Old 03-05-2012, 08:24 PM   #1
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Default I don't understand some people...

I've just spent the last two days on a mix that I said I would do for free out of the goodness of my heart and the job interested me anyway.

Just sent the guy/girl a draft of the instrumental and this is what they tells me

"Perhaps there is clarity, but I guess I'm just not hearing the improvement... I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I don't see how this is better. I do not like the added snares now that I've heard the whole thing, and I don't like the way they sound. The bass is too quiet (especially the instrument at :39), I don't like how prominent the harp and choir are, and I don't like how far the instruments are panned. I don't like the echo, nor do I see the point of it. I'm not sure why, but sometimes it sounds like it was recorded through a tube. Maybe with vocals it'll sound better?

I do like the bass kick though, although it could be a little bassier. This could just be for posterity sake, but I prefer the original

Not sure what to say other than that :/"

I could not believe it, I don't claim to be the best sound engineer in the world, but I know my mix was better than the original. I would even be happy to let you compare the two.

Anyways, how does one deal with these kinds of people might I ask? -_-
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Old 03-05-2012, 08:29 PM   #2
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Anyways, how does one deal with these kinds of people might I ask? -_-


after this, they don't.

either there is a stylistic difference, or just a lack of respect or appreciation for what you are doing. Work with someone else.
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Old 03-05-2012, 08:31 PM   #3
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Must admit its not very often I hear "I don't like how far the instruments are panned" Though LOL.

Nothing in the mix is panned extreme right or left anyway
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Old 03-05-2012, 08:32 PM   #4
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Just so I can stay sane, I'l let you compare the two.

Now uploading...
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Old 03-05-2012, 08:33 PM   #5
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Anyways, how does one deal with these kinds of people might I ask? -_-
One doesn't.

Seriously, was the original mix from the same guy who created the song? It is entirely possible that he hears the song in a certain way and that's really what he wants. When you say that your mix is better, it is better based on your appreciation of it. Mixing is an art. People will have different opinions, it is not an exact science.

He could have been a little nicer in his reply, however. Sometimes an open mind (or a little white lie) goes a long way. "Thanks, fealow. Your mix sounds very different. It imparts a totally different character to the song. It certainly gives me ideas. I appreciate your effort."
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Old 03-05-2012, 08:35 PM   #6
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Here is the original (with vocals): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=682pneYoP0c

And here is my version (without vocals): http://www.mediafire.com/?4uq0enztilsu5nv

Its not finished yet so you may find a few things to point on for me, but its no where near as bad as he/she made it out to be!
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Old 03-05-2012, 08:36 PM   #7
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One doesn't.

Seriously, was the original mix from the same guy who created the song? It is entirely possible that he hears the song in a certain way and that's really what he wants. When you say that your mix is better, it is better based on your appreciation of it. Mixing is an art. People will have different opinions, it is not an exact science.

He could have been a little nicer in his reply, however. Sometimes an open mind (or a little white lie) goes a long way. "Thanks, fealow. Your mix sounds very different. It imparts a totally different character to the song. It certainly gives me ideas. I appreciate your effort."
Actually he did have part in composing it and the original mix... Down to prosperity it is then I guess haha.

I tried to change very little of how the song mood (I personally love the song so I wouldn't want to change it too much anyway), I just spent hours making making everything sound better and glue it all in place.
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Old 03-05-2012, 08:37 PM   #8
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Here is the original (with vocals): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=682pneYoP0c

And here is my version (without vocals): http://www.mediafire.com/?4uq0enztilsu5nv

Its not finished yet so you may find a few things to point on for me, but its no where near as bad as he/she made it out to be!

get out. now.

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Old 03-05-2012, 08:42 PM   #9
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get out. now.

polish applied to turd maketh not element Au
I'm assuming you mean the recording quality? As in "even if you try to make shit look pretty, its still shit" ?
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Old 03-05-2012, 08:50 PM   #10
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I'm assuming you mean the recording quality? As in "even if you try to make shit look pretty, its still shit" ?
i can see what you tried to improve on, but besides the fact that if dante wrote inferno now, this song would be the soundtrack to the eighth circle, the mix is thin and weak, i dont think much can really be done to salvage it besides a change in arrangement and such

that being said, I didn't listen to all of it
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Old 03-05-2012, 09:00 PM   #11
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My mix thin and weak you say? Please elaborate for me?

personally I thought the arrangement was quite easy to deal with, nothing particularly gets in the way of something else.

