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Pimp my mix

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Dkerwood, Jan 18, 2006.

  1. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    Any budding recording engineers out there?

    I'm just trying to get some opinions before I finish mixing these tracks. Please give your thoughts and any tips you might have.

    Myspace - Leave Thursday

    The songs:

    You Are My Only Hope (Help Me Obi Wan Kenobi)

    Good Old Days (acoustic) - this is a little rough, but that's the intention

    One More Time - not quite finished yet, still lacking bass and backup vox

    I'll take any comments short of "this song sucks"... :bassist:
  2. Use the force luke.
  3. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    Rock on! :bassist:
  4. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    Good Old Days was kind of rough, but that's ok. Once the tune gets going it's pretty solid. I think a little more stereo seperation would be cool, but that's just me. It seems like the second acoustic guitar is the only thing that doesn't sound directly in the center.

    The snare sounds kinda wimpy. Not a lot of "snap" to it. The bass can come up in level a bit, too. Perhaps some upper register playing as opposed to having it dwell on the bottom all song.

    How 'bout some reverb? You might be going for the intimate, close up feel, but it sounds too dead for my tastes.

    I used to watch C-Span. :mad: ;)

    Obi-Wan sounds a lot better, but again the vocals sound like you're sitting in a closet with the vocalists sitting right next to you.

    There's pretty much no kick on the headphones I'm listening to. (AKG K240's). That kinda takes away from the drive of the track.

    The guitars are pretty solid on this track. Great tone! One beef, though, is that the bass tone is floppy and buried. I'm not sure how you recorded it (sounds like a mic'd mid-sized amp, like a 1x12 or 1x15? Maybe used a vocal mic?), but maybe going direct might help a little bit.

    I would check out the dry mixdown, but the site you're being hosted on said you met some sort of bandwidth limit for the day.

    Overall, I think they're very good. :) The vocals are clean and sound great, though like I said they're kind of up-front compared to how I would set them. Good stuff overall, though.
  5. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    Actually, it was somewhat of a festival of errors. You know how it goes sometimes - it sounded great when you recorded it, but come back a week later to mix and it sounds horrid?

    The bass on "good old days" was an acoustic/electric, and although I didn't notice it when my bassist recorded it, there was a lot of fret buzz and string noise getting in the way, so I eq'd most of it out. My bassist (who also sings backup) listened to it last night, and she thinks she'll probably rerecord both of her tracks - bass and backup vox.

    The bass on "obi wan kenobi" WAS recorded direct. For some reason, though, although it sounded great through the cans, I guess I had the gain turned up too high on it, because when I sat down to mix, it was this slightly distorted bass tone mess. I ended up rolling off just about everything above 1k just to get rid of the fuzz. Also, the thing about the "non dry" mix is that I boosted the treble and cut some bass, because as I was monitoring it through a couple of sources, the original mixdown tended to get a little boomy.

    Thanks for the compliment on the guitar tone! It's actually all solid state analog being mic'd through a tube preamp. I recorded 2 tracks of rhythm guitar on a Stratocaster, panned hard left and hard right. I then put a channel of lead guitar dead center. When I came back the next day, the Strat tone just wasn't quite "beefy" enough for me, so I overdubbed a Les Paul track right in the center and then brought that down to where it didn't overpower the Strat tone... just gave it some support.

    As far as reverb goes, how much is enough for a lead vocal or something that is supposed to be right in front? I used to record and then send the entire track through a reverb plugin, but that gave me too much of a "live performance" kind of feel, and quite frankly, it was a cheat to cover up some mistakes and make the track sound more full. Maybe just some room ambiance?

    Also, I was wondering this when working on the stereo image. How far should I go in any direction? Upon listening to "good old days" in the headphones, I totally agree that there isn't enough stereo separation. I think the farthest that I panned anything was like 12%. I just don't want to lose anything important by panning it too far.

