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Mix by Zbat
06-02-2019, 05:51 AM (This post was last modified: 06-02-2019 12:39 PM by Zbat.)
Post: #1
Mix by Zbat

I had fun mixing this song although I'm not massively impressed with my results, I would love some feedback in order to pinpoint what I can improve.
I feel like the snare is still lacking precision for instance as per the overall mix,

I loved the fact that there were so many tracks as I could play with panning like crazy.

I am not a massive fan of the triggered kick and toms + there was a lot of hi hat bleed on the snare actually had to use a sample for the snare so ended up with something really robotic like, I tried to use a bit of the room sounds to keep it "live" but the drummer was not SUPER tight so difficult not to make it sound muddy.
Punk is very difficult to play well: the tighter, the heavier and it's very unforgiving if not precise.
I used parallel "New York Style" compression boosting the high and low end before compressing for the kick and snare.

I did not take a massive amount of risks overall, just wanted the mix to be punchy and tight. Used bands like NOFX as a reference (these guys are unbelievably tight btw), this might be why it sounds a tad bright, because those bands have a crazy amount of high end and the bass is glued to the guitar into one big instrument.

Please let me know what you think,
Thanks a lot

.mp3   Semantics.mp3 --  (Download: 10.31 MB)

.mp3   Semantics REVISED.mp3 --  (Download: 10.4 MB)

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06-02-2019, 12:32 PM
Post: #2
RE: Mix by Zbat

I'm responding to myself here but sharing in case it's helpful: there's a bunch of problems I have spotted which are not related to the mix. The first is that overall I was listening to the mix too loud, and secondly I did not take real breaks so I got completely stuck into details.

Having slept on it, I noticed the day after how bright the mix is!

I have made some tweaks, mainly taming the guitars and drums a tiny bit ear piercing. It's not night and day, hopefully it's noticeable, hopefully it's better.

See attached my second version named "Semantics REVISED".

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08-02-2019, 11:06 AM
Post: #3
RE: Mix by Zbat
Hey man, cool take on this!

First couple of things are a little nitpicky, but there's a pop on the vocal in the first verse before he says "I cannot live like that" that you could cut out, and at the start of the bridge section, the fuzz bass track enters quite suddenly a couple of beats after the clean track. You could maybe fade it or have it enter with the drums.

I don't think the mix is too bright overall but a lot of the parts have presence in the same frequency range, around 2-5KHz. If you tame that area on the rhythm guitars, I don't think the vocal would have to be quite as aggressive and it might feel a little smoother.

The bass drum is a bit extreme haha, almost like "And Justice For All" era Metallica. This type of music suits a narrower, thuddy sound, in my opinion. This is probably due to the sound on the recording though, I don't remember. Is that a sample they had in there?

The snare definitely doesn't have that hyper-modern punch, but honestly I don't think it needs it. I think it's fair to compare this band to the Foo Fighters in some ways and if you listen, a lot of their drum sounds have quite a mellow attack like yours. This type of snare sounds great turned up loud and won't sound offensive through small speakers, so that's a definite up side.

You mentioned building hooks and stuff on my mix, and I think that's the type of thing that really isn't talked about enough on here. Everyone can get very focused on the sounds and frequencies and what compressors to use here and there, etc., but the most important thing is creating a song. I think this mix is actually very good. The balance is really nice, it has build, the chorus feels like a chorus.

I can relate with the whole not taking breaks thing btw haha. When I start a mix, I usually get way too into it and don't stop until I finish, not the best idea! I have to train myself to let it sit overnight or something so I can listen with fresh ears.

Out of curiosity, are you into a lot of music from the 90's and early 2000's? I feel like I can hear that in your mixes. You mix quite dry like a lot of music back then, I like that sound too.
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08-02-2019, 01:45 PM
Post: #4
RE: Mix by Zbat

Oh yeah I did not do any cleaning on the vocals, sometimes I spend time on checking breathing, noises, pops etc. going to be honest I just dismissed this part completely ahah but thanks, well spotted!

Yeah spot on, I think I was trying to get some nastiness out of the 2-5Khz zone, that's where the guitars start to break etc. I compared it with NOFX and other similar bands but that's a great advice I do that often and end up having to push the vocals very bright. Yeah Raw Power is one of my favorite albums ahah

The bass is a bit extreme indeed ahah but the whole 90s - 2000s "pop punk" or even metal era, you'd have the bass literally playing the same line as the guitar like one massive guitar.

Cool yeah that was my take on the snare, I don't feel like it's always the more explosive the better. I like the Foo Fighters comparison it's a good one.

