• Remix - Tiago's Broken Hearts (Completed and with mix overview)
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« Last Edit: August 02, 2017, 11:39:30 by Jambrains »
It all started here: https://www.songwriter-forum-kitchen.com/forum/collaborations/21/mixproductionmaster-service-for-kitcheners-tiago-won-the-free-production/3232/

Once the dust had settled @Tiago.Mendes.Rodrigues song Broken Hearts was chosen for a remix and this is the threat where the work will be documented and the new mix discussed, questions asked and answered etc.

So, the raw tracks I got were:
The usual drum tracks i.e. kick/snare/HH/Ride/Toms/Crash but no OH or room mics
Bass guitar
Guitar (1 track only  :o)
Piano
Hammond
Two synth pad tracks
1 lead vocals track
2 BV vocals track
1 string track

After listening to the original mix and the individual tracks I drew up my battle plan
- There are some seriously good vocals in there but they are totally drown in the original mix.
Mission: bring them forth!

- The drums in the original mix are a bit unbalanced to the point where one can only hear some of the kit pieces.
Mission: balance the drums so that it is perceived as a drum kit and not a few parts of one

- There is only one guitar track but that one track have loads of distortion and reverb and thus takes up lots of sonic space
Mission: tame the guitar to give space for the other parts as well

The mix is very dense with piano, a hammond pad, two synth pad and guitars and most of the time they are all playing at the same time creating a "wall of sound"
Mission: thin the mix out a bit to give some air and separation

Today I made a first version of the new mix, still needs work but I think it is overall more or less where I want it to be. I changes the mood of the song a bit so @Tiago.Mendes.Rodrigues may not like it but I did make a disclaimer about me mixing after my own head  ;D

So here is the original mix
https://soundcloud.com/tiagomendesrodrigues/broken-hearts?in=tiagomendesrodrigues/sets/winters-pale-light

And the first draft of the new mix
https://soundcloud.com/jambrains/broken-hearts-v1/s-DrTbP

I will start to outline what I have done so far in the mix in this tread asap but please feel free to comment or ask questions in the meantime.

/JB
Let man's petty nations tear themselves apart
My land's only borders lie around my heart


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Re: Remix - Tiago's Broken Hearts
Reply #1 on: July 12, 2017, 23:59:24
Ow yes, excellent analysis @Jambrains , mix/production-wise this makes a big difference imo. The seperation of instruments is better defined, I can now hear all individual instruments/kit-pieces. @Tiago.Mendes.Rodrigues , great song man, well done!
JB, I had trouble hearing the vocal shine in Tiago's mix, you definately improved the audability in your mix (I assume your first attempt was panning, dial in the faders (maybe some automation) and EQ-ing/basic compression) .
I think the levels are fine now! I'm curious 'if' and if so 'how' you're going to beef up those vocals!
Very nice work and I'm following with all interest!
Great work and again thanks for your kind offer!
Cheers!
:mart:


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Re: Remix - Tiago's Broken Hearts
Reply #2 on: July 13, 2017, 02:03:24
Excellent job with this mix @Jambrains ...........kudos to you for ruthlessly following your vision.  ;)

@Tiago.Mendes.Rodrigues .......this is a great song. I really like hearing your voice now. This mix can only polish what is already there.

I can't wait to hear the end result.
"The main thing is to have a gutsy approach....but use your head." Julia Child

 "In a world of robotic conformity, the only originality left in music is the imperfections" Eric Craptone

"Special thanks to Steve Gleason for making me who I am today." Leonard Scaper

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Re: Remix - Tiago's Broken Hearts
Reply #3 on: July 13, 2017, 11:40:58
« Last Edit: July 13, 2017, 11:46:13 by Tiago.Mendes.Rodrigues »


Re: Remix - Tiago's Broken Hearts
Reply #4 on: July 13, 2017, 11:44:37
@Jaimbrains Thanks a lot... This it's certainly good to understain my own mistakes!!!

I'm Curious on the final mix of course... And it's true, it looks like we may have a different point o f view,
so I want you to feel free to use or not use parts of the arrangement. Don't want you to feel block in anyway!

Thanks a lot


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Re: Remix - Tiago's Broken Hearts
Reply #5 on: July 14, 2017, 12:48:45
@Jambrains that sounds very clear in the new version, draft fo the new mix, the vocals are nice and clear
very sweet ::thumb::
but...i am wondering about the drums, it sounds a bit to me like the music is sort of stalling a bit....i think this is what you want and what is in the song, it gives a nice ballad feel...but....at a certain point i would like it to 'flow on' a bit more

but the instruments and vocals all sound very good  ::headphone:: ::headphone::
me, myself, and Pie


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Re: Remix - Tiago's Broken Hearts
Reply #6 on: July 18, 2017, 16:40:59
OK, draft 2, getting closer I think :-)
https://soundcloud.com/jambrains/broken-hearts-v2/s-UTFmO

Since @Tiago.Mendes.Rodrigues gave me his blessing to modify the arrangement I have done so, mainly to create a build up as well as some more variation during the course of the song.
Still some levels to fine tune i.e. the too prominent strings and too low drums in the final chorus and the bass may be a tad to up front overall (but I'm not sure..).

I'm still trying too figure out how to document this. Would like to make a video but have not yet figure out how to get both the song and my comment (through the mic) captured together with the screen.

@Dutchbeat: re the drums: are you referring to the sound of them (that I can modify) or the playing of then (that I cannot modify)?

I hope to be back soon with some documentation  ;D


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Re: Remix - Tiago's Broken Hearts
Reply #7 on: July 18, 2017, 17:09:25
@Jambrains, i was referring to the playing / timing of the drums, not the sound
(sorry if that was off topic  :P :P :P, but i thought you perhaps we also adding or redoing some instruments)

just a minor that came up to me while listening


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Re: Remix - Tiago's Broken Hearts
Reply #8 on: July 22, 2017, 02:42:37
Hey @Jambrains , that sounds sooo good! @Tiago.Mendes.Rodrigues , listen!!
JB, I'm not sure (listening through my headphones right now), I'll check on other systems, the bass might be a tad to loud in the lows. That's all.
You're certainly getting close to commercial levels imo.. wow!!
:mart:


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OK, so here is the final version:
https://soundcloud.com/jambrains/broken-hearts/s-3GO8z

I gave up on trying to make a video so below is an overview of the mix, please feel free to ask any questions and I'll try to elaborate.

Firstly, this is not just an alternativ mix. Since @Tiago.Mendes.Rodrigues was kind enough to give me chart blanc I also made some changes to the arrangement or more precisely, I have removed parts here and there but not added anything or moved anything around.

DRUMS:
Kick: FabFilter MB (Multiband compressor) with just one band (60 - 250 Hz) of moderate 4:1 compression
        A slight (2db) cut at ~5kHz to get just a little less 'click'
        Since the kick lacked a little low end I also used Waves RBass in the 60Hz region

Snare: Waves RComp 2:1, threshhold set so average gain reduction is about 6db
           FabFilter Q: almost 6db boost at 130Hz, almost 5db cut around 500Hz and a very slight boost a around 5500Hz

Ride:  Waves RComp: set to give a 2db gain reduction, brings out the 'ping' of the ride

The rest of the drum channels are unprocessed and all of them are routed to a bus so I can control the overall level of the complete kit. On that bus there is also an instance of FabFilters MB set up with 5 bands, some compression and some expanding, set for just a subtle effect

BASS:

Waves BassRider to even out the levels ("ride the fader")
Waves RComp set to tame the peaks, max 5db
A bass amp sim called SubDub from the Line6 Pod Farm

VOCALS:

Lead vocals
Waves Vocal Rider, partly to tame the peaks but mainly to bring up the softer parts, typically in the end of phrases

FabFilter Pro: High Pass filter cutting below 100 Hz, a 4db cut around 400Hz ("boxiness") and a slight (1db) boost from 5.5kHz and up ("shimmer")

Waves RComp: 3.5:1 ratio, set to give about 3db gain reduction db most

Red EQ from Acustica (Free!). My secret weapon, I use in not so much for the eq as for the warmth/fatness it gives when cranking the input so it "overloads".  Boost at 1.8kHz and 8kHz

De-esser
Then sent to a bus for vocals (BV will go there as well)

Also sending the vocal to an aux where I have a TC-Electronics M40 Reverb, set to a hall type reverb (low and high eq cut)
 
Backing Vocals (two tracks)
Both BV tracks are left untreated but sent to a common BV bus that is processed as:

ProQ: High pass @160Hz and a hefty boost (10db!!) @3kHZ

Waves RComp: 4:1 ratio but threshold set to really squash it, gives around 10db gain reduction

Cubase Cloner: adds to artificial voices slightly delayed and detuned

De-esser

A1 Stereo Control, widens steroe image and enures everything below 250HZ is mono

This BV sent to the same vocal bus as the lead vox

Vocals Bus (summing lead and BV)
FabFilter MB, two bands 170-1.3kHZ and 5kHz-18KHz

HAMMOND
Only eq but rather extreme to fit it in the mix. High pass @400, 6db cut at 400Hz, 3db boost at 1.3kHz and high shelf at 4kHz (16db!)

