Mixing on a kitchen radio, synthwave

Made this song months ago and it’s driving me crazy. This is the latest attempt where I took my cheap mono laptop speaker and created a new mix that sounded ok on this speaker when listening from the opposite side of my bedroom. It’s interesting because it’s better than what I had before. The biggest changes are, I’d say, that I cut a lot of highend, added more bass, and made the hihats and the snare much quieter. The song has vocals but it’s impossible for me to make them sound right. Well, at least my fake electric guitars are improving.

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Well, nice track in the end IMO. The drums, main “washed” synth and those fake electric guitars sound nice and I like the melodic arrangement here. High & low end under control as well, good job. Suggestion here would be to deal with the following ( that’s also what could make it hard to mix vocals into this track I think ).

  • Re-balance the levels of the synths ( they need to be lower ).
  • Reduce the filter cutoff ( I mean closing more the filter ) of the 1st pad & this ambient synth that starts around 0:24.
  • Control more the stereo spread, it’s probably too wide right now and that could be why it takes so much room in the spectrum and makes it harder to add vocals.
  • Some tiny adjustment of panning ( like around 2:35 ), the panning of the lower background synth doesn’t sound very natural, it’s very pronounced. You can play with the pan value as well as levels ( lower ) here.

But yeah, nice one in the end, it could be longer though and for sure bringing vocals into this one might give you the chance to develop it more.

And hey, have you watched this new tut BTW ?? Good stuff on the Synthwave genre in this one :sunny:

Much recommended :wink:

Tech & Tips N°57 What is Synthwave

Cheers !

Hey, thanks for your help. My panning is still pretty random. It got better but I need to put more effort into it.The suggestion to lower the synths is interesting, because I again sat there and thought “it’s too much drums”, but then I always think that. Maybe it’s some kind of fatigue that after hearing a song hundreds of times, these overly repetitive elements start to sound annoying.

The problem with the vocal is not really about fitting it into the song, it’s that the recording is so bad. Sample is this one: 108 bpm Hip Hop Male Acapella Vocal Voice Free download We Want Freedom by HEMANIFEZT #15180 I managed to get rid of the room and the noise and the pops and the harsh f and s, but there is a very annoying feedback, downsampling sound. Cutting frequencies or bombarding the sample with Izotope and Waves effects doesn’t do it. It’s too much.

Had a listen to those vocals and yes, there’s lots of noise, click and intonation + breath sounds going on. You may be able to clean it using EQ and plugins like click & noise removal tools or perhaps iZotope RX if you have it but it will take a long time IMO.

Sometime the trick can be to slice the all vocal track into small phrases, even words at some point and apply fades at the beginning & end of each audio clip and at the same time it gives you a chance to adjust the timing as well, but let’s be honest that’s a lot of work too :smile: Fine if you feel OK to do it, but good old rule is to get the right sound source from the start to avoid the hassle :wink:

Cheers !

Oh you can kill a lot of time with trying to clean that vocal. The Izotope RX plugins do a pretty good job in removing room, clicks and noise. I also managed to get rid of the sharp attack on the f and t sounds and the breathing by zooming in on the sample and spending some hours on drawing a volume automation curve, which is a pretty meditative activity. You have to be in the mood for that. But the one annoying, harsh sound seems to be everywhere in the higher frequencies. With an EQ and multiband compressor you can get it to a acceptable level, but you have to cut so much that the overall sound becomes muffled and like he was hiding under a blanket when recording. I don’t know. Music isn’t easy but using vocals is even worse.

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That’s a good way to picture it indeed :smile: :smile:
All in all, it’s leading back to one fundamental : the quality of the source, whether it’s a sample or an instrument preset. It wouldn’t be that hard if you had access to a good vocalist with a decent recording setup :wink: