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Hannes Keseberg - You Know Better
This is my take on this great song.
All feedback is welcome!

EDIT 02/17/2019 : I'm uploading a new version of my mix, trying to address the issues identified in the feedback I've got on my previous mix. Again, feel free to listen to it and tell me what you think about it!

.mp3    You Know Better_FINAL_20190113.mp3 --  (Download: 8.49 MB)

.mp3    You Know Better_20190217.mp3 --  (Download: 8.49 MB)

Hey Skipper!

I love that you didn't kill the volume of the master. Leaves room for the master engineer!

All of your tones are pretty nice during the verse. The chorus seems to be a bit lacking in punch and presence from the drums. I took the approach of triggering the snare during those parts, getting the tone of the drums I wanted, which was a lot of work to get the tone I heard in the track.

I love the clarity you achieved, but think overall the track may be a bit too dry? A bit more verb/delay of the vox/guitars/piano may be in order to get some really cool ambience.

I think you are damned close to what I think you are trying to achieve (but I could be completely off the mark in regards of what you are trying to achieve) and addressing the few things mentioned, I think, could get it even closer.

I like your cuts and entrance with the bass!

Really nice work!

I will echo the comments of Draper especially the level of the drums during the choruses. Other than that I enjoyed your mix a lot. I like your environment as I took a similar approach. Not bad at all.
PreSonus Studio One DAW
[email protected]
Thank you very much for your comments.
It's good to have some new fresh ears to tell you what could be improved as sometimes it's too easy to lose some of the perspective.

I'll wait for Mike's feedback too and then I'll work on it again.
In addition to what was already mentioned I'll add that it feels a little "crowded". Maybe it's just a personal preference but I think things could be spread out more in the stereo spectrum and might clean things up. Right now the more staccato parts feel like they're fighting for attention.

As far as the chorus snare, one thing that helped me a little was separating the sidestick sections from the full on snare on the "snare up" track. That way you can set up different levels and tones for the two parts without worrying about automation.
Hi Skipper! Generally a very good mix balance here, with the bass, drums, guitars, and hammond forming a sensible relationship, and the guitar timbres appealing to me aesthetically too. The mix tonality's also not bad, although it could have more sub-80Hz bass weight, I reckon, otherwise the harmonies won't receive as much low-end support as I'd hope in a singer-songwriter project like this.

There is something very weird going on with the drums, though, because there's a strange flamming quality to the drum sound throughout. Judging by the song's opening hit, I'd guessing that one or more of the drum tracks has slipped out of sync, so that it's around 25 milliseconds earlier than others, giving a kind of 'pre-echo'. I suppose it might also be some drum-triggering software that's not tracking the timing of the hits that well, or maybe it's a plug-in that's not declaring its latency properly to the host DAW. Whatever it is, though, it's seriously undermining the drum sound as a whole, so I'd try to sleuth out what it is.

In addition, the snare is the one instrument that feels much too low in level. The sidestick's fine, but the snare is seriously underpowered. This makes the Reintro and Outro, which both rely on the snare, feel like a bit of a let-down, and the drum fills (such as the one leading into Chorus 2) also fall flat as a result. The tom hit at 2:42, on the other hand, feels quite a bit too loud, and also doesn't seem to cohere with the main kit sound at all.

The lead vocal has a very pleasant and smooth tone, with well-controlled high-frequencies, but it's also probably a bit too loud, I reckon. Clearly, it's an advantage to be able to hear the words easily, but I think you're running the risk of making the band, especially the midrange instruments, feel a bit weedy by comparison, especially during the choruses. If you turn down the vocal, though, I imagine you'll have to give more attention to detailed automation work if you're going to maintain that same degree of lyric transmission. You'll also have to even out the singer's low-frequency level variations, such as on "the smile I see is telling me so" at 1:47, where the words "see is telling" feel much bigger because they're bassier.

The stereo width of the mix is nice, although the mono-compatibilty of the Hammond could perhaps be a little better, and the mix-effects are generally very tastefully done, giving a reasonable sense of blend a space. The effects settings do seem quite static, though, and there were times I felt they could usefully have changed -- for example by giving the vocal a bit more of an expansive delay/reverb tail for the Choruses and Mid-section, thereby helping with the mix's section differentiation.

Although I like the general idea of dropping down the arrangement for the start of Chorus 3, your implementation doesn't yet really convince me. It's partly that the bass kind of sidles in at 2:55, almost a bit apologetically, which seems somehow to weaken the subsequent drums entry. However the main problem for me is that it feels like the build-up never really picks up steam from there leading into the Outro. Yes, the arrangement has its own internal build-up, but it sounds like you've just let it get on with that, rather than trying to support the momentum with your automation. Also, when you get to the Outro, the comparatively low level of the mod vocals leaves the texture feeling a bit polite, rather than the feel-good 'party' culmination of the song.

Hopefully some of that is useful -- thanks for uploading your mix for us to listen to!
Hello Mike,

Thank you very much for your feedback! I'll start working on your suggestions soon and I hope to be able to deliver a better mix in a couple of days.

I recognize it's a lot of work to critique all these mixes (yeah, I do think you're a little masochist! Big Grin ), so thank you for offering us this opportunity to learn!

Regarding the specific problem of the drums, I am asking myself if it could be the reverb I used to try to spread the mono room mic in the stereo field... anyway, I'll look into it and try to discover what it really is.

Marcelo (Skipper)
(23-01-2019, 10:20 PM)Skipper Wrote: Regarding the specific problem of the drums, I am asking myself if it could be the reverb I used to try to spread the mono room mic in the stereo field... anyway, I'll look into it and try to discover what it really is.

Indeed, Mike was right: the problem was that the Hi Hat had slipped out a little just before I rendered the mix....
(23-01-2019, 10:20 PM)Skipper Wrote: yeah, I do think you're a little masochist!

How dare you call me little! Angry

Big Grin

I've just uploaded a new version of my mix!