I don't actually have access to a decent pair of monitors, most of its been done on studio headphones and a fairly decent sub and satellites.
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Old 03-05-2012, 09:07 PM   #12
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Listened on 7506's and the orignal sounds fuller to me, when I compare just the musical parts. I wasn't expecting a cartoon song and (respectfully) I don't really hear amything there that should take hours of work.

Pretty simple sounding song.

P.S. I also have to agree with the guy about the snare change
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Old 03-05-2012, 09:11 PM   #13
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Listened on 7506's and the orignal sounds fuller to me, when I compare just the musical parts. I wasn't expecting a cartoon song and (respectfully) I don't really hear amything there that should take hours of work.

Pretty simple sounding song.
Okay that is fair enough, My version is not finished however. I admit the original certainly sounds more boxy or fuller as you say, but I was trying to add some excitement to the overall sound as a draft then make improvements as required.

Mine is certainly a lot more detailed and clearer though.

The thing that took hours was the splicing of the drum track and having to work around clipping on some of the tracks as well as automating levels to make for some smooth compression as the original tracks where rather dynamic.

And there was no snare change, its just comped and has more bite on the top end.
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Old 03-05-2012, 09:16 PM   #14
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Anyways, how does one deal with these kinds of people might I ask? -_-
Do what they say, that's what they're paying for. Call them, make them go to you studio, spend a day mixing with them in the room. Do everything they say no matter how stupid or crazy it may sound. Give them what they want, even when you think it won't work. No delay at all? Do that (they'll say "add a bit of delay" after they hear it... or not). You have to prove your point by doing it twice: their way and your way, they'll pick the best *for them*. Remember, it's their vision and way to conceive the song, not yours; you can give *ideas*, that's all.
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Old 03-05-2012, 09:17 PM   #15
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Do what they say, that's what they're paying for. Call them, make them go to you studio, spend a day mixing with them in the room. Do everything they say no matter how stupid or crazy it may sound. Give them what they want, even when you think it won't work. No delay at all? Do that (they'll say "add a bit of delay" after they hear it... or not). You have to prove your point by doing it twice: their way and your way, they'll pick the best *for them*. Remember, it's their vision and way to conceive the song, not yours; you can give *ideas*, that's all.
This is true, however 1) I'm not being paid 2) I'm doing the song for my portfolio as well as his/her own benefit.

I think this person just hates reverb :/
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Old 03-05-2012, 09:21 PM   #16
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Okay, I'm going to let go of this whole which is better thing now.

It would be appreciated if you all could give me some pointers on where to improve the mix please. I know I'm going to have trouble with the bass because of room reflections, but that can be resolved with referencing elsewhere.
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Old 03-05-2012, 09:21 PM   #17
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It's not a contest. The guy's opinion is the only one that matters.

Two days of work on such a simple song, not done yet, admitting you don't have decent monitors and mixed it on headphones.... all implies that you're maybe just trying to outdo the guy, not help him.

If you really wanted to help him you'd just take his feedback and change the things he doesn't like... or walk away. He already told you what he didn't like so why are you asking us when his opinion is the only one that matters?

Improve the mix - for him - by changing the things he doesn't like.
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Old 03-05-2012, 09:21 PM   #18
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This is true, however 1) I'm not being paid 2) I'm doing the song for my portfolio as well as his/her own benefit.

I think this person just hates reverb :/
Then just stop working with that person, you're wasting your time and, from a creative and personal enrichment point of view, you won't gain anything good for your portfolio.
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Old 03-05-2012, 09:31 PM   #19
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Then just stop working with that person, you're wasting your time and, from a creative and personal enrichment point of view, you won't gain anything good for your portfolio.
I would just hate to walk away and feel like I'm no good at what I love doing and have been for years :/

I picked this one up because I thought a good composition was going to waste because it sounded so dull and lifeless, and then I get told the other one sounds fuller -_-

(For obvious reasons I can hear why it sounds fuller...)
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Old 03-05-2012, 09:35 PM   #20
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I would just hate to walk away and feel like I'm no good at what I love doing and have been for years :/
It's not you, it's him/her.

