Like an Omen - A 4 year project almost done

Like an Omen - A 4 year project almost done
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#2

Hey Dan! I think this is awesome, I love it. My first impression was it had a very dark sound and the standard reply/recommendation would be “cut some low mids”, but then I remembered exploring the Stoner Rock genre a few years ago and it has a similar sound to it, so you’re probably spot-on genre wise. I might suggest brightening things up in a few sections … just for some variation. Mainly just so the music and vocals are bit more clear. I noticed some harmony vocals later in the song (*) but they were so dark sounding and low volume it was kind of squint-mode to hear them. I think they could be a bit louder and brighter, just to be able to hear them better. The vocals sound really good to me, and a nice contrast between their subtle sweetness and the crunchy driving beat.

What’s that drone synth in the background? That’s a great arrangement element, really grabs the ear. I’d love to know what instrument/patch/preset you used for that, and really any other notes you’d like to give on how this song was recorded and mixed.

That last minute of the song is killer with the Sabbath vibe jam, though I’d like to hear the snare come up just a bit there for more impact somehow to match the intensity. IIRC, this genre does tend to stay in a consistent mix zone, but an overall recommendation would be to add some variation in automation and tone throughout the sections to make it more listenable to people who are not big fans of Stoner Rock (but genuinely like this song) and to help them get through the 5.7 minutes of it.

Edit: (*) Those vocals are about 4:00-4:30 and are saying “Remember” if I’m hearing them correctly. Once I focused on them and understood what they were saying it wasn’t as frustrating to wonder what it was, but for a one-time listener I think they could be just a bit more succinct while still being a bit subliminal.

I now heard the strings better too, on second listen. I think that’s a challenge for this mix, is getting the little psycho-acoustic subtle elements to be clear but not obvious. And about the snare in the last minute, maybe not louder but add some very strong plate reverb there or something where it kind of rings out into space. I think it would be a cool effect, would add variation, and the tempo would support maybe a 2-second decay on the reverb.

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#3

I really like the song. You have a good variety of elements going on but…the mix is way too over compressed. It’s just really murky and the guitars are overpowering. I’d like to hear the vocals a bit louder and the drums are squishy and indistinct.

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#4

I like the song as well and I agree that it’s over compressed. I need to listen again with ear buds but on my laptop speakers, it’s a little jarring.

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#5

Question: Did you master it yourself?

I totally understand what you were going for. I would have crushed and mashed certain elements (like a heavily distorted parallel drum bus or select background vocals, or lead vocal doubled tracks) while giving others a lot of room to breathe. It sounds like you tried to do the mashing on the 2 bus, that may be the reason you’re questioning if its a little overboard.

I think your balances are good, but you could potentially create space and openness (which still making is sound mashed) by re-distributing certain sources into the top end. I’m getting a lot of 250-800 and not enough of 5-8k for a ‘heavy’ mix. And if you gave the cymbals and overheads a nice easy high-shelf at 9k+ they won’t sound overly tint like if there’s also vocal air and fizz from the guitars coming through at that range too.

I like most of the choices of the tones. The snare and kick sound good. Guitars amp settings seem to really capture the vibe here. I wish the bass had more of that 120-300hz-ish range to itself.

What did you use for reference mixes?

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#6

You said you wanted a slightly crushed sound, but I think it may be too much compression. Right off the bat, I don’t care for the solo’d drum sound (I think because it’s too compressed.) Once the rest of the mix comes in though, the drums sound appropriate. The song has a powerful sound, but it’s starting to feel like too much for me. When I’m getting ear fatigue, I find it tends to be too much going on in the like… 600-1000Hz range. I like to sweep with an EQ on the master bus to find what’s bothering my ears and then either cut it there, or cut it in the offending instrument(s.) Those guitars are slammed. I kind of like the pumping effect, but it begins to be grating after a while. For me anyway. I am a sensitive person, so like you said it may just be a matter of tea preferences!

There’s a lot that I do like though. I think the song is great! And like Stan mentioned, that pulsing synth is awesome at filing the empty spaces and creates interest and movement. I really like the vocals. And I like the groove of the song as well.

I’d also be interested to hear what references you were using, if any, or a song that you really like in this genre.

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#7

Hey Stan. Thanks for the feedback!

I noticed some harmony vocals later in the song (*) but they were so dark sounding and low volume it was kind of squint-mode to hear them. I think they could be a bit louder and brighter, just to be able to hear them better. The vocals sound really good to me, and a nice contrast between their subtle sweetness and the crunchy driving beat.

Yes, the vocals are chanting “remember”. I’ll fiddle with them to see if I can make them clearer. Vocally, I am pretty well incapable of anything too aggressive, so I have decided to go with what I can do, which is cleaner but sometimes saturated/driven effects.