Before anything I'm a music fan (very rock (in a very wide way) oriented but not limited to any genre) and we need to bear in mind people listening to the music won't give a shit about frequencies or compression, they'll just say WOW the guitar jumped at me or that made me want to jump. It's the same experience with bands playing live thinking the audience will notice you're using a fuzz factory instead of a big muff for a guitarist, a 18 crash instead of an 18 for a drummer etc. they won't. They'll notice the energy, craziness, the hooks and the spontaneous events. Btw lots of people talk badly about And Justice For All's production I think it's incredible you play the album, you get that weird intro with reversed guitars then the first snare hit kicks you in the nuts, even though it's far from a typical metal snare, at least that's how I experienced it the first time. There's something about that guitar tone with the drums that is nasty. And nastiness sticks, you remember it, there's something too aggressive, a bit on the edge. Now put that against another album from the same era, it will stick out. You feel there's something grabbing you, you get that from Cream's Politician to more recent metal bands like Sepultura's Arise to Gojira's The Link, there's something edgy about it, almost scary (that's for the "metal" genre).

Yeah hooks and build ups are extremely important, I'm used to helping musicians with song writing in general and this is the most neglected but important part in modern rock.

I'm a bit mental when I start either playing, recording or mixing, I'll stop eating, sleeping or whatever, I won't break the flow. In this instance my girlfriend saved me ahah, she is not technical but has a great ear so she'll be like "dude wtf is up with the snare" or "more drums" or "too compressed" and then I'll notice the obvious that I could not see because I was in the flow, I get the same with adding reverb for instance, I end up with a mix that is super distant but I've stopped noticing the reverb ahah. In this instance she listened and was like "you need a break and carry on tomorrow".

Yeah 90s 2000s I'd say this is the music I grew up loving actually, I don't think I notice it but it's been a major influence, especially bands like Stone Temple Pilots, Alice In Chains etc. it's not intentional but I guess I can't help but wanting to sound like this ahah

This is awesome stuff, I'm just reading a ton about everything regarding mixing at the moment but was lacking the back and forth interaction factor and advises so thanks a lot this is cool!

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08-02-2019, 02:18 PM
Post: #5
RE: Mix by Zbat
This made me laugh! At least your girl has some input, whenever I had to mix around my girlfriend, she just used to be all "ARE YOU ALMOST DONE? DO YOU HAVE TO PLAY THE SAME PART OVER AND OVER? STOP MAKING NOISE!" hahaha.

And sorry, when I compared the bass to and justice for all, I meant the bass drum (kick drum). I was by no means putting the album down (I think it's fantastic), I was just trying to illustrate what I meant about the kick drum being very "metal" rather than rock/punk rock.

Your bass guitar I think is spot on!

I like listening to your mixes, I feel like a lot of our thought processes, and possibly influences, are very similar. But we still end up with wildly different results. Mad!
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09-02-2019, 06:03 AM
Post: #6
RE: Mix by Zbat
Oh yeah the kick is snappy, I see what you mean! I guess I did not realise how much this whole thing influenced me and yeah I think it's awesome to have personality in your mix!

The thing for the kick is that when you have either double kick drums boomboomboomboomboom.... or fast paste boom chack boom boom chack the risk when leaving a bit too much bottom end is that you'll have something super muddy, and if you check recent bands it's really common for them to have triggers on the kick and usually it's to get something with lots of attack and tame or kill the very low end. I was super amazed how my conception of the low end was not right until recently actually, for instance you have the same with EDM etc. if it's meant to be played on massive PAs in a club you won't have a crazy amount of low end or in the club the low end will kill the song (and the speakers) and for metal and punk it's a bit the same. The kick is always very snappy, if you check early forms of metal or the first wave of hardcore (when the songs all started speeding up) the kick is always a tiny bit muddy, even a song like Raining Blood from Slayer if you check the verse (not the massive double kick parts but the boom tac boom boom tac) you'll barely hear the kick drum in the end whereas it you compare this to Blink 182's Don't Leave Me you'll distinctively hear the kick throughout the song, there's a lot of attack in it.

But I see what you mean it sounds definitely more metal than I actually noticed.

And yeah don't get me wrong loops would drive anyone crazy appart from the person mixing ahah, this is more like when she shows up to ask for something and stumbles upon what I'm doing ahah.

That's awesome stuff again thanks, I have a bit of spare time at the moment so I was originally trying to do one mix a day for a week but then did not ahah but I'll keep on a fairly fast pace though I think.

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