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I've been gone for a while and super busy at work, but now I'm on vacation. So I got to thinking, what better place to vacation than Costa de Sol? One thing led to another, and...

 

https://soundcloud.com/tesonael/costa-de-sol-acoustic-cover

 

This is really my first time mixing recordings in with samples. I'd dabbled in it a bit(in a cover of Dimensional Breach), but I barely used anything there. I'm happy with the results so far, but there are a lot of improvements to be made, especially with the song's progression. As far as the soundscape and instrumentation goes, I think it's entering "Bossa nova" territory.

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Sounds pretty chill, and pretty clean. I think it could use a bit more punch, I guess? But it's off to a good start.

 

Thanks. Yeah, it does feel a little too on the "chill" side. I've done a few revisions and uploaded version 2. A bit was rerecorded and some light drums were added to help carry the melody along. I've cleaned up a lot of the other instruments as well. I feel like it's in a better spot now, although I'm looking to flesh out the melody a bit.

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Updated. EQ'd a bit, with some minor instrumentation changes and volume adjustments. I think it's just about finished, although I'm still considering the length of the song. Any feedback would be appreciated.

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I despise SoundCloud's encoding in situations like this. Everything just gets mutilated by it. 

 

Anyway, I don't like the body the acoustic guitar, but the higher notes sound excellent. I just feel the main body of the acoustic guitar is a bit too prominent in the mix, and that by using an actual bass instrument for the low end would be more beneficial. The percussion from what I can hear is fine except for the kick which needs a bit more oomph. The tambourine could be turned down a notch or two though.

 

Honestly, there are two things with the mix that I feel need a little more scrutiny. First, the percussion. It sounds on its own, but you've got certain instruments that are really distant and full of space & reverb and others that are very dry and upfront. This can work sometimes, but in this situation I feel it detracts from the whole listening experience. Second, the space of the track. I mentioned this briefly with the drums and when I step back and listen to the track as a whole I'm really left at odds here about what space each instrument is in. And that is the problem. This should sound more like one single coherent space rather than about 5 or 6 different spaces being pieced together. It just doesn't sound right.

 

Other than that I have to say this is actually a very enjoyable listen overall in terms of arrangement. I've always liked the source tune. And this is a nice cover with just enough extra to make it interesting and a bit more personalized. The first half of the track is very true to the source. The second half has some interpretation going on, which I quite enjoyed. I think adding a simple bass instrument would go a long way to making it sound more whole as well. Really quite a good listen.

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Regarding the percussion, that's my fault really. I'm using two primary samples for it - The first is the Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra, which is where you're hearing the more distant instruments. It's used for most of the percussion, really. The second(which does sound a bit dry) is from DrumMic'a and is used for most of the drum kit. I'm looking into other options that would blend with it better, but I think a little more mixing would fix it for the most part. The tambourine, at least, should be an easy fix and I think a few more volume adjustments on all of the SSO instruments would help out.

 

As for the acoustics, that's in need of some work. It was recorded on a Martin acoustic/electric and much of that is just how it's going to sound, but I can certainly touch it up. I may try another recording on some of the muddier parts.

 

Thanks for the feedback - I'm still pretty new to anything outside of recording(and still learning in that area, too), so every bit helps. I'm glad the arrangement was enjoyable, at least.

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I'm pretty fickle with mixing and little things bother me. It really isn't your fault or the likes. But when you start paying really close attention to how professional music is mixed and then start applying what you've heard yourself to mixes you're actually doing then little things start sticking out like a sore thumb.

 

For example the acoustic guitar. I really like the overall sound of it. It is a very lovely sounding instrument and my problem isn't with the actual instrument's tone at all. Instead it has to do with how the body of the acoustic guitar presents itself in comparison to the rest of the instruments in the mix. Ever hear a mix that was boxy or boomy? Conceptually not different at all, but more subtle. Honestly, you could probably tone it down with a simple EQ move (probably in the territory of 200-500Hz just try a simple cut in those areas by like 2-3dB). That at least would be my first try if I were mixing and there are others things I would try if that didn't work. But I'm getting too far ahead. 

 

Now, for blending of spaces, reverb. It doesn't have to be a perfect match either. Try looking at the cathedral or really big hall presets on your favorite reverb. After the reverb you'll probably want to add some EQ to make it match a bit better. Then mix the instruments that don't have the same kind of space to them into the reverb. If you need to mute the instruments from actually being sent to the master but still to the reverb. This can sometimes make it easier to pick out where the instrument really is in the context of the instruments. Also, you can send those instruments with a lot of space to a reverb as well, which sometimes works very well for blending, but I've found that typically keeping that reverb shorter is better and you don't need nearly as much. The acoustic guitar can be sent to the same reverb if you want or you can use a shorter & denser reverb to simulate a closer feeling to the instrument itself. Space is difficult and much like EQ & Compression there are a billion ways to deal with it. I just tried to explain a simple way of working with it. 

 

Now, the kick as I said just needs more oomph. Try bringing out the beater a bit. Think like 3-6KHz. See if that helps bring out the attack of the kick a bit more. If you have to don't be afraid to give it some compression to enhance the kick a bit. I know a lot of people think compression is inherently evil and will crush your dynamics; it won't if you use it appropriately. Also, if you don't like the results you're getting with a compressor try a little bit of distortion. That can sometimes work wonders and be very easy to setup. 

 

Just a bit more thorough of an explanation on my thoughts. But seriously I do like cover. Sounds really good to me, just needs some more attention to the mix is all. Nothing big except for the kick.

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