automation before compression and it sounds great al throughout the song.

I'll have to try this first but it looks like for me the ideal vocal would have volume automation to even out the input of the compressor -> compression (+parallel compression?) to get a fullbodied sound -> level automation to recreate the dynamics.

I'd like to know how you approached the dynamic aspect especially J. Hall and Undertow. A combination of these two approaches with some added dynamics would make my ideal mix.


All in all this mix proved to be a lot harder than I thought it would be. I'll have to have another go (or two) at it because my ideal mix is still out there somewhere.
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tigeba

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Re: IMP8 mix discussion.
« Reply #50 on: November 27, 2006, 11:51:47 am »

I still haven't had a chance to do a proper listen to everyones tracks but I will throw in a few comments about my own for fun.

I decided to do a non-traditional panning, which a few people commented on.  In truth, I wussed out because my original idea was to go hard left with dry vocal and all wet on the other side for a really retro vibe, but I think it was either a little too distracting or I was a little too chicken.  The vocal and the piano are still a bit offset to give each other space.  Not so sure if it worked 100%.  I believe the squashified piano some have commented on is actually me using a lot of the room track on the piano, as the stereo piano really only has about 2 db of compression max.  It was one of those last minute decisions after the whole mix was already done, and I should have just left the room track off!  Guess this is why you should always sleep on a mix, eh?


As far as the vocal goes, yep is it bright, but I feel it is fairly similar to a lot of my favorite tracks.  I believe knowing what the raw track sounds like is a bit biasing.  FWIW, I used Ben Folds - Still Fighting It as sort of a reference.  Obviously a singer with a brighter and higher voice, but that was sort of what I was going for.  

I will try to listen to everything tonight and post comments for all the tracks, and I look forward to the "How I did X" thread.

Smile

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ATOR

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Re: IMP8 mix discussion.
« Reply #51 on: November 27, 2006, 01:58:30 pm »

GarretG wrote

ATOR: A+ for creativity. I love what you did with the sampled ooooo. gorgeous pad sounds (I'm stealing that for some of my own tunes). Good call flying in another version of the vocal, heavily eq'd, for some extra vibe... I really like the repeated phrase that's band limited more than the straight doubling... the double sounds odd to me, but the delay repeats are great. I think this could be my favorite mix if you dial back a few of your most aggressive moves, and fix the primary vocal treatment (the high end sounds way too hyped to me)... very cool mix thoughThis could be stunningly great with a few more adjustments. I think I need to call you about mixing some of my tunes when I win the lottery... taking something that's more than a little on the schlocky side and making it seethe and burn, well I need that too sometimes.. Smile


Thanks Garret! Nice to hear. I agree with your suggestions.
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garret

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Re: IMP8 mix discussion.
« Reply #52 on: November 27, 2006, 05:36:35 pm »

TheViking wrote on Sat, 25 November 2006 01:23

Usually when the mix is 'just right' for me, I send it off to master and the vocals seem to get quieter or something.   It happens EVERY TIME.   So, I just got used to a louder blend of Vox in my mixes.   Maybe this is too much, as you've commented.   But I wonder what a healthy dose of vocals is these days?

Anyone else have similar experiences with vocal levels?




I don't have any experience (yet) sending stuff off for mastering/duplication... but when I do my own d.i.y. mastering, I find the opposite to be true.... peak limiting seems to draw out the vocals, and I have to go back to the mix and drop the vocal a half db to compensate.  I don't do a lot of eq in my d.i.y. mastering, though, so maybe that's the rub.. perhaps your mastering engineer of choice keeps knocking the upper mids down, and you keep cranking em to compensate? Smile

Or, perhaps it just depends on the mixer and the style of mixing...

As for the overall question of appropriate vocal levels.. I always thought I was in the very loud camp, but after listening to this IMP, I'm not sure.   I'm a singer, usually balladish stuff too, so you'd think I'd want more me more me.   I don't work professionally doing mixing work, and I don't listen to what's on the charts much, so maybe I'm out of touch with what the kids are expecting to hear these days.

-Garret
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UnderTow

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Re: IMP8 mix discussion.
« Reply #53 on: November 27, 2006, 06:16:43 pm »

Thanks everyone for the positive comments!  Smile

garretg wrote on Fri, 24 November 2006 06:56


UNDERTOW: Vox a bit loud, or maybe just too bright for my tastes...  makes for a hard listen start to finish... other than the vox (which might be a matter of taste), I think this is an excellent mix.



Yeah the vocal is indeed a bit loud. My vocal perception is definetly skewed at the moment. I'm doing alot of TV work with heavily compressed voice overs so when I ran out of time, I thought I could get away with the mix the way it was.

