Mix comparison - Piano heavy ambient metal song

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by isotropy, Jan 4, 2018.

  1. isotropy

    isotropy SS.org Regular

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    I have 2 mixes for the same song with very subtle differences in the guitars and wanted to get some other ears on it.

    I'm using Lextac with a 3SA Zilla impulse. I find the mids to get kind of annoying (500 - 900HZ region) in the original:

    https://soundcloud.com/brineryte/accidental-dawn

    So I made an alternate version with a bit of that area pulled out

    https://soundcloud.com/brineryte/ad-1/s-PY0tE

    What do you guys think? The song itself has some work left to be done, particularly some light leads, and don't worry it won't be the same drum loop the entire time :)

    Any other critiques? I'd love to hear them!

    Any tonal advice using Lepou amps would be appreciated. I had the HD500 for a few years and recently got rid of it for a number of reasons. In the interim, I'm back to free amp sims which I'm generally happy with.

    Cheers!
     
  2. nollyflip

    nollyflip SS.org Regular

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    Love this, man! Well done!!
    Sorry i cant offer too many mix critiques though...only thing i'd suggest is come in a little bit more gradually with the guitars at the start.
    What chords are you using here with the guitars? Tuning?
    And what drums/settings?
     
  3. isotropy

    isotropy SS.org Regular

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    Hey man, thanks so much! I'm right there with you on the intro transition and I've worked on fixing that. I've actually been all over the place with trying different things on this mix as far as bass/guitar goes. Call it my little experiment/practice.

    Drums are Superior 2.0 w/ Metal Machinery. All the mixing is done in my DAW (Studio One 2.6) and the processing is pretty simple on the drums themselves. Basic EQ/compression for kick and snare. I'm using Waves J37 Tape VST on those as well to give it that something special. Room is compressed hard with CLA76. Verbiage as a parallel reverb on the snare.

    Guitar is in Drop C. The chord progression is really simple. 3 chords.

    D |--0--|--9--|--4--
    A |--5--|--10-|--5--
    F |--6--|--11-|--6--
    C |--7--|--12-|--7--
    G |--0--|--9--|--4--
    C |--0--|--9--|--4--

    So some jazzy sounding stuff. I'm not entirely sure what the first chord is. I think it's a C add7 add9 ? Then Amadd9, Emadd9.
     
  4. saminator

    saminator Do you even praise, bro?

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    Nice track, second version sounds much more pleasing. Good job there.

    I think the kick is the only thing to really sticks out now. I'd back off the beater some and probably play around with the velocities more.

    Overall though, nicely done.
     
  5. schwiz

    schwiz Lefty

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    This song is very pretty overall.

    The guitars in the 2nd song sound more round - like they fill out the frequency spectrum a bit more. They aren't muddy, and allow the bass to cut through the mix. I prefer them over the 1st track. Overall there is a lot of high end in your drum kit though, especially on the kick. Some of it might be interfering with allowing the piano to really shine through. I like the balance overall and I can hear the bass duck when the kick hits, which I like. Nice job!
     
  6. isotropy

    isotropy SS.org Regular

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    Thanks for listening, guys! I appreciate the feedback. I agree, most of that high end in the kick is the sample itself, but to be fair I am boosting a bit up there so I could reign that in a bit. Really appreciate the feedback about the second track. Glad others could hear the difference as well.

    And Schwiz, good ear, I have the bass ducking 1-2db with a sidechain comp on the kick ;)
     
  7. billinder33

    billinder33 SS.org Regular

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    Regarding the drums, I don't think the high end is that much of an issue. I think the levels everything else (keys, guitar, bass) can come up a few DBs, and that alone would help make the drums sound less 'clicky'. .. i.e. the drums are a touch louder than they should be, relative to everything else.

    Really nice track though.
     
  8. Guitarmiester

    Guitarmiester Awesome-O

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    Refreshing track. The song progresses very nicely and keeps me wanting to listen for what comes next. The drums have a little too much high end, particularly the kick and the snare. The kick is too clicky and fairly hollow sounding. As a result, it cuts the mix too well.

    The bass sounds really good. Mind sharing what you did with it? Your mix is sounding really good so far. Interested in hearing how this turns out.
     
  9. nollyflip

    nollyflip SS.org Regular

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    You the man!
    What about piano chords used??
    EZ Keys??
     
  10. Capacon

    Capacon SS.org Regular

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    Nice track. Really like the feel of the piano. Need to back the high end off a little. If you can make the drums a little more interesting would sound really cool.
     
  11. isotropy

    isotropy SS.org Regular

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    Hey guys, thanks so much for the feedback!

    Keys are actually Grand Rhapsody from Waves (it was on super sale a while ago) It's Freddie Mecury's piano, sampled meticulously and honestly it sounds freaking awesome. And the piano chords are just simplified (3-note) versions of the guitar chords, but I can't remember what intervals I used. I'll have to check then.

    Love the feedback about the drums, I'm not fully happy with them and this approach is a little new for me, so I'm glad to hear the constructive feedback. I also mixed this on headphones and I have HD280's which honestly...lie about high/low-end. They're very midsy which is probably part of the high-end issue. I have Rokit 5's as well but usually sleeping kiddos in the next room so it's tough to find time to use them. But I have a feeling a lot of this would be resolved by mixing through them instead.

    For the bass, I actually did kind of a lot which I normally don't but my aim here was to have unrelenting low end. Just solid, thick low end (a la David Maxim Micic).

    Inspiration for the Bass was 100% from Nolly's approach outlined in his creativelive tutorial.

    So I have 2 identical Bass DI tracks.
    Both start with a simple EQ (as in, barely anything happening, just some cleaning up, nothing to write home about.
    Then into CLA76 black 4:1 fastest attack/release to tame the peaks. Probably 6-8db reduction on both.

    On the "clean D.I." that's it. On the "dirty" D.I. I'm running it through TSE808 which is probably not the best choice, but it's what it is. Then both are level-balanced to taste and sent into the BASS bus.

    Bass bus starts with a Redwires SVT8x10 IR (I think it's a blend of a 421 and D112 both just off the cap - honestly it's whatever Nolly used, haha what can I say, the guy knows bass tones)
    Then a HPF up to like 40hz or so.
    That goes into the Waves C4 where I squash the lows to oblivion and boost them a bit so they are just always there. The low-mids I compress and don't really boost, this way they are there when they need to be but not overbearing and stay pretty tame.
    Then...I think I might hit the CLA3A but can't remember and if I do it's not doing a ton.
    This all goes into waves J37 Virtual Tape Machine at 15ips, hitting just enough to get a tinge of saturation.
    Then just some final clean up EQ and it's off to the mix bus.

    Also I have a compressor inserted on the bass bus at the end that ducks about 2db when the kick hits. immediate attack, 40ms or so release.

    Super agree about the drums. the more I listen to this the more I hate it, haha. But I do intend to go back in and actually program the drums to be more interesting. This is basically an intro track to an album that I'm hoping to start working on in earnest this year (maybe?) so we'll see. This track sets up the melodic motif.
     
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  12. schwiz

    schwiz Lefty

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    I have the Rokit 8's and I ended up boosting the high end all the way up on the back of the monitors. Before, I had it turned all the way down and I was trying to make up for the loss of high end - this caused my mixes to be overly bright. By turning the high end all the way up, it appears to be a more accurate translation, and my mixes are no longer overly bright.

    If you get a chance to reference your mix on those Rokit 5's, play around with some of the settings on the back and it may reveal how much high end is actually in your mix.
     
  13. billinder33

    billinder33 SS.org Regular

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    Love the feedback about the drums, I'm not fully happy with them and this approach is a little new for me, so I'm glad to hear the constructive feedback. I also mixed this on headphones and I have HD280's which honestly...lie about high/low-end. They're very midsy which is probably part of the high-end issue. I have Rokit 5's as well but usually sleeping kiddos in the next room so it's tough to find time to use them. But I have a feeling a lot of this would be resolved by mixing through them instead.
    [/QUOTE]

    I have similar issue as you regarding noise and family... so these days I usually do an initial rough mix pass with open backed headphones (Beyerdynamic DT880s) to spare my family a lot of loud, repetitive passes in the early mix stages. Once the mix is close (Comp/EQ cleanup, bussing, FX, fader automation, etc.), I'll wait until I have some time with the family out of the house to finalize mixes through near fields.

