You can only avoid (Potential Consequences reviews)

Discuss upcoming, current, and previous song fights.
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Duncan
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Re: You can only avoid (Potential Consequences reviews)

Post by Duncan »

Heine wrote:
Tue Mar 02, 2021 6:09 am
Duncan wrote:
Mon Mar 01, 2021 4:57 pm
SamECircle wrote:
Mon Mar 01, 2021 4:18 pm

duncan martin: Really great first couple chords; gave me Father John Misty vibes. As it repeats, it relaxes into kind of a Bukowski-blues feel, which I also dig. I wish the mix were improved; your bass is really loud but most of your other instruments sound mixed both low and with too much high-end, which I think means we hear ALL the bass, which just isn't really needed. Maybe more compression on background instruments is needed?
Thanks for reviewing. I really get stuck on mixing, probably because (1) I do it on headphones and then get discouraged when I play it on anything else and (2) there's so much about mixing and mastering that I don't understand. I have no idea what to focus on once I have my tracks down. I only somewhat understand what compression is, but when it comes time to tweak it, or eq, or whatever else, I'm lost in a sea of numbers and levels and jargon. If anyone has any advice on a good place to start on this stuff, I'd love to hear it. I'm sure I could scan the forums here and find some valuable insights too. I use reaper.
Hi Duncan,

I'm not a pro and do mixing by ear/by heart.

That's how I usually do it:

1. Drums sound okay? If not try a bit of compression or reverb. Sometimes a tiny bit of Camel Crusher (VSt) helps.

2. Add Bass. Here I also prefer a bit of compression or limiter that cuts off if some notes are played way too loud. Sometimes a slight flanger makes it more interesting.

The Bass ond Kickdrum should be the only instruments to be under 100 Hertz or so. So all the other instruments should have a high pass filter that cuts off the frequency lower than 100 Hertz. The mix will sound less messed up this way.

3. Distorted guitars don't need compression, they are already compressed. The quality of recorded guitars depends on the microphone and how it is getting used. For amp and even more for acoustic guitar I prefer the good old sm57 from sure. (We even used to get a good kickdrum sound with it in my former band!)

4. Keyboards depend. I usually use VSt plug-ins, mostly presets. There's a lot of very good free stuff to find. My favorites: Mini Mogue, Tapeworm (a simple but great sounding Mellotron) and eSline (kind-a Solina string ensemble like in Neil Youngs Like a hurricane). You see: I very much like the 70s stuff to play around with but there's a lot more to find.

5. Maybe using a sound effect to enhance a track? Freesound.org offers tons of great sounding samples: rain, thunder, children playing, crashing mirrors (like in my "I was a Child Model")…

6. Vocals. I (mostly) prefer quite a dry mix. First: one quite hard compression. (Or try two softer compressions in line – sometimes that sounds even better!) Then a little reverb (but that's only my taste – everything's allowed). And a de-esser against the sharp hissing "s"-sounds. I like the simple but useful approach of the Spitfish-VSt but you've got to try if it works with your DAW (I guess it's only VSt2.)

7. Choir (Uuuuhs and Ahhhhs) mustn't be that much compressed. I often use much more reverb to make it sound bigger. (I just came to try more and more polyphonic Ahhhs.)

8. Sometimes a great sounding instrument doesn't sound great in the mix. What is missing?
Try a slightly eq-ing: try to find the right frequencies to add or to hide away. My vocals often need to be pushed a little bit around 800 to 900 Hertz. – If you've got some rhythm guitars and a solo should be on top then give some more eq to the range of your solo guitar. It should be sounding more defined than before.

9. Most producers will do a slight compression on the master (maybe 2:1, but I'm not too sure about it. There is a useful video with Rick Beato on YouTube.) But I prefer the very simple kjaerhus audio classic master limiter. Just one knob (mostly around 4.1), great sounding. The red lights shouldn't flash too often. It slightly cuts off the tops and adds more volume.

10. Try to hear your track on different occasions (high and low quality equipment!) Headphones, Speakers, mp3-player, in your car... anything. This often reveals problems in the mix.

11. I use to change the name of my project. Mostly with a date to go back to an earlier date if somethings totally messed up (for example: "21-02-28 I was a child model"). This can save a lot of work when needed.

