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R/E/P => R/E/P Archives => j. hall => Topic started by: j.hall on September 19, 2006, 10:41:58 am

Title: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: j.hall on September 19, 2006, 10:41:58 am
have at it.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: Randy Hansen on September 19, 2006, 01:34:43 pm
Here's my entry.

http://www.dim.com/~techaudo/IMP7/IMP7_Mix-DMXR100.mp3
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: j.hall on September 19, 2006, 01:35:24 pm
please repost that in the "submission" thread at the top of my forum.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: cerberus on September 19, 2006, 02:54:11 pm
i tried to bring the fidelity up, so that i could have the full arrangement.

this will be a perfect test for my discrete method... only the drums and bgv were subgrouped, but those busses run in parallel to the discrete tracks.   everthing else is totally treated as a separate puzzle piece...honed to fit with the others, or not treated at all (grindy guitars!),    

all is summed at the master fader, with nothing whatsoever  on the master fader as has become my usual imp practice.  look ma, no glue!

does anyone else mix in the complete discrete instrument style?


jeff dinces
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: NelsonL on September 19, 2006, 02:55:11 pm
Chris J, I'm assuming you pitched everything down on purpose.

Just checking in case it's a sample rate issue.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: j.hall on September 19, 2006, 03:11:19 pm
sounds like a sample rate issue to me.

tracks were at 48k, NOT 44.1

liam, it's scary how similar our mixes are........
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: dconstruction on September 19, 2006, 04:16:36 pm
It's got to be a sample problem.  Or maybe not: the drums sound cool.  But, wow, it's hard to listen to this one slowed down like that.  After hearing this song, oh, forty million times, this crunk version tears my liver out.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: NelsonL on September 19, 2006, 04:30:11 pm
dconstruction wrote on Tue, 19 September 2006 13:16

It's got to be a sample problem.  Or maybe not: the drums sound cool.  But, wow, it's hard to listen to this one slowed down like that.  After hearing this song, oh, forty million times, this crunk version tears my liver out.


How's a Texas boy going to sip on some "lo-knees" with no liver?

Nice tracks by the way.

J, thanks for the comparison, I'm flattered.

I'm pulling a copy cat of sorts on you again in November-- didja get my email?
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: j.hall on September 19, 2006, 04:35:04 pm
email not received......
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: Calvin on September 19, 2006, 05:12:02 pm
When's the absolute deadline tonight?  I'm still hoping to crank out my mix, but probably won't be done 'till around midnight eastern.  Too late?
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: j.hall on September 19, 2006, 05:14:18 pm
if the thread is not locked then post.

i try to lock it around midnight central time, which is 1am eastern.  some times i forget till the morning.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: Calvin on September 19, 2006, 05:19:26 pm
j.hall wrote on Tue, 19 September 2006 17:14

if the thread is not locked then post.

i try to lock it around midnight central time, which is 1am eastern.  some times i forget till the morning.



I like the idea of forgetting to lock it until morning...nevertheless, I should be able to wrap up by midnight central time. If not, my loss.

Thanks, and thanks for running these IMPs.  Great stuff!  Your efforts are much appreciated.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: chrisj on September 19, 2006, 06:04:03 pm
Whoa. I _thought_ Logic didn't seem to be doing much obvious SRCing. Files at 48, Logic set to 44.1, unlike say Audacity Logic is like 'dum de dum, what sample rate problem?'

Fortunately it's pretty easy to change and the deadline ain't up yet. Yow. Gimme a minute 'k?
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: Tom C on September 19, 2006, 06:26:31 pm
chrisj wrote on Wed, 20 September 2006 00:04


Fortunately it's pretty easy to change and the deadline ain't up yet. Yow. Gimme a minute 'k?


I've replaced your file in my original posting.
Sounds better now!
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: chrisj on September 19, 2006, 06:37:11 pm
(posting lastminute rev see below)

I actually liked the other version. Thought you was a big ol' John Kay stud-bull Laughing

Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: dikledoux on September 19, 2006, 09:29:08 pm
Won't have time to listen closely and comment fully on all the mixes til the weekend.

But in the meantime - Another song that was really easy to deal with.  So nice to see competent tracking (I thought IMP6 was too).

This was a whole different scenario, though - so many instruments to choose from.  The fact that the song structure was sorta repetitious opened up the possibilities for arrangement at the mix stage, so I took liberties there.  Leaving parts out (like the bells in the bridge - just didn't think they helped), borrowing bits like the piano that I used in the second verse rather than the stuff that was already there...  It was nice to be able to build the song and make it swell and subside til throwing everything together at the end. Pile it on!!!

I cut the instrumental part before the bridge just because I liked the arrangement that way.  Got to the big guitars quicker and with more effect on the transition.

Did anyone else find they did NOT have to EQ heavily?  Things just sounded right.  I did monkey with the bass eq to get it sitting where I wanted it.  And I did use 2-buss on the entire mix to get the drums thumping through again, a little limiting for level.  Nothing much, though.  And some EQ on the final to clear up some low-mid muddiness that was probably a result of me not EQ'ing individual tracks all that much.

So much fun... this is better than interning - no toilets to clean <g>.  Thanks to J for the event and dconstruction (is that right?) for the tracks.  You guys rock.

dik
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: Bill_Urick on September 19, 2006, 11:13:52 pm
I'm sorry I missed out on the previous incarnations of IMP. This was a great exercise. The first opportunity I've had to mix someone else's tracking. Didn't care for the tune at first but after listening and working with it I've come to love it. Good story/lyric and really like the lead vocal. Lots of possibilities with all those tracks but I tried to take a straightforward approach. I also found my mix to be initially bass heavy and cut about 3dB around 60Hz. After the conversion to and from MP3 (all mixes are now on one CD) my mix is sounding a little thin. I also edited out some of the instrumental sections and felt the need to tighten up some timing issues on the bridge. It was surprising to hear everyone's take on the tune and how different some of the approaches were. Looking forward to listening to all the mixes more thoroughly and to hearing all of your comments.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: cerberus on September 19, 2006, 11:19:43 pm
i'm starting to listen now... as usual, i seem to focus in on where  the music might be heard unfettered by process... not so much about "my gear" ...that can get in the way of music,

ator...   dude, your mix blow me away!  it's  beautiful.  the first impression is so very important.

i knew you were good, but...this one is quite special for me...i'm so familiar with the song. but hearing this interpretation... was like opening a door to a secret world i only had guessed about.

alistair... hehehe.. trippy...  you make it seem much fun it feels illegal, but your moves do steal my heart. could back off on the reverb in the opening verse, imo.


jeff dinces
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: chrisj on September 19, 2006, 11:24:09 pm
Actually, I EQed stuff like a madman Smile in fact this has caused me to do a desperate lastminute rev- I set everything up thinking the singer was a John Kay Steppenwolf sloppy 'ol baritone, because I had Logic set to 44.1K and thought it was SRCing files on import!

So I pitch-changed the track up when I realized the truth- but then all my EQ was fucked and applying to completely the wrong frequency areas by the difference between 44.1K and 48K. Think that isn't much? Oh my god  Dead

So I went in and set Logic to 48K, and then all the EQ and stuff was at the right frequencies- OK, right? Not- because I'm using some extremely weird filtering from the guy who writes SoundHack. They're called chebyshev filters- they're not really filters, they synthesize harmonics. I'm using them on mandolins, the fake banjo, lots of stuff really. Surprise! When I pitched the Hammond up, that bright shiny sound it does interacted with the chebyshev filters and they produced insanely loud POP!s. Apple's sample AU limiter fixed it (the default Logic limiter choked on it)

YE GODS what a lastminute trainwreck. Disregard anything that's not called 'ChrisJLastDesperateScramble.mp3' Very Happy

Now to listen to everybody's entries and DL the stragglers...
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: cerberus on September 19, 2006, 11:35:43 pm
chrisj wrote on Tue, 19 September 2006 23:24

Actually, I EQed stuff like a madman ... John Kay Steppenwolf... Not- because I'm using some extremely weird filtering from the guy who writes SoundHack. They're called chebyshev filters- they're not really filters, they synthesize harmonics. YE GODS

so that ringing is not reverb?!


j.hall  - crisp, feels like september... love the bass... not so groovy but more straightforward rock...a bit "white" for me... but it sounds like a record, , expensive that is!

has excellent contrast in the parts, decent separation on instruments. did not re-arrange the song for the band... so not that risky, of course.   but i do sense some bus fx are putting a slight veil on it that i would prefer removed were i to master it.

jeff dinces
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: chrisj on September 19, 2006, 11:45:26 pm
cerberus wrote on Tue, 19 September 2006 23:35

chrisj wrote on Tue, 19 September 2006 23:24

Actually, I EQed stuff like a madman ... John Kay Steppenwolf... Not- because I'm using some extremely weird filtering from the guy who writes SoundHack. They're called chebyshev filters- they're not really filters, they synthesize harmonics. YE GODS

so that ringing is not reverb?!


On what?  Laughing  Laughing  Laughing

Don't mind me, I'm a bit fried... yee hoo, can't believe I got that last fix in before the server closed... what a fucken idiot I am to think the 44.1K pitch was right... the funny thing is, the tempo is MUCH BETTER at 44.1K... hope you guys like it, definitely a 'chrisjed' mix  Laughing
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: cerberus on September 19, 2006, 11:50:52 pm
well about what you intended... i'll listen again, but it's like there is a delay on the snare that is driving the groove.. were you going for a kind of "when the levee breaks" sort of feel?
--------------------------
scott oliphant:  talk about hard rock.. this one feels as solid as a stone billet...i get the feeling that the drummer has ruined his snare head for good.... probably bent the legs of the support stand as well.  now that is anger!  the banjo is in there?  what's it doing? can't tell if it's coming or going.. well, if you went for the fiddle as a contrasting element, why not mandolins too?  it's maybe just that i know which tracks are missing...great emphasis on guitar slides, i like those little hooks.

dinner time, the witching hour, it's getting to tuesday here. can't believe i didn't eat.   more reviews later.


jeff dinces
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: chrisj on September 20, 2006, 12:02:06 am
Oh that! My wife hated it  Laughing
That is not a delay but a reverb, on the snare mic only. It's Logic Express Silver Reverb (not the fancy one but the number two) with the verb return ruthlessly narrowed using the verb's highpass and lowpass filters. I did a LOT of stuff with incredibly bandlimited Silver Reverb- about the only thing with proper verb is lead vocals, everything else is this cheap-ass reverb algorithm tortured until it did what I wanted.

It's 144ms predelay, 86% reflectivity, 12 room size (ridiculously small) filtered between 3.4K and 9.6K.

Part of the banjo sound is a ultra small cheap reverb made to ring intensely and then bandlimited to only the extreme highs so it could do a banjo-head impression Very Happy that one's 4ms predelay, 77% reflectivity, 18 room size filtered between 3.2K and 12K.

Crap digital verbs are way better than good ones for adding metallic cranggy noises to things or altering the color of the sound beyond recognition Smile
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: Randy Hansen on September 20, 2006, 12:45:16 am
I found that the mix I did (and was the one I got done in time) which was mixed on Mackie HR824s, I was't EQing as much.  

The second version of the mix I was mixing at home (diiferrent gera/plug-ins/monitoring), and found that on my Adam ANF-10s, I was adding more hi mids with everything.  

As an aside, did anyone decide to "mix to the medium", or think in terms of a fuller resolution format.

Thaks for the fun, j. hall, Brent and Lindsay.  
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: scottoliphant on September 20, 2006, 08:07:49 am
Quote:

scott oliphant: talk about hard rock.. this one feels as solid as a stone billet...i get the feeling that the drummer has ruined his snare head for good.... probably bent the legs of the support stand as well. now that is anger! the banjo is in there? what's it doing? can't tell if it's coming or going.. well, if you went for the fiddle as a contrasting element, why not mandolins too? it's maybe just that i know which tracks are missing...great emphasis on guitar slides, i like those little hooks.


haha! in my rush to finish my automation got fooked for the banjo track, it only comes in at the end and I didn't get a chance to catch (i suppose i could update the mp3 on my server, but that wouldn't be fair). I ran the drums (didn't end up using the overheads, just the rooms) and the 2 57 guitar tracks out to tape hard for compression, and the middle "rock" section to me sounded like it wanted to rock, almost in a classic rock sort of way, so i turned up the 2 guitars pretty loud. Delayed the left room drum mic a bit to give some space. Downloading all mixes for comments later. good work everyone, looking forward to the next imp already!
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: spoon on September 20, 2006, 11:19:54 am
I finished my reviews and had a few questions of the group.

I am just going to post my notes as there were alot of edits to review.  They are mostly obvious but there will be some questions.  Would it be cleaner if people PM me for clarification and then I post those clarification as part of my original review?

And speaking of cleaner posts, should I post all the reviews in one thread or break them up?

Thanks for the input.

Regards,
David
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: j.hall on September 20, 2006, 11:35:40 am
cerberus wrote on Tue, 19 September 2006 22:35



has excellent contrast in the parts, decent separation on instruments. did not re-arrange the song for the band... so not that risky, of course.   but i do sense some bus fx are putting a slight veil on it that i would prefer removed were i to master it.




i didn't feel the song needed an arrangement change.  i don't think my mixes need to be "risky" to be good.  i do these IMPs as if they are album mixes that i'm submitting to the artist.  i don't see much point in hacking something up just cause we can, and we aren't getting paid.

to be honest, all the arrangement changes i've heard felt tenative and lacked solid flow.

i have a tiny bit of compression on the 2 mix.  other then that, i bumped the level up a tiny bit with maxim to which i'm finding to be smeary.  i deliver mixes to mastering unlimited, and if a mastering guy asked me to re-print the mix without buss compression he would receive a prompt no.  if he asked me to back off the buss compression we would discuss it.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: dconstruction on September 20, 2006, 12:35:37 pm
I'm listening and listening and will hopefully be able to compile my thoughts sometime soon.

In the meantime, I'd really like to hear from those persons that mixed this song deemphasizing the background vocals.  To me, and to the artist, they are THE sound of this song - and the album.  What led you to underplay or even ignore those tracks?
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: scottoliphant on September 20, 2006, 12:51:31 pm
how many folks feel comfortable critiquing their own mixes as well when they post their thoughts? I think i will
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: MI on September 20, 2006, 01:02:28 pm
I used 3 of the background vocal tracks. Selected for feel in different places in the song. I felt that all 5 together were too much and I didn't like the way they layered with everythig else going on. 2 of them seemed a little "harsher/heavier" and to me didn't always work.

I did it in 2 evenings (monday night/tues night), 3hrs the first and 2 the second. Could have used more time on the 2nd day, but needed some time to put it up. There were a few changes I would have made.

Next time hope to have more time.

Look forward to hearing all comments.

Mario
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: Nizzle on September 20, 2006, 01:05:12 pm
dconstruction wrote on Wed, 20 September 2006 17:35

I'd really like to hear from those persons that mixed this song deemphasizing the background vocals.  To me, and to the artist, they are THE sound of this song - and the album.  What led you to underplay or even ignore those tracks?


Not sure if my mix fell into this category but - heres my take on it.

I didn't bury he bvox in the mix....nor did I leave them out, but I would have liked to have made them louder. but generally speaking, the pitch in the lead vox and the bvox pitch(and vibe) was abit to "loose/ wild" for me and I had to base my lead vox level and bvox level accordingly. I didn't have too much time to alot for mixing, but even with the little time I had, I spent some  tuning the lead vocal abit.(I notice a few others did some tuning and a couple did some AT graphical(type) tuning with some good results).

I also chopped out some "instrumental sections" that either seemed unnecessary(or to long) or seemed like a band was just "vamping" over the chorus changes without adding any excitement. as i recall the "vamp sections" only had a clean electric playing the chorus instrumental "hook"...but the sound, nor the octave, nor the overall vibe made the section go anywhere for me.

with all that said...I thought the song was good, the engineering quite good and it was a pleasure mixing it and is really a pleasure to hear all of the different approaches/ sensibilities of all involved.

Hope all are well.
-t
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: NelsonL on September 20, 2006, 01:15:31 pm
scottoliphant wrote on Wed, 20 September 2006 09:51

how many folks feel comfortable critiquing their own mixes as well when they post their thoughts? I think i will



I consider myself obligated to find room for improvement every single time I finish a session or mix. I can only learn through pushing myself, ya know?

Still, I don't know how much time I'm going to have to devote to critiquing these mixes and I think discussing my own work would be lower priority.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: chris carter on September 20, 2006, 01:32:49 pm
I also did not feel that the song needed a dramatic arrangement change; I thought it was rather strong.  There were a couple parts that maybe were muted to help with the build and release, but these were more of the subtle variety.  As well, I'm really a producer first in real life and a mixer second.  As such, I have to have faith that the producer did his/her job and the artist/label is happy with it and it's not my place to go and completely screw with it.  Some subtleties here and there?  Sure, but I feel like I have to represent the song as the producer wanted it presented as much as possible.  In fact, where I muted the strings in the break, that is normally something that I would check with the producer first, but in this situation it wasn't possible.  Similarly, it frustrated me to no end to not get clarification from the producer as to the start and finish of the tune.  The end utterly confused me and so I extended what was printed and did a fade since I couldn't ask.  I didn't print the fade in the final mix because I would never do that unless I produced the record or the producer told me how/where he/she wanted the fade - so in this case I leave it for the ME.

As opposed to J Hall, I didn't consider this an album cut, but rather a potential single (although, labels want 3/4 of all albums to be potential singles these days... so not a risky stretch for me!).  Hence going for a very aggressive radio sound, nothing risky, and tried to emphasize the the hook as much as possible.... screw art - commercial commercial commercial radio radio radio sales sales sales was my approach.  The early chorus after a short first verse was also an indicator to me that the song was intended to be very commercial and get the listener excited early on.  In accordingly, I made sure my mix was aggressive and exciting from the get go.  The radio factor is another reason why I fought off the temptation to hack off the beginning mandolin - kinda need that.

I noticed that some folks thought it was odd for me to use a limiter on the mix I posted (obviously, the final mix doesn't have it and I would never dream of giving that to an ME).  I actually thought that reaction was odd!  I started doing that years ago on the advice of some very good mastering engineers and mix engineers.  The idea being that these days the amount of insane limiting for volume is so incredibly severe that there is no way on earth it's NOT going to f*ck with your sound, mangle it, destroy it, etc.  So from the mix guys' perspective it let's you know what to expect so as to compensate as best you can.  And if you use a generic limiter (in my case, the stock Adobe Audition limiter) you will know the 'worst case scenario'.  It's easy to make a mix sound bright and punchy with definition and everything - it's another thing to make a mix that will sound that way after it's limited to Pluto and back.  From the ME's they don't get as many nasty surprises to deal with when they slap 100000dB of limiting on it (have had plenty of convos with MEs about that happening to them.... label wants it "loud", mix just won't handle it unless they start multibanding it and doing all sorts of crap).  The labels love it (and actually gripe to me about mix folks who don't give them a reference mix with the limiter) because despite what we think of A&R (LOL!) they know that the limiter will screw with things and they could care less what the actual mix sounds like, they want to know what their finished record will sound like!  They readily admit to me that although the reference version with the limiter is only an additional version I give them, that's what they really listen to.  They don't really bother with the final mix (other than to confirm it works) because from an evaluation standpoint, it's meaningless to them.  Not to mention that in this IMP situation we are comparing final mixes to final mixes, but in the real world they can't do that.  They are comparing to the finished Green Day or Killers or Beyonce or Kelly Clarkson or whatever.  Kind of like how a friend of mine builds care engines.  He can talk about the potential of a certain engine and how great it is (all of which flies over my head...), but then when I ask him what it all really means he says, "it doesn't mean anything, the best engine in the world is crap until you see how it performs in a car on the road!"  So in that vain, I consider it better to evaluate a final mix WITH a limiter as it's closer to what the the consumer gets.  And I don't make records for engineers (unfortunately), I make them for consumers to buy Smile  Since this was a "real world" type experiment, I tried to be as real world as possible and the limited version is the version the artist and label would be listening to to evaluate.  Blah blah blah, suffice to say that I've downloaded most of the mixes from other folks and slapped the same limiter on them so that all of my listening would be "in context".

Dconstruction - I know what you mean about the bgvox.  I immediately wanted those up, but I had issues of clarity.  Going for the commercial sound I was shooting for, it was critical that I have plenty of intelligibility in the vocals so the lyrics can be heard (as they are good lyrics as well).  But the combination of the performance style, the gravely voice, and the screaming, made it harder to understand if I had the bgvox more in-your-face - especially on crappy playback systems.  So I tried to split the difference, erring on the side of being able to understand all the words.  As well, I think the melodies in the chorus (the vocal melody and the guitar lead that follows) are the selling points of this song and I wanted them to grab the listener and not let go.  So I needed as much melody as I could must from the chorus vocal and if it go too shouty, I started to lose that hookiness.  Anyway, that's my take on it Smile  BTW - good job on the production, I would offer that I did play it for a few friends (some clueless consumers, some successful artists) and the general consensus was that they really liked it.

I have learned one thing from this whole experiment and that's that I HATE not talking to the artist and producer.  For me, music is all about personality and I need to know what the personality of the artist is in order to deliver that.  I need to know what kind of attitude the producer was trying to generate.  This had me guessing and I don't like guessing!  I don't like the idea that I could have totally misinterpreted and done the exact opposite and inadvertently UNDONE much of what they were trying to accomplish!  Although, it is cool to see all the different approaches everyone took with no direction Smile Smile Smile
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: spoon on September 20, 2006, 01:34:48 pm
spoon wrote on Wed, 20 September 2006 10:19


Would it be cleaner if people PM me for clarification and then I post those clarification as part of my original review?

And speaking of cleaner posts, should I post all the reviews in one thread or break them up?

Thanks for the input.

Regards,
David


Thanks for the help.  Surprised  (in that Jason Lee sort of sarcasm)

Here are my review notes. Some are comments on things, others are just observations...like if someone shortened a part.  
REMEMBER, these comments are based on MY sense of aesthics.
Your Mileage Will Definitely Vary!

Regards,
David

ATOR -shorten first chorus edit.  Nice vocals.  Changed lead on chorus.  Banjo in picazzo out.  Edit last chorus.  Changed ending.  NICE MIX.

Calvin - Nice sparse begining.  Bass heavy.  Nice chorus, background vox comes in later (1st), shortened.  Nice vocal verse, bass heavy.  Nice chorus voxen (2nd).  Nice bridge.  Break like mine. Banjo!  Nice fade idea, choppy fade.

