"Roads" - Feedback needed :)

Hi guys! Here’s my latest track, in this one I focused more on the mixing
and mastering part as I finished a course about it. I would love some
feedback as always, especially in this sense :slight_smile: thank you so much!

Edit: somehow sounds kinda ‘dull’ to me. Can it be because I used too much compression?

HI there @returnnull

Don’t know if it’s because of compression, but you’re having a serious issue with the ways tracks are balanced in this Mix.

This main lead synth is covering all your kick, drums and arps or any other sounds in there. Just at the beginning I could ear the Kick and tell it was a bit boomy and not cutting through the Mix, but at this stage of the track, it’s impossible to judge something else since this lead synth is masking anything else. Is that a Moog Sub 37 loop you putted on top of other channels or recorded live into your Daw ? Very great synth sound but that’s all we can hear in this track :wink:

Get back to your levels and gain stage and re-balance properly each channel volume fader, starting with the Kick that should be the loudest one and balancing all other instruments according to the kick.

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Dear Tekalight! As always your feedback is extremely helpful :slight_smile: I think I over listened and over worked on the track, so I will get back to it in a week or so with fresh ears and start the mixing and mastering process again. I will re upload the track then :slight_smile:

Thank you so much! :slight_smile:

Ps: nope, I make everything with the arturia mini v3

i think that could become an awesome piece of music. for me it has a strong stephan bodzin sound to it, but i think it’s a bit too linear and clean.

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You really nailed the Moog Sub 37 sound then, is that a patch you made or one from a preset pack ? Really sounding great :wink:

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i think that could become an awesome piece of music. for me it has a
strong stephan bodzin sound to it, but i think it’s a bit too linear and

Thanks for your feedback @kuchenchef! Much appreciated :slight_smile: what do you mean by too clean? Should I add in your opinion more distortions? Just for me to know when I get back to the mixing stage!

You really nailed the Moog Sub 37 sound then, is that a patch you made or one from a preset pack ? Really sounding great

Thank you @Tekalight! :slight_smile: I started with one of the preset patches present there but I changed the most of it to get the sound

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Looking forward to hear a new version of this track once you re-balance your tracks levels, try starting from the kick played back in isolation and then bring your other tracks in and gain stage their level according to the kick. By the end you should have a more balanced mix and it will be easier to address any compression, processing or “dull” sounding issue you will find in the all Mix.

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Thank you for the tips as always! I certainly will :slight_smile:

Hey @Tekalight! I did the mixing and mastering process again and re uploaded the track :slight_smile: whenever you have the time for it, I would love to get a feedback from you! thanks a lot :slight_smile:

Hi again @returnnull

So much better now, too bad you didn’t kept the first one & replaced the SoundCloud link, it would have helped to be able to compare again ( but I remember how the mix was sounding with the main synth covering almost everything else ). But yep, we all have a tendency to “replace” the previous track when it comes to upload, it can be mandatory to keep some space too sometimes :wink:

So yep, this is now a much more balanced Mix even if there still some issues, the high frequency arpeggio synth & again the main lead synth are still a bit loud especially during some parts of the tracks. Also when you put those through reverb, you seem to have compensate a lot with increasing the volume to retain the synths very clear & present, but that’s a bit too much to my listening. Wondering if you are layering several instances to get that fat & very loud synths or if you just used level automation when adding the reverb.

You also have a quite powerful sub-synth bass taking a lot of energy, so you have to watch out for the level of this one as well. The drums levels sounds right for me now, the sub-synth + drums work together but think that when you add tracks in your DAW the levels stack on top of each other & addition themselves. Therefore using lower levels on each tracks ( like starting at -14 dB / - 17 dB for the kick ) and re-adjusting each other track’s level from there will help you to achieve more compression & get a more transparent result when pushing the Mix through a limiter. Think about it this way, if your Kick & Bass already take a lot of energy & high levels, you haven’t got room for the other instruments, so you will have a tendency to raise their levels to compensate and the result is a wrong balanced Mix.

You have to pay attention to unwanted frequencies ( both in the Lo-end & also high-end frequency spectrum ) and check the peaks on a FFT analyzer such as the free SPAN from Voxengo, it really helps to make adjustments without letting your ears fool you with perceptive loudness & the way we listen to sound, some visual feedback is really helpful to make tighter & more fine adjustments .

But overall it’s a nice S.Bodzin like track, might even be too much close to it to retain some originality, reminds me the track “Singularity” a lot, but maybe that was the goal, to kind of replicate this genre & sound.

Not sure about that percussive sound ( kind of High Tom, you can clearly ear it around 4:04 ) sounding a bit dull to me.

For the rest the progression & arrangement is OK and make the track interesting to listen to.

Talking about Bodzin & “Singularity”, listen to his album “Power Of Ten” as well as the remixes album, you can use those tracks to reference them against your Mix to help balancing it better ).

Good work overall and nice one with Arturia mini v3 ( I wish you were using ANA 2… hahaha, Lol :smile: ) the latest Techno Presets Pack has got some nice BODZIN sounds too BTW, don’t know if you own ANA 2 but if you do check the latest Presets Pack Vol.9 Techno.

And finally what’s your DAW of choice ? Live ? Logic ? FL ? Cubase ? … Just curious here :wink:

EDIT : Ah, OK you’re on Ableton, I saw it on your previous track feedback post, can’t possibly remember every user’s DAW of choice though… :smile:

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Dear @Tekalight as always thank you so much for your detailed feedback! Always inspiring and helps me a lot to give perspective to things :slight_smile:

I actually don’t do any volume automation :slight_smile: I’m just automating the cutoff of the filter and the decay time of the envelope to get the fat sound. Also is interesting because I never listened much to Bodzin and I never heard Singularity, but after listening to it I can see some similiarities in the arpeggio and the lead. It’s funny how I created a similiar song without even knowing it! Also, if you take that as reference track I see what you mean now when you say my lead sounds are too loud. I never mix with a reference track, I think I should start doing it.