What’s that drone synth in the background? That’s a great arrangement element, really grabs the ear. I’d love to know what instrument/patch/preset you used for that, and really any other notes you’d like to give on how this song was recorded and mixed.

Glad you liked it. From memory (recorded some time ago!) it is a simple synth pad playing one note with Reaper’s LFO and a small slap delay. Then again… it could also be the synth with the plug-in “Stutter Edit”. I’ll have a look later today.

That last minute of the song is killer with the Sabbath vibe jam, though I’d like to hear the snare come up just a bit there for more impact somehow to match the intensity. IIRC, this genre does tend to stay in a consistent mix zone, but an overall recommendation would be to add some variation in automation and tone throughout the sections to make it more listenable to people who are not big fans of Stoner Rock (but genuinely like this song) and to help them get through the 5.7 minutes of it.

Thanks. Will do. Wasn’t sure what to do with that ending.I didn’t add any vocals as I’d said what I needed to and wanted to end with the lines "Another chance for me to…(remember…remember). I was considering dumping that ending riff but it didn’t feel right just cutting off beforehand and a few people have commented about liking the riff and the way it disintegrates at the end which is a nice metaphor for the song I guess.

Like others have said, the low mids may need cutting and it may be too compressed. I think I’ll do a few versions and see which sounds best without losing the vibe I’m after.

Thanks again!

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#8

Thanks ocnor,

Yep, seems to be the general consensus. I’ll back off on the compression a little. I own some music like this that has a similar feel, but I’m not sure it’s working for me here and I’d like the EP to be pretty consistent, so whatever I can get going here I will apply to the others when they are done.
I’ll see if less compression helps the vocals and drums… then go from there. I appreciate your feedback and thanks for listening.

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#9

I like the song as well and I agree that it’s over compressed. I need to listen again with ear buds but on my laptop speakers, it’s a little jarring.

Hey Big Al!!
Thanks for listening. I’ll fiddle with the overall compression settings and review again. Cheers.

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#10

Question: Did you master it yourself?

Thanks Jonathan!

No, no. I have recently started using eMastered, which is a similar online software to Landr. I know some people will cringe at that, but my band has been using it for a couple of months and it is definitely adding that 5-10% to my mixes at the end. It has fairly basic settings but I did push the compression a little more on this mix compared to what I’d do normally.
I think I’ll try a few varied settings (like removing some low mids and volume) in various combinations and see how that goes.

re-distributing certain sources into the top end. I’m getting a lot of 250-800 and not enough of 5-8k for a ‘heavy’ mix.

Will definitely look at this. I’ll analyse the frequencies and see where I can move things around. It’s a tricky one being a stoner rock sort of sound which can often sound quite muddy, or sometimes the opposite.

I like most of the choices of the tones. The snare and kick sound good. Guitars amp settings seem to really capture the vibe here. I wish the bass had more of that 120-300hz-ish range to itself.

Thanks. The drums are simply SS4 with my drummer doing his thing.

What did you use for reference mixes?

Ok… here we go. I used different band for different elements.
For the drums (playing style too to an extent), the overall compression and very loosely, the vocals (more that they are not overly aggressive and some of the distortion that I use a bit in other songs), I used this band, whom I love:
Silver Devil - Follow Me Down

For the bass, I went for one of my all time favourite heavy bass sounds from another fav band:
Breach. I love the top end distortion sound they achieve and I’m actually quite proud of replicating that that it has become my go to sound for my band. Still working on the lows though, but I’m pround of how the highs get through the mix nice and aggressively without it being fizzy and washy like a lot of bass distortion can

Other than that, not specific reference point for guitars etc, just general taste…

Thanks again for listening. I’ll get some more versions out shortly.

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#11

Hey Cristina and thanks for listening!

You said you wanted a slightly crushed sound, but I think it may be too much compression.

Yep, seems to be the feel that it is too compressed. I will back off of that in the mastering software as it is not like that before I run it through that.

I don’t care for the solo’d drum sound (I think because it’s too compressed.) Once the rest of the mix comes in though, the drums sound appropriate.

Interesting. I would love to know a little more about what you mean here. I say that only in that this song is the opening track and the drums sort of need to announce something big is here. I have an absolutely smashed drum track that I blend in with the original, so maybe I’ll pull that out for the start and see what that sounds like.

When I’m getting ear fatigue, I find it tends to be too much going on in the like… 600-1000Hz range. I like to sweep with an EQ on the master bus to find what’s bothering my ears and then either cut it there, or cut it in the offending instrument(s.) Those guitars are slammed. I kind of like the pumping effect, but it begins to be grating after a while.

