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Digital Humans: Electrvm (JeffD Mix)
Been playing with this track for a while and here is where I ended up:

Overall: I thought the song lended itself to a slightly robotic vocal / scifi interpretation. Processing decisions flow from that concept.

Vocals: Left most of the arrangement intact, but simplified and shortened (dropping the ad-lib vocal sections). I that sense there's two distinct songs that could be assembled from the components but they'd have very different vibes. Vocals were challenging to level and d-ess so a fair bit of automation on individual phrases. In this case, rather than multing out the vocal I ended up using one main track, with automation to control space and tone: 2 x EQs, mono-delay, stereo-delay, reverb, flanger all have automation lanes. The effect that creates the slightly robotic tone is a patch in Logic's new(ish) Phat FX processor.

Drums & Bass: The intro drop was replaced with a "digital-noise" transition. Some obvious bitcrusher, esp on the Kik FX, and a few places where drum buss compression is allowed to become obvious. Kik was easy to place and fatten (SoundToys FX Rack) but for the snare I went for a heavier sound than many of the other mixes. Stripped other percussion back to the basics, and it's probably more a pop than EDM-style mix as a result. The base synth carries a lot of this song, and was already processed, so mostly just limiting and EQ. The drum bus goes through additional compression and a slapback (SoundToys); the bass straight to master with a touch of Soundtoys Microshift to widen.

Synths: Aggressive EQ proved necessary to carve out some space. I did investigate side-chain compression triggered by the vocal bus, but ended up staying with just EQ. What sounds like distortion on the bells is actually detuning (pitch -12 blended back in). A few Logic and Soundtoys plugins at various places for chorusing and so on and a few reverbs at various places (although the sources were already pretty wet, so options there were limited). FX sounds were pretty much left intact from the original multitracks. Outro synth has a stereo to mono transition and a filter sweep automated.

Bus FX: There's separate sends to reverb for synths, drums and vocals. I tend to have delays and reverbs inline for coloring sounds, and compress after, but leave reverbs that reflect real spaces after the processing so they are only touched lightly by the bus compressors (I feel the soundstage holds up better that way around). So, subtle but realistic reverb on synths, an IR patch from EW Spaces 2, then Eventide Blackhole (vocals, to suite the style), and a tiny bit of actual drum room (EW Spaces). None are particularly audible, it's the synthetic reverbs on individual tracks that are designed to be heard, but I feel they anchor the soundstage.

Master Bus plugins (in order): Logic's Pultech-style EQ, Elysia (selective stereo widening), SPL Iron (sidechain compression), FabFilter Pro-L (limiter). Did most of the mix on headphones, which is never ideal, but also seemed a good change to test some new toys: particularly, the Waves Ocean Way plugin. IMHO, that does seem to make the hard parts of headphone mixing (panning, reverb levels, vocal level, base level, compressor settings) translate a bit better. Have to try on some more mixes to form a definitive view.

A fun track to mix and appreciate all thoughts and comments for improvement!

Cheers, Jeff

.mp3    DigitalHumans_Electrvm.mp3 --  (Download: 4.92 MB)

All sound is a distortion of silence /