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Dark Horses - AZ Mix
02-01-2015, 04:54 AM (This post was last modified: 08-01-2015 06:04 AM by azwayne.)
Post: #1
Dark Horses - AZ Mix
So here's my take on this tune. Comments encouraged. (I'll even take sarcastic remarks if they're sufficiently funny! Big Grin )

This song posed a number of challenges the most difficult of which was that, as seems typical, everything is competing for the same sonic real estate and it was very hard to gete all the parts to fit together without stepping on each other. Tip: If you're a song writer, try to avoid writing accompanyment parts in the same scale range as your vocals or solo instruments. They'll get along a lot better that way. My biggest challenge was with the drums and the vocals. I don't know why but I just had the devil of a time getting a good drum sound and I'm still not sure I got that kick drum sounding the way it ought to.

Some of the things I did in this mix:

Spent about an hour in melodyne removing the most aggregious of the drifts off the vocal tracks. This was followed up with compression on both the individual tracks and then on the mix bus as well to try to get them all nice and orderly without sonic artifacts. Note that there are some pops on the vocal track that I couldn't manage to get rid of even though I tried hard to do so. It's not a fault with what I did. These were on the master tracks and I just couldn't manage to fix them acceptably. In the mix, you recally can't hear them unless you're listening very close so I think that's an acceptable outcome.

The bass was another challege. This player is using his fingers rather than a pick so that means a softer attack which I found hard to bring out through just EQ. I ultimately settled on using series compressors to help me out and I think that worked out well.

I took the multi-mics from the guitars (each of which was recorded with pedals, as you hear, one of which seems to have been a chorus pedal) and panned each hard left and right on EG1 and then did the opposite panning on EG2 (mic 2 left instead of mic 1). They worked well enough up the center but I think I like this sound a bit better and it also helps make a hole for the vocals to set in.

Reverb was no fun. This song needs reverb on the vocals but if you add more than just the tiniest amount of predelay it all goes to pot.

I did not apply any other effects to these tracks as they didn't seem to call for anything although I was thinking of a faint flanger at a couple of points (barely audible) before deciding against it.

There were a number of other more subtle changes I made such as ever so slightly shifting the timing of drum/AG/bass hits to keep from clobbering the vocal in a couple of spots. (A good bass player should always lag the kick drum by just a hair so he doesn't cover it up and a driving guitar line is often an even smaller shade just ahead of the beat to help pull it forward.)

Oh, FYI, "Broadway up to Craycroft" describes an intersection in Tucson, Arizona, a town I know well. I think I'm pretty sure I know what area this band hails from. Smile If you haven't figured it out, the song seems to be about a homeless couple living in that area that wasn't so at one time and probably made that way through some of Dan's problems. (Speaking of pot...)


.mp3   Dark Horses.mp3 --  (Download: 11.2 MB)


.mp3   Dark Horses -v2.mp3 --  (Download: 10.68 MB)



Old West Audio
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05-01-2015, 05:16 PM (This post was last modified: 05-01-2015 05:18 PM by juanjose1967.)
Post: #2
RE: Dark Horses - AZ Mix
Hi!

I found a couple of things that I would change in order to make your mix better.

At 2:37 when there's only one vox, it's panned a little to the right. I would keep in in the center during that time before the other voice starts singing that can go to the initial position.

Sometimes I can listen that the vocals are a little bit boxy. Just a couple of notches would be enough to solve this.

It's a good thing you pointed out when you said that you fixed a couple of spots where the bass, kick and guitar were not hitting at the same time. I remember thinking about fixing this in my mix, but I forgot. So you reminded me. Thank you!!

I really liked your acoustic guitar (much, much better than mine) and also the electric guitars. I can't give you any more detailed analysis because I'm not too familiar with this genre Smile

mixing since April 2013
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08-01-2015, 06:07 AM
Post: #3
RE: Dark Horses - AZ Mix
Well, the thing is that the solo guitar is in the other ear. This partly because I was having trouble separating them in the mix and this helps. You can still hear the vocal well enough in mono but the guitar starts to get in the way. I didn't want to move it half way through because that just wouldn't work.

I uploaded a second version with a few corrections and other tweaks (including me noticing that a couple of things weren't bright enough, as you suggest) and noticably improving the kick drum and hopefully the snare, although I can't help but feel that the overall EQ is still a little off. Oh well. It still gives me a break from trying to work with "Once More" and discovering that my DAW doesn't like that many waves plugins active all at the same time. Sad

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15-01-2015, 12:50 AM
Post: #4
RE: Dark Horses - AZ Mix
(08-01-2015 06:07 AM)azwayne Wrote:  Well, the thing is that the solo guitar is in the other ear. This partly because I was having trouble separating them in the mix and this helps. You can still hear the vocal well enough in mono but the guitar starts to get in the way. I didn't want to move it half way through because that just wouldn't work.

I uploaded a second version with a few corrections and other tweaks (including me noticing that a couple of things weren't bright enough, as you suggest) and noticably improving the kick drum and hopefully the snare, although I can't help but feel that the overall EQ is still a little off. Oh well. It still gives me a break from trying to work with "Once More" and discovering that my DAW doesn't like that many waves plugins active all at the same time. Sad
Hi Az, eager to listen to v.2 but I hear it mono in play. File problem, my mp3 decoder problem or bounce oversight? (I can hear v.1 in stereo).

cheers

"... I'm listening. Yes."
from Switzerland
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15-01-2015, 08:06 AM
Post: #5
RE: Dark Horses - AZ Mix
You are indeed correct! I had summed the master bus and forgot to undo it before mixdown. I've replaced the v2 file with a proper stereo track.

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27-03-2015, 06:56 AM
Post: #6
RE: Dark Horses - AZ Mix
Hey az...I have to say that your mix sounds well balanced, but I do not like the chorused/doubled effect on the vocals. It seems to prominent. Ironically, you told me the delay on my vocal was a bit too much, and you were correct! haha

I like the natural drum sound you've achieved! Nothing besides the lead vocal really yanks me out of the mix. However, the balance of volume is somewhat suspect, especially around 2:50 when you pan the vocal right; the music seems to become very much a background.

Overall, good job man. Just needs less processing, and more overall loudness balancing.

Joe Walter
a.k.a. "grizwalter"
Mile-High Audio Productions
www.mountainmix.net
[email protected]

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14-04-2015, 07:15 PM (This post was last modified: 14-04-2015 07:20 PM by ixnas.)
Post: #7
RE: Dark Horses - AZ Mix
The mix overall sounds very boxy, especially the vocals. Not a lot of clarity, and no nice low end from the bass. The level balance is okay though.

I see you actually worked really hard on this mix, and let me tell you something: focus on levels/panning first, then dynamics processing, then EQ.
Then your mix should already sound pretty damn good. If you rush one of these things and go to effects straightaway, you'll never get a properly balanced mix, and I got the feeling that's what happened here.

Don't over-EQ (or overcompress) either. The vocals sounded pretty good without any processing.
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02-05-2015, 12:16 PM
Post: #8
RE: Dark Horses - AZ Mix
I had the same issue with reverb, so, instead of reverb I used Waves Supertap delay. This gave me a better sense of reverb without the wash of reverb over the vocal and other tracks. I used reverb on the backing vocals to sit them behind the lead vocal a little.
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