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Author Topic: IMP21 discussion  (Read 12685 times)

sstillwell

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Re: IMP21 discussion
« Reply #60 on: May 15, 2009, 06:04:26 pm »

Doh!

Here I've been thinking, "Man, when are they going to do another IMP???"

You snooze, you lose.

Guess I'll mix it for my own tor...err, enjoyment.

Scott
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grantis

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Re: IMP21 discussion
« Reply #61 on: May 16, 2009, 02:53:54 pm »

I only had time for 1 listen-through for each mix.  These notes are at times incoherent since I was typing as I was listening...take them as you will and in accordance to what my mix sounds like of course.


IMP 21 DREW (master)
Nice bass.....big and round.  Odd placement of the hi-hat mic...it sticks out quite a bit.  Snare lacks impact, it’s kind of weak.  Chorus has no lift.  Not diggin it.  Bridge interrupts the song, it doesn’t keep the song going.  BGV’s are a bit nasal, and there was nothing done to help it.  They’re floating out there in their own world.  Mix doesn’t feel very wide.

IMP 21_-_iCombs
Mix is scooped.  Lots of lows and highs, lacks a LOT of mids.  Vocals are too loud, they don’t sit in the mix with everything else. Interesting bridge treatment.  I like it.  FX on the snare are kind of random, the don’t add to the song, just distract.

IMP_21_Fiasco.mp3
The whole mix feels a bit cold.  Not much substance to speak of.  Is your sub up pretty loud?  BGV’s feel really good in the chorus though.  I think I hear a slap delay on the snare?  Hmmmmm.....it kind of depletes the impact of it.  Bridge is weak.  Drums are pretty weak in general.  

IMP21_Gio
Waaaaaay too mono.  Pan those guitars out all the way L-R.  OH’s too.  Everything is a clouded mess in the middle.  Drums lack impact.  I can barely hear the kick drum....  Whooooah tambourine.  

IMP21_graham
Guitars are pretty dark.  Low end is muddy, flabby, etc.  Vocal is mid-rangy without much bite.  The whole mix isn’t very aggressive.  What’s with the bridge?  Was that a reverb loop on the drums?  Whatever steam this train had...the bridge killed it.  

IMP21_h2o
Did you sum the room mics or something?  The high end on the cymbals is very tinny, phasey, nasty.  Good bottom end though.  Guitars are too quiet and dark.  Vocal is contained nicely, but as a result, lacks bite.  Mix as a whole is moderately aggressive, but needs more aggression.  I like the bridge.  Keepin’ it simple, always a good choice.

IMP21_IMDRecordings
Woooooo compression.  My kind of guy.  This is a little out of control though.  The bottom end is out of control.  Guitars could be brighter.  The vocal is getting buried by the massiveness of everything else.  It’s a trick to balance it all, and this is a good effort.   Overall, turn that vocal up, manage the bottom end, and brighten up those guitars and we have a winner.  Back off the 2buss comp too......

IMP21_Podgorny
Very aggressive and balanced....i really dig this.  You were right about our drums being all samples.....haha.  I could handle a touch more vocal throughout.  I love the bridge.  Is the bass filtered in the bridge?  Very cool.  Nice work.

IMP21_Rankus
Very aggressive.  Nice.  Vocal is treated very well.  Did you compress the guitars?  They have a certain....a....i....i can’t put my finger on it.   Whatever you did, they’re cool.  They could be a bit brighter.  Kick drums lacks bottom end, but so does the bass.  Good news is they match.  Overall nice work, good mix.  One of my faves.

IMP21_Stretch97317
I’m not sure this was intentional, but the kick-left snare-right thing is just bad...or maybe genius for AM radio.  I can’t describe anything on this mix....just bad.  Nothing fits.  

IMP21_Ylab
I see your snare and raise you a vocal.  Swap those levels and we’re good to go.  Vocal is buried and hollow and the snare is a touch too loud. Overall I dig the aggression in this mix.  Guitars are kind of dark.  I like the bridge, the filtered guitar is cool.  Overall pretty good, turn that vocal up.

IMP21-EricH
Tickle me eaaars.  I like how bright everything is.  It’s relatively in control and balanced.  Bottom end is weak but not by much.  Vocal could have a bit more bite.  Female BGV in the bridge is too loud, or needs compression...or both.

IMP21BOEDOCONSTRICTOR
Low end is muddy and too loud.  The whole mix is being swallowed by the bottom end, most severely, the vocal.  Drums are pretty aggressive, but it’s hard to tell over that bottom end.  In it’s own weird way though, everything is pretty tight.  Guitars are too quiet.  Overall not bad.

IMP21JHall
Drums are lacking overall, they just samples to match the aggression of the guitars/bass/vocal.  Guitars are nice and bright as well as the OH’s.  Bottom end is nice as always.  Nice pumping action overall, it adds superb bite.  Nicely done.

IMP21Nizzle
Sounds like the snare has a splash cymbal on it.  Kind of weird.  Guitars are nice and bright, so are the drums.  Vocal is treated pretty well...it could come up a little bit.  Drums are very aggressive overall, I really dig ‘em.  Bridge is kind of cool...i dig the lo-fi thing.  BGV’s are swallowing the lead vocal in the bridge.  Reverb is kind of honky.  Overall pretty good.

IMP21_JonahAKort
You’re such a drummer.....hahahahah.  Turn the kick down a couple DB.  Guitars are too dark, vocal is buried and not aggressive enough.  Bass is hollow.  Drums need more aggression in general...blend in a snare sample for sure.  Bridge is pumping wayyyyyy too hard.  Tweak those 2buss comp settings.
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rankus

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Re: IMP21 discussion
« Reply #62 on: May 16, 2009, 03:20:34 pm »



Quote:

   IMP21_Rankus
Very aggressive. Nice. Vocal is treated very well. Did you compress the guitars? They have a certain....a....i....i can’t put my finger on it. Whatever you did, they’re cool. They could be a bit brighter. Kick drums lacks bottom end, but so does the bass. Good news is they match. Overall nice work, good mix. One of my faves.


Thanks Grant. All I really did was pan the gtrs out hard L&R (a Dark one and bright one on each side) then just a bit of comp on the gtr bus with Waves Ren Comp, my favorite gtr comp pluggin. -3db reduction at 4:1 ...  IRRC just a tiny bump of EQ at 5k (about 1/2 to 1 db) (Maybe a small mid scoop too.. likely less than 2db)

In fact I did very little to any of the tracks except the vocal. A few have mentioned my tom treatment. I did nothing at all to the toms except a tiny bump of eq at the fundamentals (prolly 1.5 db)

Less is more.  Balance is everything.  
(Thanks to TM for this philosophy.. it has changed everything)



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imdrecordings

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Re: IMP21 discussion
« Reply #63 on: May 17, 2009, 10:53:56 am »

Quote:

IMP21_IMDRecordings
Woooooo compression. My kind of guy. This is a little out of control though. The bottom end is out of control. Guitars could be brighter. The vocal is getting buried by the massiveness of everything else. It’s a trick to balance it all, and this is a good effort. Overall, turn that vocal up, manage the bottom end, and brighten up those guitars and we have a winner. Back off the 2buss comp too......


Thanks Grant! Smile

I think I just like my guitars to sound dark. Twisted Evil

About the Vocals:
I changed the compressor last minute (and I do mean last minute ) and that decision consequently buried my vocal. I'm guessing the vocal level probably leads anyone to believe the problem stems from out of control compression or the size of the other components.
I have an earlier mix where the music sounds the same, but the vocal rides perfectly on top and some of the things you mention are fixed/unnoticeable by the vocal being more apparent.
I should have just uploaded the original.... o'well.  say la vee

About the low end being out of control.
Could you go into a little more detail, please?
I struggle with "low-end realty", between bass, bas drum, low toms and guitars.  I have a tendancy to emphasize the 80-180hz range a little too much, because I like to "feel" the mix.   Embarassed  

If anyone cares, here's some of the stuff I did:
I used a bit of side chaining on this mix and a few buss compressors.  

Guitars were bussed through a UAD LA2A (big fan of this)
Drums where bussed through a UAD 4k Compressor
Master Bus used a UAD 4k compressor
Dumped the compressors on the busses prior to starting the mix.

I sent the Overheads and room mics to there own submix/bus and I used side chain compression on the overheads/room mics submix, triggered from the kick drum. (I've been a big fan of doing this lately and some times I'll use the snare too)
I also used side chain compression for the guitar bus on the tom hits, this helped the BIG sounding toms poke through a tiny bit better.
Bass guitar compression was side chained off the kick.
All side chaining was sent post fader.

I used Drum-a-Gog to replace the Kick and toms 100%, while adding two extra snare samples along with the original snare.
On snare rolls, I'd ride the original snare up in the mix.  The samples were a dead give away on snare rolls.
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iCombs

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Re: IMP21 discussion
« Reply #64 on: May 17, 2009, 06:54:04 pm »

FINALLY!!! CRITS!!!

j. hall

Band has size...guitars have good depth, but are really dominating the mix, too.  If I had an m/s processor, I'd turn the M up a bit.  Snare's up in the mix but the kick doesn't feel like it follows suit.  Basically what I'm saying is that I dig a lot of the processing work, but I'm not necessarily digging the balances.

Podgorny

This couldn't feel too much different from j.'s mix.  Feels like it's got more front-to-back stacking.  The sizzle that the snare drum is distracting me.  Drums are really aggressive...in the fun way.  I'd like to hear the lead vocal carry a little more weight in the mix, personally, but that's probably a subjective thing.  End of the song gets REALLY busy...I'd rather go find the backing vocals than have them slap me in the face, but again...that's just me.

Rankus

First thing that strikes me is the fundimental solidity.  The kick and bass feel well rooted.  The lead vocal is a little masked by the guitars...they feel like they're fighting over 2k.  There's also a bit of a lack of real top air and sparkle...would be nice to hear more of the sparkly stuff...there's plenty of it in the tracks!  No harmonies in the choruses...interesting choice...can't say I'd have gone there...but I love dense vocal arrangements in songs like this.  Backing vocals in the end section sit really nicely.  Some weirdness in that snare drum...like the bottom got sent to the rooms really hot.  Love the overall punch of the snare, though.

DCombs

WOW SPARKLE!!  Granted, I just listened to Rankus's mix, but sparkle is back and it's in style!  I like the treatment of the guitars...they aren't stepping on the lead vocal.  High hat is a bit much.  OH feels like it's really dominated by the left side...would be nice to hear the brass balance out more.  Lead vocal feels a little choked in the choruses...would be nice to hear a little less compression (or different compression) and to pull that vocal a little more out front just in terms of level.  Like what's happening in the harmonies at the end.

Grantis

Good depth in the kit.  Where's the bass?  I can hear it a little behind the snap of the kick and the guitars, but I can't feel it.  Of course, with bass, I err on the side of "feel" rather than "hear."  Man is that vocal crunchy.  It's almost fatiguingly so.  Like the editing in the 7/8 section.  Interesting choice on what leads the "I'm just a lyric" backing vox in terms of volume.

Ylab

Nice balances on the intro!  Big and clear.  Love the clankier bass.  Vocal feels a little thin to be the lead.  I know it's pretty high, but girls have fundamentals too!  The guitars on the left side are starting to really dominate the mix.  The size is great, but this song is really a song where the vocals are the big deal...they really need to be treated as such.  I do like a lot of the little effecty stuff I'm hearing in terms of flangers and stuff.  I think, much like j.'s mix, that the sounds are good but the balances are rougher and could use another look over.  Nice work with the tambourine!  First one I've heard yet!

