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Into my Dreams - AZMix
Hey azwayne,

Listening to the mix with headphones on, for the most part I like what I hear. The drums sound really good and their width seems to work well. The guitars sound strong and defined in each ear and the overall arrangement seems to frame things nicely. My only real complaint is the music is just too static for the whole 17 min journey. In saying this, It does seem somewhat the norm and favourable for music to be levelled out like this these days. So your judgement in this regard may be in touch. Maybe I'm a little old fashioned and showing my age a bit.Undecided Perhaps I need to spend a little less time living in the pass listening to vinyl and immersing myself in old school sonics.

Nice work AZ and as I've said before in other post, I always enjoy reading your mix thesis.

Okay, I just uploaded version three of this mix.

I went through and tried to do a number of cleanup items such as reducing the 4kHz content a bit, notching out a nasty ring at 2kHz (musta been a room mode or something), and trying to deal with the buildup in the mid tones. I also grouped my guitars into three faders "distorted", "clean", and "lead" and did a little more shaping, especially on the distorted guitars. I also added a little more reverb to the guitars and keys since the mix felt a bit drier than I wanted it. I further tried to reduce the dynamic contrast a bit so the loud bits aren't quite so explosive but still preserving the softer character of these bits.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure I improved it, just exposed other issues. There is definitely more than can be done but I've already got at least 35 hours into this mix and that's about all I can afford right now so I'm just calling it done before I completely lose control over it through over processing.

[edit: Replaced the file I just uploaded since in another listen I finally found a problem that had been bugging me for a while. The toms seem to have been gated or otherwise trimmed before they were uploaded. The mic on the lower two toms and the bottom tom especially got a fair amount of spill from the crash. Well, the gate on this mic closed too aggressively. It often happened that the drummer, after hitting this low tom, would go for the crash. If he did this with a bit of a gap, no problem. If he hit it immediately, then the aggressive gate release would cut it off. So after bringing the toms up to where they can be plainly heard (and I like louder toms than some) and after compressing the kit, it basically sounded like there was a misbehaving compressor cutting an especially loud crash hit in half but because it didn't happen all the time, I could never find the source. Finally figured out what was causing it and went through and cut up the bottom two tracks so I could add a linear fade on the final tom hit in each "open" section. That patch then required adjusting the compression and levels of the overhead mics. They sound much more consistent now!]

[p.s. I also want to say how gratified I am that members of this and some other bands occasionally participate in this forum. It's nice to hear from those who put the tune together and get their thoughts on where they were going with it and whether they feel the given individual has captured the right vibe of the tune in their mix. So I just want to take a moment to thank them for being patient with us nitwits and putting up with the occasional ill considered comment. Part of learning how to do this job is knowing when to clam up or be especially careful in word choice and phrasing (the art of "producer speak" as one of my instructors termed it) and it can sometimes be very clear that many of us are still learning!]
Old West Audio
Hey mate ! Thank you for mixing our song Smile Hope you had fun with the tracks!

Here's my feedback on your mix:

In general, your mix sound very distant. Drums, guitars and vocals particularly. Only the toms sound upfront. Vocals are often even behind all the instruments, especially in choruses. In any kind of music, vocals are the most important thing.
You have some volume balance issues, like the second snare behind much louder than the lead guitar in the first solo. Then the main snare being much smaller than the side snare, while it should be the other way around.

- Drums: their general tone is fine, although the kick sound a bit thin. The snare particularly sound very distant from the rest of the kit, so it sounds disconnected. Toms have many issues. First, they are too loud. I think it's the loudest thing in your entire mix :p It looks like you used a gate on the toms ? When there is a cymbal hit in the same time, it becomes super loud when the gate opens. It's very obvious in the last guitar solo. Overheads on the other side sound very well Smile

- Bass: the bass has some volume jumps and is a bit hidden by the kick. You can use complementary EQ between kick and bass to make them work together. To fix the volume issue, I would suggest you to compress the bass more, and to use a multi band compressor to keep a constant low end.

- Guitars: as previously said, they sound very distant and quite thin. In part 4 (the prog part), they should sound more metal, with more low ends. The leads are too much behind as well, and are a bit aggressive. You can smooth them by cutting some 2k-4k area or using a deesser.

- Vocals: defintively too much FX on vocals. This particular songs need FX on vocals, some crazy FX on some parts to bring some special atmosphere, but vocals are totally drowned in the reverb and delays. So they lack intelligibility. In verse 2, the male vocals have nice distortion but should be louder. Automation will be your best friend with these vocals, because of the way they were recorded. So back off the FX, and make sure the vocals are at the right volume at any time.

- Keys: they sound a bit mid rangy for such keys, but they sit well in your mix. They don't take too much space and add subtle atmosphere as they are supposed to do.

I hope this helped Wink I'm looking forward to hearing your revised mix Smile

Florian - Perpetual Escape
Okay, so for some of this, it is clear there are creative differences. Listening to the version you did (as found on bandcamp) I was definitely going in a different direction. So we'll leave those matters aside.

I attempted to adjust the tone on the snare and kick and also do something about that bass guitar. Believe it or not, I'm actually compressing that bass guitar quite a bit already. I've found the particular structure of this bass line difficult to wrangle into place. The power seems to want to be in all the frequencies that make me want to turn it down and that makes it hard to get balanced and still be pleasant, even after 9 EQ bands.

As for the guitars, when I listened to these on the initial run through, I heard some mics that sounded more open than others and generally I favored those. However, the reason they sounded more open is that they had more room tone in them. So when I went to add reverb to those lines, it went quickly from "nice" to "overdone" because a certain natural reverb was already present.

For the vocals, most modern vocals sound over compressed to me so I tend to go too far in the other direction. I upped the gain reduction here a bit and that got things settled a little better. That allowed me to go through and adjust some automation to try to improve the blend and still take some of the reverb/delay off.

In the end, though, I'm not sure this version is any better than the last. I've reached a point where I think the only way for me to improve this mix would be to put it away for a month or two and totally re-calibrate my ears. I'm posting this mix just to get it in under the deadline. I don't expect any grand accolades from it though. In the end, I think the demands of this mix are just turning out to be above my skill level. Really wish I could find a mentor to work with... You can only get so far being more or less self-taught.
Old West Audio
I listened the last version.

I think it’s pretty coherent mix. It feels balanced, frequency spectrum pretty nice.

I only miss some sort of overall final touch, openness, larger sound stage where some chosen elements could be a bit closer and clearer, and some elements more far and not so accurate.
Thanks for the note. I'm feeling that in some ways what I've been fighting is that some parts still have too much dynamic range so I adjusted the compressors to take a bit more of the attack off some of the "clean" guitar parts and that seemed to help.
Old West Audio