Fytakyte - Lean: a mix for you to bash

Fytakyte - Lean: a mix for you to bash
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Hey Indies,

Here is a super cool song by a very talented musician and a key member of this community: @ColdRoomStudio!

I have had the privilege to try my hand at mixing the songs of the album Meandersaur and the first one I chose is Lean, because it was probably my favorite at the first listen, and it features awesome group vocal parts.

I only listened to it 2 or 3 times a month ago then I had to put this aside for lack of time until yesterday. I decided to mix it without listening to the reference mix again so I could approach it with fresh ears. I only listened to the original mix again just now and I was actually a bit surprised to see that I had quite a similar approach overall, with some significant differences however.

Anyway here it is, please let me know what you think (this is un-mastered).

The original music is there and on all streaming platforms. And in case you didn’t know, you can get the multitrack as well.

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This sounds so good!

I like the delay on the vocals that’s coming from the right speaker and many of the other time based effects. That chorus is great! Nice harmonies too! Andrew always has so much movement and interesting frills throughout his songs. Solo sounds really nice. Perfect level in the mix…Nice and loud. Love the tremelo effect on the clean guitar following the solo. I don’t remember the original mix that ColdRoomStudio (Andrew) did, but this sounds really good!

I’m listening through my headphones and everything sound so interesting and exciting. I feel like I’m at a smorgasbord and I can see an enormous table full of various foods and flavours…and I don’t know what to focus on…Everything is drawing me in. I forgot how good this is!

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Thanks Wicked! I love how you described the song and I that is exactly how I felt too. To be honest, it had been a while since I enjoyed mixing a song that much! All the ear candies you heard are in the original recording, I used little processing as the raw tracks were great and the arrangement quite dense, so I didn’t want to burden the mix with too many additions. Basically I used only EQ, compression and volume automation, as well as a delay on the lead vocals and the solo guitar, and of course some reverbs.

After listening to the original, I think my mix is a little bit more on the soft side of rock. The original has punchier drums, guitars that are featured a bit more in front. The drum fill that ends the quiet part sound much better in the original too, and there is a better management of the additional vocal stuff on the last chorus, panning wise. I’ll probably do a few touch-ups in a few days. What’s interesting is that the song is so good, it’s the kind of song that forgives a few mixing flaws… you’d have to really mess up the mix big time to not make it sound good. :grin:

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Sounds very cool @Lophophora ! Quite different from my mix, but I’m noticing a lot more of the subtle details in the BVs in your mix that I had forgotten about! Great to get a different take on it.

I remember this being a tricky mix simply because it is so dense. I don’t know if I was every perfectly happy with my mix, (is anyone ever perfectly happy with a mix?) but there are definitely some things I would do differently if I mixed it now.

I really like the way you mixed the drums, although if you were doing the mix for me I would ask for a couple of changes: The kick drum feels too “bulky” to me - like it has too much of those “jukebox lows” - the 80-150hz area. It kind of masks the bass in that area and makes the groove feel a little “stilted”. Also the crash cymbals are jumping out of the mix a bit too much for me - maybe it seems more pronounced because of how wide the drums are mixed, but they could just be tucked in a little to my ear.

One other thing I think the mix might benefit from is a little more aggressive buss compression. I think a song like this benefits from a little bit of tasteful “pump” to increase the excitement levels.

Top job Sir!

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Thanks Andrew!

Yes I deliberately chose to showcase those awesome group BVs the best way I could, to me they’re the climax of the song. And yes I confirm that the mix wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. At first, when I saw all the tracks being neatly organised, the guitars already sounding good without doing anything, I thought this was going to be a quick one but the choruses are indeed very dense and it wasn’t so easy to get a balance that worked.

Thanks a lot for your feedback, the crash cymbals jumping out were an obvious issue I wanted to fix anyway, but the bulky bass drum wasn’t so obvious to me yesterday and I totally agree with the suggestion.

I usually don’t use any bus compression on my mixes, I was planning on leaving that to the mastering stage. I’m curious to see how you would do it? I seems to me like this song is naturally loud with low dynamics (because of the dense arrangement) and I was afraid to bring the dynamic range even lower with compression. In fact, throughout the mix I generally tried to use as little compression as I could, so maybe that leaves some headroom for bus compression indeed.

2 Likes

This is cool. That chorus with the vocals is outstanding. Really lifts the song up and just works a treat. That section turned it from a good song to one I wanted to stay with to get to that bit again. I am listening thorugh my TV soundbar, so I can’t comment with too much authority, but the only issue I’m hearing (which may very well be the fault of streaming it on a tv) is the cymbal crashes sound watery and quite loud. I am almost certain that if I checked on my studio monitors and headphones, that would not be the case.
Great mix! Nice job.

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  • removed some of the bulky sustain on the kick
  • removed some harshness in the crash cymbals
  • made the drum fill at the end of the quiet verse louder
  • changed the panning on some of the extra vocals at the end

And I mastered the track too. Let me know if something remains to be fixed!

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Sounding good on my cruddy work speakers… I’ll have to have a listen on a decent system to give any truly meaningful feedback.

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I’m listening on my studio computer and monitors now so, you know, you’ve either taken something you already did well and made it heaps better, or the system I was listening on was clearly inferior.
I LOVE that kick sound! Attacky and punchy. Nice and clear, wide mix. Cymbals are heaps better now and not jumping out but instead are helping accentuate sections.
There’s nothing I can fault and any suggestions would be for personal taste! Nailed it!

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Hey @Lophophora then new mix sounds excellent! Top job! :beerbanger:

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Thanks guys, I appreciate your feedback!

I would recommend anyone who likes practicing mixing to try this song, it is both pleasant to mix and somewhat challenging!

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Lophophora,
Thank you for reviewing my music! Now listening to your latest mix: I don’t know if you ever pitch correct vocals for someone else’s song, though to me the lead vocal sounds a bit pitchy at times; though it sounded better on second listen. It is probably his vocal pitch-bends. Otherwise, he is a very good singer. Instrumentally, I think everything sounds very good! I like all of the melodies. The background vocals always sound very good. Nice job all around (that includes the mix)!

Oh, I missed this one…

The second version is way more on the rock side, the first one is way softer with drums being gentle, short and a bit snappy.
Both versions let vocals upfront while sitting nicely in the song with guitars just behind.
The bass and guitars couple works great to me, the last chorus is powerful as it should be, to my mind.

As a matter of curiosity, I’d like to know what your mastering chain look like, any trick, any compression, or tape saturation…

By the way, thanks for sharing this mix, it sounds great to me!

When I master a song I also mixed, I barely do any changes. I just check the tonal balance more carefully by listening to the mix on various speakers/headphones and reference against relevant songs, which sometimes leads to a few EQ moves but rarely more then+/- 1.5 dB, and with a wide Q factor. On this song that didn’t have any major dynamic changes I probably didn’t even use a compressor at all, just a limiter to set the loudness. I might have used a saturation plugin though, I’m not sure. I sometimes use an analogue summing simulation plugin.

Well, I found the mastered version “far” from the mixed version…
It doesn’t sound that easy to me :confused:
By the way, great improvement, which is how it should be!

To be honest it’s been a while and I don’t remember what I did exactly. I might have played around shaping the transients too, but I’m pretty sure most of the difference comes from the master just being louder. If you gain match the two versions there shouldn’t be much difference.

For the purpose of testing, I did match both versions and you’re right: little EQ but some limiter (or tape thingy).

Again the “louder is better” bias :confused:

levelling

1 Like