Thank you a lot for the headroom tip! I will definitely remember that when mixing my next track :slight_smile: I also just bought sonarworks reference 4 hoping that it would help as well as I don’t own any expensive piece of equipment.

Could you please elaborate a little bit more on the unwanted frequencies? Are there some frequencies that in general I should cut off or is it dependent on the track? In the sense that I should eq the different synths so that there aren’t clashing frequencies.

I have uploaded here again the old version if you would like to hear a before and after :slight_smile: Stream Roads - Old by return null; | Listen online for free on SoundCloud

PS: I’m fascinated by ANA 2! I’m still at the very beginning of my musical experience so for now I would rather focus on a synth I know such as the mini before trying any other. But for sure it’s on my list to try it out! Thank you again :slight_smile: and yes, using ableton! ahah

Again, thank you so much for all! You’re always super helpful! Truly appreciate it :slight_smile:

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Hi again @returnnull

Well, glad if that could help :wink: Thanks for the kind words.

  • Using a Reference Track : Oh yes, you should always do, especialy when reaching Mixing/Mastering stage.
    → You can do that either by loading a Ref.Track on an Audio channel in Live and toggle it On/Off ( which could be a bit cumbersome ) or use a 3thd party plugin like ADTPR Audio Metric AB ( Plugin Alliance ), Reference ( Mastering The Mix ), Magic AB ( Sample Magic ). Metric AB being the top one for me, not cheap but worth it.

You’ll find a complete course on ADTPR Metric AB here on S.A :

  • Getting Reference 4 from Sonarworks : excellent, it’s a true game changer, using it too & loving it.
    → It doesn’t replace room treatment ( Speaking of the Studio Edition here, not the Headphone one ) but it really does help with listening issues. I only listen to music using System Wide now :smile:

  • Cutting Unwanted Frequencies : There’s a lot of energy going on in both the Low & High register, some of them even inaudible but they are there and affect compressors, limiters, reverb…etc if you let them go through. They will also occupied the spectrum and make it more difficult to mix different instruments because they will be dueling in this specific frequency range.

You can use EQs or filters to attenuate those frequencies, both on the all Mix on your Master and also per track during sound design. It’s common practice to cut anything below 30 Hz ( even 45 ) in the Low register and above 10 Kz in the High register. Using progressive slopes like - 6 dB / -12 dB / -18 dB cuts, not hard ones like -24 dB or -48 dB.

That’s Mix dependent, nothing set in stone and that’s where a visual tool like Voxengo Span or any good Spectrum analyzer can really help to see what’s going on and what you’re removing.

Per track and during sound design, it’s also a good habit to use EQ to remove unwanted frequency for one sound : i.e with a Hi-Hat sound you just need the Mid-Range transient and the High range, you should get rid of all the unwanted lower range frequencies, again use Span or a spectrum analyzer ( using Live native EQ8 gives you a visual help too ).
In the opposite, a sub-bass sound should have a cut to remove any unwanted Mids & Highs frequencies.

This helps to prevent frequency masking & dueling, you have to be cautious with it too, using hard slope cuts or being to drastic with this method on each track can remove a lot of harmonics & dynamic in a Mix, but yep, it’s a good habit to take IMO and again, Spectrum & FFT analyzers are you friends and Span is really good and free.

This is something different than substractive EQuing that you also can use to remove harsh peaks, resonances or sibilances in sounds. Using a high Q setting and High gain value in Live EQ8 helps to find them, then you reverse the gain & adjust the Q factor as wanted. You can also solo the band by clicking on the headphone icon on the right of the EQ.

  • Mastering one synth/Tool before using/trying another one is a very good thing to do, I have been a plugin collector for years and can tell it’s a wrong habit ( I think I have a compulsive “Get that new one” disorder seriously…Hahaha ) but it really doesn’t help in the end :blush:

That said, again ANA 2 is a fantastic Soft-Synth and features like the sample oscillators, arpeggio & CMD ( chords progression ) are really sick IMO, check this ANA 2 Preview - CMD and ARP Chord Writing - YouTube

And for the sounding like Bodzin without knowing it, LOL… Hard to believe, maybe you’ve been using Midi templates from packs ? Or you’ve just been very well inspired :wink: Anyway, it doesn’t matter, what’s important is the result and using presets or midi packs is also a good place to start & learn from. But if you didn’t, then kudos ! Cool midi parts in this one. The method you used with filter cut off & resonance is also actually what Bodzin will do in a Live set with his Moog Sub37 + other things like the glide & drive and of course effects like delay + reverb. First vid is how to recreate on a real Sub37, second one is just for you to enjoy a great live set from the master himself.

Cheers ! Keep on the good work and 'till next time then :wink:

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Hey @Tekalight! Thanks one more time :slight_smile: thanks for the tips regarding the reference track! I’ll make sure to check out the course!

Thanks also for the explanation about the unwanted frequencies! I’m cutting the frequencies on the single sounds and on the mastering chain I do remove everything below 30hz but didn’t know about the 10k in the high register. Thank you! :slight_smile:

Not even midi preset, really interesting! What a coincidence ahah
Thank you also for the videos! Extremely interesting, I’m checking them out now starting from the ANA one

See you with the next track! :sunglasses:

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