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Hannes Keseberg - You Know Better (tucks Mix)
what a luck, just when I have some time left for mixing, there's a mixing contest on my favorite webpage. Hope I'm still in the timeframe for some personal feedback and even started my patreon membership as I already used tracks from this page so many times to get better at mixing. Great thank you, Mike, for the great work in the last years!

-- Update 2019-02-02: New Mix: V2 (comments below)

.mp3    HannesKesebergMixContest.mp3 --  (Download: 4.24 MB)

.mp3    HannesKesebergMixContest_v2_1.mp3 --  (Download: 4.24 MB)
MacPro 5,1 - Logic Pro X - ProTools - REAPER
Good lead vocal sound but miss the backgrounds. Not a big fan of the snare. Would like to hear more nuance in your mix with a deeper sound field. Minor points. Not bad at all.
PreSonus Studio One DAW
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I like how the vocal keeps focus in the middle while the other elements blend nicely into the back, pretty nice mix! Smile
cons: yes, snare might be a bit too "hyper" for this mix. Piano for the panning and volume it's at seems a bit too loud and distracting. Whistling part at the end is too loud, feels "all of a sudden"
Pretty nice mix. From listeners perspective my biggest issue with it is that it seems a bit static -- there is little development. On the other hand it feels good, which is really important. Some minor nits are (I'm only a hobbyist, so please take my feedback with a sizable pinch of salt):

* If you were to make Piano and rhythm guitar a tad quieter, they would provide a better background for the vocal (rather than fighting for attention).
* You could also lift the vocal a bit up during verses and even out some phrases/words like at 1:26 to make it sound even smoother.
* To better balance stereo image within frequency bands you could add opposite-panned delays/reverbs or use (free) Melda's MSpectralPan to keep the signal dry.
* To avoid unnatural sounding snare (in particular during the fill at 1:44) I would use multiple volume-varied samples from the same snare (either from some library or just copy-pasted audio from different places in the song). Also, to help the groove I would try to achieve snare sound that does not highlight the kick/snare time differences too much (it will still feel loose).
* Try to EQ out some of the annoying high frequencies that can be heard during the last chorus. When I have problems pinpointing them by ear, I use spectral view (e.g. Audacity can do that) on individual sources and look for excessively bright spots.

My takeaway from your mix is you vocal sound, feels very natural, and more importantly fits the song and the singer very much.
Hi tucks! You've pulled off a nice live-gig kind of feel, with lovely full-sounding drums, excellent blend, and a convincing communal acoustic space. One of my favourite mixes so far, in fact. Some specific thoughts, though:
  • That fat-sounding snare (I'm kind of assuming it's a sample) is such a big departure from the raw sound and the rough mix that I might 'deflate' it just a touch -- especially for the opening hit, until we get used to the generally more live sound. It's just a little too 'Boosh!', if you know what I mean! Smile
  • The piano's balanced quite high, but it's not that natural a sound, so I'm not sure I'd lean on it as heavily as this.
  • Very effective use of 'outside the speakers' widening for the Outro whistles. I physically turned round to check whether someone had come into my mix room whistling when that happened! Smile Although there's naturally a mono penalty, the loss of whistle in the balance in mono doesn't stop that theme coming through clearly, so it's a win-win. Canny move!
  • Although the vocal balance is already pretty good, there's still more work you could do there, evening out the tonality from moment to moment for better translation and then automating to lock the singer in place. Detailed rides to bring out interesting musical features would also pay off too, I think, as there were things I had to hunt for in the mix a bit more than I'd have liked to (for example some of the solo guitar lines).

Overall, though, this is such a strong mix. And, furthermore, it's one that's very different from mine, which I'm pleased about! Vive la difference, and all that. Smile
Just echoing what others have said. I like the overall aggressive tone but the snare sample could come back a bit. I can't tell if part of my issue is just the volume of it or a subconscious reaction to such a different snare sound than I expected. I really miss the chorus vocals too. They'd help make the chorus feel bigger.
Dear all,

thank you for taking your time, listening and providing feedback. Indeed, the snaredrum is doubled with samples, and I knew it was too unnatural - but I ran out of time and just uploaded what I got finnished. I think that sample needs to be replaced or treated somekind to get softer, I agree totally with you.

I will surely do a second mix and I try to make it better thanks to you guys!!

MacPro 5,1 - Logic Pro X - ProTools - REAPER
Dear all,

I have just made a new mix (V2 in the original post) with your feedback worked-in and some more overall 'spice' (effects,...) Hope it's better now. And also saw, that the backings were muted.. oh my...

Thank you all for your comments!
MacPro 5,1 - Logic Pro X - ProTools - REAPER
Hi there,

Mike asked to provide some background information and screenshots for the mixes that made it into the end round. So here we go with some screenshots first. The project was done in Logic Pro X.

I only want to provide some key points right now, because it's been a long day. Maybe someday when I feel like doing it I will create a short video-walkthrough.

Basically these are the raw tracks with some time alignment and some parallel compression with a CLA-76. Except for the snare which is additionally triggered both in the rim-click section and when it is played normally. As you have read, I had some struggles to make this a smooth add-on. In the final mix I used an Expander on the sample channel that is Side-Chained by the original Snare track to get the dynamics of the original track.

Nothing special.

Claps: Compression + Little Microshift to thicken things up.

That was a tricky one. Lot's of plugins with each adding a little bit over overtones (BOD, SPL Vitalizer, True Iron) to make it more present in the upper bass frequencies. iZotope RX7 De-Click to get rid of some of the noise.

Unspectacular, just some compression, delay, reverb. Spent some time with the attack and release times on the compression to make the offbeat-guitar "swing".

iZotope RX Breath Control and De-plosive to make some unwanted sounds vanish. Besides that some standard compression and equalizing (Fabfilter EQ and BSS DPR-402 compression). Maag EQ4 Air band for some heights and additional some Apex. Fabfilter DeEsser.

Backing Vocals:
Little Microsoft for expansion, Fabfilter EQ, Waves Compressor

Whistle: Melodyne to get the whistles into tune, RX Breath Control to remove some breathing and Fabfilter Pro-Q3 and some Reverb. I really don't know why Mike thinks I've added some Out-Of-Speaker effect, because I didn't ;-)

Bus effects:
TC VSS3 for natural ambience
Valhalla Vintage Verb for some more pronounced reverbs
H-Reverb for the long reverb shots
Fabfilter Pro-R form some more natural reverbs
Logic Pro X Stock Delays for some special effects

Master Channel:
Ozone 8 for some instant mastering and FF Pro-L2 as the final peak limiter.

I will also provide the logic file to Mike for anybody that is interested.


MacPro 5,1 - Logic Pro X - ProTools - REAPER
Just noticed that the dubious whistle tracks were collapsed in the screenshots. Here is the proof that I did nothing except panning and some non-phase-related-effects on them ;-)

Additionally some automation screenshots for your amusement.

MacPro 5,1 - Logic Pro X - ProTools - REAPER