These are only some suggestions how I usually work. But to me music is just one big playground. Try anything you want and let your ears decide if ya like it.

I hope there are not too many mistakes in here for I'm not a native speaker. Carry on your great work! It's fun!
Much appreciated, and your English is excellent. Thanks for taking the time on that. Crumpart pointed out some weird panning too (thanks Crumpart for reviewing), which is probably the result of too much tweaking and experimenting. Probably your suggestion #11 could help mitigate that.
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Here, Atticus
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Re: You can only avoid (Potential Consequences reviews)

Post by Here, Atticus »

Ooooh, so we’re talkin’ bout last minute reviews, huh?

Brother Baker: This was me. This was dumb and fun to make. We tried to capture the impulsive irreverence of teen boys. My first f-bomb in music!

Brown Word and the Big Whine: Really enjoyable tune. Love the guitar/harmonica instrumentation. The claps sound great! I want a little variation in the drum part between sections to help break them up. Love the lyrics.

Devastating Pop Machine: Fun song. The chorus is great, love those offbeat guitars and just the general drive of the song. You’re teasing me with that dirty bass at the end there.

Duncan Martin: I really enjoyed the internal rhyming in your lyrics. I think the vocals sit a little loud in the mix, and the overall mix is a bit quiet. I really love the instrumental variety, that glockenspiel is really nice.

FireBear: I really dig the sound. Love the weird chords, love the textures. I always love the layered vocals, and there are so many layers! I would listen to a whole album of this.

The Gross Tones: Fun rock song. The vocals are definitely way to loud.

heine: There’s a really cool array of sounds and textures here. It sounds iconic, but I can’t be more specific than that lol. Love the do-do-do break. Awesome songfight shoutout over that cool drum break. This sounds like you had a blast putting it together.

Here, Atticus: This was also me. Imogen Heap. I’m pretty happy with the result and the emotional/dynamic contrast in the second verse. I agree with the need for direction, I’m gonna lovely the track up with my “shoegaze toolkit” I used for the upcoming fight.
To anyone thinking about it, I can sincerely recommend figuring out a vocoder and playing with it. It was a blast.

Hot Pink Halo: It’s not the army of bagpipes I was hoping for, but that’s okay. I don’t know the inspiration, but I love what I’m hearing here. I love the ethereal-ness of it all. Those slow swells of synths and saxes are so, so good. And all the synth choices. MMmmm, that fill collins, there it is. The vocals are a touch loud in the mix, that’s my only complaint. Great entry!

James Owens: I really like this song. I wish the guitar sound were fuller, it sounds a bit flaccid. The textures everywhere are overwhelming (in a good way). That quick slap delay on the “potential consequences” is cool, and then it’s doubly cool when you hit it with that pan flute(?). The vocal melodies throughout are perfectly suited to the song,

Lean To: You nailed the mix! Well, maybe the chorus staccato synth is a little loud. Let me tell you, this song keeps popping into my head all week. I really like all your synth choices, such cool sounds everywhere. Love the autotuned vocals and overall energy of all the vocals. I guess I’m saying: I loved this song. (Solo line synth is a little loud too)

Lichen Throat: You are a lot tighter on the rhythmic aspect of your vocals this week, keep it up man! I think you nailed the accordion! I don’t listen to any accordion music, but it sounds right to me. Your drum parts are getting stronger too, the song kept me engaged. I have no idea what it’s about, but that somehow feels like my fault, not yours lol.

The Magnetic Letters: I’m really enjoying the arrangement and lush feeling in the intro. I would have enjoyed a whole song in that feel, but I don’t begrudge your switchup! It was jarring at first, but when the louder drums come in over that loop, I’m jammin. And then the saxes, I’m so sold. Now that you’ve brought the drums in though, I want some variation for the chorus vs verses. Mmmm, still lush, and I’m loving it. Overall really cool song.

mellfire: Cool tune, cool lyrics. I like your vocal delivery a lot. Love the organ. I’m sorry that I don’t have much more to say lol. The drum sound is a little thin, but I like the mix and arrangement. I like the song a lot!

