A mix to keep my hand in

soul
funk
A mix to keep my hand in
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#1

Hi all, I’ve had a bit of a convalescence here, so I thought I would use today to do a practice mix from the CMT library just to keep my hand in. This one has a sweet vocal performance and a nice groove, so I thought I would give it a go. Let me know what you think. Thanks!

Edit Here is a revised mix:


#2

Mm cool sounds… now I started off inadvertently listening through my crappy laptop speakers and it sounds fab - crystal clear… but when I switched it through my infinity stereo speakers there was suddenly a slight fuzz on the vocals and a sense of sibilance causing a separation from the voice and instrumentation… Very nice vocals…yep… I’ll try it out through my monitors later, out of interest.

When you say ‘convalescence’ have you been unwell and now recovering or simply ‘away’? Hope all is well… spring is in the southern skies at last - hooray!!


#3

Thanks for checking it out, @Emma - your input is always greatly appreciated!

Translation is always a tricky thing… Your comments motivated me to I have a listen on some ear buds, my home stereo (Yamaha tower speakers and component system) and my wife’s Bose desktop speakers to compare… Usually ear buds will reveal sibilance, and the home stereo shows up any fuzziness, but unfortunately there were no real revelations to be had there. However, the Bose desktops did show up some very high frequency sibilance, although the vocal didn’t sound fuzzy or disconnected.

I did try a slightly different approach with the vocals, so it’s a bit of a learning curve… I’d be interested to get your thoughts once you listen on studio monitors.

Thanks for the kind wishes. Yes convalescence after a sudden and unexpected operation. Last Friday I ended up in hospital with acute Appendicitis.

Fortunately, everything went really well and I’m now on the mend. I’m about to go on vacation for a couple of weeks, so I don’t have to worry about getting back to work straight away. I’ve had this week off work to stop me from busting anything , but I’m moving around a bit better now.

Thanks again!


#4

Hi Andrew hope all is well hospital stays are difficult at best, I,m glad you could send in this song.
Just so I’m understanding something here. This song is someone else’s tune and you have cleaned it up? OK. Is there a comparison to hear how it sounded before you fixed it? I’m impressed with the clarity of this recording, Each instrument and the vocal stand out so vividly, and so well balanced. How do you do that? Are you using special equipment? I know a person has to train their ears to know what to listen for? Then what effect to use and how much to add and that develops over time. But…the sound quality I’m hearing in this song, I can only imagine in my mind. Sorry :pensive:I’m feeling rather inept at the moment.
I do everything in the box. It is what I have to work with. Is it possible to even come close?


#5

Thanks Daniel - I’m just thankful we have a relatively decent public health system here in Oz. I’ve paid quite a bit of tax in the 32 years of my working life, so it was nice to finally see it put to good use and to personally experience the benefit. Many people still complain about our health system, but from what I hear, it’s better than many countries.

Just so I’m understanding something here. This song is someone else’s tune and you have cleaned it up? OK. Is there a comparison to hear how it sounded before you fixed it?

Here is a link to the preview mix that was given for the song. It doesn’t sound like it was professionally mixed, but it’s not terrible either:

http://www.cambridge-mt.com/ms-mtk.htm#ColtonBenjamin_21Grams

The individual tracks were pretty much a bunch of guitar and bass D.I.s, the individual drum multi-tracks (pretty sure they were generated by a Virtual Instrument - my guess is Addictive Drums), an organ track and the vocals. The vocals were very well recorded, although they were VERY dynamic, leading me to believe there was no compression or eq used on the way in… So there is a lot of scope to play with the fundamental nature of the sounds. It’s almost always preferable to have the recordist commit to guitar and bass tones, but I feel pretty confident using the DIs nonetheless.

I’m impressed with the clarity of this recording, Each instrument and the vocal stand out so vividly, and so well balanced. How do you do that? Are you using special equipment?

Thanks - glad you like it! No special equipment - just mixing in my computer with plugins. No outboard gear… I think you actually kind of answer that last question yourself below:…

I know a person has to train their ears to know what to listen for? Then what effect to use and how much to add and that develops over time.