Cerberus - Nice intro, clicks.  Midrange -y gritty vox.  Low verse bass.  Low chorus vox, nice chorus instr.  Electronic beats break, banjo.  Nice outro chorus, except LOW voxen.

Chris Carter - Smashed chorus...pumping.

ChrisJ - Nice intro, beats.  Vox low or EQ'd funny.  Like the drum 'slop', nice drum tone.  Vox distorts on fortissimos. A bit bass heavy, chorus instruments buried.  Nice bridge. Electronice beats break, banjo, nice drum slop.  Nice guitars on outro chorus.  Nice outro FX.

Dikledoux - nice levels (vox too).  Minimal growing chorus.  Nice verse with piano...echo picazzo.  Shortened last chorus.  Electric beats break,  banjo.  Nice organ ending -stop.  VERY NICE MIX.

iCombs - Used regular beginning.  Chorus voxen too low.  Verse vox low. electric beats break, banjo.

jhall - Nice vocals.  Nice snare.  Pumping/ducking on Chorus.  Verse pumping.  Electric beats break, banjo.  Nice chorus voxen.  Ending one outro chorus early.

Mario - Nice intro, vox. Nice drums, good chorus.  Good verse, vox.  Bridge piano muddys, overwhelms.  Break like mine. BANJO.  Good outro chorus.  Extended organ outro.

Maxim - BASS HEAVY.  No intro drums.  Bass heavy.

Nizzle - Electric beats into, nice.  Pumping chorus -shortened first one.  Nice drums.  Pumping chorus.  Bass heavy break..low guitars.  Electric break, banjo. Electric ending w/FX nice.

Randy Hansen - Too much reverb (Beg) for style?.  Muddy chorus, low drums, w/banjo.  Kept electronic drums in verse, real drums low.  Bass low and muddy?  Muddy/reverb guitar on break, acoustic to loud, levels.  Electronic beats break, banjo.

Rankus - Nice intro, growly bass.  Chorus voxen low, nice chorus levels.  Nice verse, articulate bass.  Low chorus voxen.  Strange break eGuitars.  Break close to mine.  BANJO.  Took off background vox on outro and removed one outro?.  Fade out.

Rattleyour/Liam Nelson - Nice intro, vox.  Nice Chorus, piano (fx -cted) over organ, bring in dist guitar line -nice, (fuzz?).  Nice verse.  Nice piano chorus two, w/eGuitar again.  Bells on break, ok.  Close break to mine, used organ here.  Low eGuitars.  Slightly muddy bass on chorus.  Nice FX ending.

Scott Oliphant - Weird click count, nice intro.  Nice chorus, good bass articulation, good piano in 2nd half.  No bass on verse, not bad, by 2nd half something felt missing.  Nice 2nd Chorus, again nice piano on 2nd half, organ too.  Nice bridge.  Loud bass break.

ShakeTheClown - Nice intro, vox.  Nice Chorus, vox abit low.  Verse bass abit muddy/loud.  Nice bridge.  Electronic beats break, banjo.  Volume/pumping issues on outro chorus vox.

starscram2010 - Full intro, nice vox.  Chorus has slight pump, low voxen.  Nice verse, low vox.  Chorus two, side -chained kick?  Nice bridge.  Electronic beats break, banjo.  Pumping kick outro chorus, low voxen.  Nice FX outro.

THP1 - Nice intro, vox.  Nice chorus, very slight pumping.  Nice verse, bass growl.  Break nice.  Electric beats break, banjo.  Outro chorus nice, some pump.

TomC - Nice intro drums, too much FX on Vox.  Chorus vox late, from outboard processing?  Nice chorus.  No background vox on Chorus.  Bridge nice, late vox.  Break like mine.  BANJO!  Nice organ outro w/mandolins.

UnderTow - Nice intro, bass heavy.  Good chorus, lots of Voxen FX, uses banjo.  Verse vox, low or bass too loud.  Nice 2nd chorus, organ now.  Bridge bells, lots o FX on voxen.  Nice break, explosion, FX.  BANJO.  Nice vocal reverse RVB tail on into to last chorus.  Nice play on last chorus.  Fun.  Good use of background vox on outro...to much FX on the same.

Urick - Nice intro, vox.  Nice chorus, shortened.  Nice verse.  Nice 2nd chorus, shortened for bridge.  Nice bridge.  Nice break (cut the bridge).  BANJO!

VKorehov - Regular into, nice levels vox, delay ok.  Muddy/pumpy kick on chorus, bass dissappears, no background vox.  Muddy sustained bass on verse.  Pumping 2nd chorus. Bridge with no drums, strange.  Electric beats break.  BANJO!!  Nice bass before last chorus.  Wholly pumping kick.

Volthouse - Smashed, dullish vox, bass a bit heavy on into.  Chorus nice, vox smashed.  Bass a bit heavy.  Overall sonics abit dark, veiled.  Nice fade out, abit erratic at the end.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: chrisj on September 20, 2006, 01:44:00 pm
Nice comments  Twisted Evil

Mine are coming this afternoon. Will be a combination of nice observations and whiney bitches, ideally one each for each track Very Happy
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: ATOR on September 20, 2006, 01:48:18 pm
I bit the bullet and did some heavy listening. Here are my comments:


Undertow
My favorite, this mix sounds great and grooves the hardest. The arranging is very good. Nice guitars. I hear you added some smurf backing vocals. The euphoric ending with the piano breakdown is amazing.

Scot Oliphant
The drum ambience is too loud for me. Bassgit a bit thin. Good separation and balance.

V Korehov
Midlows and low could use some cleaning up (lowend ac guits?), nice reverb on leadvocal, OHs sound weird.

Nizzle
Haha nice drumcomputer intro. I like the Big Drums esp in the verses, in the chorus they need more space, you can’t make everything big. Too much compression on Ohs. Little too much reverb.

Dikledoux
Nice! I’d like more kick. Nice touch with the pizzicato delays.

Rattleyour
Very dry. Separation and balance are great. I hear you decided to drop the organ underwater (and that's a good place for organs Razz )

Spoon
After the distorted faraway drums in the intro I expected huge drums in the first verse, you put me on the wrong foot there. Balance is good. The snaresound has too much 500Hz.

Calvin
Your mix sounds good I think, too bad you messed it up with heavy limiting. The kick lacks presence. I’d like the organ and bass less prominent. In the last chorus the instruments become cluttered.

Scott Volthause
Drums too far away. Ugly compression. Irregular weird sounds from kick.

Shakes the Clown
Very ugly compression artefacts. Chorus could use some cleanup. Sounds good where it’s not compressed.

Rankus
Drums are just kick and some stereo ambience with a ghost centre. This did make a lot of room for the lead vocal though.

Maxim
Bass is too loud (are you a bass player?). Vocal a bit dull, drums too soft, melody git too loud. Could use more attention to balancing the levels of the tracks.

Ian Combs
Snare bit dull. Lead vocal too dull and too soft in chorus. Delay on guitar in instr chorus makes it messy.

Starscream
Vocal could be more upfront. Ugly 2bus compressor/limiter abuse, why mess up a good thing?

Randy Hansen
Midlow could use some cleanup, I think it’s mostly the bassguitar. The accordion takes up too much space. Too thick reverb on ac guitars in part before break (cut midlows on return). Did you enhance the stereo image? You're past monocompatibility and lost the center.

THP1
Bass distortion edge is a bit distracting. Good balance. Silky smooth double bass in break, did you use some sort of transient designer on this?

J Hall
Signature J.Hall snaredrumsound. Too much compression. Kick could use more bottom end. Nice el. guitars in bridge.

Urick
Sibilance on leadvocal. Short delays on leadvocal little too loud for me. El guitars too locked up.

Chris Carter
Oh man, you should get a limiter constraining order for destroying you mix like that Razz  Apart from that I think that underneath this mess is a good mix.

Chris J
The mad scientists last scramble  Laughing  Well you can only leave it up to you to invent some freaky algorithm to make drums sound like this. I like it, they should be more upfront and the rest should be made to fit it. It would be the song everyone recognises when they hear 1 bar of drums.

Tom C
Leadvocal timing seems a little later, probably because of the fx. The dry leadvocal sound could be a bit louder or brighter to improve intelligibility. Instrument balance is good.

Cerberus
Very stereo drums, too bad the snare disappears in mono (Try fixing that in mastering Twisted Evil ) I’d like a louder kick. E guitars are a bit loud. Leadvocal is to soft.

Mario
Drums sound almost as if only roommics were used and are very prominent. Lot of instruments got lost in the mix. Leadvocal sounds good. The vocals need more volume and space in the chorus (cut out voc freqs in guitars etc). Some instruments in the bridge could use some hpf.


Overall nice work. I'm surprised nobody came up with a drumcomputer and acoustic bass groove with loud accordions. It seems we all have made more or less the same choices.

I'll definitely be making some changes to my mix now I've heard the other entries.


The song is great, I've been listening to it for two hours straight and I still like it.

Thanks everyone.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: NelsonL on September 20, 2006, 02:02:54 pm
chris carter wrote on Wed, 20 September 2006 10:32

 So in that vain, I consider it better to evaluate a final mix WITH a limiter as it's closer to what the the consumer gets.  



Hey Chris, greetings from a fellow Oaklander.

My only thing with your use of limiting is that I fell like it prevents me from really hearing your mix with all those brickwall artifacts, which is too bad because it seems like there's cool stuff going on.

I don't mean that as a dis at all.

Anyway, I understand the impulse... I've been beat out on test mix gigs by guys who absolutely pancake their eval mp3. Some bands just hear louder as better-- all issues of fair comparison aside.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: j.hall on September 20, 2006, 02:23:14 pm
chris carter wrote on Wed, 20 September 2006 10:32

 So in that vain, I consider it better to evaluate a final mix WITH a limiter as it's closer to what the the consumer gets.  



if you have stuff mastered and put in front of the public that sounds like that i'll be happy to point you in the right direction for some killer ME's

seriously man, you have good skillz, there is a line where you make the mix louder for artists and A&R to listen to, and one that ruins your mix.  you are so far on the other side of the line i stopped your mix and moved on.

vlado won't even let that much distortion through his door, and that's saying alot considering his masters are distorted to hell and back.

the fact that your chorus has no lift and actually feels quieter to me due to the smash fest, is not a good thing.

if i try to pick apart your mix without the limiter i'd say the chorus has stellar lift, it's just getting absolutely killed the way it is now.

my only artistic comment is that your mix felt like more of an R&B approach then a folkie singer songwriter type feel......and honestly, that's just a matter of taste, so whatever.

as for mixing it as an album cut or a single, that differentiation means nothing to me.

i mix everyting to sound the way i want it to sound and to best serve the song.  there is not a different approach for a single then an album cut.

if you insist that your limiter sounds awesome, that's fine....all that tells me is you haven't listened to it.  and hey, if your clients love it, then no one here can say jack about it.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: j.hall on September 20, 2006, 02:33:34 pm
dconstruction wrote on Wed, 20 September 2006 11:35



In the meantime, I'd really like to hear from those persons that mixed this song deemphasizing the background vocals.  To me, and to the artist, they are THE sound of this song - and the album.  What led you to underplay or even ignore those tracks?


i picked this tune because of the BGV and the passionate vocal performances.

i was curious to see what people did with them.

personally, i think the only way the tune drives forward is with the BGV up about as loud as the lead.  think modest mouse
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: starscream2010 on September 20, 2006, 02:48:16 pm
spoon wrote on Wed, 20 September 2006 12:34



starscream2010 - Full intro, nice vox.  Chorus has slight pump, low voxen.  Nice verse, low vox.  Chorus two, side -chained kick?  Nice bridge.  Electronic beats break, banjo.  Pumping kick outro chorus, low voxen.  Nice FX outro.




Cool thanks. I'm still working on the whole 2buss compression "thing". Maybe I need to adjust the attack time... It's definitely going to be some trial and error on my part, probably more error for a while....  Very Happy

The vox were low at times and I KNEW that I should've fixed them but ran out of time.

No side-chaining. No drum replacement (almost, a first for me) I tried using a alot more automation then I have in the past and I definitely like it, just trying to get more comfortable with it. Used alot of voxengo tapebus, urs eq & comps and a sonalksis 315 on the master.

I automated the fader(read that Andy Wallace does this a bit) on the 2buss, so that in the choruses I brought the volume up 1db and in the verses back down, to see if it made things a bit more dynamic and that might have hurt me more than helped.

Quote:


Starscream
Vocal could be more upfront. Ugly 2bus compressor/limiter abuse, why mess up a good thing?


I agree about the limiter, don't normally do that, just limited to bring the overall volume up.


Thanks for the critiques guys Smile
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: rankus on September 20, 2006, 02:55:03 pm
IMP7 Comments:

On the song in general:

Great song good tracking… Too easy to mix… could have done a “yardstick mix” on this one.  I was originally considering mixing with no effects just levels/pans, but broke down and added some verb to the drums…

I mixed 100% ITB. Bussed all the acoustic instruments to one stereo bus and pretty much left that alone. Bussed vox etc as well… Paralell comp on the drums. UAD1 La2a on the vox and bass. I had to work very fast so I cannot recall many specifics… if anyone has particular questions I will recall and have a look ..  But in general my approach was all faders up from the get go, mixed around the vocal, and tried to use no effects at all if possible. (By effects I mean chorus, verb, delay etc… I used plenty of comps. And EQ’s)

General Notes:   All the mixes are outstanding this time folks!  I’d say that this is an indication that the IMP is serving its intended purpose of sharing knowledge by listening and comparing …. I feel that we should either make mastering (smashing and EQ’ing the two track) mandatory, or an automatic disqualification, as it makes things impossible to compare when some have smashed and others have not….

Final comment: All I can say is that on the next one I am REALLY gonna try hard!… the competition in here is REALLY heating up!   My ass is sore from being kicked so hard!




J Hall:  Conservative , “organic” mix. Nicely done. Suits the song.   2 buss comp pumping in choruses slightly, but may be suitable. (Possibly intentional?)

Under Tow:  Good mix, but.  The choruses seem a little too empty… there were lots of instruments to fill things up with.. I would interpret the artist intention as having a bigger chorus.  Neat treatment on the ending… wish I had time to do something there.

Scott Oliphant: Natural drum sound suits the song.  What can I say.. good mix! Watch the lower mids a bit dark, but not a prob. for the ME.

Nizzle: “Hip Hop” drum samples sounded a tad weird at first but grew on me… 2 buss comps pumping a tiny, tiny, bit in the choruses…. Breakdown works for me. Nice overall balance.

VKorehov:  Nice drums.  Nice mix.  Vocal sounds great.  Instruments could have been fleshed out more in the choruses (louder), but I only say this because I am looking deeply for some comment. Great job.

Randy Hansen:  A tad dark overall.  I would suggest a little less verb, and don’t be afraid to high pass instruments that don’t need so much bottom in the mix, like acoustic gts, and piano / accordion etc.  A little boost on the top end here and there would be good as well. Good level balance in the instruments though.  Good job.

Ator:  Nice mix!  Great attention to detail, found stuff to showcase that I did not even notice.. LOL   Neat ending as well.

I combs:  A bit tubby in bottom, but nothing an ME could not handle.  A boost here and there in the top end (or even on the overall mix) would be good.  Balance of instruments is good.  Good job.

ChrisJ: Wrong sample rate… plays…. back…. too… slow… Interesting, almost works!

Maxim:  BIG bottoms. Interesting editing for a stripped down feel. This mix definitely stands out against the other submissions… Don’t be afraid of treble to balance out the bottom.


Dikledoux:  Snare is “popping” in a good way.  There’s some good top end happening here folks. Perhaps a little out of balance with the low end? A tad over done? I dunno… the ME may be able to balance this nicely… .Bass is tight.  Great job.

Rankus:   (That’s me)  Would have backed off on the bass drum a tad if I had time for a recall.  And would have worked on de-essing the lead vox a little more. Tried out the new neve 2 buss comp from UAD on this, and I think it’s a little mushy / slight pumping in the choruses… will not be purchasing that comp.

Rattle Your:  My only complaint about this is mix is lack of dynamics.. smashed pretty hard on the track comps, but done well… should leave some dynamics for the mastering engineer….Sweet ending.  Next IMP I am getting out my limiter Wink  Good shit dude.

TomC:  Vocal sounds a little “hazy” a tad too much ambience for my taste.. did you re-amp them? Seems to be some “air” (as in speaker) going on here?  Again as with some other mixes a bit more top end (globally on the 2 bus) would balance this mix a bit better.  Overall balance is good. And thanks for hosting my mp3… cheers buddy.

Urick:  Vocal could have used a little de-essing.  This mix is heavily compressed but not in a loud kind of way.. this tends to make things smaller sounding…. But good balance in the mix .. nice job.

Chris C:  Mastered?  It’s difficult to comment on the mix (not just on this submission but the others that were smashed and EQ’d as well)  Comps are pumping heavily in the choruses on this one….  

NOTE: Next IMP I will not even listen to mastered mixes… I will pass on them…. Not out of pissiness but rather a realistic comparison is not possible…. Apples to apples please folks…

Shakes:  This mix is a lot like mine!  You win! (just kidding)  Nice preservation of the drum room tone.  2 buss is pumping a bit in the choruses… (Very noticeable around 2:00) (Seems to be a trend) High end in balance with bottom end nicely. Good job!

Spoon:  Interesting treatment on drums during intro. Instrumental balance feels slightly out of whack, but decent last minute entry. Like the treatment of the outro!

Thp1:  Good mix!  Late entry so I have little time to comment but it rocks.  Again with the limiting though!

Looks like I have missed one or two (Scotts for sure)  I will try to get back to this tomorow or later today...

Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: chris carter on September 20, 2006, 03:07:57 pm
I think I have completely miscommunicated the limiter thing.

J Hall - No, I think it sounds absolutely horrible!  Can I make that clear enough?  Bad, horrible, squashed, etc.  And Rattlyour - not a competition thing to make it sound more appealing, I think just about everything tends to sound worse with massive limiting... and I didn't view IMP as a competition either Smile

The limiter gives me a worst case scenario of what will happen in mastering.  If I was doing it to impress people I'd use a better limiter.  And given the context of this environment (ie. engineers) I just wouldn't have used it at all.  I would expect everyone elses mixes to have more dynamics, less distortion, etc., than mine (and if they don't, then something is definitely wrong with their mix).  But I was trying to be "real world" about it and the limiter is not there to impress ANYONE and I fully expected to get bashed for it by a bunch of engineers. It's kind of hard to swap a mix out with the current hit-o-today when they are 8dB apart.

One of the best experiences I've ever had was watching David Bianco mix and I was like, "Dude, that snare is shattering my glasses", but of course, he was right because with a really full bodied song like the one he was mixing the snare was going to get slapped by the limiter in mastering.  Lesson learned (I guess that's why he has a Grammy and I don't!).

I look at the limiter thing as akin to checking your mix on a boombox or on computer speakers.  I do those too, please don't shoot me for it Smile

So that said, since it's been mentioned a few times now, I'll post a link to the final mix when I have a chance.  You do have a good point that from a learning perspective it is harder to know what different people have done to their mixes with the limiter - which I guess is really the point of this thing!!

Actual final mix sans limiter coming sometime today (hopefully).
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: Tom C on September 20, 2006, 03:35:53 pm
spoon wrote on Wed, 20 September 2006 17:19


And speaking of cleaner posts, should I post all the reviews in one thread or break them up?



Have a look at the IMP6 discussion, listing all people in one
posting with some comments and/or questions is IMO a good way
to keep everything clean.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: Calvin on September 20, 2006, 03:41:16 pm
rankus wrote on Wed, 20 September 2006 14:55

 I feel that we should either make mastering (smashing and EQ’ing the two track) mandatory, or an automatic disqualification, as it makes things impossible to compare when some have smashed and others have not….



I completely agree with this notion.  Last time, I used no limiting and made no attempt to make my mix louder, and my mix was waaaay quieter than nearly all the other mixes.  So, this time I break out the limiter (figuratively speaking - ITB only), with not-so-good results.  Very Happy

I'd vote for no "mastering."
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: Tom C on September 20, 2006, 03:43:22 pm
dconstruction wrote on Wed, 20 September 2006 18:35


In the meantime, I'd really like to hear from those persons that mixed this song deemphasizing the background vocals.  To me, and to the artist, they are THE sound of this song - and the album.  What led you to underplay or even ignore those tracks?


Even there are some heavy guitars in there I think the overall
instrumentation and flow of the song are more on the softer side,
and the bg vocals do not support this, that's why I left them out.
Of course that's a personal preference and if the artist wouldn't
like it I'd include it again, but I like it better this way.
I excluded other tracks as well. Less is sometimes more.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: NelsonL on September 20, 2006, 04:11:05 pm
Hey Rankus, thanks for the comments.

I’m comfortable with the dynamics of my mix, but I’m listening to what you have to say at the same time. You know how it is, two guys, two opinions.

Here’s what I compressed, just for fun-- I don't really remember settings though:

Vox-- LA-4A cascaded into a Tube Tech LCA-2B.

Kick-- (2 tracks submixed) -- Tube Tech LCA-2B.

Snare--(3 tracks submixed)-- Massey CT4 demo, plus a little bit of trashy BF76 in paralell, mixed in underneath.

OH-- None

Rooms— None

Piano and Organ— None

BGV— None

Guitars-- None

Bells—Massey CT4?? I forget, I was looking for lots of color though.

Bass-- It's actually not a comp, but running it out through a tube pre/EQ did change the dynamics a bit.

2 Buss— None

I mixed OTB on a Soundcraft Ghost. EQ is all a combo of the board and the Massey EQ-- except for a bit of digital lo and hi passing on a track or two (which the Massey can't do.)

I figured at 16/48 this was a great chance to eval the Massey stuff. I'm going to purchase the CT4 Comp and the EQ I think.

Also, I gained down a lot of tracks via audio suite. Serious thanks to Dave McNair who has mentioned that approach here before... it helps.

So that’s that-- mastering would definitely get the mix with no limiting.

Interestingly, I tried to be very conservative with the limiter.

I used the Massey L2007 demo set to -1db of reduction on peaks. I did this based on what J. does with Maxim because that makes a lot of sense to me for eval mp3’s. Last time I think I just went with a completely nude two buss—here I decided to try something different and check out a very affordable tool in the process.

Anyway, I certainly wasn't trying to master the mix-- but I'll have to think about this for IMP8. I just keep my hand on the volume when I go through these— so at best I’m unscientifically leveling the playing field as I go.

So anyway we're at an interesting place here because some of us are saying no limiting, while some of us are trying to use it super conservatively (maybe that’s an oxymoron with brick wall stuff,)  and the others may have just gone balls out.

