Madpsychot's Flatt Mix Entry

Madpsychot's Flatt Mix Entry


Madpsychot’s Big Al’s Mix Extravaganza entry

Hi all - hereby I submit my entry for the Big Al Mix contest for criticism and voting!

Here’s my thinking behind the mix:

Firstly, I really wasn’t in love with my guitar playing in the original files - therefore I re-recorded everything again. In terms of sound, (and please don’t laugh at me for this) I was listening to Rascal Flatt’s song Unstoppable - and I immediately thought @BigAlRocks song. So this was my inspiration for the sound - slick guitars, smooth vocals and a nice wash of reverb across the sounds to tie it all in together. I then listened to Daft Punks Give Life to Music and Get Lucky, and just fell in love with the bass. Deep and smooth, not overpowering but also not whimpy.

The kick drum was replaced with a sample, and I also managed

Overall I’m happy with the mix - but my inexperience shows every time I sit down and start tinkering with tracks. So I resolved to put a mix together that resembled what I had in my head. @bozmillar - I had the chance to use the Pan Knob on this mix - I love this plugin! It’s literally the last thing you think you need until you use it!

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0 voters


That is great that you were able to get to a place where it feels like the mix represents whats in your head. This has a cool vibe where it is laid back and then really gets going at the solo. I like the overall dynamics and feel. For some reason i don’t feel that the vocal is sitting quite right. I think maybe a little more verb tying them together or maybe some more automation to get the vocals to move with the vibes you are getting with the instruments. Anyway thanks for sharing.
P.S.There is something wrong here because i can’t vote. @holster i am sure can get that straightened out.


Thanks for the feedback. I agree with your assessment… and realised something along the way… I hate vocal processing! With a passion! These vocals were tuned by hand and I didn’t enjoy it at all. Maybe when I own my own studio I can get one of my minions to do that for me!

But I agree, if there’s one part of the mix that I’m not 100% happy with, it’s the vocals. I had less reverb on them - and they sounded like some guy singing to the song sitting next to you at a bus stop! I think as I processed the guitars and bass and drums, the vocals got away from me. It’s something that I’m going to work on in the future, especially (with all respect to @BigAlRocks) more challenging vocals.


whoops - I forgot to insert the poll - it’s inserted now


Everything comes out clear.

I like the “slide guitar” sound on the chorus.
I think you probably would have gone with a non-distorted solo if that was an option, but you fit it in well with the mix.

Overall, it sounds a little thin, but I am sure that is just personal preference working with the same tracks and trying to achieve a different feel.

Good job!


Thanks for the feedback. The slide guitar is a trick I’ve done forever with the whammy bar. Press it down, play a chord and let it up slowly. I normally play it on slow ballady songs and do it without thinking!

The thinness is definitely a choice - as I mentioned before, I went for the holy “Rascal Flatts” sound! I’ve only ever heard one album of theirs, and I’m not really a country fan at all. I love the way each instrument is heard doing it’s thing, but they don’t fill up the entire soundscape. Originally everything was distorted and saturated, and it sounded reallly chunky and full on. But when the vocals came in, I just got the feeling that the words being sung and the cacophony of guitars just were at odds with each other. Hence Rascal Flatts.

For the guitar solo, I had it clean, over driven, distorted, chorused. I must have amped that solo about 8 different ways. I then consulted the only authority that I apparently listen to now (my Rascal Flatts album) and kind of took the sound of their guitar solos, and just added a hint more bite to it!

I think I stated in my submission, this mix may well show my progress but glaringly my inexperience as well. I liken it to a beginner painter who keeps going back to the canvas a reapplying brush strokes saying “just one more and I’m finished”. The danger for me was letting enough of those moments go unchecked, and ending up with a death metal mix!

I really appreciate the feedback and the time you took to listen to the mix.


LOL…I think that started happening to me.


I like what you’ve done here.


Hi, great job, nice gentle vibe. One thing I noticed: When the vocal comes in, it feels a bit disattached from the mix. Nice snare.