    Thanks for the comments. Keep em coming (that is, if my free file hosting site will let you hear it... if this becomes a huge problem, I'll do what I didn't want to do and just like to our MySpace account and post the songs there)!
  6. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Ha! That reminds me of a CD album that a local Milwaukee musician gave me of his band - they're a pretty well-known like, uhh.. "concert hair-metal" band that was signed for a while in the eighties.

    ...First few seconds of the first track: high-toms panned hard-right, floor toms panned hard-left -- at least it gave me fair-warning of the onslaught of CHEESE that was to follow for the next forty minutes!

  7. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    I have updated the links to the mp3s in the original post. Hopefully this new site will handle the bandwidth.

    Comment away! :D
  8. Hookus


    Oct 2, 2005
    Austin, TX
    I get nothing on those links.
  9. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    Alright. I'm moving it all over to our Myspace site. I'll change the opening post to reflect the new information, but here's the link down here:


    The Myspace also includes a rough edit of "One More Time"... It's lacking bass guitar and backup vox still, but everything else is pretty solid.

    Let the comments begin.
  10. I gotta tell you man, that Obi Wan tune is mighty catchy. I'll be singing that all damn day now, thank you very much :D

    It sounds to me like everything is panned dead center in the mix? The voices really stick out, and not in the best way. When the bass and drums kick in, it's not noticable, but when it's just vocals and the clean guitar, it's really noticable. The drums are buried back there, and the bass kind of dissapears in the mix. You can feel the notes, but it's hard to tell it's a bass you know? The overdrive on it is kind of cool, but it's a bit too blurry.

    Okay, if this were my recording, here's what I would do. I would avoid the 'phones for mixing. I've yet to encounter a set of headphones that helps make a decent mix of the lower frequencies. Every recording I've ever done with headphones, always focuses on the lead vocals/instruments, and never really catches the rhythm section. I'd suggest getting the best mix you can with the monitors, then taking a cruise in your car while listening to the track. Between the two, you generally get a good mix.

    Another question, is your voice overdubbed, or is there a background singer? If the answer is yes, pan the background voice slightly to one direction (I typically go right, but have no real reason for it other than habit.) 1 notch to 1/2 a notch should be enough to increase the chorus effect I'm hearing, and it should thicken the voices up nicely. If it's just a chorus effect, then thicken it up a little bit. It should add a bit more meat, especially in the intro. I'd also second adding some reverb to those vocals. if you're doing a plug-in, I'd recommend a "club" or "studio" preset to start with, then make adjustments from there. Typically, I find that a 25-35% wet/dry mix is enough to cushion the vocals. Beyond that, you're basically an auctioneer.

    I read that you put the guitars dead center and hard left and right. While it will make for a huge guitar sound, It'll also mask quite a bit of sound from everybody. What you've basically done is instead of having 3 guitar tracks in the entire sound spectrum, is put 2 guitars dead center (since a hard left and a hard right will equal the center anyways.) Try pulling the two stratocaster tracks to about 60-70% from center and drop the volume on the two. You'll retain a lot of the strat's top end, which will brighten up the thick Les Paul track. Also push the center Les Paul track slightly off center. I usually do it 1-2 notches to the left (again, out of habit, and so I don't crowd my backup vocals) so the guitar is essentially still in the middle, but I've opened up the center frequencies a bit more to allow the vox and bass to stand out a bit more.

    My last suggestion, is those drums really need to come to the forefront some more. The best way I've ever found to do this is isolate them. Record your drummer seperate from the rest of the band, otherwise you can never get a good mix. And it's not for lack of trying, I know, but it's hard to hear how the drums fit in the mix when you're standing next to them. And using your peak lights never works (believe me, I've tried and failed many times.) If that's possible, give it a try, and you might be pretty happy with the results.

    Again, great tune. And sorry I talked too much
  11. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    No worries. I'd rather you guys talk too much than not enough. Great comments!

    Keep em coming!
  12. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    (subtle bump)