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HoboKa

MnP 72: Star Ocean - Cutting Edge of Notion & F-Zero - Mute City

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Compo: MnP (Meat 'n Potatoes)

Star Ocean - 'Cutting Edge of Notion' & F-Zero - 'Mute City'

MIDIs

Cutting Edge of Notion

Mute City

Youtube:

"Cutting Edge of Notion from Star Ocean 3. This is the main battle theme from the game, so it's pretty upbeat and purposeful. It's got several different parts to it so hopefully it will be fun to cut it up to be pieces of the mashup for this round."

-Dexstastic

F-Zero MUTE MOTHERF*#(ING CITY!!!!!!!11!!1!!!!!1!!!!!!!!11!1!!! I dunno why but the last one kind of got me on this, and plus I've been wanting a reason to play with the track for a long time now. Sorry, couldn't help myself but this song just gets me pumped. Plus, it isn't nearly as cliche as Big Blue ;) Best,

-Austin "APZX"

Deadline: May 1st Mon @ 1PM

Vote Ends: May 3rd Wed @ 11 PM

Submit your remix Here when completed. 
**If you have technical difficulty with account activation at ThaSauce, please contact me via PM and I will submit your track and will also tally your vote**

MnP ARCHIVE  - made by Trism ;)

MISSION STATEMENT
The goal of Compo:MnP is to promote that "meat and potatoes" conservative approach to remixing: this includes the mood and composition of source tunes. It is up to the remixer to create their own personalization, or to simply give it a sound upgrade. Moreover, the compo is a great opportunity to hone your remixing skills and give video game music the respect that is due. SOME reinterpretation is recommended, but not required.



MnP Instructions/Guidelines

  1. Covers and Sound Upgrades are permitted.
  2. Most or all of the source notes must be present (but not necessarily in the exact same order), secondly the mood (energy, pacing, feelings being conveyed etc) should also be retained. For example, a source tune that is fast-paced and energetic that's remixed into a mellow/chill-out theme would be a hard sell.
  3. If you decide to do a genre swap (i.e. symphonic to techno), make sure that the conditions of #2 are met.
  4. Submissions must be at a maximum of 20mb (keeping in step with ThaSauce's file size max).
  5. Only 1 entry per participant. Previous winner cannot participate but can submit a BONUS entry.
  6. Please don't make any comments about people's entries - including your own - until the Voting process is concluded.  BONUS entries are exempt of this rule.
  7. All competitors and voters must adhere to the rules stated within: Competition Code and Conduct


MISC/TIPS
- When picking a source tune, make sure it has a MIDI to make ppl's lives easier.
- In-game sound FX are permitted, so long as they don't comprise the whole track (i.e. replacing entire MIDI tracks with just sfx)

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We got us 2 picks.  For the newcomers to MnP - no, you can't incorporate both remixes into the same track as that would make it not very MnP.  Pick one or the other.  Unless you wanna do a BONUS, wherein you can do whatever you will. :D 

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Ohhh I thought when there were two tracks you'd have to incorporate both of them into your remix. I bet a mashup of these two would be really nice, actually!

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16 minutes ago, Dextastic said:

Ohhh I thought when there were two tracks you'd have to incorporate both of them into your remix. I bet a mashup of these two would be really nice, actually!

You and APZX are more than welcome to BONUS mix that - I'd like to see such a mix.  However, for the sake of keeping things MnP, I'd ask that the elegible participants for this round to stick to 1 track.  Sorry if that seems Draconian up in the biznatch (EDIT), but I have to lay down the line somewhere for this compo hah T_T  

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Well, I dunno about combining the two in a giant mashup, but I've almost got something that'd work for Mute City and the way it ends could turn into an interesting transition to Cutting Edge of Notion. But I haven't even really looked too much at that one. Granted I'm still having issues getting a decent drum beat I like with Mute City. 

Edit - So, after some more work on my Mute City bit I think it works well with the transition I have in place now. Just some basic toying around. This isn't a "proper mashup" but more like having two tracks follow one another, but kind of feed of the energy of the last one. 

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Actually the more I tear into Cutting Edge of Notion the more I'm kind of digging like a slow beatish EDM thing. The sustained parts work really well for it and it has one KILLER Lead line. Unfortunately, doesn't seem like much else past that. This might take me longer than I thought. 

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Wwwwwweeeeeeeelllllllllll, that took longer than I thought it would. However, it is done! My bonus entry is up. I basically started with Mute City and then did a little transition to Cutting Edge of Notion. Hopefully, it works out reasonably well. Also, Cutting Edge of Notion has a wonderful little section that just GROOVES along that I really like. That portion alone could make a beautiful basis to a Trance track honestly. 

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I'm working on my bonus entry. I'm also planning on transitioning from Mute City to Cutting Edge, but so as to not spoil my ideas I won't listen to your entry until mine is done. I'm having some trouble getting some sounds right in Mute City so I haven't quite got to the transition yet.

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1 minute ago, Dextastic said:

I'm working on my bonus entry. I'm also planning on transitioning from Mute City to Cutting Edge, but so as to not spoil my ideas I won't listen to your entry until mine is done. I'm having some trouble getting some sounds right in Mute City so I haven't quite got to the transition yet.

I know the pain man. My problem was working on Cutting of Edge of Notion. There are just tons key changes in there. That actually took me the longest to do. 

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My bonus entry is up! As I posted on ThaSauce, I spent way too much time on this and am not totally happy with the result, but I learned a lot by doing it and that's kind of the point, right? It's a drums/guitars/bass/piano rock arrangement that starts in Mute City and ends up in Cutting Edge. Time for me to check out APZX's entry :).

Anyone else getting in on this?

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3 days to go and no eligible entries.  I might have to pitch in :P 

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Oh, for some reason I thought that this had already entered the voting round so I stopped working on a track! I'll see if I can get something in.

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Organs, organs everywhere! I got a new VST, can you tell? :D

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That is a good entry thar Trism.  Nice organs.  I hereby dub Sir Trism victor of MnP Round 72.  Submit me an entry for round 73. 

(edit)

Trism - the organ samples are good, but the overall mix is a tad muddy, but it's good enough for the compo scene.  Choirs are pretty cool too. 

Dex - Wow!  This is some real good geetar work there.  The mix is fairly decent too, probably is room for improvement, but that is something you'd have to ask more skilled producers hah.  Some nice touches with original piano melodies.  Good production.  The transition to Cutting Edge is nice too - it eases in JUST well enough...at least for my tastes :) 

APZX - Kick ass starting. 1:09 is a nice touch into low-key stuff.  Crazy ass shit rising shtuff at 1:20 wow!!    2:17 area is a very compelling breakdown, lots of little synthy nuances that make my spine tingle.  3:05 mmmmmmmm that bass :D - then the snare kicks in and the Hats....hoo boy.  This track evolves a LOT.  4:10 even more crazy changes with the arp.  The bass REALLY helps move this along.  6 min area has a cool rise, followed by a cool finale.  LOL that Loony Tunes vocal sample.  Soooo yeah, this isn't really MnP but this is FUCKING AWESOME, gets over9000 for BONUS points. 

Trism, submit me your entry for round 73.  Or else you will die. AKA I'll pick my own entry after 2 days ;)

 

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13 hours ago, Trism said:

Organs, organs everywhere! I got a new VST, can you tell? :D

Yes :D - pretty good.  I also recommend Miroslav Philharmonic, if you can use 3rd party VSTs.  As it is pretty dang robust for something that isn't going to leave you (edit) in the poor house.  Speaking of which...I only have Miroslav 1.  I better grab ver2 :P

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12 minutes ago, HoboKa said:

That is a good entry thar Trism.  Nice organs.  I hereby dub Sir Trism victor of MnP Round 72.  Submit me an entry for round 73. 

(edit)

Trism - the organ samples are good, but the overall mix is a tad muddy, but it's good enough for the compo scene.  Choirs are pretty cool too. 