All I've got time for at the moment...will keep running them down later this evening!

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Ian Combs
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j.hall

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Re: IMP21 discussion
« Reply #65 on: May 18, 2009, 12:53:09 pm »

imdrecordings wrote on Thu, 14 May 2009 14:26


J and Rick, what was your vocal chain and how did you deal with the sibilance?  I thought both of your vocals were superb in wonderfully different ways.

Thanks!


my vocal chain is the same EVERY TIME.  well, with a few rare exceptions.

EQ3 7 band
EMI Abbey Road Limiter
Dyn 3 De-esser (not as transparent as i'd like, but it was free)
UAD 1176 LN

the exceptions are.  i sometimes add a Crane Song Phoenix behind the De-Esser and before the 1176.  

and i sometimes add a UAD Pultec behind the 1176 at the very end of the chain.  just depends on what i need.  but these are rare exceptions.
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j.hall

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Re: IMP21 discussion
« Reply #66 on: May 18, 2009, 12:55:48 pm »

i mixed my guitars hot on purpose.  i wanted the mix to feel "weighted" down by the thick wall of guitar.  kick should be a sample which would help it cut a lot better.

snare is loud cause it's the first thing to drop in volume through mastering.  i've learned this lesson over and over and i'm finally now starting to compensate for it.

a good ME could M/S my mix and make it slam, IMO.  granted, there are many other problems with my mix that should be tweaked before mastering.

not getting defensive at all, just explaining my thought process
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rankus

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Re: IMP21 discussion
« Reply #67 on: May 18, 2009, 02:35:07 pm »

j.hall wrote on Mon, 18 May 2009 09:55


snare is loud cause it's the first thing to drop in volume through mastering.  i've learned this lesson over and over and i'm finally now starting to compensate for it.



Yes yes!  This is also why my snare sticks out a bit.  The transient stuff gets knocked down and the heavily compressed tracks, especially distorted gtrs, tend to come forwards... All the nuances (quiet BG's etc.)(and stuff you thought you'd hidden) will become more apparent too...

Ian mentioned lack of sparkle in mine as well. This is another area that mastering will naturally boost.  I have noticed that without even tweaking EQ's, a heavy limiter will bring out the high end... Since I have started to mix with less top end the final masters are a lot less "crunchy" in the highs, and cymbals sound more natural in the final product.


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iCombs

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Re: IMP21 discussion
« Reply #68 on: May 18, 2009, 03:46:02 pm »

j.hall wrote on Mon, 18 May 2009 11:55

i mixed my guitars hot on purpose.  i wanted the mix to feel "weighted" down by the thick wall of guitar.  kick should be a sample which would help it cut a lot better.

snare is loud cause it's the first thing to drop in volume through mastering.  i've learned this lesson over and over and i'm finally now starting to compensate for it.

a good ME could M/S my mix and make it slam, IMO.  granted, there are many other problems with my mix that should be tweaked before mastering.

not getting defensive at all, just explaining my thought process


Absolutely.  These are the conversations that this series SHOULD inspire.

I will say that the one thing that bugged me in the kick was the brickwalled kick in.  I ended up not leaning heavily on the kick in in the mix, so instead of the dynamics tracking the same between the kick in and out, it felt like the brightness of the kick was kinda coming and going...so much so that I actually automated the gain on my top EQ band on the kick track.  I thought that the played dynamics were actually really good...nothing that a little fader riding couldn't take care of.

I really kinda shudder at the thought of samples with drums that are tracked like these.  I mean, this was obviously a drummer who knew WTF.  He can play...his kit sounds good...and it's being recorded very well.  From an engineering point of view, I really want to hear all that.  Screwing with those dynamics (IMO) would kinda plasticize an otherwise ass-kickin' performance.  I know you're general motto is "whatever I gotta do to make it rock," but this is one where I think the tracking is really honestly good enough to stand on its own merits.

