#1
Hello folks. I am a singer-songwriter from New Zealand, and I am pretty frustrated, as I've recorded an EP worth of folk metal songs, but they just don't sound right. I know next to nothing about mastering, and my mixing techniques I've been making up as I go along. The EP is already up on Bandcamp, but I can replace them if needed (thanks Bancamp). Any advice or tips would be very much appreciated, be as harsh as needed (I am a perfectionist and not that sensitive). I will be more than happy to listen to your work in return, obviously I can't give much in terms of mixing/mastering, but I can say stuff like "nice support in your voice, maybe a little pitchy" or "nice bends", hahaha! (Although I will probably head to bed soon, so it will probably be a good 18 hours before I'm back on here, so I'm not ignoring any critique requests, I'm just probably at work or in bed).

Anyway, my voice, guitars, and the bass are real (fortunately). The drums are programmed (don't have access to a drum kit....or a drummer....or any of those expensive microphones you need to record them, hahaha.) The first one I will put up is called Leif Ericson, and I am putting it up first it is the one I am least happy with. To me, it sounds quiet, muffled, distant and kind of empty:

Leif Ericson

This one is called Fog On The Barrow-Downs. It just doesn't sound as heavy as I would like:

Fog On The Barrow-Downs

This one is called We Ride Away, it sounds a little....I don't know, is there too much bass?

We Ride Away

This one is called Trollmors Vuggesang (the words are actually a Scandinavian lullaby), I think this one sounds the best, but still not good enough, kind of hurts my ears for some reason:

Trollmors Vuggesang

Thank you!
#2
So, I listened to We Ride Away first. Good song.
Too much Bass, dull and woolly too. Need to clean it up and lower the level
Horrible distorted guitar - too many holes in it. Need to find some better way of getting a nicer sort of distortion on it - what did you use?
Difficult to tell what it is that is wrong with the vocals but they are very wrong; in tune (for once on these sites) but I think the EQ and compression need serious work.
Mixing - sounds is if you just set it up and let it play without any automation. Need to adjust the guitar parts to allow the voice to come over.
#3
Fog on the Barrow-Downs
This is really quite good. Better than We Ride Away.
Does it really need to be heavier for what it is?

Distorted guitar sound is much better than We Ride Away
Suggest you find some sharper drum sounds and work on the EQ - especially of the kick
Needs a tighter bass sound
Again - vocal EQ and compression but try adding some reverb to the clean bits
It needs dynamic mixing.
#5
Trollmors:
I think you have overloaded something - you have digital distortion on your introduction (and all the loud bits) and it sounds dreadful. I think it may be the bass track or the whole mix. You need to track and mix with enough headroom to prevent this.
#6
So, I listened to We Ride Away first. Good song.


Thank you!

Too much Bass, dull and woolly too. Need to clean it up and lower the level
Horrible distorted guitar - too many holes in it. Need to find some better way of getting a nicer sort of distortion on it - what did you use?


I used the emulated output from my Blackstar amplifier - unfortunately that's the best I have to work with as the only microphone I have is an SM58. Perhaps my tone settings are off - my settings are 7 for treble and bass, 4 for mids, my distortion sits at 6. But I used this for all the songs.

Difficult to tell what it is that is wrong with the vocals but they are very wrong; in tune (for once on these sites) but I think the EQ and compression need serious work.


Okay, I'll have a look, I had to use quite a bit of compression on them because they were all over the place in terms of volume, hahaha, but I didn't actually use any EQ-ing for them or any of my vocals (naughty huh), I don't really know what I am doing in terms of EQ and most YouTube videos on the matter go over my head, haha. Any idea about what sort of EQ work they need?

Mixing - sounds is if you just set it up and let it play without any automation. Need to adjust the guitar parts to allow the voice to come over.


It needs dynamic mixing.


Sorry for sounding a bit dim, but what do you mean by automation and dynamic mixing?

Trollmors:
I think you have overloaded something - you have digital distortion on your introduction (and all the loud bits) and it sounds dreadful. I think it may be the bass track or the whole mix. You need to track and mix with enough headroom to prevent this.


Sorry for sounding a bit dim again, but what do you mean by digital distortion? Anyway, thanks for giving them a listen and for the feedback, I'll try to see what I can do!
#7
Hello there.

I'm no expert - but hopefully I can say something of use.

First off - this is really cool. I like the tracks themselves. Your vocals are awesome and suit the genre perfectly. The layering of them works really well too.

So on to the more specific elements:

Leif Ericson

This doesnt sound too bad mix wise. The vocals are generally well mixed, although a little uneven in places. The rhythm guitar is a bit too heavy on the low end and sounds a little dull. You could try adding some high-mids to it. The lead parts sound ok. The drums sound ok, although some more punch on the kick and snare would be good. How to achieve this varies slightly depending on the rest of the track but perhaps some eq to pick out the attack of the kick (maybe around 2.5Khz) and some parallel compression.

Fog on The Barrow Downs

This sounded clearer on the guitar front. I would suggest that the vocals could use some reverb/delay. I usually try this by routing it to a stereo bus. The toms get a little lost but it isnt too bad. Overall this is not bad sounding at all - I wouldnt be disappointed if I did a mix like this.

We Ride Away

Again - this doesnt bad. The verse guitar is a little lost and could with bringing up a bit in the mix. Otherwise same as for Fog on the barrow Downs.

Trollmors Vuggesang

Cool idea. The verse sounds fine - your nordic style accenting sounds pretty cool. I agree with what was said before - it sounds like something is clipping and causing digital distortion somewhere. This is a simple matter of something being too loud - once it goes over 0db in the digital world you get distortion (deformation of the sound wave). It could be one instrument or the whole mix. Otherwise it sounds like it would be quite good.


Generally....
You could try sticking your SM58 in front of the guitar cab t record - you may get a surprisingly good result.

Automation is generally using the DAW to change the levels of your tracks as it plays. So when you have an uneven vocal performance most DAWs have a function to allow you t draw in gain automation to increase a decrease the level to compensate. It takes a while to draw in but it means you dont need to use high compression settings which wold squash the sound.

If you want to develop mixing skills then I would suggest googling around a lot. Read stuff here on UG, on gear slutz, any recording forum about tips on compression, eq etc. There is a wealth of information on it. I have proven that reading about it doesnt make you good at it (have a listen to one of my tracks and you'll see what I mean ), but like any art it is about practice.

I hope some of the above helps.

If you fancy hearing my stuff, heres my latest track

Cheers
Last edited by RabidBadger at Jul 25, 2015,
#8
Adam Amigo,
"Leif Ericson": Sounds metal & folk, so I get the folk metal genre you called it (jaunty!). I don't hear this genre often, so it is a breath of fresh air. Perhaps a person can head bang & do a jig at the same time. Vocals are rather good, nice harmonies. I could picture this in a musical play or movie. Audio quality is pretty good to me. Everything is good, I like it! Please review my music at this link:

https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?p=33516442#post33516442
Last edited by aaron aardvark at Jul 25, 2015,