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Hi guys - looking for mixing advice especially but any and all comments welcomed :)

 

https://soundcloud.com/paulcanuck/dirty-money

 

Dirty Money

Copyright © 2017 Tennyson Road Music

Something shifted in the packet
When he took it from the man
Something bristled through his fingers
When he held it in his hands
Something slithered from the dark
And crawled into his heart

Dirty money

He resolved himself to never
Tell a soul where it was from
He'd be careful not to flaunt it
Yet, "who were they to judge?"
But hidden in his closet
Those earnings had become

Dirty money
How it grinned!
He didn't own it
It owned him

Always haunting, always moaning
Like a harbinger of death
Always wanting, always groaning
From its muffled place it wept
Like those people in the truck
He so wished he could forget

Dirty money
How it grinned
He didn't own it
It owned him

No syringe could ever purge
That image from his head
Having slid that van door open
To those faces of the dead
And to know his greed had led
to..

Dirty money

In the bathtub where they found him
Wrists forsaken by a blade
Ben Franklins sailed around
A sea of pink lemonade
His conscience had him tried for
And sentenced him to die for

Dirty money
How it grinned
He didn't own it
It owned him
It owned him.

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Oh yeah! This is a great song.

 

You're going to have to forgive me for my lack of terminology in explaining what I'm hearing. I struggle in this area so I don't know how to fix it . To my ears, it sounds like the vocals don't have enough space. At first I thought they were too far back in the mix but I don't think that's the issue because in certain parts I hear them just fine and in others they seem like they're competing with other similar sounds in the mix. (I think people might call that muddy?) Like I said I struggle with this so I don't know if you should trust my ears

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On ‎2017‎-‎10‎-‎30 at 13:38, The Nameless Untold said:

Oh yeah! This is a great song.

 

You're going to have to forgive me for my lack of terminology in explaining what I'm hearing. I struggle in this area so I don't know how to fix it . To my ears, it sounds like the vocals don't have enough space. At first I thought they were too far back in the mix but I don't think that's the issue because in certain parts I hear them just fine and in others they seem like they're competing with other similar sounds in the mix. (I think people might call that muddy?) Like I said I struggle with this so I don't know if you should trust my ears

Thanks for listening and comments Nameless - think you're right about the mix. There is a lot going on instrumentally. The genre borders on prog rock so it is meant to be busy, but I think I need to spend some time carving out spectrum, ducking and easing up a bit on the compression to make things clearer. I really appreciate the feedback! :)

 

Paul

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Good to hear something harder-edged from you.  Cool song, Paul.  The violin had me thinking Kansas for a bit.

 

In my opinion, the reason why the lead vocal gets a bit lost here and there is because of how you pan things.  The drums are big and wide and sound great.  The violin is and does as well.  But, though you have some ear candy and backing vocals panned out on the sides here are there, the vast bulk of the sounds are all in the center - right where the lead vocals is.  It's kind of an odd-sounding mix because of this panning scheme too, because the mix never really sounds "full" except when the rich, stereo piano briefly appears.  I think you should get that acoustic guitar/harpsichord thing spread out in the mix more away from center and track it spread-wise and volume-wise to blend with the violin every time as part of that signature riff instead of having it drop out leaving the violin by itself.

 

Just my opinions.

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59 minutes ago, HoboSage said:

Good to hear something harder-edged from you.  Cool song, Paul.  The violin had me thinking Kansas for a bit.

 

In my opinion, the reason why the lead vocal gets a bit lost here and there is because of how you pan things.  The drums are big and wide and sound great.  The violin is and does as well.  But, though you have some ear candy and backing vocals panned out on the sides here are there, the vast bulk of the sounds are all in the center - right where the lead vocals is.  It's kind of an odd-sounding mix because of this panning scheme too, because the mix never really sounds "full" except when the rich, stereo piano briefly appears.  I think you should get that acoustic guitar/harpsichord thing spread out in the mix more away from center and track it spread-wise and volume-wise to blend with the violin every time as part of that signature riff instead of having it drop out leaving the violin by itself.

 

Just my opinions.

Cheers for that - sounds like good advice. I'm always focusing on EQ and levels and don't spend enough time/thought on panning. The acoustic/harpsichord thing is actually an acoustic with a doubled track slightly detuned and delayed. I was going for a 12 string sound (and failed) but kind of liked the sound of it anyway. Maybe I'll try panning the main acoustic track left and the doubled one right. I'll have a look at what else is centered that can be panned.

Thanks again - you know your stuff :)

Paul

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Excellent track btw, lots of good things happening here. I really liked the talking behind the vocals in the Middle 8, sounded really good.

 

I would agree with everyone else, everything just seems a little narrow and it would make a big difference to open up the stage a little more. How I am not really qualified to say, I just tend to play with knobs until I get a sound I like, I am never really sure what I am doing.

 

I did read a lot about mixing to try and get better, and have been playing around with this idea that everything except vocals, bass and drums, should be planned hard right or left. But I always end up being everything in a little as I think it sound better.

 

I just imagine I am on a stage and I put stuff where I think the imaginary band member would be standing behind me. This works well for me because of my set-up I wear my headphones the wrong way round (easier to plug in to my Mac when the wire is on my right side, haha) so the end result is actually panned from the audience point of view.

 

Great song though, that's all that really matters.

 

 

 

 

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Hey Paul,

 

  I hear huge potential here.  My first comment is that in some spots it gets too busy.  For example the electric guitar fills (and y'all know I love the electric guitar!)  -  well I think that those could be saved for later in the song.  That way there is sort of a build in complexity.  But that is how I like to write songs, don't show all yer cards at once, dig?   The minor sound of the music really fits the quite tangible filthy topic of dirty money - which can be a metaphor for so many things that are in fact not money I suppose - so the public should be able to relate to this one well.   There are parts where the song sounds major but it is too subtle to my ears e.g. "How it grinned", maybe more grunt in the vocals is needed here.  But it's a really cool song - has some Bon Jovi Dead or Alive feel to at times.  Oh and I love the basic electric guitar under the vocals at 3:13!   Keep going!

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Very interesting Paul. I like that you went more contemporary with this one. It feels like a mash up of genre’s. Some rock in there, a bit of country vibe in the vocal, a bit of pop music going on. It actually mashed pretty well. I like it. 

The only thing that sounded “not right” was the backing vocals in spots. Mostly the lower speaking style vocal. Not sure if it is the vocal itself or the way those vocals are mixed. 

Mother than that. I enjoyed the song overall.

JOe

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Thanks all for listening and commenting :)

 

@Murphster - cheers for that. Yes a lot of the tracks were centered. I did some more panning and ducking - sounds like I played in a Klondike river :) I agree that is should sound like you're on stage with a band. Trouble is, I've never played with a stringed orchestra :) Aren't they in a pit or sth?

 

@RoadDog - thanks Pete - good advice as always. I do like to play with major/minor keys esp in rock. Glad you heard that :)

 

Onewholovesrock - thanks Joe - good to get a thumbs up from someone who loves Rock :) Yeah there were some mix issues with the low vocal - hope it is now sorted. :)

 

thanks again guys

 

Paul

 

 

 

 

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Hey Paul, here are some stream of consciousness thoughts :) Intro is great Grabbed me immediately. It's something that makes you pay attention. I'd like to hear more growl in the vocals to match the dark feel of the music and lyrics. The Metallica guy comes to mind. The bass sounds like it's a preset rather than live, which disappointed me because I wanted this song to totally rock out and it felt a bit constrained. Guitar solo is awesome and fits very well. 

 

Overall, this is awesome.

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The mixing advice is for others to give. I just wanted to say that what you have so far sounds pretty darn good. 

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Holy cow!! You could not have come up with a more powerful song and powerful presentation. I wish my mixes sounded half as good as that one does.  Do  don't by chance give lessons, do you?  Excellent work. 

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On 11/9/2017 at 17:09, msza said:

Hey Paul, here are some stream of consciousness thoughts :) Intro is great Grabbed me immediately. It's something that makes you pay attention. I'd like to hear more growl in the vocals to match the dark feel of the music and lyrics. The Metallica guy comes to mind. The bass sounds like it's a preset rather than live, which disappointed me because I wanted this song to totally rock out and it felt a bit constrained. Guitar solo is awesome and fits very well. 

 

Overall, this is awesome.

Thanks for that - yep the metalica guy would be just the ticket- do you have his number ? :) Glad you mentioned the guitar - I'm a piano playing just learning that beast :)

 

On 11/9/2017 at 18:16, kuya said:

The mixing advice is for others to give. I just wanted to say that what you have so far sounds pretty darn good. 

Cheers kuya - very kind of you :)

 

On 11/11/2017 at 19:50, moptop said:

Holy cow!! You could not have come up with a more powerful song and powerful presentation. I wish my mixes sounded half as good as that one does.  Do  don't by chance give lessons, do you?  Excellent work. 

 

Thanks moptop - I've still got a long way to go before I can teach anyone anything - but I appreciate the generous comments :) Glad you liked it.

 

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Love the hard hitting drums and the intro beat then the "12-string" sound is a smooth and interesting transition.

 

I love the theme of the lyrics and the overall "dirt" of the instrumentation, especially the lead guitars. I'd like to have a fuller and more authentic bass tone though - this one sounds a little too early 90s electronica for me. I also echo the sentiments of others in regards to panning - even a simple left-right panning of the instruments (guitars, keys, violin) and backup vocals could help everything find its place sonically.

The bridge is very interesting. The backup vocals and organ really help reinforce the vibe and theme.

 

Very inspirational and enjoyable!

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Good stuff, well recorded and really good performances..  Love the rit. at 2:10ish

 

On the mix end, I have a couple of thoughts..

That slight ritard at :20 (the end of the intro) isn't quite right.  It sounds like you're programming it with a tempo map???  Even the rit at 2:10 (that I love) sounds a bit forced.

Occasionally I'm hearing parts that aren't lining up in places.. The bass part at :43 sounds a bit stilted for lack of a better word.  The low C in the lick sounds late, but if you're doing what I think you're trying to do, it may actually be early.  Heck, it may be dead nuts on, but check to see how the notes preceding it are lined up.  Strangely it sounds much better when the drums come in, and I'm guessing it's a MIDI pattern or a loop, so go figure. It may just be a subtlety of the genre that's above my pay-grade, but something just seems off.

 

The whole mix seems a bit bright and top heavy.. I feel like it's missing some umph in the 100hz ( and maybe even up into the 200hz range).  Not sure if that's a mastering 2-buss thing or a mix thing - and I'm no pro engineer so I'm afraid I don't have any specific advice there.

 

Congrats on a strong tune.  -Mark

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On ‎2017‎-‎11‎-‎14 at 21:47, MGIFOS_SF said:

Great instrumentation! Nice work!

Thank you! :)

 

On ‎2017‎-‎11‎-‎15 at 21:42, syl_a_med said:

Love the hard hitting drums and the intro beat then the "12-string" sound is a smooth and interesting transition.

 

I love the theme of the lyrics and the overall "dirt" of the instrumentation, especially the lead guitars. I'd like to have a fuller and more authentic bass tone though - this one sounds a little too early 90s electronica for me. I also echo the sentiments of others in regards to panning - even a simple left-right panning of the instruments (guitars, keys, violin) and backup vocals could help everything find its place sonically.

The bridge is very interesting. The backup vocals and organ really help reinforce the vibe and theme.

 

Very inspirational and enjoyable!

 Cheers - some good advice on the mix as well. The bass is partly MIDI slap-bass (in the chorus) - would love to hear a real bass player take a run at it :)

 

On ‎2017‎-‎11‎-‎18 at 18:32, M57 said:

Good stuff, well recorded and really good performances..  Love the rit. at 2:10ish

 

On the mix end, I have a couple of thoughts..

That slight ritard at :20 (the end of the intro) isn't quite right.  It sounds like you're programming it with a tempo map???  Even the rit at 2:10 (that I love) sounds a bit forced.

Occasionally I'm hearing parts that aren't lining up in places.. The bass part at :43 sounds a bit stilted for lack of a better word.  The low C in the lick sounds late, but if you're doing what I think you're trying to do, it may actually be early.  Heck, it may be dead nuts on, but check to see how the notes preceding it are lined up.  Strangely it sounds much better when the drums come in, and I'm guessing it's a MIDI pattern or a loop, so go figure. It may just be a subtlety of the genre that's above my pay-grade, but something just seems off.

 

The whole mix seems a bit bright and top heavy.. I feel like it's missing some umph in the 100hz ( and maybe even up into the 200hz range).  Not sure if that's a mastering 2-buss thing or a mix thing - and I'm no pro engineer so I'm afraid I don't have any specific advice there.

 

Congrats on a strong tune.  -Mark

Hi Mark and thanks for listening and commenting. You're right about the timing nits - I noticed that it sounded better with drums too IDK why. I guess I'm OK with it a bit stilted in a dark theme even though it wasn't intentional :). I'll have another look at the low end - prob dropped out in mastering.

 

Thanks again everyone :)

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Catchy minor tune with dramatic lyrics, and an interesting arrangement.

 

I loved the arrangement, and the instrumental parts were well conceived. You deliver the vocals with authority. The production is pretty good. I especially liked how the spoken words chase the sung vocals at the end.

 

The main thing that needs addressed is the timing/groove:

  • There are some timing issues in the transitions between parts.
  • 0:15-0:20 when the bass comes in. The note to note timing is not that off, and the notes are in the scale, but the lick itself isn't hitting the signature notes at the right time to drive the tune.
  • In general, in the chorus, the bass line cuts across the drum groove too much. This could probably be fixed by changing a couple accents in the percussion and/or bass.