I'd sort of hesitate to slap more rules on this thing-- I know J. doesn't want to have to police the posts so to speak.

Chris Carter, I didn't mean to suggest you were trying to beat anybody-- everybody's got the benefit of the doubt from my end.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: j.hall on September 20, 2006, 04:23:27 pm
chris carter wrote on Wed, 20 September 2006 14:07


J Hall - No, I think it sounds absolutely horrible!  Can I make that clear enough?  Bad, horrible, squashed, etc.  


cool!

let's not discuss any more then.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: Nizzle on September 20, 2006, 04:27:42 pm
I'm interested in why so many take issue with 2 buss stuff for the IMP's....Isn't it safe to assume we all form our opinions about mixes from the music we listen to? Isn't it also safe to assume we are listening to mass produced CD's that are mastered? Who cares what the Mix Engineer does.....Everybody's mix levels are going to be vastly different, so I don't see any reason to limit(pun intended) the expression of the Mix Engineer. I propose we assume the level of the mix has to do with the way the Mix Engineer wishes to present the song(for better or worse).

I can say for myself - My 2 buss dynamics/EQ/Whatever are all integral to th overall sound I'm trying to achieve. I for one do not add anything for the sole purpose of volume(for the IMP's)....But I'm fine if someone else wishes to...I will assume it's for the sake of the mix and not the volume.

-t
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: Tom C on September 20, 2006, 04:41:07 pm
[Disclaimer: in my comments I mixed up Banjo and Mandolins, if I wrote
Mandolin and there's no Mandolin there I meant Banjo and vice versa Very Happy]



My very subjective findings:

ATOR: drums a bit bright, good vocals, good groove factor, mandolin a bit loud, cool
bass in the bridge, nice ending

Calvin:
interesting minimalistic intro, nice B4,good and powerful e-guitars

Chris Carter: huge/good bass, intro has a bit too much delay on vocals, good strings,
good vocals, too much compressed

ChrisJ:
drums a bit strange sounding, nice e-guitars, nice vocals but a bit dark, nice bridge.
Your wrong-sample-rate version was somehow interesting, too, and brings me some
strange ideas for IMP8

Dikledoux: good vocals, like the delay on the strings, drums could have a bit more punch
good and powerful guitars, outro a bit out of sync.

iComps: nice bass and drums, could be overall a tad brighter, good groove, nice bg vocals,
vocals could be a bit brighter

J.Hall: great vocals/bg vocals, good groove factor, snare could have a bit more bottom,

Maxim: way too much bass around 65 Hz, overall nicely glued together, great string reverb,
vocals could be a bit more dominant and brighter.

Nizzle: different intro approach with the e-drums, good vocals, outro a bit loud.

Randy Hansen:
good intro vocals, loudness difference between first verse and chorus
a bit too much, I'd remove an instrument or two in the choruses (accordion) to have
a clearer direction

Rankus: good drums, mandolin a bit to loud, good vocals bg/vocals, e-guitars in the
bridge a bit dull

Rattleyour: good vox and background vox, B4 a bit overdone, but okay for the fade out,
good groove

Scottoliphant:
good drums, good vocals, good e-guitars, mandolins(?) in
bridge a bit loud, overall good balance

ShakesTheClown:
nice intro vocals, chorus a bit crowded, good bridge, e-guitars could
be a tad louder

Spoon: different but interesting intro, good vocals and overall balance, chorus a bit
flat, nice bridge

Thierry:
good vocals, lots of power and good groove, well balanced, mandolins after
bridge a bit too loud

Undertow: nice bass but a bit to loud, bg vox a bit too much reverb, good groove,
good e-guitars, cool reverse reverb on vocals after the bridge, VERY cool last
chorus

Urick: drums a bit bright, good bass, could have a bit more punch and dynamics.

Vladislav: nice bass and drums but a bit washy a very low frequencies, mandolins a
bit too loud for my taste, good e-guitars, good vocals

I'm sure I've missed a lot of details worth commenting, but reviewing 20 submissions
needs a lot of time so I picked only the (to me) most interesting things.


Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: iCombs on September 20, 2006, 04:49:52 pm
j.hall wrote on Wed, 20 September 2006 13:33

think modest mouse


FISRT THING I DID.  Seriously.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: Tom C on September 20, 2006, 04:51:19 pm
spoon wrote on Wed, 20 September 2006 19:34


TomC - Nice intro drums, too much FX on Vox.  Chorus vox late, from outboard processing?  Nice chorus.  No background vox on Chorus.  Bridge nice, late vox.  Break like mine.  BANJO!  Nice organ outro w/mandolins.



ATOR wrote on Wed, 20 September 2006 19:48


Tom C
Leadvocal timing seems a little later, probably because of the fx. The dry leadvocal sound could be a bit louder or brighter to improve intelligibility. Instrument balance is good.



Thanks guys, my DAW seems to have an issue there when rendering
to disk (in fact, I've placed the vocals a bit early to make them
more alive), maybe one of the plugs is too processor heavy (the
vocals had the most plugs anyway).
I'll investigate that.

Note to self: listen to your own mix when it's rendered to disk
more carefully.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: j.hall on September 20, 2006, 05:22:30 pm
i've never critiqued any single mix in these things. and no one has asked me for my opinion of their work either.

the general consensus of mine is that i over compress, that's the #1 comment of my work in every IMP we've done thus far.......

anyway......i'm going to give a critique of every one's mix at the same time and break my silence.

i'm a bit disheartened with the direction IMP is going.  seems like we're getting more and more about "look at this sweet flanger" and less and less about actually mixing a song.

this is supposed to be a real world situation where you pretend there is a client you'll have to answer to, while still expressing yourself.

here is the critique.

no one has done a mix that makes me want to keep listening to the song.  your job as a mixer is to sell the song.  no matter how amazing the song is, you can always kill it.  you have to make people want to listen.  find the lelements that truly speak to a listener and exploit them.

by no means am i saying that my mixes does this.......

i simply saying, from what i've heard, no one else is really doing it.

i also think that many of you have mild to significant acoustics problems in your mix environments and it not only colors your own mix, but it colors your comments on other people's work.

if any one wants specific comments from me about your mix, i'll be happy to supply that.  at this point, i just don't see IMP being as constructive of an educational tool as i originally planned.

all i see is engineers, engineering, for other engineers, to geek out about engineering.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: Nizzle on September 20, 2006, 05:38:51 pm
j.hall wrote on Wed, 20 September 2006 22:22



all i see is engineers, engineering, for other engineers, to geek out about engineering.


OK - you start with the kind of correspondence you were looking for(feel free to use my mix as a starting point)....I'll follow your lead and post. I'm curious/ excited about what it is your after....

-t
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: scottoliphant on September 20, 2006, 05:45:12 pm
Quote:

"look at this sweet flanger" and less and less about actually mixing a song.
I agree with this. I hear lots of reverbs, and weird delays that I'm not sure we'd use in real life? Every time an old bandmate of mine would make a flyer for our band, he'd throw about 15 photoshop filters on a perfectly good poster.

Quote:

i also think that many of you have mild to significant acoustics problems in your mix environments and it not only colors your own mix, but it colors your comments on other people's work.
Isn't this the indie forum?  Smile we can all strive to get better / improve our environments, things like this help (me at least).
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: starscream2010 on September 20, 2006, 05:48:34 pm
j.hall wrote on Wed, 20 September 2006 16:22

i've never critiqued any single mix in these things. and no one has asked me for my opinion of their work either.

the general consensus of mine is that i over compress, that's the #1 comment of my work in every IMP we've done thus far.......

anyway......i'm going to give a critique of every one's mix at the same time and break my silence.

i'm a bit disheartened with the direction IMP is going.  seems like we're getting more and more about "look at this sweet flanger" and less and less about actually mixing a song.

this is supposed to be a real world situation where you pretend there is a client you'll have to answer to, while still expressing yourself.

here is the critique.

no one has done a mix that makes me want to keep listening to the song.  your job as a mixer is to sell the song.  no matter how amazing the song is, you can always kill it.  you have to make people want to listen.  find the lelements that truly speak to a listener and exploit them.

by no means am i saying that my mixes does this.......

i simply saying, from what i've heard, no one else is really doing it.

i also think that many of you have mild to significant acoustics problems in your mix environments and it not only colors your own mix, but it colors your comments on other people's work.

if any one wants specific comments from me about your mix, i'll be happy to supply that.  at this point, i just don't see IMP being as constructive of an educational tool as i originally planned.

all i see is engineers, engineering, for other engineers, to geek out about engineering.


Honestly, I would like your opinion on my mix and be brutal, as  always  Smile  

Also, I don't feel as though I am to a point in my mixing to where I can offer criticism, be that constructive or not.

I entered IMP because it seems like a cool way to hear, how other people do things differently and because I only learn by doing, reading, listening... so, this is an easy way (for me) to learn ways to improve my skills.

I really enjoyed listening to everyone's take on the tune and hope that we can continue to do these in the future.

Nick


p.s. The mix I submitted WOULD be how I would given it to a client if I were to be paid for it  Embarassed, well with the exception that I would have brought the vox up abit.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: Tom C on September 20, 2006, 06:00:22 pm
j.hall wrote on Wed, 20 September 2006 23:22


no one has done a mix that makes me want to keep listening to the song.  your job as a mixer is to sell the song.  no matter how amazing the song is, you can always kill it.  you have to make people want to listen.  find the lelements that truly speak to a listener and exploit them.



Agreed, but these two are also the hardest parts to do.
We try to learn how to mix here, and it's easy to lose the
songs vision when you try to get the technical side correct.
It's like learning an instrument, it needs some time until
you're able to forget the handcraft and see the art.
It's a good point, and one I'll try to work on that.

j.hall wrote on Wed, 20 September 2006 23:22


i also think that many of you have mild to significant acoustics problems in your mix environments and it not only colors your own mix, but it colors your comments on other people's work.



That's something you could help a lot, you have a good room
and the experience to tell where the most obvious shortcomings
of our rooms are.

j.hall wrote on Wed, 20 September 2006 23:22


at this point, i just don't see IMP being as constructive of an educational tool as i originally planned.



Maybe if you'd tell in what direction you'd like to see IMP
going we can try to make it like that.
It's all up to us.

j.hall wrote on Wed, 20 September 2006 23:22


all i see is engineers, engineering, for other engineers, to geek out about engineering.


Bunch of nerds Very Happy
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: iCombs on September 20, 2006, 06:04:42 pm
I also think, if I might piggyback on j.'s comments, that there's not a whole lot of discussion regarding WHAT about the song made you make the mix decisions you did.  Was the bassline so irresistably funky that it had to get pushed up?  Was there some crazy hi-hat pattern that glued the drumkit to the rest of the song?  I know that, for me, the macrodynamics of this song were what interested me.  There are 3 or 4 distinct dynamic levels if you look at it in terms of verses, choruses, breakdown, and the last chorus (which was like a regular chorus on steroids in my head).  I wanted to make those levels very distinct and apparent.  The sheer amount of instrumentation in the chorus made the "big" thing really easy to do in terms of deciding HOW I wanted to do it...all I had to do was find a spot in that wall of stuff for each instrument.

(if I'm reading into j.'s comments correctly...this would be ther place where you'd normally insert technical discussion as it pertains to HOW you did what you did)

also, and I mean this with no offense to anyone, but I heard a lot of mixes that had TONS of tracks stripped out.  I'm not any kind of genious, but I think that for the most part, if they sent it to mix, they want it in the mix.  Granted, when stuff gets doubled and tripled and stacked, it can make for a muddy mess where one or two tracks would have done just fine, but I heard a few mixes (need to organize all the files I dl'ed and see whose is whose) where there was no accordion.  There were plenty of mixes where the breakdown was cut.  That's a pretty ballsy call for a mix engineer to make without at the very least the producer's involvement, IMO.  Seems like something that would be a no-no in a professional environment without the consent of the artist.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: chrisj on September 20, 2006, 06:05:01 pm
j.hall wrote on Wed, 20 September 2006 17:22


no one has done a mix that makes me want to keep listening to the song.  your job as a mixer is to sell the song.  no matter how amazing the song is, you can always kill it.  you have to make people want to listen.  find the lelements that truly speak to a listener and exploit them.

by no means am i saying that my mixes does this.......

i simply saying, from what i've heard, no one else is really doing it.


I tried something harder. I was trying to make a mix that would make my WIFE want to keep listening to the song Laughing

She's hated all the songs so far, whether it's IMP, WIMP, WOMP, WUMP or CaPE, with a few exceptions (loved Team Headbang and Team Industry from CaPE). This can make it challenging as I play the bloody things over and over, adjusting them Very Happy

I do hear what you're saying, J- it seems like this is a very important thing and can't be overemphasized- the challenge for you is in figuring out how to get people to UNDERSTAND it, mostly to understand where they're missing it. It's not that people aren't trying, they are always trying to do something to make the song so cool people will want to hear it. There's just that little detail of HOW to worry about... and that is what this is all about.

I love it as much as I hate it when I get just slammed with criticism in these things, but it has to be detailed, it has to be a conversation. That's why I joked about 'nice crit', because saying either 'nice this' or 'horrible that' is nearly useless- you have to describe what is happening that you like or don't like, always within the context of your own limited understanding.

I'm really looking forward to hearing your criticisms but only if they aren't 'nice/sucks'. It sounds like you can bring a different level to the crit table. Please do. I had a guy in a CaPE mastering wanting more 'wind and sea', or was it 'beach and tides'? I'd love to hear someone get funky like that with the IMP entries.

I'll do my best- struggling to find time to listen to all the entries. I'm up to DMXR100, alphabetically.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: chris carter on September 20, 2006, 06:14:33 pm
By popular demand, here is my final mix that I actually printed to disc and before I threw it in an editor to add limiting for reference and the fade out (although, you can grab your speaker knob and create your own fade wherever you want Smile)

So this is what would actually go to the mastering engineer.

http://www.millraceonline.com/samples/weekendsandholidays_cc _FINALMIX.mp3
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: Tom C on September 20, 2006, 06:20:42 pm
chrisj wrote on Thu, 21 September 2006 00:05

saying either 'nice this' or 'horrible that' is nearly useless- you have to describe what is happening that you like or don't like, always within the context of your own limited understanding.



I don't know J.'s intentions, but I think this is a good direction.
Actually I knew what and why I liked or didn't like something in
a given mix, but I just mentioned the what and completely failed
to go beyond this.
Good point.
No, VERY good point!
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: rankus on September 20, 2006, 06:35:12 pm
I for one would like J's thoughts on each of the mixes.... I feel that everyone that expects a critique should pay for that service by contributing their own.... that is what we are all here for... I personally didn't have time to write my critiques, but I made time, because I would feel like I had not equally contributed to the process otherwise. My comments are always to pick the point in the mix that needs the most attention, the part that sticks out as it were...  in most cases I stick to technical comments.

Although due to J's family situation (new baby) I did not expect (nor do I) that he would have time to comment on every mix (although it would be cool).

J.  Are we not supposed to critique the tecnical elements of the mixes?  I am confused... I thought this was the intention. The IMP's need more "guidelines", if you want them to remain within certain boundaries we need to know where those boundaries are.

PS: My studio RTA's out relatively flat, But due to time constraints I must listen to  mixes here at home. (A real world environment I would argue...and one in which I have listened to hundreds of commercial releases)  

I would also note that all of us being Indie, in one way or another, we cannot afford designed-tuned rooms for listening to IMP in. If we had such rooms we would likely not be here in an Indie forum... Just doing the best we can with what we have... "Indie" IMO.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: spoon on September 20, 2006, 06:35:43 pm
j.hall wrote on Wed, 20 September 2006 16:22


this is supposed to be a real world situation where you pretend there is a client you'll have to answer to, while still expressing yourself.

here is the critique.

no one has done a mix that makes me want to keep listening to the song.  your job as a mixer is to sell the song.  no matter how amazing the song is, you can always kill it.  you have to make people want to listen.  find the lelements that truly speak to a listener and exploit them.


I took it abit differently.  Since we could not contact the writers, I took the position that this was my song.  So how would I want it mixed.

I disagree that the mixer's job is to sell the song.  I feel the mixer's job is to deliver what the artist(s) wants to hear.  The artist's vision (of the song).  That may or may not "sell the song".

I would be great if it did, BUT I have never heard a mix KILL a song (extreme examples of amatueur mixing aside.)
If a song is good (aka you like it) then you like it.  Would you like this or that different, sure but you either like it or not.
IMHO.

chrisj wrote on Wed, 20 September 2006 17:05


I love it as much as I hate it when I get just slammed with criticism in these things, but it has to be detailed, it has to be a conversation. That's why I joked about 'nice crit', because saying either 'nice this' or 'horrible that' is nearly useless- you have to describe what is happening that you like or don't like, always within the context of your own limited understanding.

I'm really looking forward to hearing your criticisms but only if they aren't 'nice/sucks'. It sounds like you can bring a different level to the crit table. Please do. I had a guy in a CaPE mastering wanting more 'wind and sea', or was it 'beach and tides'? I'd love to hear someone get funky like that with the IMP entries.

I'll do my best- struggling to find time to listen to all the entries. I'm up to DMXR100, alphabetically.


That is the issue.  TIME.  I would love to provide details but there are 24 some odd entries.  And I have a full-time job.
All I can provide are observations, and whether I liked something or not.

Such is the nature of the beast.

Regardless, I still think this is educational.  Both in mixing other's material AND the discussions that ensue.

Best,
David
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: chris carter on September 20, 2006, 06:41:52 pm
j.hall wrote on Wed, 20 September 2006 14:22


this is supposed to be a real world situation where you pretend there is a client you'll have to answer to, while still expressing yourself.

here is the critique.

no one has done a mix that makes me want to keep listening to the song.  your job as a mixer is to sell the song.  no matter how amazing the song is, you can always kill it.  you have to make people want to listen.  find the lelements that truly speak to a listener and exploit them.

......

all i see is engineers, engineering, for other engineers, to geek out about engineering.


I think the thing about making a record people want to keep listening to is important.  But in the context of the IMP, I think some things make it harder than it should be.  

1) Not being able to talk to the artist or producer makes it really hard to be on the same page with what they are going for (as evidenced by the extreme contrasting mixes presented).  I think there has to be some kind of understanding there.  

2) Not hearing anything else from the artist also makes it hard to get the right vibe for the record.

3) The nature of this thing requires that we be hypothetically hired for the gig.  The reality is different mix folks have different sounds and an artist/label/whoever is going to try and find a good match.  Many of us probably are not a good match.

I think those things are all important, especially #3 when you consider the target consumer market.  I sent my mix to a handfull of friends (not saying that I mixed it!).  For some of them it just wasn't their style so they said stuff like, "technically it sounds great, but it's not my vibe".  But for the handfull of people who DO like that kind of stuff I actually had two people ask who the artist was so they could track them down.  My point is only that when you know what kind of consumer the artist/label is going for, it helps to deliver the right mix.  I guess I'm just saying you have to know what the folks who chose you to mix their song are going for, or that they picked you because you, by default, mix exactly the way they hear their record alread so you don't have to ask.

Insofar as my participation is concerned... I didn't do it so much for general feedback list with two sentences thing.  I did it so that I could hear how other people might approach the same song.  And I might (and did) hear some cool things I didn't think of.  And the opportunity to ask that individual what exactly they did or find something I hate about my mix, but I like about theirs, and be able to get _specific_ help.  Or just see a different thought process being used and being able to get more info about it so I have more ways to think about mixing in general.  Overall, I think this is a great experience for me, but it requires taking it for what it is.

I will say that it is MOST helpful to hear someone's mix in context with what they say they were trying to go for.  And to that end, I'd like to ask these individuals what their GENERAL PARADIGM in approaching the song was:

a) J. Hall.  (bonus points if you talk about how you chose to replace the drum sounds and how you chose what to replace them with).

b) Dikledoux.  Although not particularly thrilled a couple decisions like the 2nd verse piano, this mix was probably the most enjoyable to listen to for me.  And specifically, I personally was fighting like mad with those strings and I noticed you took an extreme approach with the long delay so bonus point if you fill me in on your thought process on that.

I probably have more questions to ask, but it's hard to wade through all the mixes...
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: NelsonL on September 20, 2006, 06:44:42 pm
iCombs wrote on Wed, 20 September 2006 15:04

I also think, if I might piggyback on j.'s comments, that there's not a whole lot of discussion regarding WHAT about the song made you make the mix decisions you did.  Was the bassline so irresistably funky that it had to get pushed up?  Was there some crazy hi-hat pattern that glued the drumkit to the rest of the song?  I know that, for me, the macrodynamics of this song were what interested me.  There are 3 or 4 distinct dynamic levels if you look at it in terms of verses, choruses, breakdown, and the last chorus (which was like a regular chorus on steroids in my head).  I wanted to make those levels very distinct and apparent.  The sheer amount of instrumentation in the chorus made the "big" thing really easy to do in terms of deciding HOW I wanted to do it...all I had to do was find a spot in that wall of stuff for each instrument.

(if I'm reading into j.'s comments correctly...this would be ther place where you'd normally insert technical discussion as it pertains to HOW you did what you did)

also, and I mean this with no offense to anyone, but I heard a lot of mixes that had TONS of tracks stripped out.  I'm not any kind of genious, but I think that for the most part, if they sent it to mix, they want it in the mix.  Granted, when stuff gets doubled and tripled and stacked, it can make for a muddy mess where one or two tracks would have done just fine, but I heard a few mixes (need to organize all the files I dl'ed and see whose is whose) where there was no accordion.  There were plenty of mixes where the breakdown was cut.  That's a pretty ballsy call for a mix engineer to make without at the very least the producer's involvement, IMO.  Seems like something that would be a no-no in a professional environment without the consent of the artist.


I probably left out the most stuff-- certainly no offense taken here.

To be honest I really don't think the majority of the midi tracks have any place on this song. They remind me of my own failed overdub experiemnts in this age of DAWS and nearly unlimited tracks.

I like the organ and piano though, they add something without having an artificial quality that distracts from the sincerity of the song. But that's really just taste-- I realize that.

Sometimes strong opinions will put you over the top with a client, other times they'll completely torpedo you. But I do think it's a valid choice to mute all those tracks-- I think they undermine a very heartfelt and organic performance, click track be damned.

If this were the real world I would try to broach the subject gently before delivering the mix.

But since IMP is done in a vacuum I just go with my gut for better or worse.