But…the sound quality I’m hearing in this song, I can only imagine in my mind. Sorry :pensive:I’m feeling rather inept at the moment

Please don’t get discouraged - it’s a long road - the pros who do this every day for decades naturally set a very high standard out of sheer time spent and experience gained. I’m by no means a full-time pro, but I’ve been recording for around 30 years, and I jumped into mixing pretty intensely around 11 or 12 years ago. My early mixes sucked too, and I went through a LOT of frustration learning the ropes. Even after doing it for quite a while, I still realise there is always more to learn. The 10,000 hour thing is a BIG factor.

I do everything in the box. It is what I have to work with. Is it possible to even come close?

It’s definitely possible. I would say first work on getting your monitoring system to a point where you can trust what it is telling you - that is vital. The rest is really up to you, and how much effort you’re willing to expend.


#6

Ooh ouch, urgent appendix stuff sound agonising and scary - great that you are on the mend!

Am listening to the mix through my monitors now… and things gel nicely together within the mix, but the vocal catches my ears… I can’t see anything odd through SPAN in fact I can’t even really pick the vox clearly there, but I’m hearing a sort of slight ‘buzz’ on the hard syllables, oh, I’m hopeless at articulating sometimes, it’s a sort of metallic slight harshness to the tone. While it may not be ‘sibilance’ per se, it is a slightly harsh edge where, with the genre, I would be expecting a softer, dare I say ‘warmer’ vocal tone. So I’ve listened again through the stereo speakers and the ‘separation’ I described, was purely personal/subjective, caused by my ears zoning in to the vocal to the exclusion of all else. Sorry to be so mushy in my descriptions… :roll_eyes:


#7

Ok cool, thanks - that’s a good description that I can follow through on. I really smashed the vocal with multiple stages of compression, and I used a little high frequency saturation and excitement - I’m guessing it might be related to that.


#8

Hi everyone - just a quick question on the vocal level in this mix - what do you think? Too loud? Too soft? Just right?


#9

Pro stuff here bud. That rhythm guitar really carries this baby. vox is excellent. Makes me not like any of my stuff anymore. Congrats

sincerely

Paul


#10

Sounded just right to me…


#11

Thanks Paul & Emma


#12

Sounding good to me. Although i would probably pull back on the vocals a bit personally and get criticized for it. :wink: I am glad to hear that you are feeling well enough to do something. I hope the healing continues.


#13

Thanks Eric - definitely not too soft then huh? :wink:


#14

Love the mix, Andrew…

Crikey - is this a site where you can just grab the tracks for free and mix them?
Or do you have to pay?

S


#15

Thanks Sven - Yep, completely free to download as many different songs as you like and mix them - go for it!


#16

Hey,

I loved the song and your mix. I particularly enjoyed the sound clarity overall, the overall panning choices and the vocal effects used.

I did notice a few things though:

  • Lead vocals lacking(?) low-end information: objectively they sound good as is but I kept on “hearing” this hi-pass filter that you probably used liberally, so maybe the threshold could have been lowered a tad.
  • Humming sound on the guitar intro: probably not the easiest thing to get rid of at the mix stage without destroying the track but it bugs me. That’s more a recording engineer mistake than anything else though. I would probably try to at least dampen it with subtractive EQ.
  • Rhythm guitars a bit too loud to my taste. Tone and panning is great though.

#17

Thanks Lophohora - thanks for taking a listen and critiquing.

I’m away from my studio on vacation at present, so I can’t confirm or deny the hi-pass… And I don’t really remember what I actually did, as I mixed this very quickly in a few hours. That said, I don’t usually high pass lead vocals much above 100hz, unless it’s a really dense mix and/or a high female or very high male vocal. This vocal was a bit of an experiment in extreme compression, so maybe that’s what you’re hearing!

I didn’t really catch the intro guitar hum, as I mixed this exclusively on monitors, and I don’t have a dead-quiet mix room. Might be a good candidate for Boz’s Gatey Watey plugin, or even Izotope RX- otherwise, it might be tricky to clean up.

I can only listen at the moment with cans, so it might be enlightening to hear the mix afresh on speakers once I get back home after 2 weeks away… It might give me more perspective on the rhythm guitar levels.

Thanks again for listening and for your comments.


#18

Sorry I didn’t pick the right word, I meant crackling noise, not humming. You know this typical noise that the guitar amp will sometime produce, especially if the power source doesn’t have a ground connection.


#19

Hi everyone - thanks for the comments on this track - here is an updated version - let me know what you think:


#20

Looks like you’ve gotten the bashing input you need, just wanted to chime in and say I hope you are recovering fully from your appendicitis operation. Yikes! Hang in there!