A Blues Rock Mix to Keep My Hand In

Haven’t mixed anything for a while… Here’s a mix I’ve done for practice to see if I can still do it. It was a “Mix Rescue” project from Sound On Sound magazine. Tried to go for something powerful and punchy…

…& updated mix incorporating critique and suggestions given below:

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That sounds amazing on my laptop! I’ll add more when I get to the studio :slight_smile:

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It sounds pretty good on my laptop as well.

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This is killer! Great song you found! A lot of SRV influence on this one. Mix sounds great on earbuds. You still got it!

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sounds good to me. If anything stuck out to me, the snare feels a little bit dark. It’s compressed hard, but doesn’t sound too squished, but I think it could benefit from a little lift in the high end. Obviously not too much, but with it that dark, it just feels like the drums are kind of far away.

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Thanks Jonathan - good to know it translates to small speakers. It would be cool to know if it survives on a larger system.

Thanks Al!

Thanks Bryan - wow, survived earbuds too! - good to know, as I never checked on them.

Thanks Boz. The snare has a ton of parallel compression on it. I went back and forth a little on how much it should be, but after giving it a rest, I thought ‘more’ was better :grin:. I’ll have a play with brightening it and see if it works for the track. Thanks for lending us your ears - much appreciated!

I only have 2 minor suggestions, but this sounds real real real good!!! Well done…

I’m getting a really weird panning ping pong in the cymbals somehow. Its like the cymbals and hats are bouncing back and forth from left to right. I was wondering if its some kind of gate or really heavy compression thats making it sound like its ducking in and out of the speakers at frequencies higher than 7k. But its only in the cymbals and whatever’s causing it, its timed to quarter notes.

I like the quick lo-fi verb’d up delay tails on the vocal…the snare is pretty compressed but its fitting for that style. It has a lot of grit (arguably at the expense of clarity) but its perfectly within the range of ‘acceptable’ because of the edginess of the track. On both the JBL’s and Focal’s, the bass/kick relationship stays intact when my subs are deactivated, and the mix doesn’t fall apart when its cranked.

The only other issue I noticed is that it doesn’t have enough air. It sounds like a lot of top got rolled off. i don’t know if this is because of aggressive LP filtering on the tracks or an overall sweeping shelf on your 2 bus, but I wish it had a little more sparkle on the top even in those cymbals if its possible. Sort of talking breathiness/air/openness etc…

This is totally an artistic thing, I would have exaggerated the lo-fi effect at 1:16 a little more…I can’t tell how you did this, but I’ll run the method I use by ya if you’re interested. I developed a way of doing this without EQ…the common technique is to dual pass then boost the 1k midrange. I found this compromised the diction, particularly in soft consonants. So instead I started using AudioEase Speakerphone, Kings mics, and Scuffham amps. Sometimes the D16 decimort bit crusher, and sometimes the Waves One Knob Driver. Filter in front and compressor in the back with SoundToys Decapitator or Devil Loc Deluxe with the 60hz ‘thump’ setting engaged when needed. Izotope trash works really well too. Again, only an artistic thing…suggestions more for the sake of conversation than a ‘critique’ :slight_smile:

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Wow, fantastic insights Jonathan! I’ll have a little bit more of a play with it, giving attention to the things you mentioned. Thanks for taking the time listening and the detailed comments - much appreciated! :+1:

Of course you know I’m a fan, and of course everything is tight and controlled and balanced. But for me, the drum sound drew my attention too much and it felt more like a metal kit than a blues/rock. I was expecting a more full fat and open drum sound. So I guess, for me the drums sounded too processed and compressed and I would have preferred a less processed and more of a live feel to them. Loved the FX on the vocal and the guitars!

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Thanks Mike, the processed drums were a direction I headed in because I really wasn’t that keen on the result Mike S got with his Mix Rescue mix.

If you read the article, you’ll see the overheads and room mics were particularly problematic on this session, so the open/natural approach wasn’t really an option:

I tried to go for excitement and emotion over fidelity, and I wanted to aim for a aggressive/modern/vintage/indie vibe similar to later era Tchad Blake-mixed Black Keys albums - wide, grungey, punchy with huge low end.

… Well that was the aim, anyhow - I shall tweak a little further and see if I can improve things. Thanks for the comments!

Hey’all, here’s an updated mix incorporating some of the suggestions given here - improvement?

Hey Andrew, you mentioned Tchad Blake and the Black Keys as a reference, so that is why I am coming back to this. I went back and looked up a Tchad Blake mixed song to listen to and do my due diligence.

Clever video! :slight_smile:

First off, I’m not critiquing your mix at all, because it kicks butt. The drums in your mix have a definite “sound”, but I just don’t think the drums sound like this example. Your kick is clickier and you have a much more compressed compact snare. That said, your mix is excellent and you nailed the vocal and guitars. And I totally agree with Bryan, you still got it. :wink:

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FYI, I think that video is hilarious.

What is the link to the tracks? The more I hear it, the more I wanna give it a shot too!

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I like how the band shifts gears into the solo at 1:26. Andrew’s mix really brings this out too.

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Thanks for taking such an interest, Mike - I appreciate the kind comments.

I should clarify: When I mentioned Tchad Blake and The Black Keys, I wasn’t really thinking of sound so much as attitude & vibe.

Every production is pretty much going to sound like itself due to the players and instruments etc.

What I like about Tchad’s mixes is that he goes pretty crazy with the processing and makes a big, fat, exciting hunk of a sound that manages to cover the whole frequency spectrum with generous lows and sparkling highs; a palpable sense of space & depth, still somehow managing to sound modern, edgy & “indie”, while projecting a sense of authenticity and history at the same time.

… so it’s really not about the kick or snare sound, or the ambient treatment, or really any detail-oriented thing. It’s not about slavishly aping the the sonic “blueprint”. It’s more a “big picture” view… eg. TB’s mixing on The Arctic Monkeys’ “AM” has that same sort of vibe, yet the end product is totally different.

… I guess I’m talking about a sense of boldness, being a little different and yet respecting power, impact & “sheen”…

… I hope that makes some sort of sense…

Here you go:


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Yup, totally and mission accomplished. :wink:

…and thanks for the link to the tracks.

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Listening to the last mix posted in this chain. This sounds awesome! My preference, I would want to hear ever so slightly more high end out of the snare hit. Sounds a little flat on my ears. Great mix!

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Thanks Charlie. I had a little more of a poke around in the mix, but everything I did just seemed to make it worse, so I think I’m going to leave it as is for the moment. Thanks for listening and taking the time to comment - much appreciated!