[MUSIC] What a Year It's Been

My wedding anniversary is coming up in just over 2 weeks. And because my wife is so incredibly awesome, I wanted to present as one of my expressions of thankfulness a song just for her.

This woman is incredible. I have two children, neither of which are hers biologically, yet she loves them as her own. She’s incredibly supportive of everything I do (and vice versa), and the list goes on and on.

I really want this song to be as perfect as I can make it, but I’ve been suffering from over exposure to this. I’ve managed to make as many edits as I can, and now I think I’m ready to present it here for feedback in case there’s anything else I can do to improve the mix.

Note this is being done in secret, so there’s not much I can do in terms of recording new material. While she was away on business for the first half of this week I did all of the vocals and most of the mixing. But now that she’s back I’m having to mix either at very low levels or in cans.

Your comments and feedback would be greatly appreciated.

What a Year It’s Been

Updated the mix a few times, most notably to re-EQ the snare. Lenny gave me feedback separately and said that the drums sounded a “lo-fi” and listening to the snare I was able to appreciate his view point: it was a bit throaty for a pop song (not so if this were rock) and the EQ made it sound brittle. I dialed down the top a bit and eliminated the throaty nature of it via a low-shelf and HPF. Now it sounds more “paper baggy” which is typical for the genre.

The vocals got tweaked a bit too as well as a few other things.

Hi Larry, sorry, I seemed to have missed this earlier. First, this is one of your best mixes. Second, the drums give me a problem or two. Crash seems too loud and the snare (and kick) is a little too Led Zeppelin for this song, I think. You could just dial them back even further. Maybe make the Marimba a little less midi by varying the velocity. On the other hand, the vocals blend in best ever, especially the backup vocals. Background horns are really working as well. Good luck on the anniversary!

Thanks for the feedback!

I’m especially pleased that you hear definite growth from me as a mixing engineer (though professional I am not). I really learned a lot from that Bob Power video, including that cuts in EQ that may seem drastic “on paper” (i.e. an HPF with a cutoff frequency of 200 Hz or even higher) really don’t take away from the sound of that specific track but really have a positive effect on the overall mix clarity.

I think I finally get what people mean when they say the drums are “too Led Zeppelin like.” I was pushing the snare and kick a bit hard to ensure that they cut through the mix, but I think this is an artifact of my crappy EQ in the past. I dialed back the drums overall; rebalanced the snare, kick, and cymbals; and slightly reduced the amount of tail on the reverb for the drums only.

Of course, this screwed up the relative volumes of several other tracks, so I tweaked those as necessary.

Finally, I did try to fiddle with the marimba. I get what you’re saying, but it seems to me that Kontakt doesn’t have enough velocity layers to do a really good job of it. I did tweak the off-hand velocities, though, so it doesn’t sound as uniform throughout the entire bridge and solo sections.

The link has been updated with a new mix.

Hi, I meant the drums seemed to be hard-rock oriented while the song is sort of TV Series Theme Song. Which means, light and happy, and clever as well. You wouldn’t hire John Bonham for that gig. It sounds like someone is hitting very hard in an empty gym. I think you want light studio drumming. As for the marimba, maybe just put it back farther in the mix with a more distant reverb (as Bob Power described).

I continued to do minor tweaks, then finally presented her with the finished result on Saturday night. She was crying tears of joy. #success

Hey Larry, great, it worked! It was your best mix/master.

Hi Larry,

Long time…

How are you?

I tried clicking on the link above but it doesn’t seem to be available any more. Maybe it’s just me…? :frowning:

Cheers,
Darren

The file is unavailable. Cant listen to it anymore.

Oh hi! Sorry for the delayed response. Here’s the perma-link.

https://larrysalomon.bandcamp.com/track/what-a-year-its-been

I just realized the link no longer worked. I’ve updated it with the published URL from BandCamp.