Miscellaneous:

  • I really liked the tag line, and the last two lines of the chorus. I wasn't crazy about the second line.

Dirty money
How it grinned!
<--- Sin to spend! (for example)
He didn't own it
It owned him

  • The mix was a bit brash. I could use more fullness on the bottom and a smoother top end.

 

 

Overall, the song is fantastic! It just needs a little tweaking for this to absolutely kill.

 

Peace,

TC

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On 11/23/2017 at 18:13, TC Perkins said:

Catchy minor tune with dramatic lyrics, and an interesting arrangement.

 

I loved the arrangement, and the instrumental parts were well conceived. You deliver the vocals with authority. The production is pretty good. I especially liked how the spoken words chase the sung vocals at the end.

 

The main thing that needs addressed is the timing/groove:

  • There are some timing issues in the transitions between parts.
  • 0:15-0:20 when the bass comes in. The note to note timing is not that off, and the notes are in the scale, but the lick itself isn't hitting the signature notes at the right time to drive the tune.
  • In general, in the chorus, the bass line cuts across the drum groove too much. This could probably be fixed by changing a couple accents in the percussion and/or bass.

Miscellaneous:

  • I really liked the tag line, and the last two lines of the chorus. I wasn't crazy about the second line.

Dirty money
How it grinned!
<--- Sin to spend! (for example)
He didn't own it
It owned him

  • The mix was a bit brash. I could use more fullness on the bottom and a smoother top end.

 

 

Overall, the song is fantastic! It just needs a little tweaking for this to absolutely kill.

 

Peace,

TC

Hey TC - thanks for listening and the detailed critique.

I agree with most of your suggs - (except for the lyric change :))

Will be tweaking again so this is going to help immensely - thanks again :)

Paul

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Hey PaulCanuck,

 

I am not going to critique because this song is beyond anything I cold do but I just want to say COOL SONG!!!!!

 

SlowD

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Nice sounding track Paul! Gritty. I think that opening lick with what sounds like a violin isn't fitting well with the track. I wanted to hear electric grungy guitar instead. To me, your vocal sounds too nice. I wanted a more dirty and rougher sound. Still a great track!  Really enjoyed it. I listened several times!

=Bob=

 

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On ‎2017‎-‎12‎-‎17 at 12:08, SlowD said:

Hey PaulCanuck,

 

I am not going to critique because this song is beyond anything I cold do but I just want to say COOL SONG!!!!!

 

SlowD

Thank you SlowD :)

 

On ‎2018‎-‎01‎-‎01 at 07:08, =Bob= said:

Nice sounding track Paul! Gritty. I think that opening lick with what sounds like a violin isn't fitting well with the track. I wanted to hear electric grungy guitar instead. To me, your vocal sounds too nice. I wanted a more dirty and rougher sound. Still a great track!  Really enjoyed it. I listened several times!

=Bob=

 

Hi Bob - thanks for the comments. Yeah I don't do grunge very well do I? :) It's more theatrical I suppose.

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I just want to say PaulCanuck, that "Dirty Money" keeps popping in my head. Ear worm!!!!! Good job.

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Hi Paul,

 

your song is really complex and rich in arrangement, which is also, in my opinion, the cause of all the mixing issues you could find.

 

Since your writing and arranging is such complex (again, read it as "rich", in a fully positive way), mixing needs to be more proactive (e.g. automations?), because "simply" layering all the relevant and interesting material you recorded can not be enough.

 

A good piece of advice could be to try to find balance for each single section of the song, and then to match them, finding a way to move from one to another... definitely a challenge because of your nice song ;)

 

Rock on!

 

Giovanni @LakeWave Music Lab

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On 1/9/2018 at 18:12, LakeWave Music Lab said:

Hi Paul,

 

your song is really complex and rich in arrangement, which is also, in my opinion, the cause of all the mixing issues you could find.

 

Since your writing and arranging is such complex (again, read it as "rich", in a fully positive way), mixing needs to be more proactive (e.g. automations?), because "simply" layering all the relevant and interesting material you recorded can not be enough.

 

A good piece of advice could be to try to find balance for each single section of the song, and then to match them, finding a way to move from one to another... definitely a challenge because of your nice song ;)

 

Rock on!

 

Giovanni @LakeWave Music Lab

Hi Giovanni - thanks - great to have your input. I agree with you - this song needs more attention to the mix and I will be doing that shortly with your tips in mind!

Much appreciate you taking the time :)

 

Paul

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