Mix advice? Modern Guitar-driven Rock Instrumental

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DanWessels
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Mix advice? Modern Guitar-driven Rock Instrumental

Post by DanWessels » Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:44 pm

Hi all! Got a mix-in-progress - I'm proud of the composition, but don't really love the sound of it, and I can't tell why. If anyone has a spare moment, I'd appreciate any advice on why this might sound odd to me.

https://soundcloud.com/danwessels/into- ... ip/s-kEqFi

Here's the listing:
MODERN GUITAR-Driven ROCK INSTRUMENTAL CUES are needed by a NON-Exclusive, Music Supervisor-owned Library with a huge number of TV placements to its credit. They're currently on the prowl for Mid-to-Up Tempo Instrumental Cues that would fall in the general stylistic wheelhouse of the following references:

“MANTRA” by Bring Me The Horizon

“Dance Macabre” by Ghost

Although the references have vocals, this request is forInstrumentalsonly

Please submit well-crafted Instrumental Cues that generally reflect the guitar-focused approach of the references above. Your submissions can include some synth elements, but please be certain that they are adding to the contemporary sound of your track and are of high-quality. Drum sounds are also very important and must sound as close to a real drum kit as possible - no thin and synthetic-sounding drum samples! Send them Broadcast Quality Cues that sound like they're done with real players using real instruments. This Music Library is very selective, but the catalog gets lots of placements!

Quoting the Music Library Owner: “Your Instrumental Cues must be contemporary and have clean and crisp-sounding guitars. Be sure your Instrumentals have enough sectional contrast and melodic interest to drive a scene and connect sonically with listeners.”

IMPORTANT: All submissions should be between1:10 and 1:50in length. Good edit points and non-faded, buttoned/stinger endings will work best. Do NOT copy the references in any way, shape, or form. Use them only as a general guide for tempo, tone, texture and overall vibe. Broadcast Quality is needed.

This company offers a NON-EXCLUSIVE, 50/50 deal. This Music Library splits ALL sync fees 50/50 with you. They’ll get 100% of the Publisher’s share, and you’ll get 100% of the Writer’s share. You must own or control your Master and Copyright. Please submit as many Instrumental Cues as you’d like, online or per CD. All submissions will be screened on a Yes/No basis - No full critiques. Submissions must be received no later than 11:59 PM (PST) on Tuesday, April 9th, 2019. TAXI #Y190409GR

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Re: Mix advice? Modern Guitar-driven Rock Instrumental

Post by DannyWeber » Thu Apr 04, 2019 2:29 pm

Hey Dan,

I like the composition too! Good choice to use power chords for this listing!

That being said.. I think you have some timing issues here, with the guitars.

Also.. the piano doesn't seem to be adding to the contemporary vibe of the track as the listing requested and the drums are a bit thin as well.
Maybe less high-end eq on the drums and bring them up front in the mix so the track has more punch. The bass needs to come out more as well.

I like the guitar tones for the listing, which is requesting them to be crisp.. good job there but I think I'm hearing a little bit of a buzz from the guitars in places.

Overall..
Good cue and as I said.. power chords are a good choice considering the example songs. It just needs a little re-work with the guitars, maybe a synth instead of piano and some remixing to bring the drums and bass out more.

Sorry to be so picky but this is a picky Library according to the wording in the listing itself.

Good luck with it, Dan! I hope you get the nod for this one!

Dan

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Re: Mix advice? Modern Guitar-driven Rock Instrumental

Post by DanWessels » Thu Apr 04, 2019 6:45 pm

This is awesome advice, Dan! Thanks so much for the feedback (picky is good, especially since I'm new to mixing guitars and drums like this). I'm going to go back and re-track some of these guitars before trying a second pass at mixing, and will post that re-mix.

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Re: Mix advice? Modern Guitar-driven Rock Instrumental

Post by ResonantTone » Fri Apr 05, 2019 1:00 pm

Hey Dan,

Guitars are my passion, so take everything I'm about to throw out there with the mindset of me being very critical about this stuff. :D

Here's what came to mind as I listened a few times:

- The guitars could use some EQ help. Make sure you've got a low cut on all of them, and then maybe a slight boost some low mids to help give it some beef.
- There is a pretty noticeable hum on one or both guitar tracks. It gets lost when things are making noise, but it sticks out like sore thumb when there is air.
- The hard pan thing you have going on usually works better when doubling a track vs two separate parts. Try this: do another track of the rhythm stuff that copies the current one as closely as possible. (DO NOT just make a copy of the already used rhythm side.. it will not have the same effect) Then put that (the double) panned hard left. Take the riff track that was hard left and put slightly offset on the left. Then take the other little lead line that comes in at like at 1:15 or so and put that slightly offset on the right.
- The piano definitely should be swapped for something else. Synths are used in the reference track, so that's probably a better place to start.
- Go look up everything you can on youtube about bus compression and parallel compression for drum tracks.