His/her vision of the song doesn't match your ideas and working on something you don't feel comfortable with is a pain you shouldn't live, even more when he/she isn't paying to "at least" make it worthwhile.
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Old 03-05-2012, 09:36 PM   #21
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i always thought sending folk drafts/updates was a good idea to show you've been working and to check on 'direction' etc. but the unfortunate fact is your regular non engineery type has little concept of 'draft' or unfinished, and it can scare people or put them off or have them worried about random things.

for example you may have spent forever fixing a 5 second section and sent a clip over and he moans about stuff at the end which you haven't sorted out yet.

so many times i've found people who were all with me and loving how we were going have turned into pita doubters due to a single rushed out clip version that wasn't the helpful progress indicator i hoped for! u then have to go into full explanation mode to ensure things go smoothly.


the overall mix may be thin compared to his full, since he e/g stuffed it through some mastering preset, whilst you didn't do any of that as its a mix in progress. 'full' doesn't tell anything about the constituent parts of the mix. comparing apples with oranges folk will find a difference.


either you do as mercado said and be his bitch (nah) or you ignore him and us mostly and just listen afresh on many systems.

tbh u get advice overload here which i doubt is actually helpful. ,i'd run away and back yourself.
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Old 03-05-2012, 09:38 PM   #22
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It's not you, it's him/her.

His/her vision of the song doesn't match your ideas and working on something you don't feel comfortable with is a pain you shouldn't live, even more when he/she isn't paying to "at least" make it worthwhile.
Point taken, I suppose it is a fighting battle. I'l probably keep a hold of the mix anyway to mess around with and attempt to improve. Thanks for the advice.
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Old 03-05-2012, 09:43 PM   #23
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i always thought sending folk drafts/updates was a good idea to show you've been working and to check on 'direction' etc. but the unfortunate fact is your regular non engineery type has little concept of 'draft' or unfinished, and it can scare people or put them off or have them worried about random things.

for example you may have spent forever fixing a 5 second section and sent a clip over and he moans about stuff at the end which you haven't sorted out yet.

so many times i've found people who were all with me and loving how we were going have turned into pita doubters due to a single rushed out clip version that wasn't the helpful progress indicator i hoped for! u then have to go into full explanation mode to ensure things go smoothly.


the overall mix may be thin compared to his full, since he e/g stuffed it through some mastering preset, whilst you didn't do any of that as its a mix in progress. comparing apples with oranges folk will find a difference.


either you do as mercado said and be his bitch (nah) or you ignore him and us mostly and just listen afresh on many systems.

tbh u get advice overload here which i doubt is actually helpful. ,i'd run away and back yourself.
Thanks for that BenK, I did point out to him it was a draft for where I'm going with it. He also even said that he thought my use of reverb was pointless and I also mentioned that I had not had time to reference it on different monitors or rooms yet. But yeah I guess your right about the whole being scared thing.

I'll just work on it for my own enjoyment then post it on youtube and get more views lol.

I bet you won't be able to find the clarinet and various pianos in his mix, but you should have little trouble doing so with mine.

Also, I asked him what he was listening to it on and he never told me... I wonder why? o.O

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Old 03-05-2012, 09:53 PM   #24
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either you do as mercado said and be his bitch (nah) or you ignore him and us mostly and just listen afresh on many systems.
Man, I hate to be their bitch when working with new clients but once you've gained their trust, it's funny how everything you do sounds great for them heh

I give him this advice because I've been there so many times. I've spent hours automating, tweaking a filter, adding fxs, etc., just to delete everything the next day because they didn't like it. That's why I've approached this situation from a different angle: be their bitch I can spend more time on stuff I *do* enjoy after they live with a happy face because I * satisfied* their needs lol
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Old 03-05-2012, 09:56 PM   #25
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Man, I hate to be their bitch when working with new clients but once you've gained their trust, it's funny how everything you do sounds great for them heh

I give him this advice because I've been there so many times. I've spent hours automating, tweaking a filter, adding fxs, etc., just to delete everything the next day because they didn't like it. That's why I've approached this situation from a different angle: be their bitch I can spend more time on stuff I *do* enjoy after they live with a happy face because I * satisfied* their needs lol
That's the thing, as annoyed as I am I'm willing to compromise with this person because I think the song deserves it. The original is sub par and I want to help improve it. plus its a good learning curve for me.
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Old 03-05-2012, 09:59 PM   #26
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Just curious, how many tracks total?
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Old 03-05-2012, 10:02 PM   #27
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Just curious, how many tracks total?
32...

