Karnivool Deadman final mix

probably the final one unless yall can point out some glaring errors. otherwise it might be about as good as I can get it ATM.

BTW I did do some creative editing like I generally do in bridges and outros…added some reverse stuff etc etc. Good fun

Had to turn the bass gtr down 3 different times

My computer was gagging pretty good on this huge project. I rendered an MP3 and went to listen to it and there was no lead vocal! I go back into reaper to see if I had accidentally muted something But I hadnt lol. So i froze all the bass tracks and tried again and it rendered it lol

Now I think about mixing something with only 20-30 tracks and it seems like a breeze hehe

Let me know what it sounds like

I like the creative bits you added - nice.

There are some fairly fundamental frequency balance issues, though. There are two areas of the frequency spectrum where it sounds too much has been pulled out of everything - In the low mids/lows broadly centred around 130hz, and in the mids broadly centred around 630 hz. This has the effect of causing the mix to lack warmth and fullness.

The guitars also sound like they are overly boosted in the 2-3k range, so the mix is fatiguing in that area, and the guitars are fighting for frequency space with the vocals. For example: Listen to that opening verse with the muted high string guitar lick and compare your mix to the released version. Notice how in the released version, the guitar riff never competes with the vocal, even though the vocal is relatively low in level, whereas in your mix, the vocal “comes & goes” as it competes with the guitar riff. This is mainly down to the way you have eq’d the guitar riff to be really present in those critical vocal frequencies.

Possibly what I think may be happening is a result of being too zealous in pulling lows and low mids out of the sources. Particularly if you’re getting material that is tracked really well, you may find that you don’t have to do as much subtractive eq as you would on a song tracked in a home studio.

This may be related, but drum-wise, I’m hearing a lot of attack from the hits of the drums - which is good - but the actual tone and character of the drum shells seems to have been really reduced. Sometimes room mics can be helpful to bring that stuff out. Leaving a little more of that shell tone in the drum kit by being less zealous about sucking out mids and low mids with eq will also have the effect of lending the mix more warmth and fatness.

One more thing: This may sound like a small thing, but it’s bound to be brought up if you have pros critiquing your mix - Leaving empty space at the beginning of your mix render is Mix Mistake #1. Your mix should start immediately when the play button is pressed, not 5 seconds later. “Top & Tail” your mix as if you were sending it out to a client to listen to. All the attention to detail you may have put into your mix can be blown away before the mix even starts if that detail isn’t taken care of. LOL.

Congrats on getting through such a mammoth project! I’d hate to have to be the dudes who have to listen to hundreds of different versions of a 10 minute long song in the URM academy!


wow. ok. Thanks for the reality check. Back to square one.

I dont mind being honest about it, obviously trying to mix 85 tracks is way over my current capabilities.

The main thing sort of killing me is all the room mics and overheads. Im pretty much clueless, as u aptly figured out. Not something I have to deal with on EZ drummer stuff.

Its probably a typical setup though:

Stereo and mono room mics

OH AB left, OH AB right
OH Stereo L and R
Cymbal samples on a couple parts

Then when you add that to having a million busses, each with parallel compression…its easy to go wrong

Nevermind there is massive bleed on everything. again, thats a totally new one on me. I probably lost a tone of the snare tone trying to get the cymbals out of it. There is bass in the drum mics. Lotsa bleed

I either gotta get better quick or just stop mixing. If i aint got it, then I aint got it. Thats about 4 straight days spent on that song. Of course now im dead sick of the song itself

If there is a bright side (not really), I did save multiple versions of the song, so if I felt like it I could go back and start over at certain points.

or do you think it could be fixed from the final mix, just going back and uncutting some of those cuts?

here is the revision history:

Karnivool Deadman 48khz color coded, silence edited out

Karnivool Deadman 48khz_1 (abandoned) no busses, EQ, compression, limiting on individual drums

Karnivool Deadman 48khz_2 start fresh from base project, added busses but no processing, further color coding

Karnivool Deadman 48khz_3 added buss processing, no individual track processing, no panning, still static

Karnivool Deadman 48khz_4 added snare sample,

Karnivool Deadman 48khz_5 “finished” eq’ing and adding basic processing to drum tracks

Karnivool Deadman 48khz_6 processed bass, added hi and low sends to bass

Karnivool Deadman 48khz_7 processed guitars, panned drums and guitars

Karnivool Deadman 48khz_8 vocals processed and automation started

Karnivool Deadman 48khz_9 more automation and adding creative parts

Karnivool Deadman 48khz_10 “final mix”

Anyway, I appreciate the detailed response and good helping of humble pie

Peace, JJ

I “got through” it like a dude gets thru a fight when he gets knocked out lol

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Unfortunately, you don’t just “get better quick” at mixing - the same way you don’t become a great guitar player or singer overnight. You’ll definitely make leaps and bounds (and you already have)

That’s being overly dramatic - Being realistic, mixing this song is like trying to play Eruption or sing Bohemian Rhapsody. Nobody is gonna nail it first go. Even when you get this mix to a point where you are happy with it, I guarantee when you listen to it in another month or two’s time, you’ll face-palm yourself… That’s been my personal experience over and over since I started mixing music seriously. It’s just damn hard.

The biggest thing I recommend is to constantly reference other pro mixes to “re-calibrate your hearing”. Doesn’t mean we need to copy the reference mixes exactly - just means we need to continually check we are in the same sonic ballpark. It’s a humbling experience, and that’s why many avoid it, but it’s the only logical way forward IMO.

My suggestion would be this: Do some referencing & try to get the mix to a place you are happy with when comparing the refs, but don’t spend a tonne more time on it. That might mean undoing some eq’ing and/or eq’ing the mix as a whole.

For example, here is a little thing I often try - just eqing your whole mix to fall better in line with pro references yields this result:

Here are the eq cuts and boost done to get that result.

…so that might get an overall improvement, but things like the tone of the drums, and the tone of the guitars probably need more attention at the track level.

In any case, as I was saying - get it to a spot where you are happier with it versus the refs, then submit it to URM and get some more feedback… take it on board, then move on to the next mix of a new project, using the lessons you’ve learned.

EVH wasn’t built in a day… :slightly_smiling_face:


defintely an “ear” thing because that bass at 1:07 seems way too loud to me lol. My neighbors would kill me if they had to hear that for 8 hours while I mixed. They already had to hear the chorus section approx 500 times in the last 5 days

I think the actual “official” submission to the URM contest isnt until the end of the month and before that they will have Forrester Savell on for a QnA. Shoot, I could take a week away and start fresh on the song…but im too hardheaded for that

the “pro reference” thing. Man thats hard to swallow since they all mix differently and have different philosophies. And my ears…me referencing a pro mix is like a monkey examining a watch

btw, do you think this Equivocate tool would be pretty useful if I really wanted to get into referencing and ear training and learning what different freq bands sound like?

Oh, come on man! How long have you been listening to pro mixes? All your life, right? It’s not rocket science - it’s a simple matter of comparison in context. Level up their volumes, play one, play the other - take notice of the obvious differences and adjust.

I like it - the “EQ Match” feature is very cool. Mind you, I snagged it for free - not sure if it’s still free.


I got it, $82 from everyplugin.com

I think the vocals are way too low in the mix.

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I’ts nice to know I’m not alone. :smile:

I like the song, the performances all sound really good too!
I’d like to point out what I feel are things that need to be addressed:
I think there’s too much compression on a lot of the tracks, especially the vocals bass and possibly the drums.
The individual tracks are not gelling for me, mostly because of level issues, the vocals are buried in the mix while guitars are super high, the bass is nice and punchy but you can bring it down a bit and it will still cut through, as it is, it’s overpowering.

I like how you got creative with the mix and highlight a few things in key moments, you just need to get sounds to be a bit more natural, Tool comes to mind to use as reference for sounds and leveling, they like to use vocals as another instrument and don’t bring them up to the front but they are for the most part present. Something like this:

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I don’t know if you have paper thin walls or just joking, but kidding aside, you should mix at low volume and only turn it every once in a while to hear how it feels otherwise your ears will get tired faster.

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“way too low”



“super high”

good stuff

Just to throw my two worthless cents in there, I reckon you could cut some of that side info and really clean shit up. You can hear clearly hear the bass, along with a few other low-end elements that don’t really have any business in that area (see m/s solo audio, sides only)
Also I felt the track overall, was lacking somewhat in the low-mids too. A slight (2db) 330Hz boost really seemed to have an impact when I played around in my DAW.
Take it or leave it bro.

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does all of that low end side info usually come from the bass gtr in the room mic? Im looking at that right now.

Tons of mic bleed on all these tracks

Edit: yeah, the bass gtr is super loud in the room mics. You can totally mute all of the actual Bass tracks but still have tons of bass in the song lol.

I added the “Basslane” plug in to a few tracks which helps mono-ize the low end and I did some light notching and rolling off of the low end of the room mics to get some of the bass out of them so I can blend that with the actual Di bass.

Low end side info cleaned up nicely

Thanks for pointing it out. I had looked at mid/side stuff about a year ago but never looked too deeply then i forgot about it lol

Wow this thread is really nice. Instead of putting in a comment, I ended up reading and learning a lot of cool stuff. Cheers man and thanks for putting up this thread!

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haha, u and me both. Ive put in probably…oh, 20-40ish hours mixing this one song in the last week or so. Ive been off work so ive had time to spare.

I “finished” the mix I posted here. It still sucked. So now ive started again almost from scratch

Im fairly confident that ive learned a tremendous amount. Of course, that doesnt mean that the next mix I post wont still suck lol

wow thats a tremendous amount of time. No Pain No Gain as they say. I’m sure you will reap the benefits. It really does take time to instinctively know when and how to exactly to tweak a sound, but I’ve heard that once you get the hang of it, mixing becomes faster and its gets very rewarding. :sweat_smile: Im not sure if you are experiencing this too but sometimes I notice myself hearing stuff that I’m thinking instead of hearing stuff that i’m actually hearing which makes the process waaay more longer and tideous because I end up in the “ultra picky” zone. And this usually leads to my mixes being annihilated by my thoughts instead of being built by my ears. Just my thoughts though :smiley:

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im probably grossly underestimating the actual time spent lol

Well here is my new mix. of course im hoping its substantially better, but stilll please but as honest as possible

its essentially a whole new mix, totally different. Should be way less compressed and should also have less bassy stuff in the side channels etc.

I did NOT reference anything for this mix, I just went by what i thought sounded good.

Then I did do 2 short mixes of just the prechorus/chorus using equivocate referenced to Chevelle “The Red”. I dont have the Karnivool song on MP3 LOL

If one of yall want to reference match it to the Karnivool version that would be cool too.

basically the EQ match against Chevelle just applied a big smile curve and also tried to wipe out the 870hz where the guy sings the chorus lol

So the first mix is my full mix. The 2nd mix is matched to chevelle, the 3rd mix is 50% matched to chevelle

Let me know what yall think. Im posting this before really listening to them myself

My full mix of Karnivool Deadman:

Chorus only reference match to Chevelle The Red

Chorus only 50% ref’ed to Chevelle The Red