If I were working with absolutely no client contact, and there was real income at stake then you're right--I might not be so brash. But I frankly don't see much reason to soften my opinions when it's just an exercise-- I'd rather put my best foot forward.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: scott volthause on September 20, 2006, 07:04:25 pm
I had a 3 hour time window to do this thing front to back, and I see (hear) now that I missed a few things entirely... like the f'kin accordion and bells. Geez. They aren't even in my folder. Although they are in the .rar file. I'm not sure how I lost them.

My opinion on the critique of everyone's mixes, it seems to me like a waste of time. Sorry, but just to listen to everyone's stuff is enjoyable. I see a lot of different approaches. I think the only time I would comment (and I may yet) is when I hear something that isn't a matter of personal taste i.e., something went wrong. Like, the vocals are buried to the point that I can't understand or hear them. Everything else just seems like ego stroking. If you want to argue the semantics of me or anyone compressing the snot out of the mix, snare, guitars, whatever, I'd happily engage in a discourse over PM about it, but it's a matter of taste and/or style and a lot of people here aren't ever going to see eye to eye on it.

Now, my opinion on taking these songs and mixing them, is that, in this particular case (personally speaking) it didn't seem like much of the ancillary parts were 'produced'. In other words, the chorus starts up and everything hits you at once. I didn't think that was a good way to build a chorus, and to build tension. Perhaps that was bad... very, very bad.

I'll be standing in the corner holding the dictionaries above my head.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: ATOR on September 20, 2006, 07:25:43 pm
To me the commenting part of the IMP is of minor importance. What makes IMPing great is to be able to listen to other guys doing their thing with the same raw material. A mix says more than a thousand words comment.

I pick out the mixes or ideas I hear that captivate me most and figure out what it is I like in them. It usually starts with a gut feeling but with studying I try to bring it down to cold hard technical facts. This way I can improve my own mix and learn to do better. Maybe one of the mixes would make me jump out of my chair and bang my head but if I can't translate this to a technical why, I'll never be able to reproduce it.

My comments are mainly technical but do have an emotional basis. 'I can't connect to the singer' could translate in a "too much reverb on leadvocal" comment and 'The drums don't make me move' could end up as "too much compression on the drums."


When I comment a mix there's a thin line between something that's wrong and something that I don't like. I'm not a big fan of reverb and compression so I'll comment on that if it's used too much for my taste. I do like to hear peoples personal opinions of what they do and don't like about my mix, maybe I should say I especially like to hear 'taste' opinions. Those are the ones that will make me look outside my box and try new things.

Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: chrisj on September 20, 2006, 07:35:34 pm
Chris's Last Mad Scramble- Electric guitars are nice Very Happy big crunching drums. Sometimes the attack of that is too harsh to be natural. The acoustic guitars are getting lumpy in the low mids, which I'm not pleased with. Also, when the pitch was changed, the automation DID NOT FOLLOW ARGH! as it was TIME based and not sample based. OY! Well, something to remember for the next time. The entire outro is mis-timed automation and was supposed to be happening over the last chorus Very Happy glad people enjoyed it...

ATOR- Bit of autotune artifacts. I like the synth kick feel. Arrangement is trimmed to tighten it- I can see doing that. I'm liking the swing and bounce of this one. All the sounds sound kinda small though- this feels like one of the 'hey, no EQ needed! entries. I differ Wink also, I'd swear that some of those things like pizzicato and banjo are like Quicktime Musical Instruments or something, and I can't see putting that much weight on them unprocessed. Those sounds are very dead and dull. Lots of re-arranging. Reminds me of the mastering problem- do you change the mix? In this case it is, do you totally ignore what came out of the tracking? You did. I'm not convinced you were right, but it's a pretty persuasive attempt. It needed to be better, not simply different. It's maybe a _bit_ better but should have been way better to justify the big song structure changes. It's not worse, that's for sure.

Calvin- I'm going to cool off the superhot ones until they don't hurt Very Happy wow, that's a really resonant bass. I'm hearing the screaming BGVs this time. Much less of a groove because the kik is clicking too much and the snare is too hot and the hat isn't obvious. In fact the overheads and the sustaining cymbals are missing. Banjo sounds more convincing this time. Aren't the guitars intended to be stereo? Fade to avoid the funny ending. This one feels like it's trying to be really pro, but is a bit stiff.

cerberus- Almost seems like a hint of telephone effect on the lead vocal, which seems a bit small. I'm hearing a lot more Hammond this time and I'm getting a good sense of that grinding shimmering quality. There are the pizzicatos (which I sorta hated) and they feel sort of plausible, which is a nice trick. I almost hear a steel drum? This is a Jeff mix, so not even God knows what's happening in there, you just have to register the feelings without trying to understand. The electric guitars feel like they're gating on and off. The banjo is _quite_ good, feels convincing. I'd find the song more impressive if the lead vocal felt like it was the most important bit- it wants more presence and star-quality and whatever it has isn't adding presence or making it seize your attention.

Chris Carter- Ow. (turns down) (yes, it's still playing louder than the others) Dude, when everything kicks in you can't hear anything. I'd better analyze that because it's masking problems- it's not just the limiting. If mine was slammed like that, everything would still poke out. Here's what's happening- a bunch of drum reverb, verb on the pizzicato, verb on a lot of things and it's not super-great verb either. The basses are very resonant and they eat up their frequencies completely. The guitar hooks are blowing through the limiting and they're not that important. The balance is probably best in the electric rhythm guitar section before the mandolins return. The electric drums are not good- dull and weird- pizzicato, also dull and getting in the way- some of these things are contributing to the big logjam of the extreme limiting. I don't mean to be a dick more than necessary but someone should say more than 'oh limiting, sounds terrible'. There are reasons why this smash level isn't working and if you didn't have the limiter, the balance problems would be a lot more obvious. I would really recommend working without a limiter and making things balance with level and EQ, it just doesn't feel as if that is together.

Dikledoux- Hey, nice organic feel. I'm liking the kick and snare, nice and beefy. I hear some autotune artifacts on the vox, I think. The echo thing is a neat thing to do with the pizzicatos, and you're getting use out of the piano. It feels very rootsy. Actually it feels very happy and bouncy. The guitar parts are real heavy though. Electric guitars are a little boxy. This is a likeable version. Sort of guy-next-door version.

DMXR100- Feels clean. I like the swing of the kick drum. When it gets bigger it sort of squelches outward into reverby accordion over on the side, and that seems awful weird. Switching back out of it is cool though. The cymbals are sort of glittery and not part of the song, and there's a real tendency to have stuff carrying this weird mid-low blur, like the guitars. Everything goes 'whummmm' sometimes, with cymbal tinsel on top. The sparser bits worked better.

iCombs- This really feels like an 'everything' mix. I'm liking the drum sounds, though something is lacking as far as cohesiveness- the mix has plenty of separation but I'm looking for the merging of it all and it's hard to find- there's always something sticking out saying 'Hi! I have lots of separation!' like the kick or the banjo. Feels like tracking.

JHall- "Nice mix with too much compression!" Wink Seriously, what's coming out for me isn't so much the compression, it's the struggle making the lead vocal be the most important thing. The drums really step on it for the sparser bits, not so much in choruses. It's not that they are much louder, they're just bigger and more compelling. When all those BGVs come in, it fixes it because they are very demanding of attention. I still don't think that guitar hook is worth the attention paid it, and I'm surprised the pizzicato riff stayed- some people really liked it, me not so much because it has nothing to do with the flow of the song unlike the guitar hook. The general feeling I had from the mix was drums, band, gang chorus vocals, lead vocals, wacky overdubs in that order. All good except that lead vox has got to seem more important than that. I probably should have cranked it harder myself.

Mario I.- Damn is this cranking. I like the feel of the drums. Actually I'm liking this quite a bit though I think the drums are simply too hot relative to the lead vocal. One thing about it is I'm not getting badgered about with overdubs- it's like 'banging rock background, lead vocalist who's not really turned up enough'. Don't think the distorted guitars came out all that great, it's the sparser bits that are working for me, and I want the lead vocal to have as much presence as the rest of the band.

Maxim- Relaxed. Everything is really, really subdued, with a total jukebox bass throbbing away, but the great thing is for this one, the lead voice is the most important thing. It stands out very clearly against everything else, and it feels like you're supposed to be paying attention to it. That's good because if you were supposed to be digging on the glockenspiel and hi-hat mic this would suck Very Happy if _everything_ got a little more interesting it would help this, but don't lose the priority list here. And I like the jukebox bass, it's fun to me Smile

Nizzle- Another lead voice that means it- loses a bit of focus on the chorus. Some arrangement changes. Some jarring details like a kickdrum that goes POK Very Happy (stop where you are, or we'll turn on the kickdrum that goes POK!) The feel is of stuff punching out in a gutsy way, thank God that includes the vocals or it would be pretty silly. I'm liking the banjo treatment, it does give things a rootsy feel. Bizarre end.

Rankus- Spacious, but with solidness to it. I'm hearing the voices on top of everything, but maybe a little subdued. Better in the sparse bits. There's a quality here where the wacky overdubs aren't too irritating, and things are built out of stuff like drums and banjos which feels right for the song. The distorted stuff also feels right but it feels completely muffled- shouldn't everything be blowing past the vocals at that point so they're shouting to be heard? It's a contrast change after all. Much too similar to the banjo sections in character.

Rattleyour- Natural-feeling. Wow, this version really likes the vocals, even to the point where I wonder how the backing instruments are doing. I really really don't feel that guitar hook rates that much attention Very Happy wow, that was loud. This feels like it has its priorities straight but steps on the unimportant stuff too hard. And come on, glockenspiels more important than the stereo guitars? But the vocals are really big- I would just want the lead vox to be bigger than those backing vox, because I don't like them as much.

Shakes The Clown- We're trying to clean up the pitch I see. Here's another big trashy room-snare, that's what I did too. The swing of the track seems sort of tentative, it's not always real clear. That said, I like the way things balance amongst each other, good stuff with the acoustic guitars and with the entry of the hammond being highlighted. Stuff is all at the proper size, it would appear- this is good, I _really_ like having the dirt guitars big and the glockenspiels/mandolins clear but little.

soliphant- Another one that's trying to punch the beat up a lot. Very hard banging feel with the kick and the snare, sort of punky. Not a lot of other stuff going on to add lushness to it. I'm liking the way the Hammond swells and does volume surges, and this is sure propulsive, it's just lacking any relaxedness. The double espresso mix? As expected, it rocks for the dirt-guitar section.

spoon- Drum treatments, huh? Against a good strong lead vocal which feels like the focal point. More drum treatments. Then woohoo, more drum treatments! It feels sort of experimental- if the voice wasn't consistent and upfront this wouldn't really work. It always sounds like the only thing we care about is the vocals and the snare.

starscream2010- Well, this is polite. Nice and clear and very produced, in particular I'm hearing the bass working with the drums in a peculiar way that must have been hell to create. Rather than jukebox bass it's like big bouncing balloons bass Very Happy the whole thing is bouncy as hell, in fact, the bounciness is more obvious than the words of the song. Everything sounds very nice. Definitive 'nice', all the details are sculpted artfully. It's the way they combine that gives that super-bouncy feel.

Thierry- Loud enough to turn down (still louder than the others, mind you). Feels sort of banging and smashing. I'm not getting that much sense of the vocals- more like I'm getting a sense of 'yay, what a cool drum reverb!'. I shouldn't exaggerate, the vocals do have a degree of emphasis, but they are definitely not coming off as a focal point, they're 'just one of the guys' and other 'guys' like the snare-verb are quite a bit more attention-getting. Portrait of a mix detail that is gorgeous, compelling and wrong Smile also, the bass seems to be grunging out at times.

TomC- Why is the vocalist in a shower stall? Very Happy This one isn't really making it, why? Partly the vocal, but partly because things aren't really holding together rhythmically. Isn't this the one where tracks were getting delayed in undesirable ways? Looks like that's a problem that needs to be fixed. Apart from that, the tone-shaping could be more colorful and some things like gates on the guitars kind of stick out. I'm sorry I couldn't find more things to like but the timing stuff really hurts, can't get past it.

UnderTow- Sparkly! Stuff has loads of glitter all over it. The vocal reverb is more important than the vocalist is- whoa, questionable. I hear a banjo sticking out but it's sticking out in the low-mids- huh? Things that are supposed to be sparkly sound lovely, though, like the hihat and acoustic guitars. Also, there's a nice punch to the kick/bass which I truly like- has a nice articulation. Where'd ya get the 'zwwwwweeeep!' track? I assume not an overdub. Lotsa reverb tricks. In fact, "stupid verb tricks" Very Happy fun sounding but they have nothing to do with the song. And I'd swear that zwwweeeep was an overdub except it could be automated. ...HA! Funniest ending!

Urick- Boy, that's a weird vocal quality. It is produced as hell, though- it does make you hear the vocal on top of everything else. Vocalist's mix, everything else is just killed, except the inevitable snare. Sounds autotuned, but not enough to be sweet. Also, we have some excess sparkly here too. And re-arranging which isn't significantly better than the tracking arrangement. Strong in banjo but it sounds sort of outer-spacey techno-ey, perhaps because of the sparkle.

VKorehov- This feels more earnest because of the way the voice sounds and the way the backing tracks are put together. Something about the boxy sound, whumphing drums and hissing cymbals doesn't totally sell me, though. I do like the way the voice sits on top of everything and sounds like a human being with feelings, though- I _really_ like that part and it forgives many things for me. The balance of the banjo is good too- seems like it's good to have that part clear. The dirt guitar section doesn't work very well, possibly because of the bass. Where the HELL did that bass come from? I have a feeling it might be an overdub because of how totally unfamiliar it is. If so, bzzzt outta the pool! Laughing

volthause- A heavy music guy! I seriously love the feel of these drums. Only thing I'm missing is a bit more crack on the snare, except it's already there, just DEEP. Vocals have some obvious tuning-ness and sit on top of things cleanly. Playing games with reverbs I see, but in this case it's in the background, it's not obnoxious at all. Really deep powerful guitars for the dirt guitars, but I want a lot more snarl out of them for that part. This is almost a dub mix in that everything comes off a solid bass without coming out and distracting from it, but it's important for some things to distract from it, it's not a dub song really.

I'm sorry for the gripey quality of my crits this time- J's got me thinking rather ruthlessly about what helps the song and many of the nice things I can always say about mixes have to do with sonic details that the mix author attempted. If you have to ask 'but did it sell the song' very often the answer is no. I had a snare echo I was in love with, I've already been asked about it, and what you heard was sort of buried because my wife pointed out that it didn't help the song at all... it's more easily heard in the last rev because the automation went awry and exposed that echo sound in a place where it should have been muted again.

This should be an interesting learning experience and, I hope, far from the last.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: starscream2010 on September 20, 2006, 08:34:01 pm
chrisj wrote on Wed, 20 September 2006 18:35

starscream2010- Well, this is polite. Nice and clear and very produced, in particular I'm hearing the bass working with the drums in a peculiar way that must have been hell to create. Rather than jukebox bass it's like big bouncing balloons bass Very Happy the whole thing is bouncy as hell, in fact, the bounciness is more obvious than the words of the song. Everything sounds very nice. Definitive 'nice', all the details are sculpted artfully. It's the way they combine that gives that super-bouncy feel.




Is "bouncy" good, bad or weird?

By bouncy are we talking about the sonics of the mix? Like... the way the compressor pumps at times or is it just a term being used to describe the feel kind of like 'happy' or 'poppy'?

Thanks for the critique  Smile
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: chrisj on September 20, 2006, 08:56:13 pm
starscream2010 wrote on Wed, 20 September 2006 20:34

Is "bouncy" good, bad or weird? By bouncy are we talking about the sonics of the mix? Like... the way the compressor pumps at times or is it just a term being used to describe the feel kind of like 'happy' or 'poppy'?


It's the overall feel of the mix, everything. That's also a very hasty judgement, but those can end up being very important sometimes. If I was making a CD for a dance party and had ten seconds to pick between yours and another one that was like a Pink Floyd mix with a super slow heavy weight behind the bass and kick, it wouldn't take me even two seconds to pick yours. Of course, is the song really about being a dance mix? Wink
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: starscream2010 on September 20, 2006, 09:20:01 pm
chrisj wrote on Wed, 20 September 2006 19:56

starscream2010 wrote on Wed, 20 September 2006 20:34

Is "bouncy" good, bad or weird? By bouncy are we talking about the sonics of the mix? Like... the way the compressor pumps at times or is it just a term being used to describe the feel kind of like 'happy' or 'poppy'?


It's the overall feel of the mix, everything. That's also a very hasty judgement, but those can end up being very important sometimes. If I was making a CD for a dance party and had ten seconds to pick between yours and another one that was like a Pink Floyd mix with a super slow heavy weight behind the bass and kick, it wouldn't take me even two seconds to pick yours. Of course, is the song really about being a dance mix? Wink


Gotcha Wink
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: UnderTow on September 20, 2006, 09:23:19 pm

Well well ... some hard opinions here. Smile I'll join in with my own:

In contrast to what J. says (who btw is just projecting HIS vision of the song), most great albums and musical pieces have loads of stuff stripped and/or redone/replaced out before the final mix is approved.

I have no belief in any kind static vision. I don't believe _most_ composers, producers, whatever, know before hand exactly where a project is going because only the very greatest have that kind of vision and they are usually changing and revising as they go along. And lets be honest here, we are not dealing with Mozart or Bethoven here. They could write a whole symphony on paper and it worked but most musicians can't do that.

I don't believe the job of a great mixer is to be a dumb engineer that just sums track so that they give a nice frequency plot. The great mixers add magic to the mix. And that is our role especially in something like the IMP where no one suffers if one of the mixes doesn't fit the artists' original idea or musical vision.

J, the way you explain it, it seems that what you want is just a
straight mix of what is delivered. In other words, a technical job. Not an artistic job. That to me is very boring. That doesn't mean that one _always_ has to change stuff. Some material is just great as it is and doesn't need any adjusting. But those are exception rather than the rule. At least in my limited experience. Smile


This is how I approached the song and did what I did:

First up, I did some very basic cleaning up and a very basic mix to see what was available and where to go. 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.

By practical reasons I mean that if you are in the studio, you have everything miked up, the musicians are there and ready to play, why not just record too much and cut out the superfluous stuff later on? It only takes a couple of minutes extra to keep recording at this point while having to add stuff later would take an immense amount of work comparatively. This was tagged as a project on a budget. To me that means maximizing time and resources.

So, as my mix obviously shows, I chose option 2. Smile

Also, no way was I going to just leave a bland wall of sound each time the chorus hit. I want musical dynamics. Not just on the coarsness level of verse-chorus-vers-bridge-whatever but within each section and between similar sections.

I much prefer to highlight each instrument at the right time so that the listener can actually hear the instruments and be kept entertained as the sound canvas evolves over time like a little sonic story with its own twists and nuances.

so step one was to choose which instruments to highlight at which point in the track. Cutting things up and muting various clips at various times gave me the arrangement as you hear it.

The next step was to really clean things up. I started by phase aligning all the kick and snare tracks. I might even have phase aligned the over heads but I can't remember exactly.

I had major difficulties with the way the drums were played. It seems that the drummer was intent on killing the drums each time the chorus hit with the resulting sound and mic/preamp/converter clips. So I had to use loads of automation to bring thing up and down at the right time without changing the sonics of the drums too much.

There is loads of compression on the kick to try and keep it under control. At  least steadier than played.  One compressor on each kick drum track, then again on the combined kicks then again on the drums bus. This was not done for the sound. This was just done to tame the dynamics.

After alot of work on the snare, I muted all those channels. The same problem with the dynamics here. So all the snare you hear comes from the overheads. The Hihat is gated so that I could also control its dynamics with automation without affecting the overall drum sound too much.

Unfortunately, Sonar was having trouble with all the automation and it is actually too low in the first section. Part of the rythmic groove is lost because of that.

All other drum tracks are muted. I considered replacing some sounds with samples but it would just have been too much work untill I get Sonar 6.

Next come the basses. The accoustic bass was so out of time most of the time that I muted it entirely except for a small passage during the break. (And hand tweaked some of the timing in that section).

I had some difficulties with the punch of the electric bass. I would have prefered it to be unprocessed. Most importantly though, this track's automation envelope also played tricks on me in the bounced version. I think the volume automation didn't engage untill somewhere half way through the first chorus. So yes, it sounds too loud at the beginning. It is also heavily EQed. Mainly boosting highs, cutting out mud and hipassing to poke through the mix. I don't like it when the bass gets lost under a mix.

Next, electric guitars. I added distortion to the solo guitar as I felt it lacked a bit of balls. Again, heavily EQed. (I'm talking 8 dB boost in the high-mid/highs. Stuff like that). The rythm guitars are actually unEQed. They allready fit in nicely with the rest. (I knew how things would fit as I had allready done a rough mix).

Accoustic guitars: Muted track 3 which was too out of time Panned track 1 and 2 hard L/R. Panned Guitar 4 a bit to the right and sent them all to their own bus with some compression and a highpass on it that should have been automated. It seems like the hipass didn't come down properly after the first chorus which means that the guitars lack some weight and don't groove as well as they could with the bass/drums in that section.

Main vocal: Heavily compressed to give an in your face sound. Added some saturation for more balls. De-essed some of the crap that the processing had introduced then EQed to fit in the mix. Loads of gain riding and volume automation to keep the main vocal just above the rest of the mix at all times. (I sometimes find it too loud even ...)

BG Vocals: Compressed and mixed so that they sit below the main vocal. Some channels needed to be pushed down in the mix because of timing and clarity issues. One channel has a delay on it to add some depth. One channel is copied and has a Waves Ultra-Pitcher on it for some fun. Smile Unfortunately the voice is a bit rough and the pitch shifter turned it into a smurf. I decline all responsability! Wink

I copied one of the BG track to the end of the song, put a big fat dub delay on it which is bounced and trimed so that it stops exactly when the last drum rythm change starts as that is the new element and thus the new musical focal point. I like to keep bringing the attention of the listener to the new elements when possible.

Later in the mixing process I added quite a bit of reverb because things were sounding quite popy by now and I thought it worked better like that with this in mind. I probably added too much.

Accordeon: Either these were not L/R channels, I accidentaly shifted something or something was very weird in the recording. I moved the right channel a bit earlier so that the two channels would form a more cohesive rythmic front while still keeping a nice stereo seperation. (panned hard L/R).

Organ: Basicly band passed with a center Fc of 700 Hz. Set it back in the mix as padding.

Piano: Again heavy EQing. 10 dB boost hi-shelf starting at 2.8Khz. 5.9 dB boost at 3.8Khz wide Q Everything below 400Hz hipassed. 5 dB reduction at 460 Hz with wide Q. (You could translate this to a 20 dB boost above 2.8Khz. Wink.

