[Music] When She's Gone

One more that has been sitting in the queue for some time now (a year, in this case) for me to finish off the mixing / mastering. This is my first foray into crossover country.

When She’s Gone

Lead: American Strat (soft tail)
Rhythm: PRS Custom 24
Both played through a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe III, mic’d with an AKG D950 > MindPrint Envoice MKII

Acoustics: 1991 Takamine Limited Edition
Played directly through the MindPrint Envoice MKII

Bass: DI through the MindPrint Envoice MKII
Organ: NI Vintage Keys
Drums: Jamstix 3.6 > Battery 4

Neumann TLM103 > MindPrint Envoice MKII

Recorded on Cubase 8 Pro. I used the FabFilter suite, Melodyne, SlickHDR and FerricTDS from Variety of Sound, and a few stock plug-ins for the mixing and mastering projects.

Hi Larry

Like the tune, very catchy

I’m starting to loose hearing so I’m hesitant to comment on the mix

That been said, don’t know about the Organ sound. Can’t pin point what it is but in the beginning it distracts me a little from the rest of the instruments .


Yeah, I noticed that too in the car. On the studio monitors it sounds fine. I may have to pull it back 2 dBs. I know exactly what the problem is. Thanks for reminding me!

Edit: done, though it’s nearly midnight so I haven’t listened to it in the car yet. :smiley:

Hey Larry, I listened to it a couple of times. Initial reaction is, something about the guitars, right from the start, is they are too much in the back. Second reaction is that the drums are not punchy enough. Third reaction is that the bass should be louder in tandem with more punchy drums. Fourth reaction is, well, you sang it pretty well! Anyway, liked your composition. Net, I think it should be less “roomy” and more “grabby” in terms of spacing the instruments through delays rather than reverb. Also, use the organ only as a color on the second time through.

Anyway, great job.

Yeah, I’m struggling a bit about creating more front to back space. I can build a stereo field well, in my opinion, but it’s all in your face rather than having some depth. So this has been a bit of a learning process for me.

Thanks for listening!

Hi Larry,

I agree with early’s comment. I do like the tune , it has a nice hook, the singing is nice, especially with the backing vocals.
It could us much more drums, bass and a real hammond ofcourse! With a lot dynamics added your vocals will even shine out more …
Could be a nice song to share the mix/collab and add ons even.
But it is good as it is also, thanx for sharing :smiley:

Peter, you and your Hammond are welcome anytime. :smiley: The NI vintage organ sound is sufficient, but it isn’t as good as the VB3 VST and definitely not as good as the real thing.

I’m still not hearing the lack of bass, though. The snare could pop a tad more, but I don’t want to overshadow the rest of the tracks.

Larry, enough has been said about mix of instruments. But to add nothing is in your face we need a instrument w/drier reference point as all instrument sounds so far away, should probably be the guitar and voice.

The problem with the keys isn’t NI B3 it is the effect and use of them in mix. In past I have been able to make that instrument scream.

It is a decent song so try a remix and post. Maybe place the instruments in correct spots to give a 180 degree spectrum.

Hope all is well for you too!

I was listening in the car after my last post and I think I finally heard what everyone is talking about. I was referring to the quieter passages and, if I’m not mistaken, everyone else is referring to the chorus parts.

I’ll have another go at the mix this week.

Ok here’s a stab at addressing the issues.

Remix 1

What I did:

The acoustic guitars were all present even in the beginning along with the stock Cloner insert. This was causing the acoustics to lose definition. In the intro for the song, I muted the L/R guitars and dialed down the “wet” factor of the Cloner by half. In the quiet sections of the song, I simply dialed down the “wet” by half but didn’t mute the L/R channels.

For the overall drum mix, I inserted a compressor with a rather high threshold (-5 dB) and hard knee so that it sorta behaved like a brick wall limiter to prevent clipping. I then bumped up the Input signal by 1dB and the Output signal by 1dB to give the drums a bit more presence. During the chorus sections, I also bumped up the snare drum specifically by 1.5 dB.

The backing vocals are causing a collision with the snare since they all sit in the same frequency ranges. I’m not going to be able to eliminate this completely without destroying the backing vocals, but I did dial down the backing vocal track by 1.5 dB. I also realized that they weren’t panned hard L/R, so I did this in order to also dial down the colliding frequencies in the side channel while bumping up the mid channel by a corresponding amount. This does help considerably, although the snare still gets drowned out a bit when everything is present.

I bumped up the lead vocal during the last chorus since not only is everything present but it’s also the climax of the song, so the overall energy level should be higher. Rather than bump up the mix, however, I wanted to make the lead vocal a bit more present (along with the snare).

The link, above, is to my Box account so you can A/B with the original release.

Comments are always welcome! I’m sorry I was pushing back. I didn’t doubt that people were hearing things, but I struggled myself to hear the same because I was listening in the wrong parts of the song.

I’ve uploaded a new mix since I found the problem: the compressor in the mastering project had a threshold set too low. When the loud parts of the sound came up, the transients of the snare were getting squashed, which led to a lack of presence.

I’m now of two minds regarding the level of the kick from 0:08 to 0:015. I think it’s a tad loud, but I also realize I may be suffering from aural fatigue. Thoughts?

Two minds no longer. The link to the remix, above, has the most recent version, which has the following changes:

Rather than automate the mute on the L/R acoustics, I’m using volume automation. This allows me to fade out these guitars during the bridge sections after the chorus (and then back in) as well as during the outro without requiring a second automation track.

The Cloner mix was pulled all the way down to 0 in these bridge sections as well, so you essentially have a solo acoustic in the center channel.

The kick was pulled back in the intro.

