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 Forum index » How-tos » Production - engineering/mixing
mixing or processing, what is my problem
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eagertoknow



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2006 6:33 pm    Post subject: mixing or processing, what is my problem
Subject description: What would help make this a good recording?
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I have this song that I think has potential but it was critiqued that it was drowned and desecrated by the recording. I would like accomplished recording artists opinions on what is my problem? I'm just beginning to learn to use compression and equalization and such. Is that the main trick here?

Or----is it production suicide recording to record using the already set up combinations of sounds in the Korg Karma keyboard. In other words, is it mandatory to break down each sound as its own track and record each one in singly to get the best fidelity out of a recording?

I've been getting frustrated with the process of knowing what can make the songs I have better productions. I appreciate anyone's time and opinion on this.
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Uncle Krunkus
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2006 4:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The first thing that struck me is that the drums are completely on one side of the mix and the bass is mostly on the other. Even though I like the idea of the only rule being "no rules", there are some production "rules" which I do agree with. They are things which feel good to listen to.
The kick drum and the bass sound solid and tight centered in the mix. I'd like to hear it with even just that one change. In fact the only panning I do with drums is to shift the cymbals out a bit and sometimes pull the hats away from the snare a bit.
The mix sounds okay to me. If it sounds okay to you. There's nothing particularly wrong with it. Some people believe in rules around mixing, but I don't. I does sound a bit like everything is coming out of the same space. Is it all on the one keyboard/workstation kind of thing? I got the same thing happening in the 80s when I tried to do complete productions on a D20. It ends up sounding like a painting looks when you have tinted glasses on. This can usually be helped heaps just by adding one off-board sound/instrument with it's own treatment/s.
Something about the drums gets a bit out of time at one point in there, but I'm unsure if that was intentional or not.
Production wise, I'd probably break up the lyrics by going to the instrumental part a bit sooner, say right after the first chorus. Otherwise the lyrics can be a bit arresting. i.e. you feel compelled to listen to the lyrics, and you don't get a chance to focus on anything else. This is okay in a song this short, but it takes away from the release of the instrumental part.
Well, that's my two cents worth! Hope I didn't offend. Smile

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eagertoknow



Joined: Jun 26, 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2006 5:43 am    Post subject: Thank you much
Subject description: good comments
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This is a great help. It's all on the keyboard. So in other words besides the panning of the bass and drums. You think if I added one other different instrument it would help? That is a great idea......Wow...interesting.
Thanks again.
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Uncle Krunkus
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2006 8:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Affirmative. Smile
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kkissinger



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

This is a catchy and entertaining song and I agree with you that it has potential. I don't-don't doubt it -- is a good hook.

I agree that you shouldn't be bound by hard and fast rules -- though to have low frequency sounds panned to the center usually works better than to pan them hard left or right.

Your recording has elements of: drums, lead vocal, bg vocals, bass, and keyboard. To pan mono sounds hard left and right makes them sound CLOSE to the listener -- as if all the instruments are about a foot from the listener.

Try to think in terms of back and front in addition to left and right. You may want to move keyboard and bg vocals "back" in the mix by panning them slightly off-center (rather than hard right or left) and sending them to a phaser or reverb (or phased reverb) that fills the entire field (left to right). This simulates what happens when a musician moves away from the listener -- the listener hears more of the room's ambience, less of the primary sound, and the sound is less directional. I wouldn't recommend a long reverb time, rather would recommend a short (< 1second) time to create ambience without losing clarity.

With each element, make a decision as to its position in the mix -- try to visualize an actual band playing the music and see if through panning and use of delay/reverb if you can't place an element exactly where you want it.

I like the idea of the lead vocal front and center -- in the track, try it without any reverb or echo. I think the lyric invites a kind of "in your face" treatment for the lead.

In my own work, I am confronted with the decision whether to mix via my keyboard's internal signal path or to lay down separate tracks. You could track your bass and lead vocal separately and use a submix for everything else -- of course, if the number of audio tracks isn't an issue then go ahead and track them all for maximum flexibility.

From an arrangement standpoint, the chords double the vocalist and I feel that the chords tend to "fight" with the lead vocal. You might try going between the vocals and chords -- you would sing "I don't don't doubt it!" ... then chords would answer "Da da da da da". If you want harmony with your lead part, you might consider using a harmonizer or laying down harmony vocals -- just keep 'em punchy and together.

I'm not sure if you need to add another instrument -- in fact, you might want to thin things out a bit.

As far as compression, try mixing without any except for the lead vocal ( to make sure all the notes cut thru the mix). Too much compression will take the punchiness out of the recording. You might want to try mixing it as best as you can without compression... then add a little bit if you need to.

Hope you don't mind me writing so much... I really like your song and look forward to hearing your future mixing efforts.

Mixing is both art and science. I struggle with my mixes -- there is always "something" that could use just a little more tweaking.... Very Happy
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mosc
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2006 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I like this tune too, and I agree with the previous posts.

I would like to hear the song end with the voice, not a long beat sequence. I say this because in a song the vocal part is the most important and most memorable.

Your voice is good, but this recording sounds too natural. I would experiment processing the voice to come up with some unique and memorable sound. I'd try all kinds of eq, compression or whatever you can to see if you can't give it some extra bizzazz. Maybe some phase shifting might help. Just experiment processing the lead vocal track until you get the feel for it.

Still, except for the panning problems already mentioned, this is a fine demo, IMHO.

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eagertoknow



Joined: Jun 26, 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 10:32 pm    Post subject: Thanks for the comments Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Thanks mosc and kkissinger for your detailed comments. All is a help on this new artistic and scientific frontier for me. I will experiment with your suggestions and appreciate your time in explaining them.

All the best to you.
J.
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