I agree - vocals is something I never deal with. I worked hard on getting it tuned, compressed and reverbed. But trying to get it to sit in the mix was hard. I was in constant tinker mode with this song so I made some choices and submitted it!


Hi Madpsychot,

The mix is delicate.
Excellent slide guitar idea, it is the magic ingredient here.

I sometimes feel too much reverb, but your approach is fresh, original, and it can work.

Good luck!


Thanks @974dB, and yes, the reverb busses were heavily used in my mix! That was my dilemma all throughout the mixing of this song - do I go soft and dreamy of raw and gritty. But I really appreciate your comments


Thanks @BigAlRocks - means a lot coming from you!


In my opinion this song demands a “dirtier” mix, with distorted guitars!

But your mix is very good, different approach!

The vocals seems disattached from the mix, as other user posted!



Thanks for your comment. I started off with a very distorted and gritty mix - but my heart kept making things sound smoother!!

I agree with you about the vocals - it’s on the top of my “to learn how to do” list!


Overall, I’m stoked on this mix or at least the idea of this mix lol.

-I agree with everyone that the vocals are detached. Even the mix itself doesn’t seem glued.

-I’m really into the dynamics you created by using clean guitars or just leaving guitars out. HOWEVER, the contrast is too much. I would also keep the distorted guitars in the verse after the solo. I think you were trying to make the last chorus hit harder, but when it’s open like that after the energy of the solo, it just dies for me.

-also, the mix seems to be leaning to the right…


I should have called it the “detached vocal mix” :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

That’s on my list of things to learn - I don’t ever deal with vocals as I’m 100% an instrumental guy!

As for the guitars, I went through so many permutations of instrumentation - to the point where I just stripped the songs to the vocals and drums and ended up re-recording every last guitar (bar the solo). I will say that the final mix is what I heard in my head while re-recording the guitars and bass. There was a definite plan to take out everything after the solo and then bring the backing vocals and guitars louder in the final chorus.

I wonder if anyone else hears the mix leaning to the right - I will have to say I haven’t noticed that.

But I really appreciate that you listened and gave feedback to the mix.


I know that I’m late to the party and beating a dead horse, but the vocals are extremely detached from the mix. If that was fixed, this mix would probably be the best submitted. However, I just can’t get over the vox.


Thanks for the comment. We could always take out the vocals and call it an instrumental!!

Seriously though, it’s something I’m still learning how to do, and vocals are just murder for me to process (at the moment)


Here’s one for the “must remember this in the future” category. I have been taking your criticisms very much as they are meant, and noting each and every comment as something to learn from. But the comments about the vocals not sitting in the mix have been bugging me. Not because I’m a genius in the vocal mixing arena, but because I found them difficult to process and worked hard to tune them and sit them in the mix well.

This morning I sat at my mixing table and worked on my current song (a funk EDM song). During a break, I saw my session for Big Al’s song, and I thought “let’s listen to how bad the vocals actually were”. I haven’t listened to the song in my DAW since I bounced it and uploaded it to the contest. I have a copy of it in my iTunes library that I bounced a day before the contest. As I pressed play in my DAW, the vocals just seemed off. Actually not like I had mixed them. Strange I thought, but it’s been weeks since I uploaded it. I knew that I’d worked hard on the reverbs, applying a lovely warm plate reverb which melted the vocals into the guitars, and also applied a reverb that is shared by almost all the instruments. Except the plate reverb was not being applied. I checked my send, and it was set to a healthy level. So, I opened the AUX channel, and there was the plate reverb. Switched off. So I was sending my vocal track to a lovely warm plate, where I had consequently switched off the effect… For reasons only my subconscious will know, I switched off the reverb in the aux channel milliseconds before bouncing it to upload onto the site.

I won’t upload the version with the reverb on. I’ll stand by the mix I uploaded and submitted for critique. Just another lesson for mixing for me - workflow is as important as the choices of plugins!