Hey Jerze, thanks for the careful listen and the comprehensive comments. You’re right, “Apples” is the remix - “Oranges” was the original.
I felt the drum sound wasn’t quite right in the original mix. To me it sounded like the kick and snare didn’t match each other, and the kick especially, sounded overly “clicky” and thin compared with the fatness of the snare in “Oranges”.
My original idea was to just open my original mix, tweak the kick and snare a tad and leave it at that. It proved to be far more problematic than that…
This was one of the last mixes I did in Sonar, which I hadn’t even opened for some months now. Sonar decided to spit the dummy, and not find half of the plugins I had on the mix. It took me many hours of opening the file in “safe” mode, and of re-scanning plugins and general trouble-shooting before I could actually successfully open the original mix…
Then, when I finally got to open it, it was playing ok, but when I went to bounce/render the mix, Sonar again spat the dummy and decided to play back certain elements out of synch with each other.
By this time I had enough. I bounced out stems of all the musical and vocal elements except the drums. I pulled those stems, as well as the raw drum tracks into a new session in Reaper (thank goodness for Reaper!) and remixed the drums from the ground up, blending them with the existing stems of everything else.
So essentially, Apples is pretty much the same as Oranges except for the drums. I did make a few small EQ tweaks on the other elements, and I changed the bass more comprehensively to match the new drums. Essentially all the other elements are the same - same performances, effects, processing.
Personally, at this stage, I prefer Apples overall, as I think it matches the sonics of my other album tracks better. However, I do agree with many of the observations made about the strengths of the original “Oranges” mix.
Thanks again for your input - much appreciated!