Borderline Personality Disorder - Redux

While the Manic Mix-Off is still a “thing”, I thought I would ask opinions on a “before” and “after” approach, for the sake of learning. The mix I submitted got numerous opinions that the lead and backing vocals were “too loud”. I went that direction on purpose, it’s what fit the song for me, but apparently nobody (except maybe one person) agreed. I dialed those back a bit, and made one other suggested change. Just curious if the modifications would have won me the tournament. :wink:

Original Posted Manic Mix-Off Track

Revised mix based on feedback

I did the revision quite some time ago, but IIRC the lead and backing vox were dropped maybe 2-3 dB each at the very most, and I did something (delay/microshift I think) to push the backing vox slightly wider.

Please let me know what you think.

I would have mixed the original a bit brighter, it sounds dull on my end. Otherwise it’s a good mix for me.

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The original was actually on the bright side for me, due to the vocal presence. The redux is not quite as bright. No, the revision is not a joke. I was seriously trying to take the mix advice I got and make the song ‘better’. I have mixed feelings about it. Hence the request for opinions. This can be so subjective, as you know. Initially, I wanted the vocals to really stand out. I wanted the song to “rock”, but it’s also a kind of pop song so the vocals seemed really important. Pulling the vocals back seems to tame it, and make it more ‘tasteful’, but that’s not always the goal IMO. However, we can make ourselves happy, or the client happy. If we can do both, that’s great. But likely something has to ‘give’ along the way. Doing the revision was kind of a “what if” scenario. What if the client doesn’t want to hear their vocals so strong? Take the next step.

Ah, k sorry. I find the revision a bit “uptight” like you over-compressed it or something. The reverb for the vocals sounds weird and unnatural for a rock song. Finally, to me it’s way too loud. Not an expert either so take it with a grain of salt!

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Thanks. The loudness should be about the same. I didn’t add any compression/limiting, and the LUFS measurement was about the same on both. I may have inched up the reverb just a touch on both vocals on the revision. With both level and ‘space’ I was trying to make the vocals not so “in your face” for the revision. As I said, it wasn’t my first choice. But my first choice came into question, so I was responding.

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Well, the tournament hasn’t been won just yet, Stan.

The vocal balances in the new mix are better. However, the backing vocal still overpowers the melody on the word “been” in the chorus. The sibilants could be slightly better controlled - they are right at the point where they might be overpowering on some systems.

These are technical considerations IMO, but to my way of thinking (hearing) they are actually secondary to other things. While I do believe that near-perfect technique should be a prerequisite in a top mix, I’m more interested in the overall picture - so very subjective (some would say) questions of style, taste and intention hold the focus of my attention.

This is one area where I feel your mix has a “stylistic disconnect” between the low and high frequency ranges.

While the high end of the vocals, the backing vocals, the sound of the guitars, the top end of the snare and the use of FX and reverb all seem to be aiming to achieve a very slick and “modern sounding” aesthetic, the kick and bass almost sound like they have time travelled right from an early Black Sabbath record - somewhat indistinct, “woolly” and rumbly-sounding.

To my ears, they just don’t seem to relate to one another. My suggestion would be to choose an cohesive aesthetic for the whole frequency range and all the instruments, whether that be vintage, modern, classic rock, modern rock, or even metal-leaning. I’m not talking about conforming to some “expected” set of parameters - more along the line of dressing with your shoes an trousers matching you shirt, whatever style you choose to wear. I hope that makes sense.

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Listening on my work laptop speakers, I like the original mix better. The backing vocals in the second mix is too much for me.

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Ah, yes I think that does make sense. Thanks for the explanation!

And that reminds me, I probably need to check myself in the mirror before I leave the house. :eye: :slight_smile:


I’ve listened to both mixes and I much prefer the revised version. I suppose it depends mainly on ones musical tastes. If you like it raw and “live” sounding, then the original manic mix-off track would be what you want to hear! If you want the more polished version, then it’s the revised mix!

One aspect that I did find curious was the 4 - 5 second burst of what sounded like feedback at the end? It kind of put me off, but such was the quality of the two mixes I didn’t let it hinder me as I assessed them overall. Hope you don’t mind me asking… What inspired you to put it in the mix?

The main aspects that stood out for me were the guitars, vocals and bass, and you got the mix spot on in the revised version. I could hear the bass driving the song along, guitars backing it up, and I honestly felt that the vocals were a lot crisper in the revised mix…

I would love to provide you with quality advice as to how to improve the mix, but I don’t have those skills having used recording engineers throughout my semi pro musician career!

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Thanks for the feedback Ailwyn!

IIRC it was in the original files we got. There were a few spots with the feedback effect and I left them all in, and probably enhanced them in the mix. The band recorded it that way, and I love feedback as a special effect, so whenever I come across it I’ll feature it. Maybe it’s the main influence Jimi Hendrix had on me. :wink:

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Great guitar sound and a great song and the second version I like more

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Thanks Chick!