Back to Top

Picking Up The Pieces

by Paloma Faith

I’m not a fan of this mix at all. Sure, the vocal is well upfront, but otherwise the sonics feel curiously muffled overall, and it’s very difficult to appreciate the qualities of most of the backing parts because they’re so difficult to hear. For example, I get the sense that the upright piano sound that enters with the first verse could be really interesting to listen to in its own right, but the mix somehow contrives to represent it using all its least characterful frequencies, leaving it indistinct and forgettable. Where’s the mid-range? And why has the woolliness in its 100-200Hz zone been allowed free rein to cloud the vocal tone and contribute to a muddy build-up with the bass when it arrives at 0:43?

There also seems to be masses of murky-sounding reverb, which doesn’t help the clarity any, and I’d certainly have wanted to do some serious EQ of those effect returns myself to draw some of the veil away from the sound. To my ear the string and choir parts already provide plenty of textural padding already, without flooding all the remaining mix space with effects. Now I’d be the first to acknowledge that there’s room for differences of artistic vision where mixing is concerned, but I reckon it’ll be an uphill struggle to woo any sizeable audience with your art if “make most of the instruments difficult to hear” forms an integral part of your production manifesto.