Dex - Wow!  This is some real good geetar work there.  The mix is fairly decent too, probably is room for improvement, but that is something you'd have to ask more skilled producers hah.  Some nice touches with original piano melodies.  Good production.  The transition to Cutting Edge is nice too - it eases in JUST well enough...at least for my tastes :) 

APZX - Kick ass starting. 1:09 is a nice touch into low-key stuff.  Crazy ass shit rising shtuff at 1:20 wow!!    2:17 area is a very compelling breakdown, lots of little synthy nuances that make my spine tingle.  3:05 mmmmmmmm that bass :D - then the snare kicks in and the Hats....hoo boy.  This track evolves a LOT.  4:10 even more crazy changes with the arp.  The bass REALLY helps move this along.  6 min area has a cool rise, followed by a cool finale.  LOL that Loony Tunes vocal sample.  Soooo yeah, this isn't really MnP but this is FUCKING AWESOME, gets over9000 for BONUS points. 

Trism, submit me your entry for round 73.  Or else you will die. AKA I'll pick my own entry after 2 days ;)

 

Thanks!

Yeah so as I said in my little snippet I wanted Mute City to just be a total blast of energy from start to finish. The intro starts off pretty standard fair, but when I got the chance to start bringing in things I totally did. At 1:20 I think originally I had just a couple of transitional FX. Then after some more listening I asked myself, "Can I make this crazier?" So, that is what I ended up with at the end of the day. Plus, the end is really quite bonkers. Also, as a fun fact of the day that last lead sound in there is a Clavinet made with PWM because why not? Now, with Cutting Edge of Notion I really wanted to follow Mute City. With Mute City being so full of energy and excitement I thought it appropriate to pull back on the energy levels a bit. So, I went through a lot of sounds on the bass and finally decided on a sound from TyrellN6. Apply some sidechain to the kick, some distortion, and lots of extra compression. Also, with Cutting Edge of Notion I wanted something kind of thick and layered. The snare is a wonderful sample with just the right amount of reverb placed on it. The hats if memory serves are basically 909 (open) and 808 (closed). But again it is all about that balance of the two to create that basic pulse to the music. Glad at least someone got the vocal sample at the end!

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18 minutes ago, APZX said:

Thanks!

Yeah so as I said in my little snippet I wanted Mute City to just be a total blast of energy from start to finish. The intro starts off pretty standard fair, but when I got the chance to start bringing in things I totally did. At 1:20 I think originally I had just a couple of transitional FX. Then after some more listening I asked myself, "Can I make this crazier?" So, that is what I ended up with at the end of the day. Plus, the end is really quite bonkers. Also, as a fun fact of the day that last lead sound in there is a Clavinet made with PWM because why not? Now, with Cutting Edge of Notion I really wanted to follow Mute City. With Mute City being so full of energy and excitement I thought it appropriate to pull back on the energy levels a bit. So, I went through a lot of sounds on the bass and finally decided on a sound from TyrellN6. Apply some sidechain to the kick, some distortion, and lots of extra compression. Also, with Cutting Edge of Notion I wanted something kind of thick and layered. The snare is a wonderful sample with just the right amount of reverb placed on it. The hats if memory serves are basically 909 (open) and 808 (closed). But again it is all about that balance of the two to create that basic pulse to the music. Glad at least someone got the vocal sample at the end!

Man, I need to sidechain again - haven't done that in over 4 years I think.  I think...after 2013 my overall skill level has actually dropped after a series of NO's and other shit that's been knocking me down a peg constantly - guess I got demotivated for a while.  Well, I aim to change that.  I'll see if I can find time to participate more often at this and PRC.  Might hop in another project again.  We'll see. 

And I'm definitely saving your's and Dex's entry for my car-listening.  Might inspire me to do more stuff.  

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@Trism

You know I don't think there is quite enough organ in this. Seems completely overshadowed by those choirs you got there. And man I gotta say those choirs are pretty sweet. They've got some great vocal and airy qualities to them. But seriously, I think the mix is a bit too understated. You've got some nice sounds in there, but the choir does completely swamp the organs and the drums kind of sound like an after thought :( 

@Dextastic

Ooooooh GEEEETTTAAARSSS!!!! I much like the drums in Mute City. Cymbals sound quite well balanced, if lacking just a smidgen of a transient for the most part. The guitars sound very good, but maybe slightly hollow (give just a bit more midrange focus to them). Also, the only really wide thing to the mix is the drums. Now, that isn't inherently bad, but you really want to kind of try and layer your mix to make it more interesting to listen to. For the most part I also like the piano, but it seems a bit swamped out by the guitars. There are some things you could try but something to try when mixing is to basically zero out your mix and bring things up until you've got a good static mix going on. Then from there you color and highlight as desired. The bass sounds pretty good as well, but perhaps too "tubby". Try to focus your attention to that 100-200Hz range there. Though on the plus the kick and bass interact very well with one another. Beyond that, KICK ASS rendition!

