Am I on the right track? Bash it

Am I on the right track? Bash it
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#1

I feel like I have come a long way since the beginning. I don’t really feel like a beginner audio engineer anymore, but, still nowhere near to novice or pro, but I’m learning.

Gonna give you 4 files to sample in hopes that maybe someone hears something I’m missing in the mix or whether it’s in the mastering where I lack more.

I am totally down for the brutal truth and I hope this ain’t too much to ask, besides, this site has the best player I have found and it is so easy to compare things here… I hope y’all don’t mind!

Master with vocals

Mix with vocals

Master instrumental

Mix instrumental


#2

I’m going to come back and listen to this on Friday. I went to a concert last night and my ears are fatigued.


#3

I’m actually hearing a lot of arrangement issues with this one. It sounds like you tried to cram in every instrument at the same time, and they aren’t playing very well together. Each instrument seems to be in a different space, and they are all competing for attention. I almost thought I may have had another song playing on another tab somewhere.

It’s perfectly normal to have different instruments doing stabs here and there, coming in and out and making the arrangement interesting, but on this, every instrument is going full blast the entire time, which gets tiring for the listener really really fast.

I think the song itself will be great once the instruments are brought under control.


#4

I would second what boz said. I feel like this on the verge of being a good smashing pumpkinesk song but doesn’t ever quite into a needed groove before going off.


#5

Hey Anthony, just took a listen now… Wow, the quality of your sounds and the mixing in general has come a long way since you first posted here - Nice!

That said, it still sounds to me like you are burying your vocals a bit, level-wise.

A larger issue, as has already been mentioned a couple of times, is the arrangement of the instrumentation. This may be part of the reason why the vocals are coming in second too.

All the parts are interesting and unusual, but the fact that they seem to be all going flat out simultaneously creates a slighly dizzying, somewhat baffling listening experience.

Don’t be afraid of putting some space in your arrangements. Introduce new elements or parts gradually, then take them away, and maybe bring them back later. Treat it like scenes in a movie, where something or someone is always the focal point, and build your arrangement around that.


#6

Thank you much! This is why I appreciate this site, y’all are straight up no punches pulled and I feel a little embarrassed by not engaging more in the community!

As the consensus, as of yet is the same, I’m gonna reply to bozmillar but, the reply is to you all and, please feel free to engage me further after I do so.

Thank you again!


#7

Thank you boz!

I understand every word but when I listen to it, bias of course, lol, I can’t hear it… I wouldn’t know where to begin.

It came upon me very recently, the realization of how my instrumentations work. It is like one instrument finishing the sentence of another.

Yes, lol, my genre is chaos! Mr. Bungle, the Jesus Lizard and RHCP are big influences.

The first song in my catalog, HURL (unreleased), to me, in the beginning was killer. I took the advice of a guitarist I had worked with for many years to do the thing you have advised. It was never the same and I currently keep proscrastinating on repairing it because I am now very disappointed with it.

As a competitor in the mainstream industry and market, I know my material is an acquired taste and I will never have it sit next to the toppers on the Billboard Charts, I am fine with that. What I am in search of is, a quality of sound that is comparable to what is on those charts. My songwriting is as it is and it is led solely by Inspiration and Passion. When I put my schooled musical mind to the task, Inspiration starts smacking me around and saying wtf are you doing!

If what you mean to imply is, taking it down a notch in intensity to build up or down, yes I can do that, it will take some more time doing each virtual note and beat manually and I would prefer live musicians to do the task but, I am solo and finding like minded musicians in my area to play live has been a waste of energy.

To drop out an instrument section altogether to bring it back later in the song to create that rollercoaster of energy is, weird to me and I have very much, since these comments were made, have tried to imagine what parts can be sacrificed but I am stumped. I keep coming back to the movie Amadeus. The music supervisor of the King’s court told Mozart, “too many notes”, Mozart replied something like, “which ones? it is perfect as is.” I don’t claim any of my songs to be perfect nor do I compare myself to Mozart but, that idea is the same.

Wholeheartedly, I am not opposed to enhancing my arrangements. None of them are for sale so none of them are finished but, I am apprehensive because I do not want to be disappointed again like with HURL.

Thank you so much for the feedback and advice, I am responsive to more!


#8

I feel ya man :slight_smile:

But what you could do to get out of this and have a new perspective of what is yours, is to ask (maybe people on here) to do some sort of remix of this song? Not changing or leaving out stuff, but building it up differently. This might inspire you to get around this translation problem.

Dunno if you have some money to spend (nothing huge) but you could make it into a contest…?
You can offer to give first price a plugin or something? To motivate people to do a real effort. I think its possible with this arrangement.

Just a thought :slight_smile:

Afterwards you can still do what you whant with it, cause like I said, its just to expand your interpretation of your own work :slight_smile:


#9

Thanks Rebel.

This is a great idea, a contest. The only problem, when the phrase, “starving artist”, was penned, they were talking about me, lol. I ain’t living out of a cardboard box yet but, it ain’t that far off.

I would love to have a team to develop these things while I am left to the creation portion but, that ain’t gonna be my reality. Everything to date has been solo and, however lonely and oftentimes frustrating that it is, getting it right on my own by researching, Googling and finding folks like you all to give me words of advice will be the reward when I finally get it right and, I’ve got 5 albums to work on, develop/enhance, as well as the 6th being currently created.

With all of that said, however, your guys’ words have not fallen on deaf ears! I will keep working and if anyone is in Edmonton and would like to join forces, well, I’m down with that.

Thanks again.


#10

ok, i only listened to two of your mixes for about 30 secs each… so these are important first thoughts/impressions (in my world anyway).

If I were producing you u in my studio - i might ask you to try to write a straight ‘rock style’ driving drum beat to hold all the craziness together. Only 3 or 4 kick drums and two snare beats per measure allowed :slight_smile: Bass would then kind of sync with kick drum downbeats … mostly.

Then lets see how that sounds


#11

You could even post work it out with the @holster maybe to have a friendly competition. maybe someone would even chip in a prize but more it is a mixing production challenge that would be fun and a great learning experience. What i was getting at is to use the elements at different levels to allow the intensity to go up a notch while allowing the listener to hear it better.

Analogy: if you have ever taken pictures with the sun at its peak you will find that things look washed out and some of the detail is not visible while if you take the same picture closer to sunrise or sunset it will bring more life to the image. - your mix right now is at high noon if you get what i mean.


#12

I get where you are coming from. The issues I hear in your music are very common things I have to fight against when I’m making music. But I think the crux of the problem is that you are listening to this from a different perspective than everybody else. You are hearing the instruments and you are hearing the intent behind the decisions you are making. Nobody else is hearing that. Nobody else hears the intent, we just hear the result, and the result is a lot of clutter.

It’s the same reason why my wife looks at my desk and thinks it’s a mess, when I can look at it and think it’s perfect because I know where everything is. It’s because I put it there. I can’t expect anyone else to be able to function using my desk.

That’s what I hear in this song. It’s like a messy desk that isn’t usable for anybody but the person who put the stuff there. For a song to resonate with anyone besides the creator, it has to be less cluttered.

Again, the best thing you can do is try to hear it from the perspective of the listener and not the architect. You can hear a conversation going on because you created the conversation, and it doesn’t require any effort to know what the conversation is about. To you, it’s one instrument finishing the next instrument’s sentence. To any listener besides you, it sounds like a room full of people trying to talk over each other. We can’t can’t tell what the topic of conversation is because we can’t even pick out a sentence.

I get that, but the more I do this, the more I realize that “quality of sound” is 80% arrangement and only 20% “sound quality”


#13

Thanks for the 30 seconds.
Question…
if you were producing this song, would:
a. I be paying you?
b. You be paying me?
c. My label paying you?
d. No one gets paid, we are collaborating?

Would each scenario not have a different result?
a. I have final say.
b. You have final say.
c. The label has final say.
d. Together we have final say.


#14

Hey boz.

Everywhere I turn, I discover and I had to think much on all the words everyone has offered here on this song that, tonight, I had to stop trying to sleep to finally compile my thoughts.

Not to be dismissive but, I have absolutely no clue how anyone can listen to a piece of art not as themselves. What I think you are trying to say is, hear it compared to what is already popular. In addition, to claim no one but I can appreciate a room full of sounds all talking at once is, probably not entirely accurate considering there are 7+ billion people on the planet.

