Mixing and Tweaking ....

G'day there folks, time for the next update in my recording sessions blog.

So, yesterday was March 19th and Brad Wann and I were back at work in TopCat studios mixing my album. Instead of kicking off with a brand new song, I decided to tweak a few previous mixes. This was a very productive morning and we covered four songs in two and a half hours.

The songs we worked on were:

  • Track 4: Starlight.
  • Track 5: Reality Changes.
  • Track 6: Forever Dancers.
  • Track 7: Life Everlasting.

Ok, so where to begin? Firstly, I felt that the bass Eq-ing has needed to get a little fatter, so that the bass is a bit more prominent and, well, bassy. The previous mixes have all tended to be a bit light in the bass department. This was the first general thing I wanted to correct. Let's look a bit more at specific songs.

Starlight:

The mix for starlight was pretty good. We'd already come back and tweaked the mix, lifting and deepening the bass, but in this mix there is a short section in the latter half of the song where the bass all but disappears. It had been playing a pedal point - ie. not moving chordally but staying on the tonic note while everything else changed chordally - and as such it sort of got lost in the mix. This needed attention and so what we did we went into the song and simply adjusted the bass for this section, bringing up a bit.

Easy as ABC!

Reality Changes:

This edit was much more complex. This song is the title track for the album and so I really want it to be as close to perfect as possible. There was a lot of work that needed doing here. I'll try and sum it up fairly quickly:

  • The bass needed more grunt! check EQ and increase levels. We layered the bass volume levels to increase incrementally at different sections of the song.
  • Bring the violins up.
  • Bring up the cellos and check EQ, adding more warmth (bottom end) to the eq.
  • Bring up the 'twinkly' high register left and right guitar finger-picking tracks - they had been lost in the original mix.
  • Bring up the piano and hammond organ sounds.
  • And one or two other things which escape just now!

OK - so at the end of all this, we had a mix that was much loser to that which I envisaged, however on playing it I now see that I raised the 'twinkly' guitars too much and I've lost the cello's.

Will need to go in again and retweak!

Click here to here the Reality Changes excerpt before tweaking:

Click here to hear the Reality Changes excerpt after tweaking:

Forever Dancers:

For this song I've just been feeling a bit blah about the main vocal, and I couldn't really work out why. After we'd mixed it, I took it home and listened on larger speakers and I just felt that it was mostly marginally flat all the way through. It's such a high and sustained sing, that I guess I struggled with it. We decided to raise the entire vocal in pitch ever so slightly - about 20 cents - and then work through the whole thing, line by line, and check the pitch. This was a masterstroke and the resulting tweaked mix is so much more alive and exciting than the previous one - which just felt bland. We also deepened the bass and raised its levels as well as those of the two stereo muted guitar tracks which come in for the third verse.

Life Everlasting:

Finally, for Life Everlasting, we gave the bass more depth and grunt, decreased the drums and lifted the guitar solo a bit, to give it a bit more oomph and presence!

Click here to here the Life Everlsting excerpt before tweaking:

Click here to hear the Life Everlasting excerpt after tweaking:

All in all, a very productive day! Will be back in the studio next week! See ya!

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