Mandolin: Tried many tyhings with these but ended using track 2 and 4 panned 10 and 2 O'clock with a hipass.

Banjo: I never thought I would ever mix anything with a banjo! But it was cool and fit in the song. The usual heavy handed EQ. (12 dB cut at 800 Hz, 5.5 dB Cut at 1.6Khz. Hipass @ 270 Hz). In retrospect, I should have just hipassed at 700 Hz or so ...

Pizza slice: Compressed, hard-panned, 8 dB reduction of Mid channel (M/S), delayed and reverbed. No EQ.

Special FX: There is the usual reversed reverb trick on the vocal
leading into the last chorus and the same on the whole song at two points (with heavy EQ) just to drag the listener kicking and screaming into the next musical section.

There is also a huge cathedral reverb bounced and flanged at two points. Carefully timed so that the frequencies go up and down in the right way for more kicking and screaming. This is bounced 100% wet then heavily EQed to keep only the resonant frequency and not muddy up the mix.

At the end of the song I took one of the snare hits and EQed/compressed it in such a way as to make it sound a bit like a rim shot and then added a delay to it.

General notes: There is loads of volume automation on most tracks to make sure that everything keeps its place in the mix and things grow to a final climax.

I considered fixing some of the timing issues but in light of the fact that Sonar 6 should drop in the mail soon and it has AudioSnap features (Beat Detective on steroids) I just couldn't be bothered doing it all by hand.


Thats it in a nutshell. Wink

Alistair
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: NickT on September 20, 2006, 10:17:01 pm
I missed this IMP. I didn't see the post until it was to late. I have read this whole thread and find it interesting how everyone reacts to the comments.

I did start a mix on this, but with only 2 hours to deadline I stopped. I was spending a ton of time trying to make the vox sound right. I don't think I ever did. I noticed a  lot of distortion in the vox, not just grit, but something unpleasant in the 4-5k range that I just didn't have time to clean.

Here are a few thoughts:

J Hall - The lead vocal sounds great. What did you do to that track. I need to know. Kit was punchy. Nice hook using the edrum in the break. I liked the crunchy guitars.

Undertow - I liked how tight you got the heavy guitar part. Great contrast to the rest of the tune.

Scott O - Your mix was a dry mix. Very even and pleasing. Gave it a nice feel.

Nizzle - Great intro! Drums a bit squashed but still there. You excelled during the softer passages.

iComps - Another dry mix. Smooth. Could have used a little more "air". Lead Vox fell behind the BGV's in the chorus. An even mix.

Vlad - A very full bodied mix. I did like the focus on the banjo in the breaks. Not sure about the added distortion in the heavy guitar part.

Randy - A pretty Balanced mix. I thought the vox washed out the music in the chorus. This is a problem I was having also. Low mids seem like they could use a little carving.

That's all I have so far. I will try to get to the rest.

In response to J Halls comments:

I don't think everyone is mixing for engineers. My imp6 submission would prove that. If I thought I had to impress anyone here, I would not do these. I think the IMP Project gives everyone a chance to produce, not just mix. As a producer, I should be able to sell you the song. Engineers sell studio time, producers sell songs. I think it is great to be able to mix to the song...not the artist.

Thanks,

NickT
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: cerberus on September 20, 2006, 10:32:55 pm
these are harsh reviews... very stream of conciousness and written before the comments between this and my previous post on this thread.  so i may want to comment on some aspects further after i absorb what j. and others have said about how we are approaching things...

-------

VKorehov -  any time i hear reverb on vocals, i think it's too much... but this is a very nice one... but i think it would be better to start the song with a more intimate feeling and work up the "room size" as it moves along... snare sounds a little flabby...  the bass solo in the break is a nice surprise... vocals are really well done here... and there is not a lot of ringing from eq, or a sense of compression... which i think shows you are in control... but imo it could rock harder.  nicely done.

nizzle - it seems "happier".... i think because the snare is lighter, and the cymbals are allowed to fill up the top.. the electronic drums are emphasized to create a "more colorful than life" kit, the edits help the song move along.. cutting the "vamping" parts that i felt were a bit slagging occurred to me, but i did not have time, but i agree that it is better for radio edited this way. nice touch of psychedelia on the coda... many of us couldn't resist dipping into that motif it seems. i wish there were more of that in the body of this mix.

icombs : this is like my mix... in a sonics sort of a way, and we both didn't stray too far from the basic arrangement that the recording suggests.  it seems like in the choruses  that the snare is too soft feeling, but in the verses its really nice. i like the attention you paid to the background vocals... i like the harmonies that you highlighted and the general fx here, and the overall tonal and dynamic balance..  sort of like mine, so i like it... could use more hammond perhaps... and the mandolins got to sounding more like guitars than mandolins... but then the real acoustic guitar isn't very present here... i wonder why you didn't like it?

randy hansen -   i'm not a big reverb  fan.. it feels swimmy.... but tonally and dynamically it's very alive....  the verb just drowns the kick and snare... it works on the hard guitar break... but the levels here are a bit shaky feeling just before the banjo solo..... at the end it all seems to come together.. so it suggests that some "subtractive paring" leading up to the climax could help build it up to there better. fade out ending is not working for me.. what is the thinking when there is an ending to the song and the mix engineer or mastering engineer decides to do a 1970's  hotel california style fade ?

dikeledoux....  great start... nice and clear...     hmm hammond is gone from the first verse... this is a bit thrashy until the guitar comes in to fill in the mids some...... what is going on in the second verse... the piano in front inverts the chords... i know it works in places... but does it work ?  only further listening without hearing so many others will tell me... it shows some very interesting musical ideas... from there it is not surprising... you stick to the chords that seem to naturally dominate.. which to my ear sound more major, so the rest gets disappointing because the musical adventurousness does not follow through, imo even though it is very competent....e.g. i am starting to wonder by the third chorus...where did the piano go?

maxim -  i love bass so this gets off to a good start for me... but then.. oh no...the bass overwhelms like a big down jacket.....    this mix is quite rough.. the re-amped guitar riff is very sweet, but so loud....      a few cut out the acoustic bass... here i see you have made something of the other bass.. not just from lack of time or ideas what to do with it.  i think it's a mistake to put the bells on the right side... it's possible that left handed people hear different, but generally i find "commanding" lead parts go over better if they do not exist only in the right speaker.  then after the bells... i think my software is bad... silence?  weird!  in tv, they never go to complete black... it's always around 10% gray so the viewer doesn't think there is a technical problem between commercials..etc.... i feel it's kind of the same prinicple for music.. if you want to go to silence, you've got to set it up so the listener's attention doesn't jump away from the music when there is nothing to hold it.

i guess you need to finish balancing this mix...  oh... another fade out, fadeouts sound trite to me, this one was executed well i guess.. so fast... i guess quick fade outs  are  like the "unsatisfying goodbyes" that the lyrics suggest... but perhaps too literal here!

rankus - i enjoy the stereo here..... i like the filtered bass treatmenta little... it leaves room on the bottom for all the rest of the instruments' bottoms, which is natural.. but the bass itself is not so natural sounding.. it works on the "hard guitar" break, and other places where it is not so naked,  and there, i think the filtering serves it's function better.  

rattleyour -  nice groove... swingin'... but  just before "feelin' just fine" in the first verse, it feels a little skeletal.     the reverb is ok... i like that the band sounds more like a rock band and not an huge mob.... you keep the arrangement very controlled... i do like the "simplicity"... the music can breathe... not the frantic pressure... like relaxed, like.... copacetic..... and the sonics are great.  imo, it's a superb mix.

tomc -    house of the rising sun!   snare is late...  or is it the kick? .... timing is awkward...whaddupp?   it has a somewhat mopey feeling....  i like the ideas you went for here... and some of the sounds are lovely... but it seems a bit ham fisted..not delicate... i think you could make this a "sad" mix that is like a counterpart to nizzle's "happy" mix, but imo, first fix the timing issues.. it's really hard to connect the musical ideas... they sound so disjointed.  

urick - "airy" feel.... very upper emphasized.... but that does put an edge on the vocals, i really like the snappy feel... the acoustics guitars that articuate..but this sounds like a rough mix... the edit you made sounds a bit sudden... going right into the bridge without much of a setup.... some of the more interesting break sections seemed to be cut....sounds  rushed towards the end.. not enough ebb and flow, imo,  but maybe someone hearing it for the first time would make easier sense of the simpler song structure...  but impressivly controlled sonics on many of the parts.

chris carter -  mastered?  it's ok on sonics and dynamics balance....   wow the vocals get smashed real fast.... i know i said i like contrast and counterpoint, but!     on the positive tip: like the vibra-textured bass a lot.. it allows the bass to be heard without needing to unnaturally filter other instruments... works well here for me..  very deep, but at times the delay effect on the lead vocal seems loose... it  only works for me as a "tail effect" at the ends of phrases, but even then the timing on this delay seems questionable.  i have a difficult time "feeling the song" through so many time-based and filter effects.

shakes the clown -  the acoustic is so lovely... the hammond however does not sound that nice, and it is dominant a lot... the mandolins are a bit like a telephone ringing on the left side...an instrument sound i like in other mixes is torture here!  the panning is not very flattering to the song, imo...there are level changes that seem like mistakes...or the mix is not finished. sonics are uneven for me... excellent in places and some parts like the acoustic, the cymbals too, and then not so sorted, like the when the compressor begins to suck the cymbals,  sorry, i didn't feel this one.

starscream  - verses... perfect.. choruses.. drum compression smackdown... the kick gets to much attack, can't even tell it from the snare..  however you have got a real headbanging rhythm emphasis going on... i mean.. this mix brings it on at the climax...  the trippy ending.. i dunno!   but i really like the high impact, high energy feeling that seems as brignt and sunny as it is aggressive. if one ignores the drum sounds in the choruses.... however, these comments assume that the mix was rushed or not quite finished, like many (including mine) there are some levels issues however relating to the basic topography you chose:  the final chorus seems lower in volume than the others, for example, and it's just when the song should be loud.

Mario - mastered, and very badly, imo!  lay off that stuff...  oh jeeze sucking and pumping city... i can't take this.  the snare's envelope has had it's timing shifted when the compressor kicks in.. i can't think i've ever heard a better example of how to use compressors wrong. sorry but this is just about everything i rant against all rolled up into one... a compresssor cannot make a mix.    on the positive tip:  the chords that the "heavy guitar" break and the break sections that follow make a really nice relief from all the sucking and pumping... and the hammond sounds reasonably like a real one even despite all this, but can i pick out other individual instruments in the loud parts?  no...  i like the ending with the hammond though, perhaps use it as a reference for the rest of the insts!

volthause -   the bass sounds a bit weird like it is stereo? i love your analog sound dude..  i forget if you use analog, but i do like your sound.. notice that the transients on the top end, such as vocal sibilants, where harshness can easily creep in... it's very sweet on top... sweet sound all over in fact... full dynamics, full range of the spectrum, nothing is muddy or smeary...interesting break treatment.......  oh no, not another fade out... a longer fadeout is just longer agony for me!   but  what is the main identifying characteristic of your unique sound here?   even order harmonics ? tubes ?

chrisj -  i like "right speed" better than "frantic". i find the groove is compelling. which is so important to me that i don't care to comment on what is wrong with this mix. now i'd like to hear the steppenwolf version just to know your intention for the top end. and did the sample rate error actually help the groove in this case?  that would be interesting...

th1 (and any who posted later...) - pending.. i made these reviews before your submissions were posted.

jeff dinces
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: MI on September 21, 2006, 12:16:35 am
Had time to listen to a few; (will try to do others tomorrow)

Here are some brief comments:

Chris J - I think this real nice, nice feel, good overall. Good hook, I wanted to listen to more. Cool snare, great guits (that's what I going after)

Maxim - Good balance of instruments, but a bit bass heavy?

Rankus - Gooood mix - it works for me, well balanced, but maybe a bit to much banjo?

Chris C - Nice power, good vibe, but too much echo? I think maybe a bit too busy?

Starscream - Smooth intro is nice, I felt like it captured my attention. But hearing too much delay in background on the vocals. I liked the vibe, but it was lacking a bit of fullness.

Under Tow - Good beat, well done. Accordian too loud for me. Nice Bass!

Cerberus - Vocals didn't do it for me. Everything seemed disant. Overheads were a little to much, too much organ not enough guits. Good balance overall though and I liked the ending.

Ator - Too much low end? Vocals need to be clearer. NICE snare, present, but not too loud. Good groove and I like the solo.

I Combs - Good feel and vibe, snare is nice, but too much echo.

My mix - well for a 5hr jobie including transfer - not my best mix and realized it after posted, but didn't want to go mix again and repost, it was 10pm at that point. (Probably shows I've had to work on Metal music for the past 2 months and my ears are sore)..I went for good drum sound trying to get a rock feel, but went a bit overboard. Vocal started off well, but lost it's glue. Too much Organ and distortion guits were a little too much. I muted certain intruments during loud parts but used them tastefully when they fit. Wish I would've had time to start it last week cause I found it a bit overwhelming opening it to finf 49 tracks and having to go through assigning everything to an output...some mistakes crept up in there...

I also found it a little difficult not having spoken to the artist to get a final vision of his song, cause it was a little on the folk side, but had the rock heaviness...

I mixed on an analogue console to 1/4" tape (old tape though) and used mostly outboard comps.

Thanks for all your comments pos and neg, I had time to do a quick remix tonight and fixed a few things up. Sounds much
better.

Mario
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: Randy Hansen on September 21, 2006, 02:03:25 am
Just a quick post to follow j.'s request on where I was ansd what I thought when I mixed this.  

First, since I thought I had more time to play on this IMP, and having missed the previous 2 for deadlines, my intention was to submit 2 mixes.  One done at work on a Sony DMX-R100 and a hybrind Pro Tools Mix^2/plus system and a second on the home system through Nuendo.  I wasn't even listening to the mixes in the other envioronments.  And, I was only able ot finsih the DMX-R100 version before the cut off.

When I first heard the track I immediatle thought of Crash Test Dummies, a very busy CTD, but it had the feel of tracks from "The Ghosts That Haunt Me."  So, I thought I would take that kind of approcah.

I didn't think I'd get the hyper stereo that album had, and reading some other things in the "Whatever Works" forum, I decided to pull out some old tricks I haven't done in a while.  I limited myself to L-C-R for positioning, and then used effects to fill the opposite speaker.  Also, in buiilding the mix, I monitored in mono, so as I panned and crossed effected trying to build my depth that way.  When I did finally get my levels feeling good I flipped to stereo, and heard how wet the mix was.  I then backed down the effects levels, and then flipped back into mono, which then brought everything to the same level.  So a couple lmore jumps back and forth trying to find a happy medium.  I guess I didn't succeed too well.  Sad

As for the fade out, it was my only time to submit, and the ending balance was out of whack with the insturment/effects levels, so I faded out and then posted.

Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: Vladislavs Korehovs on September 21, 2006, 06:36:49 am
Hi,

I was really surprized by these IMP's comments.
Because thease was really constructive and not just a Glance saying like "sounds good", "sound very interesting" etc.

I would say what all the comments are very precise, even if acoustics can affect oppinions:)

In fact i'm mixing at home on BM5A monitors. Then i came yesterday to studio and listened them on Genelecs i found bass and AG's lows were muddy. But i haven't noticed it at home because my room modes affect bass response and ultra lows are taking attention from middle lows.
And then i had a brilliant idea why don't let my home monitors sound like Geneles? i took Waves Linear Phase EQ lowband and performed low cut at different frequences. Then i have tried to clean muddnes. Making such low cuts make really simulate how music is heared: On Desctop speakers, headphones, in car, etc.

I decided to try 2 new techniques: Process Overheads with Mid/Side for stripping Snare and Kick from middle only and adding Cymbals sustain to middle only while keeping side intact.

Play with Bass and Add Sub-Bass in Chorus.

Resoults of both experimets are dissapointing:(
OH: Maybe because such processing affects Phase of cymbals and summing back don't sounds good.

Sub Bass: Adds just a rumble and muddness:( i should not use it as much:(

Originally i made a note what chorus has same harmonic structure as verse, so it is really hard to make it sound different:(
Then i decided to make a change by making more bass energy in chorus, that was a wrong choise. I could be better if i was using fountation parts (Compressed AG and Compressed Piano) for this contrast and leaving bass line not different.

As for mine comments, i cannot really find time to listen to all songs as i'm working 10 hours a day.
Glad what you liked vocals, it is just 3-rd mix there i really understood how to mix vocals:)))
I sill not quite understand how to mix backing vocals:(

I found perfect combination:

1) EQ (i use Waves Q10) to give vocal a shape at 1k and 1.8k this time (it could vary with each vocaliset sweep to find best points) theis is verry narrow Q about 10..30, so REALLY narrow.
This brings up a harmonics. Then i remove some of "cheep" frequencies at 800 by applying a dip with Q about 5.
Add very much Air with about +4..6 db and wide Q at 8k..16k just not to affect shape.

2) Compress it with Waves RVox i used 10db setting this time.
3) Delay is used to make vocal sound bejond the speakers. i use quearter note or eigth note but it is reaaly to stretch the image not as FX.
4) Reverb is usually transparent, i like Lexicon PCM91 impulses for Vocal, like "Bright Vox" etc.
I could post my Nuendo project if you are interested.

Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: dikledoux on September 21, 2006, 09:36:56 am
I'm still waiting to go through all with some real attention and comment, but I'll say these things...

IMP should include a "scope and vision" statement from the artist or producer so that we don't have to guess.  If we don't have that, we have to go with our gut and it sounds like that's what people do.  Likewise, IMP should include ending comments from the artist to see if we hit the mark or missed it hugely in any way.

It's an interesting phenomena to read comments from people about the mixes when we're all like the blind guys describing the elephant.  Honestly, the rough crits aren't invalid from the standpoint that we're all going on our own take.  But even the roughest of comments would come across differently if it came from a client, because then we could always say "OH... I didn't realize that's what you were going for... give me a couple days and I'll have another go".

As it stands, reactions to CHOICES about the mix (as opposed to easily spotted technical issues) are just armchair quarterbacking without some reaction from the artist.  What one person thinks stinks, others like and so it doesn't tell us anything we don't already know - people like different stuff.

Still, hearing other peoples approaches is hugely beneficial for me.  And while I understand that there is a serious dose of subjectiveness and personal taste with some of the comments... I STILL think it's beneficial.

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
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: j.hall on September 21, 2006, 10:07:10 am
OK, fair enough.

Nizzle:

iin the intro, you chose to use the the electronic drums right out of the gate.  not bad, but leaving them relatively dry isn't really propelling me to listen further.  if this mix were on the record i would promptly hit skip.

the lead vocal has so much energy and passion to the performance, this need to be capitalized on.  your vocal sound is good, but it needs to be more up front, which means more control......more compression.  i'd also add a touch of bite to it so it pops off the speakers more.

once the band comes in your bottom end is too big, mainly the kick drum.  might be a rooom acoustics issue, or you just like it that big......with the kick drum being that big it detracts from other elements.

without that huge wall of vocals the song loses a lot of momentum that makes me want to keep listening.  it's something you don't hear much.  modest mouse did it, but in a different way.  the song itself isn't really anything special.  the vocals are where the whole thing is at.  nothing in the musical performance is necissarily "inspired".

when your distortion guitars come in, they are dark and muddy, it doesn't add any lift.  when these guitars come in, the whole thing should explode.  the vocal gets a twinge grittier when the distortion guitars come in and wihtout them being up and bright you sorta lose why he's singing more aggressively.

are you using the upright bass and electric together in certain parts?

i think there is a sonic vibe you need to expand upon overall.  everything you've done works, but it doesn't "breathe".  

if i were to take your mix and expand upon it, i would tighten up the low end first and give the whole mix more air to move.  then i'd freak out that drum loop.  mayabe thin it out, a bit of distortion (not much) and a tight focused room verb.  then i'd zero in on those vocals.  first i'd tune the lead vocal smoothly making sure any artifacts weren't around, then i'd compress it A LOT with something that made it feel edgier, and de-ess the piss out of it.  i'd copy all those setting to the BGV and balance them all out.  i might add a touch of that room verb to the lead vocal and see what it did for me.....but i'd lean more towards a dry in your face vocal.  then i'd work those distortion guitars till they created a huge rock thing.  

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.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: j.hall on September 21, 2006, 10:16:31 am
UnderTow wrote on Wed, 20 September 2006 20:23



In contrast to what J. says (who btw is just projecting HIS vision of the song), most great albums and musical pieces have loads of stuff stripped and/or redone/replaced out before the final mix is approved.



not true at all......you know what happens when you make assumptions............
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: UnderTow on September 21, 2006, 10:33:27 am
j.hall wrote on Thu, 21 September 2006 16:16

UnderTow wrote on Wed, 20 September 2006 20:23



In contrast to what J. says (who btw is just projecting HIS vision of the song), most great albums and musical pieces have loads of stuff stripped and/or redone/replaced out before the final mix is approved.



not true at all......you know what happens when you make assumptions............


Oh stupid me. I just went back and checked and it wasn't you making those comments. I was actually responding to this comment from iCombs:

iCombs wrote


also, and I mean this with no offense to anyone, but I heard a lot of mixes that had TONS of tracks stripped out. I'm not any kind of genious, but I think that for the most part, if they sent it to mix, they want it in the mix.



My apologies for the confusion.

My comments to what iCombs wrote still stand though.

Alistair
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: j.hall on September 21, 2006, 10:48:02 am
OK, lots of posting, I?ve been crazy busy with multiple projects in pre-production, some in tracking and a few in mixing?..

Let me wade through this a bit, I haven?t the time to copy and paste posts you?ll have to bare with me and possibly find the posts I?m referencing.

TomC:

You make fabulous points.  Ya'll might not be thrilled with my work, but to be honest, I think I do have more experience and skills then most of you, not all?..

It's a bit neglectful of me to simply start this whole thing and then not be the "teacher", and help guide people through it to actually better themselves.  Even if you hate my personal approach there is a lot I can probably teach you that can be adapted into what it is you individually do.

Also, point taken about the acoustics thing, I'll do better at trying to point out problems.

Scottoliphant, sorry to make it sound like I expect you to have good acoustics, not the case, I'm just trying to point this out so some poople can add this "weight" to the comments they read.

Chrisj, YES!!!!!!  Don?t just sling me a bunch of criticism that goes no where.  Qualify it with what you think?..that's what I?m after to a certain extent.  A critique does me no good unless I can properly judge if I agree with where you are coming from.  My #1 comment from all of you is "over-compressed", but I listen to your work and think, "not compressed enough".

