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The KMN Mix
18-08-2012, 09:40 PM
Post: #1
The KMN Mix
Well here's nothing, I ask you to be gentle since this is only my 2nd "mix" (preceded by "Who I Am") If it even classifies as one yet. It's not done yet (for instance I would have liked to have a mellower and slightly more upfront acoustic, but I'm into timed mixing.) so I'm just wondering how people with more experience would react.......

PS If it's horrible do tell but please tell me why

.mp3   Andrew Cole - Dead Roses bounced.mp3 --  (Download: 3.85 MB)

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20-08-2012, 01:49 AM
Post: #2
RE: The KMN Mix
First of all, KMNX8RS,

it is not horrible. Secondly, don't believe me. Never believe anyone who makes absolute statements. Ok, that is an absolute statement in itself. Let my try again.

I think mixing is a very subjective thing. I guess that in pretty much every book on mixing, you find the advice that mixing is both a craft and an art. I think that is true. Different mixers master the craft to a different degree, but eventually, the craft is only a tool to the art, an in art, you can do pretty much nothing that is wrong per se. I think. To me that means that there is no "horrible". (There is a "that doesn't yet work how I wanted it to", though. Lots of them, actually.)

Different people hear different things in a song, and develop different ideas of what to do with it. Or stumble into different results, depending on their level of playfulness and/or mastery of the craft. What I like most about this site is the opportunity to compare different mixes of a song side by side, because it makes these differences apparent, and the variety of decisions to make and of how to make them.

I did not yet compare your mix systematically to the other mixes of this song, but I quickly checked uzilevi's mix, because I think he's always a good, textbook-like starting point. I find his mix rather muscular and robust (no surprise here) and confident, not just regarding mixing decisions, but regarding the mix's... hm... posture, if you will. Yours in comparison appears fragile and brittle to me, if not slightly clumsy. And I think that fits the lyrics equally well (while it probably does not make for a good "radio edit"). I like listening to it, specifically to how it falls apart in the end, and I'm glad that you shared it!

You say you're not done. A couple of questions and suggestions come to mind. But since you mentioned the acoustic (guitar, I assume) that you'd like to be both mellower and more upfront, I would try to soften its transients, either by means of a fast compressor or a transient shaper. It may also help if you find the acoustic guitar its own space, either in terms of depth (think reverb) or stereo panorama... or even frequency. If one finds some frequencies that are meaningful to the guitar and that one can cut out of the other voices without crippling them, why not?

But most importantly, don't be afraid. Again, there is no "horrible".

I hope that makes sense to you...?

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21-08-2012, 10:07 AM (This post was last modified: 21-08-2012 06:56 PM by KMNX8RS.)
Post: #3
RE: The KMN Mix
Wel first of all Marc I would like to thank you for your response.

This morning I just played back the mix outside of the DAW to enjoy the fruits of my laborAngel. Pressed play and Sad the bass was way to loud, making all other instruments sound distant and weird. I was hoping the mix would support the sadness but got lost somewhere. I believe I also monitored this way to loud while mixing.... everything is just gone and Fletcher-Munson took over on the lead vocal too.....

The Acoustic guitars, I wasn't quite sure what I wanted anymore. Because I thought that if I would "tame" the transients so the guitar would "swell" and roll of some high end I would be fighting the piano which has such a warm and half-distant sound (although I have to say that it might be to warm now).

I will not even discuss the drums, They are gone....

Only thing I would like to note in my defense: I wanted to see what it would be like to have a certain amount of time to mix a song.
Everything was going pretty fast.. Until I reached the reverb for the electric guitar, So to make that work worthwile I decided to automate it the way it is near the end of the song( where it has its mini-solo)

Marc, You say you like how the song falls apart in the end. I am not quite sure what you are referring to, If you could explain it to me I would be very happy. And last but not least all those questions and suggestions are welcome

PS. Not a native so if something doesn't make sense please tell me
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21-08-2012, 08:26 PM
Post: #4
RE: The KMN Mix
I see, KMNX8RS,

that you already know what a "that doesn't yet work how I wanted it to" moment is Big Grin

I created a Reaper project from the multitracks to understand what you have been working on, and I loaded and time-/volume-adjusted the existing mixes into the same project, to be able to compare them. What I found was that I did not have to time-adjust your mix, but turn up the volume by roughly 10 dB to bring it to equal loudness with the other mixes. I was surprised to find that, when left alone, it nevertheless peaks at -0.6 dB. I found a single kick to accomplish that, sticking out at 3:02. I'd say it is very unlikely that you left it there on purpose. I'm not suggesting that drums must be compressed, but if you don't compress (or limit) them, automating out such peaks would gain you a handful dB of additional level overall.

I also saw that you use the "SCRATCH" tracks. As I said above, I think that in art, nothing is wrong per se. Using scratch tracks makes me think again, though. I mean, somebody seems to have decided earlier in the process to not use these tracks. Using them means to override this explicit decision. On the other hand, no one knows what exactly that person meant by "scratch", and why he or she kept the tracks anyway. So it is probably ok to use them.

