Posts by Per

    Thanks Monkey_Man & Franjoe30 !

    You're right, it's not really pop but it's the application of a few learned things. I can't really take much of the pop stuff, there's a lot to learn, but at the same time it's a trick that you may or may not want to have. I feel it's yesterday, not tomorrow, or even today.

    Thanks BayouTexan bear in mind that he mix is based on what a backing track behind dense vocals is doing. In place you would pretty much only get to hear vocals and this becomes texture.

    Todays I'm not listening to any other pop tracks, it' just me attempting to utilize the things I've learned over the past few noodles. I'm not sure I want to carry on though. It's not my style or approach and I'm not sure I'm want to go this route.

    Thanks deadman42

    Todays one was a look at some modern rock. Try as I might I just couldn't get the balance and mix close to the source on this. My ears obviously need a lot more training. Sometimes it's just hard to work out what's going on with the vocals on top of it all.

    The source track was also the most weirdly complex thing yet, which was weird given that in the end it just sounded like a less complex and more bland sub-Nirvana.

    I have to admit by the end of it was absolutely loathing this crap, I'm sure I would have felt better if I had just nailed it off the bat and it had taken less time.

    The main things I learned form this :-

    A repeating theme of modern tracks - pPush the treble higher, then higher again

    Moar stereo widener.

    Everyone finds some way to **ck with drums. Every single track processes the heck out of them, pans them weirdly, does weird eq on them, tries to make them out of "The sounds of pancakes flipping(tm)". Yet somehow they all end up sounding the same.

    The three stages of verse, pre-chorus, chorus in modern rock are loud, louder, loudest, because that's easier than writing and arranging and you can use the same loop for each!

    Be prepared to take out individual instruments from drums for processing.

    Bass seems to be the same on all these tracks. Fluffy soft with an FM sub on it, 16th notes all the way through.

    There seems to be a particular frequency that a lot of these tracks are trying to kill in the mids, I'l have to spend more time figuring out what it is, but it affects bass, guitar and everything else.

    Even in rock it's got far too many synths.

    There are once again some really nicely recorded sounds, especially on the cleaner guitars I was actually having difficult getting the dynamic richness from the Kemper no matter which profile I was looking for or how much or little processing I applied. I can't imagine it's a limit of the Kemper, but it made me consider mixing up my real amps again.

    While it's soul destroying I would recommend trying this exercise of just finding random pop records and trying to copy their production/arrangement to everyone. Even if you hate them there's a lot to learn and often the arrangement is clear enough that you can work out how it's done better and easier than with heavy rock records. I do believe some of this will transfer over to my normal stuff and hopefully improve things.

    I'm not sure how many more of these I can take.

    Thanks waraba ! There’s a lot of sound design in pop, it’s a bit like one of those highly polished paintings that’s very impressive but also highly forgettable.

    Everything is about knowing where in the mix you want it and then not letting it naturally go there, but forcing it with every trick you can imagine. Bass isn’t just bass, it’s bass with a synth and a sub-synth and an eq and compressor and a master bump and everything else has to make room for it. Guitar doesn’t get to just go where it wants, instead it’s a texture with a specific location in mind, usually just the treble etc. Everything has a super definite location to be in to fit and flatten the mix further, divorced from the actual instruments as they no longer sound like themselves.

    In a way I’m beginning to view it as a sort of avant-garde art form - which is odd to say for pop, that it’s niche. I don’t think it’s anywhere near as commercially successful as in the past but it’s still guaranteed a certain level of success thanks to modern marketing, so producers are in a way off the leash, able to do whatever random thing they want without really worrying about it being musical even. It’s still corporate music, there’s nothing raw about it, nothing visceral, nothing relevant even; it feels disconnected from any reality. So it’s just background noise, there’s no motive to it but money. Having said that it’s like handing a blank cheque to some aesthetic instagram experimental art & music group who care more about their own personal grooming and fashion than the art itself and seeing what installations they make with it. Pleasant but wearing noise. What Andy Warhol would have done if The Factory had happened today, you want to be excited but somehow it’s flat.

    Reminds me of the late 80s.

    This works very well on many levels, it could be both a hard rock/metal moody piece, as well as a pop ballad. Great combination of distorted and clean guitars and dynamic changes throughout keep your interest. Wonderful job Franjoe30 !

    More mixing practice and analysis. More synth now it spreads to doubling up guitar lead lines. It seems there was or perhaps still is a trend to go full surf on the verbs when it comes to everything but the drums, which are often old drum machines.

    Not super interesting backing tracks, all just a loop really. Everything interesting is happening with the vocals on these tracks I'm noticing which tend to be so processed as to be incomprehensible, but cool sounding a bit like when people anted to make "futuristic" music in the 80's for films and they'd do random vocal samples, it's a bit like sensory overload in the middle of Tokyo.

    Didn't get the balance right yet, drums a bit too far forward, missing some additional presence on the bass as wit these synth basses so much sub takes the energy away on smaller speakers.

    The big takeaway today is that the kinds of mix these people are going for is very very dense due to FX, any real instruments are just doubled with synths, and the overall eq shape seems to be a W with heavy emphasis on bass sub-frequencies which normally I'd want to cull because they just suck the energy out from elsewhere.

    On the guitar side, if you want this ale use a spring reverb, push mids on only one instrument, normally vocals but when guitar is lead it's ok. When you get to any more guitar heavy boy slap one guitar left with a low riff, one right with a high riff, in the middle one rhythm guitar but washed out, and then a lead that might be multiple layers of exactly the same notes. Everything with long tails. Do whatever you can do create "stereo image", ping-pong delays, stereo widener, mid/side chain processing, just kill anything from the center except your lead instrument

    On bass for chorus etc it seems that stereo sub is an ok thing (seems weird to me but whatever). I detect a lot of Ozone in these mixes, especially the widening that increases as you get into higher frequencies (and culling of center). I haven't used it because I just don't like either how heavy it is for processing or the overall feel and sound.

    Thanks Franjoe30 ! It’s not that I’m versatile because clearly I’m not, but I am much further behind you on the path to delivering high quality production, so I figure the best way to learn is to explore lots of different things because everyone’s influences are more diverse than they themselves are (or might let on).

    More examining the mixes of pop music. So form the various source materials I was listening to this is what I noticed :

    Firstly there's still guitar in pop, in fact it seems like it's a resurgence albeit always pretty low key work.

    Secondly all the bass had synth doubling, either just a sub (as I used here) or full on analog style synth and no bass guitar itself.

    Thirdly on the drums the metalwork was all super stereo-i-fied to the point that there was no Tamborine in the center of the mix at all, zip, none, nada, just to the periphery..

    Fourth, you cannot seem to get rid of enough mids. These pop producers appear to be on a mission to kill all the mids in order to get clear bass and vocal space. I'm not putting vocals on this stuff but it was almost to the point of being caricatures of sounds. In fact many of my EQ's simply couldn't remove sufficient mids for the style being VSST's of vintage style EQ's.

    Fifth, drums are back to being pretty far back in the mix except for... Tamborine. That's right. Not snare, but tambourines are up front or out to the side or something, but they're there.

    On their own any instrument sounds great in their mixes, really really nicely recorded, but then after they get a moment to shine, they all must be clipped to heck because there's very little dynamics in any of the tracks I heard. All steady same level, scooped. Hard to listen to for extended periods.

    I was not able to get the same level of epic but articulately defined bass the pros could. Even with doubled up synth. I guess that's a thing to go look up.

    Thanks Franjoe30 but I’m really not feeling doing vocals anymore. I brought it to where I could which was still in the realm of (to be charitable) talkers rather than singers to the people listening, Waters, Bowie etc. which just cemented what I was thinking myself. Maybe if I can think of a situation that requires that, but these tracks are more beds for those that can. So instead I’m working on the things I can improve and realizing that you have to go back to the basics many times along the journey. Stuff you think you had down, you don’t in fact have down and it only looked like you had it down before because something else was masking the crutch.

    This one sounds particularly incomplete because last night though was more a case of just quickly throw something out then get out of the house for fresh air as a bottle off ammonia broke in the bathroom and I was feeling pretty woosy after cleaning it up and the place stank!

    Sounds great, very full pop rock ballad. You definitely don’t need much help, we’re just living in a time where marketing has cut out the middle man of the record company and so it costs artists a lot more to become a success than it ever did in the past.

    Feels like with a little heavier drums and slightly sparser arrangement you could be heading into RATM territory. Very interesting direction, cool track waraba !