The past months I learned more and more to appreciate mono signals and so I did go even more mono this time.
There are a few stereo reverbs below everything to blend it together (in theory), and an almost invisible pingpong delay under one epiano, but the main work is panning mono instruments, panning mono reverbs, and pairing instruments which kind of work together but on opposite sides. Same with the vocal. I created five variations by shifting stuff around in Melodyne, running it through microphone emulations and god knows what effects to make them sound distinct enough to not create too much of a flanging effect or disappear in the mono mix, and then moved them to the side where I thought it sounded the least bad.
It’s interesting because on one hand, especially when lo-passing and hi-passing the input to the reverbs, it’s really hard to overcrowd the space. There is just too much it. On the other hand you dig yourself a new hole, because you need to find the right positions for the instrument pairs and the reverbs, and also try to do it in a way that nothing important gets lost when collapsing to mono, but you also don’t create too audible “holes” in the stereo.
Overall the song is not good, but meh. It’s a step into the right direction. One day I will become a famous pop star, like Randy Marsh. I had a mustache once for a two weeks and it didn’t look bad. Not European gay pride mustache, more restrained American cop mustache. Maybe it’s the same. What do I know about the American criminal justice system.
Good job with this mixing approach and working with mono sources and sound placement IMO, you retain a lot of clarity for each elements and the main ones are still in focus, working quite well for me. Just had a listen on headphones for now ( it’s the evening & I need to stay in peace with my neighbors… ha hah ) so switching from stereo to mono wasn’t really “speaking” to my ears with the headphones, will have a listen tomorrow on monitors as well.
The thing I could pick up on headphones is that you have very long kind of 808 sustained bass notes from around 1:54 'till 2:26 which are more sounding like a bad electrical ground loop or a very prominent sub-bass rumble, so sustaining those notes ( if it’s the reason why ) doesn’t work IMO. Occurring again around 2:56, might be in other places as well so you might want to check this one out.
The song works, I won’t say it’s not good, it’s a vocal hip-hop driven track and you blended some vintage & synth-wave sounds with it and it works quite well I think. The beat is sounding great too, maybe empathizing some ear candies & background effects ( like the one around 2:33 ) to create more surprise & interest since the lyrics are very repetitive, but at the same time it’s proper to this genre and again it’s more a vocal driven track and should stay as such I think.
Nice work, will listen on monitors later but do check those sustained bass notes
The bass is indeed doing something funky in the low end and I have not much of a clue why. It’s two moog mini instances, one sub, one for the sound, blending around 90hz. And then in the parts you mention there is suddenly that 30hz spike and I think also somewhere in the 50hz-60hz area. I spent hours on trying to get it under control, eq, limiter, multiband compressor, sidechain, that fx chain reeks of desperation. In the end I lost quite some energy in other parts of the song and the rumble is not as bad but still there. It’s a riddle to me why even these frequencies appear. They shouldn’t be there.
The vocals I took from looperman.com. The guy, Hemanifezt, I really like his voice. There is some smooth sandpaper butter creme in it. I think the main problem is that I had the song, at least in its basic structure, first and then went looking for vocals. You can only warp and autotune so much, before it gets stupid. Also the song by itself is rather sad. Gm D Dm Cm. The vocal is not sad at all and ignores the additional D (hihi). They don’t belong together. They want two different things. If I every try that again I’ll bring in vocals much earlier.
And one last question: What do you think about the noise? Would you do something about it? It has a nice creamy sound but it’s kind of extreme in this song with all the vintage emulations and fake tape recorders.
Are you filtering unwanted low end with a High Pass filter EQ on those sounds and what are visual spectrum tools like Voxengo Span showing ? Sounds like rumble under the 30 Khz to me, Nugen Audio Visualizer confirms this. You don’t need those low freq, might be on the sub part of the bass, layering a sub & bass might also require some tweaks with EQ to avoid the 2 sounds to fight for space in the same frequency range.
After that, it could also be something more close to the sound source like filter cutoff of sub level & main level of the synth ( if it’s not audio of course ) as well as Midi notes length & velocity, those can sometimes have drastic effects on the sound.
Didn’t know about that guy Hemanifezt, like the voice as well, will check out the site
Agree that it’s much easier to make music for vocals instead of putting vocals on an existing track, in the second case the vocals needs to really sit in the key & mood of the track indeed, but for me it’s working fine with this track.
TBH I didn’t noticed the noise too much, I’ve seen spikes between 16/19 Hz listening to the track through Nugen Audio Visualizer and heard some kind of vinyl crackles, it works for me but maybe I’m reaching this age where I’m loosing some high frequencies hearing ?? Haha, could be, but most of the time the Focal Solo 6be monitors are quite sensitive & translate high frequencies very well with their beryllium tweeters and I still pick up when something is too much aggressive in the higher range. Now of course, that’s all relative to the kind of noise & frequency range used in your track but no issue for my own listening here.
In your great comment about another member Trance Track feedback you mentioned the following :
“Use mono to roughly select your panning positions and reverb levels… No idea why, but you hear much better when it’s in the right area.”
That’s the benefits of mixing in Mono, it really unmask sounds but then we’re back to the way our ears perceive sounds, so slightly moving a mono signal left or right will make it sounds better than letting our brain perceive the sound in the middle when the source is centered. It can be tricky as well but I think it’s a good way to Mix, just need to take your time with it. Putting everything in Mono and not using panning will lead to sounds fighting for space in the same frequency range, panning too much could bring phase issues or making sounds really too much prominent in stereo, you’ll have to compensate with the level then.
I rarely link people to Internet content about audio, because there’s so many stuff and the good & bad “this is how you should do it” argument with every YT channels or website pretending to learn you the right way to mix, but do search and check the “Kush Audio After Hours” short videos from Gregory Scott on YT or Facebook, really interesting stuff when it comes to mixing approach, just good to keep in mind that it’s not about Mixing EDM music, so the same rules won’t always apply with a club banger 4x4 quite simple track, but I also believe in a philosophy of Mixing and sound quality to reach and definitely love G. Scott approach on the subject. The Kush Audio Plug-ins are really great tools as well, the parallel mastering EQ Clariphonic & the all Omega Saturation plug-ins are brilliant as well as their latest Silika compressor.
Revisiting the song, because I couldn’t listen to it anymore, I think I found the root of the problem with the sub. I’m using different eqs than the usual Fabfilter Q2, and the highpass filter still allows a lot of low frequencies pass through. No idea if it’s a bug or if I’m not understanding how these plugins work. The lowpass filter doesn’t show that behaviour.
For the noise, now after some weeks of not listening to it, I’d say it’s acceptable in this situation. Most of it is added by the tape machines, which I put everywhere, because vintage. I wouldn’t do it again. They fry your CPU. I read somewhere that in the real world they tackle this problem by boosting the high end before sending the sound into the tape machine, and on the output they’d lower the high end again to get the sound as it was intended but with less tape noise.
In the end, for my skill level it’s a quite good song. And doing something different and trying things helps to learn. I went back to my usual cheesy minimal techno and this whole mono topic and my new addiction to busses and limiters allows you to do more things in a much more controlled way. Making a mix that’s not an overcrowded, over-fxed mess became so much easier.
For the High-pass filter on the EQ, it’s quite a common issue unfortunately, it’s really more difficult to filter the right amount of low end than with higher frequencies. Maybe check if you have different Slopes options like 24dB / 48dB …etc or a way to use or adjust the EQ curve. Many times you have to cut much more above the low end frequency that you’re trying to get rid off.
As for the tape noise, do you need it ? And is there not a way to disable the tape hiss noise from the plug-in you’re using, many tape emulation plug-ins offer you the choice to disable the tape noise. You can add saturation with many other plug-ins than tape emulations as well. I won’t go through the hassle of trying too much to replicate older analog workflow with real world machines, sometimes even a filtered white noise audio file at extreme low level can add this vintage texture.
well, in the end I gave up and added a Fabfilter Q2 behind the Renaissance EQs to deal with those frequencies. It’s the same settings but the Fabfilter cuts where I tell it to cut, while the other EQ is telling me: “Na, I could cut here but I don’t want to.”
I haven’t found any button to remove the tape noise completely, but with different settings you can reduce it quite a lot. It’s the same with some Arturia plugins, e.g. the Farfisa, lovely sound but they sometimes create a lot of noise and I wish there was a way to turn it off. After all, it’s digital so there should be a way.
Yeah, agree that different EQs won’t have the same filtering features and results. For the noise from synth plug-ins, try to get back to the patch settings first, especially if you use manufacturers or paid presets, they are often designed to be very impressive at first listening. Many times it’s just a matter of closing more the main filter, disabling some internal synth effects or turning down the number of voices : and definitely reduce the synth output. With a classic vintage synth like Arturia Farfisa, there’s a lot going through the amp & pedals emulations, that should be the place to look IMO, starting with the Amp Master Volume. Tweaks those Amp & Pedals settings and bypass each of them, you should be able to tell where the noise is coming from.