In any case, the use of the scratch tracks has some impact. For example, the scratch acoustic guitar plays an arpeggio too early at 3:45. By way of its interplay with the other acoustic guitars, that contributes to what I hear as "falling apart" (or "becoming loose", if you will) -- together with the extra guitar strum at 3:57. The scratch background vocal is most obvious at 2:04, where it sounds like an 'out-of-tune delay'. In my ears, that translates into insecurity (as in "I am not really sure when to sing this note") and contributes to the looseness (as in "we're not on the same beat").

I'm not saying that any of that is wrong. It sounds weird at first, though, and may benefit from some refinement. For example, you can pan or eq the scratch voices away from their legitimate counterparts and soften the contention between them. I also would not object blending the acoustic guitars into the piano.

Regarding Fletcher-Munson, I believe the textbook advice is to mix at low levels but turn the volume up for very short periods. I never considered anything different, because my ears are already damaged enough, but you seem to confirm the wisdom of this approach Wink

By the way, you are not under attack, you don't have to "defend" yourself for or against anything. Wait, for one thing maybe Tongue Forcing yourself to mix fast... why the heck do you do that?!

Keep enjoying yourself Smile

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23-08-2012, 03:25 PM (This post was last modified: 26-08-2012 01:48 PM by KMNX8RS.)
Post: #5
RE: The KMN Mix
A rectification is in order........ My observations in the second post were off. At least so I thought when I discovered that I was listening through Midsidemangler© But nobody said I was wrong... I probably have a (very) long way to go.

The Peak
I noticed it after bouncing the track (I saw a weird artifact-ish peak in the waveform) but figured "what the hey" and uploaded it determined to find it the next time I open the DAW(I still haven't checked it out). to be honest I didn't care about the RMS figuring we all have volume controls.

The scratch tracks
Those tracks had a chorus-like thickening effect with the voices. In retrospect I could have just cut the part were its "variation" is to big. Maybe I got so used to it that I came to believe it was somehow essential...... I think I like the song to much

Mixing fast:
I prefer live work so having a good sound fast will be crucial (subjectiveness of good aside)
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23-08-2012, 10:08 PM
Post: #6
RE: The KMN Mix
(20-08-2012 01:49 AM)ThePhonk Wrote:  ...the craft is only a tool to the art, an in art, you can do pretty much nothing that is wrong per se.

What he said. Cool

But about the mix... It's a bold move to include both lead vocal takes, because it's not the kind of song I'd normally want a double-track on. If you've used it just because the track's there, then try it with only one and ask yourself if that gets the lyrical message across better. My view on it's pretty clear (I prefer the solo vocals) but I'm not wanting to dictate that to you -- I just want to make sure you've thought it through whichever choice you make.

I like what you've done with the piano here, which fills out the texture nicely in a way that some other mixes haven't. The acoustic guitars are kept fairly subtle, which is OK, but I can't help feeling that there's a better sound to be had from them subjectively, if only by readjusting the balance/phase-relationships in the multi-mic rigs. At the moment it sounds like you're relying rather heavily on the DI feed, which seems like a shame given the wealth of ridiculously expensive mics on that session, and also brings problems of blend and picknoise with it.

The drums are nicely in the background here, as I instinctively feel they should be. The toms do seem way out of balance, though, at moments (such as 3:02), so you might still want to rebalance/automate a bit to catch those.

Hope some of that helps!

Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio | Recording Secrets for the Small Studio
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27-08-2012, 11:19 AM (This post was last modified: 27-08-2012 06:06 PM by KMNX8RS.)
Post: #7
RE: The KMN Mix
I took the double takes and removed the part where only the scratch sings "And all of the stars came, sparkling down" and left the "From the sky" to accent those words and left it only in at the chorusses and at the end after the second chorus.

Well thank you but the piano was beautifully recorded, All I did was HPF them at 64Hz on the individual tracks and then pulled 0,9 dB at 514Hz on the buss. I believe I know what happened with the guitars..... Those scratch tracks again. I did compare the before and after on the vocals but didn't on the guitar. I muted the scratch and behold the beauty. It must have been the reason why it felt DI'ed cause I did not use the DI tracks at all(except the scratch that was a DI feed). I can't believe I threw this wonderfull sound away with the scratch.... However it is now metallic and ringing so I'll have to take a look at that and soften the transients

Toms have also been automated now, when I find the time I will bounce and upload a new (and hopefully improved) version.

And thank you for your time taken to listen and the constructive criticism, this also goes to Marc

PS: I included the second revision (bounced 2) and a (special) version that would have really done it if you ask me.

.mp3   Andrew Cole - Dead Roses bounced 2.mp3 --  (Download: 5.78 MB)

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27-08-2012, 06:00 PM
Post: #8
RE: The KMN Mix
(27-08-2012 11:19 AM)KMNX8RS Wrote:  PS: I included the second revision (bounced 2) and a (special) version that would have really done it if you ask me.

.mp3   Andrew Cole - Dead Roses Special 2.mp3 --  (Download: 5.78 MB)

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