    I had a friend who used to have the KRK Rokit5's, and IIRC they were fairly bass heavy, but as @schwiz alluded to, that may have been the way my friend had them tuned (he's a bass player, so.....). Bassy speakers will definitely lead an engineer toward bright mixes, and vice versa. I used to do most of my mixing on a pair of older Yammy NS10s', which have this nasty habit of being bass heavy when you're positioned 4-5 feet away from them, and then when you push your seat back away from the desk, all the low end drops out, leaving you with an incredibly thin mix.

    These days I have a pair of Dynaudio BM5A MKII's (got a deal on Reverb - $500 used). They are fantastic near field monitors. They are clean and detailed but with depth on the low end, and fairly consistent regardless of volume and distance, which is a really nice attribute.
     
  14. billinder33

    billinder33 SS.org Regular

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    I have similar issue as you regarding noise and family... so these days I usually do an initial rough mix pass with open backed headphones (Beyerdynamic DT880s) to spare my family a lot of loud, repetitive passes in the early mix stages. Once the mix is close (Comp/EQ cleanup, bussing, FX, fader automation, etc.), I'll wait until I have some time with the family out of the house to finalize mixes through near fields.

    I had a friend who used to have the KRK Rokit5's, and IIRC they were fairly bass heavy, but as @schwiz alluded to, that may have been the way my friend had them tuned (he's a bass player, so.....). Bassy speakers will definitely lead an engineer toward bright mixes, and vice versa. I used to do most of my mixing on a pair of older Yammy NS10s', which have this nasty habit of being bass heavy when you're positioned 4-5 feet away from them, and then when you push your seat back away from the desk, all the low end drops out, leaving you with an incredibly thin mix.

    These days I have a pair of Dynaudio BM5A MKII's (got a deal on Reverb - $500 used). They are fantastic near field monitors. They are clean and detailed but with depth on the low end, and fairly consistent regardless of volume and distance, which is a really nice attribute.
     
  15. isotropy

    isotropy SS.org Regular

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    Thanks guys.

    @schwiz I think I have the highs flat and the the bass rolled off on the back but I'll have to double check. I rather do like the idea of boosting the highs though since I'm boosting them overall in my mix and am probably just doing that too much. And really, you guys are helping me tune my ear to what I'm hearing. Everyone has said too much highs so that tells me I could safely turn them down in my mix and simply boost them on my speakers to get a truer representation.

    @billinder33 Like I said above,I have the bass rolled off a bit and that is because these are indeed bass heavy. I have a small untreated room so the only thing that really works for my setup is to turn down the bass AND turn down the volume overall to avoid unnecessary bass buildup in the room. And man, I feel ya on the noise situation, haha. It's always especially fun tracking screaming or loud vocals and having my kids come to check if I'm ok, haha.
     
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  16. isotropy

    isotropy SS.org Regular

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    Updated version:

    https://soundcloud.com/brineryte/mixdown4

    Made the drums more interesting.

    Reduced the highs in the kick and overall. Completely remixed the bass/guitars. There are other issues with this one, particularly the snare and guitars. Namely the high end in those. Snare is patchy and guitars are harsh but I have some ideas of how to fix them. Still a work in progress.
     
  17. schwiz

    schwiz Lefty

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    Very nice!
     
  18. isotropy

    isotropy SS.org Regular

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    thanks @schwiz

    Guys, sorry to keep self-posting but here's an even more updated version:

    https://soundcloud.com/brineryte/little-luminaries

    I'm really happy with it. Bigges thting here is I simply turned down the snare bottom. Absolutely got rid of that annoying "patchy" sound. I love the snare now, which is a big deal for me because I'm usually not happy with my snare sound.

    There is something odd happening with the kick though that I'm having trouble putting my finger on. Maybe it's just too loud?
     
  19. isotropy

    isotropy SS.org Regular

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