Hope that helps some! I enjoyed your playing - Keep rocking!

Andrew

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Re: Mix advice? Modern Guitar-driven Rock Instrumental

Post by DanWessels » Fri Apr 05, 2019 2:07 pm

Thanks so much for the specific advice, Andrew! I've been digging the stuff you've been sharing on the forum lately! I'm mainly a piano player, so this has been fun for me to relive my guitarist days.

Here's my updated mix:
https://soundcloud.com/danwessels/into- ... v2/s-cIi6Q

-I went ahead and re-tracked the main riffs using a different pickup on my guitar, which helped reduce the hum
-spent a significant amount of time editing to get timing tighter between guitar/bass/drums
-Replaced bass guitar audio track with MIDI bass guitar (with the same processing as the audio)
-Replaced piano melody with clean ambient guitars, doubled with some synthesizers
-Low cut on every guitar track
-Added some synth ear candy in the periphery for the second half
-Parallel compression and saturation on drums

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Re: Mix advice? Modern Guitar-driven Rock Instrumental

Post by RonKujawa » Fri Apr 05, 2019 3:15 pm

Hey, Dan. V2 is getting closer, but I don't think you're quite hitting the bar yet on those references. I like the pad sound and your guitars are pretty good, but bass is lacking and feel like the overall mix would benefit from a more smashed, compressed sound. I like to use two or three compressors all in a series doing about 3 dB of reduction each.

Honestly, I think the best advice I can give you is going back and listen to the reference tracks, or at least one to focus on. Listen a lot. Then listen to your track. Then listen to the reference again. Go back and forth listening to the kick, snare, bass, guitars, keys, etc, until each one of your elements sounds like it could be on the same record. Not necessarily the same sound, but that it could work.

I agree with Andrew about hi-passing the guitars too. Probably somewhere between 150-200. If you want to keep that low end in the intro, you could automate an EQ so when the bass comes in, you cut the low end from the guitar.

This is a tough genre to nail. Each instrument is highly processed, and so is the mix.

The parts are cool and seem to fit the genre well. Production probably isn't quite there yet.

Ron

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Re: Mix advice? Modern Guitar-driven Rock Instrumental

Post by DannyWeber » Fri Apr 05, 2019 6:35 pm

Hey Dan,

I like what you've done with this! You have worked hard on this and it shows! Guitar timing is spot-on!
The drums sound great out front like that but I still think less eq maybe even no eq at all on the drums would work best.

Drums are loud and mixed well but they lack the low to mid punch of the reference tracks.

A thought..
How about changing the key of the whole track by down-tuning!
Most modern tracks like this are in extremely low keys.
Pitching the whole track down 4 or 5 steps would probably help you nail the contemporary vibe of the reference tracks.

I know that involves learning new chord progressions but I think it would make this sound more modern.

When I say down-tuning.. I actually mean down-tuning the E string to D or maybe even C and creating power chords from there.

Also..
I like that you changed the piano to synth but the synth sounds too ambient or pad-like and not aggressive enough.. I think a poly lead synth would sound better if your up to it.

You are so close, Dan and take what I say with a grain of salt but to my ears.. you have most everything right but pitching the whole track down a few steps, removing any eq on the drums (especially, High-End) and bringing out the bass guitar for bottom end would help you get closer to the modern listing example songs.

Again.. I'm being picky to help!

I admire the hard work you've already put in to this track, Dan!

I like your name by the way!

All the best,

Dan

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Re: Mix advice? Modern Guitar-driven Rock Instrumental

Post by DanWessels » Mon Apr 08, 2019 2:58 pm

Hi all! Just wanted to reach out and thank you all again. I've had such a fun time working on this track, and your advice has been exactly what I needed. I've taken all your ideas from version 2 into consideration, used some of them, and will be using some of the other ideas for future cues (as in, I didn't change the key, Danny :lol: but it was a great idea!).

I'm posting the Version 3 mix, I'll be submitting this to the listing on Tuesday!
https://soundcloud.com/danwessels/into- ... v3/s-7TVnX

The more I listen to it, the more I like it, and I really could not have done it without all of your help. This was my first time posting for advice in the Taxi forums, and it was SO helpful. Hopefully I'll be able to return the favor and give feedback to some of your tracks soon!

Now I'm onto something completely different - uplifting corporate instrumental cues!

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Re: Mix advice? Modern Guitar-driven Rock Instrumental

Post by DannyWeber » Tue Apr 09, 2019 4:41 am

Sounds great Dan!
I like the guitar tones too!!

Dan

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Re: Mix advice? Modern Guitar-driven Rock Instrumental

Post by rockinrob » Tue Apr 09, 2019 7:50 am

Love the track. Great advice to chew on. Kudos to all glad your here.

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