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Hannes Keseberg: 'You Know Better'
12-01-2019, 06:38 AM (This post was last modified: 17-02-2019 08:54 PM by ThomasStevenson.)
Post: #1
Hannes Keseberg: 'You Know Better'
Getting in on the fun ! Here is my first mix of Hannes' track.

Feb10th: V2 incorporates feedback from MikeS and others on this thread


Feb 17th: Final version added - more vocal automation and vocal effect automation as I fiddled with it in the last week. Slight arrangement tweak at the end.


.mp3   YouKnowBetter_TS_V1.mp3 --  (Download: 8.38 MB)


.mp3   YouKnowBetter_TS_V2.mp3 --  (Download: 8.22 MB)


.mp3   YouKnowBetter_TS_FinalMix_Feb17_2019.mp3 --  (Download: 8.13 MB)


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12-01-2019, 07:45 AM (This post was last modified: 12-01-2019 07:46 AM by thedon.)
Post: #2
RE: Hannes Keseberg: 'You Know Better'
Hi Thomas,
I like your mix it sounds well balanced ,listening on little 3" Iloud monitors at the moment the kick sounds nice and punchy ,when the bass guitar comes in sounds a touch upfront just by a couple of db maybe just 50 hz and 90 hz and roll off below 40-50 on the bass and kick .
I love your creative ideas especially the reverse cymbal and the break at 2.40 .
Well Done Big Grin


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12-01-2019, 03:42 PM
Post: #3
RE: Hannes Keseberg: 'You Know Better'
Very creative and well beyond my skill level.

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12-01-2019, 04:26 PM
Post: #4
RE: Hannes Keseberg: 'You Know Better'
Hi Thomas.

Nice mix. Like what you've done with the arrangement. The reverse cymbal hit was a bit of a surprise ... was wondering if we were going to get a full synth drop at the end chorus then! :-)

A few notes to my ears: Kick drum didn't seem to sit quite right in the mix. The full base sound you have there sounds great on my headphones, but dropped out on smaller speakers; which, given its importance to the song, might be an issue. Liked the panned percussion and generally the panning choices.

Vocal sounded perhaps a little too polite / untreated in places. (But that's very much a question of style, so take that comment with a grain of salt.)

All sound is a distortion of silence / soundcloud.com/jeffd42
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19-01-2019, 01:14 AM
Post: #5
RE: Hannes Keseberg: 'You Know Better'
(12-01-2019 07:45 AM)thedon Wrote:  Hi Thomas,
I like your mix it sounds well balanced ,listening on little 3" Iloud monitors at the moment the kick sounds nice and punchy ,when the bass guitar comes in sounds a touch upfront just by a couple of db maybe just 50 hz and 90 hz and roll off below 40-50 on the bass and kick .
I love your creative ideas especially the reverse cymbal and the break at 2.40 .
Well Done Big Grin

Thanks thedon ! I will take a listen to the bass with your comment in mind - I am sure you are right.

Thomas
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19-01-2019, 01:15 AM
Post: #6
RE: Hannes Keseberg: 'You Know Better'
(12-01-2019 03:42 PM)Mixinthecloud Wrote:  Very creative and well beyond my skill level.

Thanks Mixinthecloud for listening - I will return the favour shortly !

Thomas
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19-01-2019, 01:18 AM
Post: #7
RE: Hannes Keseberg: 'You Know Better'
(12-01-2019 04:26 PM)jeffd42 Wrote:  Hi Thomas.

Nice mix. Like what you've done with the arrangement. The reverse cymbal hit was a bit of a surprise ... was wondering if we were going to get a full synth drop at the end chorus then! :-)

A few notes to my ears: Kick drum didn't seem to sit quite right in the mix. The full base sound you have there sounds great on my headphones, but dropped out on smaller speakers; which, given its importance to the song, might be an issue. Liked the panned percussion and generally the panning choices.

Vocal sounded perhaps a little too polite / untreated in places. (But that's very much a question of style, so take that comment with a grain of salt.)

Hi Jeff - your synth drop comment made me smile - that would be out of character for me - haha !

I will take a listen on the kick drum side - thanks for highlighting that. Your vocal observation is interesting to me too, as I felt I was dialing it back from my taste to match the references I was using. I will listen again with that in mind as well.

Thank you for the feedback - appreciated !

Thomas
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23-01-2019, 03:23 PM
Post: #8
RE: Hannes Keseberg: 'You Know Better'
Hi Tom! Well, regardless of who wins the main mixing contest, I'm delighted to say that you've already bagged the 'Brass Cojones Arrangement Award'. Big Grin Honestly, leaving the bass entry so late, when the instrument's such a big musical element of the track, takes a bucketload of chutzpah, but I have to say that I wish it had occurred to me while mixing this song first time round, because it's a super-cool solution to the arrangement problem presented by the identical Verse 1 and Verse 2 arrangements. Hats off to you for coming up with that!

However, while I instinctively feel the potential for this idea to be totally killer, it's currently not quite delivering as I'd hope, because the lack of the bass's melodic interest means that the stripped-back texture gets stale quicker than it did when the bass was in there. In your situation, I'd probably try one of two things. Either I'd put some much more basic edited-down version of the bass into Verse 1 -- enough to keep the attention a little more, but not so much that you don't still get more interest in Verse 2. Or (probably my preferred option) I'd shorten the Intro, probably cutting it in half, so that the stripped-back texture retains it freshness for longer once the vocal comes in. In the latter case, I'd probably also try to find some simple sustained element to put under the third verse phrase (from 0:32) just to open that out a touch and keep the listener engaged right until the bass arrives. It might be just a gentle guitar, piano, or hammond chord, nothing fancy, but just enough to give a touch of extra warmth for the vocal's new melodic material and higher register there. (I'd probably also deliberately drop out that element cold on the downbeat of Verse 2, which would make the section boundary clearer, as well as giving a little 'vacuum' shock effect to refocus the listener on the vocal's new lyrics. Heck, I'm just riffing now...)

