How has this been mixed? Advice please

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How has this been mixed? Advice please

Post by Sophia_22 »

Hi everyone,

I’m not a pro, I just enjoy learning how to produce. And at this stage I’m analyzing a lot of mixes and trying to understand what has been done, so I’d love to have some input from the pros!

The song “Tiger inside” of the kpop group SuperM ( https://youtu.be/jUsUzbmSLow )
sounds so clean, glossy but warm, round, loud and well-glued together. Like nothing falls out of the mix. it has brilliant highs but none that hurt. It’s punchy around the bottom but round. The vocals are well embedded and even. There are literally no sharp annoying edges but it still covers the whole frequency spectrum.

My amateur guess is analog buss compression and perfect eq-ing?
Besides the obvious (quality of recording, sounds and arrangement have to be good), which compressor plug-ins are good for such purpose? As in creating a warm, punchy compression? And what’s the trick to glue the production so well together through compression? What are the details in terms of equalizing that come to your mind listening to it? How did they reach such a good balance? and which equalizers do you recommend? What else do you think had the engineer done to reach this sound?

I would love to get all the advice possible so I can try out new things!

thank you for your time :)
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Re: How has this been mixed? Advice please

Post by Drew Stephenson »

Hi Sophia, and welcome to the forum.

Having a quick listen and a few thoughts from a fellow amateur...
1) there is no one trick, there are no special bits of gear or plugins, and there are no short cuts. Unfortunately. ;)

2) it starts with the song and the arrangement. Listening carefully you can hear that there are no excess musical parts. For large parts of the song the arrangement is very stripped back, this allows the chorus to punch. But even the chorus isn't over-done. Different parts occupy different frequency ranges and are perfectly weighted to complement each other. Listen to what's actually happening in the bottom and top octaves, one part owns them at each moment in the track.

3) Once they've got the arrangement than SuperM obviously have access to recording engineers and mixers at the top of their game. Again, there's no trick, there's just lots of experience. But listen also to the panning and how different parts are given their own stereo space as well as their own frequency space.

4) When it comes to what the engineer has done, and what you can do, the critical thing is to be really clear about what you're trying to achieve and then use an appropriate tool to do so.

Going back to point 1, there is no magic gear or plugins. Identify what change you want to make, then pick the tool to make that change.
For example, if you identify that you've got some low frequency rumble going on, find out what track is causing it and apply a high pass filter. It really doesn't matter what make or brand. Then move onto the next problem. Are the kick and the bass fighting with each other? First look at the arrangement and see if that an be changed so that they're not. Then look at EQ to see how you can create different frequency areas for them. Again, pretty much any EQ will do. Maybe you'll need to do some ducking, but don't reach for that tool until you've tried the basic stuff first. :)

For anyone starting on this pastime I'd recommend Mike Senior's book Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio.

Smarter people will doubtless be along shortly other comments.
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Re: How has this been mixed? Advice please

Post by The Elf »

Asking how a song was mixed is rather like asking how a car was made. There are a lot of steps to creating a commercial record - and many of them wouldn't even be considered 'mixing'.

kpop is not my bag, so I will pass, but just to advise: start simple, and start at the beginning. Getting a well-recorded vocal would be high on my list. The basics are the same, regardless of genre.
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Re: How has this been mixed? Advice please

Post by James Perrett »

What appears to be a great mix is nearly always more about arrangement and performance. You need a clear idea of where you want the song to go before you start doing any recording.

If you don't have a clear idea then be prepared to demo some ideas first and then completely throw them away and start again once you find the approach that works.
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Re: How has this been mixed? Advice please

Post by RichardT »

Mixing is really a series of decisions - many of them very small individually, but adding up to a significant cumulative effect. So it’s very difficult to say how a track has been mixed as there will have been many hundreds of steps involved.

Don’t worry about which plugins to use - that’s not too important. The EQs and compressors in your DAW will get you 90% of the way there.

The basic aim of mixing is to enable listeners to hear the music that’s being played, and to do that it’s important to give each instrument space. So a lot of mixing involves cutting away things that prevent the listener hearing what’s going on.

This can involve subtractive EQ to stop instruments clashing in the frequency domain, the use of panning, and also managing the stereo width of signals so that they don’t clash in the stereo field. I think a lot of this has been done on the 'Tiger Inside' track. The bass has been strongly LP filtered and the voices strongly HP filtered and the individual sounds seem quite narrow to me.

It also involves the arrangement - choosing instruments that complement each other, and most importantly going for the minimum set of instruments and voices that achieve the musical effect you want. And each element needs to be performed well, with the right feel, phrasing and dynamics.

Only when those basic elements are working is it it time to add the ‘ear candy’ or sweetening effects. There's a lot of compression on this track and it sounds to me like clipping has been used as a deliberate effect.
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Re: How has this been mixed? Advice please

Post by OneWorld »

Sophia_22 wrote: Thu Dec 01, 2022 7:04 pm Hi everyone,

I’m not a pro, I just enjoy learning how to produce. And at this stage I’m analyzing a lot of mixes and trying to understand what has been done, so I’d love to have some input from the pros!

The song “Tiger inside” of the kpop group SuperM ( https://youtu.be/jUsUzbmSLow )
sounds so clean, glossy but warm, round, loud and well-glued together. Like nothing falls out of the mix. it has brilliant highs but none that hurt. It’s punchy around the bottom but round. The vocals are well embedded and even. There are literally no sharp annoying edges but it still covers the whole frequency spectrum.

My amateur guess is analog buss compression and perfect eq-ing?
Besides the obvious (quality of recording, sounds and arrangement have to be good), which compressor plug-ins are good for such purpose? As in creating a warm, punchy compression? And what’s the trick to glue the production so well together through compression? What are the details in terms of equalizing that come to your mind listening to it? How did they reach such a good balance? and which equalizers do you recommend? What else do you think had the engineer done to reach this sound?

I would love to get all the advice possible so I can try out new things!

thank you for your time :)

Not everyone's cup of tea is K-Pop but it is certainly mine, it's pure pop, manufactured and slick, doesn't aspire to be anything else, and amongst all the torrents of that genre, there are some good banging tunes, and yes the production is inscrutable, that is one of the fascinating aspects of music, north south, east and west, we all love a good choon.........

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uR8Mrt1IpXg

I never thought I could see myself enjoying something sung in Mandarin, one cannot make sense of a single word of it, but now I find myself enjoying this....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFo8Pop ... E&index=24
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Re: How has this been mixed? Advice please

Post by The Elf »

Starting to wonder if this wasn't just a ruse for YouTube hits... :think:
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Re: How has this been mixed? Advice please

Post by MarkOne »

The Elf wrote: Fri Dec 02, 2022 4:36 pm Starting to wonder if this wasn't just a ruse for YouTube hits... :think:

The channel has 31M subs and that vid has seen 64M views. I really doubt convincing us lot of ageing hippies/proggers/rockers is going to disturb their metrics when it comes to the YouTube algorithm.

But, hey, you never know!* :mrgreen:

*Actually, that's a lie, I saw the uptick I got when I posted a link to one of my vids here last year. Let's just say, if it had been monetised, I wouldn't have had a Costa latte off the back of it :lol::lol::lol:
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Re: How has this been mixed? Advice please

Post by Sophia_22 »

The Elf wrote: Fri Dec 02, 2022 4:36 pm Starting to wonder if this wasn't just a ruse for YouTube hits... :think:

haha, is that a thing here? No, actually a real question and I’m pretty sure SuperM doesn’t need the numbers :D
Thank you very much for all your feedbacks! I’ll continue my studies and my experiments here in the hope to get even slightly closer to a well sounding mix!
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Re: How has this been mixed? Advice please

Post by The Elf »

:D:thumbup:
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Re: How has this been mixed? Advice please

Post by Wonks »

Have you looked at any of the SOS magazine mixing articles in the techniques section? Lots of hit songs over the years have been talked through by the people who mixed them.

https://www.soundonsound.com/mixing-pro ... ion%3A6971

They don't give everything away, but you will get an idea of how many tracks and how many plug-ins are used per song, and so how impossible it is to say just how a track was mixed.
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Re: How has this been mixed? Advice please

Post by Arpangel »

How long is a piece of string?
One thing to remember, don’t assume anything, as it may turn out to have been done completely differently to how you think it was done.
The only way to find out, doesn’t matter what genre the music is, is to do it, learn by trial and error, meeting with and speaking to people who are into the same music as you are.
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Re: How has this been mixed? Advice please

Post by Sophia_22 »

Wonks wrote: Sat Dec 03, 2022 12:00 pm Have you looked at any of the SOS magazine mixing articles in the techniques section? Lots of hit songs over the years have been talked through by the people who mixed them.

https://www.soundonsound.com/mixing-pro ... ion%3A6971

They don't give everything away, but you will get an idea of how many tracks and how many plug-ins are used per song, and so how impossible it is to say just how a track was mixed.

I haven’t checked that out yet! Thank you for the tip, this is a good one!
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