The Letter

I haven’t posted anything for a while, so I thought I would upload this quick mix I did yesterday…

This is a cover of the old Boxtops’ song “The Letter” that I’ve played live for many years now with a cover/wedding band I’m part of with a few friends. We did quite a few gigs back in the late 90’s and early 2000s, but we haven’t played much recently.

About a year ago, we got together for a day and burned through the old repertoire for old times sake, whilst recording it for posterity. We’ve been going through the recordings gradually and doing a combination of salvaging what was usable and re-recording what was not. It was recorded using the bass player’s home studio setup, and he uses Sonar as his DAW.

I decided to help out with the mixing, and hopefully give him something he could build on as he mixed the other tracks. As a result, I mixed deliberately mixed this completely differently to what I normally would. I used Sonar X3 (instead of Reaper) and used only the plugins that come standard with Sonar - no Slate, Waves or UAD here.

The other band members seemed to like it, but I’m curious to get some outside ears on it as well…
(It’s more inspired by the Joe Cocker version than The Boxtops’)

…& the remix, based on the feedback and suggestions made in this thread:


it is sounding good to me. I think the only thing i would like (personal taste) is the chorus vocals to be a little thinner and have some more distortion.

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Thanks Eric!

Sounds really good, lots of space and separation between elements and some sweet playing all round. For me, the vocal feels like it needs a little bit more in the upper mids (say 3.5kish), it’s got a really nice thick bottom end but feels like it could do with a slight lift, as it seems to be getting buried in a few spots e.g 0:33. Possibly even some subtle level automation on those “my baby she wrote me a letter” parts, just to drive home that key section of the lyric/vocal/song.

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Thanks Terry - Good call… I deliberately didn’t do any automation whatsoever on this mix, as I wanted it to be a template of sorts for the bass player to use. I definitely would have taken this a step further with automation under normal circumstances.

I bet that was tough. I was thinking of trying the mix contest over at the Reaper site where they only use reaper plug-ins to mix a song

Sounds like your friend will have a great staring point. I would agree the lead vocal could use some adjustment in the low mids at times or some 3.5 as mentioned along with the Bg vocals.I know you’re looking at the mix elements, but there is something with the snare choice I can’t put my finger on it just feel like it needs something eles.

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Actually mixing was pretty easy - the native plugins in Sonar are very good. Editing and workflow are another story, though … I’m so used to the Reaper workflow that it was hard to go back.

Cool - great to get some confirmation of the other input there.

Some snare verb maybe? I normally put a specific snare verb on, but I left it off here, as turning up the room mics a bit more would probably do the trick. I would probably have put a snare verb on if I’d given myself more time, but I didn’t have my usual “go-to” reverbs to play with, so I left it as-is.

Thanks again for taking a listen!

Ok, here’s a remix, with a few changes based on the feedback of you good folks here:

Sounding better/worse/same?

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Yep sounds really nice. Those vocals are spot on. I’d be interested to compare to the original, this is a solid mix.

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Sounding better. Without doing an a and b with the other mix i can’t tell you what you changed. but i can tell you this one is sitting better for me.

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Thanks guys - Both mixes are in the first post of the thread for comparison.

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I would agree I like what you did with the vocals. It feels a little darker Feels like the sax and overheads you did a little eq tweak. Well I would say your friend has a great template to follow. The kic sounds good feels a little thicker did you do anything to it?

Great job though you had to be itching to grab one of your other plugins.

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Yup, this is good. We used to play this in our band. Like the way you changed the timing on the vocals. I wonder now how this would sound with a rockish feed. ha ha Great stuff on all fronts. Great guitar playing.


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Thanks Jerze. I really only tweaked the vocals, the snare and the piano. I guess everything in a mix is interactive, so perhaps that’s why some of the elements might have appeared to have changed slightly in timbre.

Actually, I quite enjoyed working with the limitations!

Thanks Paul - yeah, it’s an oldie whichever way you slice it - thanks for the listen!

Great groove and arrangement - only thing for me would be to make that sax really popping - maybe some really big brass on the riffs…

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