Scenario…
A painter sits before a mountain landscape and reproduces what they see faithful to the original. Some who see this work marvel at it calling it brilliant and beautiful. Others who see it say, meh, seen that a 1000 times before.
Another painter sits in their bedroom or studio and imagines that landscape and creates a piece of art that is abstract. Some who see this work marvel at it calling it brilliant and beautiful. Others who see it say, wtf is this I don’t understand a single stroke.

Is either work not artistic? Is one piece gonna get more recognition than the other? Probably. Should the artist with little praise conform?

“Perspective”. You may hear clutter. Many others may hear clutter. I don’t and the only way I can listen to it differently is if I have a destination for it in mind, ie. the Billboard Charts.

As I said… “not to be dismissive” because I am still learning. This is one song from my catalog. Other songs absolutely do have the arrangement you prescribe. Inspiration didn’t have that in her soul on this song. All I can really say that I can possibly do, and I keep listening to it to try and determine how to proceed as you suggest, is, lessen some of the intensity because, yes, I agree… if a group was performing this as is, they would be playing pretty much at one intensity level, but, I can’t imagine any section without several notes or beats… it would seem, incomplete to me. Obviously, if I had a label backing me, I would not have too much to say against the alterations.

All in all… the feedback I have received here on this, is what I stopped at a green light for.

Thank You!


#15

Hey red.

“High Noon” mix… lol, yeah I understand. Do you think that, just with a different mix and master, without any change to what every instrument is playing, that a, “Sunset Mix” can be achieved? Because, technically, I wasn’t asking about arrangement nor songwriting, I was asking about mix and master. And, that is not to say I don’t appreciate where everyone went with their suggestions.


#16

I’m a little late here, but just had a listen. First off, cool song and well played! I enjoyed the tune! I don’t really have anything to add to what has already but said except that I pretty much agree.

That was a great analogy. I think you’d be surprised if you heard others’ interpretations of this.

I also agree with @ColdRoomStudio on burying the vocals comment. I’ve listened a couple of times and still don’t know what the song is about. Please don’t tke that as a “put down”, I just couldn’t understand the lyrics. :slightly_smiling_face:

PS. I love the idea of a mix contest with this song. This would be fun and challenging one to mix. :+1:


#17

Hey miked.

I haven’t taken anything here as a put down, these words are you guys’ perspectives, they don’t “make me” and they don’t “break me”. All I ever wanted from everybody I’ve asked or shared with is, sincerity.

The level of my vocals are almost always on the low side in much of the feedback I’ve received and I keep inching them up. I just don’t want them to bury everything else because, even though I have gone cross eyed as they roll back into my skull, I can hear every note and beat through the vocals all at the same time throughout the entire song when I concentrate hard enough. But, and I’ve come across this before, maybe I am hearing what ain’t really there because I know every measure so intimately.

Thanks for the feedback.


#18

I’m not so sure it’s the level of the vocal as much as the clarity that is my “issue”. Have you tried side-chaining or doing some complimentary EQing on the guitar tracks or anything else that may be fighting for that vocal space? The piano is taking a lot room in this mix too, so ducking that when the vocal is present could help clear things up as well.

You can also do the same thing with any FX that may be competing to make sure they duck when the dry vocal signal is present.

BTW, I think I like your “mix” version better than the “master”. It sounds less compressed and the instruments feel a little livelier to me…


#19

Oh yeah you can for sure. i was looking at it as a mixing issue not an arrangement issue. Like i said I am a huge fan of this song and I feel that the mix is just not allowing it to reach its full potential.


#20

Lol, gonna show my ignorance here, lol, gonna have to Google “side-chaining”.

This version of this song… I decided to try something different and I’ll give the reason first. I have buried instruments in the mastering stage previously and I needed to see/hear how things fit because it has been difficult to unbury them at this point. I remixed this without vocals and sent it all the way through to the final stages before release and then I went back to mix and mixed the vocals in and then sent it through. I went back to mix numerous times in this method and fell into this version.

2nd to the end of my master chain, Post EQ, the initial preset I used switched from Stereo to Mid/Side all on it’s own. It seemed so strange but I left it on Mid/Side. It seemed to have more of a depth to it than the Stereo setting. The mix you hear is a straight mix and this is how I had pretty much left everything else up until this point even with the Stereo Img engaged in the master chain.

I am happy with this master (not completely sure on it is why I asked). When it is played through my laptop’s internal speakers, it doesn’t sound like it’s being played from inside a tin can which, in the beginning, everything did.