ScotcH wrote on Sat, 25 November 2006 06:49


UnderTow - Love the piano ... bright and clear.  Vocal is definitly out front, and sounds like a bit much on the bottom for me ... just a bit too thick (it overpowers the piano in some places).  Good aggressive mix.  The vocal may be just a much though.  I like the idea of the delay on the second last line ... timing might be off a bit, but it works!



I like the thickness on the vocal. Maybe thats that TV skewing messing with my judgement. And yes, the delay is out of time. Smile I should have taken the time to get it right.

ATOR wrote on Mon, 27 November 2006 13:55


Undertow
Vocal sounds great and big. Good space. You did a great job at controling the dynamics without compression artefacts. It did rob the song of excitement and it sounds weird when the vocal has the same loudness when he's whispering and singing on the top of his lungs. The same thing goes for the piano, at the end he's banging the keys but the loudness is the same as normal playing. I like the subtle reverb automation.



Thanks. Again that TV voice thing ... There is no automation in this mix. I ran out of time to get the details right. One of the things I should have done is set the vocal reverb send pre-inserts so that the natural dynamics of the singing would have made the reverb more dynamic. Unfortunately that means I would have had to do some processing on the send for which there was no time. I'm not sure what you are hearing. What did you think I had done?

ATOR wrote on Mon, 27 November 2006 13:55


Dynamics
I do like the mixes with a fullbodied vocalsound like J.Halls, I don't know how he did it but I guess compression is a big part of it. In most mixes with compression already working at the start the vocal gets clamped down and ugly in the louder parts except for Undertows mix. I think he used automation before compression and it sounds great al throughout the song.



Nope, no automation. Smile I think things might get a bit clearer when I explain everything I did: There is the equivalent of 17 plugins in this mix (although some steps are combined within plugins). There is alot of compression going on.

Quote:


I'll have to try this first but it looks like for me the ideal vocal would have volume automation to even out the input of the compressor -> compression (+parallel compression?) to get a fullbodied sound -> level automation to recreate the dynamics.



My intention was to automate the output volume of the vocal track and I think that would make a more exciting mix.

Quote:


I'd like to know how you approached the dynamic aspect especially J. Hall and Undertow. A combination of these two approaches with some added dynamics would make my ideal mix.



I'll give full details in the techniques thread.

Quote:


All in all this mix proved to be a lot harder than I thought it would be.



Agreed. This was a very good learning experience. Kevin, thanks again for the great material!


Jeff, I still owe you an email response. Things have just been very hectic resently ...

Alistair
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j.hall

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Re: IMP8 mix discussion.
« Reply #54 on: November 27, 2006, 10:45:04 pm »

chrisj wrote on Sat, 25 November 2006 09:58



(I liked J's too, but I'm still waiting to hear what his special purpose was for this IMP)


i wanted to break IMP down to it's core.  the concept here is to remove the mystery from the mixing process.  the mystery being what the tracks were like raw when you hear a great mix and think, "how the hell do they do that?".  this way, we all have the tracks, put our best fooot forward, and get a chance to say, "hey ________ that kick drum is killer, how did you get that kick to do that?"  since you know EXACTLY what it started out as, and can hear what it ended up as.

well, the more i thought about it, the more i realized that i put the cart before the horse.

if we reduced the track count to something very minimal, but had a killer performance, by a great writer and player, recorded really well, MORE could be learned then just taking a high track  count and playing with it.

i knew that people would get this IMP a sneer at it, thinking it was too easy.  but listen to how wildly different all the mixes are.

THEN, stop listening to them from a technical stand point.  and START listening to them to see if the mix itself makes you want to KEEP listening.

that's what a mixer's job is.  to put the whole thing together in a compelling way.  to make the listener want to keep listening.  some of these mixes do, some don't.

that was the point of this particular IMP.  small track counts, remove many things from your process......HOWEVER, they complicate things greatly because they force you make each element mean something......there are not enough tracks to call one "texture", everything we had here HAD to support the theme.

so, with that in mind, perhaps you should listen to some, or all, of the submissions again with a different perspective.

i'd like to see people change their lists to "which mixes kept me listening, and which didn't.....AND WHY"  and don't give me a bunch of technical babble, tell me what about it was great or wasn't great.

"the way the vocal comes off the speakers captures my attention"  stuff like that.

NOT, "the 5k spike in the vocal really annoys me"

find the vibe, and the vision you dig, and then find out how the mixer did it!!!!
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gatino

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Re: IMP8 mix discussion.
« Reply #55 on: November 28, 2006, 12:27:08 am »

j.hall wrote on Mon, 27 November 2006 21:45


i'd like to see people change their lists to "which mixes kept me listening, and which didn't.....AND WHY"  and don't give me a bunch of technical babble, tell me what about it was great or wasn't great.


sounds good. can you start us off?

being completely green i wasn't planning it this time around, but i'll jump in anyway later this week.
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ATOR

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Re: IMP8 mix discussion.
« Reply #56 on: November 28, 2006, 08:00:41 am »

j.hall wrote on Tue, 28 November 2006 04:45

THEN, stop listening to them from a technical stand point.  and START listening to them to see if the mix itself makes you want to KEEP listening.

that's what a mixer's job is.  to put the whole thing together in a compelling way.  to make the listener want to keep listening.  some of these mixes do, some don't.

find the vibe, and the vision you dig, and then find out how the mixer did it!!!!

You're making a great point here. I usually made mixes the way I thought they were supposed to be from a rather technical view. Even if a mix turned out good they never really excited or grabbed me.

With your comments from the previous IMP in mind, this was the first mix that I made 'What do I need to keep listening' my primary goal. For me that meant dynamics that really drag you in and adding FX because I get easily bored  Very Happy

I think you still need the technical guy around for fixing the annoying 5k spike in the vocal but my mixing will definitely change for the good with the 'make me move' guy in the drivers seat.

Thanks J.
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mattrussell

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Re: IMP8 mix discussion.
« Reply #57 on: November 28, 2006, 08:02:47 am »

j.hall wrote on Mon, 27 November 2006 22:45

chrisj wrote on Sat, 25 November 2006 09:58



(I liked J's too, but I'm still waiting to hear what his special purpose was for this IMP)



find the vibe, and the vision you dig, and then find out how the mixer did it!!!!



thanks for saying this j.  it's pretty much why i haven't jumped in and said too much.  vibe is everything and each mix has a different one.  some are good and make me want to hear the whole thing and some are bad and make me want to shut it off after two lines of vocal.  connecting with the song is the whole deal and those who spend time nit picking over the tiniest of details are missing the point.  

that said, i still like polce's, UnderTow's and frankly, i still like my mix.

this has been a great IMP.  whatever you choose to do for the next one, please try to make it as interesting as this one.
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j.hall

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Re: IMP8 mix discussion.
« Reply #58 on: November 28, 2006, 12:18:02 pm »

ATOR wrote on Tue, 28 November 2006 07:00


I think you still need the technical guy around for fixing the annoying 5k spike in the vocal but my mixing will definitely change for the good with the 'make me move' guy in the drivers seat.

Thanks J.


at one point in my life i was quite the tennis player.  my personal coach was a bit unorthodox, which made for a perfect match with me and him.  anyway, he told me something i've never forgotten that can be applied to this topic.

he said at the peak of my physical ability, "at this point, you will only lose matches because your mind could not keep up.  your body is trained, it's now up to you mind to do the work.  at a certain point, the game becomes 80% mental and 20% physical simply due to the fact that your body has been trained and conditioned for this level of work"

so, assume i'm your mixing coach.  i'm telling you that you've trained your ears in a technical way, and you've focused your auditory mind to a technical one, that is no longer the issue.  NOW, you have to take all that technical knowledge and apply it to the REAL task.  the hardest one there is, art!

it's time to make the technical the 20% and the art 80%

this, is exactly what IMP is all about.
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ScotcH

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Re: IMP8 mix discussion.
« Reply #59 on: November 28, 2006, 01:40:04 pm »

j.hall wrote on Tue, 28 November 2006 12:18


at one point in my life i was quite the tennis player.  my personal coach was a bit unorthodox, which made for a perfect match with me and him.  anyway, he told me something i've never forgotten that can be applied to this topic.

he said at the peak of my physical ability, "at this point, you will only lose matches because your mind could not keep up.  your body is trained, it's now up to you mind to do the work.  at a certain point, the game becomes 80% mental and 20% physical simply due to the fact that your body has been trained and conditioned for this level of work"

so, assume i'm your mixing coach.  i'm telling you that you've trained your ears in a technical way, and you've focused your auditory mind to a technical one, that is no longer the issue.  NOW, you have to take all that technical knowledge and apply it to the REAL task.  the hardest one there is, art!

it's time to make the technical the 20% and the art 80%

this, is exactly what IMP is all about.


Woah ... dude, you just blew my mind!  I drive a race car, and the same advice comes up all the time ... drive the track in your mind, and your body will follow ... don't focus on the details, like gas pedal, shifting, etc.  I can see how this can be applied to mixing.  Once you know HOW to tweak an EQ or comp, let your perception of the artistic aspects of the mix drive the decisions you make when you move the controls.  I'm going to take the time to relisten to the mixes again, and redo my mix with what you wrote in mind.

I'm really looking forward to more of these!  Great opportunity for noobs like me to get feedback!  Thanks!
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