The center acoustic was pushed a bit during the outro since it was too quiet.

The bell EQ at 900 Hz (2.4 Q; +6 dB in the center channel / -6 dB in the side channels) was removed in the mastering project. The snare does sorta get pushed to the back as a result during the parts of each chorus where there are backing vocals but the lead vocal’s presence isn’t overpowering as a result. This is a good trade-off in my opinion without requiring automation in the mastering project, which I don’t want to do.

Yo Mr L,

a lot of comments about the mix.

I’ve listened a few times now.

Is that kick sizzly on its own or is it paired
with a hat? I’d try another kick.

Maybe claw back the verb on the kick and snare?

Is the acoustic guitar DI’d? It sounds a bit that way.

A good tune but I think it seems to die now and then
rather than pick up as it goes along. Too many

Yo Mr J! Thanks for the listen!

The kick is paired with a hat using the foot only. No sticks on it.

As far as the reverb goes, here’s the problem that I am trying to address: in a lot of my mixes, the front-to-back depth of field is missing, i.e. everything sounds right up front as if all of the musicians are in your face. I’m trying to create depth in the sound, and since the drummer is (usually) the furthest back, I’m trying to simulate that using reverb on the kick and snare individually as well as on the entire kit (though a different and more subtle type).

I have thought the reverb on the kick may be a bit much, but that opinion changes depending on when I listen to it. I’ll consider it again and will probably pull both individual reverbs back a tad.

The acoustics are all DI, but they are played through a tube pre / compressor combo.

The dying/resurrection is more of a songwriting style thing, I suppose. I understand where this comment is coming from because I won’t deny this is the first time I’ve tried writing a song with this feel (the ebb and flow of the total energy level, that is). If nothing else, it keeps the listener interested since it’s not a cliche song structure. :smiley:

I’m going to post a request for reverb tutorials in the Lounge now.

Okay. I listened several times.

There are a couple guys, who still linger here, and who I won’t mention by name, when they first began posting tunes WAY back when, their stuff was relatively unschooled in terms of recording, mix, performance, etc. but they had definite and consistent songwriting chops…and the amateurism actually lent their music a good deal of charm. Now, today, these guys – and I am thinking of two in particular – are giants, man – their chops have been honed through sheer dedication and perseverance, and they really are (IMO) the best recordists on this forum. When I hear your stuff, it reminds me of them back then – definite songwriting chops, but just a lack of experience/knowledge. But one can tell you are dedicated, and things are improving all the time.

Which brings me to this: you’re all about the EQ and compression and stuff on this tune (and others), and of course those are important, but to me that’s not really the issue. Let me insert here, however, that around the 2:50 mark, where the track starts to really gel, I was smiling – really good. But the opening is comparatively weak, and I want to say it is because

the acoustic is not tight at certain points

the acoustic and the bass are not playing well together – they are tripping over each other

is that even an acoustic? It sounds like a DI’d acoustic, a sound which makes me PUKE. But I don’t see any acoustic in your track list, so I guess it’s the Strat

I also understand what you were going for here – everything small and close in at the beginning, expanding to a wider sound as it goes along. That worked, but again, the slight timing issues on the guitar early on undermined it. Lastly, the organ just got VERY annoying after a bit, with too much rotary effect – as if you’d just discovered the VSTi would do that and you’re like “look at me!” with it. I’d dial that back, and even bring the organ down a bit.

Now for some personal “taste” comments. I get the “drums and space” thing, but here, I am hearing a BIG, upfront, and mostly dry kick, and a bass part that supports THAT, not the guitar or melody. I thought the solo guitar was a nice touch. Vocal could maybe go back in space a bit.

About adding depth and space – sometime go listen to some of Hugh Padgham’s mixes of Sting solo work – superb creation of space. I don’t know why Hugh doesn’t get more love from the audio engineering denizens –

I read something in your comments about not wanting to automating the snare (I think) “during mastering.” Huh? The snare needs to be automated during the mix – to Hades with all this mastering BS!

I listened yet once more (that’s 4 total now) and it’s a good song – my above comments may be nitpicky

the big thing for me was the part I highlighted in purple

Thanks for the in-depth comments, Doug. And I’ve been thinking a lot about the slight timing issues lately. I know they are there as well, so you aren’t being overly critical.

Now I’m wondering if I did record the acoustic parts on the Strat or my Takamine acoustic. I don’t remember anymore, since that song was recorded over a year ago.

I hear everyone’s comments on the organ. I guess I’ll start beating on Peter’s door more often when I am hoping to incorporate this sound into a song. :laughing:

What’s funny is, although I have panned the song a bit here, it’s been playing in my head all week :astonished:


I’m finally having a look at the song again while taking all of these comments into account. I hope to have a new mix soon that addresses most if not all of the criticisms here. <3

I hope everyone has had a great new year so far!

I finally got a chance to complete this. Changes from the last release are:

  1. Peter graciously provided his amazing skills on the Hammond C3 to replace the sampled crap I was using originally.

  2. The acoustic guitars have been cleaned up. No more nasty inconsistencies between the left, center, and right tracks in terms of timing, especially the early entrances by the left / right guitars.

  3. Reverb was completely redone using the 4 send technique that I described in another thread somewhere. This creates the front-to-back sound stage that I was missing when I first released this song.

  4. The mix was rebalanced to ensure that the vocals didn’t get lost in the mix.

  5. The master fader in the mix project had automation added to it to help ensure that it stayed at a consistent volume, using the K-14 scale, even during the quieter sections.

  6. The mastering project had the compressor settings tweaked to reduce the amount of compression on the transients so that the snare stood out a tad more during the denser sections.

The link in the first post of this thread points to this version of the song.