Thank you anyway (Blues Rock)

I started a mix from ToyRoom studios this morning in a great mood. Multitracks were shared directly by the song’s author Steve Prottsman.

Part of the joy of mixing is putting yourself into so many different perspectives.
For example, as an audience, or in the front rowseats, or best part, as a part of the band!
This song gave me a Marvin Gaye ‘Loved by you’ and a bit of Skynyrd vibe.
I wanted to time travel with this one.

I wanted to climb right onto the stage with the band, and start dancing, down and right shameless!

Subtlety was not on the menu for me on this one. I went Drums crackin, loud saxes glistening, bass guitar ridin it loud n low and the voice gliding over it all with a short n sweet delay. Message is Loud and Clear. A bit of classic LP record, RocknRoll style with the tight high mids, and abit of modern touches with those synths.

This is one of those songs you listen to in a top down convertible with max volume and wind in your face and hear everything the song has to offer. Let me know what you think!

V4 (Mix A)

Vibe test

Which mix has more live vibe A or B
Mix B

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Hey Michelle, you have the musical part of this sounding really powerful and punchy - nicely done!

The thing that really stood out to me as needing attention is the lead vocals.

I was first listening to this on my Senn HD650 cans, which are fairly pleasant in the high mids… but as the vocals came in, I noticed some resonances in the high mids that jump out on some words and phrases and literally made me wince! I thought it might be just because I was listening on cans, so I turned on my studio monitors to check it out…

It was definitely there too… check out the these:
“think” @ 20 secs; “spend” @ 30 secs (that one actually sounds like it has some distortion on it); “live” @ 50secs; “life thank you” @ 52 secs… and so on through the song

I tried to nail down which frequencies were causing the problem, but they probably move around slightly depending on the note being sung. The first lot in the verse seemed to be poking out around 1630 and 2425hz.

I’m guessing it is some sort of microphone resonance. Possibly dynamic eq or multiband compression may help… or just plain old automated eq.

Apart from that it sounds pretty good overall, although there is some really noticeable distortion on the horn stab at 1:22. That sounds master-buss limiter related. It happens again at 2:27.

Now, I’m not usually one to admonish others about mixing too loud… unless it is detrimentally causing audible distortion in the music, but it seems that is what is happening here. (It possibly may be contributing to the vocal resonance problem too, now that I think about it).

Out of interest, I checked the mix on the Waves WLM meter, and it is hitting -4.8LUFs long term. For music like this, you’ll find -9 or -8LUFs is plenty loud enough (some would even say those levels are too loud). In any case, I think you could back of the final limiter quite a bit, and it would do the music a big favour.

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Yup :slight_smile: was experimenting to see how far I can press the throttle and retain the punch and dynamics.

I dont normally mix this loud. Hence I titled it mixed with no shame on amc lol
I just wanted to see if anyone would notice that the mix is coming too hot.
The issue with vocals is in the mic (“spend” is peaking) and the heavy foot is pushing it to the ceiling too.
I used an approach you suggested of limiting/clipping at track levels lol… so this is a byproduct of that :zipper_mouth_face:

I have a second version too which hits right about around my streaming sweet spots. Will post later.

Its definitely loud ,great tune

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I addressed the mic resonances that occur at those timestamps in V2, which is also quieter than V1 . There is quite a bit of mic heat there in the recording.

:sweat_smile: yes I have no shame lol

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That’s what i like to hear lol

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Well, it is only a suggestion, and it’s not a perfect panacea for every situation. You have to choose your battles. Vocals are probably the one spot where I would not suggest using a limiter or clipper first, unless distortion is your goal, that is.