I should be getting to more crits tonight, hopefully.
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Ian Combs
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j.hall

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Re: IMP21 discussion
« Reply #69 on: May 18, 2009, 06:46:45 pm »

iCombs wrote on Mon, 18 May 2009 14:46



...... it felt like the brightness of the kick was kinda coming and going...so much so that I actually automated the gain on my top EQ band on the kick track.  I thought that the played dynamics were actually really good...nothing that a little fader riding couldn't take care of.



exactly the reason you use a sample.  

Quote:


I really kinda shudder at the thought of samples with drums that are tracked like these.


see above.

you're chasing your tail.  being "against" samples cause the guy can play defeats the purpose of being a "mixer" IMO.  you aren't changing the fact that he can play, you're controlling the fact that he isn't consistent and there is a HUGE wall of guitar that simply won't back down.

the amount of work you went through to automate the EQ could have been spent elsewhere.

i get a lot of projects that includes samples off the live drums.  if the kick is good, i'll use the sample of the exact kick on the project.  it's all about control.  these huge dense rock mixes just don't have any wiggle room for drum hits (especially the kick) to be changing tone on you.
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cgc

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Re: IMP21 discussion
« Reply #70 on: May 18, 2009, 10:18:28 pm »

It is interesting to hear how people are defensively mixing against the crushing onslaught of modern mastering.  
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iCombs

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Re: IMP21 discussion
« Reply #71 on: May 19, 2009, 01:31:45 am »

j.hall wrote on Mon, 18 May 2009 17:46

iCombs wrote on Mon, 18 May 2009 14:46



...... it felt like the brightness of the kick was kinda coming and going...so much so that I actually automated the gain on my top EQ band on the kick track.  I thought that the played dynamics were actually really good...nothing that a little fader riding couldn't take care of.



exactly the reason you use a sample.  

Quote:


I really kinda shudder at the thought of samples with drums that are tracked like these.


see above.

you're chasing your tail.  being "against" samples cause the guy can play defeats the purpose of being a "mixer" IMO.  you aren't changing the fact that he can play, you're controlling the fact that he isn't consistent and there is a HUGE wall of guitar that simply won't back down.

the amount of work you went through to automate the EQ could have been spent elsewhere.

i get a lot of projects that includes samples off the live drums.  if the kick is good, i'll use the sample of the exact kick on the project.  it's all about control.  these huge dense rock mixes just don't have any wiggle room for drum hits (especially the kick) to be changing tone on you.



See...I guess I don't necessarily buy the consistency for consistency's sake argument...I don't want to hear static levels and I don't mind the drum changing tone so long as it does so the way it should...in this particular case, the brickwalling of the kick in mic made the kick drum do weird things dynamically ESPECIALLY against the kick out mic.  THAT was my biggest issue, and IMO I think it worked out just fine in my mix without the sample.  Not saying what I did is perfect by any means, but that aspect of my mix seemed to be more a success than a failure.

And really...automating the EQ took me all of 10 minutes tops.  It probably took me 10-15 passes of the mix once I got everything in place to decide that it was a big enough issue for me to find a way to "fix" it.  Because I'm silly and anal retentive about my sample replacement triggering, I hand cut samples so that I don't have to dick with phase anomalies and flamming and false triggers...which generally takes me an hour or so per drum to be replaced.  I know in some ways I'm going to start contradicting myself...but there seems to be a distinction in my head between this scenario and one where I though the track sounded like ass and there was just no way that I was going to make the drum sound like anything acceptable without samples.  I knew I could use this drum and make it work without.  So I chose an automation tack.  Really, had I wanted to get stupid with EQ, I probably could have made it work with the kick out mic alone.


I guess what I'm saying is that for me, for this track, sample replacement didn't even spring to mind because I felt like I could work with what I was given, and I'd rather deal with that particular issue the way I did vx. sample replacement.

