#1
On many of my mixes Ive noticed that they exhibit a lot of dullness when I compare to sample mixes that I am going for, and I cant quite figure out what is causing it. I think it may be guitars or my drum overheads, but it seema like a bigger issue than just one instrument.

Here is a track I am working on: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ha0qmlcgy3kb5rg/Story%20of%20My%20Life.mp3?dl=0
Its very Rise Against-y sounding for most of the song, so naturally I have been comparing my mix to theirs. Lets use Entertainment as an example: http://youtu.be/bk2-AtpAPfc I noticed that mine is much duller, and perhaps even hollow sounding in comparison.

Some things about my mix: guitars are double tracked and panned 100%, they have high pass to 100ish, and they have a wide boost around 3000hz a couple db, recorded with an engl powerball, carvin v30 cab and sm57, with a rme babyface interface.
The drums are from ezdrummer; the kick, snare and toms have a parallel track that has heavy compression and some saturation.
The track isnt fully mastered; there is a compressor on the master track that is doing about 2db of compression to glue everything, and there is a limiter to bring the volume up doing at most 2-3db of limiting. I usually add an exciter and/or an overall treble booat to my tracks, but im not there yet (ans it usually doesnt resolve dullness)
Any tips would be hugely appreciated
Thanks!
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#2
Sounds like your bass end is way too heavy, not sure what it could be, probably guitar eq being smeared with the bass guitar also competing in that same region. You need to chisel out more space for your instruments.

Best and fastest way to learn it would be this guy's book:
http://www.systematicproductions.com/mixing-guide.htm

BTW some of these rolls are very fake, so you could tell it is drum machine, maybe use some of the preprogrammed EZDrummer rolls as these are BAD.

If you like, PM me, I'll take a quick crack at the mix, will be happy to provide you with few pointers.
#3
Drums sound very programmed.
Veeery programmed.

Stop compressing the single instruments so much.
Roll off the bass guitar at 40Hz with a 2nd or 3rd order lcf.
Raise the drums.
Use more compression on the master bus but roll off the lows at around 100Hz in the sidechain.
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#4
Quote by diabolical
Sounds like your bass end is way too heavy, not sure what it could be, probably guitar eq being smeared with the bass guitar also competing in that same region. You need to chisel out more space for your instruments.

Best and fastest way to learn it would be this guy's book:
http://www.systematicproductions.com/mixing-guide.htm

BTW some of these rolls are very fake, so you could tell it is drum machine, maybe use some of the preprogrammed EZDrummer rolls as these are BAD.

If you like, PM me, I'll take a quick crack at the mix, will be happy to provide you with few pointers.


Yea the drums are only preliminary. I work with a drummer who is good at writing and making midi more realistic- ill shoot you a pm
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#5
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Drums sound very programmed.
Veeery programmed.

Stop compressing the single instruments so much.
Roll off the bass guitar at 40Hz with a 2nd or 3rd order lcf.
Raise the drums.
Use more compression on the master bus but roll off the lows at around 100Hz in the sidechain.


The only instrument that I used compression directly on was the bass guitar, which I figured was pretty standard. The drums have parallel compression on just the kick toms and snare, but its mixed into the drums just to add some oomph. The actual pieces dont have comp. Guitars arent compressed at all.
Bass guitar already has a hpf at 31 hz. I forot to mention that. I can raise it, but i dont think that will solve the hollow dull sound; maybe idk.
And when you say use more compression on the master bus, are you talking about the drum master, or the master for the whole track? I dont have a sidechain for the master track for the song. (? Sorry i am confused about that). And yea the drums are robotic right now (perfect timing and velocity), but that shouldnt make the track sound dull (as if there is a blanket over the speaker); it just makes the drums sound less dynamic if they are over programmed
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#6
Quick mastering, applied eq, some exciter and spacial effects (room IR verb), as well as a bit of eq beefing in few places, I think it sounds a lot more open:
https://soundcloud.com/descentintomadness/story-of-my-life-quick-master
#7
Quote by diabolical
Quick mastering, applied eq, some exciter and spacial effects (room IR verb), as well as a bit of eq beefing in few places, I think it sounds a lot more open:
https://soundcloud.com/descentintomadness/story-of-my-life-quick-master


This link wont work . Private?
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#9
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Should've been able to hear it, I'll make it public for a few hours.

You have to generate a special code to share a private track, it's in the share button under the waveform.
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#10
Quote by diabolical
Should've been able to hear it, I'll make it public for a few hours.


Still not working. Maybe try dropbox or something
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#12
Quote by diabolical


Not bad- definitely better than what mine was. Still doesnt sound quite as peppy as the rise against mix, but im not sure if maybe there are more guitars or something. I think I probably should have micd my guitars right on the center of the cone because they dont seem to have nearly enough high end. And my bass guitar doesnt have the grind that theirs has. Not sure what good vsts would be for that kind of sound. I recorded my bass direct in and im using tse bod and ampeg cab sims.

Would you be able to give me a more in depth summary of your master chain? What freqs did you boost, how much, Q, what exciter did you use, settings, and a reverb on the master(? Thats a new one for me)

EDIT: I was reading into the light reverb on the master- cool concept
Anywho- I wanted to take a stab at making it sound better sort of following what you described and also what I usually do. I went ahead and modified my mix a bit (added a good amount of high end to guitars to more closely simulate miccing the center cone, raised HPF on guitars to around 120, gave bass guitar more presence, tried to make the snare rolls sound a little cleaner) and then I also setup my master chain which included compression, multiband comp, eq (boost at around 3000hz and 60hz and slight cut at 600hz), an exciter with only about 4.5% mix in with a 5% drive for frequencies 2000hz and up, then a brickwall to catch some wild transients, slight room reverb, and then my final limiter to bring the volume up and do some slight limiting.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/rec46dqp5lxuzj7/Story%20of%20My%20Life%20%28Excited%29.mp3?dl=0
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Last edited by Watterboy at Jun 24, 2015,
#13
Your guitars sound fine, mixing them against the rest is what isn't, still quite a lot of low end information that muddies up the kick and bass, which is mainly what my eq took out. You'll also notice that the other comp brings that back a bit but with a trick, some extra saturation and is working on the extension of the signal, it kicks in at 2.5ms, thus thickening after the initial "hit" of the kick in that region, compressing and saturating it somewhat as well.

Then I created a little extra space with the IR room and exciter, notice that both are very lite and just for a touch of space and color.


The final limiter is where I could go more aggressive and it will sound probably closer to your target band, in this case I didn't.

Here are photos of what I did on the "mastering":



#14
On to bass...

I use my Boss 880 Dr. Rhythm drum machine which also has a built in buitar processor, there is a setting called "Rock Bass" that does thicken, widen and pull the bass to the front. I mix that along with the DI.

When I don't want that and want to use another sound, I pretty much do a DI and then a mangled bass signal, bussed to the same sub-bus which then hits the master bus as one.
I usually put limiter and maybe some compression to gel it all together.

You can try these:
http://www.voxengo.com/group/free-vst-plugins/

TubeAmp + Boogex cabinet plugin, shoot for a Cliff Burton or early Chronos (bassist from Venom) overdriven bass sound, then mix that low just so it provides a bit of a foundation, shave off the lows completely, so filter everything under 200hz out with eq. You can go even nuttier and squash the thing with a compressor. Remember - this is applied only a little as a foundation under the original clean bass line which you can compress and limit a touch to stand up. I then bus both of these to a sub-bus called bass where I limit them and do fader moves as needed, that way I only work with one track and once the several different bass tracks are set in levels I don't work with them, but only with the sub-bus.

Plenty of plugins, maybe try these as well:
http://rekkerd.org/frettedsynth-releases-freeamp3/

Grab the spectrum analyzer from Voxengo, unless you already have one so you can watch your signal, where your levels might be up a bit. If you see your bass peaking then most likely you'll need to cut the bass. Run a few reference tracks against it so you can watch what happens there.

Here are a few shots to give you an idea what I do from one of the songs I just finished:



My main signal is Amplitube Ampeq in this case, then I am widening it with tube overdrive sim, fuzzing the hell out of it, then delaying that by 15 miliseconds in order to stand out from my main signal, I kinda chose that by listening to what it does, some songs it is less, or a touch more...depends.

I then treat both signals to EQ and compression.
#15
Thanks for the pics man thats very helpful- i took another crack at it using some heavier mastering. I edited my post right before yours above. I dont have the best monitors for really hearing low end so mixing the kick and bass guitars is always a challenge. I Appreciate your time-
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#16
Caught up with your last post just now...The reason for the exciter was to use it as backward compression as I felt you hit compressor a bit hard on original mix.


Quote by Watterboy
I dont have the best monitors for really hearing low end so mixing the kick and bass guitars is always a challenge. I Appreciate your time-


That's where spectrum analisys helps, also headphones, even a cheap pair.

You're welcome! I'll take your song down now.

BTW finally listened to Rise Against, off the bat their drum mix is a lot darker/heavier than yours, you can eq EZDrummer, just spread out the outs to different channels and eq/compress to taste.

The guitar amps seem less distorted than what you had and the bass was with a rise in the mid, with some distortion like I mentioned, I would call that traditional punk distortion.
Last edited by diabolical at Jun 25, 2015,
#17
Listened to your last mix on my speakers with sub, your bass content still seems a bit exaggerated, bass guitar pops up more in the mix but decrease the 50-120 hz info a bit, by maybe 3db on the overall mix, maybe even 5db as the sub flaps. Otherwise balance seems good.
Last edited by diabolical at Jun 25, 2015,
#18
Quote by diabolical
Listened to your last mix on my speakers with sub, your bass content still seems a bit exaggerated, bass guitar pops up more in the mix but decrease the 50-120 hz info a bit, by maybe 3db on the overall mix, maybe even 5db as the sub flaps. Otherwise balance seems good.


Yea the bass guitar is definitely the weakest link in the chain right now. It has no grind to it and the lows are unruly despite the compression i put on it.

Maybe its because its my own mix and I cant listen to it completely unbiased, but it still sounds like its not nearly as full or hyped/excited as the rise against one. Granted, theirs was profesionally done, so i dont have folly expectations to replicate that from home. But its a curious thing to me
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#19
Theirs to me at least sounded like guitars were a blend of several amps, something was set on almost clean to bring up the crunch, like Vox AC30 or similar, then another sounded like Diezel or Mesa on full distortion, all captured with maybe 3 mics or something like that. You get the dimension that way on guitars.
To me their mix had faults too - the rhythm guitars were too high in the mix thus drowning the vocalist, which was probably artistic decision as the vocalist wasn't the strongest point of the band.
If you have DI track with guitar, try an AC30 simulation on almost dry and mix it in lightly on each guitar...or overdub another track for each guitar side and go for bright short crunch sound, kinda like on Judas Priest's "Sad Wings of Destiny" album type of guitar sound mixed in with your current distorted sound.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zw8Pnu4Ro6A

Do you have multicomp plugin? Try playing around with that and suppress the lows on the bass a bit then bring up volume of all. Another useful plugin is CamelPhat, try that on bass, it is OD + compression.
Last edited by diabolical at Jun 25, 2015,