Still think It shouldn't have taken so long?
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Old 03-05-2012, 10:05 PM   #28
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32...

Still think It shouldn't have taken so long?
Now you're getting defensive so i'll bow out, i was just curious so I asked. 32 tracks isn't very many. If the origninal tracks were a horror show that required two days of editing sure.

I hope it all works out for you,
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Old 03-05-2012, 10:07 PM   #29
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Now you're getting defensive so i'll bow out, i was just curious so I asked. 32 tracks isn't very many.

Good luck to you.
Sorry... I am being defensive. It's not an overly huge amount, but for what the song is I consider it to be a little more than one would expect.
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Old 03-05-2012, 10:23 PM   #30
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It's not a contest. The guy's opinion is the only one that matters.

Two days of work on such a simple song, not done yet, admitting you don't have decent monitors and mixed it on headphones.... all implies that you're maybe just trying to outdo the guy, not help him.

If you really wanted to help him you'd just take his feedback and change the things he doesn't like... or walk away. He already told you what he didn't like so why are you asking us when his opinion is the only one that matters?

Improve the mix - for him - by changing the things he doesn't like.
Sorry Lawrence, I only just saw this! And it is what I intend to do. And I must make a point about how much physical editing I had to do to make things like the drums and bass more usable. thats what took up most of my time.
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Old 03-06-2012, 03:27 AM   #31
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To be honest. I still don't like how lows and that boxyness fill out your mix when drums are in it. Too agressive and too loud drums. It might sound good at first, but when someone listens through whole song, it is tireing.

Youtube mix is good, but I think bass needs some tweaking.

I think your mix is not bad, just doesn't fit song-style he wants probably.

Here is quick shape of lows, I think they should be leveled somewhat like this. Just some cutting and compression on them. I'm in acousticaly untreated room at the moment since studio is in rebuilding phase though, and its a bit hard to mix in it, especially low-end: https://www2.dropbox.com/sh/bapau1vw...16oNO/Lows.mp3
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Old 03-06-2012, 03:53 AM   #32
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I appreciate that mate, thanks.

I'll check it out and keep an open mind and try and incorporate the changes.

One thing though, a lot of people are saying the youtube mix sounds fuller and all this, but in my honest opinion it sounds dull, boxy, and the balance of the individual tracks is all over the place.

OR is that really only me hearing that?

EDIT: I like what you done with the lows, sounds like you've pulled them down a bit, but still retained the punch?

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Old 03-06-2012, 04:05 AM   #33
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There is a lesson everyone should learn

There ALWAYS will be people who don't like your music/product/service etc...
You can't do nothing about it. Either you ignore it or let it fill your mind with bad feelings which destoy your confidence and spirit...choose for yourself
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Old 03-06-2012, 04:14 AM   #34
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There is a lesson everyone should learn

There ALWAYS will be people who don't like your music/product/service etc...
You can't do nothing about it. Either you ignore it or let it fill your mind with bad feelings which destoy your confidence and spirit...choose for yourself
Yeah, I've decided to leave it in the past and mix it more like how he wanted it now. Too be honest I did say to him first time round I would make changes I felt it needed.

Now going to start another mix and back up on the processing a bit so it keeps its original character.
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Old 03-06-2012, 04:49 AM   #35
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Always do what client wants. Even if you are doing free like now, he still is technically your client.

And considering lows, I just placed ReaEQ with High pass on subs, and brought down ~350-360Hz (something like that, I don't remember) a fair amount. Than took ReaXComp and compressed first band which i made go 0-150Hz or so with some medium attack time (probably was 10-15ms or so), and gave it some gain to make up. That makes the punch. Than I just compressed second band which countains boxy freqs without any gain makeup because it was still too boxy at times even with that cut I made in reaEQ.

You can do it a lot easier probably by just applying few low shelves and high passes on individual tracks
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Old 03-06-2012, 04:55 AM   #36
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thanks for the tip man, bass has never been my strong point. I've basically just wiped most fx chains of the face of this planet in this project haha. I'm also not using any reverb at all this mix, i'll try and encourage him to let me put some in on the vocal perhaps. I guess I just feel everything there is no distance between the instruments and little reverb could bring the mix to life.
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Old 03-06-2012, 05:00 AM   #37
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I would compare it to a commercial mix and follow your ears on that - even ask the client to pick a commercial track that they have in mind....in fact, do that!

You can never win if you send out 'draft' copies, you always open yourself up to unnecessary criticism.....of issues that you know yourself need to be worked on later.
I've just finished a live recording of my own band, 45 songs on 16 tracks....inevitably the rest of the band were eager to hear something, so I sent out a quick mix stating "this is rough, I've not really worked on anything, this is just to let you know that everything got recorded".
...the response I got was; "..the bass isn't very clear, the acoustic doesn't sound very good, my vocals could do with coming up a bit..." - to which I said "yeah, I know!!!....as I said...."

Sounds like you need to improve your monitoring by what everyone else has chimed in with (I haven't listened myself as I'm at work)....I'd also recommend playing your mix (and the reference track) on as many different systems as you can....in the car, on ear buds, good headphones, bad headphones, regular home hifi equipment etc - each time ask the question "what is the difference between my mix and a commercial mix" make notes on each element and do some tweaking to get a good average across different systems.....if you end up with a mix that sounds 'like' the clients reference track, you can't really go wrong.

I wouldn't let it defeat you, talk to the client re the above, delete all your plugins, throw the faders down and start again - I bet you get a lot further a lot quicker with the above knowledge from everyone in mind.
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Old 03-06-2012, 05:03 AM   #38
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I've just grouped all the track that contain anything under 100hz and sent them to a bus with reaxcomp on. was even easier than finding the violating tracks separately and tweaking.
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Old 03-06-2012, 05:06 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by dazzathedrummer View Post
I would compare it to a commercial mix and follow your ears on that - even ask the client to pick a commercial track that they have in mind....in fact, do that!

You can never win if you send out 'draft' copies, you always open yourself up to unnecessary criticism.....of issues that you know yourself need to be worked on later.
I've just finished a live recording of my own band, 45 songs on 16 tracks....inevitably the rest of the band were eager to hear something, so I sent out a quick mix stating "this is rough, I've not really worked on anything, this is just to let you know that everything got recorded".
...the response I got was; "..the bass isn't very clear, the acoustic doesn't sound very good, my vocals could do with coming up a bit..." - to which I said "yeah, I know!!!....as I said...."

Sounds like you need to improve your monitoring by what everyone else has chimed in with (I haven't listened myself as I'm at work)....I'd also recommend playing your mix (and the reference track) on as many different systems as you can....in the car, on ear buds, good headphones, bad headphones, regular home hifi equipment etc - each time ask the question "what is the difference between my mix and a commercial mix" make notes on each element and do some tweaking to get a good average across different systems.....if you end up with a mix that sounds 'like' the clients reference track, you can't really go wrong.

I wouldn't let it defeat you, talk to the client re the above, delete all your plugins, throw the faders down and start again - I bet you get a lot further a lot quicker with the above knowledge from everyone in mind.
Yeah, I have a better sounding mix in half an hour already lol. I think I was trying to do too much because of how much i liked the song first time round. He could not really give me a reference track as he was not sure what he liked. But seeing as its based on My little pony I can use some of there songs for reference. thanks for the advice
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Old 03-06-2012, 05:10 AM   #40
planetnine
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Always do what the client wants, but tell them that part of the arrangement is you get to tell them if you think they are wrong. They will not be happy unless it's what they imagined. You will not be happy if you think they think you think that it's a good mix

If I reach an impasse in this methodogy, I do exactly as the client wants, until they are happy, but stress that they are the production credit and I do not want my name associating with it as engineer or mix.

If this is not earning you anything (fiscal or kudos otherwise) I suggest you put it down to experience.


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