- December 29, 2015 at 2:32 pm #23636
Hi there MLR community,
I’m curious to hear some feedback on what it is you think I could improve on. Don’t worry about being too harsh or anything, I’d love to hear what some of you seasoned pros would suggest.
I don’t know how to reorganize my Soundcloud playlist, and this is not the order I’d choose so click around.
I greatly appreciate your time to take a look at this.December 29, 2015 at 5:44 pm #23637
Opinion only: I think compositionally these are very good. The mix could use some improvements . On the first couple tracks, it’s like some of the instruments don’t share the same space. Track in the rhythm guitar is pretty dry and in your face from the sounds of it, while the lead is awash in that great spring reverb thing you have going on. Track two, nice composition but the drums are more on the harder rock side – like you have some parallel processing happening when maybe a more natural drum sound would work better. I would have preferred a cleaner lead sound on the motown track. Good playing BTW. Some may criticize your tracks as being busy – more as artist tracks – but if you want to try and share these among RF libraries, particularly some like AS who do external distribution and streaming, then as long as you have a melody/lead free narrative it could work real nicely to have both versions. Well put together compositions, though, really enjoyed the listen.In general your mixes are pretty good, but i would say maybe 80% of where they could be if you had a pro studio working on them.December 30, 2015 at 8:37 am #23639
I agree with Chuck, the mix could use some improvements. Do you use a high pass filter on all your tracks? If not, this could help clean things up. Also, if you don’t already, consider converting some stereo keyboard tracks to mono. This will give you more panning options and clarity. Big sounding stereo keyboard tracks can take up too much space.December 30, 2015 at 10:01 am #23642
Thank you both for your responses. A couple of follow up questions:
How would you improve the mix? Mixing/Mastering would probably be my weakest point. I’ve been studying/working on it lately and am very eager to get better. I do use a High Pass Filter around 30/40db depending on the mix. Any tutorials you’d recommend or anything you could hear that I’m missing?
Any recommendations on getting each instrument to “fit their space” better? Any tutorials you’d recommend?
Chuck, you mentioned some might call my tracks more “artist” tracks. Any composition recommendations? I do make two versions, one full and one without the lead/some instrumentation depending on the track (along with 60s, 30s, 15s, 7s with both versions). Anything you’d recommend to make my music more cue appropriate?
I really appreciate your responses and any other responses that come through.December 30, 2015 at 6:19 pm #23644
There are a bunch of great tutorials on you tube: Pensados place, Pure Mix (paid or free), Recording Revolution. I just asked a similar question, Denis Woods had suggested Michael White’s site as a paid site , costs 30 bucks a month, maybe do their power series. About as thorough a paid tutorial as you are going to find I think.I also went with a couple “full mix” vids from Pure Mix, one was a Ben Lindell Mix called Howling, another a Fab Dupont mix “Periscope”. I can tell you I spent about a month on Michael White MPG Power Compression and am thrilled with how much more understanding I have of it now. Regarding the tracks and composition wise, maybe be some better folks to ask, but as long as you keep a stripped down version with either no or a not too busy melody think it’s all good, and I actually really like the styles you went for.December 31, 2015 at 8:38 am #23649
I do use a High Pass Filter around 30/40db depending on the mix
You might have meant 30/40Hz not dB? Doing that on the mix is good; my tip is to high pass all tracks at the frequency it stops being useful. For example, a tambourine typically is a midrange instrument, so pulling out all frequinces below say 800Hz will remove any unnecessary low end. It’s subtle, but doing it on all 20 or whatever number of tracks you have makes a difference.
Any recommendations on getting each instrument to “fit their space” better?
Think about carving out a frequency in one instrument, to make room for another instrument in the same range. This is typically done with the kik drum and bass instrument. For example, if the bulk of the sound for both is around 80hHz, pull a bit of 80Hz out of one to make room for the other. You could even raise the other at 80Hz, if it sounds good.
Any tutorials you’d recommend
In addition to “Recording Magazine” whom I write for occaisionaly, I have a few issues of MusicTech Magazine. The focus issues where they concentrate on a subject like mixing or mastering are useful. Same with Computer Music Magazine. Also on my shelf is Bob Katz’s Mastering Audio the art and the science.December 31, 2015 at 1:44 pm #23650
Chuck – Thanks for the input. I’m just getting my feet wet in writing cues and am coming from an artist background. So I’m particularly interested in learning the language of writing cues, much like the different styles I learned to compose while writing my “artist” music. I really appreciate you lending me your ears.
Michael – Excellent. Thank you for the input as well. I look forward to digging deeper into your columns and soaking in all that I can. Yes, I did mean Hz sorry about that. I appreciate you lending me your ears as well.
Any other criticisms, I’m more than eager to hear them. Also, there are 15 tracks on that playlist (only the first three show up for me unless I scroll down using my arrows), much of them different styles. I don’t expect you to listen to them all but just to throw that out there.
Thanks!January 2, 2016 at 3:29 am #23653
The drums on all of your tracks sound overly compressed to where they no longer sound real. The kick drum is very hard to hear and the cymbals turn into a huge wash. On some tracks the drums seem to pulse with compression.
Compare your Hendrixy
to one of Art Munson’s latest uploads to our site
In Art’s mix you hear that every instrument has a clearly defined space, eq-wise and stereo field-wise. You can distinctly hear every instrument without any of them overpowering the track.
In yours the bottom end sounds muddy and kind of digitally distorted. The bass line is indistinguishable from the rhythm guitar or the kick drum.
At the same time the high end is brittle sounding.
I would suggest finding some mixes that you can try to emulate and do an A/B with your tracks until you get them in the same ballpark.January 2, 2016 at 7:26 am #23654
Thanks for the feedback Mark!
I absolutely can tell the difference. Especially comparing those two tracks.
I look forward to reworking some of the mixes and getting additional feedback. This site has been immensely helpful and appreciate you taking the time to give me helpful critiques!January 2, 2016 at 12:59 pm #23660
Thanks for the kind words Mark!January 2, 2016 at 1:51 pm #23661
Art, have any tips for getting a good balance/sonic space?
Great tracks!January 2, 2016 at 2:29 pm #23662
Art, have any tips for getting a good balance/sonic space?
I think folks here covered it well. FYI the track Mark referenced is an older track that I recently re-mixed. For the last year I have going through all of my older tracks re-mixing, re-configuring the structure and cleaning up the metadata etc. (hopefully for the better). When I listen to the old mixes I think to myself, “What was I thinking!”.
It’s a constant learning process and I’m amazed at how much I don’t know. Thanks to so many smart people here I learn right along with everyone else!January 2, 2016 at 3:17 pm #23663
When I listen to the old mixes I think to myself, “What was I thinking!”.
Too true !!!!!! Its a continual learning process of refining certain skills.January 2, 2016 at 3:47 pm #23664
@gschmittling. Just thought of something that might help you. I always put a spectrum analyzer on my master buss, before I start mixing, and solo my instrument tracks to see what’s going on with them frequency wise (this assumes you don’t have any EQ on the master buss). I’ll almost always find some tracks with low end that doesn’t need to be there. You’ll also get a feel for the space in the frequency spectrum each instrument is taking. This spectrum analyzer is free http://www.voxengo.com/product/span/.January 2, 2016 at 4:26 pm #23665
Hey Art, that’s a great idea, I think I’ll give that a try!
It is a never ending learning process. Even the top end pro’s say that they are always learning something new.
@gschmittling, another area to keep an eye or ear on is the 250-400hz range, this area is the source of muddy sounding tracks. I usually take a couple db at 350hz off of the drums, it really cleans them up and helps to give them focus. It also works on distorted guitars, but don’t take away too much or it will start to sound thin.