And as far as being "against samples because the guy can play" is concerned, perhaps it wasn't my best description of the scenario, but at a gut level I still think it's true.  There's something that effects me emotionally when I hear sample replaced drums...probably because I know enough about what real drums sound like and what really good players sound like that when I hear the samples I have trouble hearing past them.  And again, the played dynamics weren't "consistent."  They were "right." Let us not necessarily confuse those two conditions.  His playing was excellent but the processing to tape altered the interaction between the mics...and...well...yadda yadda yadda...you know what I'm talking about.

With this mix, I wanted to do everything I could to reveal the players and the instruments inside the song rather than create new realities.

As a sort of aside to this tack, I didn't think it was a backbreaker because, really, who gives 2 shits about the kick drum when this song is obviously a vocal oriented track?  I mean...I don't want it to sound BAD, but it really doesn't matter WHAT it sounds like so long as it supports the vocal (or creates the structure for the stuff that supports the vocal).

I'd be really interested to dig into this tack a little further.  I mean...if you listen to the mix I did, you know damn well what I thought of the vocal!  It's WAY too damn loud!  I put it too far out front, but in listening back to it, that doesn't ruin the song for me.  But there were a lot of mixes that really had the guitars way up front to the point where the vocal was kinda in the second row behind the guitars and fighting with the snare drum and I'm just curious as to how everyone kinda views the functional parts of this mix and how they stack up in terms of a hierarchy for lack of a better word.

Lemme try to make a little sense of this: If you had to rank the basic elements of this mix (the basic elements being drumx, bass, guitars, lead vocal, harmony vocal, backing vocals) in order of importance, how would that list shake down?  

I think the answers could be really telling.
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Ian Combs
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rankus

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Re: IMP21 discussion
« Reply #72 on: May 19, 2009, 02:52:10 am »



Interesting question Ian.  I'm going to answer off the top of my head and prolly regret it later. (as is my usual MO lol)

My thinking with this type of genre is that the vocal is equal to the band in importance 50/50.

The genre being that of a rock band, the band must be big and important/impressive, but the vocal is still very important as you rightfully point out.

In this case the vocal could imo be just a teensy bit tucked in for sake of the band being big and powerful... but as well, the nature of a thin female voice means that she will cut through the mix easily anyway... allowing you to have your cake and eat it too... big punchy band and intelligible vocals.

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j.hall

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Re: IMP21 discussion
« Reply #73 on: May 19, 2009, 03:44:26 pm »

iCombs wrote on Tue, 19 May 2009 00:31



Lemme try to make a little sense of this: If you had to rank the basic elements of this mix (the basic elements being drumx, bass, guitars, lead vocal, harmony vocal, backing vocals) in order of importance, how would that list shake down?  
.


1.  lead vocal
2.  lead vocal
3.  lead vocal



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DCombs

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Re: IMP21 discussion
« Reply #74 on: May 19, 2009, 04:56:20 pm »

for what it's worth, i think vocals and the biggest single part of this mix. also, i didn't think the kick drum sounded bad, so i used it! (i mean, hell, if you are going to put up more than one mic in the kick drum, you should make sure that it's good enough to use) i find it bizarre that kick drum is the main problem for this discussion. for the most part, it seems like people didn't nail the vocals, which i found to be the weakest part of what was tracked. when i listen to a song, purely from a fans perspective, it doesn't matter what the kick drum sounds like as long as it sounds like a kick drum, and both j and icombs are right.

now as far as triggering them, ian is right, it takes a lot to keep the phase right, and the only way to do it properly is to cut use the first sample of every kick hit, so you're samples don't bounce around phase wise.

j, you are right about the wall of guitars versus the kick drums. this is the exact reason why i like hearing loud drums. instead of removing a pretty damn good drum performance by adding samples, you could easily just balance levels, eq, and compression better.

Smile
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