This is one of four songs that I'm gearing up to market. My goal is a mix that is suitable for mastering. I'd appreciate you critiques, comments and suggestions regarding both the composition and the mix. The one problem I have is getting it loud enough. I need advice about that as well. The second one (2.3 MB) is my fourth edit based on the comments I received.

Beyond Beauty.mp3

Beyond Beauty.mp3

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  • Sounds like a fusion of Jazz and Disco. Very 80s sounding. Cool mix. I have to agree with Ray. All I hear is the bass, the mids and the highs are lost throughout the piece. I don't know VST so I can offer no advice on how to proceed other than to see that the equalization need a little ramping up in the mids and highs. Just to give you an example of what I did to really make it sound great on my system here are the frequency and dB adjustments I made using a digital envelope equalizer in Sound Forge: at 20 Hz pushed dB down -3 at 80 Hz left dB at 0 at 320 Hz pushed dB up +6 at 1.3 kHz pushed dB up +6 at 5.1 kHz pushed dB up +18 at 20 kHz pushed dB up +18 Now since this is an envelope equalizer all the frequencies in between the adjustments I made were adjusted automatically in a line between the points I put above. So for example all frequencies between 20 Hz and 80 Hz start at -3 dB and scale in a line to 0 dB at 80 Hz. Then from 80 Hz to 320 Hz all frequencies in between scale from 0 dB at 80 Hz to 6 dB at 320 Hz and so forth. Here is a graphic screenshot of the EQ Envelope I used:

    PS: You may want to consider creating your original recording in stereo and use at least 16-bit / 44.1 kHz recording and use at least 128 bit-rate when encoding your MP3 file. And here is the end resulting MP3 so you can hear what that adjustment did:

    BeyondBeautyEdit.mp3

    https://storage.ning.com/topology/rest/1.0/file/get/8608020090?profile=original
  • Thanks for your comments, Ray. I was trying to make the bass thump. Guess I want too far.

    Also, Reaper has lots of Fx plug-ins, and I uploaded some reverb WAV files from online. But I tried to keep the Fx simple (reverb, compression and EQ). I figured less is more because I don't really know what I'm doing (yet). :~)

    Oh--you cracked me up with that four on the floor comment!

    Ray Kemp said:
    Hey Deborah,

    We're at the Disco giving it four on the floor.
    First thing is how muddy the mix is. Needs more middle and high frequency.
    The stereo image seems a bit narrow also.
    If you don't have many vst fx plugins you could try these
    ANTRESS MODERN PLUGINS

    Learning how to use them is another story :-)
    My First Real Mix: "Beyond Beauty"
    This is one of four songs that I'm gearing up to market. My goal is a mix that is suitable for mastering. I'd appreciate you critiques, comments and…
  • Thanks, Jason. I'm going to try to replicate what you did. I basically have eq on each track. I found a chart of instruments and their optimum frequency ranges.
    Jason Ward said:
    Sounds like a fusion of Jazz and Disco. Very 80s sounding. Cool mix. I have to agree with Ray. All I hear is the bass, the mids and the highs are lost throughout the piece. I don't know VST so I can offer no advice on how to proceed other than to see that the equalization need a little ramping up in the mids and highs. Just to give you an example of what I did to really make it sound great on my system here are the frequency and dB adjustments I made using a digital envelope equalizer in Sound Forge:


    at 20 Hz pushed dB down -3
    at 80 Hz left dB at 0
    at 320 Hz pushed dB up +6
    at 1.3 kHz pushed dB up +6
    at 5.1 kHz pushed dB up +18
    at 20 kHz pushed dB up +18

    Now since this is an envelope equalizer all the frequencies in between the adjustments I made were adjusted automatically in a line between the points I put above. So for example all frequencies between 20 Hz and 80 Hz start at -3 dB and scale in a line to 0 dB at 80 Hz. Then from 80 Hz to 320 Hz all frequencies in between scale from 0 dB at 80 Hz to 6 dB at 320 Hz and so forth.

    Here is a graphic screenshot of the EQ Envelope I used:


    PS: You may want to consider creating your original recording in stereo and use at least 16-bit / 44.1 kHz recording and use at least 128 bit-rate when encoding your MP3 file.

    And here is the end resulting MP3 so you can hear what that adjustment did:
    My First Real Mix: "Beyond Beauty"
    This is one of four songs that I'm gearing up to market. My goal is a mix that is suitable for mastering. I'd appreciate you critiques, comments and…
  • Definitely there is lack of high frequencies on the whole track. Try to experiment with various position of each instrument in the stereo space. Reverb also will add more space. Kick needs more presence and attenuation on lower frequencies around 40-80 Hz. To make sure that there is no problem with your monitoring setup, listen to your track on other stereo systems.

    Regarding the volume, try to maximize your track, remember that too much low end (below 40Hz) will not make too much audible difference , but take up a lot of the energy.

    Regards
  • Hi Debs! Great composition for what it is, but it's badly mixed. Ok, you've reset the eq frequencies, but you should have reset them differently for each instrument. That synthy brass chorus still needs more high, but there is to much on the percussion. Also, turn up the bass guitar as it's a nice sound but gets lost. The cymbal is way too loud and tinny, so bring it down and reduce the high frequency. If you're having problems getting it loud enough, you're probably using too much compression where none is needed.

    This music is exactly the same style as a couple of instrumentals on Alan Parsons' album "Stereotomy". If you can get hold of it, have a listen and try and mimic the fidelity. There's not not much wrong wth Mr Parsons' mixing abilities. He engineered "Dark Side of the Moon".
  • Thanks, Simon. I appreciate your comments. I probably should use a different type of equalizer, my DAW has a plugin for one similar to what Jason used above, but the complexity of applying it to the whole mix from scratch made my head swim. I'm using instrument frequency charts to guide me and then just picking a number in each instrument's range as a high, mid or low starting point, and applying gain in a 3- or 4-band equalizer until I get something I like (and I haven't really developed the ear for this yet).

    Anyway, thanks again for your insights.
  • No. It's more like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=An9Iz56hAos
  • Craig: You are an audio god!!! Thank you so much. The second version above has been replaced with a new one that contains the changes you suggested. This is probably not a perfect mix, but it's lightyears away from the initial mix, because of the suggestions of you and others on this forum. I've learned so much this weekend (and lost lots of sleep, been up for nearly 24 hours working on this). :~)

    Craig Hopkinson said:
    Hi Deborah,
    Is by choice that the kick is panned right? If you centralise the kick it would drive the song better and free up some of the stereo space for the other sounds to sit in, because in this mix the kick energy is masking other musical events. I recommend a sidechain compression effect between the kick and the bass to create an illusion of pumping, sounds techy but it really isnt too complicated. Reaper must have an onboard set up for this technique. Ask around.
    The brass gestures need to be doubled and with higher velocities with more tone emphasis on their phrase 'call and response' , go for big bright resonant blocks of sound a la Peter Gabriel Sledgehammer horn intro.
    I love the string treatment, for me, that;s so right. The decorative elements may find more of a presence when the sounds are better placed in the stereo field, however, I feel the piece needs to breakdown to give the listener some distraction and tonal interest.

    As a piece it could work really well, all the elements are in there for sure. Hope this is useful. Good luck and thanks for the share.

    Peace.
    Craig.
  • Haha! Yes, I've definitely had many sleepless nights in my studio experimenting with both composing and mixing. It is a very enjoyable way to spend time and the hours can very quickly melt away. Sounding much better Deborah, keep punching away at it.
  • That's much better Debs. You've really grabbed the bull by the horns. I would still bring down the volume on the synth brass though. They're a bit invasive.
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