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Zane Carey- 'TalkToMeBaby' New Mix (yeah?)
Wow, shaking head!
What a fantastic song.
The voice, the singing.
Those harmonic backing vocals, recalling Beatles early songs.
The lead guitar, reminiscent of the German/British cavern clubs sound, like on the Rolling Stones lead intro on 'Time Is On My Side', no? shaking head, wow.
So, I pieced together what the focus in the mix I thought should be prevalent in my version of the mix.
What do you think, guys... I am a beginning mixer/masterer, need the honest feedback, for which I am grateful. What do I need? What did I overdo? Underdo? Thanks.
What a great song Zane has with this hit, wow!

-- "Love makes the world go 'round; 'music' keeps it spinning!"

.mp3    12142018-telefunkenZaneCarney-FINALMix.mp3 --  (Download: 3.14 MB)

Well... I've now listened to most of the other mixes here and then to mine, embarassed.
Mine is so low in volume.
So I'll work on that, and in listening to the rest of my mix, I have a lot of changes to make before resubmitting.
Sorry for the poor poor quality. Am here to learn.

Questions please;
1. I put like 10 hours on the vocal channel. Had to find my 'norm' volumn for him and then chop up the entire track to bring down most of the pieces to that norm, to be able to get the whole thing to work, fit together like one cohesive piece. That's just to slice down his over peaks on volume singing. Then chop out the pre word breaths, and the biting leading portions of 'Baby' that he hit so hard. Question is, is this normal bit of work? Or... do engineers work this around well enough with compression alone?

2. I had to decide which things/pieces to feature and which to let fall back. I chose the vocal first mix, not right, then the bass/drums next mix, not right, and then on the final found that featuring the Synth was the best fit to feature and then bring all other pieces up to it, that and the lead guitar. Is that all basic steps that most engineers go through?

3. had to hand cut out all of the kick and snare hits on a copy track of the HH, and then filter/eq in the correct sound for the HH hits, also the open/closed HH and crash's onto another separate HH track as those fought with the 1,2,3 count HH hits. Again normal faire?

4. Lastly; I'm working with Reaper (I could use the ProTools I guess, but I'm more familiar with Reaper), but when I have my mix pretty loud, well the multimaximizer is just below red on the peaks on the Master channel... and render the file to an mp3... the end result is an audio file that is very low on volume. And I didn't check that but posted it as my song here, and geeze, shaking head.

If you've already got y our mix to the ;'just below red' rms point in rendering, how on earth do you get a bundle more of volume out of it? Bring it into Audacity or something? This has really got me tripped up on this point. Help please Wink

Any replies to my questions in 2nd post please? I need to be learning, thanks.
Hi Chuck, it seems like you just tried too hard on some things while failing to realize what you were doing wrong, which it's perfectly normal. Beware, I'm likely you just one year after, so don't take any of this as expert advice, I'm no expert but it's true there are a lot of time consuming things I did a year ago that I've found to be not necessary most of the times.

1 - Voice sounds warm, delicate and has sense of space, so it's pretty clear those hours paid off. I used to be pretty anal on chopping vocals, trying to get dynamics under control before using any compression and worked too much time with tracks soloed. Once you get used to get levels a certain way and putting some things on your master bus, you realize you can do without all that much hassle.

2 - Most people start building mixes around the rhythm combo (drums/bass), but that's just up to you. Personally, I'm happy just doing simple steps: a) "gain staging" for every track (many people say that's a waste of time with a DAW, but I'm super slow so the time wasted doing that doesn't amount to much in the end compared with what it takes me to do a mix; those who mix a tune in a hour, I understand they don't want to spend 20 minutes doing something they really don't care for), b)move the faders until you get a super sketchy balance that feels good to you (if there are a lot of tracks with little subtle parts, you can mute those and just look for that balance with the really important parts) and finally c), increase or decrease volume of that sketch to the reference volume you want to work with. To do this, this is what I do:

- take another song for reference and use the "Analyze Loudness" function in Reaper to see how loud it is (tutorials are your best friend), then decrease its level (do that directly on the clip better than the fader, again there are more than one way to do this in Reaper) until that loudness is at the reference level you choose to work with. For me, that's a -20dB LUFS in the "Integrated" row within the "Analyze Loudness" window. I'm a real ignorant when it comes to loudness lingo, but that kinda works for me without trying to learn concepts I'm genetically uncapable to understand.
- create a VCA volume control for all your tracks (again, Youtube is your friend) so you can make your mix louder or softer by moving one single fader. Render your sketchy mix and analyze its loudness. If it says -10dB LUFS, move down that VCA fader and render again until you come with a balance that is around those -20dB LUFS (or whatever any other level you choose to work around). Now you can compare your mix to the reference track and they'll be roughly the same apparent loudness and you can go on with the mixing.