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!

Rankus:  yes you are supposed to critique the tec hnical aspects of the mixes, but you also need to get personal with it.  Like I said above, telling me my mix is over-compressed does me no good?..adding how my over-compression makes you feel about the song is exactly what people need to hear.

Spoon: yeah man, you are right, we have to do what the artist wants.  But you are wrong too.  If you think for one minute that bob clearmountain or andy wallace hesitate for one second to "sell" a mix, you are mistaken.  Those guys get hired because when they were us, they had big enough balls to do what they felt needed to be done.  If you think people hire you because you are some blank slate that can do anything anybody wants, then I can't help you with that.

i?m also starting to see a lot of excuses about your own mixes being posted.  That's crap guys.  You did it, you posted it, own up to it.  If some one else did a better job, work harder next time.  Don't sell us some sob story about what went wrong for you.  Be proud that you participated and get a chance to better yourself.  

I?ll do a better job commenting on the mixes.  Honestly though, there are tons of mixes, and my family life has little to do with my silence.  Here are my reasons.

1.   I waited to see how these things were going to go between all of you first.
2.   My current work load is drowning me, I hardly have enough time to post more then a few lines.
3.   I sorta assumed people would be much more inquisitive about other people?s mixes.  No one asks questions till recently.  All we get is feedback and no one asking, "how the hell did you get the snare drum to do that". Or whatever.

So, I've been asked a few things about my mix.  I?ll answer those shortly, now, I have to cut some vocals and recall some mixes.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: UnderTow on September 21, 2006, 10:54:13 am
j.hall wrote on Thu, 21 September 2006 16:48

 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!



As I pointed out in my last post, I had these two mixed up in my brain. It actually seems like we agree on this.

Alistair
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: scottoliphant on September 21, 2006, 11:05:07 am
I'm not sure how this would be done, or if we'd even want to, but the "learning" aspect of imp could be improved if there was smart way to post an "improved" mix based on comments, and try to address some of the critical comments. It could end up just being a train wreck though, would have to be organized. Each mix almost needs it's own sub thread or we get off track.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: dconstruction on September 21, 2006, 11:14:13 am
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.

By practical reasons I mean that if you are in the studio, you have everything miked up, the musicians are there and ready to play, why not just record too much and cut out the superfluous stuff later on? It only takes a couple of minutes extra to keep recording at this point while having to add stuff later would take an immense amount of work comparatively. This was tagged as a project on a budget. To me that means maximizing time and resources.


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.

Thanks to Under Tow for such a specific description of your mixing process - and documenting the perceived flaws in the source tracks.  "I had major difficulties with the way the drums were played."  Me, too.  But we had two Sundays to track drums for twelve songs, cold.  I did what I could.  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.

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!
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: scott volthause on September 21, 2006, 11:30:21 am
cerberus wrote on Wed, 20 September 2006 22:32

volthause - the bass sounds a bit weird like it is stereo? i love your analog sound dude.. i forget if you use analog, but i do like your sound.. notice that the transients on the top end, such as vocal sibilants, where harshness can easily creep in... it's very sweet on top... sweet sound all over in fact... full dynamics, full range of the spectrum, nothing is muddy or smeary...interesting break treatment....... oh no, not another fade out... a longer fadeout is just longer agony for me! but what is the main identifying characteristic of your unique sound here? even order harmonics ? tubes ?


Don't know where the stereo bass track sound comes from. It's definitely a mono tracked, and treated as such panned straight up the middle.

I'm glad you think it sounds analogy, but it's all digital in the box. I don't like trying to hype upper frequencies to get things to shine through. A lot of trimming EQ work was done to get things out of the way of one another.

Fades are best left to the ME, but in this case I just decided to do it. To me it served the song.

Thanks for the comments.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: chrisj on September 21, 2006, 11:51:36 am
j.hall wrote on Thu, 21 September 2006 10:07

OK, fair enough.

Nizzle:


*snip*

J- do THAT with mine. That is exactly what I was talking about. So far I have 'usually everybody is too compressed but with you it's not compressed enough'. more, dude! Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: j.hall on September 21, 2006, 11:55:41 am
band is outside smoking in between recalls and printing new mixes.

i need to add after further thought.  i will start commenting on mixes.  however, i doubt i will get to every single mix with the level of detail i want to do per mix.

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?

PS- unter tow, i was typing my post when you corrected yourself so i didn't see it till after i posted.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: j.hall on September 21, 2006, 11:57:09 am
chrisj wrote on Thu, 21 September 2006 10:51

j.hall wrote on Thu, 21 September 2006 10:07

OK, fair enough.

Nizzle:


*snip*

J- do THAT with mine. That is exactly what I was talking about. So far I have 'usually everybody is too compressed but with you it's not compressed enough'. more, dude! Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy


the "you" is universal in there, FYI.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: Tom C on September 21, 2006, 12:12:46 pm
j.hall wrote on Thu, 21 September 2006 17:55


i need to add after further thought.  i will start commenting on mixes.  however, i doubt i will get to every single mix with the level of detail i want to do per mix.

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?



For me that's perfect, better have a couple of in-depth comments
each time than lots of shallow ones.
And BTW leave mine out this time, with all the syncing problems
you'd wasting your time.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: spoon on September 21, 2006, 12:15:23 pm
chrisj wrote on Wed, 20 September 2006 18:35



spoon- Drum treatments, huh? Against a good strong lead vocal which feels like the focal point. More drum treatments. Then woohoo, more drum treatments! It feels sort of experimental- if the voice wasn't consistent and upfront this wouldn't really work. It always sounds like the only thing we care about is the vocals and the snare.


I am glad it feels experimental.  I like that sort of stuff.
I only did some drum treatments at the very begining and the very end (outro).  I am not sure what you are hearing in the middle.

dikledoux wrote on Thu, 21 September 2006 08:36



IMP should include a "scope and vision" statement from the artist or producer so that we don't have to guess.


Good idea.

Quote:


Still, hearing other peoples approaches is hugely beneficial for me.  And while I understand that there is a serious dose of subjectiveness and personal taste with some of the comments... I STILL think it's beneficial.
dik


Yes that is very, very important.  Probably the best part of IMP.

BTW, I really liked your mix.  I thought it was top notch.

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


Spoon: yeah man, you are right, we have to do what the artist wants.  But you are wrong too.  If you think for one minute that bob clearmountain or andy wallace hesitate for one second to "sell" a mix, you are mistaken.  Those guys get hired because when they were us, they had big enough balls to do what they felt needed to be done.  If you think people hire you because you are some blank slate that can do anything anybody wants, then I can't help you with that.


I hear ya.  I very much agree those guys "sell" a mix.  And of course it works.
But. I am not sure that is the best approach for the indie scene.

To me, indie artists (vesus pop artists) have a darn good idea of what they want to hear from their music.
That was what I was thinking when I wrote about delivering the ARTIST's vision and not my vision (this being the indie forum).

But to each their own, as it can all work.  And by work I mean deliver paid gigs.

I dont feel I am a blank slate as I have opinions and will offer if asked.  Either way, I do not need help with that.
I like that approach.


I love this stuff.  Good ideas exchanging.

Regards,
David
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: j.hall on September 21, 2006, 12:21:14 pm
yeah david, we're on the same page....no worries.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: Tom C 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.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: Nizzle 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
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: UnderTow 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
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: UnderTow 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
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: Calvin 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.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: NelsonL 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.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: iCombs 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.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: rankus 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...)
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: scott volthause 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!
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: rankus 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...
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: cerberus 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.
---------
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
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: j.hall 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.

Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: NelsonL 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.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: rankus 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.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: NelsonL on September 21, 2006, 04:16:59 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.


I felt the opposite-- that using those tracks ran counter to the obvious vision of the song and that they were just experiments or left over demo bits (same with the e. drums)that weren't intended for the final product.

I was guessing that at least some of those tracks were Red Herrings-- part of the deal was having to wade through 48 some odd tracks, I was pretty sure some of it would be bunk.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: NelsonL on September 21, 2006, 04:21:06 pm
rankus wrote on Thu, 21 September 2006 13:14

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.


Thanks Rick,

For what it's worth, you've got me wondering if I should have printed a "vocal down" version-- compression aside.

Cheers,

Liam
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: iCombs on September 21, 2006, 04:21:59 pm
j.hall wrote on Thu, 21 September 2006 14:58

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.




I think you and I actually agree about this quite a bit, then.  I guess our difference lies in our initial approach to the track, and what we think the "point" of the song is.  Which is completely cool.

Cheers.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: scott volthause on September 21, 2006, 04:23:13 pm
cerberus wrote on Thu, 21 September 2006 15:56

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?


Wow. Lot's of angles packed in there. As for my sound: intentional or not isn't really the equation. It's they way I hear things, and that's how it comes out. Good or bad, that's just the way things happen. I am the one twiddling the knobs and such though, so I suppose it is actually intentional. Philosophical content for your Thursday.

As for PARIS, I work with it because I'm proficient with it. You are correct. It's a tool, just like a hammer. But we all have our favorite swinging hammer. Doesn't make it the best or newest hammer in the toolbox, but it sure will drive the piss out of a nail, and that's the bottom line. It is old, that's for sure. It doesn't have very many fancy features, but that helps keep me out of trouble.

Quote:


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.



Well thanks. It's taken nearly a decade for me to learn how to mangle audio unlike anyone else.

Quote:


could you please try to explain that better? this track was nothing like imp5... 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" does not even begin to explain what i want to know.]



I would love to try to explain things better, but I'm totally not sure what you are really asking?
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: rankus on September 21, 2006, 04:27:22 pm


Liam,  I find vocal level to the THE hardest part of any mix... I almost always have to do a few recalls for just that aspect.  An EP I am working on right now will probably have three up down mixes, and I will ultimately let the band decide... (Shirks responsibility here)
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: NelsonL on September 21, 2006, 04:35:13 pm
rankus wrote on Thu, 21 September 2006 13:27



Liam,  I find vocal level to the THE hardest part of any mix... I almost always have to do a few recalls for just that aspect.  An EP I am working on right now will probably have three up down mixes, and I will ultimately let the band decide... (Shirks responsibility here)


Yeah completely, it's so important to any lyrically driven song like this.

I've been printing my mixes as is, but then stemming them back to PT for a safety that I can tweak ITB.

On an attended session, I almost always feel like we nail the vox level. Oddly enough...
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: cerberus on September 21, 2006, 04:53:54 pm
scott volthause wrote on Thu, 21 September 2006 16:23

Well thanks. It's taken nearly a decade for me to learn how to mangle audio unlike anyone else.
...
I would love to try to explain things better, but I'm totally not sure what you are really asking?
oh it's like that for me too. so one aspect you might know about is how to avoid experimental dead ends.  e.g. make for a "stunning 2% improvement" but take 200% more time to execute.  

jeff dinces
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: j.hall on September 21, 2006, 05:59:34 pm
chris carter wrote on Wed, 20 September 2006 17:41


a) J. Hall.  (bonus points if you talk about how you chose to replace the drum sounds and how you chose what to replace them with).




um, replacement is a bad word for what i do.  it's more like adding/blending.

in rare cases i'll actually replace (to me this means to completely eliminate the original....replaced = change out for something else.....)

often times with drums, what sounds good for a drum kit in a particular room is not what sounds good for the song.  additionally, it doesn't always mean you can get a drum kit to do what you need it to do in a song.  thus, samples can save the day.

a sample affords you the luxry of compressing and/or EQ'ing without changing the tone of the kit due to bleed into the mics.  where gating can cause other problems, a sample is totally free of all that.

so you can bring samples in, and blend them with the live drums to get things working for you, instead of fighting what you have.

how do i pick samples......this isn't something that can really be taught.  but, i generally try to find something that works well with the track AND sounds believeable with the drum overheads.

it's a tricky balance.

i don't use sound replacer either.....APTRIGGA baby!!!!!!!!!  takes a bit more time, but it's worth it.

some one else asked what i did to get my vocal sound.

i compressed the crap out of it with a UA 1176 (about 6 - 10 db of gain reduction, i EQ'd it to taste and de-essed it.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: Bill_Urick on September 21, 2006, 07:34:06 pm
dconstruction wrote on Thu, 21 September 2006 16:14

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.



Well, I feel a bit validated by this. The first thing I had to deal with, running PTLe with 32 tracks, was what had to go. Violins and bells were the first thing to go. Just hated them immediately. Some of the mixes did some interesting things with them and hearing those other perspectives has been one of the benefits of doing this. Other things were bounced down, guitars, BU vox at least. Acoustic bass was only used on the break,didn't consider it for more due to those tuning issues and the electric bass just sounding more appropriate.I liked the banjo and the movement it provided, but obviously fake. I ve been playing a bit of banjo lately and thought really hard about replacing it with the real thing but rules are rules! I do think that most of the comments on my mix are valid and I really appreciate those who took the time to listen and critique. Looking forward to IMP-8. (I'd love to hear what you guys would do with one of our tunes someday.)
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: maxim on September 22, 2006, 12:43:59 am
what i've learnt:

i can't hear 65 hz on my msp5's (will have to double check on my trusty headphones)

i second the artist's feedback, but i'm not sure about 'vision statement'

i find the whole experience to be a chance to experiment and push your system where you couldn't in a commercial situation

while the artists comments would be useful, the chance to approach the song "naked" is quite special, and as j points out, often realistical

my comment about the tracks is that, the first thing i wanted to do (like most), was to jettison the midi tracks

however, it didn't leave much except the (quite appealing) lead vocal, a bunch of crazy bg's and some decent and competent if uninspired backing tracks (except the piano, which i quite liked)

(re:backing vocals:

i could not see what ROLE they played in this song (maybe, this is where the producer's direction can help)

the pizzicato's, otoh, i found whacky enough to incorporate into the breakdown)

overall, and, imo, unfortunately, the midi instrumentation gave the song a cartoonish feel (where there was some real emotion in the vocal that could be helped by real musicians)

that is why i went with the "jukebox" bass gtr and wet strings

thanks again to the artist and dconstruction fro letting us butcher your tracks






Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: cerberus on September 22, 2006, 07:46:46 am
Bill Urick wrote on Thu, 21 September 2006 19:34

 I ve been playing a bit of banjo lately and thought really hard about replacing it with the real thing but rules are rules!
wait a sec. i think the rules are more or less as in real life.. so if you are capable of ghosting a part, as j. did with the drums: that is a different matter than creating a completely new part, which the rules prohibit.

dconstruction wrote on Thu, 21 September 2006 16:14


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.


doh! what a surprise that an upright acoustic bass is not intoned well.  and how stupid of me to overlook that. instead i wasted time trying to fix it without thinking what was really wrong.

keeping it helped me use the bass to (try to) lift the groove  while preventing the kick drum from needing to kill small animals in order to fill out the downbeat.

clipping on the kick drum?  LOVED it dude!  we could have easily had a "kid-a-like" kick drum sound by really clamping down on that with a compressor, (and there is no kick drum sound i want to make more than than the amnesiac/kid-a/eraser type at the moment) but it just didn't fit the arrangement for me.

jeff dinces
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: starscream2010 on September 22, 2006, 10:32:03 am
Well as I still do not feel qualified to give critiques on other people’s mixes, I will give the rundown on how I approached MY mix.

First off, I’m not really used to mixing this many tracks in one particular session… most of what I do for other people is folky/acoustic or spoken word stuff and for my own band(rock/post-hardcore),and a few other rock bands, I normally limit myself to 24 tracks. SO… I took all of the bg vox, mandolins, acoustic gtrs, acoustic bass, kick, snare, pizz and e-gtr (1,2,3 RE20/57) tracks and kind of pre- balanced/mixed them down to either stereo or mono tracks which left me with about 24 (mono and stereo) total tracks when all was said and done.

From there I set overall levels and panning to see “what” I had and unlike a couple of you guys, I didn’t hear it as a ‘Modest Mouse’ kind of thing but, more as a top 40 radio kind of song, so kind of mixed accordingly. I wasn’t way into the “banjo” but kind of dug it in spots, only used the pizz in the bridge, used the piano here and there, same with the accordion. I mainly leaned on the mandolin & organ the most.

I wanted the verses kind of open a sparse and the choruses and bridge to be BIG while still retaining that “upbeat” feel, at the same time. I tried pulling the bg vox out at parts, but didn’t like the results and felt that they were integral to the song, although didn’t feel as though they needed to be quite as high as the lead vox. The overall vocal I feel could have been brought up in my mix, but I am ALWAYS afraid of making the vocal too high in a mix, I need to be more decisive… but I am getting there.

As far as effects go, I used the: URS eq and comp bundles, WAVES- Gold bundle (r-comp, r-verb and de-esser), Voxengo Tapebuss, Nuendo (mod-delay, double-delay and nuendo verb) and used Sonalksis 315 on the mix buss.

Was mixed entirely ITB and like I stated earlier, I used a lot of automation… mainly just to see if it helped or hindered me and so far, I like it. EVERYTHING was touched by tapebuss... ALL vox got delays/verb/eq/compression, drums got a touch of verb/eq/compression, elec gtrs-eq/verb, and act gtrs eq/comp.

I went back and brought the vocals up, adjusted the attack time on the kick and fixed the automation on that last chorus and feel like the mix is done. I thoroughly enjoy IMP and hope that we can continue them in the future. Thanks to everyone who participated and to El Hefe.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: cerberus on September 22, 2006, 03:45:04 pm
starscream2010 wrote on Fri, 22 September 2006 10:32

 although didn?t feel as though they needed to be quite as high as the lead vox.

the bgv are still speaking from the first person, as an individual making a personal statement about his feelings on a specific male-female relationship,

so i also find it hard to understand lindsay's point of view that the bgv were that important in terms of grabbing attention for this particular song.  

attention to what?  that the protagonist has five voices in their head all saying the same thing?  

the concept lindsay proposed seems to be the musical equivalent in literature of "deus ex machina"  (a.k.a. the classic "greek chorus"), but i think that would require a third person perspective.  i don't think this song is quite written that way.

imo, a good lesson in songwriting for this songwriter would come from "you're gonna lose that girl" [lennon-mccartney, of course]. i think most would agree that the bgv actually need to be up front in that song.

as linday noted, it seems like the majority of us didn't feel it was appropriate to force it here as much as he would have liked.  when i say "force".. i mean : it's not a good thing, imo.

so i think the law of averages would tend to indicate that: collectively, our group of mix engineers has the more "realistic perspective" of the song on the specific matter of bgv than lindsay.  we've never met the band, but we tried our best to meet the song.

jeff dinces
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: dconstruction on September 22, 2006, 04:05:38 pm
Wow, Cerebus.  If you'll forgive my opinion, I think you overthink.  (You may also have the concept of deus ex machina confused; See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deus_ex_Machina).

You seem to be an extraordinary literalist, but with a penchant for the fantastic.  That's an interesting balance, and I've enjoyed your unique contributions to this forum.

I'll state my opinion about the background vocals this way: what if there were no lyrics?  Or gibberish?  On a purely sonic basis, what's the point of this song?  The fake banjo?  Everything in my ears points to those vocals.  Tough, raw, screaming; even without literal meaning behind them, they have visceral meaning.

That there are lyrics (and they're not all first person; chorus one is sung by the woman, the remainder by the protagonist, to continue the theater parlance) doesn't necessarily mean they trump sonics.

And they just sound cool.  Which, to me, is justification enough.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: scott volthause on September 22, 2006, 04:09:39 pm
dconstruction wrote on Fri, 22 September 2006 16:05


And they just sound cool.  Which, to me, is justification enough.


Agreed.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: cerberus on September 22, 2006, 04:18:37 pm
overthinking is from never hearing the band play except for these tracks.

i think peter (ator) did much more interesting things with the harmonies as individual parts.   what do you think of this different way of hearing the same bgv tracks?

jeff dinces
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: NelsonL on September 22, 2006, 05:01:12 pm
scott volthause wrote on Fri, 22 September 2006 13:09

dconstruction wrote on Fri, 22 September 2006 16:05


And they just sound cool.  Which, to me, is justification enough.


Agreed.




Man, I agree too-- but I can't figure out who it reminds me of. Jawbreaker and/or Everclear to some extent vocally, I know there's a better example though. [EDIT: Lucero -- a little anyway, that's who I couldn't remember.]

I'm not thinking of Modest Mouse, although I see the point.

Anyway, I went back through several of the mixes and tried to have at least one useful thing to say. Sorry for not getting to all of them.

You guys all had interesting ideas and I'm pretty much going to leave off the complimentary stuff because I'm in a rush-- as my folks would say, I loved them all equally. If held at gun point here's what I'd want you to revisit:

Scott Oliphant -- Seems like there’s maybe a delay between Snare R and L, or perhaps top and bottom are hard panned or something. For me it sounds a little weird, but headphones exaggerate panning stuff.

Rankus – The Distorted guitars at 02:16 sound bass heavy and a little veiled to me— maybe just a taste thing, also these phones are muddy so you know, grain of salt.

Urick – Your mix sounds overly bright and splashy to me on these rather dark phones. I do understand the impulse to brighten-- this is a little much for my ears.

Maxim – Mix sounds a bit cloudy to me, plus I’m missing those BGVs. There’s a bad fade, or edit or something around 02:36 --that may have come up already, can't remember.

Chris J – Your drum treatment is an automatic skip for me— but hey, I really really don’t like Massive Attack— so maybe it’s just me. I find the overall sonics to be way too peaky as well.

If I were giving out homework assignments I’d ask you to re-mix this song using only panning, level, and EQ. Cuts and boosts of no more than 2 db. No delay, no verb.

I don’t mean to sound like an ass— you hipped me to Audacity and LAME for which I’m very grateful, thanks they're great free tools. Sorry for over focusing on your mix-- it was the hardest for me to grock.

Volthause – Not so into the fade out-- you weren't the only one though. Like the mix -- drums are a little too "roomified" for me. Probably should have skipped yours, I don’t have a lot to offer.

Spoon -- the intro is really distracting with the drums so far back and the acoustic pounding away. I think you've got a cool arrangement idea that didn't quite gel yet. When the kit comes back in it sounds kind of strange, I don’t feel like the snare is glued to the rest of the kit very well—it’s poking out too much.

So that's all I've got, I do agree that just listening to all the different mixes is the best learning tool IMP has to offer. Hopefully nobody is too bummed on my above attempts at insight.

