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You know better 3 in 1 mix contest
Hi Guys,
Here's my entry for the "You know better 3 in 1 mix contest". Sorry I can't upload the wav file , the MP3 version just doesn't sound as good. All critiques welcome!WinkWink

.mp3    You Know better X.mp3 --  (Download: 6.34 MB)

Hi Islander365 -- this is a really thought-provoking version, because you put the material in a very new perspective. For a start, there's masses of creative work going on here, especially the way you've made use of hard edits as a production hook on the solo guitar lines and hammond. This reminds me of the kind of thing that really appealed to me on first hearing Mirwais's productions for Madonna back in the day, and there's no denying that it demands the listener's ear. I also like that it's a way of making the existing material more attention-grabbing without having to add new parts for the purpose. The downside, though, is that it's introducing an EDM/electropop stylistic cue that has no real precedent in the raw multitracks. I'd understand taking this ball and running with it if the band had already experimented a little with such edits, but I think you're on shaky ground here otherwise, because it begins to make your submission sound more like a remix than a mix.

And then there are the tempo changes -- it looks like everything but the verses have been sped up slightly, which is a cool subliminal trick to attempt here. I have to say, though, that I'd not personally ever hazard this kind of thing with an audio multitrack like this, simply because time-stretching can cause all sorts of insidious tonal and transient-smearing artefacts. I wonder whether this might be the reason for my getting a general sense of 'hollowness' about the timbre, for want of a better word, almost like there's a touch of static phaser over the whole mix. It could also be on account of the overall mix tonality, which seems rather lacking in true midrange around 1kHz, while also having an excess of cloudy-sounding 200-400Hz energy, particularly on the lead vocal, making it congested tonally, as if it's suffering from some kind of unpleasant low mid-range resonance. These charasteristics conspire to make the mix feel rather muffled despite no lack of high end on the rhythm guitar, piano, and hi-hat.

Your Hammond sound is quite a statement, and gives it a very different character than in many other mixes. While the thinness of the timbre does have a certain 'shock value', there is a functional concern I have with that sound choice, because it means that it doesn't fill out the chorus and Reintro/Outro texture as you'd hope from an arrangement standpoint. This leaves you relying more on the piano to support that lower midrange region in those sections, which draws a little too much attention to its rather unnatural programmed timbre. It also puts the Hammond into competition with the hi-hat in the upper midrange, giving a slightly fatiguing overall mix tone, particularly during the Chorus 2 and the Outro sections.

There's plenty of effects action going on too, but some of it does feel a bit like overkill, especially the heavy vocal treatments and the solo-guitar detune effects during Verse 3. The problem is that it's making the production as a whole feel a bit too artificial, which seems to me to undermine the basic authenticity that you'd hope for from a mainstream singer-songwriter like Hannes, given his stated references. The master-buss dynamics feel over-squeezed too, so there are some unmusical gain-pumping artefacts duing the Outro in particular, and a general lack of punch from the drums during the choruses. In this respect, your reliance on the very low end of the spectrum for the kick-drum doesn't work in your favour, as the impact of that drum typically resides more in the midrange. The low midrange cuts to the snare reduce its sense of punch too.

Overall, I like a lot of your creative ideas, but I'm left with a general impression that you're processing too frequently and too heavily on the whole. If you spend more time at the outset getting the strongest balance you can with just faders, pan controls, phase buttons, and high-pass filters, I reckon you may find that you have to do a lot less processing and effects work in the end to get a full-sounding and coherent final result.

Hope some of that's useful -- and thank's for sharing your mix with us all!
Hi Mike,
Thanks for the feedback. You have given me a lot to think about in terms of the tonality the instruments and song in general. I'll definitely be taking your observations and suggestions onboard and i will be reworking this project soon. Thanks for all the hard work which you have put into the site and this competition.

Kind regards,