Ok, so I’ve done a few things (although dynamics isn’t one of them…still, some changes have occurred to the dynamics due to the other changes made):
Now that my studio is fully unpacked and operational (read: I have all of my VSTs again), I re-rendered the e-piano using Vintage Keys’ Scarbee Mark 1 instead of the stock Kontakt 5 e-piano that came with the free player.
I removed the ride cymbal from the verses and most of the choruses.
The biggest change is in the way I am now “doing” reverb. Before, I had small delays on the lead instruments (e.g. vocals and solo guitar), and various instances of the Roomworks SE plug with different stock presets. I had an enlightening discussion with Tom Z. (Woodcrest Studio) in Oct / Nov where he told me that this is likely contributing to a lack of “gel” in the mix. Instead, he suggested using sends for reverb in a fashion similar to the YouTube video I posted some time ago.
So, now, I have 4 FX channels, each with a single instead of Roomworks (not the SE version):
- Early reflections (near). No reverb tail, and a short pre-delay time (250 ms).
- Early reflections (far). No reverb tail, and a somewhat longer pre-delay time (500 ms).
- Reverb (near). Short-ish tail (2 s).
- Reverb (far). Long-ish tail (4 s).
All four of these sends are then routed to a group channel called Reverb that I can use to set the total amount of reverb in the mix.
All instrument channels have all 4 sends inserted pre-fader, save for individual drum tracks since I send those to a group channel. The drum group channel has all 4 sends instead. Then, I adjust the amount of signal sent to each FX channel depending on where the instrument sits in the mix. For example, the vocals have more near early reflections and reverb and less of the far pair, while the drums have more far pair and less near.
The result is actually noticeable. I get a much fuller mix while not losing any clarity of the individual tracks. The only explanation that I can surmise for this is that all of the reverb is coming from a consistent source meaning there are no “collisions” in terms of the types of reverb that I used to apply to individual channels.
Have a listen for yourself.
The dynamics, as I said, weren’t adjusted directly. But because I killed the ride cymbal in a lot of the song there is more variety, which removes a decent amount of the monotony that was present before.