Night Sky: I am living for the sound of that slide bass. So, so, so cool. And then, as always, I'm a full sucker for the saxes. The mix sounds a little unglued(?) to me, but I struggle with that too. Maybe a little more verb on the vocals and saxes? I love the panning decisions. Really cool song, man. That slide bass keeps bringing me back for another listen.

Nomb Superbus: I like the sound of the track a lot. The vocals are way too loud in the mix. When you use an autotuner like in the beginning, you want to make sure it’s set to the key the song is in so it doesn’t target out-of-key notes you pass though. The synth sounds are great and I really like the direction the song takes. Love the vocoder harmonies. The loud vocal line keeps pulling me out of the really cool, trippy atmosphere you’ve created.

Phlebia: This might be one of my favorite Phlebia songs. The Massive Attack vocal style is so, so cool over the unbridled energy of the track. The drum part is dope, and they sound great in the track. Love the riffs. Is that a synth or guitar out there in the reverb? Either way, awesome sounds. Ugh, every time you go into that prechorus on the ride bell, it hits me soo good.

Pigfarmer Jr: This was a quick, fun little banger. I think the verse vocals are the tiniest touch too loud, but the chorus ones sit just right. Love the lead guitar part.

Sly Eli: When that intro guitar came in, I said “Ooh, nailed it” out loud. I like the song a lot and I don’t have much more to offer. I like the mix, the music, the arrangement, the weird synth in the start and end of the song, I like it all. Maybe could use some vocal harmony or background vocals in the chorus to make it feel fuller.

Somewhere Off the Left Coast: Wow. I’m swooning. Is that too much? Your voice is awesome and perfectly suited to this sound. I’m loving the stripped down sound, the guitar-vocal duet line in the chorus, all of it. This may be my favorite submission this week. I want this whole album.

spite: This is beautiful. Apparently I’m a sucker for a slide bass. Love the rich and lush synth layering, the tom-heavy drum part, and those feedback-ish sounding swells out there in the reverb. That guiro sounds like a frog! Love it! Really solid vocal performance too. Maybe this is my favorite this week? I can never commit on that decision.

Sumner Sloane: This is a good, driving, rock song. Great lyrics. I’m missing low end on your track, I want more bass. The drums are also a little quiet. Cool song, great vocal hook on the chorus sections!

Sweeney Toad: I really like the beat, and the production and panning choices. The “beautiful world” section works well, it’s kinda poppy but kinda unsettling, which fits the song well. I want more rhythmic diversity from the vocal performance in the middle. It starts to drone a bit and I think breaking away from the straight 8th note delivery would help keep it sonically interesting.

Thieves of Reason: I can dig the style, but the vocals are way too loud and it takes away from the feel in a big way. I like that your physics professor "showgirled" you. I guess I don’t really get this song. You’ve left me confused, but that feels intentional? The background jam is cool and the sense of humor is good, just way too loud on the vocals.

tomdg feat rox: I love, love, love that keyboard-flute sound. The lyrics are fun and cheeky. Love the chorus breaks, great floaty feel and a perfect break from the feel of the rest of the song. I like your arrangement decisions with the drums, they’re really cool. The cough at the end is perfect.
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Here, Atticus
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Re: You can only avoid (Potential Consequences reviews)

Post by Here, Atticus »

crumpart wrote:
Tue Mar 02, 2021 5:31 am
Brother Baker:
This is super fun. I love the horns, and I don't know if this was deliberate, but I like how the horn articulation is reflected in your attack on the vocals. I personally disapprove of the main character's cavalier attitude to life (fucken teenagers hey), lol, but the smattering of "fucking" through the bridge is 🙌

Here, Atticus:
I love Imogen Heap. I love vocoder/harmoniser. Hence, I love this. I'm not sure if it's deliberate lyrically, but in the last little bit at the end there's a nice bit of synchronicity between your "sow and sow" line and the "sewing machine" line in Hide & Seek, and the "eye to eye" line also reflects it nicely in an 'eye of the needle' type way. "Plant my feet"/"sow and sow" is another excellent lyrical reflection.
You've specifically called out (in a good way) the elements I was most proud of in my songs and I cannot relate my gratitude enough. I just feel like you get me. Thank you <3
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Re: You can only avoid (Potential Consequences reviews)

Post by Lunkhead »

Devastating Pop Machine and Here, Atticus tie!
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crumpart
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Re: You can only avoid (Potential Consequences reviews)

Post by crumpart »

Here, Atticus wrote:
Tue Mar 02, 2021 6:59 pm
crumpart wrote:
Tue Mar 02, 2021 5:31 am
Brother Baker:
This is super fun. I love the horns, and I don't know if this was deliberate, but I like how the horn articulation is reflected in your attack on the vocals. I personally disapprove of the main character's cavalier attitude to life (fucken teenagers hey), lol, but the smattering of "fucking" through the bridge is 🙌

Here, Atticus:
I love Imogen Heap. I love vocoder/harmoniser. Hence, I love this. I'm not sure if it's deliberate lyrically, but in the last little bit at the end there's a nice bit of synchronicity between your "sow and sow" line and the "sewing machine" line in Hide & Seek, and the "eye to eye" line also reflects it nicely in an 'eye of the needle' type way. "Plant my feet"/"sow and sow" is another excellent lyrical reflection.
You've specifically called out (in a good way) the elements I was most proud of in my songs and I cannot relate my gratitude enough. I just feel like you get me. Thank you <3
For whatever reason not many people here comment on lyrics, which I find weird personally because they're the crux of the songs, so I like to pay a bit of extra attention to compensate. :)

Congrats to you and Devastating Pop Machine!
Devil’s got me Lindt! Devil’s got me Lindt!
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Re: You can only avoid (Potential Consequences reviews)

Post by jast »

Duncan wrote:
Mon Mar 01, 2021 4:57 pm
Thanks for reviewing. I really get stuck on mixing, probably because (1) I do it on headphones and then get discouraged when I play it on anything else and (2) there's so much about mixing and mastering that I don't understand. I have no idea what to focus on once I have my tracks down. I only somewhat understand what compression is, but when it comes time to tweak it, or eq, or whatever else, I'm lost in a sea of numbers and levels and jargon. If anyone has any advice on a good place to start on this stuff, I'd love to hear it. I'm sure I could scan the forums here and find some valuable insights too. I use reaper.
If you want some more input on that from a non-professional, feel free to send me a project folder or (unmixed) stem tracks and I'll make a video for you (and live-stream it if you're okay with that, because some people I know may be interested, too) in which I spend some time doing mixing and explaining every part of my thinking and what the individual things do. I can't promise it'll happen quickly, but it will happen.

However, in this song in particular, to some extent I feel like the mix sounds a little unbalanced to some because of the arrangement and the tracks you came up with. Let's put it like this: if all of the things you record stay clear of a certain frequency range, then you won't have that frequency range in the final result, no matter how much heavy lifting you do in the mix (short of completely altering the sound with fancy effects). I suspect your mix could have done with some re-leveling to make it less obvious, but it's hard to tell without having the original stems.

That said, don't get discouraged - your mix is pretty clean which is the most important thing. You don't actually have that much to work on, it's really about learning to notice some of the nuances (and understand what to do about them). Takes some time and the right basic idea to work from, but it's not really complicated. At an amateur level, at least. It's not like we're about commercial standards here (and in fact I don't even like some of the commercial standards).

Heine's ideas are quite reasonable, but I think it's much better to understand why to make all of these various choices, and the best way to do that is to do it by example, hence my offer. :) If you want to get the most out of it, pick a project that has many different tracks or one where you have the strongest feeling that your final mix sounds a little "disappointing".
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Re: You can only avoid (Potential Consequences reviews)

Post by Smalltown Mike »

Oh shucks, pop music for the win. Great work Here, Atticus — pleasure sharing the win with you.
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Re: You can only avoid (Potential Consequences reviews)

Post by thehipcola »

Thx for the votes and reviews - apologies for not getting reviews done - crazy times here. Great to share podium with you, Here, Atticus!
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Re: You can only avoid (Potential Consequences reviews)

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

Congratz to the winners! Another successful fight.
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Here, Atticus
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Re: You can only avoid (Potential Consequences reviews)

Post by Here, Atticus »

Wow, thanks all!
The pop was devastating indeed. Congratulations guys, I'm honored to share this win!
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