Rock/Metal Cover - Set Fire To The Rain

Instrumental snippet:

Hey folks, this is not quite done yet but I figured I should post like I said I would or I’ll be endlessly tweaking with no real aim as I do without guidance from you guys and never post anything haha. I actually recorded all this like 3 years ago and put it on my soundcloud here :

but now that I think I’ve gotten a bit better at mixing and gotten slightly better plugins I just tried re-mixing it from scratch…and after 3 days on/off it still sounds almost the same as the first version oh well.

Major notes are I’d like to redo the singing in a less clean, more metally, growly, blind guardian-ish way that I’m not sure if I can actually do, but now I have a sm7b whereas before i had blue spark, and maybe make the rhythm guitar layer louder overall but that probably means I’d have to fix something else like the drums and honestly i’m just at the stuck-point of mixing there’s 150 tracks and I’m overwhelmed, the vocals currently look like this

They’re color-coded and I figure the next thing I gotta do is organize them better to where there’s 4 of the best ones at the top and bring those into a cleaner project with the exported instrumental, meant only for vocal mix. Organizing always takes so much time and hard for me because even something that sounds bad dry can be the missing element once fx are on it so I don’t like to delete things, and i never like anything raw from the mic already so its hard to judge. And I dont know if when I go re-sing it if the old ones will even be worth blending.

So I wanna aim to do it more like this (VOLUME WARNING)

But somehow make the fry-ey stuff better, I’m not sure if I have to belt more because this is like talk-gravel level and I honestly don’t know how to scream. I’ve had vocal lessons but they don’t teach you how to sing like this into a mic or the effects that can make the difference. In that above clip as it continues I solo the vocals and turn off the effects to compare.

Here’s a video (if you click it the links works) where i break it down to guitar, drum and bass but you dont have to watch the whole thing, what im most curious about is if you skip to 3 mins in where I demo the raw guitars, is guitar supposed to sound that dull? I suspect the pickups are bad or something. This is a $100 epiphone SG plugged direct into a $100 presonus audiobox usb, would you be able to get a good, defined sound from that even with pro plugins? I only mostly have free stuff. I feel like the sound i get is ok but its overly hissy and noisey and when I turn down highs it just gets muffled not clear. With this it’s hard to have defined chords and palm muting stand out, and it acts more like a synth pad. Or maybe I’m mixing wrong, tis why im showing dries.

Anyways I’ve rambled too much take a listen let me know what you think and how to improve, thanks! And if you do watch the video and see im doing something very wrong in reaper i’d love tips haha

Edit: Added an instrumental snippet version

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Hi Sy,

I quite enjoyed the basic melody and idea of the song - in fact really good melodies, and a very anthem sounding chorus! That is always the most important thing!

Thanks for posting in such detail. There is a lot to unpack here… 150 tracks - Wow!

I understand the style you are going for is a dense, highly produced one, but I think it would really benefit you to strip back to the basics and get a handle on them first. I’m sure under all the layers there is a basic rhythm track of drums, guitars, bass and a lead vocal.

My suggestion would be to work on getting that to sound as punchy and clear as you can with a simple mix, and then build from that foundation.

Here are some things that I’m hearing:

Drums: They are very “pointy” sounding, without much body to them. A lot of this comes down to the midrange frequencies. Sometimes the tendency to pull out mids and boost highs and lows on drums is counter-productive. While lows and highs are important, the thing that helps the drums cut through is their midrange. Try searching for some of the isolated drum tracks of your favourite mixes, or famous ones. It is often good to compare their sound to the sound you are getting - it can be quite eye opening.

Bass: The bass has a lot of low end and low mids - it is muddying up the low end of the mix and stopping the guitars from having any definition. The bass probably needs to be the low end cutting below about 60hz, and significant cuts around 80-150hz

Guitars: I heard them in your Twitch stream. The basic sound is there in the higher chordal guitars, but the low, more muted chugging guitars need low end pulling out of them quite drastically. Try high passing them at around 150hz, or even higher if necessary.

Vocals: I think you are obfuscating the vocal with too many effects. Try stripping those back a bit and just getting a really solid vocal tone that sits nicely in the mix. Sometimes, the problem with effects like reverb and delay is that you need to really sculpt the sound so they don’t add too much low and high end back into the mix. You have a good voice, but you need to uncover it.

The mix: With too much low end hitting the final compressor and master buss, the mix is “flattening out”. Everything is being squeezed into an undynamic flat line, so there is no movement. If you can sculpt the low end better to ensure that unnecessary elements (like low end from guitars, vocals and synths) are not eating up space that needs to be reserved for the bass and drums, it will allow the dynamic elements to move as they should.