Whatever you do with that Intro, though, I'd suggest dropping out the final guitar chord before the start of Verse 1, because that'll make it clearer to the listener that something important's about to arrive (ie. the vocal). And the flams in the drum part are also quite distracting, so I'd probably tidy those up a bit. When you strip down an arrangement, you've got to make sure that each element can withstand that closer scrutiny. Partially for the same reason, I think Verse 2 and Verse 3 feel a touch sloppy rhythmically, but it's also on account of the solo guitar lines, which often seem to cause the groove to stumble.

The other great arrangment stunt you've pulled in your version of the drop-down idea in Chorus 3. It's a cool idea to have that moment of retro sonics, but I think it'll work even better if you don't overdo the preceding transition effect -- I think it can be shorter. The problem is that it's an electronic element that doesn't really fit the style, and when it starts it's not really clear why it should be there. If it were shorter, I think the listener would find themselves in the retro sonics section before they'd really had time to be unsettled by that stylistic question. In other words, your transition effect would sound more like a bit of 'here we go time-travelling into the past' Foley, rather than like a percussion layer belonging to a different production. I reckon the vocal sound should probably also make a gesture in that retro direction too, just for that section. As it sounds, it feels a bit dislocated from the mix. I'm not saying you have to treat it as severely as the backing, but a step in that direction would make it appear more in keeping with the mood of the backing for me. Also, I do miss some rhythmic impetus during the retro sonics section, so I'd probably at least bring the backbeat up a bit, or else introduce some other rhythmic element to keep the groove ticking over a bit more strongly. Maybe that's the moment for the congas to really shine, for instance? And I also reckon I'd experiment with adding some kind of transition effect (it could be longer this time) during the second half of the retro sonics section, so that you build a bit more anticipation for the eventual full-band-texture return.

To an extent, I have similar reservations about the reverse cymbal preceding Chorus 2 as I do about the transition effect into Chorus 3 -- it just feels like it belongs to a slightly different production, because it doesn't really sit comfortably with the implicit 'live band' conceit. It just feels a bit too much like a programmed addition, a kind of production 'sticking plaster'. Besides, the drum fill at that point is cool enough as it is, I figure, so I'm not sure it's necessary anyway. And it also makes a bit of a rod for your own back, because Chorus 2 doesn't really deliver the musical impact that the cymbal swell promises. It feels like you'd maybe need more piano, or to copy in the hand claps, in order to sustain the energy level that cymbal has taken you to.

Arrangement issues aside, I think this is also a strong mix from an engineering standpoint. The overall mix tonality feels pretty good (although a little lacking in 'air' at the top octave of the spectrum) and the balance and clarity you've achieved are commendable -- there's suitable deference to the lead vocal, but nothing's been made to sound small in the backing. The mix effects are tastefully done, and in particular you've manged to create something that several other mixes have struggled with: depth. In other words, some things are clearly more foreground, and others much further away, and that really helps bring the sound to life. That said, I think there are still bonus points you could gain by automating the effects to improve the long-term dynamics and section-differentiation -- for example, giving the vocals more expansiveness in the Mid-section and Outro.

Automation is also a key issue for the lead vocal, because it's not as stable in the mix as I'd expect of a single, and I'm not getting the lyrics through as well as I'd hope. Take the first two phrases of the Mid-section for example: "have made" and "you to get" leap out too much, whereas "it home and I ask" and "it on" get rather lost by comparison. If you're having trouble hearing this, check it out on your single-driver midrange speaker (I seem to remember you have the same Avantone I do) and it should become much more apparent. I'd also bring up the final vocal phrase a bit, if I were you. There are few better ways to end a song like this than with the spotlight firmly on the singer -- especially if he happens to be judging the contest! Smile

One area of the mix that does feel a bit underwhelming is the stereo width, within the context of a mix brief that's targeting mainstream listeners. I already mentioned a few ideas for this in thedon's critique, so I won't repeat those here, but it'd be well worth focusing on this aspect of your mix as you continue to reference it against commercial releases in the run-up to the final contest submission.

A few other small mixing/editing niggles: Are the drums maybe a bit overcompressed in Reintro? It seems as if the cymbal pumps a bit more than it should when that downbeat hits. It has a certain retro charm to it, but I'm in two minds. The Mid-section feels rather drums/percussion-heavy, and therefore slightly too aggressive in terms of the lyrical content there. I'd try to give it more harmonic fullness with the piano, hammond, guitar, and backing vocals for that reason -- and a nice side-effect of doing that is that your retro sonics drop-down should then sound even more dramatic by contrast. The electric guitar from Chorus 3 to the end is definitely a funky-sounding thing, but it does rather undermine the rhythm of Chorus 3 as it is. It also feels like it's smearing unmusically towards the end of its rising figure in the Outro.

Hope all of that makes sense, and congratulations on coming forward with some cracking arrangement ideas!

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11-02-2019, 06:26 AM
Post: #9
RE: Hannes Keseberg: 'You Know Better'
Posting a V2 after working through all the feedback - thanks !
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