Critique my mix, please! (very poppy but Pixies-esque)

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Member Since: May 26, 2014

Hey everyone - I've been working on this mix for my band and would really appreciate some feedback on it. I'm really trying not to overproduce this song, so there aren't many bells and whistles on the track (at least compared to what we usually do, which is usually a lot more ornate than this). There's some tape saturation (from the Waves J37 plugin) on the vocals and drums, and that's really it besides some minimal EQ'ing and compression and reverb on all the vocals. Currently there is nothing on the master bus.

Any general advice/feedback would be appreciated, but I'm mostly worried about EQ/frequency issues that my inexperienced ears might be missing. I feel like I always struggle with the EQ process, especially when trying to add complimentary EQ to instruments. If any of the elements in this track seem to be fighting for frequency space, or if you hear any detrimental frequency buildup, please let me know! Thanks!

Here's a SoundCloud link to the song:

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Since: Dec 04, 2007

May 26, 2014 02:00 pm

I gave it a quick listen on both my cans and the monitors.

My first impression is that it's too "warm" or "fluffy" sounding in the lows/low-mids. Particularly in the lead vocal, and the bass, maybe a bit on the snare, and possibly on the rhythm guitar.

I feel like the low end and low-mid issues I'm hearing are probably caused by that tape saturation effect. I don't know how much you are really using, or if you are using it on the master channel, or a few of the instrument tracks, but I would use less saturation. But the way it is now makes the low to low mids sound a bit muffled, and I think the mix could get some clarity back using less tape saturation.

Overall, I don't think it's a bad mix, and I just think the saturation is turned up too high. Less is more with those things.

My only other niggle is that the kick could be a little more lively/punchy, and the snare slightly less punchy.

Hope that helps.

Since: May 26, 2014

May 26, 2014 08:04 pm

Thanks for the response, J-Bot! I'm using the Waves J37 tape saturation plugin for saturation. It's on the vocals and most of the drum tracks, but it's not on the bass or the master bus (nothing is on the master bus right now). I'll try dialing back the saturation; I do think I tend to use too much of it.

I also hear what you're saying about the snare and kick, too I'll tweak those a bit. Thanks for the feedback!

Anyone else have any thoughts on the mix?

Since: Apr 14, 2013

May 29, 2014 12:36 am

I like the tune first of all. A good performance by the musicians and vocalist. I think the balance of the mix lacks drums and bass(not to be mistaken with low end frequency). Nice work on panning- it's interesting to me. I agree with J-BOT regarding the fluffy sound and lack of punch on the drums. If I was your engineer/producer, I'd be gritting up the vocal track with the tape satch and figuring out how to make the drums and bass bang through tight and punchy. Tape satch sort of deadens the tone on drums and bass. I would find your Master/Limiter plug on your DAW and give it a few teaks on the Master Buss and my guess is that tune will pop. Work on that vocal track- what do you want? Nerdy Art Rock? Cool!-- Listen to Rivers from Weezer- what is he doing to enhance his vocal tracks?- they punch through and sound killer. Go back to "Pixiesesque" thought process and what do you hear from their recordings that you like? Spirit? Raw but tight? Good, tough but not perfect vocals- thats what I hear. Your vocalist can sing- make it interesting to listen to as it seems to not sit in the mix- It sounds on top of it to me.
Like J-BOT said- focus on fixing the bass/drums and the tune will come alive.
Nice work man!

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