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FEEDBACK POST

@Trism

I like the organ. What vst is it? 1:50-2:05 uses a different organ. Is it part of the same vst?

Unfortunately as Austin pointed out the organ part is often overshadowed by the choir parts. I'm not sure if you would want to adjust the volume levels or mix it differently to make the organ sound come through better. I still suck at mixing so I can't offer much feedback there.

I like the choir part itself. I think it fits well with the song. I also like that you let instruments like the choir part and the organ at 1:50-2:05 come in and drop out over the course of the song and it all still fits together pretty well.

I also agree with Austin that the drums sound like an afterthought. The drums on the original version are better, which should not happen in a remix. The original drum part is pretty complicated, bordering on overplaying, so replacing it with a simpler drum part would be fine, but what you have doesn't quite work. For instance, if you start counting after the first crash cymbal, the ninth snare hit should be part of a fill and doesn't sound right on its own. I know you didn't have a lot of time to work on this so it's fine, but what you wrote for the drum track sounds like an outline to be filled in later, and filling in a few little things like this fill can be enough to finish the part and make the whole song sound a lot better. My main instrument is drums so please let me know if you'd like more constructive criticism on the drum part.

@APZX

I love what you did with Cutting Edge. I wasn't sold on the idea of putting it in an EDM style when you first mentioned it, but you really made it work. As far as style goes I usually don't care much for electronic music (the kind you submitted this and the previous round)-I'm more of a rock guy-but this is something I would legitimately listen to in my normal playlist. The bass drum is heavy in the Cutting Edge section and I love it.

I think you did a good job with the Mute City part too-particularly 1:30-2:07 (and 1:57-2:07 really kicks ass)-but I don't agree that it's high energy all the way through. This is probably just my inner drummer talking, but for me I don't feel like a whole lot is going on until around 0:40, and the break from 1:04-1:20 really kills the momentum you'd built up to that point. Musically it's all fine, but if high energy is what you were going for the whole way through, that's not what came across to me.

 

 

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6 hours ago, HoboKa said:

Dex - Wow!  This is some real good geetar work there.  The mix is fairly decent too, probably is room for improvement, but that is something you'd have to ask more skilled producers hah.  Some nice touches with original piano melodies.  Good production.  The transition to Cutting Edge is nice too - it eases in JUST well enough...at least for my tastes :) 

Thanks! The guitars are all programmed (actually everything in my track is programmed), and part of what took me so long with this track was learning how to use my guitar VST. I've still got a few things to learn on it for sure. In case anyone cares, the guitars are all AME with some freeware distorition, and one of the lead guitars has a light flanger on it for parts of the song.

I worked on that damn transition at 1:10 for a long time. I tried three or four things and finally settled on what you hear in the track. I don't know if you noticed but during the first few bars of Cutting Edge, one of the lead guitars continues playing the Mute City melody until it "links" up with the Cutting Edge melody. It's probably my favorite thing about my remix.

4 hours ago, APZX said:

...Also, the only really wide thing to the mix is the drums. Now, that isn't inherently bad, but you really want to kind of try and layer your mix to make it more interesting to listen to.

Thanks for the mixing feedback. I'll work on it. I'm still new to mixing though and I don't understand what you meant by this part. I'm not sure what you mean by width or layering. Do you mean doing non-static panning and automating gainers, stuff like that? I'm trying to stay away from things like stereo expanders because of the problems they have if you listen to the song in mono. In the track I submitted I used the following static panning (everything on a scale from 50L to 50R).