Sweet. Will check that out. Definitely do NOT want people getting ear fatigue. I’ll start with less compression and see if that has any overall effect and then assess the eq.

I’d also be interested to hear what references you were using, if any, or a song that you really like in this genre.

I have posted the two main references above, one for vocal, drum and overall compression feel, the other for the bass sound.

Thanks again!

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#12

Just a suggestion if you’re open to it … if it wouldn’t conflict with your plans to release an EP, it would be cool to have tracks or stems for an informal or formal remix competition here. I don’t know if the forum head honchos are up for any kind of mix contest right now, but Andrew (Coldroom Studios, prev fHumble fHingaz) recently released an album and posted tracks for one song here for us to mix. I think he may post tracks from some more songs. It’s not even a contest, just available to mix. As soon as I heard your song and wrote some comments I thought it was something I would enjoy taking a shot at mixing and see what I come up with.

Edit: Here’s Andrew’s thread, he linked to the project he posted on the Cambridge site:

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#13

Just wanted to say I liked it. Powerful attack. Your voice is pretty sweet for this tho. Like to hear a little more vox snarl. congrats

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#14

Love it! Just listening to it on crud speakers at work, but it sounds killer. Sounds like a mixture of AIC, Big Wreck, Soundgarden & Karnivool. :+1:

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#15

Just a suggestion if you’re open to it … if it wouldn’t conflict with your plans to release an EP, it would be cool to have tracks or stems for an informal or formal remix competition here.

Yeah man! I’d be honoured. I suppose I just contact fHumble (not sure I can call him anything else after all this time!) in regards to that?

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#16

Your voice is pretty sweet for this tho. Like to hear a little more vox snarl.

Ha! Yep, the bane of my vocal existence. I can get by for what I want on guitar etc… but vocally I’ve never been able to get any real snarl…not for any length of time or intensity anyway. I’ve resigned to that fact and now don’t really push it, sticking with what I can do.

My singer in my band recently asked me to sing more backing and supporting vocals on our recordings as he said my voice had a “Brian May like smoothness” to compliment his aggression and grit. Whilst this is a severe disservice to Brian May, I know what he means.

Part of the idea behind this project was to do what I love without regards to genre smashing and to stick with what I can do without “wanting” more than I can appreciably handle. Otherwise the thing will simply never get finished because it isn’t “right” compared to what I want or hear in my head.

I will forever appreciate those who can “SING” with aggression and maintain feeling and tone.

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#17

Love it! Just listening to it on crud speakers at work, but it sounds killer. Sounds like a mixture of AIC, Big Wreck, Soundgarden & Karnivool.

Thanks man, that’s huge!! In the second song on the EP, there is a deliberate end guitar line that is a homage to the late Chris Cornell - very soundgarden like!

thanks for listening and the super sweet comments!

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#18

Yes, if you need some info on how to do it, ColdRoomStudio (Andrew) who you just responded to above. What he did is get his tracks up on the Cambridge mix site and just created a thread here with a link to it. Or you could probably just link to a Dropbox or something, any link that goes to a cloud storage where the tracks can be downloaded. I’m guessing they don’t want to host those large files on this site directly.

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#19

Fortunately, I can change my nice voice to rough when I need to. I am 70 and not too skilled. It would be easier and less risky for friends sake not to ever talk about ones vocal. I put one on the forum called dark side that I even surprised myself that I sounded scary. I do think any comment , however minimal, is better than nothing at all. You DO have a nice voice :slight_smile:

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#20

Thanks Feaker,

Yeah, I’ve tried several times and I think I just don’t know the physical technique, as I either cant last, tiring my voice, or can’t hit the pitches anymore. I do enjoy harmonising though. Funny though, my higher register “feels” comfortable, but on it’s own sounds not so good. With my normal register and below though, I quite like how it sits together.
In this song, the verse harmonies are literally autotuned and run through a vocoder so it does not really count. The harmonies in the chorus and bridge are real though.

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#21

Had another listen to the mix on my studio speakers. Still sounds killer… One thing that is missing is long-term dynamics. Eg: at 1:39 I wanted the mix to get bigger, but it just stayed the same.

Try this: Set the volume/density you want for the “biggest” part of your mix, then work backwards, automating the volume feeding into your final compression/limiting chain, so that the mix jumps just a tad in volume each time you want it to get bigger.

In terms of eq: The mix needs a little more sub below 50hz, cut a little around 80hz, cut some around 180hz & 400hz; do a broad boost centred at 1200hz and try a hefty shelf boost around 10k. That should improve clarity without losing oomph.

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