PIANO
I copied the piano track to get two identical tracks but processed differently. The one I call "Full" is used in the parts where the piano is more or less alone and the "Thin" track is used where the mix is more crowded i.e. the chorus:

Full:
IK Multimedia's Vintage Compressor 670: some 3db gain reduction

ProQ: High pass @100Hz, almost 5 db cut around 250Hz, a narrow cut at @750Hz and a wider one at 2kHz. Finally a 5db high shelf at 7kHz

The RED Eq again, overdriven for wamth but also extreme (+16db) boost at 1.8kHa and 8kHz

A touch of chorus (17% wet)

Sent to the same reverb as the vocals

Thin:
ProQ: High pass @150Hz, 6db narrow cut at 300Hz, wide 3db boost at 900Hz and same high shelf as above

FabFilter MB, 3 band, compressing the lowest of them and expanding the others

SYNTHS:
More or less just high passed to clean up the low end, one of them has some narrow cuts where I found unpleasant peaks
Both sent to a bus for overall adjustment

CLEAN GUITAR
Used the unprocessed DI track I got

High pass @120Hz, 3db boost att @280 and 3db cut at 1.6kHz

Some more eq at the end, high pass at @400Hz, cut at @450Hz and boost at 1.5KHz

Run through Pad Farm (and AC-30 simulation)

IKMultimedia Classic Multi Band Limiter mainly limiting below @200Hz.

Sent to a slap delay bus panned to the opposite side

DISTORTED GUITAR
Used the unprocessed DI track I got
Dobled it to get two identical tracks and panned then on each side and then processed differently

Dist 1
Low pass @120, slight boost at 1.28kHz

Waves RAxx compressor to even it out

Run through BIAS AMP simulator

Dist 2, same as the first one but run through Pod Farm amp sim

Both routed to a group with
High pass @300Hz, 7db cut @490 and 2db at 1.85kHz

FabFilter Pro MB , two bands, expanding lows, compressing highs

IKMultimedia Classic Multi Band Limiter mainly limiting the highs

RED EQ again, saturate and boost low and highs, cut mid

A1 Stereo Control, widens stereo image and ensures everything below 250HZ is mono

STRINGS
High pass @110Hz

FABFIlter Pro MB, compressing two bands, 160-600HZ and 1.7 to 6.8 kH<z

Waves Vitamin, sonic enhancer to add some "sparkle"

Sent to the same reverb as the vocals and others

MASTER BUS
FabFilter ProQ: Mid/Side mode.

Side: HP @280, high shelf @8kHz
Mid: H @40
Both: small cut att 1kHz

FabFilter PRo MB: 4 bands

RED EQ again :-)

Slight touch of Cubase Reverence reverb LA Studio setting (yes, on the master bus!)

IKMultimedia Brickwall Limiter


Thanks A lot Jambrains!!!

Hope You enjoyed the process


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« Last Edit: August 02, 2017, 18:18:02 by Dutchbeat »
The vocals sound fantastic in my ears, and great how the (combined) vocals in chorus get a sort of epic and majestic feel. I love how the piano sounds too (fantastic!) and that string sound coming in somewhere past the middle in the song in my left ear ::headphone:: ::headphone:: ::headphone::

this sounds good to me @Jambrains and @Tiago.Mendes.Rodrigues  ::thumb:: ::thumb::

i still have trouble with the drumbeat stil a bit, i mean the pattern not the sound of it mixwise. I know this is just me, but it keeps in my ears hinting on...ok...now we are going to let it flow....and then it doesn't....well it does create tension...but for me at a certain point it could just have a more constant flow at a certain point..

listening again, yes, i think the drum pattern is clever, but at a certain point for me it sort of stalls the flow to stick to that (very orginally timed snares and kicks) interval like drum pattern

but actually, the track / the mix  ::thumb:: sounds great to me  ::thumb:: ::thumb:: ::thumb:: ::thumb:: ::thumb::





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Thanks A lot Jambrains!!!

Hope You enjoyed the process

My pleasure @Tiago.Mendes.Rodrigues, I enjoyed it immensely.
I think this is a prime example of how big a part the production is in the creative process.
To me the two mixes are more like two different songs with completely different vibes.
My guess is that you still prefer your own mix since it is more in line with your artistic vision, right?

Cheers!
/JB


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The vocals sound fantastic in my ears, and great how the (combined) vocals in chorus get a sort of epic and majestic feel. I love how the piano sounds too (fantastic!) and that string sound coming in somewhere past the middle in the song in my left ear ::headphone:: ::headphone:: ::headphone::

this sounds good to me @Jambrains and @Tiago.Mendes.Rodrigues  ::thumb:: ::thumb::

i still have trouble with the drumbeat stil a bit, i mean the pattern not the sound of it mixwise. I know this is just me, but it keeps in my ears hinting on...ok...now we are going to let it flow....and then it doesn't....well it does create tension...but for me at a certain point it could just have a more constant flow at a certain point..

listening again, yes, i think the drum pattern is clever, but at a certain point for me it sort of stalls the flow to stick to that (very orginally timed snares and kicks) interval like drum pattern

but actually, the track / the mix  ::thumb:: sounds great to me  ::thumb:: ::thumb:: ::thumb:: ::thumb:: ::thumb::

Thanks @Dutchbeat, and I agree the vocals sound fab, both performance and production and the vocals was the key element for me. I had no idea the vocals were so good until I heard the raw tracks.
And I totally agree with you re the drums but programming new drums was (though very tempting) a bit out of scoop for this project.  ;D


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Hey Johan! What a fantastic job, and such an incredible amount of detail in
your description of what you did! I replayed the mix to monitor each individual
stem and the processing you've done.

I've been suffering from hearing problems last 3(!!) months, due to my 'tube
of eustachian' not functioning properly and a non-stoppable cold that kept
keeping that tube from functioning again. Happily I'm almost back at 'normal',
which is that the pressure on both side of the eardrums is the same again,
happily for both my left and right ear, I'm starting to trust my own judgement
on productions again, but I may still be off a bit, so be nice to me ;-)
Starting by stating that this sounds like an excellent mix to me, I only found 2
pointers:

Lead vocal
I missed the presence of the leadvocal a bit. I read you used the
RedEQ for those 2 boosts at 1,8kHz and 5.5k. I guess the 'presence' will be
between 1k and 2k in this case and that boosting the FabEQ there a few dB's
will add that presence. Not sure, but trying = knowing haha.

Master
White noise... I hear noise being amplified by the compression processes in the
ending of the song, which will probably mean the whole mix could be a bit cleaner
if you can find (and treat) the source of that noise.

Now the other parts that caught my attention in a very positive way:

Drums
They sit in the mix perfectly.. Kick sounds rich, snare is 'big' enough.
Cymbals sound like velvet, but are crisp and clear. I love that ride for example
at 1'08. Catches the attention just at the right moment. Well done!!

Bass
Yes! Perfectly 'round', not too much lows, enough presence in the mids. Perfect
to me!

Piano: well done! Piano's have a broad frequency range, and I love the approach
to 'thin' that sound at the times the mix is 'busy' as in: a lot of instruments
playing all together.

Clean and distorted guitars
Respect for the way you subtly mixed them in, they have that presence, but not
too much imo. Well done.. The splitting the dist sound sending it to 2 different
routes works excellent here..

Strings
Well done, not too much, can be easilly overdone.

Master:
Haha why is it strange to use reverb on the master bus? This helps glueing all
together like it's played in the same space, I use (just a little bit) at all
times! Just a tad is enough, it should be not noticable, unless you leave it
out. And this is just subtle enough.

Just like @Leonard Scaper you seem to have done a great job in context of
loudness as well, I didn't have the feel anything was overcompressed or limited.
The mix sounds full and rich to me!

@Tiago.Mendes.Rodrigues I hope You enjoyed listening to this beauty! Just
compared it to the original and I love the improvements achieved here..
@Jambrains shall we do another round?

Cheers!
:mart: