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Old 02-20-2024, 04:33 PM   #1
Dream Of Sleeping
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Default I'm having trouble with the vocal level on this song I would be grateful for advice

The song https://soundcloud.com/dreamofsleepi...shouldforgetme

Mix 2 https://soundcloud.com/dreamofsleepi...orget-me-mix-2

Mix 4 https://soundcloud.com/dreamofsleepi...orget-me-mix-4

Mix 5 final mix https://soundcloud.com/dreamofsleepi...shouldforgetme

edit: I appreciate the help of those who took the time and I realize I brought this on myself, but honestly I kind of regret asking for help, and in future I'm just going to make it sound good to me. I'm not checking this thread again, because it's causing more confusion than it is helping. One person telling the vocals are too loud, then the next they are too quiet! Also after a conversaion I found out that Radiohead themselves couldn't post a mix here without it being pulled to pieces! It sounds good to me now so I'm done.


The piano is louder than the vocals according to the meters. On headphones it sounds like I can't really afford to lower the vocals. On little tiny speakers it sounds kind of like the voice is on top of the piano. On my big speakers it sounds how I like it. I do want a nice clear vocals but hopefully not so it sounds too loud for the music.

I'm just wondering how the vocal level sounds to you? I often have this problem with the piano and voice.

Last edited by Dream Of Sleeping; 02-23-2024 at 05:15 AM.
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Old 02-20-2024, 05:18 PM   #2
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Nice song. With a single casual listen, on 5" monitors at modest volume, off the top of my head... First of all, it sounds pretty good. I don't hear much off with this.

I think maybe the main vox could be a little brighter, a small bump in the ~2k-5k range, and then maybe turned down just a bit. I think that might let it mix better with the piano but at the same time make it clearer. It sounds a little muddled at some points, but at some points it also sticks out a little too much because of being a bit too loud relative to piano...

I guess that's it. At one point I thought maybe vox could use some compression, clamp down a bit on the dynamics, but no, I don't think so. Just a tad brighter and just overall volume lowered a smidge.

2nd listen, with HD650 headphones:
Lead vox sounds brighter on the headphones than on monitors, but I think what I say above still holds true. Vox sounds louder on the headphones, relative to piano...

Here's a few random impressions/ideas: so, bump vox in the ~2k-5k range, turn it down a little. I think there's a cello part, right? I'd try to push that back and down a bit, give it a little more bottom end and maybe make it a little duller, but just a little. It gets lost, at times I want to, if not hear the cello more/better at least feel it a little more. I think there's some masking between cello and vox as-is, if you bump vox in that 2k-5k range, and give the cello a little more bottom end, then the problem might go away and you wouldn't need to make the cello duller.

My impression is that the piano might be a little wide. When it's solo it seems wide, when other stuff comes in it sounds fine. You might try automating panning? Make piano a little narrower when it's playing alone, and then widen it out when other stuff comes in. I guess this could just be a matter of taste though. I can see how it would make sense to have the piano wide. But, I think you could have the best of both worlds, where you could retain the wide, two piano parts scheme, yet not have it quite as extreme...

Oh, one other thing: at about 2:48, I think I hear some clipping/distortion in left channel. Looking at my meter, it looks like you have this mixed pretty 'hot' (limiter/clipper?). Maybe raise the threshold a tad? At times it does (dynamics do) sound a little squished at the top...

Last edited by eq1; 02-20-2024 at 05:55 PM.
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Old 02-20-2024, 11:16 PM   #3
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Sits here very well on 5 inch speakers and headphones(m50x) too.
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Old 02-21-2024, 07:54 AM   #4
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Nice song. With a single casual listen, on 5" monitors at modest volume, off the top of my head... First of all, it sounds pretty good. I don't hear much off with this.

I think maybe the main vox could be a little brighter, a small bump in the ~2k-5k range, and then maybe turned down just a bit. I think that might let it mix better with the piano but at the same time make it clearer. It sounds a little muddled at some points, but at some points it also sticks out a little too much because of being a bit too loud relative to piano...

I guess that's it. At one point I thought maybe vox could use some compression, clamp down a bit on the dynamics, but no, I don't think so. Just a tad brighter and just overall volume lowered a smidge.

2nd listen, with HD650 headphones:
Lead vox sounds brighter on the headphones than on monitors, but I think what I say above still holds true. Vox sounds louder on the headphones, relative to piano...

Here's a few random impressions/ideas: so, bump vox in the ~2k-5k range, turn it down a little. I think there's a cello part, right? I'd try to push that back and down a bit, give it a little more bottom end and maybe make it a little duller, but just a little. It gets lost, at times I want to, if not hear the cello more/better at least feel it a little more. I think there's some masking between cello and vox as-is, if you bump vox in that 2k-5k range, and give the cello a little more bottom end, then the problem might go away and you wouldn't need to make the cello duller.

My impression is that the piano might be a little wide. When it's solo it seems wide, when other stuff comes in it sounds fine. You might try automating panning? Make piano a little narrower when it's playing alone, and then widen it out when other stuff comes in. I guess this could just be a matter of taste though. I can see how it would make sense to have the piano wide. But, I think you could have the best of both worlds, where you could retain the wide, two piano parts scheme, yet not have it quite as extreme...

Oh, one other thing: at about 2:48, I think I hear some clipping/distortion in left channel. Looking at my meter, it looks like you have this mixed pretty 'hot' (limiter/clipper?). Maybe raise the threshold a tad? At times it does (dynamics do) sound a little squished at the top...
Thank you very much for the detailed feedback. I have taken on board a lot of what you said and made some changes.

I hadn't even thought about the piano width before, but I looked and it was set to 100%. I've lowered it to 70% and I think that sounds a bit better. I added a tiny amount of high boost to the vocals and lowered them. I think they definitely sit better on smaller speakers now. I've taken out some of the cuts I made to the low end of the cello. It might be pushing it a bit now. I'm not sure. Maybe it should push it.

https://soundcloud.com/dreamofsleepi...orget-me-mix-2
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Old 02-21-2024, 07:55 AM   #5
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Sits here very well on 5 inch speakers and headphones(m50x) too.
Thank you. Hopefully I don't ruin it with later mixes!
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Old 02-21-2024, 09:33 AM   #6
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Awesome song. Listen thru DT 700 Pro X.
Couldn't here any difference in piano-vocal aspect, but the cello was better in the second mix.
I really had to listen carefully and maybe my old ears was fooled
Super great song anyway.
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Old 02-21-2024, 09:40 AM   #7
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Awesome song. Listen thru DT 700 Pro X.
Couldn't here any difference in piano-vocal aspect, but the cello was better in the second mix.
I really had to listen carefully and maybe my old ears was fooled
Super great song anyway.
Thank you. I've since done another mix (not uploaded) where I lower the cello again, but I think after your comment I might just leave it like it is in mix 1.2
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Old 02-21-2024, 09:55 AM   #8
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kick in an eq and lift some dB around 4500 kHz with a not too small Q.

this instantly reminds me of Scott Matthew in earlier years. welldone
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Old 02-21-2024, 10:30 AM   #9
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Really nice song. Really.
I'm more confortable with the second Mix.
The only time I prefer the first mix is at 2m33, during the low chord. In the second, the low frequencies seem to interfere with the overall harmony. Which is superb by way, I love this moment.
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Old 02-21-2024, 11:28 AM   #10
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kick in an eq and lift some dB around 4500 kHz with a not too small Q.

this instantly reminds me of Scott Matthew in earlier years. welldone
Thank you. I will have to check out Scott Matthew
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Old 02-21-2024, 11:29 AM   #11
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Really nice song. Really.
I'm more confortable with the second Mix.
The only time I prefer the first mix is at 2m33, during the low chord. In the second, the low frequencies seem to interfere with the overall harmony. Which is superb by way, I love this moment.
Thank you. I understand what you mean. I think I may have also turned down those harmonies by 1db in that mix as well.

I think I'm just going to leave it now though before I drive myself and my neighbours crazy!
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Old 02-21-2024, 01:46 PM   #12
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What a beautiful song...

I'm reluctant to comment more about the mix, since you're happy with it and sounds like more or less done with it. But, I'll toss out a few things anyway, mainly one thing, just in case... I was hoping you'd still have the first mix posted so I could record and do an A-B comparison, hard for me to judge unless I have both mixes side by side. If you feel compelled to re-post the old one I'd do that...

IF this were my mix, I'd try to increase the size of the space and increase the separation between instruments. I'm not very good at this, it's something I've been working on. Mainly, lead vox, backing voices, and cello seem somewhat congested in the middle. Overall the mix sounds/feels a little 'thick', particularly in the middle of the space.

First thing that comes to mind would be widening the backing voices a little. After that I'm not really sure what it would take. I might try making the piano a bit brighter, and/or increasing reverb level, and/or making reverb brighter (on piano). Pretty sure the accentuation of high frequencies in the piano reverb would grow the entire mix space; I think the piano tends to define the overall space... On the other hand, one would have to be careful not to lose the smooth mellow-ness of the piano, plus, if one made it brighter, other things would have to be adjusted as well, assuming relative frequencies of everything as-is are good...

Probably more reverb on lead vox and cello, too. Personally I'd probably add reverb to lead vox but turn vox down a little. I think one could keep the upfrontness of lead vox even though it were turned down, it's just a matter of making commensurate adjustments elsewhere in the mix.

I still want cello louder and more present, but at the same time I'd be wanting it farther back in the space - so, I think this means a few steps: like, louder, more and/or brighter reverb, possibly slight eq tweaks... I want to feel the low cello notes more, but at the same time, I like the raw edge of bow on cello strings, and that growly snarl it has. I'd be trying to achieve and preserve all of this, somehow.

etc etc. The main thing though is simply that perception of space, and congestion in the middle. More space, less congestion in the middle, however it's achieved.

Anyway, please, don't mind me. I like to do this analytical thing. Like I said, I'm not good at space, separation/clarity, so I'm in the process of trying to figure out how to achieve these things, nit-picking other peoples' mixes helps me get some clarity on it all. Your song is great as-is.

edit, more listening: I'm wondering if maybe piano has a bit too much low end. It seems slightly boomy/muffled, and that tends to take up a lot of space. You might try a high pass filter, rolling-off some of the piano low end and see if it brings more clarity to everything else, opens up space, makes other stuff come in clearer.

Last edited by eq1; 02-21-2024 at 01:57 PM.
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Old 02-21-2024, 04:11 PM   #13
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What a beautiful song...

I'm reluctant to comment more about the mix, since you're happy with it and sounds like more or less done with it. But, I'll toss out a few things anyway, mainly one thing, just in case... I was hoping you'd still have the first mix posted so I could record and do an A-B comparison, hard for me to judge unless I have both mixes side by side. If you feel compelled to re-post the old one I'd do that...

IF this were my mix, I'd try to increase the size of the space and increase the separation between instruments. I'm not very good at this, it's something I've been working on. Mainly, lead vox, backing voices, and cello seem somewhat congested in the middle. Overall the mix sounds/feels a little 'thick', particularly in the middle of the space.

First thing that comes to mind would be widening the backing voices a little. After that I'm not really sure what it would take. I might try making the piano a bit brighter, and/or increasing reverb level, and/or making reverb brighter (on piano). Pretty sure the accentuation of high frequencies in the piano reverb would grow the entire mix space; I think the piano tends to define the overall space... On the other hand, one would have to be careful not to lose the smooth mellow-ness of the piano, plus, if one made it brighter, other things would have to be adjusted as well, assuming relative frequencies of everything as-is are good...

Probably more reverb on lead vox and cello, too. Personally I'd probably add reverb to lead vox but turn vox down a little. I think one could keep the upfrontness of lead vox even though it were turned down, it's just a matter of making commensurate adjustments elsewhere in the mix.

I still want cello louder and more present, but at the same time I'd be wanting it farther back in the space - so, I think this means a few steps: like, louder, more and/or brighter reverb, possibly slight eq tweaks... I want to feel the low cello notes more, but at the same time, I like the raw edge of bow on cello strings, and that growly snarl it has. I'd be trying to achieve and preserve all of this, somehow.

etc etc. The main thing though is simply that perception of space, and congestion in the middle. More space, less congestion in the middle, however it's achieved.

Anyway, please, don't mind me. I like to do this analytical thing. Like I said, I'm not good at space, separation/clarity, so I'm in the process of trying to figure out how to achieve these things, nit-picking other peoples' mixes helps me get some clarity on it all. Your song is great as-is.

edit, more listening: I'm wondering if maybe piano has a bit too much low end. It seems slightly boomy/muffled, and that tends to take up a lot of space. You might try a high pass filter, rolling-off some of the piano low end and see if it brings more clarity to everything else, opens up space, makes other stuff come in clearer.
I do want more separation it's just easier said than done. Brightining up the piano can make it annoying very fast. And brighting up the vocals loses warmth. Taking out the low end of the piano can leave a massive hole.

I want a nice warm upfront mix, but without the mud and more clarity. I want to the reverb to have a sense of space but not like it's washed out. I'm really happy without the amount of reverb it has at the moment.

I was experimenting (with headphones cause it's late here) with a slightly brighter vocal and piano and taking some mids out of some of the backing vocals and I think it's added clarity but won't know for sure until i can listen on speakers.






It
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Old 02-22-2024, 05:25 AM   #14
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I have tried my best to brighten up the piano and vocals. But this is about as much as I can do before it annoys me. I think it all sounds pretty similar to the first mix to be honest, but a little bit clearer. I definitely feel like this is the best I can do currently. Maybe in a year I'll listen to it and it will sound bad to me then I'll get it better but for now this sounds pretty much like my vision for the song.

https://soundcloud.com/dreamofsleepi...orget-me-mix-4
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Old 02-22-2024, 02:29 PM   #15
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I have tried my best to brighten up the piano and vocals. But this is about as much as I can do before it annoys me...
Interesting. In my opinion you've very successfully scrubbed-off exactly the "boom/muffle" on piano I mentioned at the bottom of my last post. It's very subtle. I had recorded the previous mix and recorded this one, and did an A-B comparison. Piano in the new one is missing a layer of haze that's in the last mix... Is it better? I think the piano itself sounds better, but not sure it makes the mix better. The mix is cleaner, clearer, but perhaps there's an effect, a positive one, that the hazy piano contributed to the feel of it all?... If there is/was it's not a major difference, probably just the cleaner and clearer-ness is net positive... Some detail in other instruments/parts tends to come out a little better...

I couldn't tell any difference in the lead vox using headphones, but it does sound brighter in monitors, just slightly.

I don't think I would have been able to tell the difference between these two mixes if I weren't comparing them side by side (muting and unmuting), that's how subtle and slight the changes seem to me. That to me would suggest you could go with either of these and everyone would be equally happy. If I were you, I'd set both mixes aside for at least a week then come back and compare them and then decide which you prefer... The first one has a slightly more mysterious vibe - with that hazy piano. It may just be that 'mystique' trumps cleaner and clearer in this case. Not an easy thing to tell though, to pin down. You'd have to eat the right breakfast and have someone turn on each mix at random for you, catch you off guard, and it'd be like, 'Whoa, OK, that one clearly has the vibe'. (I'm only partially joking here).

edit, more listening: I like the 1.2 mix better than 'mix4'. Despite being cleaner and clear-er, I think mix4 becomes a little too raw-sounding. 1.2 has softness, a smoothness, that I think fits the mood of the song better. 1.2 is more 'impressionistic' - less detail and clarity, yet captures the gist better, and the gist is more important... My 2 cents. Hopefully this helps you think about what you may or may not like about either, what's most important to you, etc.

Last edited by eq1; 02-22-2024 at 02:44 PM.
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Old 02-22-2024, 03:16 PM   #16
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Interesting. In my opinion you've very successfully scrubbed-off exactly the "boom/muffle" on piano I mentioned at the bottom of my last post. It's very subtle. I had recorded the previous mix and recorded this one, and did an A-B comparison. Piano in the new one is missing a layer of haze that's in the last mix... Is it better? I think the piano itself sounds better, but not sure it makes the mix better. The mix is cleaner, clearer, but perhaps there's an effect, a positive one, that the hazy piano contributed to the feel of it all?... If there is/was it's not a major difference, probably just the cleaner and clearer-ness is net positive... Some detail in other instruments/parts tends to come out a little better...

I couldn't tell any difference in the lead vox using headphones, but it does sound brighter in monitors, just slightly.

I don't think I would have been able to tell the difference between these two mixes if I weren't comparing them side by side (muting and unmuting), that's how subtle and slight the changes seem to me. That to me would suggest you could go with either of these and everyone would be equally happy. If I were you, I'd set both mixes aside for at least a week then come back and compare them and then decide which you prefer... The first one has a slightly more mysterious vibe - with that hazy piano. It may just be that 'mystique' trumps cleaner and clearer in this case. Not an easy thing to tell though, to pin down. You'd have to eat the right breakfast and have someone turn on each mix at random for you, catch you off guard, and it'd be like, 'Whoa, OK, that one clearly has the vibe'. (I'm only partially joking here).

edit, more listening: I like the 1.2 mix better than 'mix4'. Despite being cleaner and clear-er, I think mix4 becomes a little too raw-sounding. 1.2 has softness, a smoothness, that I think fits the mood of the song better. 1.2 is more 'impressionistic' - less detail and clarity, yet captures the gist better, and the gist is more important... My 2 cents. Hopefully this helps you think about what you may or may not like about either, what's most important to you, etc.
Thank you. I appreciate the feedback. I've actually done another mix which I will upload tomorrow and I think I'm finally happy. the piano is somewhere between the two mixes, but I also added more reverb so there is the same amount of reverb as on the vocals. I thought as the piano always sounded too far in the background this would make it worse but it actually made the vocals and piano gel a lot more.

I do tend to favour warm mixes generally. I can't stand a trebbly mix. Are you a fan of Radiohead? Have you heard the song Daydreaming? that's really the kind of sound I like for piano. Although it wouldn't have suited this song.
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Old 02-22-2024, 03:38 PM   #17
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...Are you a fan of Radiohead? Have you heard the song Daydreaming? that's really the kind of sound I like for piano. Although it wouldn't have suited this song.
I've always liked radiohead, not necessarily a fan, but... I have a few of their songs from, what?, that 'Rainbow' album, in my reference mix set. I'll check out "Daydreaming," not familiar with it.

I sort of grew up with piano, and somewhat played for a time (mainly 'piano proficiency' stuff in music theory classes). I like piano. I think you have a good piano sound going. It is a real piano, isn't it? I was thinking I was hearing key strokes in the last mix, not necessarily a bad thing... I've often thought I'll be going back to piano, do something with it, probably partially why I have an extra interest in your particular piece.
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Old 02-22-2024, 03:43 PM   #18
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I've always liked radiohead, not necessarily a fan, but... I have a few of their songs from, what?, that 'Rainbow' album in my reference mix set. I'll check out "Daydreaming," not familiar with it.

I sort of grew up with piano, and somewhat played for a time (mainly 'piano proficiency' stuff in music theory classes). I like piano. I think you have a good piano sound going. It is a real piano, isn't it? I was thinking I was hearing key strokes in the last mix, not necessarily a bad thing...
No, it's not real. It's Addictive Keys. I think that's what makes it so hard to mix. The fact that it's not recorded in the same room as everything else.
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Old 02-22-2024, 04:17 PM   #19
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No, it's not real. It's Addictive Keys. I think that's what makes it so hard to mix. The fact that it's not recorded in the same room as everything else.
Not real huh, had me fooled. I wonder what the 'keystrokes' sound was, then, that I thought I heard. I'll have to go back and listen more closely...

I listened to that Daydreaming song. If you're using it as somewhat of a reference for your piece - that would clarify for me more what you're going for. I can see similarities. The piano is very dull and wide, and voice is fairly bright and clean, on top. I personally don't really like the mix of the two. Maybe I do have, for one, a piano bias in play, where I would generally prefer to hear piano sounding more natural. Plus, one thing I've always liked about piano is, well, one, the percussive key strokes, but two, more importantly, the harmonics, the detail in the harmonics. If one has a muted, dull piano, in general, it's not something I'm going to latch on to, because the two things I like most aren't there...

Having said that, though, when it comes to mixing, it could easily make sense to have piano on the duller side and voice brighter/crisp, for the contrast. I lean toward not having (not liking) such stark contrasts though; I'd rather have things mixing it up more, or perhaps somewhere in between.

For example, instead of having very dull piano as a sort of background layer on which voice is on top and/or in front of, I'd prefer the two having more natural frequency treatments yet separated either in the composition itself or spatially in the mix via panning and reverb etc... I want notes (and harmonics) from the voice and notes (and harmonics) from the piano interacting in the mix space; if you make the piano really dull like the Daydreaming piece, the voice always stays in its lane/space and the piano does the same... It seems contrived to me. There is a depth, sort of, to the Daydreaming mix, but... I don't know, not really. The starkness between clean clear voice and dull piano is so rigid, it creates a sense of depth but it's a very rigid depth, circumscribed. I'd prefer something more 'organic', dynamic, variable - something like that. I think your mix actually has more of what I'm describing here...

Last edited by eq1; 02-22-2024 at 04:23 PM.
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Old 02-23-2024, 04:06 AM   #20
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HI

Great Song, I love it!

But I think the Voice should be a bit louder and clearer, means at 3,1 kHz a bit more and at 6 kHz a bit more.

At low tones it's hard to understand what you sing.

Let me give you an example, please listen to the voice at low notes and at high notes, it's much clearer and louder, the Piano too a bit crisper.

There are a lot more examples but that's the first I found...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShZ978fBl6Y

Greetz
Bassman.
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Old 02-23-2024, 05:05 AM   #21
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HI

Great Song, I love it!

But I think the Voice should be a bit louder and clearer, means at 3,1 kHz a bit more and at 6 kHz a bit more.

At low tones it's hard to understand what you sing.

Let me give you an example, please listen to the voice at low notes and at high notes, it's much clearer and louder, the Piano too a bit crisper.

There are a lot more examples but that's the first I found...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShZ978fBl6Y

Greetz
Bassman.
I appreciate you took the time but that song you linked is not a sound that I want to go for!

I'm happy with the mix now. I'm not going to check this thread again because to be honest it's just causing me more confusion then it is helping.
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