Please direct your hate mail here: info2006@joinarnold.com
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: j.hall on September 22, 2006, 05:24:45 pm
i haven't commented on the tracks yet.  my mistake, as i try to do that early on.

i thought the the tracks a bit dark overall.  the kick drum lacked bottom end, but the drums in general were good.

the vocal performacnes were really good and the tone was nice too.  the lead vocal clips in a few places but it isn't digital clipping, it's analog.

all the things you have mentioned getting re-tracked i would have mentioned as bad syth sounds, but no need to, wait....i just did.....DANG IT.

overall, i think the tracking is quite good, and something you should be proud of.  getting a rounder bottom end in that kick drum would have made the drums slammin....keep an eye on that.

i also thought the electric bass tone had too much bottom and a bit too much mid.  the growl you were after was over shadowed by low end.

this are just the negative comments, i wouldn't take them as being giant issues, judging by your rough mix of this song, your acoustic environment isn't that bad.  low end seems to be the biggest issue, which it is for every room every where to some degree or another.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: rankus on September 22, 2006, 06:11:11 pm
rattleyour wrote on Fri, 22 September 2006 14:01




Rankus – The Distorted guitars at 02:16 sound bass heavy and a little veiled to me— maybe just a taste thing, also these phones are muddy so you know, grain of salt.




Thanks Liam,

Heheh.. .well I will break my "never defend your work" rule here.... A few of you mentioned the Electric Gtrs in my mix (thank you) so I will comment:

In the interest of time I mixed from the most important to the least important elements, starting with the Vocal.... Truth is I never did get to the Electric Guitars.. I completely ignored them, as my intention was to come back to the mix and fix the "lesser elements", but never got the time... I recall trying to bury the gtrs., but thats about it. LOL

This song reminded me of Tom Waits BTW... (for Dconstruction) GOOD SONG!
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: j.hall on September 22, 2006, 06:19:54 pm
starscream (nick):

solid balance man.....i think you've focused this mix quite well.

the vocals need to come up a touch, but man you got the compression and EQ nailed.  that's a great vibey vocal tone that wouldn't get destroyed on radio...nicely done.

you need to concentrate on controling your drums more.  kick could use a touch more bottom, but feels good where it is (consider the comment a matter of taste)

the low mids in your mix are just about spot on, which is where all the impact and drive is coming from.....nicely done.

those BGV need to come up.  you need to lean heavily on them to drive the song forward.

when the drums drop in the first chorus they are too loud.  especially the snare but only by a few db.

focus on the elements that drive the song.  the elements that stand out as crucial.  separate them from the pack (in your mind) and then pick the elements that best support the others.  you have to build the mix around this.  support, and lead roles.  

you never want the snare drum to be more present then the lead vocal, but you don't want the lead vocal more present then the snare........crazy huh?  it's a tricky balance, but once you get it, you'll see what i mean.

the drum break in the bridge comes in bigger then your main song drums....that's bad news.  electronic drums should never bee louder or "bigger" then a real kit.....i'm sure i could find an exception, but let's not.....

distortion guitars are perfect, you have great ears for guitar tones!

the 2mix compression to me is great.  you want it to be glue, nothing more, nothing less.  and with glue you have to know how much to use and how little to use.  keep working with it, it just takes time.

i would apply more compression to the overheads and bring out something a bit more edgy in the drums.  

overall, i like the feel you went for....i just think the main focus of the song needs to come out further.  i start losing the vocals when more instruments come in....if you need to atumate the vocals don't hesitate.  a static mix is cool and easier, but our jobs are to stop at nothing to make it work.

i think the madolin thing at the beginning is the player screwing around, if it isn't, then it's stupid anyway.  too many people used it, delete it.

once you get your mix "in shape" i think you need to spend time sitting back and trying to listen to it as a piece of art.  see if the choices you made distract from the main focus of the tune.

personally, the delay you used on the BGV is tastey, but a bit distracting.  to me, this song is a dry (mayube a touch of short verb) rocker!  just let it vibe on it's own and enhance that every where you can.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: NelsonL on September 22, 2006, 06:31:57 pm
rankus wrote on Fri, 22 September 2006 15:11

rattleyour wrote on Fri, 22 September 2006 14:01




Rankus – The Distorted guitars at 02:16 sound bass heavy and a little veiled to me— maybe just a taste thing, also these phones are muddy so you know, grain of salt.




Thanks Liam,

Heheh.. .well I will break my "never defend your work" rule here.... A few of you mentioned the Electric Gtrs in my mix (thank you) so I will comment:

In the interest of time I mixed from the most important to the least important elements, starting with the Vocal.... Truth is I never did get to the Electric Guitars.. I completely ignored them, as my intention was to come back to the mix and fix the "lesser elements", but never got the time... I recall trying to bury the gtrs., but thats about it. LOL

This song reminded me of Tom Waits BTW... (for Dconstruction) GOOD SONG!



I broke the same self imposed rule replying to your critique.

Too funny.

Personally, I figure that if I can't find something to do better next time, then I'm not listening closely enough. Seems like a lot of IMPers feel the same way about their own work, which I think is good.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: rankus on September 22, 2006, 06:47:53 pm
j.hall wrote on Fri, 22 September 2006 15:19



you never want the snare drum to be more present then the lead vocal, but you don't want the lead vocal more present then the snare........crazy huh?  it's a tricky balance, but once you get it, you'll see what i mean.




A good rule of thumb for sure.   A little trick to check this.  When you turn your monitors down slowly to silence, the last things you want to hear before silence is the snare and vocal... (Snare sitting just a tad below vocal) I use this along with "turn the vocal up until the band gets small", as reference points regarding Vocal level.

Any more mixing tips folks?  This is what we need more of here.. thanks J.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: scottoliphant on September 22, 2006, 07:38:15 pm
Quote:

A good rule of thumb for sure. A little trick to check this. When you turn your monitors down slowly to silence, the last things you want to hear before silence is the snare and vocal... (Snare sitting just a tad below vocal) I use this along with "turn the vocal up until the band gets small", as reference points regarding Vocal level.


pretty cool

rattleyour, the snare thing was actually the left room mic delayed slightly. I've been experimenting lately with delay (offset) as reverb (since I have an aversion for some reason or another to delay, haven't found one i love).
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: UnderTow on September 22, 2006, 08:42:28 pm
dconstruction wrote on Fri, 22 September 2006 22:05

Wow, Cerebus.  If you'll forgive my opinion, I think you overthink.



Yes Jeff does do alot of thinking. Sometimes a bit too much but I really enjoy reading is posts.  Smile

What Dreams May Come indeed!

Quote:


I'll state my opinion about the background vocals this way: what if there were no lyrics?  Or gibberish?  On a purely sonic basis, what's the point of this song?  



This is exactly how I approach music. I actually don't have a clue what the lyrics of this song are beyond "And here she comes ...". I don't listen to lyrical content. To me vocals are just another instrument.

I don't actually hear lyrical content unless I make a specific effort to listen. To me there is music and poetry. Sometimes they come together but my main focus when mixing is music. If a song _needs_ the lyrics to be any good, the music sucks.  Smile

I love the singing in that Pink Floyd track ... damn what is it called? It is a women singing, no lyrics, just pure emotions. Could be from dark side of the mooon. Not sure anymore. I love it _because_ it has no text getting in the way of the how I interpret the music.

Usually, when I like a song and I make the effort to listen to what is being said, I get thoroughly disapointed as most of it is just so mundane and banal. I much prefer the stories coming from my own imagination.  Very Happy

Of course there are exceptions ...

Alistair
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: scottoliphant on September 22, 2006, 09:11:09 pm
Quote:


I love the singing in that Pink Floyd track ... damn what is it called? It is a women singing, no lyrics, just pure emotions.
shine on you crazy diamond? on preview, maybe not...
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: maxim on September 22, 2006, 09:35:04 pm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Gig_in_the_Sky

interesting back story
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: starscream2010 on September 22, 2006, 10:47:12 pm
j.hall wrote on Fri, 22 September 2006 17:19

starscream (nick):

solid balance man.....i think you've focused this mix quite well.

the vocals need to come up a touch, but man you got the compression and EQ nailed.  that's a great vibey vocal tone that wouldn't get destroyed on radio...nicely done.

you need to concentrate on controling your drums more.  kick could use a touch more bottom, but feels good where it is (consider the comment a matter of taste)

the low mids in your mix are just about spot on, which is where all the impact and drive is coming from.....nicely done.

those BGV need to come up.  you need to lean heavily on them to drive the song forward.

when the drums drop in the first chorus they are too loud.  especially the snare but only by a few db.

focus on the elements that drive the song.  the elements that stand out as crucial.  separate them from the pack (in your mind) and then pick the elements that best support the others.  you have to build the mix around this.  support, and lead roles.  

you never want the snare drum to be more present then the lead vocal, but you don't want the lead vocal more present then the snare........crazy huh?  it's a tricky balance, but once you get it, you'll see what i mean.

the drum break in the bridge comes in bigger then your main song drums....that's bad news.  electronic drums should never bee louder or "bigger" then a real kit.....i'm sure i could find an exception, but let's not.....

distortion guitars are perfect, you have great ears for guitar tones!

the 2mix compression to me is great.  you want it to be glue, nothing more, nothing less.  and with glue you have to know how much to use and how little to use.  keep working with it, it just takes time.

i would apply more compression to the overheads and bring out something a bit more edgy in the drums.  

overall, i like the feel you went for....i just think the main focus of the song needs to come out further.  i start losing the vocals when more instruments come in....if you need to atumate the vocals don't hesitate.  a static mix is cool and easier, but our jobs are to stop at nothing to make it work.

i think the madolin thing at the beginning is the player screwing around, if it isn't, then it's stupid anyway.  too many people used it, delete it.

once you get your mix "in shape" i think you need to spend time sitting back and trying to listen to it as a piece of art.  see if the choices you made distract from the main focus of the tune.

personally, the delay you used on the BGV is tastey, but a bit distracting.  to me, this song is a dry (mayube a touch of short verb) rocker!  just let it vibe on it's own and enhance that every where you can.




THANKS!  Very Happy

You see... I do pay attention during our little chats Wink
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: UnderTow on September 23, 2006, 06:59:16 am
maxim wrote on Sat, 23 September 2006 03:35

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Gig_in_the_Sky

interesting back story


Thats the one.  Smile

Quote:


In an interview[2], Clare mentioned that she was trying to emulate an instrument.


There you go. Singers should always do this. Lyrics are so over rated.  Very Happy

Alistair
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: rankus on September 23, 2006, 01:57:36 pm
UnderTow wrote on Sat, 23 September 2006 03:59



Lyrics are so over rated.  Very Happy

Alistair


I'm in this camp as well... But there seems to be an equal number of folks out there that live for the lyric... Hip Hop fans come to mind...

Even though we are not listening to the lyric much, we need to remain aware that they need to be very intelegible (unless your working for Mick Jagger LOL)
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: cerberus on September 24, 2006, 08:18:54 pm
so a producer-client plays me a remix he just did: sounds like five minutes of a kick drum sample to me. so i say: "i don't understand this style of music" and he says "i know, that's why i'm not asking you to master it."  (and that was a huge relief!)

jeff dinces
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: Calvin on September 25, 2006, 04:31:00 pm
rankus wrote on Sat, 23 September 2006 13:57

UnderTow wrote on Sat, 23 September 2006 03:59



Lyrics are so over rated.  Very Happy

Alistair


I'm in this camp as well... But there seems to be an equal number of folks out there that live for the lyric... Hip Hop fans come to mind...

Even though we are not listening to the lyric much, we need to remain aware that they need to be very intelegible (unless your working for Mick Jagger LOL)




Ditto all of the above.  When listening for pleasure, I catch almost none of the lyrics.  I'm only hearing sounds, texture, rhythm, etc.  However, when tracking or mixing it's real important that the lyrics be intelligible.  Even though at least some of us don't really pay attention to lyrics, the songwriter and most of the listening public do pay attention.

Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: cerberus on September 25, 2006, 10:58:07 pm
i think alistair was egging you guys on with his smiley. perhaps you like his ear candy... but a great meal is not all sweets.

it starts with the song...that is what people can sing themeselves.  that is what is at the core of all great records: great songs. of course. how can we argue about that?

it can be an instrumental...the lyrics can be abstract...speak in tounges...

but there has to be a song.

the music has to be about something; or there is no song.

j.hall wrote on Wed, 20 September 2006 17:22

i'm a bit disheartened with the direction IMP is going.  seems like we're getting more and more about "look at this sweet flanger" and less and less about actually mixing a song.
... ... ...

here is the critique.

no one has done a mix that makes me want to keep listening to the song.  your job as a mixer is to sell the song.  no matter how amazing the song is, you can always kill it.  you have to make people want to listen.  find the lelements that truly speak to a listener and exploit them.

by no means am i saying that my mixes does this.......

i simply saying, from what i've heard, no one else is really doing it.

... ... ...

all i see is engineers, engineering, for other engineers, to geek out about engineering.

i think we just saw the perfect example:  a consensus has started to build that the lyrics aren't really important.  

would any of you guys express that attitude to the songwriter's face?   imo.   it's wrong.

jeff dinces
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: maxim on September 26, 2006, 02:02:07 am
perhaps it should be qualified that lyrics aren't that essential to music

i am, primarily, a lyric writer, and it pains me to admit it, but it's true

that's not to say that lyrics aren't important to other aspects of performance, just not music

Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: Calvin on September 26, 2006, 02:49:09 am
cerberus wrote on Mon, 25 September 2006 22:58

i think alistair was egging you guys on with his smiley. perhaps you like his ear candy... but a great meal is not all sweets.

it starts with the song...that is what people can sing themeselves.  that is what is at the core of all great records: great songs. of course. how can we argue about that?

it can be an instrumental...the lyrics can be abstract...speak in tounges...

but there has to be a song.

the music has to be about something; or there is no song.

j.hall wrote on Wed, 20 September 2006 17:22

i'm a bit disheartened with the direction IMP is going.  seems like we're getting more and more about "look at this sweet flanger" and less and less about actually mixing a song.
... ... ...

here is the critique.

no one has done a mix that makes me want to keep listening to the song.  your job as a mixer is to sell the song.  no matter how amazing the song is, you can always kill it.  you have to make people want to listen.  find the lelements that truly speak to a listener and exploit them.

by no means am i saying that my mixes does this.......

i simply saying, from what i've heard, no one else is really doing it.

... ... ...

all i see is engineers, engineering, for other engineers, to geek out about engineering.

i think we just saw the perfect example:  a consensus has started to build that the lyrics aren't really important.  

would any of you guys express that attitude to the songwriter's face?   imo.   it's wrong.

jeff dinces


Ridiculous.  You're making my point for me when you talk about the fact that songs can be instrumental, the lyrics can be abstract, or speaking in tongues.  I can hear what the song means even without hearing every word.  If it's Bob Dylan or Aimee Mann or someone like that, OK, you probably ought to pay attention to the lyrics, or you'll be missing out on the good stuff.  If you're listening to any number of other artists, different story.  Your presumption that because some of us (well, a couple of us, hardly a consensus as you put it) don't hang on every word out of every artist we don't think the song is critically important and that it's all about ear candy is just flat out wrong and more than a bit condescending (your instruction as to the importance of the song is laughable because it's a given - no one's going to argue that, although you use it as a straw-man), as is your suggestion that our views are examples of how the IMPs are heading in the wrong direction.  You also seem to gloss over the parts in our posts where we emphasize the importance of intelligible lyrics and that the songwriter and much of the public very much pay attention to the lyrics and consider them important.

Perhaps if most tunes had lyrics of Maxim's caliber I'd pay more attention.  But we all know that's not the case.  I'll always work to make sure the lyrics are intelligible, though, even if the lyric of a particular tune doesn't do it for me.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: Tom C on September 26, 2006, 04:11:26 am
maxim wrote on Tue, 26 September 2006 08:02

perhaps it should be qualified that lyrics aren't that essential to music

i am, primarily, a lyric writer, and it pains me to admit it, but it's true

that's not to say that lyrics aren't important to other aspects of performance, just not music





There's a reason why music without lyrics is still called music,
but lyrics without music has lots of different names (speech,
poem, prose, talk, lecture, ...., you name it).

Not that I don't like a good Roger Waters lyric.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: maxim on September 26, 2006, 04:16:07 am
i didn't speak or understand english until i was sixteen, and yet, when i was growing up in siberia i loved pretty much all the same music as my friends in oz

i find it to be a very difficult juggling act even when it comes to singing

the more tuneful the voice, the less important/retained the lyrics become

to the point that you can suddenly think "omg, is THAT what this song is about?!"



Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: scottoliphant on September 26, 2006, 09:59:01 am
sigur ros? still have no idea what he is singing about and they write very moving music
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: cerberus on September 26, 2006, 03:07:21 pm
Calvin wrote on Tue, 26 September 2006 02:49

Ridiculous.  You're making my point for me when you talk about the fact that songs can be instrumental, the lyrics can be abstract, or speaking in tongues.  I can hear what the song means even without hearing every word.


we agree up to here.

Quote:

 If it's Bob Dylan or Aimee Mann or someone like that, OK, you probably ought to pay attention to the lyrics,


now i don't agree!  you called my attitude "condescending", but that is how i felt to read your comments.  i am not a great songwriter, but i would still want the mix engineer to respect my song as much as dylan's. i get the impression that my song would be judged based on an external criteria that is not relevant to the song itself or to me.  i think it is an unfair judgement to say that aimee mann's lyrics are more generally more important to her songs than the lyrics in "weekends and holidays".

Tom C wrote on Tue, 26 September 2006 04:11

There's a reason why music without lyrics is still called music,
but lyrics without music has lots of different names (speech,
poem, prose, talk, lecture, ...., you name it).

Not that I don't like a good Roger Waters lyric.


we are dealing with pop music, indy rock... not ambient.  so that implies that the music has a story or is about something.  even telstar, an instrumental [number one hit] that was made with a lot of processing,  is about something, tells a very clear story to me, and i think the record buying public.  i think the title is important!  i think it lifts the song much farther into the imagination....way beyond what it merely sounds like. i think it was a hit because it was about something people could relate to... i think if it were called something like : "feedback loop experiment in F major with delays"  then it would still have been great music, but it wouldn't  have been a hit.

Quote:

You also seem to gloss over the parts in our posts where we emphasize the importance of intelligible lyrics and that the songwriter and much of the public very much pay attention to the lyrics and consider them important.


i do not gloss it over. i don't think the lyrics need to be intelligable, i think it's not important.  some peal jam songs for example, i can't understand much, but i can feel emotions in it.  not just "let's rock".

like for the famous gary glitter track "rock and roll part 2"... visceral! animal. but that one has specific story and a special mood too... compare it to the chuck berry style of "rock music as party music".. they tell different stories, rock is cultural, it evolves. it speaks to generations. i think  one has to be sensitive to that as well as the "visceral" thing...

and we are not here. we do not talk so far about the cultural meaning of this song, no matter what the lyrics say.. what does it mean?  again this is not background wallpaper music, it is rock.  rock has an attitude.. a mojo. who is feeling it in this song?

Quote:

Perhaps if most tunes had lyrics of Maxim's caliber I'd pay more attention.  But we all know that's not the case.  I'll always work to make sure the lyrics are intelligible, though, even if the lyric of a particular tune doesn't do it for me.


that is very judgemental. so you didn't like the song.  for me as a professional, that never matters, i still do the same professional job... now i will be "condescending" again because i can't believe a professional wouldn't treat this music with  the same consideration that they would  bob dylan's or max's!

j. hall: if you disagree, smack me down please. nobody should take this personally, i think we all need to find out whether i am out of bounds to make these comments: in which case i apologize; and i will learn what is the correct approach; and change my attitude.

scottoliphant wrote on Tue, 26 September 2006 09:59

sigur ros? still have no idea what he is singing about and they write very moving music


that is the point of view i think i agree with.  whoever mixed it probably has an idea what the songs are about, otherwise how could it move anyone? or be effective art?

i think it's the same with "my bloody valentine - loveless"; i think the engineer who mixed  it  was aware of the lyrics and their meaning.  i am almost sure that it didn't come from the mix engineer deciding to disregard the lyrics.

jeff dinces
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: NelsonL on September 26, 2006, 04:04:03 pm
I think poetry is underrated.

I also think huge guitars are overrated-- except in Metal.

Some lyrics are better than others... some well written lyrics annoy me aesthetically despite their refinement.

