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Loud And Clear - AZ Mix
Okay, so at long last I've got a mix worthy of posting. I probably should wait until tomorrow and listen to it with fresh ears first but I've been chattering about my progress in so many other threds, I figured I owed you lot. Wink

If you listen through monitors, I also suggest a pass through headphones to catch some of the subtleties as well as the climax at the end. Big Grin

About this mix:

First, yes, I put a limiter on the master bus but only to get the audio into a decent range (avg digital peak -6 dB from like -20 dB). I did not squash it. The peak limiter triggered only like 6-8 times during the entire mix.

Second, I had just finished reading Mike's book before I started this and attempted to apply some of the lessons I had learned. I didn't do the assignments from the book, intending to come back to them later as an excuse to review. Oh, that brings up a question... Mike, just what have you got against ole Nod's ties? I mean, seriously, would you rather have Dave's wardrobe? Tongue

This was easily the hardest mix I've done here and I felt myself losing control of it on a few different occassions which necessitated stopping for the day. The difficulty of this is evidenced by Mike's little contest. The fact that he couldn't get it to fairly quickly settle enough for a demo should be the biggest indication that it will take time and effort. There were many challenges here. The biggest one being the all out war for dominance at ~2k. It was NOT a polite debate but a pitched battle. I hope I was able to negotiate a suitable peace...

This was a mic demo so there were lots of extra tracks. I chose to dump some of the instrument tracks but retained all of the vocals since I thought it presented interesting opportunities for orchestration. I also found myself quite liking the sound of the 4047 although it is brighter than I expected. I'm not normally a fan of ribbons but the 4080 also didn't fare that badly though it requires some EQ to add back in more of the high end here.

When all was said and done, I didn't feel it necessary to add any effects other than reverb/delay but did do a decent amount of panning automation.


As noted, everything wants to have control over a pretty narrow band. As if that weren't bad enough, you had to pay attention to the ~500hz region as well because of the bass guitar, the tone on the electric, the piano, and that kick drum, as well as some undertones from the vocals.

It took me nearly two weeks of working through Melodyne to complete the vocal enhancements. (That's where I started before even trying to clean the other tracks.) I did not try to get them perfect since I was already hearing more digital artifacts than comfortable, just tried to get them to blend better without poking you in the face.

There was what sounds like comb filtering going on in the piano mics. Probably a placement problem. I couldn't get rid of it but after fiddling with a delay insert to dial it in, I pushed the lower mics back by about 1.1ms and that pushed the phasing problems into the lower regions where they were less noticable.

There was some cleaning and comping done before these tracks were posted and it appears that it was rushed since there are a couple of bad fades, I cauight one bad punch, and even a chop or two.

The bass guitar was recorded with a mic at an amp cabinet. (You'd expect that in a mic demo.) It is unfortunate there was not a DI also supplied since it appears that the bass player had the gain turned up right at the edge of overdriving his preamp and that meant particulary hard struk notes or less than exact string changes distorted the sound of the guitar. This also took away from us most of the transients from his playing since the amp was at its limits and made it hard to manage the part. I finally settled on an expander followed by peak compression to try to bring back some of the attack and then shelved off most of the low end of the guitar to get rid of more of the sustain.

Far and away, the biggest problem with this mix was handling the vocals. It might have been easier to deal with if there were multiple vocalists here since the different timbre of their voices would have made it easier to separate them one from the other. The more tracks you add in, the wider your stereo panning, and the more reverb/delay you apply, the less they want to settle into the mix and the more it just becomes a cacophony of sound. These tracks all required fairly hefty compression and lots of EQ both on the individual tracks as well as on the group faders to deal with the buildup. Because of timing differences, compression had to be on each individual track to avoid being audible so ther were LOTS of plugins active. When all was said and done, I ended up with 15 vocal tracks feeding four group faders and then into a VOX submaster with a deesser on it tuned to a 1.9k band to try to lessen some of the bruises from getting punched in the face repeatedly... Good times...

This is also the first mix I've done where there were enough tracks that I had to color code them in order to keep track rather than being able to glance at labels. (50 some tracks and aux/group faders A-S.) I spent much of my time wishing I could get everything to display at the same time! Dodgy

Anyway, enough rambling. I hope this is an acceptable mix to you all. I tried my darndest to compensate for the various problems but there are still areas I could probably improve. Comments and suggestions are very welcome!

[edit: updated the file about an hour after I posted it to add some slight EQ/level adjustments and timing on one vocal entrance.]

.mp3    Loud And Clear - Mix.mp3 --  (Download: 10.36 MB)

.mp3    Loud And Clear - Mix V2.mp3 --  (Download: 10.36 MB)

.mp3    Loud And Clear - Mix V3.mp3 --  (Download: 10.36 MB)

Old West Audio
Hi Azwayne !
Sorry for the late reply, cool version good balance with the drums ,electric and acoustic guitars .
keeping the ride under control is a good challenge as it jumps out here and there, the vocal reverb sounds a bit full in the low frequencies in the verse compared to the chorus to my personal taste getting the all of the vocals levels and effects to sound like they are in the same room as the band is a challenge .The toms and strings may need a touch more compression as are jumping out here and there Big Grin !

Please Help Mike Keep This Awesome Educational Site Alive And Become A patron !

Yeah, I've moved on from mixing to fussing now. Smile

I've made a few changes but am still working through some issues. I'll post a new revision probably this weekend after I iron a few more things out.

I'm not happy yet with the violin and I keep bringing the toms down. I think you're right about adding compression to them. I tried to get away without it but I'm not sure it's working.

The violin actually already does have a fair amount of compression on it but I will definitely go back and look at how it is setup and see if it can be improved without being audible.

I actually have volume automation on the vocal reverb return specifically to bring it down a bit as the chorus comes in. I've got three different reverb processors with different predelays set for drums (separate reverb for snare), instruments, and VOX but it's VOX that I keep having trouble with...
Old West Audio
So I uploaded a second version. You won't hear a great deal different between the two but the second should be more comfortable to listen to.

I wanted to try to bring out the piano more but since it itself is kind of a busy part, Icouldn't figure out how to do it without sacrificing the electric guitar and didn't want to do that. So I decided I was comfortable with it fading mostly into the background and just serving as a bit of reinforcement on the refrain.
Old West Audio

Delay can do magic in case you are having a phase problem. I ended up to 1,6 ms for keys but we probably have a bit different eq settings.
There are some peaks in your mix. Do you have an analyzer plugin to hunt those? Vocals jumped out a lot in the mid range (500-1000) couple of times.

I listened the second mix and here some points I noticed.

To me your mix sounds small and delicate but this is a rock song. It should be big and in your face and what the lyrics tell us Cool
Maybe just a bit larger reverbs and more compression and automation to keep something big in front of the listener all the time.
That "are you hearing me..." part from right jumps out nicely and it is a good hook for audience and same thing with that guitar pan.
Those two vox at the end sums somehow weird when they sing together. Maybe melodyne has got something to do with it?
I think you should spend a little time to get the different vocals to sound similar.
Now it somehow distract listening when you here that it is the same singer but he sounds really different.
I would also like to hear more gtr and keys in the mix to give pads between drums and acgtr hits.
And finally. Where are the horns?

These are maybe somehow negative points, but those are the easiest to notice and someone lazy as me can't wrote all the good things Wink

Don't be afraid to put plugins int the master or group/sub master. Take it as an opportunity to learn.
Especially group master offers you and easy way to set up a compressor to take care a group of channels. And that also makes it easier to set up tha master comp and limiter if needed.
Practice your analytic listening skills.
Listen others mixes and give feedback.
Become a better mixer.
Oh, I had lots of stuff routed to group faders, believe me. I had each vocal line grouped and then those feeding a stem fader. Depending on waht i was trying to do, the plugin would go one place or the other. I ended up with 45+ tracks and aux faders A-S...

WRT tone, yeah, there are different ways to go about that. I tend to favore more classic stuff and I guess that this influenced how I mixed things. It probably could use a little more punch here and there.

Melodyne could be an issue partly because I was not trying to get it perfect. (Perfect is usually the wrong goal anyway because it starts to sound too artificial and, while getting them much closer, I deliberately left things a few points one way or the other of center specifically for that reason.) I was really at the limits of what I could do with my present skill set without either sapping the life from the performance or getting some many artifacts from adjustments that it would be plainly audible in the mix.

I purposely didn't want to try to match the sound of the vocals too closely since I wanted to use those differences. Guess it doesn't work for everyone...

Now, the piano was an issue. I could not get it to come forward anymore without it just cluttering everything. I worked at that but couldn't figure out what was wrong. If you have any thoughts, I'd love to hear them. I thought the EG was fine, though. The horns are there, just not up front. May be able to bring those out a bit more after some EQ tweeks.
Old West Audio
So I just posted a V3 mix that should be more to your liking. I took your advice and tried to a bit better of a job at matching the vocal timbre. Wasn't trying to get them perfect, just to be comfortable at the changes. I also went through and tried to get them in better balance, esp between sections.

I also realized that I had carved way too much out of the low mids so took some time to try to get that better. Lastly, I went through and added some automation on that piano to try to bring out the moving lines a bit more and also to make it step forward more at the intro and at the outro. Oh, and yes, there be horns now! Smile
Old West Audio