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critique "Who We Are" - back in the studio "Brown Haired Girl"

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by kevinwhitect, Nov 24, 2019.

  • AT5047

    The New AT5047 Premier Studio Microphone Purity Transformed

  1. kevinwhitect

    kevinwhitect Kev Active Member

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    Hey all!

    WWA (my group) has returned to tracking a new collection for release somewhere on the calendar next year. I've got this piece nearly done - but for some background vocals inserted in the chorus.

    We lost a couple members (one moved out of state, and the other got too busy) since I last checked in, and we're down to a 4 piece band now.

    I don't think we're the worse for the change, though ... for sometimes, perhaps, less is more.

    Check out where we are with this, and please let me know if you hear anything glaring that might be off with the mix.

    Thanks in advance for the extra ears!

    Kev-

     

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  2. Tbozaudio

    Tbozaudio Active Member

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    Like: the textures of the tones chosen. Bit of distortion (other than guitars), but sounds purposeful/ intended. Which makes me think that some sort of added texture to the vocals might sound interesting as well. Just my opinion.
    Also like the originality.
    Critique: cymbals get pretty sizzle and thin.
     
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  3. kevinwhitect

    kevinwhitect Kev Active Member

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    Wonderful. You and I share the same concern about the splashy cymbals. Frank hits them a lot -- and believe it or not -- I have the OHs WAY back and they STILL splash through washy.

    Interesting note on adding texture to the vocals. That's me. I'll experiment with it.

    We've got BGV harmonies on the chorus to add, but that'll be a simple do when ready.

    The song has kind of an unusual story behind it. It came to me in a dream. I heard an Irish tenor on a stage in church hall that doesn't exist in a local town after sliding down a long hill backwards in a car, landing in a lumber yard that's also not there, and then running up to find the police and going into the hall -- to find this guy singing this song on a stage.

    About then, I realized, "You need to wake up and remember this tune." So I got right out of bed, flipped on a mike and started singing what I could remember. I then went back to bed. Later, I figured out the chords to it. Hot Dog Days of Summer - her hair was blowing in the breeze was pulled right from the dream, as was the "Brown Haired Ordinary Looking Girl" chorus line. I filled in the blanks on the others.

    We had a creative session scheduled later that evening with the guys, and I explained the dream and told the three of them, "I've given you what you need to make a song ... now YOU come up with the arrangement."

    This is that result.
     
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  4. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Distinguished Member

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    This actually makes the cymbals worse in this case. The further the mic, the less attack you'll get. Experiment with putting them closer to get more articulation. The drummer may have to play them softer. It could also be phase canceling, thinning things out. Double check your phase.

    My default position for OH is a single mic, or a pair in XY, over the dummers head, pointing at the snare, angled away from the cymbals, and as close to the kit (snare) as possible without being obtrusive.
     
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  5. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

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    I do a similar thing, though not right over the drummer's head. The weird angling shown is to get the kick and snare to the center of the stereo image.

    XY Drum Mics left.jpg XY Drum Mics right.jpg
     
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  6. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

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    Wow, that is LOUD! And it's clipping pretty much constantly through the whole song. My meters were reading peaks well over 0dBFS. I can hear the kick causing the mix to duck a bit with each hit. My first move would be to redo whatever mastering was done.

    But the mix is generally in the ballpark. It's a bit hard to tell what's due to the mixing and what's due to the mastering. Some of the cymbal stuff might clear up with a better mastering process.

    clipping.png hot mix.png
     
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  7. kevinwhitect

    kevinwhitect Kev Active Member

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    It's the mastering. I didn't. I just hit the preset and ran with it.

    As of this point the mix is being ballparked, awaiting addition of the bgvs. Final tweaks are going to be applied after they are blended in.

    I will NOT do preset mastering as of that point.

    :D
     
  8. kevinwhitect

    kevinwhitect Kev Active Member

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    I do a L/R w/ small condensers centered on the snare -- about 3-4 ft OH of the drummer's head.
     
  9. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

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    The effects of the preset "mastering" really make hard to evaluate the mix. If there's a reduction meter and a control for the amount of drive or level, dial that control back until you get a minimum amount of reduction, just to get the level into the normal range. Or just don't do any mastering.
     
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  10. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Distinguished Member

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    You may find large diaphragm condensers pick up a more balanced picture of the entire kit (ie less cymbals relatively speaking) than the sdc's do. Sdc's have a limited ability to pick up the low mids and lows. Low mids can be very useful on the snare.

