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Full Version: Angelsaint MIX & MST by BKM
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Hi everyone,

Here's my take on Triviul's Angelsaint. Had a pretty good time mixing this, the individual raws already had a lot of attitude and I didn't do a lot to them despite basic saturation, EQ, and compression.

Here's some things I ran across during the mixdown (I like to write these down post-mixing, it helps me to remember the lessons I learned during the project):
  • Was struggling with the drums at first, but then just threw it all out of the window - some EQ, some parallel compression (which I automated up during the choruses for intensity), nothing more. They're not the most interesting thing in the world but they sit well in the mix.
  • Loved everything about the strings, especially the slightly detuned / eery vibe. They were however too abrasive for my taste (esp. the solo viola), so I tamed them. When I listened to the reference after I was done, I realized that the abrasiveness was most likely intended by the artist - had I known that in advance, I would've treated them differently, but I usually go into these blind as it makes comparing in the end more interesting imo. The solo viola had a very annoying low-mid resonance around 400 Hz which I tamed with a narrow multiband (EQing completely destroyed its body, so that was a no go).
  • The bass was very uneven but sounded overcompressed once I applied heavy compression, so I went for a multiband instead to fill out the low-lows but leave the mids untouched (except for a pretty extensive low-mid cut).
  • Didn't do much to the vocals at all. Notch-filtered some annoying high-mid frequencies, applied 7-10 dB compression (which surprised me since I'm 100% sure the raws were already compressed, but well - they kinda needed it). Some automation (especially in the mid section), but again, not a lot. Went for a bit of ping pong delay for size which I automated up and down to make the choruses feel bigger (and the intro / middle part more intimate and dry).
  • In general, there was a lot going on in the high-mids and I did some extensive cutting there across most instruments to avoid buildup. It turned out that I lost some master volume there in comparison to the reference track but my track has better instrument separation in my opinion.
  • Still though - listening to the reference, I think I tidied up the mix a bit too much. It seems that it was intended to be a bit more ... difficult, I guess. As I said before, that's something I would have discussed with the artist beforehand in a "real" mixing situation.
  • I'm pretty happy with the master. Didn't lose a lot there - subs are still punchy, nothing pumps, doesn't feel overcompressed. I got a healty 8-7 dB RMS (Cubase metrics) out of it.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with it on its own, but I probably would have approached it differently had I known the artists intentions. The only thing about it is that it's a bit flat since I still suck at automation and using effects creatively. I think I managed to lay a good foundation but I still lack the finesse to make it feel like a pro mix.

Please let me know what you think. I'm hard-working and eager to improve, so by all mean, be honest.

This is a good start. The first step I will advise you on is the drum work. Once you get the drums where you like, everything else more easily falls into place. If you notice any advice coming from me, I may suggest plugs that may be in Universal Audio, but alternatives to the suggested plugs can always be used:

On your drums in this song, give a LA2A leveling plugin a try and see if you like the results. Start with a preset that are labeled for drums to start, and tweak until you're familiar with the audible function of the LA2A effect on drums.

Another tip I'd give you is it seems you have a good grip on how to make mixing decisions, trust your ears and mixing instincts and don't focus on the technicality of your decisions.. do whatever sound good and trust your skills to get to what you want to hear. Once you're technically capable (as you are), as Bruce Sweden said famously, no one likes a record because you used a certain piece of gear or followed some mixing discipline.

Go for it, more of your great technical instincts and less technical mental adherence. The "pro mix" sound, develops the more and more you just keep mixing.. we all are continuing students in the art of attaining "pro mix" sound.. as long as technology evolve, so will this hobby of ours.
Hey Digitaldruglord, thank you very much for commenting and for your nice words, I really appreciate that!

Yes, the drums are definitely what I like least about my mix. I will try slapping a LA-2 on it (I use the freeware model by Antress) once I can get back at my recording PC next weekend - I unfortunately cannot work on music throughout the week. I'll report back then!
Well, speaking as the artist, I say: to hell with the artist! Smile

Personally, I don't care that your version is different from mine, because it convinces me nonetheless. This is a classic demonstration of how two mixes of the same production can be equally compelling. Where I chose to make the song more a kind of duet between bass and vocal/viola, with the strings and sound effects occupying a more textural role, you've reined in the bass madness and made something beautifully syrupy out of the strings that I'd never have conceived. Good work! As Digitaldruglord's already commented, I'd suggest trusting your instincts, because that's what artists are most likely to come to you for -- they already have their own instincts! You clearly have your own unique sense of mix vision here, and that's something to cherish.

My only 'revision request' if I had commissioned this version would be to give the mid-section (viola solo) more of a lift. For me the middle section is basically the emotional climax of the song, and maybe it's because I treated it so strongly that way in my version that I can't help feeling a bit let down when you treat that section in your mix as a bit of a 'moment of repose' instead. That said, someone coming to your mix fresh might not have a problem with that.

Still, it was a great listen -- thanks for posting!

Mike S.
Hey Mike, thank you so much for taking the time to listen and comment, I appreciate that immensely!

Yeah, the strings function more as pads in my version, especially during the choruses. In hindsight, pushing them up in the mid section would have been a good idea. I'll try to incorporate that alongside Digitaldruglord's suggestion when I revisit the mix in a couple of days!