To summarise: If you can sculpt the individual elements (and in particular, shape the low end) with eq to help the midrange come alive more, you will free up space for the rhythmic elements to move, and for the songs groove to come alive. This is a HUGE subject…

Here are a few articles worth checking out:

These are very helpful in discussing the aforementioned “eq sculpting” techniques mentioned above.

Hope that helps!

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It is obvious you know how to get the sounds, so you are ahead of the game. I took a quick listen before reading your post, and thought the opening guitars sounded good, and the vocals were well treated too. As the song played on, I thought the vocals started getting a little pitchy, and then read your post.
150 tracks to me would be unmanageable, at least until you have the foundation of the song the way you want it. Forcing yourself to commit to at least comping some of the tracks into complete performances might allow you to work on getting it right on the way in instead of having endless choices to make at the mixing stage.
As mentioned above, you are getting good sounds, now you just need to trust your ears to figure out what should be used and refine it.


I’ve never heard this song before. Which band wrote this?
Seems like a modern anthemic type of song.

The most obvious issues that stand out in this production is the clutter and lack of definition between instruments. It feels like the vocals are extremely overdriven and very undefined. Those vocals need a huge overhaul. I’m not sure if you have an extreme amount of compression on them or if you recorded them way too hot, to the point of clipping the signal, or the effects that you have on them are blurring and smearing them, or a combination of all three of these things. There may be other things that are creating the “smashed and mashed” vocal sound, also. If you sent the raw vocal tracks individually, we might be able to identify what is causing that sound.

I agree with what Andrew said about cutting out the fat in this mix and reducing the amount of instruments in the mix. I would also reduce all effects …maybe even try a mix totally dry, free of effects. If your mix doesn’t sound solid without effects, there’s things you need to do to fix it before trying to bathe the song in effect. It’s like building a house…, you can’t hide a poorly built house with a shiny paint job. A baker needs to have a well constructed cake before applying the icing and assorted decorative toppings. Effects are a little bit like the icing on a cake. They’re good to give your song that finishing touch and extra sheen, but if they’re applied too generously they can hurt the appearance of the cake. It can be useful to think like an architect, a construction guy or a baker/ chef when adding or detracting anything from your recordings/ mixes. Too much of a good thing can become a bad thing.

You can hear that you got something really good happening here, though! Try cutting way back on tracks, effects and anything that you think might contribute to the clutter. I liked that opening piano playing and the guitar sounded pretty good before the whole band kicked in.

Another thing. I’m not sure how much limiting you have on the master buss but it sounds like you got that thing cranked loud and that may be contributing to the distorted and cluttered sound of the mix. I’d bet that if you take some of the suggestions that these guys have given you, you can clean this mix up significantly and come out with a great sounding recording. The performances sounded good from what I can tell. There was only some slight pitch issues in the vocals in a few spots, but that could be fixed easily. I think this recording has great potential to sound killer! I may sound like I’m being critical but I actually think this is a very good effort you’re showing with this recording. :+1: :+1:


Thanks guys, I appreciate all your feedback! I’m sorry I didn’t respond quick I got caught up in work and other things right after this and still kinda am and I haven’t even touched music in a few days! I didn’t write the song actually it’s just a rock/metal interpretation of the Adele pop song Set Fire To The Rain from a few years back I wanna say like 2010 or something, I retained the basics of chords and melody and lyrics but I change things up a bit whenever I do a cover so like the leads and some chords and the general pacing (I added a few gradual tempo changes) and structure and outro are all different than the hit song. In the outro I blend in some of Gotyes song “Somebody That I Used To Know” because it sounded like a good fit at the time and I still like it. I’ll try all that you guys have recommended but as far as putting the vocals on dry I can’t do that I hate the sound. I’m in a power metal band online and the guy that produces for us is an actual producer with a studio and career and his instrumentals sound great (honestly the demos sound great to me too) but he always publishes our songs with my vocals sounding way more raw than I like. I love 80s saturated sound, I love reverb, and I record in a dead space with no natural room sound. I give tons of vocal doubles (he TOLD me to sing everything at least 4 times) and in the end he only uses one or at least it sounds like 1 dry take. I am STARTING to ease up on the reverb and lean a little more dry now that I use an sm7b (I didn’t on this) but not quite there yet, maybe later. I can’t even hear anything in the monitors when I go to sing if it doesn’t have effects on it to make up for the really low interface gain. Maybe I can meet you halfway on the effects once it gets to that separate project for vocals i talked about, hopefully then I will only have one or two main vocal layers. I appreciate all your feedback and I’ll read your articles and try everything you guys have recommended and probably post a better update soon, once I get back to it :slight_smile: