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Pop rock mix - could use some constructive criticism =)


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Hi all -


I put this track on soundcloud 8 months ago, and got a lot of good criticisms regarding the drums, vocal levels, etc. I was a bit dead in the water at the time, because my system just couldn't handle the mix - had to freeze everything, cpu still clogged up.


Last week i finally upgraded to a new iMac, and running the project was a breeze, so i had another go at it. I'm gonna leave it it that - i won't put up the original mix, just would like to get some other ears on this.


So, if i can trouble you, please offer your criticisms :D



PS, thanks to the LPH'ers that i know through SC for their previous comments and advice from the old mix. Its always a great help!


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I actually think the vocal level is fine, I can see how bringing them further forward could make it seem a little lacklustre.


With the vocals as they are, the track reminds of Jesus and Mary Chain, in a good way.


I don't think anything really needs changing. I'd perhaps be tempted to stick some tambourine in places, or similar percussion.


I'm not so keen on the strings, but that's just a taste thing, I've always hated legato strings over rock music.


Good job guys, any plans for more collaborations?

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It is a toss up between bring the vocals up ever so slightly, or leave them alone and move things more to the sides.


A quick example would be like Aerosmith's 'Walk This Way.' Go onto You Tube and find the studio version. Turn your volume down till it is almost inaudible, You will notice the left side, center (vocals), and right side are almost identical. Listen to it that way until the 2nd verse and then turn the level up to a normal level. The vocals seem to jump out more.


My 2¢

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  • 3 weeks later...

Chimpotle, great tune! The energy and the vibe are fantastic. And I agree, the vocal is just about right. But even so, they are getting a bit buried, especially by the right hand guitar. I think this tune is really close.


The way I hear it is the character of the vocals is great in the quiet places - wouldn't change these at all - but when the distorted guitars kick in they've got some serious competition. So how to retain the great character of the vocals and the banging guitars at the same time?


If I was mixing this, I'd leave the intro and outro vocals alone and the background lines too but put the main vocal and any doubles on separate tracks and process them with slightly differently EQ.


There's no lack of clarity in the presence range; it's more about the mids. Try a bit of a boost - at least 4 dB - around 1.7 or 1.8 kHz and maybe even a pinch an octave lower at around 800 or so for body. And possibly shave off just a tiny bit of low end below 200 hz on the voice to get rid of a slight murkiness - the vocals sound like they're bumping into the bass a little bit.


Another thing to try is a technique that fader8 posted here a few years ago - select band ducking. The idea would be to use it to reduce certain frequencies in the guitar so they don't mask the voice. If you use just a bit of this, it could be very unobtrusive but make just a bit more space for the vocal.


The fix could be simpler than that. Possibly, all you need to do is put a static eq dip on the guitars in the vocal presence range. Or drop the right side guitar a dB.

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