"Dig Down" completed, mix needs a bashing

"Dig Down" completed, mix needs a bashing
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#1

This little number has been on the shelf for a while and I finally got around to finishing it off with help from a good buddy on vocals. I’d be interested to get any thoughts, ideas or criticisms on the mix, and composition in general, cheers.

revision02

revision03

Dig Down

Just when you think you have found what you’re made of
(Dig down)
Peel back the layers to reveal who you are now
Nobody moves until they’re all out of options
(Dig Down)
Pain is the key that unlocks what we’ve never found.

There isn’t time
Don’t try to decide
Just feel what you already know
Breaking you down
Is what life’s all about
Don’t give up

Dig Down
To where you will become
Much More
Where you become much more than you know

You know
It’s astounding the levels and layers that you have been hiding away
But you know
That you can’t carry on with this subterfuge from the real anymore

It’s finally time
To push through your pride
To see who you are
You must

Dig Down
To where you will become
Much more
Where you’ll become
Much more than what you are
Will only be revealed
When you
Finally allow yourself to
Dig Down


#2

Hi Love the feel of this. First vocals were way too soft. Powerful:) Singer is very good. Sorry, that’s all I got right now. Not a mixologist


#3

Cool tune! So here’s what I hear in the mix after a couple o’ listens:

  • love the distorted rhythm guitar tone! What did you use? Guitars in general sound really good, and the balance between them and the bass (and the low end in general) is great.
  • drums sound good, kick sounds nice n punchy. Snare has nice power, but there’s something about it that bothers me, I think it’s an upper mid/high thing that’s poking through too much and making it sound funny (to my ears).
  • Vocal balance… could use some automation between parts. Also look at the compression on the vocals, it could help level things out. Some de-essing too, which is probably accentuated by my next comment…
  • The more I listen to it, it gets harsh and distorted in the high-mid/top end… it’s especially noticeable around 2:15 when the vocalist starts hitting the power notes, but I think it’s present throughout the track… maybe something on the 2-bus that’s adding it? That’s probably contributing to what I hear on the snare too. I downloaded the file and messed about with it… looks like between maybe 8-10k there’s a lot going on and it pushed the 2-bus comp/limiter too hard.

One other thing that you can take with as many grains of salt as you want. I loaded the MP3 into Cubase and ran it through the built-in Loudness meter.

digDown_loudness

The LUFS level is probably a bit hot, but that’s a taste thing (depending on who you talk to). The true peak is what I took most notice of, because it’s peaking above 0. It’s most likely inter-sample peaks, which limiters don’t always catch, but something to think about.

Honestly I think it’s a great track… if I were to correct anything, it would be this (god I love bullets!)

  • Figure out what’s pegging the 8k-10k and bring it under control, or if you’re using multi-band compression on the 2-bus, dial it in to tame that. Better to do it at the source, but sometimes when I’m basically done the mix and just need to fix a frequency issue, it does the trick.
  • balance out the vox
  • back off the limiter… I usually aim for -11 to -14LUFS, depending on how much I want to push the loudness, and how dynamic I want it to be. What I do a lot of the time as well is have the output of the limiter set to -.5dB or -1dB, which can either minimize or eliminate the inter-sample peaks clipping the output/converters. Really though, this is where preference comes into play… if you want it LOUD, then push it… just watch for unintended side-effects.

Thank you for sharing!!


#4

Hey cheers for the feedback Paul, yeah it looks like I might need to do a bit more automation on those vocals, thanks again man.


#5

Hey thanks for the great feedback man. Just to address the snare issue first and foremost. I went back into the project to see what the issue might be, and it turns out I’d boosted the EQ on the snare reverb send at 7K, at 7.5db, so I wonder if that’s what you were hearing. I’ve dialed the verb eq back to 3db to hopefully take some of that harshness out of the snare top end. Does this snare sound any better?

This snippet is straight out my initial mix with zero processing on the two buss. As a rule I usually print my mixes unprocessed and do the mastering as a new project. I’m gonna see if I can’t even out those vocals a bit more, cheers man.

love the distorted rhythm guitar tone! What did you use?

Just looking back, it appears i used the Brainworx BX Rockrack plugin (freebie), “Metal Riffs” preset. More than likely played with a Les Paul.


#6

Definitely better… interested to hear it in the broader context though.

