Karnivool Deadman static mix

This is the song this month on “nail the Mix”

Static Mix. Top down method I guess. No panning, no verb, nothing done to individual tracks. Busses setup with some Slate stuff mostly with basic presets. L1 or L2 limiters on busses “just in case” but most arent really doing much at this point. Sub master 2-bus has Slate FG-Red set on a CLA preset. Master has Slate VCC console and FG-Stress set to ‘glue’.

This sound ok so far (for a dumbed down clyp mp3)?? Im assuming this would basically be the end of preparation and now the actual mixing starts.

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It actually sounds like there’s quite a bit of compression gong on here.

It is interesting to hear this song like this, after having heard the original so many times.

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Yeah, like I said, top down mixing so I had some compression on the busses…but even most of that was just parallel compression

Putting FG-Stress on the Master bus made a huge difference and it was only set on ‘Glue’ which is the mildest setting AFAIK lol.

I hadnt even got down to compressing or even processing individual tracks yet and I definitely wasnt pushing into the limiters I had setup.

Good learning experience so far anyway. Just forcing myself to go thru and color code everything and put stuff into logical busses is a big step for me. I had tried to work without busses yesterday and it was just an overwhelming mess

IIRC there were 85 tracks altogether. Tons of guitar tracks though some only had a few moments of sound on them and some were only used in certain portions of the song

Dunno if I ever heard of the band before. Definitely never heard the song lol. One thing I instinctively know though. Seeing how pros do things is a great way to learn.

If they can do it…

Here is the bare tracks. I just went thru and took all of the compression and limiters off

I’ll have to have a listen when I get near a decent system.

I have the album this song comes from. Karnivool are an Aussie band. A producer here named Forrester Savel recorded, produced and mixed it. From all accounts it was a mammoth effort, as he’s a total perfectionist.

It sounds pretty amazing - I use it as a reference for heavier stuff that I mix. The album won some awards here.

The vocalist Ian Kenny, is also Lead Vocalist for Birds Of Tokyo - another very successful Aussie band that is more straight ahead modern rock/pop.

In any case - here’s some inspiration for your mix - Karnivool performing the song live:

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yeah, over 10 minutes, crazy. Thats 3 of my songs lol. rare for me to go over 4 minutes

Lot of tempo and time changes in it

I can say for sure I dont dig the snare sound at all. bass is cool though and lots of interesting guitar tones. evidently one of them is into AC30s lol

Forrester Savel will be over on Nail the Mix in a few weeks for a QnA about the mix and then at the end of the month he will go over the mix live. Should be cool

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Ok, had a listen on my studio setup… you’re definitely on your way… wow, what a project to start on! You’ve got some good balances going here. The harmonies are very loud - that surprised me a bit - sounds a bit like Queen in those spots! Still, a different take on it - Within reason, it’s an opportunity to mix it to your own tastes, rather than just duplicate the released version.

What you might want to check with the top down approach is the amount of gain reduction happening on your busses. I can hear the transients on the drums (particularly the snare) being squashed down in the dense sections of the track, so check how much gain reduction is going on in those sections specifically.

Remember, the more elements you have going into a compressor, the more their combined level will be, and hence more gain reduction will be triggered. So even though the intro sections of the song - which are relatively sparse and soft - may be just tickling the meters, once the big wall of guitars hits, everything could be being squashed quite hard.

Generally speaking, I like to take the approach where each level of compression is only doing a relatively small amount of gain reduction. Someone once described compression in a mix like layers of clear coat on a car’s paint. You can’t just slap one big thick clear layer on and expect it to look good - it will crack up… but if you spray many thin coats of clear on, (with the right technique) you’ll end up with a deep 3 dimensional gloss finish.

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the limiters arent even being touched lol. Actually the ONLY limiter that was being touched at all was on the snare buss itself but I have backed off on it as I am going to try to keep everything very mild and let it all just add up to an overall effect. I see the kick buss limiter was set a little strong too.

Most of the buss compressors I have are not set at 100% mix anyway

Im thinking some of what you are hearing is simply because I dont have any automation and when the ton of vocals and guitars come in, the drums sort of get swallowed up.

Like i said, no automation or panning or even individual track processing on that mix. That was almost as if I had someone else “prepare” the project for me and now the mixing begins

All that being said, I have no clue what to do now really…but I guess thats called “learning” lol

Is it the top down mixing Nolly used mixing Periphery? From what I remember, apart from comp on the master, he also had a considerable boost to lows and highs plus some saturation as a mix starting point. You might find the ‘concentric circles’ approach interesting: http://behindthespeakers.com/7-strategies-revolutionize-mix/

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Ok, interesting… It would appear that there is certainly considerable gain reduction happening - the waveform and the RMS measurement gives evidence of this: The waveform looks pretty shaved off here, and the RMS is level is pretty high:


If the master buss limiter is not working hard, then possibly the snare and kick buss limiting may account for some of it. However, remember that any console emulation/ tape emulation you may have on (if you’re using Slate VMR presets) also contributes it’s own form of compression, which can be pretty considerable if the meters are being pinned in the louder sections of the song. Those things have a tendency to round off transient information, so finding the “sweet spot” via gain staging using the VU meters in them is the key to getting the right balance.

Yeah, automation will be pretty key in a song like this. If using the “top-down” approach, it might be worth considering adjusting your gain staging to suit the loudest, busiest point in the song, and then work from there.

Now the work begins! :wink:

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definitely what Im doing. Mainly working on 2 different parts

yeah I noticed the waveform lol.

Definitely have console emulation going but im not one to pin any meters. if something is even close to being pinned I just put a trimmer or whatever in front of it to being the level down

here is where I am now. Still not really starting to “mix” since I havent touched the individual bass/guitar/vox…let alone panning, delay, reverb, automation

still pretty much mono lol

sound any better or worse?

Only listening on cheap speakers at work, but comparing the two, it seems better - definitely more transients popping through.

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did add a snare sample lol, first time ever using one. Just internal reaper js plug in using a snare from EZ Drummer.

I dont care for the original snare tone plus it has massive cymbal bleed. LOTS of bleed on these tracks which is a new thing for me lol

Hi JJ I don’t know this song at all. Liked the main vocal and the bgv’s. Very busy stuff going on at first. Liked the slow soft break and then the guitar. Good luck man


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I dont think id ever heard of them before. MAYBE, dunno.

Here is my latest mix. Finally panned the drums, panned guitars. Vocals still dry and mono. Still pretty much a static mix. Gonna need a LOT of automation

I cant get the file to upload. Is there a size limit? its like 9mb

'bout 95% done I guess.

actually I still need to automate the bass, which will make a decent difference