Anyway, I'm not sure this debate will ever have a better answer than "it depends."
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: Calvin on September 26, 2006, 05:51:39 pm
Jeff:

You continue to imply or flat out state that I don't treat every tune with respect.  You are misreading and misstating my positions.  I guarantee that I treated "Weekends and Holidays" with every bit of respect that you did.  I never said ANYTHING negative about that tune, including the lyrics.  I LIKE that tune, and I had fun working on it.  I never said that a tune by Bob Dylan or Aimee Mann deserves more respect.  What I'm saying is that for some songs, the lyrics are more important, and are likely to be elements of the songs that we need to sell.  For other songs, it might be other elements that do the trick.  You yourself state that it's not important that the lyrics be intelligible, that you're more interested in emotions.  THAT'S ALL I'M INTERESTED IN ALSO (although I continue to contend that we need to work to make the lyrics intelligible)!!.  It's like you tell me I'm wrong, but then make my case for me, and even take it a step further (by not caring about intelligibility).  I suggest you go back and really reread my posts.  If you take an honest look, you will not find any disrespecting of any one's work.  You're the only one doing that.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: j.hall on September 26, 2006, 09:14:40 pm
take lyrics and vocals out of modern music and your fan base will drop froma potential however many million to maybe tens of thousands

there is really no point argue this.

modern "contemporary" music without vocals is called muzak and you can find it on any elevator or hotel bathroom you travel in.

otherwise, it's called jazz, classic, or art rock.

the rest of the public doesn't care much about what us music nerds/engineers think.  
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: maxim on September 26, 2006, 09:38:39 pm
there was an earwurm study in germany that showed that 'hook retention' was increased significantly, if the melodic hook was associated with words (in a qualitative manner, involving another part of the brain)

i'd hazard a guess that this is related to prosody

imo, the lyrics don't HAVE to have meaning for a song to be memorable, singable or a hit
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: cerberus on September 27, 2006, 01:03:59 am
calvin;

i apologise for neglecting to review your submission (and a few others i have missed).

i don't disrespect you because we have differing opinions. i do feel very strongly that if the engineer takes direction from the lyrics, then the song has a better chance to make it's message clear and therefore reach a larger audience ( in terms of with what j. said).

i respect art over commerciality however, so i do respect you and your differing artistic opinion here.

this whole debate seems ironic too in that if dylan were an unknown with the same back catalog, no major label would probably sign him today. i think an indy label would be more likely; yet an indy label is also a business, not an art charity grant foundation. obviously compromises in the art may need to be made so that the art can get exposure at all.  

in this debate, i actually suggested a formulaic approach to mixing based on the meaning of the lyrics.. but i  don't prefer formulaic approaches in general.  

so it's not an easy conversation, but totally important imo, since artistic compromise is unfortunately always implicit in pop, imo.  when we took this job i think we agreed to compromise art to an extent... just so it could be heard.


jeff dinces
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: j.hall on September 28, 2006, 04:00:02 pm
iCombs....

welcome to the hot seat.

another mix featuring the madolin "warm up".

vocal leads this tune off so i'll start there.  the vocal is dark, and lacks anything truly compelling about it's tone.  it sounds like ou used a tiny bit of compression, no EQ and just blended it in.

when the band comes in (one count later) it brings a lot of good energy to the mix, but now i'm starting to see a monitroing issue.  the whole mix from the beginning to the end is very dark.  your room is either too bright, or your monitors are too bright, or both.  i think you might have a stereo imaging issue as well, but i'll get to that in a bit.

from this point forward the vocals are too quiet.  some people like to blend the vocal back into the music.  that does a few things for me as a listener.  it makes me work a lot harder to pick out the vocal, which isn't something i'm interested in doing, therefore, i'll just shut the mix off and move on.  and, it doesn't help the music create any "lift", which is something that keeps people listening.  your overall blend of the BGV is great, you just need 3dB more of all of them, maybe more.

the high feedback delay on the guitar hook is making your mix bog down in those sections.  it washes out the clarity and murks up the waters.  a delay on that guitar part isn't a bad thing, i'd just trim back the feedback and maybe look for something a little more vibey then just a straight delay.  a tape delay emulator of something with a bit of nastiness would be cool.

your chorus has great lift n contrast to the verse, nicely done there, it's just too dark the vocals are lost.  fix those issues and you'd have something cool.

the low mids in that bass guitar seem a bit out of hand which can be distracting, especially since the mix is this dark.  it might tame down just by getting the top end of the whole mix in shape, or it might need some looking into.

overall, i think your approach needs to see some sonic vibe tossed in.  the concept of mixing isn't something you struggle with that much, but making it really pop off the speakers is where you are stuck.  don't hesitate to do things that might not "make sense".  you need to shed any "rules" for EQ'ing and compressing, and start playing with what exactly j.hall means by "sonic vibe".
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: ATOR on September 28, 2006, 06:04:38 pm
J. Hall

don't hesitate to do things that might not "make sense". you need to shed any "rules" for EQ'ing and compressing

That's good advice, this week I started doing the exact opposite of what I would normally do and it's one of the best ways I've found so far to get out of my mixing box and get some new perspectives on sound.



I've just spent some more time on this mix and I found it very hard to get all the instruments to sound good in the part where they are played all together and  in the parts where they have more room. When I get the acoustic guitars to sound good in the last 'tutti' chorus they sound thin in the verse and in the break. And if I make them nice and fat the ending gets a mess.

I wonder how you guys approach this, do you make everything small so it all fits and live with small instruments when they are featured on their own.

Also how do you eq a wall of instruments, do you start with the lead instruments and fit in the rest by ranking order or do you pull up all faders and start cutting away. What do you do when the piano and the guitars fight in a freq they both need to have some body?


It's great to be able to pull up different IMP mixes, every time I think: 'This is a good as this instrument will get', I hear a mix where it sounds way better and it's back to work for me Very Happy
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: iCombs on September 28, 2006, 06:17:55 pm
j.hall wrote on Thu, 28 September 2006 15:00

iCombs....

welcome to the hot seat.

another mix featuring the madolin "warm up".

vocal leads this tune off so i'll start there.  the vocal is dark, and lacks anything truly compelling about it's tone.  it sounds like ou used a tiny bit of compression, no EQ and just blended it in.

when the band comes in (one count later) it brings a lot of good energy to the mix, but now i'm starting to see a monitroing issue.  the whole mix from the beginning to the end is very dark.  your room is either too bright, or your monitors are too bright, or both.  i think you might have a stereo imaging issue as well, but i'll get to that in a bit.

from this point forward the vocals are too quiet.  some people like to blend the vocal back into the music.  that does a few things for me as a listener.  it makes me work a lot harder to pick out the vocal, which isn't something i'm interested in doing, therefore, i'll just shut the mix off and move on.  and, it doesn't help the music create any "lift", which is something that keeps people listening.  your overall blend of the BGV is great, you just need 3dB more of all of them, maybe more.

the high feedback delay on the guitar hook is making your mix bog down in those sections.  it washes out the clarity and murks up the waters.  a delay on that guitar part isn't a bad thing, i'd just trim back the feedback and maybe look for something a little more vibey then just a straight delay.  a tape delay emulator of something with a bit of nastiness would be cool.

your chorus has great lift n contrast to the verse, nicely done there, it's just too dark the vocals are lost.  fix those issues and you'd have something cool.

the low mids in that bass guitar seem a bit out of hand which can be distracting, especially since the mix is this dark.  it might tame down just by getting the top end of the whole mix in shape, or it might need some looking into.

overall, i think your approach needs to see some sonic vibe tossed in.  the concept of mixing isn't something you struggle with that much, but making it really pop off the speakers is where you are stuck.  don't hesitate to do things that might not "make sense".  you need to shed any "rules" for EQ'ing and compressing, and start playing with what exactly j.hall means by "sonic vibe".



Alrighty...now I guess I'll explain what I was thinking...

I mixed it fairly dark on purpose.  I for whatever reason, I liked the way the high end of the vocal sat and every time I ran it through and EQ i just hated myself.  I did compress it a fair bitI liked the way it sat so I figured on mixing around that (with the thinking that as long as everything is tonally even, it could be brightened up at the 2-buss.  Obviously, I didn't do that as every comment I saw said "dark."  I was well aware of that, and I'm pretty sure my monitors aren't too bright.  I know my room ain't all that great, but there's nothing I can do about it.

The delay was the "analog delay" setting on my super tap...in retrospect I couldve bussed the return of the super tap to some sort of nasty compression.  

Vocals...man...that's tough...but then again, it seems tough for everyone and seemed to be a big point for debate.  I tried to automate volume to help stuff stick out without getting so far up in the mix that the instruments sound small...I really wanted the band to appear to be really big in the mix, and keeping the vocals a little back seemed to help that sense of size...but as you said...at the cost of inteligibility.  I didn't want to overcompress, because I thought the dynamics were pretty good.  I s'pose I could bring them up a little more...do you have any sort of cue you rely on to tell you that the vocal is in the right place in the mix?
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: NelsonL on September 28, 2006, 07:57:00 pm
ATOR wrote on Thu, 28 September 2006 15:04

J. Hall

don't hesitate to do things that might not "make sense". you need to shed any "rules" for EQ'ing and compressing

That's good advice, this week I started doing the exact opposite of what I would normally do and it's one of the best ways I've found so far to get out of my mixing box and get some new perspectives on sound.



I've just spent some more time on this mix and I found it very hard to get all the instruments to sound good in the part where they are played all together and  in the parts where they have more room. When I get the acoustic guitars to sound good in the last 'tutti' chorus they sound thin in the verse and in the break. And if I make them nice and fat the ending gets a mess.

I wonder how you guys approach this, do you make everything small so it all fits and live with small instruments when they are featured on their own.

Also how do you eq a wall of instruments, do you start with the lead instruments and fit in the rest by ranking order or do you pull up all faders and start cutting away. What do you do when the piano and the guitars fight in a freq they both need to have some body?


It's great to be able to pull up different IMP mixes, every time I think: 'This is a good as this instrument will get', I hear a mix where it sounds way better and it's back to work for me Very Happy


Here's what I think-- for whatever that's worth:

If you need to use varied treatments for different sections of a song then automate them.

Or, you can also edit together different passes of the mix if one section is spot on but another is dragging etc.

On IMP7, I know I muted my drum reverb during the “big guitar” section. The gel that (I thought) worked well in other sections became distracting there.

To my thinking, there's no reason that a mix has to be static, especially with DAWs.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: Tom C on September 29, 2006, 03:57:31 am
ATOR wrote on Fri, 29 September 2006 00:04


I wonder how you guys approach this, do you make everything small so it all fits and live with small instruments when they are featured on their own.



I use automation for this.
I try to find settings where the individual instruments sound good, and adjust only for places where it's very crowded.

ATOR wrote on Fri, 29 September 2006 00:04


Also how do you eq a wall of instruments, do you start with the lead instruments and fit in the rest by ranking order or do you pull up all faders and start cutting away.



I start with drums/bass/vocals (if available) and add the lead instruments one after another.
After that the rest of the instruments are added (or muted).
For me it's easier to go this way because it's easier to find out which instruments need some work to make it fit.
But I know people who have all faders up and cut away, so there's no BEST way to do it.
Try both.

ATOR wrote on Fri, 29 September 2006 00:04


What do you do when the piano and the guitars fight in a freq they both need to have some body?



First I try to pan, if it still doesn't work I highpass the piano, because (personal taste, I like uprights) guitars don't sound as good when high-passed as pianos.

Have you ever seen Bon Jovi live?
Their piano sounds like shit when soloed, but has a very good sound in a mix and doesn't fight with the guitars.

ATOR wrote on Fri, 29 September 2006 00:04


It's great to be able to pull up different IMP mixes, every time I think: 'This is a good as this instrument will get', I hear a mix where it sounds way better and it's back to work for me Very Happy

Don't tell me...
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: ATOR on September 29, 2006, 06:35:05 am
Thanks for the suggestions! When I find the time I'll have another go at Weekends with automated hp filters and midlow cuts and experiment with automating reverb send levels.

I've done live mixing gigs without a soundcheck where I'd have a good mix by the time they hit the first chorus. But getting a great studio mix takes a lot of work. I can get an ok mix in a couple of hours but making a great mix takes days (or more likely a couple of years more experience Very Happy )

Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: j.hall on September 29, 2006, 05:56:43 pm
iCombs wrote on Thu, 28 September 2006 17:17



and I'm pretty sure my monitors aren't too bright.  I know my room ain't all that great, but there's nothing I can do about it.



if it's a known choice, and known issue then cool.  i had to assume the mix sounded nice a bright in your room.  

Quote:


..do you have any sort of cue you rely on to tell you that the vocal is in the right place in the mix?


everything i do it by ear.  i have a bad habit of watching my gain reduction meters too much, but i'm getting better at that one.

all my levels and balances are by ear.

the lead vox is right when my ear no longer has to try to focus on it.  then i spend time making sure it's perfectly where i want it.

the lead vocal gets tweaked on the entire time i'm mixing.  seriously, i bring it up very early in a mix, it rarely gets muted and i just tweak on it bit by bit.  the very last thing i do to a mix is the final lead vocal placement.

i almost always touch the lead vox right before i print a mix.

i also try to set my mix up to be static, but if  something isn't happening, i do not hesitate for one nano second.  you have to stop thinking about things.  if something bothers you, change it.....DO NOT HESITATE!

if you trust your room and monitors, your ears HAVE to be the boss.  this is one of the hardest things to learn.

in DAW world, there is simply no reason to slack off on automation, editing, whatever.

Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: maxim on September 29, 2006, 10:38:36 pm
the very last thing i do in the mix is automate the vocal levels
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: scott volthause on October 02, 2006, 11:02:26 am
j.hall wrote on Fri, 29 September 2006 17:56



in DAW world, there is simply no reason to slack off on automation, editing, whatever.




I would definitely agree with that statement. Automation was one of those things that I shied away from for so long. Now I wonder how I mixed without it. I like to set things up static too, but it usually doesn't work out like that.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: NelsonL on October 03, 2006, 06:49:10 pm
Dconstruction

How did you like IMP7?

I know it's hard to listen to all the mixes and have something constructive to say-- but do you have any general impressions you'd like to share?

Can we hear your mix when it's done?
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: maxim on October 03, 2006, 10:56:44 pm
imo, while the other guys' opinions are useful, the only one that really matters, is the artist's

in a real life simulation kinda way

also, same with 'mastering'

i think the mixes should be in the form that one would send to the ME

then the different mixbuss approaches would, actually, mean something
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: j.hall on October 03, 2006, 11:08:54 pm
i'm leaning toward this already for IMP8

mp3's will still be what we listen to, but i want to hear them without any L1, L2, L3, maxim or massey limiters used.....or whatever else you do to bump the level up.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: TheViking on October 04, 2006, 10:53:13 am
J,

Is that really a real world scenario though?   I send mixes to ME's with compression and EQ on the mix buss.   Sometimes a limiter, sometimes an EQ, sometimes a multi-band compressor, sometimes through my outboard gear.   If I don't love everything about the sound of my mix when it leaves my room for mastering then I didn't do enough.   The thing I'm learning is that a lot of what I love is coming from the compression, limiting and processing happening on my 2-mix.

I'm just wondering if you want to put these kinds of strict rules on the next IMP since most everyone will use some kind of processing on the mix buss.   Are we saying no processing at all here or just limiting the amounts?   This will be difficult to quantify.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: NelsonL on October 04, 2006, 12:42:55 pm
maxim wrote on Tue, 03 October 2006 19:56

imo, while the other guys' opinions are useful, the only one that really matters, is the artist's



Perhaps, but Dconstruction is essentially his proxy in this matter. He's as close as we'll get.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: dconstruction on October 04, 2006, 12:58:53 pm
Quote:

Dconstruction

How did you like IMP7?


I loved it!  It was a great exercise - and very illuminating.  You guys will definitely hear the final mix (might be a while).

Frankly, one thing I learned for sure (and I know that they were MP3s I was listening to, but still) is that the choices the mixer (and engineer) makes FAR outweigh any benefit from "brand" gear.  Mixed on an Amek after bouncing to 2"?  Didn't hear it.  I heard a poor choice in reverb and a vocal that was not loud enough (all this is hypothetical and doesn't pertain to any single mix).  Mixed ITB with stock plugins?  Didn't hear it.  Heard a fantastic realization of the background vocals, with subtlety and impact.

I also realized that while a good mix could be greater than the sum of its parts, any one of those parts can fail and drag the whole thing down.

I'm still interested in those that chose to ignore the background vocals.  Many were (it seemed) troubled by inconsistencies in pitch and timing.  I'd be less concerned with the perfection of the performance, and more with the spirit of the track.

I have no specific criticisms to make.  No "too much 1k in the snare" from me.  Well, I'll make one specific comment, generally: be careful with delays!  There were several examples of mixes with smearing, cluttering, distracting delays.  IMHO, of course.

I'd like to thank you all for participating.  Seriously, it was remarkable to hear so many interpretations of my work (and the artist's, of course!).  Maybe I'll throw my hat in the ring for IMP8 - and then I can be there in the trenches with the rest of you, and off of my high horse.

Or pony.

Small pony.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: NelsonL on October 04, 2006, 01:11:19 pm
Shetland?

EDIT: I was briefly in hotlink hell, if anyone saw that--- I apologize, that was NOT a pony.

My eyes are still burning.

Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: thp1 on October 04, 2006, 03:08:44 pm
j.hall wrote on Tue, 03 October 2006 22:08

i'm leaning toward this already for IMP8

mp3's will still be what we listen to, but i want to hear them without any L1, L2, L3, maxim or massey limiters used.....or whatever else you do to bump the level up.



Hi J.

Don't want to be harsh, but I think this is highly unrealistic:

1/ When you hear a mix/master, how can you tell the difference between a compressor/limiter put on the master at the end, a comp/limiter on each separate track, a mix done through a compressor on the 2 bus since the beginning, etc. or any combinations of the above ? According to you, a mix is no more a mix and already a master at -15RMS, -14, -13 etc ? Where do you draw the line ?

2/ The final level that i print a mix is an artistic as well as  a 'commercial' choice. I assume that is the same for every one else. Will I have to change the way I work, only to please those who don't know how to turn their volume knob if they want to compare the mixes level matched, or how to sound louder and fuller than the others at the same VU level ? No way. If I participate in future IMPs, i will print my mixes at the level i think they sound their best, even if it is a -8RMS for a particular song. That is the way i work with real clients, why should it be different here ?

We are talking music here, imo there shouldn't be any technical or artistical rules. Let the creativity speak and the public judge. If it sounds good, it is good. Don't you think so ?

Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: Adam Miller on October 04, 2006, 07:30:21 pm
I'd like to think that everyone here is well informed enough about the pros and cons of 'home' mastering, mixbus processing and whatever else to make a sensible decision- and I'd also like to think that we all know how to compensate for differing levels when we listen back.

Ultimately, I'm not sure it matters a whole lot- something that sounds like a record still sounds like a record whether it's slammed in the red, devoid of 2bus processing, encoded as a 128k mp3, or whatever.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: j.hall on October 04, 2006, 08:56:20 pm
how did we leap from my post merely mentioning my thoughts about not having any L2 (and similar limiters) being used on the next IMP to a blankey statement about "no 2buss processing".

please point out to me exactly where i made such a statement?

every mix i've done for the last year has had 2buss compression, and for 6 months there has been a sontec EQ in front of the comp.....

thp1, have you even participated in an IMP yet?

how bout this......

i'm thinking about requesting that all participants of IMP8 deliver a mix as if it were heading to mastering

put the pitch forks and torches away.......
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: thp1 on October 05, 2006, 02:43:34 am
[quote title=j.hall wrote on Wed, 04 October 2006 19:56]

thp1, have you even participated in an IMP yet?

quote]

Shocked  of course i have, i wouldn't have opened my mouth on this subject otherwise ! i participated in IMP 7 and had some comments about the presence of a limiter on the 2 bus of my entry. But actually there was no limiter, no EQ etc, nothing but 3 db of A/D clipping (well, i know, that's an extreme form of brickwall limiting ! btw please people do not tell me it is bad to do that, i am a M.E., i know my stuff thanx). That is why i said that nobody can tell what was done exactly only by listening to a final product.

Anyway, the last part of your post make things clearer than your previous one, thank you. I thought that we could have ended up with a stupid 'loudest mix hunt', seems that i was wrong ! Wink

Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: ATOR on October 05, 2006, 06:20:19 am
I think we shouldn't use any 2buss processing in the IMP just to make it louder. It's about letting other engineers listen to the the quality of your mix, not about trying to impress a client with how loud you made it.

So I'm in favour of sending the IMP-mix like you would send it to a mastering engineer. Make it sound as good as you can instead of how loud you can.

Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: rankus on October 05, 2006, 01:32:40 pm

I always send my mixes to the ME at-6db  and no limiting or compression...  But in the case of the IMPs I have been compressing about 2-3 db and normalizing to -.3db or so... No limiting.

I agree with J that we should have some sort of standard for everyone, It makes it a lot easier to compare.

After all this is supposed to simulate real world situations and we would be delivering to specs that the label, client, and ME ask for...  A little "standardization" is not a bad thing.

IMP8 anyone?  it looks like I have a week of downtime, and need something to do ..  Confused  (And I'm expecting a new pair of monitors anyday now and need to break em in... KRK V6's)
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: TheViking on October 05, 2006, 02:38:09 pm
My bad...   I think I probably started the witch-hunt.   I'm also the guy who hasn't participated in an IMP in a long while so...   oops.

My only point, and I still stand by it, is...   saying that a certain plug in or device is not allowed to be used for loudness is going to be a hard sell for some mixers.   How do you quantify loudness over goodness?   You can't.   There are some pro mixers that I've heard unmastered mixes of and they are pretty damn loud before going to mastering.   Some pro mixers mixes I've heard that aren't.   The other thing is that I may use a maxim or L2 or Massey limiter to achieve a sound or density in the mix that I like and want to keep.   This is going to be difficult to try to figure out.

That's all I'm trying to say...   Give Peace a Chance.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: Tom C on October 05, 2006, 04:13:21 pm
rankus wrote on Thu, 05 October 2006 19:32



I agree with J that we should have some sort of standard for everyone, It makes it a lot easier to compare.



Why don't just say 'all mixes must be 18 db RMS' or something like
this?
I'd leave an ME plenty of room and I wouldn't need to adjust
loudness while listening to each mix.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: NelsonL on October 05, 2006, 04:36:49 pm
I can limit, or I can not limit-- I don't feel strongly either way.

In the real world, you might well lose work to someone's loud, distorted, POS mix-- it happens all too often.  
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: j.hall on October 05, 2006, 05:51:42 pm
how about this.

no more then 1db of GR on the limiters.

what i'm after is to minimize all the artifacts that can smear a mix with bad limiting.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: Tom C on October 05, 2006, 06:15:46 pm
j.hall wrote on Thu, 05 October 2006 23:51

how about this.

no more then 1db of GR on the limiters.

what i'm after is to minimize all the artifacts that can smear a mix with bad limiting.



Can of worms?
When we start limiting the use of limiters on the 2 bus we
have to do the same with compressors.
And clipping.
And all these other nasty tricks to make things loud.

Request a final loudness and all is good.
And easy to verify!
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: NelsonL on October 05, 2006, 06:31:02 pm
Tom C wrote on Thu, 05 October 2006 15:15

j.hall wrote on Thu, 05 October 2006 23:51

how about this.

no more then 1db of GR on the limiters.

what i'm after is to minimize all the artifacts that can smear a mix with bad limiting.



Can of worms?
When we start limiting the use of limiters on the 2 bus we
have to do the same with compressors.
And clipping.
And all these other nasty tricks to make things loud.

Request a final loudness and all is good.
And easy to verify!


I'm kind of wary of such a specific rule-- I want to be mixing for vibe and cohesion, not an RMS level.  

No fence.

Can't we just tar and feather El Jefe ane move on?
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: maxim on October 05, 2006, 08:10:11 pm
i think, it's pretty simple

the mix that leaves your room should be as you would send to mastering

when people evaluate the mixes, they can try on a mastering hat

turn up the volume, if you have to, bung a limiter on, if you really want (at least, it'll be the same limiter across all the mixes)

Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: rankus on October 05, 2006, 08:52:30 pm


Ah well.  It's no biggie either way.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: MI on October 06, 2006, 11:11:16 am
I must admit I "effed" up on my submission.
That's what I get for trying to do things too fast.

Now that I know what the ground rules are, I'll stick to it for IMP 8 which I look forward to.

Thanks.

Mario
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: j.hall on October 06, 2006, 04:21:44 pm
rattleyour wrote on Thu, 05 October 2006 17:31



Can't we just tar and feather El Jefe ane move on?



as long as it's an internet tar and feathering i'm cool with it.
Title: Re: IMP7 discussion.
Post by: cerberus on October 07, 2006, 07:57:06 am
tar?  now that seems fresh and original!  not so trendy like "glue".

jeff dinces