Help needed - modern punk rock mix

Hi guys! I’ve been experimenting mixing a modern punk rock / pop punk band. My goal was to have a balanced instrument mix before I put in the vocals. How is it sounding on your end? I hope you could help me out. thanks in advance!


UPDATE: Newer mix with vocals attached
(please pardon the vocals because they’re in another language) :slight_smile:


Sounds great, Brian. Nice full low end, punchy drums with killer snare, awesome sounding bass & the guitar tone nails the genre… Love the riff at the end… Where are the vocals?

My only real criticism is the that the crash cymbals are probably a too loud, or at least, they have a frequency in them that really bites my ears in the high mids - somewhere in the 6-8k range maybe?

Personal taste note - I’d narrow the drums a bit if it were my mix.

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At first I thought the metal in the kit was a little too loud and harsh. Once I got used to it I started to notice how the snare was kinda bothering me. It just seems too repetitive, especially in parts of the song where it is more isolated. Maybe try altering each snare velocity a bit and blend in a different snare for different sections of the song. But really, this is an awesome mix. I can picture lagwagon vocals on top of this. Oh, and one of your guitar licks at the end is from a RATM song.

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Sounds very nice on my headphones. I might have to agree on the cymbal comment - just a bit loud. A question if I may? How were the guitar recorded? They sound beautiful!


sounds great. Any tweaking at this point would pretty much be a lateral move. Time to get some vocals done.

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I agree, it sounds great, the only very minor thing I hear that could cause a problem, which I’ve learned from experience, is there is a little ring on the snare drum that might hit right in the vocal range and conflict a little. Other than that, add a vocal that spits nails and fire into the mic and you are good to go.

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thanks rdig. i used a saturator plugin for the snare to flatten out the transients. I guess I’ve overdone it and made it machine like. I will surely try sampling the snare drum. ratm - yep youre right :slight_smile: this is a school project for the guys who played this and the theme is a comedy. They intended it to be that way to be some sort of an ice breaker. thanks for the tips. :slight_smile:

Hi madpsychot,

thanks for appreciating the guitar tone and sure I dont mind sharing the method :slight_smile:
There are 2 guitar tones here,
on the left guitars,
I used amplitube 4 mesa dual rectifier amp sim on channel 2. I did some research on pop punk tone dialling and found out that they maxed out the mids and dialled treble to zero. the theory was to make the guitars cut through. luckily the amp sim behaves the same as the real one. its really weird. if you have the chance to try this, when the treble knob hits zero, the tone instantly warps into a chunk of meat. It doesnt work if trebs are on .05 or more. just on the “zero” spot and max on mids.
for the cabinet, I created an impulse from a real mesa 4x12 cabinet with v30’s

for the right guitars,
I used TH2 randall (trying to emulate ola englund when I was tweaking :slight_smile: )
all settings on mids. I just reduced the gain to 2.5 for more body and clarity.
for the cabinet, I also created an impulse from a real 5150 iii 4x12 cabinet also with v30’s

some post eq’ing. just the regular high pass and low pass for the left guitars but i didnt eliminate all the low end rumble because the genre requires it on palm mutes. I high passed only at 50hz. then on the right guitars, I eq’d the guitars to make it similar to the left. but not totally the same to have separation. the frequency differences lies on the 2-5k.
then I routed both to a single channel and then put in a limiter.

to make them wider, I used izotope ozone’s stereo enhancer (i think its called exciter but not sure thought, Im not in my recording rig right now. :slight_smile: )

I guess thats about it and i hope this helps. feel free to ask if you have more questions about this or any :slight_smile:

yup im working on it as we speak. having trouble finding the right space for the vocals at the moment because the mix is already taking up so much space. more thinking required to make this work for me :slight_smile:

wow thanks styles! :slight_smile: I wasnt able to notice that ring but now that you’ve mentioned it, Im out for the hunt :slight_smile: thank you very much for the input. I will try do incorporate your suggestion on the next big. this is a big help and thanks!

Interesting, because the center sounds like it’s wide open just waiting for a vocal track to fill it in.

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Hi Andrew,

Yes. I was actually afraid someone might notice this haha. and there you are :slight_smile: Im thinking of just automating those parts, I’ve already tried compressing but it gives out a weird vibe imo. more tweaking for me. thanks for the input. now i know i cant get away with the cymbals :slight_smile:

Really appreciate the detailed answer - really. It’s my Mecca at the moment - getting that guitar tone dialled in, and not having it sound all digital. Actually got myself a copy of Mercuriall’s U530 plugin yesterday. It’s honestly the best guitar amp plugin I’ve ever heard. But you’ve inspired me to keep working on my guitar tones - after hearing your sounds!

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I’ve already laid the main vocals on top of the track without problems though my main obstacle is in the stereo vocal layers because they have a lot of gang shout vocals and layers.:slight_smile:

wow i was eyeing on the mercuriall plugins the other day. It does sound great. If by any chance you havent seen Joey Sturgis’s ampsim plugins, check em out. they’re “real” sounding as well. One thing i noticed that made a huge difference to make the tone sound more real is the limiter. It really brings out the tone and at the same time emulate speaker vibration found in real amp recording. and also by doing a narrow cut at around 4k-5k really removed the “digital fizz” that ampsims create.

Hey guys, i’ve updated the first post with a newer mix (with vocals).

I’ve also made changes to the mix corresponing to your suggestions.

how is it doin right now? thanks in advance :slight_smile:

Hi Brian- my thoughts on the new mix:

  • The cymbals are sitting much better in the mix - nice
  • The intro lead guitar is quite buried - I suggest listening to the mix in mono to give some perspective on that
  • The lead vocal sounds a little out of step with the rest of the mix. All the other elements are so clear and in your face, but the ambience around the LV tends to “soften” it too much, making it recede back into the mix somewhat. I would suggest either trying just delays on the vocal, or using much more generous pre-delay on the reverb to bring the vocal forward. Possibly a touch of saturation and/or distortion mixed in parallel might help too. Also check that the reverb isn’t muddying up the vocal.
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all noted :slight_smile: im not quite satisfied with the vocal mix as well. I always felt somethings still missing. thanks for confirming :slight_smile:

Hi Brian,

Let’s get this bit out of the way first… pardons aren’t necessary as music is a universal language!

I must be very honest with you, I really like the second mix as it is. I was at college when punk exploded onto the UK music scene. I loved it then and I love it now. The track reminded me very much of Sham 69 and Green Day.

Some “bashers” weren’t too keen on the cymbals, but I did like them as they are. Sounds like your drummer was really going for it!

Great effort, and hats off to all involved :guitar: :notes:

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I think the vocals could use more work mix wise. It sounds like you tried to take the same approach with your vocals as you did with your instruments, but I think you didn’t need to. Those vocals can be sitting dead center in your stereo field and they’ll have center stage.

Instead, you made them wide and big, which actually had the opposite effect. They sound buried in the mix, even though there’s a wide open space in the center just waiting for them to be there. You won’t have to boost the high end so much if you just put them in the middle away from everything else.

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