Rhythm guitar 1 panned hard L

Rhythm guitar 2 same part, panned hard R

Lead guitar 1 panned 29 L

Piano left hand panned 15 L

Bass center

Piano right hand panned 15 R

Lead guitar 2 panned 27 R

Drums panned statically, each piece placed in its natural position in the kit.

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Aaaaaah so many comments! Thanks for all the feedback, guys.

Firstly yeah; the mix is muddy as all hell and I had an absolutely nightmare of a time even getting it to that point. Really I could have done with starting the mastering from scratch but sadly Time waits for no remixer.

@Dextastic The VST is Cinematic Keys by Sample Logic and it's awesome. I got is solely for the organ sounds but the other presets are very cool as well.

@APZX Yes, sadly the choir ended up being too forward in the mix. This was one of those situations where it sounded fine on the headphones I use with my computer but way out of whack on every other device I listened to it on. Cést la vie, as they say.

I have to admit that I didn't listen to your two mixes, guys and I'm really sorry about that as I always try and make a point of listening to every track submitted for a round. I'll attempt to rectify that ASAP.

And @HoboKa I'll get a source to you ASAP :)

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17 hours ago, Dextastic said:

Thanks for the mixing feedback. I'll work on it. I'm still new to mixing though and I don't understand what you meant by this part. I'm not sure what you mean by width or layering. Do you mean doing non-static panning and automating gainers, stuff like that? I'm trying to stay away from things like stereo expanders because of the problems they have if you listen to the song in mono. In the track I submitted I used the following static panning (everything on a scale from 50L to 50R).

Rhythm guitar 1 panned hard L

Rhythm guitar 2 same part, panned hard R

Lead guitar 1 panned 29 L

Piano left hand panned 15 L

Bass center

Piano right hand panned 15 R

Lead guitar 2 panned 27 R

Drums panned statically, each piece placed in its natural position in the kit.

Okay, let me see if I can explain this without sounding like a pompadour wearing hipster. So, width is an interesting topic of discussion in of itself and so is layering of elements, but lets start simple with the idea of masking as this has a lot to do with what I'm about to discuss. Masking is when you have one element of a mix hide or cloud the ability to hear another. So, lets listen to your mix and do some analysis of what is readily able to be heard versus what is more than likely causing it to be masked (best guesses based on the sonic qualities of everything going on). The piano can be heard, but it has no real definition in the mix. It is just kind of there and not really adding to the mix in its current state. More than likely there is a combination of the guitars and drums taking up too much space for the piano to really shine. That is probably the largest masking issue in the mix. I don't know how to tell you to correct this without you actually revisiting the mix from the start. But I can re-suggest starting the mix from zero and mixing up and developing a static mix from that. This helps you find a general level and balance of the instruments that work to keep various elements of the mix audible and not fighting each other for too much space. Don't worry about EQ or Compression or effects at this point. You just want to get something that is generally favorable and kind of what you're looking for from the focus of the instruments. Then after this point you can start to add in EQ to clear up some space and create more space for the various instruments. 

Now, I keep saying "space" and let me tell you this is probably the hardest thing to define in a mixing context. Not because it is necessarily hard to achieve, but because it is incredibly difficult to put into words exactly what it is. It is kind of the situation of where you know exactly what it is because the big name guys have been doing it so well for so long that you know exactly what it sounds like, and when it doesn't sound like that it is definitely noticeable. Essentially, you almost want to picture a stage or volume or something where all these various elements are playing together. Then you've got to figure out mentally how these various elements are placed on the stage or volume or whatever. Then you've got to work on making the mix of the various instruments sound like what you're picturing. Go listen to pretty much any Pop, Rock, Metal, Hip Hop, RnB, or whatever and just pay attention to where the various elements are situated relative to one another. This is where the ideas of width and layering start coming into play. 