3 - That HH stuff you mention is way past overkill, specially when you think there are lots of people that won't even bother to use the hat track. Actually, I don't even understand what you did exactly but I do know that the hat sounds completely unrelated to the rest of the drums and it gets worse with the open hats, those are painful to hear. Listen to what happens in the part before the solo, the drums are hardly noticeable (though the drummer is hitting harder than the verses) and then an open hat hit comes out of the blue and it's the loudest thing in the mix. Again, most people will build the sound of the drumkit around the overheads. When doing that first balance sketch, with a tune like this, that would mean balancing bass, main guitar and overheads as if you had no more drum tracks. Once you get the drumkit in its place, you can start playing with kick/snare tracks to better shape the sound (except for that hat, listening to your mix you could think the drums were recorded with a phone instead of a multi-mic setup). Once you do that, how much of the toms and hat tracks you use is up to you, but it doesn't make any sense that the hat driven parts (the verses) sound louder and stronger than the ride parts, which are the choruses and are supposed to be the high point in the song.

4 - If you use a reasonably conservative level reference like those -20dB (some people will say that's loud, so go figure), unless you fail to see blatant problems with the mix, keep things balanced and the recording is half decent, you should be able to start applying proccesing on a track by track basis and over the stereo master without having to worry too much about the peaks. If, after you're happy with your mix, you see too many peaks close or over a certain threshold (that's -5dB for me, but again everyone has it's own habits), that's the time to check out what's happening. In most cases, they'll come from kick or snare hits, so you would have to find a way to tame those peaks without compromising your mix. Again, there are lots of way to do that, from hand editing volum envelopes on a clip basis, to just put a limiter over the drum bus (which will work more times than not, it's a way faster and easier to do and you won't hear the difference).

I know this is easier to say than to take, but you shouldn't really worry that much over volume. If your mix sounds good, then it can be boosted close to, if not right to nowadays levels (and those are still insane levels, btw). Render your mix, put it in another session with your reference track (back to its original level, or 2/3 dB's softer if you don't feel like competing with madness) and try a peak limiter, clipper, all-in-one mastering plugin, whatever... so you can get a reasonably similar loudness without distortion or clipping.

Btw, the bass sounds good, too. Quite muffled, but it's a bass playing root notes so there's not that much need for detail. Same with the flutes from the second verse.

One of the cool things about this site is that, if you feel so inclined, you can use another user mix as your reference track, which is obviously way more useful than havng to compare to a different song. Take a mix you like and try to get somewhat there, specially tone wise (this mix is just so mid and high frequencies lacking it's kinda like a ghost, you know?) and learn the drill about kick/snare/overheads/bass/guitar and that will keep you busy for months while never getting short of tunes to mix.

Woof, that was long. Hope this helps, buena suerte!
Deliza; Oh my!! palm to forehead... you've given me so much to see. Smile (hear). It's fantastic though, so good to have reference points to look into my mix with the points listed by you. Thanks, thanks, thanks.

I like the suggestion of using a reference track and I'll go pull one and start using it. But also, which I didn't think about, is to use another mix on this song here in the forum and place that in my project as a reference track. That's a great idea, cool trick. There is one mix here (ERJEE). I'll bring that down into my mix for ref then.

I appreciate the nod on working on cutting up and doctoring the volume level and fade in's to soften harsh biting loud explicatives and pops in his singing, especially on 'Baby' grins. But that work is useful and productive. Thanks for backing that technique up. I did however, later made a duplicate track and only used H-Comp (waves plugins I mostly use) and it really cut those higher notes down with only using the plugin itself. So I was quite amazed with that. I do have a lot to learn. Maybe over half of my work on the volume track (chose Vox track #2 as it to me had more expression) was not necessary. So I'll be working more and looking at that.

And I appreciate the -20 db reference point on the stereo master track. I use the waves L3-LL ultramaximizer to keep the level steady at whatever I choose as the peak standard for my mix. I remember during the mix I was using -12db as my highest reference and I thought in future I should go to -18db, but I'm going to jump on the -20db and go from that as it's been tested and used well by another mixer, yorself.

The bass sound muffled, though good. I didn't work much on the bass, just placed it in the eq and with the kick drum. Is this right; that I gave the kick drum the lowest end up to 200, and after 200 I gave to the bass guitar. Of course I cut out from the eq on one what the other was using. And eq low pass and high passed out the rest on both. ??

Yeah, I did say to myself that I need to go back into the HH track and chop it up and take down the volume on the high loud hits, while leaving the regular ride hits there, also I noticed that the kick drum and snare drum were in that track and I'd have to cut those out too.. ugh. But then I didn't really process the kick drum or the snare, so I stopped where I needed to do more work. What technique I used was to place the kick and tom 3 and an overhead on drum/bass bus and tom2 and snare and another oh on bus drum/mid and the hh and another oh on a drum/treble bus track and I worked fx on those bus tracks. And of course I used fx on the treble bus track and forgot to use any fx on the other two mid and bass drum bus tracks. So my goof there. But after hearing your advice on how little some mixers actually use but focus on an OH track and work from that, that seems now like such a good idea to me. I'm going to try that now.

And thanks for the advice, I'll look for and use the reaper analyze loudness plugin. Didn't even know it was there, huh.
And yes on all of the other suggestions and advice, I'll search and study google/youtube on those techniques and learn them.

Thanks so much, it's late, gotta hit the sack. Smile
again, thanks.