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Seeking advice on a rock song mix

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Anonymous
April 20, 2005 7:39:50 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

hello everyone. i'm a constant and appreciative lurker and very
occasional poster, usually asking questions due to my limited
experience.

to cut to the chase, my three-piece rock band (female vocal, guitar,
bass, drums) called The Fearnots recently recorded and mixed an EP at
a friend's all-digital studio. we've hit a nice knee in the
time/money curve of mixing, at least w/r/t our budget, and we have
finished what we think is a nice mix of a song. i'd like to share it
to receive criticism from all the golden ears and all those with
tremendous experience on this newsgroup. with more listening, and
perhaps with your comments, we may elect to go back in for another
hour or so of mixing.

i've been reading here for a while, so i know the stock answers of:
get better talent, or record in a better room. please save those
comments. instead, i'm hoping to hear what the good/bad of this mix
are, and what you might do better. we're interested in putting out a
great song, besides learning more about the whole process. as far as
the target sound, think cross between indie-rock, math-rock, pj
harvey, later firehose / mike watt.

i don't have the mic types handy, but can provide later if interested.
the drums were heavily mic'd: snare, under snare, bass drum, `low
bass' of a speaker turned into a microphone, hi tom, low tom, floor
tom, two overheads, two `boundary' mics, and a `drummer's ear' mic.
the guitar had two mics, the bass had a mix of DI and a mic. the
singer had two, including one neumann. all instruments were live,
vocals were OD'd.

following the consensus of this newsgroup, very minimal compression
was used in the mix. also minimal reverb. no click track (probably
obvious) and no autotune on the vocals. nearly everything (except
guitar) had some degree of eq, however.

the song i'd like to share is 40 megs uncompressed. i'd happily
provide an mp3, but i know some don't like to listen to those, even
when encoded at a high quality. if you're interested in a listen,
please send me an email and we can work out a format you prefer. if
many prefer the same format, i'll post a link to a web address.

thank you!
david
dpetrou@cs.cmu.edu
www.thefearnots.com
Anonymous
April 20, 2005 11:37:23 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Posted and mailed...


"David Petrou" <dpetrou@ece.cmu.edu> wrote in message news:D 44iu6$2qg$1@nntp.ece.cmu.edu...

> the song i'd like to share is 40 megs uncompressed. i'd happily
> provide an mp3, but i know some don't like to listen to those, even
> when encoded at a high quality. if you're interested in a listen,
> please send me an email and we can work out a format you prefer. if
> many prefer the same format, i'll post a link to a web address.
>
> thank you!
> david
> dpetrou@cs.cmu.edu
> www.thefearnots.com


Throw up a link to the uncompressed file. Any MP3 over 160kbps should
be at least tolerable enough to lightly evaluate if encoded well.


--
David Morgan (MAMS)
http://www.m-a-m-s DOT com
Morgan Audio Media Service
Dallas, Texas (214) 662-9901
_______________________________________
http://www.artisan-recordingstudio.com
Anonymous
April 21, 2005 7:37:58 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"David Morgan \(MAMS\)" <mams@nospam-a-m-s.com> wrote:
> Throw up a link to the uncompressed file. Any MP3 over 160kbps should
> be at least tolerable enough to lightly evaluate if encoded well.

hi david. thanks for the suggestion. i made an MP3 with a minimum
rate of 160. at highest quality VBR, it came out to an average rate
around 175.

the URL is:

http://bwv988.pdl.cmu.edu:8080/free_to_choose.mp3

i'd love to hear what some of the regular long-term posters think. (i
have my own feelings about what's right and wrong, but i don't want to
influence criticism.)

i'll happily send the finished product along with the rest of the
songs on the EP (only if interested, of course) to anyone who lends
their ears and advice. just please dump the mp3 when you're done
since it will likely be tweaked.

thank you!
david
dpetrou@cs.cmu.edu
www.thefearnots.com
Related resources
April 21, 2005 12:12:51 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

David Petrou wrote:
> i'd love to hear what some of the regular long-term posters think. (i
> have my own feelings about what's right and wrong, but i don't want to
> influence criticism.)