So, width as I said is an interesting concept in of itself and the general idea is that there are two speakers so there is a fixed amount of separation between the two that is the inherent width of any mix. However, it is possible to go beyond those with things like stereo expanders, but those as you've pointed out can cause issues with mono compatibility. Though there are ways to make a mix that is wide and is mono compatible. Really, the general idea at play here is partially related to the idea of sum and difference of the left and right. The greater the difference between the left and right overall the wider the mix will probably sound. It is also important to note how our brain interprets sound. Most of the issues with mono compatibility are when you play with the phase of either the left or right compared to the other. The more out of phase one is with the other the wider it will sound, but that also comes at the price of compromising the phantom center (remember the center doesn't actually exist). With that being said if you have a very solid phantom center and more or less invert the left or right phase of an element in the mix you'd be surprised at how forgiving the brain is to it. Sure it still won't sound correct, but it starts to get you thinking about it. Additionally, with this we're generally less sensitive to higher frequency material being out of phase than lower frequency material. Use that to your advantage. You really have to use all sorts of tricks to make the brain think it is hearing something that it may not necessarily be hearing. 

That really brings me to the last point I'd like to make about layering. As I'm sure you're aware of already there is layering different sounds together to make a more complex sound. Well, you can apply the same idea to a mix in not only the stereo field, but also the depth of a mix. You've kind of got to think of the depth like drawing a 3D image on a piece of paper. Is it 3D? No it isn't, but it looks 3D and the same can apply with a mix. It is just an illusion of an element in the mix being closer or further away than another. Lets go back for a second to the idea of width. Now, if you place something halfway panned, hard pan something else, and if you apply "gentle" stereo expansion to something else then the end result is something that will likely sound wider than had you quarter panning, half panning, and just hard panning. The gentle stereo expansion is not likely to cause many issues with mono compatibility either. Plus, if you control the volume and spectral balance of what you pan out then you've also created complexity to the mix where certain instruments appear closer and further from the listener. Apply this same kind of thinking to just depth of the mix and you'll be starting to get the idea of layering within a mixing context rather than a sound design context. Another thing to keep in mind is that if you listen to the big name stuff with these ideas in place you'll likely find that they are wider in the top end and narrow the lower in frequency that they go creating like an upside down triangle. Trust me it'll take time to wrap your head around it, but these are things to start paying attention to. 

Ultimately, a good modern stereo mix is one of illusion. There are some monitoring tricks you can do to see what exactly is going on. For instance if you mono your monitoring then what you're hearing the sum or phantom center of the mix. If you mono your monitoring and then invert the phase of either the left or right then you're hearing the difference which is really just the out of phase material that will disappear when the mix is collapsed to mono. Now, this out of phase material doesn't necessarily translate to width. It is just what will disappear when you collapse to mono. If you hear a lot of low end like this then that is generally pretty bad. But if you hear some reverb tails or such then it probably isn't such a big deal. You've got to alternate between normal stereo, mono, and mono + invert to really get a good idea of what you're mix is doing. Also, you've got to just experiment to understand what these things all mean to the end result of the mix. The last thing I'd like to suggest is applying things in layers. That is to say if you need a lot of compression on a signal then use multiple compressors for the different aspects of the sound that need compression. This typically creates a more natural sounding result than one compressor doing all the lifting (though it may be desirable artistically to do one layer of compression). Apply the same idea to width. Add it in stages and try to bake it in from the beginning. 

Okay, that was a lot longer than I expected and I waffled about a bit, but hopefully it makes some sense. 

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Thanks for the detailed response! Yeah I understand masking and notching/boosting in theory, but I need a lot more practice learning the proper frequency ranges to do it for each instrument. I'm going to revisit this mix and work on it some more. One problem I've had is the same as Trism: My mix sounds really good on my headphones but not as good on my speakers or other systems. I recently learned that my headphones frequency response isn't as flat as I thought, and have added some corrective eq. I've also started playing with a binaural room impulse response vst so I can hear the phantom center correctly in my headphones. I know mixing is best done on monitors in an acoustically treated room, but that's just not in the cards for me right now.

Let me make sure I understand what you said at the beginning: You are recommending starting with all instruments at 0 and bringing them into the mix one at a time, using only volume knobs/gainers, until everything is heard well enough, and then apply EQ/compression from there, right?

Also, as far as "stage placement," do you think adding some additional reverb to the piano would help it stand out more by making it sound like I've moved it back on the stage? Is that a thing that commonly works? Right now it has the exact same reverb as all the guitars so it's in the same line as them.

I promise I got more out of your post than I am asking here-I just need a little guidance to make sure I'm moving in the right direction.

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