Cool about RockRack… I actually have that, but have never used it! I’m inspired to give it a whirl now!
Cheers!
Blair


#7

Sounding great, Terry - a little Karnivool-ish - really digging the feel of it…

I think the vocals are where the biggest improvement could be had.

In the first verse from 35-46, the vocals are getting lost underneath the sustained guitar parts. They become clearer and easier to understand once those leave the arrangement, but you might need to do some automation to keep the vocals out front and intelligible.

The word “see” at 2:09 really jumps out of the mix and makes me squint just a bit - probably a sign that the vocal overall needs a lot more dynamic control to get it sitting more evenly in the mix. Multiple stages of compression and a little automation would probably do the trick.

BTW, this song just feels like it should be the intro to a longer “suite” of music - part of a concept album, maybe?


#8

I like the song. It’s all performed and arranged well. It sounds to me like you are having a hard time getting the vocals to be heard without being too loud. 90% of the time that I have this issue, it’s almost always an instrumental tone issue.

The guitars a pretty mid heavy, and they are taking a lot of the space that the vocals want to take. I think the instruments in general can get by with waaaaay less midrange than they have now, and the vocals would slide right into place.


#9

Thanks man, I’ll take that comparison all day long;-)

In the first verse from 35-46, the vocals are getting lost underneath the sustained guitar parts. They become clearer and easier to understand once those leave the arrangement, but you might need to do some automation to keep the vocals out front and intelligible.

Bang on here too, apart from the guitars to too mid-rangey, obtrusive and basically cluttering up the mix as rightly pointed out by @bozmillar, I’d even neglected to automate the fade out on one of those sustain guitars, further adding to the masking of the vocals.

The word “see” at 2:09 really jumps out of the mix and makes me squint just a bit - probably a sign that the vocal overall needs a lot more dynamic control to get it sitting more evenly in the mix. Multiple stages of compression and a little automation would probably do the trick.

Added some layers of compression, both on the main vocal track and the vocal buss to try and smooth out the dynamics as well as tweaking some level automation.

BTW, this song just feels like it should be the intro to a longer “suite” of music - part of a concept album, maybe?

Yeah fo sure. if you had the motivation you could base an album off this no worries. I originally wrote the music in anticipation of entering it in a competition, with one of the stipulations being that it needed to be under 3 minutes, but it never made the finish line. If I had of been writing it just for the sake of bashing out a song it more than likely would have been considerably longer.

You absolutely hit the nail on the head. I mean it’s not like I just started mixing yesterday, and I know less is almost always more, but it doesn’t stop me going stupid with my EQ boosting, and in this case I’d smashed the shit out of both dist guitars at around 1K, and this was making it really hard for the vocals to sit without being too loud or too quiet.

I hope I’ve taken everyone’s suggestions on board but there’s probably still plenty more that could be done, but I think it’s a step in the right direction when comparing to the original.


#10

The music itself is killer and well produced in my opinion but, it is the main attraction. The way it is sung does not fit well with the mood of it at all, although it did come much closer in the final vocal section.


#11

Sounding much better. I think you could still improve the intelligibility of the vocals up until 1:04 just a bit more. Perhaps pushing the lead vocal a little more above the level of the harmonies for that section would help.


#12

If I’m brutally honest, the first time I heard the vocals over the music I kind of had the exact same feeling. 1000 listens later and I’m completely sold on his performance and would change a thing at this point. Hey thanks for the feedback Anthony, I appreciate it.

Added a bit of automation to the verse BV’s so the main vocal had more breathing room as well as generally working on the overall balance and cohesion of certain elements. Hopefully it’s an improvement from my initial mix, but I think anymore fucking round from me at this stage would be counter-productive as I’ve basically hit the wall in regards to my mixing expertise, or lack thereof.


#13

Yeah, that is working better now - cool!


#14

I can now hear the push of breath at the end of your lines in the first verse, I think this is important because it “brings me further along in the mood going down”. I am using your original upload to compare now. The 1st one, I can now hear how you meant the voices at the end word to be like a wave inside the background music. I am torn as to which I prefer better, lol.
Don’t get me wrong, I am nobody. My comments are just me being honest and mostly are given as to my impression, one dude who really has zero technical knowledge giving his personal experience in the listening of an artist’s song.