New song posted. I'd love some tips

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Member Since: Sep 30, 2009

Hey guys! i've been a little MIA here for a week or two, been super busy lately. Got a new song posted on youtube though. Let me know what you think:





Haha don't make fun of the video :P anywho, i think i'm starting to get the hang of this mixing business so please do be picky here. Anything that sets even slightly uneasy with you guys i'd love to know so i can improve on the next song i do. Heck same goes for songwriting but mixing is my newest task and i know i've got to be overdoing some things and overlooking others.

The delay on the lead vocals is one thing that i really can't decide what to do. Also let me know if that outro feels a little empty. I considered adding another melody line to it on the piano or something, but i'd started getting tired of working with this song and just wanted to finish haha.

Thanks guys!

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Prince CZAR-ming
Member
Since: Apr 08, 2004


Jan 12, 2010 06:08 pm

violins too loud, bass not present enough, or something. i'm not sure, but i'm not getting much of it for first part of song.

second verse, not enough guitar, too much violins. seems the snare is too hot, too.

I really like the vocals, vocal processing. that's nice.
a few pitch issues w/ vocals, but mostly pretty well.

drums sound decent, i think they need a little more reverb, or something to make them not so much 'in your face' maybe a little less snare. actually, i don't hear much kick at all. cymbals sound OK.

for the outro, you could bring up the level of guitar, to fill it out some, maybe add another track of it, and delay one, etc.

seems like there may be a few timing issues, but i'm not sure, so i wouldn't worry about that much.

i'm listening on PC speakers, so take accordingly.

nice song.






http://www.reverbnation.com/2ndg
Member
Since: Nov 27, 2007


Jan 12, 2010 07:34 pm

sounds pretty good to me mate. keep pluggin away man.
I couldnt get a real good listen as im on compy speakers but yeah its good.

did you use that free orchestral proggie for the backing?

Member
Since: Sep 30, 2009


Jan 12, 2010 08:23 pm

Ya, there are a few timing and pitch issues. I'm a decent singer and guitarist but i find it incredibly difficult to get a perfect take. I'm gettin closer though ;]

Hmm. I'll keep the snare thing in mind. I probably used a little too much compression on it. Bass i'm not sure exactly what to do, were you thinking something with the EQing could bring the presence up?

Also, for the drums i'm using Superior Drummer 2.0, what do you guys think about adding a little reverb from pod farm on them? i don't think i even experimented with it, but i could certainly bus the drums out and do that individually. Also my lappy has.... 4 gigs free space left lol so i couldn't do the full install, so i could only use one of the ambience mics. I know deon uses S2.0, any suggestions in what you've found to be nice?

I have been noticing a trend in the songs ive done so far, the drums certainly are lacking something. Too in your face as you said. Maybe the reverb will help quite a bit.

@ deon, no i don't actually have that one installed yet! I ordered a new PC a few weeks ago. And of course they have yet to ship it... >:[ we're on week 3 now so hopefully they get around to it. Those strings were from Eastwest QL goliath. I'm actually expecting that freebee i showed you should be equal to or better even than these strings. Just keep in mind without the extra articulations for a string instrument you have to work your way around to get a natural feel. Especially in a quieter section. I automated the volume swells in a few important places, and i think it sounds fairly natural. Let me know how that thing sounds! I'll be installing it as soon as i get the harddrive space.

http://www.reverbnation.com/2ndg
Member
Since: Nov 27, 2007


Jan 12, 2010 10:08 pm

no worries, with the perfect take thing, do your vox in sections.

Member
Since: Sep 30, 2009


Jan 12, 2010 10:29 pm

Ya, i've been trying to decide the best way to track vox especially. I REALLY stress myself out with that sometimes. I'll try and keep singing a section over and over and over. I often find myself losing the "feel" of the song so i need to just step back and take a break sometimes and use every musician or producers best tool available. Our ears.

I mean with this song, i spent like 2 ten hour days doing nothing but tracking vox and harmonies. Still sounded like rubbish. then i did one take the next day and only had like 2 sections i had to really redo.

(btw, this is just rambling. Nothing you guys can tell me to help me there. Just some bad obsessive compulsive ish tendencies i do in life that carry over to music haha)

Prince CZAR-ming
Member
Since: Apr 08, 2004


Jan 13, 2010 11:52 am

Yeah, I really like your sound quality, and the way you sing, but like you already know, a few pitch issues, which can always be re-done, or not.

Practice certainly will get you the farthest now, I'd think. Seems like you have to put in the hard hours, to get to the good stuff a day later =).

I've also figured out, that you can't push a singer too much; don't try and get more than 3 full takes, then take a break, do a different section, etc. More than that and it gets stale. At least in my experience.

I'm not sure about the drums either, I don't do as much work with them as I could, and I don't have SD, so I can't offer much.

The bass; I'm not sure if it's a 'player' type thing, or 'sound' type thing. Are you a bass player, maybe it's the way you played, that makes me iffy. Maybe there's parts of 'there it is', then parts of 'where is it'. Not sure. Later it sounded better, so maybe it's the playing style that's making me notice.

Czar of Turd Polish
Member
Since: Jun 20, 2006


Jan 13, 2010 12:52 pm

No youtube at work....

Member
Since: Sep 30, 2009


Jan 13, 2010 01:53 pm

Hmm, 3 full takes really? I'll keep that in mind. I do notice the song gets stale when i go full out on the vocals. Its like, idk i just start singing with the wrong tone for the feel of the song and it gradually gets worse. What do you guys find best to do to get singers doing the best takes? Do you have them sing the entire song most of the time or just focus hard on one section?

And the bass. I actually don't hear what you're talking about at all. Playing bass certainly isn't my strength. I think i'm getting better but i do notice i'll play quite off time with the kick drum if i'm not paying attention, and even then sometimes my fingers just seem to get caught on the string or something and hit the note a few parts of a second later.

Are my basslines solid? I try to keep it mostly on the root note and sometimes climb up to an inversion, but other than that i'm not real big on writing fills. Not in a song like this at least. And i TRY to keep it as close to the kick as i can, but i do sometimes deviate. Do you notice anything weird with my technique in the video?

Also, it might be the piano and drums not quite sliding together right with the bass. In the prechorus the bass and kick aren't always hitting at the same time. And in the second verse the piano bass is playing exactly what the bass plays, but the rest of the song has more... idk. arpeggio'd chords. Maybe the change in "communication" between those 3 instruments is unsettling. there's parts of 'there it is', then parts of 'where is it'.

Then again, maybe its just me not hitting all of the notes at the same velocity haha. Hard to say, i never really talked to a REALLY good bass player with good technique.

Prince CZAR-ming
Member
Since: Apr 08, 2004


Jan 13, 2010 02:19 pm

I think you got your answer. Bass is a different animal than guitar, as guitar playing often has a different 'angle' of what will work in a spot, whereas bass often doesn't have any lee-way. Either you have the spot, or you don't.

I think it's the weakness of playing bass, that you're not super confident on bass for this project. As all other stuff, this too will can change, if you look to 'make' a bass part that fits the song.

I was just talking w/ my son about this, showing him how a guitarist may play a passage, and how a bassist may play a passage. Sometimes they may be similar or the same, but more often they're different, so it may be something to look more into.

Or, get a bass player to play the spots =).


Also, having good playing technique ( velocity, rhythm, timing, stable fingering, etc) will make a mediocre performance into a great one, even with the very same notes. It's kinda like playing golf, steady all the time is the way to win, not just flashy for here and there.

That said, bass comes alive with lots of compression, so you can compress the snot out of a bass track, and make it sound mostly the same level and get away with it. It's kinda making up for sloppy performance, but what the heck, we can't all be perfect =).


Member
Since: Dec 24, 2009


Jan 13, 2010 02:44 pm

Just out of interest, what software were you using for the piano drums and violins?

Member
Since: Sep 30, 2009


Jan 13, 2010 03:13 pm

Amen to that! Thats determinately the law i'm living by, especially doing this all myself. The number one thing is the final outcome, and a few mistakes here and there are acceptable to me. And i mean, 6 months ago i didn't know about 90% of the things i know now. I couldn't play bass, drums, keys. Even my ears couldn't discern as much as they do now. So i figure perfection will come in time, until then let the processing cover me over!

I am pretty terrible with compression, on drums i can at least hear what i'm supposed to be hearing. The other instruments i typically just stay near those presents. I'll look into more articles on compression. When you say compress the snot out of the bass though, what sort of settings did you have in mind? Just some estimates off the top of your head would help give me a starting point for next time.

Also i think i'll look some videos up on learning bass and really find the technique you're talking about. Until now i didn't even know i had any noticeable issues! thanks. I'm assuming its mostly my right hand technique?

@smoore528, all my gear is in my gear bio now on HRC. =] i used Eastwest Quantum Leap Goliath for the piano and strings (got it on sale for $200, normally its like $450) and for the drums i use Toontrack Superior Drummer 2.0 (On sale, $150. Normally $250 i believe)

However, if i had to recommend a VSTi to anyone, I'd say get the Native Instruments Komplete (i think thats the one, it was roughly $500). That package will give anyone high quality VSTi's in...well. Just about everything you can imagine. For me the biggest thing in a virtual instrument is options for songwriting and acceptable quality and realism if its a sampler. NI Komplete will give you access to just about every major genre of sound you can think of and do it well, for one low price (haha wow... i can't believe i just called 500 bucks a low price. What has my view of gear come to?)

Also, i believe eastwest is still offering a free orchestral sampler. Just click the huge boarder thing at the top. Complete a 5 minute survey, and download a freaking gianormous file lol.

www.soundsonline.com/home.php

Member
Since: Dec 24, 2009


Jan 13, 2010 04:41 pm

Thanks. They were a pretty decent quality, and I'm looking in to that sort of thing, the prices are a bit steep for my current budget haha, but I have something to save for anyway.

Member
Since: Sep 30, 2009


Jan 13, 2010 04:58 pm

Well I'm here for researching stuff for ya :] idk what it is. Something about gear and especially programs such as VSTi's. idk. i just really enjoy looking up. Probably so i can add to my wish list lol.

Seriously though, if you have a few gigs free on your PC, download that freebee. The orchestral stuff should be really good. Its the same samples they use in their $500 programs, just the main articulations instead of giving you all the options like legato, tremelo, and a lot of more subtle things and mic positions.

Prince CZAR-ming
Member
Since: Apr 08, 2004


Jan 13, 2010 05:21 pm

oh man, you're right there. part 1 is 650 some meg. and there's 3 parts.

Still, i can't pass up a freebie =).

For bass, I use reaper::reacomp, which is quite a nice compressor. I set the threshold so that it's living around where the signal is bouncing, for the track i'm looking at (bass on wastin time in my profile) the T is at -17.8db. The pre-comp is 0ms, the attack is 3.0 ms, release is 100ms. The ratio is 6.2:1 and kneesize is 0, which is hard, i believe. I have 100% wet, and no dry.

I guess a pic would do more :
http://www.kondratko.com/images/reacomp.JPG



You can see the compressor working by the red area with the -4.4 in it. That's how much is being compressed. You can also see the threshold is down where the signal is living.

I probably used the default settings when I opened reacomp, but it works for me, so i left them.

Cockos released some of their plug-ins as VST for all use: www.reaper.fm/reaplugs/index.php. Reacomp, ReaXComp and ReaEQ are ones I use on most projects. ReaFIR is a fft analyzer, which can do lots of specific things.

Good plugs, them. And free too.

Member
Since: Sep 30, 2009


Jan 13, 2010 06:12 pm

Thanks for the info! I definately think i'll grab the compressor. The one in cubase doesn't even have a hard/soft knee setting. Ya i think these could do me some good!

Outta curiosity, do they come with any presents? Are there any web sites with info out there that would serve as a decent starting point for compression? EQ i think i have a decent ear for, or at the very least when something is wrong with the EQ i know immediately that i did a crappy job EQing. I just don't have that ear development yet to know whats wrong when i'm working with dynamics.

Member
Since: Dec 24, 2009


Jan 13, 2010 06:13 pm

The reaper stuff is very decent. And the licence for Reaper is brilliant value. Thanks for all the suggestions btw Fragile :D

Im reading up about them now :) And I'm much the same, cannot resist the freebies.

Prince CZAR-ming
Member
Since: Apr 08, 2004


Jan 13, 2010 07:56 pm

Yeah, i just looked at ver 2.58, and there is a bunch of presets in there. That's pretty cool, as a lot of the times there wasn't presets.


I'll have to start with one next time I use it =).



bace135 in the house tonight!
Member
Since: Jan 28, 2003


Jan 14, 2010 03:15 pm

First off, I'll say I'm very impressed that you're doing all the parts yourself. Listening to the track on 2.1 pc speakers I'd say the first thing that jumps out to me is the overall mix is kinda low heavy (boomy). I feel like the vocals are getting covered by the strings as well, so maybe cut some more eq holes in the strings to make space for the vocals. Also maybe boost the strings in the highs and give the cymbals a little volume boost to fill out the top end of the spectrum a bit. I'm not sure what to do about the bass, but I might compress it some more and pull down some of the low mids so the piano and vocals have a little more room. I hope thats useful advice. I'm always a little leery going into detail without seeing the way you're effects are cuz I'm afraid I'll make myself look like I don't know what I'm talking about. I do like the song though, for sure.

Member
Since: Sep 30, 2009


Jan 14, 2010 03:44 pm

Just about any advice is helpful at this point! If nothing else it gives me new angles to consider. I do notice the boomy feel to it, I'll definitely rethink the spot i give strings in my song. And try "cutting holes" with my EQ as you put it, thats a nice analogy.

Thanks for the advice!

http://www.reverbnation.com/2ndg
Member
Since: Nov 27, 2007


Jan 14, 2010 06:39 pm

you havent mastered it yet though eh?

not to highjack this thread, but how much could things like a little too much bass or a little to much of this or that, be realistcly fixed in the mastering?


Member
Since: Sep 30, 2009


Jan 14, 2010 06:46 pm

I don't even quite understand mastering, what do you do so differently from mixing? And unfortunately at my current skill level i doubt i'll ever pay to get something mastered (sorry MM :D)

and deon hijack all you want. I've gotten plenty of feedback from this thread, there wasn't anything specific i needed help with anyway just an overview of where i'm at and what to do differently next go round

Administrator
Since: Apr 03, 2002


Jan 14, 2010 07:10 pm

mixing is a song at a time, mastering is the compilation...

http://www.reverbnation.com/2ndg
Member
Since: Nov 27, 2007


Jan 14, 2010 08:36 pm

hopefully MM will give us the headsup on mastering.
He can explain much better than i ever could.


Member
Since: Sep 30, 2009


Jan 14, 2010 10:47 pm

Oh, duh lol. Makes sense. Yeah i'll just wait for the MM's straitforward explanation. That guy knows his stuff! Just about every post i've seen from him hits it right on the head.

Prince CZAR-ming
Member
Since: Apr 08, 2004


Jan 15, 2010 01:34 pm

From my understanding, anything you can fix in the mix phase of a song, then fix in the mix. Don't expect mastering to adjust mix levels of a song. You would restrict an ME's ability to do their job, i'd think.

Plus, if you're real interested in a mastering job, then the ME will have much better equipment (gear, room, ears, etc) than I do (or you do, etc). So I'd do everything possible I can do to get it as close as possible to perfect, then let a ME tweak and polish the song (or project) as a whole.

Also, Mastering is technically the printing of a disk, not the adjustments before. So I think pre-mastering would be a good name for what we mean; the tweaking of a song as a whole (or project) before it's written to disk (the actual mastering).

For mix VS mastering, I think of mixing to get all the parts to play nicely together, EQ, compression, level, etc. I don't worry about levels of overall volume, only that they play nice together. Then I render the parts down to a stereo wave file. I then open up the stereo wave file in my DAW, and work on the song as a whole, since it's one track. I might add reverb (or not), maybe some EQ, compression, MBC (don't shoot me), enhancer, etc., then a limiter and maybe dither.

All those last ones are done to the song as a whole, so my perspective is different. I also don't put any 'mastering' type effects on my master out when I'm mixing. I only do mixing tasks during the mix, and save 'mastering' type things for the next phase.

hth

Member
Since: Feb 21, 2010


Feb 21, 2010 08:41 am

sounds pretty good to me mate. keep pluggin away man.
I couldnt get a real good listen as im on compy speakers but yeah its good.

Did you use that free orchestral proggie for the backing?

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