Jon, I share in your pain. I listened to the mix. I can’t tell you exclusively as I don’t have any of my good gear hooked up via the net. I’d need a wave file or an HQ mp3 to download to really tell you how things sound to me. Based on my little logitech consumer system, it sounds like a decent enough mix to me. The only things I’d work on would be:
the toms being way too boomy. I can’t hear any stick hitting them. It’s all low end.
the kick not having enough click in the beater, and a bit of low mid mud. Pretty much the same issue as your toms…but not as bad. It sounds like a kick drum…it just needs more definition to me.
Everything else sounded pretty darned good to me. Voices were great, guitar sound was really good. I like the effects usage. I think you should use as much as you feel needs to be there as long as you don’t wash things out. Your issues are mostly eq, not effect related to my ears. Subjectivity alert: The snare could have a little more mid punch to it to give it a little more thickness…320, 640, or 860 to see what works best. Snare is ok, just a little paper thin.
As you know, you gotta have thick skin in this field…especially when you feel you’ve done a good job on something. I’ll share a few personal experiences with you, if you feel like reading of course. If not, stop here.
Experience 1: I posted a mix on the old RR site. I worked on it for about an hour while talking to Will J Rockstar (old RR member) on Yahoo Messenger. I didn’t put much work in at all. I didn’t feel I deserved to win, but I did get into the finals. I felt it was a good judgement call that I made it to that point, and was pleased with the outcome. The person that did win, deserved it. I was just interested to see how well I could have done in an hour because an hour was all I had. So in this scenario, I was more than happy.
Experience 2: Tommy Lee had a contest for one of his albums in Indaba music. I had an “in” to have my stuff submitted directly before the contest opened up to everyone on Indaba. I wrote some pretty intense guitar and bass lines, and because Tommy’s style is a bit techno at times, and sort of not predictable, it forced me to be in an area I had never been in before.
I was so happy with my results, I was sure quite a bit of my work would be used on his stuff…or I’d at least win some of the swag he was giving away. I played for the songs, and totally stepped out of my “shred guitar” mentality. I altered my tones to sound more “for the songs”, I literally wrote pieces for these things that I had never written before. I can’t tell you how happy I was with my results.
Each day. Tommy would upload a video talking about all the submissions as well as who the winners were for the day. Each day that went by, not a single mention about me. The final straw was, he chose a guitarist playing stuff that was shred oriented. The issue with it? Imagine putting your hand on the neck and just playing anywhere as fast as you can! I was so taken aback by this! I could have shredded that dude in pieces and would have done it intelligently, and with melody!
Every thing I submitted was just tossed to the side and the people that he did choose were either terrible, or just added some sort of artistic creativity “for the sake of”. You know…how the word “unique” today is the new word for “suck”? Yeah, I’m telling you…some of these submissions were abysmal! I was astonished I didn’t even get a mention or a t-shirt, pack of strings…water bottle…nothing. It bothered me so bad, dude…I was sick about it and complaining for about a month. If I listen to the stuff I did, I can get in a depression all over again.
So I can feel your pain man, I really can. The moral of my story? I’ll never play for the songs again. I’ll play for me and what I like, and if someone doesn’t like it…oh well, I’m simply not for them. I’d rather go down swinging for the fences than to stand there looking hoping I’m doing the right thing. There comes a time to be be a puppet on a string, and a time to be yourself. The hard part is knowing which time it is.
Experience 3: Staind had a contest of lead guitar playing. Instead of me playing for the song, this time I roasted the song with intelligent shred. I won honorable mention in the contest and got an autographed CD. The dude that won had a bluesy approach, and that was more of what they were looking for. I thought other submissions were better than his, including mine…but there were at least 5 guys that I liked better than me and they didn’t even get a mention.
So, to sum up everything…you never know what people will like. Contests can sometimes beat us up especially when we feel we have done a good job, or the best possible job we could have done. It’s hard to say “have thick skin” when we are so passionate about this stuff, and you hear blatant issues with other work and people seem to bow down and blow them. THAT is what gets me. I’ll never understand how some people can post garbage, and no one will beat their brains in…and then you’ll have a good guy/girl post something, and they get the crap nitpicked out of them. Don’t waste time trying to figure it out…just do your thing and remember…the only competition is the competition within yourself to do better than you did last time. Doing better for others is too wide a spectrum. Do what you do…and if it catches on, cool. If not…your art simply isn’t the right art for those select people.