My approach with a vocal like this would be (in terms of controlling dynamics): Clip gain first to even out any “sectional” dynamic changes; Then something like Waves Vocal Rider to take care of the more micro-dynamic changes. Then I typically run into a Tape Sim (VTM) to smooth it out further, followed by Waves CLA76 to really grab and control the remaining peaks. By that time it is pretty controlled, so I run into CLA2A to gently compress and bring up detail. After that, depending on the particular colour I want I might even run through a couple more compressors. By then it is usually sounding really stable dynamically. Then it is just a matter of doing any needed automation to help it ride in the right spot relative to the density of the musical backing and/or any harmonies.

The new one is definitely improved (less squinting) :grimacing:, but I think it would probably need to go further before I would stop squinting completely! :grin:. The singer definitely has a “peaky” voice, and I think there are some tuning artefacts that may be exacerbating matters.

I can still hear the limiter distorting at 1:24 or so on the horn stab.

Hey, I actually applaud this approach. This is like a mechanic going out and testing the brakes that he just replaced on a car. He’s not going to know much if he just gingerly feathers them. He’s gonna STOMP on them HARD and it wouldn’t be a pretty bit of driving. But “testing the limits” of your mix in this way tells you a LOT and helps you improve, IMO.

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I’m excited to bash this mix, I’ll be going off mix 2. It’s really cool. I’m feeling a Prince and The Family vibe. I think the Vox need a little more sinuses and presence in them, give them a boost to taste somewhere in that 900- 1.2K (I think). More automation on the piano, let it shine through sometimes, like the horn stabs. I think the synth is asking to be more 3 dimensional (more depth). Some tricks: More chorus because why not. I would add Eventide-style phaser with a really slow phase speed. More room, and stack some hall, high and low-pass them a bit. See what happens.

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I actually really liked your approach, it was meant as a compliment tbh and likely came out as a rant LOL. Getting a good dynamic range and punch in a mix this loud is something I had not achieved before.

ok gave a few things a try including the above. I also moved some things around that were clashing with vocals.

I hope this one works.

Ah, the player ain’t workin’…I think you might have uploaded a .wav file, Michelle :slightly_smiling_face:


yeah seems like i messed up the upload, Ill get that fixed tomorrow. I am taking a studio break. Thanks for the heads up!

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Fixed upload.

I am losing the piano in the mix, try increasing the level by 2-3 dB. What is your channel strip/ chain for the piano? I am losing the vox during the drum fills + horn stabs, some increased level automation, or maybe side-chaining with a multi-band/ Waves Vocal Rider might help right here. IMO I would increase the Vox overall by 1 dB. REALLY CLOSE!

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Yeah I changed all the panning around, sort of made a mess. Specially with the piano and forgot to unmute piano R :sweat_smile: getting impatient with this one.


This is sounding very good Michelle. You’re still getting distortion at 1:22, to a lesser extent at 2:28
I think it is a combination of the toms, horns and everything else hitting at the same time there. Something’s gotta give - maybe thinning out the low end of the toms just in those spots would help.

I agree with Kevin here too. Now you’ve tamed the resonances, the vocal sits down a little further in the mix. It probably doesn’t need much more level, especially when he hits the higher register, as it cuts through really well there. Just a 0.5 to 1dB, depending on the place in the song.

This has been most instructive, hearing you go through this process! :+1:

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one more go at it
The horn distortion was coming from the blaring trumpets and toms and the crackling synths, so I tackled that. I am not hearing it on my end now. I do hear a bit of synth distortion though which might be ok-ish.
Vocals are automated in the parts to be about 1 db louder e.g. 2:44 and some other parts and piano turned up just a tad.
V4 (Mix A)

also which mix has more of a “live” vibe A or B

Mix B


I’m at work, so I can’t give it a proper listen. I’ll check it later.

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I think A sounds more Live. Probably because of the drums.

I’m listening through my laptop built-in speakers…but they’re pretty good for built-in speakers (as far as these kind of speakers go).

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I agree with @Wicked (sorry man, I don’t know your first name)…Mix A definitely has a live vibe. This just keeps getting better. Really love Mix A.

I’m almost afraid to say this… but I can still hear the distortion… Sounds to me like it is coming from a floor tom.

Great work!