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Diesel13 - Colour Me Red (ZX Mix)
04-11-2016, 12:07 AM (This post was last modified: 26-11-2016 09:32 PM by APZX.)
Post: #1
Diesel13 - Colour Me Red (ZX Mix)
What a little surprise this multi was. Tons of fun to mix, and what a fun song. At first I thought the multi was a bit heavy in the lower mids, but really that was just a handful of instruments. At any rate I tried to do a mix with a bit more of a modern sensibility to it. I kind of built the mix around the drum sound. I wanted those to sound powerful and tried to lift everything else around them.

Edit - Added an updated mix based on Mike Senior's advice. Also, did some other minor things to the mix, and is the final version of the mix for me.


.mp3   Diesel13 - Colour Me Red (ZX Mix).mp3 --  (Download: 4.73 MB)


.mp3   Diesel13 - Colour Me Red (ZX)_2.mp3 --  (Download: 4.73 MB)


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04-11-2016, 12:42 AM
Post: #2
RE: Diesel13 - Colour Me Red (ZX Mix)
Two minor comments. BGVs are a bit lost. Wait. That's one. Nice work.

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17-11-2016, 12:09 PM
Post: #3
RE: Diesel13 - Colour Me Red (ZX Mix)
Overall I like this mix a lot -- it's got plenty of punch and excitement and a very decent general balance between the main elements: vocals, kick, snare, bass, guitars, cymbals. Plus I like the way you've slotted in some of the 'feature' moments: the high AcousticGtr03 parts at the end of Verse 1, the beginning of Verse 2, and in Mid-section 2; ElecGtr02's falling broken chords in the Mid-sections; the banjo in Verse 3; that eerie ElecGtr04 part in Outro1; and the backing vocals in Outro 2. All well judged to be audible, and make their statement, but never in a distracting or overwrought way. Those backing vocals are particularly interesting, because you've tackled the potential for muddiness well, and also left them a little bit indistinct in terms of intelligibility. Although instinctively I bridled at that indistinctness from the perspective of wanting to hear the lyrics more clearly, the overall impression grew on me, and added to the rootsy feel somehow, so I'm not sure I'd change it.

In terms of areas that could perhaps be improved, I'd say it's the low end I'd look at first of all. One of the challenges of this multitrack as I see it is that the bass guitar itself has a lot more first harmonic than it has fundamental, and the amp it's put through actually seems to accentuate that even more. This means that if you balance the bass so that it sounds reasonably well balanced with the guitars overall (and where it doesn't bloat out the lower midrange) you end up with very little real weight. As a result, it seems to me you've relied a little too hard on the kick-drum's low end to even out the overall mix's tonality. Clearly, these kinds of things are a judgement call, but I think the music works better with a slightly more even-handed LF contribution from those two instruments. I've attached a version of your mix where I've added more of the kind of low end I'm thinking of (using the raw multitrack's DI part), so you can hear what I mean -- it's like it puts the harmony and the groove more on equal terms. I've also added a touch more 15kHz 'air' to that mix too, as that's another thing I thought would help the mix, especially in terms of balancing the extra low end I've added.

You've gone for a very upfront drum sound, which I do like a lot in terms of the groove, but I also wonder whether fitting in a little more room sound on the snare in particular might help it belong better to the rest of the mix. At the moment it sounds a bit gated, and that slight sense of artificiality somehow niggles me as a listener. Maybe it's because it's neither dramatic enough to be a 'hey here's Americana with EDM drums' thing, but neither is it natural-sounding enough to fit comfortably with the style of the rest of the elements -- it's kind of like you've not made up your mind either way! To be fair, that slightly gated character is inherent in the virtual drum kit used here, but I think the preview mix mitigates it a bit more believably than yours at the moment, for instance.

One more thing -- I'd probably try to tilt the vocal sound a bit away from the low mids -- sounds a bit muffled in context. In general there's some low-mid build-up in this mix, so you need to work out where you can afford to clean some of that out, I reckon.

Still, thanks for putting in a mix and starting off these critiques with the quality bar set high!


.mp3   APZXMoreBassGuitar.mp3 --  (Download: 4.73 MB)



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23-11-2016, 03:48 AM
Post: #4
RE: Diesel13 - Colour Me Red (ZX Mix)
Rightfully or wrongfully I always approach a multitrack the same way. I just group everything together in a logical way (at least what I view as logical). Then I get a general sense of about where I should initially start the faders at. From there I just kind of go for a balance that sounds good to me without any processing. Just trying to get a feel for the song as it were. After that I start the processing.

I'm gonna be honest I didn't know what to do with those background vocals at all. There just so many of them lol. What I ended up doing was a small submix of panning and level. Then it was just processing on the submix. In general some EQ and a "gentle" helping of compression, and the second set of background vocals were actually pretty hard to get to do what I wanted. After a lot of listening and pondering I settled on the notion of having them reinforce rather than be upfront because if I wanted them to be upfront with everything else I had already done they would not have been treated in a "pretty" fashion. A lot more forcing than what I have done. Now, really the main issue with background vocals besides there being a lot of them was the question of what did I want them to do? Again after much listening and pondering it turned into a situation of where I felt it more appropriate to treat them kind of like "group" of people chanting not much unlike what was heard on C.W. McCall's Convoy. Obviously, in this song these are different, but the idea I approached them with is similar enough. I guess it is one of those decisions that you kind of make and try to live with it.

Most of the things you highlight in the way I brought up instruments and such was purely informed by the multitrack itself. I really try to let those be the guide and try not to run wild with it unless I feel it is in benefit of the song. I know that after I had done my initial mix of static balance and such I went back and did quite a bit of volume automation to get things about where I felt they ought to be. I think that can be a tough line to stay if you're not careful. Volume automation is powerful and you do have to be wary of whether what you're doing is in service of the song or in disservice of it. It would seem as though I did all right with it Wink

I knew something sounded off about the bass! Not saying I did the right thing with it, but I KNEW IT! Initially when I was listening it seemed that the bass was just a bit lacking. That would also explain the low mid heaviness of the multi too. Now, the low mid build in my mix is honestly probably a result of my monitoring. I know the room I'm in does nasty things in the 200-300Hz region. I think at this point I really need to get myself some proper treatment for the room, but at the same time I'm not sure how I'm gonna stuff it in here with everything else (topic for another day). It is noted.

Now, while I've been typing this I've been toying with the suggestions you had for the mix. Definitely, correct on giving the bass more "lows". Really, I just used the EQ I had on it (Pultec style) gave it more 60 and then cut out some 500. That really helped to even it out. As for the vocals, I tried a program EQ (something based on the Altech 9063B) on that buss and just lowered 100Hz and upped 15KHz. Greatly helps the vocals and their clarity. Though I think I'm gonna have to go in and do some sibilance automation to get rid of a couple of the nastier spots. The vocal itself to me wasn't overly sibilant and a simple de-esser took care of the issues I encountered pretty well. But as I'm sure you've experienced sometimes you just need to get in there. Heck sometimes it is easier just to automate that stuff out or mask it in reverb if the song allows.

The only issue I'm having is that snare. See, me personally I like the snare a lot. I get where you're coming from. If I listen to it I can hear a disconnect from the snare and the rest of the kit. I guess this stems more from my roots than anything, but I've always liked really tight hard hitting snares (the Roland TR-606 has a wonderful snare, SO SNAPPY). I was almost tempted to make this one make your ears twinge from each hit. But I backed off on that because I wanted it to be a little more natural sounding. I don't really know if I'd wanted to be much different. Man, snares are really one of those things that make a huge difference in the way a mix is perceived aren't they? Now, in my mix I added more reverb than what just the room had. Even after quite a bit of playing around with compression and such on the room I never really liked it much more than ambiance it gave the kit. So, I added in some extra reverb and used that to create a slightly bigger sounding area. Just a little extra decay and such. The blend of these two reverbs is what ultimately creates the sound of the drums. However, I'm not sure I'm fan of really increasing the snare's presence in the reverbs much. It does make it linger on a bit more and kind of connect it more to the kit, but I'm not sure I'm a big fan of it. I dunno maybe I just like the sound of indecisiveness lol.

I'll set on this for a couple of days myself and see what I think of it. I really do appreciate the feedback. Definitely, puts me into a different kind of thinking. Always interesting to hear what others think because it is never quite what you expect. Lots of food for thought. As I said I really just tried to approach this mix with a bit more of a modern sensibility than anything. One of those things for sure is the drum sound, low end, and vocals.

Slightly off topic, but I'd like to say for the record those guitars were so annoying to get sounding right. I think I spent like 2 hours just trying to get them to compliment each other. Seriously, why did EGtr 1, AcGtr 1, and AcGtr 2 have to be all playing at the same time? Though it wasn't until I was about ready to curse up a storm that I remembered I still had the DI for EGtr 1 and AcGtr 1. That greatly helped in letting the ear find them. Take away folks remember your DI. It can save you a lot of headache.
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23-11-2016, 11:03 AM
Post: #5
RE: Diesel13 - Colour Me Red (ZX Mix)
Glad some of my comments were helpful!

(23-11-2016 03:48 AM)APZX Wrote:  I'm gonna be honest I didn't know what to do with those background vocals at all. There just so many of them lol.

I know the feeling. Funnily enough, I often lose the will to live just before mixing in the close tom mics on heavily multimiked drum kits for a similar reason...

Quote:Again after much listening and pondering it turned into a situation of where I felt it more appropriate to treat them kind of like "group" of people chanting not much unlike what was heard on C.W. McCall's Convoy. Obviously, in this song these are different, but the idea I approached them with is similar enough.

Yeah, I kind of got this vibe from it.

Quote:The only issue I'm having is that snare. See, me personally I like the snare a lot. I get where you're coming from. If I listen to it I can hear a disconnect from the snare and the rest of the kit. I guess this stems more from my roots than anything, but I've always liked really tight hard hitting snares (the Roland TR-606 has a wonderful snare, SO SNAPPY). I was almost tempted to make this one make your ears twinge from each hit. But I backed off on that because I wanted it to be a little more natural sounding. I don't really know if I'd wanted to be much different. Man, snares are really one of those things that make a huge difference in the way a mix is perceived aren't they? Now, in my mix I added more reverb than what just the room had. Even after quite a bit of playing around with compression and such on the room I never really liked it much more than ambiance it gave the kit. So, I added in some extra reverb and used that to create a slightly bigger sounding area. Just a little extra decay and such. The blend of these two reverbs is what ultimately creates the sound of the drums. However, I'm not sure I'm fan of really increasing the snare's presence in the reverbs much. It does make it linger on a bit more and kind of connect it more to the kit, but I'm not sure I'm a big fan of it. I dunno maybe I just like the sound of indecisiveness lol.

As with most things, it's ultimately a subjective thing, and I'm totally alright with you (or indeed anyone else I critique) turning round and saying that they prefer something their way, not mine. To be honest, after critiquing 20 mixes of the same multitrack, I find myself increasingly second-guessing my own opinionsa anyway, so I could hardly deny anyone else that right! Smile

Quote:Slightly off topic, but I'd like to say for the record those guitars were so annoying to get sounding right. I think I spent like 2 hours just trying to get them to compliment each other. Seriously, why did EGtr 1, AcGtr 1, and AcGtr 2 have to be all playing at the same time? Though it wasn't until I was about ready to curse up a storm that I remembered I still had the DI for EGtr 1 and AcGtr 1. That greatly helped in letting the ear find them. Take away folks remember your DI. It can save you a lot of headache.

Cool tip!

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