    You can always print a mastered and unmastered mix so we can hear the effects of the mastering. Generally speaking most people turn on the master bus stuff somewhere during the mix, usually by the time all the vocals and instruments are in the mix, or before. By mixing "into" the master bus efx, you dont get any stark changes right at the end.

    For quick "mastering" a bus compressor like the waves ssl, and limiter like the fabfilter pro L2, or waves L2 maximizer/limiter, can help get things sounding more in the ballpark of a finished recording without getting too overwhelming. Especially when talking a couple db of compression and a couple db of limiting, it can be fairly transparent, but get things a little more lively and loud, so the track stands up reasonably next to truly mastered tracks.
     
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  11. Tbozaudio

    Tbozaudio Active Member

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    Forgot to add. It’s like Hendrix meets Bowie!
     
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  12. kevinwhitect

    kevinwhitect Kev Active Member

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    Yeah - It's a lazy man's way of doing "something", but it squashes the crap out of it. :D

    I took everything apart last night in an upgrade of my rig to a Ryzen 7 processor and mobo - and I didn't have the right PSU to power the board. So everything is on hold until after Thanksgiving - when I will have the time to reassemble it and address. I will pop back w/ a more "natural" (less slammed) mix for review. We've about 5 others we've got in various stages of progress at the moment. We're having a creative spurt.

    Good info. I have the L2 -- and Waves Diamond bundle -- or something like that ... right under their top bundle. I've been gradually working my way up over the years. The plug I used is their mastering plug. I don't, though, adjust for signal levels.

    Obviously. :D

    But I will have to try w/ large frame condensers. I've always used small - because I'm trying to get mostly the cymbals. I mic each drum separately w/ 2 on the kick (inside/outside) and 2 on the snare (topside/downside).
     
  13. kevinwhitect

    kevinwhitect Kev Active Member

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    The weird of that is our guitarist is a Malaysian Brit who probably never listened to Hendrix growing up. I totally get your reference though. You'd also not be the first to comment on how my voice is similar to Bowie's either. Thanks for the note, though! Appreciated!
     
  14. kevinwhitect

    kevinwhitect Kev Active Member

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    Hi guys - busy as heck during the holidays. I finally got back to mixing this and correcting a few sonic deficiencies - some mentioned here. It didn't help that I ripped my rig apart and installed a Ryzen 7 based mobo.

    This is the new mix:

     

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  15. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Distinguished Member

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    I feel like the snare is a bit dominant or the guitars should come up some more.

    Beyond that id consider some work on the drum ambience, perhaps with some subtle echoes that bounce back and forth and/or even a plate or spring verb with a noticeable pre delay. Something to add some interest to after the initial beat.

    Ditto for the vocals. Some reverb and delay throws and flanging can keep momentum and energy up thru the entirety of the song.

    Maybe some added grit on the bass for the entire tune or just the intro?
     
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  16. kevinwhitect

    kevinwhitect Kev Active Member

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    Perfect, and thank you. I'd kept the drums quite dry. I should perhaps "open" them a bit more - but they're busy - so caution is advised as to HOW many echoes to allow.

    I'm in agreement on the guitar. It needs to cut more. I've got it a little too "tamed" methinks - w/ not enough gritty excitement.

    I will also experiment with the vocal treatment. Again, I've leaned towards a drier approach in this mix.

    Thanks again. I've got bgvs to add in the chorus w/ the guys - but during final mixdown following, I will play with your ideas.
     
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  17. kevinwhitect

    kevinwhitect Kev Active Member

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    With updates ... including bgvs from the guys ... (plus advice taken from kmetal above). Btw ... KM - my drummer wants to thank you for having me lean this towards a power trio mix strongly - bringing the guitar up and forward.

     

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  18. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Distinguished Member

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    The improvements sound good to me,nice work!
     
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  19. kevinwhitect

    kevinwhitect Kev Active Member

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    Thank you! Honestly, I really did listen to your ideas, and the drummer did thank you when I told him that you'd wanted the guitar to have more presence. I added more bite to it, and let the three of them run w/ the piece as more of a power trio vibe - with my keys providing ancillary support.

    The vox were wrapped up last night, and I mixed it this morning. Time to let it set and come back with fresh ears later.

    Thanks again for your thoughts!
     
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  20. kevinwhitect

    kevinwhitect Kev Active Member

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    We've brought in a lead vocalist to sing. This is his version.

     

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  • AT5047

    The New AT5047 Premier Studio Microphone Purity Transformed

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