Mixing challenge 5 voting thread.

poopotpoopot Frets: 1915

The mixes are in, time to cast your votes!!!!


Vote for your top 3 mixes. If you have submitted a mix you can't vote for yourself. Feel free to share why you chose to vote the way you did.


1st choice gets 5 points

2nd choice gets 3 points

3rd choice gets 1 point


Final scores will be announced after voting ends at 11.30 on the 31st Jan


You can find all the entries the playlist below:


https://soundcloud.com/thefretboard/sets/mixing-challenge-no-5

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Comments

  • BranshenBranshen Frets: 988
    @PolarityMan ; - guitars are abit harsh and metallic. the "esses" from vocals are being obviously repeated by the delay. Liking the balance between instruments and vox. Vocals sound good! Is that you singing btw? or are you the lead guitarist?

    @Bod - Not a fan of the telephone-EQ on the Vox. It is noticeably mid heavy. Also not a fan of the metallic verb on the Vox. Liking the treatment of the chorus of "ooohs" at the end. Sounds very choir-like.

    @Bezzer - Mix sounds thin and shrill to my ears. That bass drum is nice and thumpy but nothing else quite fills up the bottom end. Did you have a sub when mixing this?

    @Fretwired - It's loud! Lotsa verb on everything so everything sounds distant, especially the lead vox in the chorus. almost feels like I'm hearing a recording of the song being played from the end of a hallway. Too much DI guitar, which doesn't sound very metal. I like that you managed to bring out the presence and zing of the cymbals, I remember struggling to find good sounding cymbals in the raw tracks.

    @IMC1980 - drums a little indistinct to me. not a fan of delay on the growling bit. Mix seems very narrow to me. Could use more panning to widen it. Other than that, I quite like it. 

    @Poopot - too reverb heavy on the vox to me. I like the balance of the instruments but the vox don't do it for me.

    @Paulmapp8306 - I like that the vox has some top end shaved off. Sounds smooth and certainly a lot less harsh than mine. 

    No. 1: Paulmapp8306
    No. 2: Polarityman
    No. 3: IMC1980
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  • PolarityManPolarityMan Frets: 4558
    Thanks for the compliments...no Ed is the singer, there's a little bit of Alex in the choir vocals but other than that it's all Ed, we don't really have a "lead" guitarist as such but in this song I'm the one making all the weird synth noises and stuff :)
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  • BezzerBezzer Frets: 221
    Branshen said:
    @Bezzer - Mix sounds thin and shrill to my ears. That bass drum is nice and thumpy but nothing else quite fills up the bottom end. Did you have a sub when mixing this?
    Notes, cheers for the good feedback. No sub, no. I suspect my ears are overly sensitive in that register ... or not sensitive enough at the top ... I do err on the side of bass light though, will admit that.
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  • OK - after listening to them all - I certainly realise where my mix is lacking.   However, for me I vote for:

    No 1.  Branshen.   Everything I struggled with in my mix is just right in his mix.  Just a pleasure to listen to.

    No 2.  Polarityman.  Vocal clarity was great.  Bass was mix more present and pumping than mine.  My only real negative comment is I didnt like the guitar tones as much as Branshens (or mine but Im biased obviously).  They just needed thickening up for me.

    No 3.  Really really tough.  I though all the others were lacking, or odd in one way or another, but they also all had something unique going on in them.  In the end it was less about the mix itself, and more about what I preferred in the "added FX".   I ended up giving it to Bod - just over IMC1989, mainly because I just thought the delay on IMCs vocals was just too much for my tastes.
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  • FretwiredFretwired Frets: 20134
    Branshen said:

    @Fretwired - It's loud! Lotsa verb on everything so everything sounds distant, especially the lead vox in the chorus. almost feels like I'm hearing a recording of the song being played from the end of a hallway. Too much DI guitar, which doesn't sound very metal. I like that you managed to bring out the presence and zing of the cymbals, I remember struggling to find good sounding cymbals in the raw tracks.


    Thanks for the feedback. This was outside my normal comfort zone and the one thing I think I learned was you need time. I did the whole thing in one sitting I think fatigue set in. I think doing it over a number of sessions would have been better. I'll probably have a another go in a week or so to improve my skills. I do like this task - its good to hear what other people have done.
    Frexited
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  • Didnt want to comment individually for those I didnt vote for, but Ill add for @Fretwired, I felt there was too much vocal reverb, DI stuff too prominent, and possibly the guitars too muffled??  not sure its level but more EQ but just felt they didnt pop out.  

    REALLY difficult track to do in one sitting.  Cripes, I must have spent about 16-20 hours over several days to get where I got to - which is far from perfect.  Credit for creating something like that in one go.
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  • FretwiredFretwired Frets: 20134
    Didnt want to comment individually for those I didnt vote for, but Ill add for @Fretwired, I felt there was too much vocal reverb, DI stuff too prominent, and possibly the guitars too muffled??  not sure its level but more EQ but just felt they didnt pop out.  

    REALLY difficult track to do in one sitting.  Cripes, I must have spent about 16-20 hours over several days to get where I got to - which is far from perfect.  Credit for creating something like that in one go.
    Sort of makes me feel better as I spend about three hours max on Saturday morning while the wife was out .. :-)
    Frexited
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  • StuckfastStuckfast Frets: 491
    I already posted my comments in the original thread, so I'll boringly reproduce them here:

    I had an hour to kill in a hotel room so I got out my headphones and gave them a listen, and for what it's worth, here are my thoughts. I haven't listened to the multitracks, but it seems to me that they pose a couple of problems which no-one completely managed to solve.

    One is that the drum sounds just aren't right for hard rock, they would be more suited to a jazz fusion band. The snare in particular lacks any power and sounds 'papery' and gutless.

    The other is that this is a classic case of a track with a huge dynamic contrast between the intro and the heavy section that follows. This sets a big trap for the mixer, because it's easy to make the intro sound huge and then leave yourself with nowhere to go when the heavy guitars kick in. (My suggestion would be to mix the heavy bit first.)

    I think some of the entries fall into another trap too, which is that they've spent ages coming up with cool effects and haven't paid enough attention to the basics of creating a good mix balance.

    For me, the best mix is Branshen's (#4). It definitely has the best vocal sound, the heavy guitars make a proper impact when they come in, and it has the best tonal balance -- it's not tinny like several of the others, or muddy like #5.

    I'm not sure I can easily pick out a second or third best to me so I'll just leave it there.

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  • BranshenBranshen Frets: 988
    Fretwired said:
    Branshen said:

    @Fretwired - It's loud! Lotsa verb on everything so everything sounds distant, especially the lead vox in the chorus. almost feels like I'm hearing a recording of the song being played from the end of a hallway. Too much DI guitar, which doesn't sound very metal. I like that you managed to bring out the presence and zing of the cymbals, I remember struggling to find good sounding cymbals in the raw tracks.


    Thanks for the feedback. This was outside my normal comfort zone and the one thing I think I learned was you need time. I did the whole thing in one sitting I think fatigue set in. I think doing it over a number of sessions would have been better. I'll probably have a another go in a week or so to improve my skills. I do like this task - its good to hear what other people have done.
    One go! Yikes! I had at least 5, maybe up to ten sessions to do mine. Well done for your result. I only managed to arrange and bus my tracks in session 1 before being too tired and calling it a day. 
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  • paulmapp8306paulmapp8306 Frets: 566
    edited January 28
    Stuckfast said:


    One is that the drum sounds just aren't right for hard rock, they would be more suited to a jazz fusion band. The snare in particular lacks any power and sounds 'papery' and gutless.


    I believe (from the original thread) the mix that the band went for, has drum samples triggered to "beef" them up.  Im guessing those of us that dont/cant/wouldnt know how to do that will always be left with a less than perfect drum track.   It is what it is I guess.
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  • StuckfastStuckfast Frets: 491
    That's certainly one way of beefing up a drum track, and there are mixing styles that really depend on it. The Chris Lord-Alge approach is to augment the kick and snare with samples, make those massively loud and then use a fast compressor on the mix bus to push them back into the mix.

    Personally I think that's a bit of a cookie-cutter method and tends to make everything sound the same (especially if you always use the same samples as CLA seems to). Like I say I haven't heard these multitracks but I'd have thought it must be possible to get some power into the drums without using samples.
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  • StuckfastStuckfast Frets: 491
    ...In fact, is there a download link for the multitracks somewhere? I'd be interested to hear them.
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  • poopotpoopot Frets: 1915
    Chaps... Can we keep this thread for voting?... Ive got to try to tot up the votes at the end of it all :)


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  • PolarityManPolarityMan Frets: 4558
    Feedback Post:

    I'll post some feedback first then follow up with my points. I think the least I can do is give everyone some notes. Most of this feedback is kinda mix-notey in that its stuff I would change if I got this mix back from a professional just because its easier for me to provide input like that but hope no one takes it as thinking their mix is terrible or anything. I really appreciate the effort everyone has gone to here and this is a track where I have a really specific sound in my head that is probably impossible to achieve :)

    I was surprised that even though I know there was a part with programmed overheads I actually did not detect it in anyones mix and I thought that would be a common weak point. I think where most people struggled was getting the energy build up right for the end of the song, which should be really frenetic.

    A lot of people had the distorted bass track running through the entire mix (which is fair enough as to save time we reamped the whole thing) but the intention was actually to sue this as a layer only in the heavy parts....i think given that the intent wasn't signalled this is an easily forgivable mistake though.

    @PaulMapp8306
    I think you did a pretty good job especially considering metal isn't your preferred genre. The drums had quite a nice natural sound but still didnt get lost in the mix, and jsut as critically didn't dominate too much in the busy sections like the tom groove at the end. Sort of a 70s vibe I thought sound wise. The vocals were clear and present throughout, since we have an actual singer rather than a screamer we tend to prefer our vocals a bit louder than a typical metal band so that definitely scores some points. By and large the guitars were treated well and articulately.

    Where I thought the mix lacked was really in the bass and low end, while the bass guitar could be heard I thought that in the heavy bits it wasn't aggressive enough to add power to the guitars. The dirt track was probably used too sparingly on those sections (although credit for not having the clean parts covered in distorted bass even though the whole track was doubled through the dirt!). There was also a couple of questionable balance choices where solo elements were very quiet (the synth guitar solo and the pitch shift guitar solos). I kinda think that might have just been an assumption that they were supposed to be layers rather than the focal point of that section though so it's an understandable choice.

    All in all not bad at all, I'd say.

    @poopot
    I think this one had some decent individual processing on parts but it felt like there were some fundamental balance issues that were preventing it from really gelling into a cohesive mix for me. Obviously with so many tracks and very little in the way fo references or guidance there is a lot of guess work so I feel like while I'm pointing out some things that I thought could improve  I do think that mixing this is a tall order.

    The bass drum sound was really punchy but I felt like the bass drum was a little dominant in the clean parts, until the quiet djenty guitar came in and the balance between the 2 guitars seemed very skewed..possibly a panning thing. The same thing happens when the distorted guitars came in where the right guitar dominates quite a bit.
    The chorus I liked that the guitars came up but the vocals seemed to go down in the mix and also had maybe more delay/ reverb in that section so it felt like the singing lost its impact.
    The wah section, the wah guitars and synth guitars were a bit too polite and there was some noise right before the synth solo that wasnt cut out.The 7/8 chug section again sounded like a weird guitar balance, it almost sounded like one guitar was delayed or nudged out of place.
    The tom section near the end had good control of the low end

    @IMC1980
    The bass tone was nice on this one, super punch bass drum (sample?) but its sitting in its own space quite nicely so doesn't stomp on the other instruments, when the vocal comes in they sound nice and present and up front. The distorted bass tracks was really supposed to be brought in and out for the clean / dirt parts but you've managed to make it work nicely in both cases I think in the chorus the cymbals could come down a touch, I do like that there's a lot of energy there that cymbals are contributing too but I think would be fatiguing for too long.
    Nice balance in the synth and wah breaks but I could hear a few drum edits in the gaps (probably my own bad edits admittedly!!) again the bass in this section is nicely balanced, giving a nice weight to the accents.
    The 7/8 section I think the guitars could have had a bit more body, it sounded a bit like you were going to use the "shit tone" trick but then the full tone never kicked in when the drums started.
    The death metal growls were really nicely balanced, again good control in the tom part and each guitar part is nice and distinct. I didnt really like the tremelo effect on the pitch shift solo.

    @Branshen
    I love the panning effects in the verse, this is supposed to have quite a spacey lush feel that youve summed up nicely. Bass sound is pretty nice, defined but not stomping on everything...tasteful actually The djenty guitars were a little loud right before the first chorus. Distorted guitars sound nice. There's a bit of high freq noise in my guitar parts that I struggled with too that comes through a bit jsut because the guitars are nice and forward...tbh I blame the source for that though. 
    Right before the "theres no on listening" something gets a bit flubby in the low mids, sounds like there might be some DI mixed in, once I heard that I felt like I could detect it in other places.
    In the chorus liked the balance of the little "harmonic flavour stabs".
    Wah guitar in the breaks was a bit polite, same with the synth..its kinda supposed to be quite apocalyptic feeling. The toms poke through nicely in this section though and the 7/8 chugs sound nice and meaty
    The schism style bass solo sounded a bit over compressed and distorted.
    Liked the panning on the growls, the toms in the death metal bit are right on the line of overpowering the low end but I think you get away with it (at least on headphones..might suffer on speakers). The faster triplet chugs in the end sound sweet and I think have ended up a bit buried in some mixes (includiung mine). In fact pretty good attention to little details like that throughout.

    @Fretwired
    I think this fell a little too on the "wet" side for me on the verse. I like that you clearly got the vibe we were going for but thought it was a bit overcooked both on the vocals and guitar. The chorus the DI guitars are WAAAAAAY too loud and in fact the guitars are ridiculously loud generally but it just sounds like a clean guitar with some fuzz in the background. The synth guitar was balanced quite well but the clean guitars everywhere are really distracting, especially in the 7/8 section where there seems to be a delayed or misaligned copy of one of the distorted guitars.
    I'm guessing that metal isn't really your genre, the clean sections I think are promising and I feel like you've connected with the intent there but the distorted parts just don't work for me. The end parts seems to come together a bit more, leading with the vocals on the choir parts and ahhhs let the guitars sit back a bit makes the DI thing less noticable.



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  • PolarityManPolarityMan Frets: 4558
    @Bezzer
    The intro sounds pretty quiet but that might just be because it came right after fretwireds super loud mix, I do like the space in the verses and the nuances of the vocal some through nicely. The bass sounded a bit lost though. In the distorted part I feel like the snare is overly loud, bringing the snare down might allow more headroom to bring the guitar and bass up a touch making it sound more aggressive. Again I noticed the same high freq stuff that i couldn't get rid of in my mix in my guitar.The drums sounded really articulate int he heavier parts including the fills into the wah/synth breaks. 
    Wasnt keen on the delay on the 7/8 guitar before the synth solo but when everything kicks in it sounds great.Bass drums sound nice and even in the section right after this even though I know they aren't in the stems so nice job there. 
    The ending I liked the balance with the choir/ ahhh parts but I feel like the guitar was too low in the mix to match with the intensity of the drum part.
    Overall this one felt like it had really nice coherence though, seemed like everything was in the same space, there were no jarring changes in vocal treatment or anything like that.

    @Bod
    The vocals sound great in the verse...first line particularly had a really nice tense feel somehow. the bass there is suposed to be clean which would let the clean guitars sparkle a bit more but understandably its hard for you to know this in advance.
    The distorted guitars in the first verse sound a little muddy and are maybe clashing with the bass a bit, the drums are sounding nice and clear though, cutting through nicely.
    Nice balance of harmonies int he 2nd verse, the djenty guitar is a little loud I like the prominance given to the bass in the ascending run part but I think a more defined bass tone would have helped it pop even more.
    2nd chorus it struck me that the snare is cutting through nicely,, really nice crack on it. On some of the fills the snare sounds a little odd though..maybe a double trigger of the same sample?
    I liked the balance of the wah and synth part in the breaks but felt like the prelude 7/8 guitar cam in a bit loud giving nowhere for the mix to go when everything else hits, maybe an overly high ratio master bus compressor?
    Too much fuzz on the solo bass.
    In the death metal bit I felt like the solo guitar was a bit too high and didnt give the rhythm part enough room to come through and help add to the intensity

    @stuckfast also sent me a mix to listen to to demonstrate drum treatment without samples. If he is happy to I will psot his feedback here to?

    Anyway on to the points. 

    1st place @Branshen I think had the strongest connection to the vibe I was going for

    The next 2 places I struggled as I effectively had to choose between different elements that were strong in each mix, but with difficulty I settled for

    2nd place @Bod ;
    3rd place @Bezzer ;

    If you asked me in a week though @IMB1980 could easily have stolen 2nd or 3rd place.

    Overall I really enjoyed listening to these and was surprised how many people actually gave this ago as it is a really challenging track. Congrats to everyone on getting through such a monstrosity!
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  • PolarityManPolarityMan Frets: 4558
    For reference here's Drew's mix that we ended up going with:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/ftjkoz3rffk7sqr/DisconnectTheDots_mix02.mp3?dl=0
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  • FretwiredFretwired Frets: 20134
    edited January 30
    I currently have a stinking cold so will listen and vote tomorrow.

    Thanks for the feedback - I opened my DAW which is Cubase and have realised I've made a major error worthy of a newbie .. :-)

    Anyone not familiar with Cubase it works like this ... you export your tracks into a final WAV mix track  which is then added to your project. So I had all the tracks plus a mix track and then generated an MP3 ... I now understand why everything is loud and verby. I feel like an idiot. I should have muted the tracks and created the MP3 from the mix track. I should have listened to the MP3 properly.

    This obviously doesn't account for the other comments about the DI guitars, but keep them coming. I find critical feedback positive as it helps me to improve.

    @PolarityMan You are spot on - metal isn't really my genre, but I'm game to have a go .. :-)


    Frexited
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  • IMC1980IMC1980 Frets: 25
    This was a great challenge for me, it is not my style of music and it was a much higher track count than I am used to! Thanks for the feedback from all that have taken the time to give it to me, really useful to hear some constructive feedback my mix and I agree with everything said so far.

    One thing I noticed with mine straight away was it is pretty quiet compared some of the others; I purposely left it that way, but maybe I should have squeezed some DB out of a limiter, anyway.... 

    5 points - @Branshen - Nice mix overall, the kick got a bit lost when the heavy guitars came in and the backing vocals could have been a bit wetter IMO (reverb/delay).
    3 - points - @paulmapp8306 - Could have had 1st place if the vocals had been a bit louder in the chorus.
    1 point - @Bod Vocals were pretty wet which made them feel quite far back in the mix, but the guitars sounded good and the snare was well done.

    I really like this song overall, it says something that I can still listen to it after hearing it so much throughout this challenge. To answer the question @PolarityMan, the kick was the original, not a sample. I wasn't sure if using samples constituted "re-recording".

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  • FretwiredFretwired Frets: 20134
    @Branshen - 5 points: Overall I liked the balance the sound of the guitars and vocals - the drums were a little lost at times but that's minor.

    @paulmapp8306 - 3 points: Another good mix only let down by some of the vocals, such as the aahs  which were too quiet.

    @Bezzer - 1 point:  The mix was quieter than the others (remedied by my volume control) but I liked the balance and musicality of the mix.

    It was a tough call. Everyone, bar me, put in a sterling effort .. :-)
    Frexited
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  • poopotpoopot Frets: 1915
    Voting endeth tonight innit!!!!
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  • BezzerBezzer Frets: 221
    edited January 31
    First up, thanks @PolarityMan for letting us play with your track … it's a damned fine song and I've learnt a lot playing with it.

    It's a difficult one to judge this isn't it?  A lot of it will be down to personal taste … I know for example I prefer the cleaner mixes with less additional effects (which made me chuckle at the "delay on 7/8" comment as I didn't add any!  Need to find out where that's come from )and I don't like too loud a mix … that's mastering stage for me, but then I may have missed the point of this challenge ha ha

    For me top three were bloody close to call between, I'm going with:
    @paulmapp8306 - 5 points
    @Branshen - 3 points
    @PolarityMan - 1 point

    As a side note, thank you all for the feedback.  Its been incredibly useful, I'm going to go and have a tweak to this again and see if I can rectify some of the issues you raised.
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  • poopotpoopot Frets: 1915
    Voting closed 
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