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Old 11-15-2010, 07:33 AM   #28
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 509
Default Good stuff...

I don't have my hack on it available as I'm at work, but I can speak to the song from memory a bit. I'll post my mix when I get home. Schmidty, you ROCK for letting us use your stems for the group mix greatly appreciate the opportunity!! Rock on dude.

As a few of the other folks here mentioned the vocal track in this piece was one of the trickier bits to work with. The track is extremely dynamic which can cause a lot of balance issues when it comes to controlling the peaks (not just the vocal track either). Step one for me was to just drop the fader a bit so that the highest peak was at around -4 on the meter. This, of course, caused some of the softer parts to drop out of the mix so I did have to use a bit of compression to level it out. However, as was mentioned, the vocal track could be automated a bit to balance it as well. This is merely a personal choice in my opinion. I did find, however, that with some of the stronger peaks (the second line of the first verse starts with a pretty drastic volume spike) that the compression I used was audible (not transparent). So automation here might make that a bit less obvious. Another option I'd like to try would be to use multiple instances of compression rather than just going at it with one compressor doing all the work. But I don't know how that might work out.

Another area I found a bit tricky was with the drums. The overheads weren't bad, I found that a bit of compression and a high pass at around 500hz made them shine a bit more. But the two tom tracks I found almost acted like a second pair of overheads! I had to use a combination of a low pass (to get rid of a lot of the cymbal/hat in the tracks) and some gating to make the tom hits stand out more. I couldn't, however, quite get rid of the bass and snare that were in the tracks. The problem with tracks that have this much spillage is that it can sometimes make balancing the drums a little difficult. With a snare track AND the overheads AND the spillage on the tom tracks, the snare can actually get pretty loud when you start piling all of those tracks together. So I passed the two tom tracks to a bus, and the two overheads to another bus, did the EQ, gating and compression on the buses and then passed the kick, snare, OH bus and tom bus to an overall drum bus where I added reverb, and then passed them to an FX track where I did a small amount of parallel compression to give the drums a little more Ooomph.

I also did a bit of editing. I cut out the bass for the first few measures and left just the acoustic as an intro (the acoustic was a bit bright, by the way, so I had to EQ a little to make it warm up a tad, also the strumming wasn't always in time with the song, I might do a few more takes and comp together a real good steady rhythm). Then I brought the bass in for a few measures (for the bass I used a compressor set with a fairly high ratio because some of the notes were a lot louder than others, and a bit of chorus to give it a little beef), and the organ (which was LOUD!! I dropped the volume) came in with the lyrics at the same time as the overhead track with the hat taps. I left the kick, snare, and toms out of the mix until just after the first verse ended. I did this because, like some of the other folks mentioned the song is a bit monotonous after a while, so by adding in pieces a little at a time it gives a little more movement and life to the mix. Then I played with some EQ and panning on the guitars later in the mix to make for some movement. The strumming gets almost grating after a while...

Then...I automated the entire track a very small amount. The track gets noticeably louder as the song plays through. So I just did a touch of volume automation to level the whole thing out a tad and a VERY tiny bit of reverb over the whole mix to glue things together...

I didn't talk much about EQ because for the most part I didn't do anything that wouldn't be expected...I high passed the guitars, vocals and overheads. Low passed the bass and kick. Did some highlights on the snare and toms, and isolated the organ with a high pass and a few accents on some of the harmonics to make it cut through a bit at the lower volume.

That's it!!

It would be great if some other folks could narrate their thoughts on what their thought processes were for the mix and what they did to work with the various nuances of the song.
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