Mixing Metal while in Quarantine

Mixing Metal while in Quarantine
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Hi guys,

Firstly, I’d like to wish you all good health with all of what’s happening in the world. My city was also one of those on lockdown and I had nothing to do but mix. I came up with this mix for a client and I hope you’d have the time to review and nitpick on the things that I may have missed. Your help would be very much appreciated. Keep safe guys and cheers!

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Good health to you also. On my system, though you’ve shown a good use of low end, I found it too sub low sounding. I’d high pass it in between 45 to 50Hz and remove the excess rumble. 47hz was the optimum I could handle, but once the kick drums started pumping, 48hz was the better choice for me. This would be in a mastering situation if you’re going to keep this mix. If you remix, curb the sub lows in the bass a bit and you won’t have to high pass as much on the master. You could probably get away with 35-40hz as a high pass depending on how tight you curb the bass low end. Kick seems fine.

Also, just curious, I know this is a loud and proud style of music (I do projects like this all the time) but why did you feel the need to crush it with the limiter to the extreme? You’ve lost some of the crack in your snare as well as your toms. The impact could definitely be stronger. Everything is clear, don’t get me wrong. That isn’t a bash on you in a negative way. I just can hear the limiter killing the crack in the snare and toms. That’s the first thing you lose with massive limiting volume. The other side of the coin, you can only go so loud with this mix before it really distorts and breaks up badly.

The reasons for this, excessive low end and the limiter is just killing it. Remember, you can make a tight master louder with less limiting if you simply turn up the volume. Where you max out at about 3 or 5 on a volume knob before you distort, a good master with less limiting will go up and up and up until it blows the speakers with clarity. You’re so loud here it reached -7 LUFS with a peak of -6.8 and a short term of -6.3 while using -0.1 as a peak output. That’s just crazy loud in my opinion unless it was in some contract to where they demanded it go that loud. -9 to -8 LUFS is plenty loud done right. But -7? Whew, it just seems overkill to me. Now being an mp3, it’s not going to give correct numbers so I can’t totally scope it for you. You have clipping everywhere over here. But that’s just how the mp3 decodes with artifacts. It happens to me as well when I examine my own mp3’s. A good area to be in for mp3’s encoded from mastered waves is about -0.3 and you should be good just about everywhere.

All of the above said, your mix itself of the instruments is quite good. The lead guitars that pop in and out seem low to me. Like, if you didn’t know the part, you can’t hear the part. I’d bring those up a bit. Sometimes with “lead instruments” we tend to mix them a little lower than they should be. A tip that worked for me when I was learning this stuff was to always mix lead vocals and lead guitars a half or full dB higher than what my ears heard as “correct”. That applies to any lead instrument really.

The reason being, you and the band know what is coming next. Others that haven’t lived it, can’t hear it. But seriously, though some of this may appear negative, you really did a nice job on everything. I get anal and somewhat opinionated which is why I don’t stop by here and comment more often. So my apologies if anything I’ve said offends you. It certainly was never my intent. I just figured you were sitting here for 3 days without a response and I got done a little early tonight. So I figured I’d drop you a few lines in hopes of helping you.

The guitars are great, the drum tones are really well done, the bass is good, but it has that low end on it which seems to be pushing a little sub in the 35-40hz range. It’s not bad. You actually handled it good. But if you curbed that in the mix, you’d be able to get away with LESS high passing via mastering. I only suggested 45-50hz because that’s all I can mess with here on a 2 track mix. I see your cut from about 60Hz on down, but I don’t think your slope is steep enough for mastering if you’re going to keep this mix. This is why I mentioned about 48hz being about right to my ears on my gear.

Everything is subjective at the end of the day, but I really did enjoy this and again, you did a fine job. I’m just trying to explain what I heard on this end and hopefully it came out right. Best of luck and I hope some of this helps.

-Danny

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Hi,

First of all let me say I love your mix. Metal is not a genre I listen to, nor is it a genre I mix but I had to do one metal song recently and I wish I did a job as good as the one you did (although in my defence, the band was not as good as the one you mixed so that didn’t help with the final result either). I really don’t have anything to critique on the mix. Out of curiosity, are the guitars amps recorded acoustically or simulated?

The only thing I will say, but very briefly because Danny already gave some detailed explanation, is that your mix is incredibly loud (as in excessively loud). As far as I’m concerned, I have never seen an audio file that was crushed to this point. My meters read even more extreme numbers than Danny’s with a short term max at -5.3 and TP max at +0.7. I can’t think of a situation in which that much limiting would be necessary so I’m curious as well: why?..

edit: Dynamic Range Day live starts in two hours, just saying…