It sounds to me like only the overheads were used for the drums. The
cymbals sound pretty nice and the snare's not too bad. The toms sound
like they're in the other room hanging out with the kick drum. You need
some more presence and attack on the toms and kick. The bass guitar also
needs to be brought out more to fill out the arrangement a bit more. The
vocals are pretty distant as well.

--
Eric

Practice Your Mixing Skills
www.Raw-Tracks.com
www.Mad-Host.com
Anonymous
April 22, 2005 9:15:57 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

hi eric, thanks for the listen!

> It sounds to me like only the overheads were used for the drums.

that's not true. but perhaps the overheads can come down a little,
and everything else up.

> The
> cymbals sound pretty nice and the snare's not too bad. The toms sound
> like they're in the other room hanging out with the kick drum. You need
> some more presence and attack on the toms and kick.

agreed. i actually think the snare can use more crack and high-end too.

how do you suggest more presence and attack for the toms and kick,
besides playing with the overhead levels?

> The bass guitar also needs to be brought out more to fill out the
> arrangement a bit more. The vocals are pretty distant as well.

hmm, on what i've listened back in, including a car stereo, these seem
fine to me.

> --
> Eric

thanks again,
david
Anonymous
April 23, 2005 5:03:52 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

David Petrou wrote:

> hello everyone. i'm a constant and appreciative lurker and very
> occasional poster, usually asking questions due to my limited
> experience.

You are most welcome.

> to cut to the chase, my three-piece rock band (female vocal,
> guitar, bass, drums)

It is important to play in tune unless one happens to be as gifted in
terms of playing out of tune as Velvet Underground was. I am probably
too strict with this after having listened to too much very well
performed classical chamber music, but I am dissatisfied with the
quality of the tuning of the guitar, not when it is played grungy, but
certainly when played clean. This is late night listening, there is no
way I can play it loud.

> called The Fearnots recently recorded and mixed an EP at
> a friend's all-digital studio. we've hit a nice knee in the
> time/money curve of mixing, at least w/r/t our budget, and we have
> finished what we think is a nice mix of a song.

EricK almost writes that all should be louder in the mix, to the extent
that the sound is loose rather than tight I agree. My example mixes on
http://www.raw-tracks.com are likely to be the ones with the largest
dynamic range, but they are certainly tighter than what you have aimed
for. Note: this is not about compressing and limiting more in mastering,
it is about getting the tracks right for the context, some should
possibly have been compressed more or harder, some possibly less or
softer.

> i'd like to share it to receive criticism from all the
> golden ears and all those with tremendous experience
> on this newsgroup.

Ah, well, I follow up anyway .... O;-)

> with more listening, and perhaps with your comments,
> we may elect to go back in for another hour or so of mixing.

Your current result is probably a fair version of the sound as it was in
the studio, and the basic sound quality of the tracks appears to be OK.
I am somewhat perplexed by the fact that - to mee, late at night - the
vocals sound like slightly out of sync, I might want to try sliding that
entire track a few milliseconds either way, but I can't hear which way
it needs to go, if any.

> i've been reading here for a while, so i know the stock
> answers of: get better talent, or record in a better room.

Talent is OK in the context, the room appears to be smalish, but good
and lively in a nice way. Mic setup on drums possibly a bit too jazzy.

> please save those comments. instead, i'm hoping to hear
> what the good/bad of this mix are, and what you might do better.

What I have generally aimed for in the mixes at
http://www.raw-tracks.com has been to make it sound like I would have
wanted a concert performance of it to sound.

> we're interested in putting out a great song,

I think, at a brief aural glance, that the song will get greater by a
slightly slower, tighter, performance, but it may be the timing issue
with the vocal track that gives this impression.

> besides learning more about the whole process. as far as
> the target sound, think cross between indie-rock, math-rock, pj
> harvey, later firehose / mike watt.

The target sound should be a consequence of the music.

> i don't have the mic types handy, but can provide later if interested.
> the drums were heavily mic'd: snare, under snare, bass drum, `low
> bass' of a speaker turned into a microphone, hi tom, low tom, floor
> tom, two overheads, two `boundary' mics, and a `drummer's ear' mic.
> the guitar had two mics, the bass had a mix of DI and a mic. the
> singer had two, including one neumann. all instruments were live,
> vocals were OD'd.

Strangely, more is not always better.

> following the consensus of this newsgroup, very minimal
> compression was used in the mix.

I don't always have time to read here, nor post, but I am probably one
of the more minimalistic participants. I can't say just what I would do
without hearing the tracks, again I must refer you to my mixes on
http://www.raw-tracks.com, simply as an illustration of the kind of
punch I want from a rock mix.

> also minimal reverb.

You must use the reverb tool when building a perspective.

> no click track (probably obvious)

Not a problem, what I mention above would - at an aural glance - still
have been an issue with a click track.

> and no autotune on the vocals. nearly everything (except
> guitar) had some degree of eq, however.

Hmm .... as far as EQ goes, you have drastic EQ simply by putting
microphones close to sound sources. As for autotune it need not always
detracts. Just for fun - and to test it - I tried using it on an old
recording of mezzosoprano with organ with a modest setting - great demo,
unless one really really knows what to listen for it is well sung song
with a strangely drifting church organ.

> the song i'd like to share is 40 megs uncompressed.

192 kbits stereo mp3 is OK for fairly critical listening, about as good
as a quarter track stereo tape recorder at 19 cmm/s .... 128 kbit stereo
mp3 is about as good as a good compact casette.

You may feel whacked, you are not, but you do have issues to address,
also with regard to the performance, you probably know them already.
Your mix and pre mix track processing lack what I like about my example
mixes referred to above, but I doubt that you could have gotten them
better instantly after recording. A good mix can perhaps require a
reasonable detachment from the actual performance as it was experienced
by the performers.

> david
> dpetrou@cs.cmu.edu
> www.thefearnots.com


Kind regards

Peter Larsen

--
*******************************************
* My site is at: http://www.muyiovatki.dk *
*******************************************
Anonymous
April 27, 2005 3:23:42 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

thank you very much for your thoughtful and detailed reply, peter!

> It is important to play in tune unless one happens to be as gifted in
> terms of playing out of tune as Velvet Underground was.

for this genre, it's not bad enough in this song to be an issue. as a
perfectionist, yes, this is something that will be an occasional
irritation on close listens.

> EricK almost writes that all should be louder in the mix, to the extent
> that the sound is loose rather than tight I agree.

we've done some extra work using your and others' advice, and we think
things are improving.

by eq'ing the drums better for more attack on the close mics, adding
some compression on the snare, and changing some levels on the drum
mix, things have improved. some extra automation on vocal levels is
helping too.

> I am somewhat perplexed by the fact that - to mee, late at night - the
> vocals sound like slightly out of sync, I might want to try sliding that
> entire track a few milliseconds either way, but I can't hear which way
> it needs to go, if any.

hmm, we don't hear this.

> Hmm .... as far as EQ goes, you have drastic EQ simply by putting
> microphones close to sound sources.

good point. in `fixing' the drum sound, among other tracks, we've
applied what seems to be drastic eq, like around 10db gain in the high
freqs on the snare, among other things. is this normal? it certainly
sounds better, bringing out the ring of the snare that i love, and
that was lost in the dead, previous version of the snare.

> Kind regards

thank you!
david
Anonymous
May 2, 2005 4:23:50 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

thanks to all who replied. our final mix will be done in a week and
that one song will be posted online as a free download. if anyone's
interested, we're playing live on WRCT FM, which is also streamed over
the internet:

Monday, May 2: Hear the Fearnots play live on WRCT's Advanced Calculus
radio show from 9 to 10pm EDT. That's 88.3 FM. Those without radios
or outside of Pittsburgh may stream the show over the Internet at

http://www.wrct.org

There are four streaming formats. Play around until you find one that
works for your computer.

http://www.thefearnots.com

hille . david . mike
!