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Production on Kanye's "all of the lights" Condenser Microphones
Old 31st December 2010
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Production on Kanye's "all of the lights"

This song was one of my favorites from his recent album (one of the best of 2010- a must listen!) and I decided to do a cover of it with my group.

After listening to the track so many time to create the cover, though, I'm very curious as to what type of hardware and software was used to create the original. For example, what vocal mics and compressors were used to record kanye and rihanna (I know kanye used the CL1B for some tracks on this album)? What soft synths for the instruments? Drums?

If anyone has any insight into how this track came together it would be much appreciated!

Edit- I suppose I should include our cover.

Old 31st December 2010
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Ken Lewis's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by scepstral View Post
This song was one of my favorites from his recent album (one of the best of 2010- a must listen!) and I decided to do a cover of it with my group.

After listening to the track so many time to create the cover, though, I'm very curious as to what type of hardware and software was used to create the original. For example, what vocal mics and compressors were used to record kanye and rihanna (I know kanye used the CL1B for some tracks on this album)? What soft synths for the instruments? Drums?

If anyone has any insight into how this track came together it would be much appreciated!

Edit- I suppose I should include our cover.

WOW, that is super hot. great job guys, and girl. sounds like alot of work went into that, its amazing when you hear a song that inspires you that much to put in that much work covering it and flipping it to be your own. Should have subtly flipped the Rihanna part as well.

I dont know about the rest of the song, but the horn section is real. French Horns, trumpets, trombones, bass trombone, flugel horn, some sort of small tuba, not sure what the specific name of it is. I think we put down a bass trumpet part as well. The main horns in the intro are french horns and the arrangement builds, evolves and changes from there.
I also added MIDI flute, piccolo, and i think either english horn or oboe

One of my favorite songs i've worked on in my career. good to see its inspiring others. Kanye is a visionary. I do know that this song evolved tremendously from original conception to completion, over the course of months. I think Rihanna was one of the last things added to it. her parts and her voice were added after i heard what i thought was the final version. I sat down to watch the Runaway movie and when this song came on, my jaw hit the floor when Rihanna's part came on. I thought the song was great before i heard her on it, and she took it to the next level.
Old 31st December 2010
  #3
Lives for gear
 
PRPS's Avatar
great job fella's....the youtube video was dope
Old 1st January 2011
  #4
Gear Nut
 

Dang!!...and i thought i liked that track....great stuff mang.
Old 1st January 2011
  #5
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PRPS's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Lewis View Post
WOW, that is super hot. great job guys, and girl. sounds like alot of work went into that, its amazing when you hear a song that inspires you that much to put in that much work covering it and flipping it to be your own. Should have subtly flipped the Rihanna part as well.

I dont know about the rest of the song, but the horn section is real. French Horns, trumpets, trombones, bass trombone, flugel horn, some sort of small tuba, not sure what the specific name of it is. I think we put down a bass trumpet part as well. The main horns in the intro are french horns and the arrangement builds, evolves and changes from there.
I also added MIDI flute, piccolo, and i think either english horn or oboe

One of my favorite songs i've worked on in my career. good to see its inspiring others. Kanye is a visionary. I do know that this song evolved tremendously from original conception to completion, over the course of months. I think Rihanna was one of the last things added to it. her parts and her voice were added after i heard what i thought was the final version. I sat down to watch the Runaway movie and when this song came on, my jaw hit the floor when Rihanna's part came on. I thought the song was great before i heard her on it, and she took it to the next level.

i gotta add this even though people will say i'm dick riding. Ken, thanks for taking the time for your insight to this thread. I'm glad to see extremely successful people in the indutry still providing info and helping people trying to "make it" in the industry. It's much appreciated.
Old 1st January 2011
  #6
Lives for gear
Great job mate
Old 1st January 2011
  #7
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by scepstral View Post
This song was one of my favorites from his recent album (one of the best of 2010- a must listen!) and I decided to do a cover of it with my group.

After listening to the track so many time to create the cover, though, I'm very curious as to what type of hardware and software was used to create the original. For example, what vocal mics and compressors were used to record kanye and rihanna (I know kanye used the CL1B for some tracks on this album)? What soft synths for the instruments? Drums?

If anyone has any insight into how this track came together it would be much appreciated!

Edit- I suppose I should include our cover.

Great work, video and sound is awesome.

Extremely well done cover
Old 1st January 2011
  #8
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Lewis View Post
WOW, that is super hot. great job guys, and girl. sounds like alot of work went into that, its amazing when you hear a song that inspires you that much to put in that much work covering it and flipping it to be your own. Should have subtly flipped the Rihanna part as well.

I dont know about the rest of the song, but the horn section is real. French Horns, trumpets, trombones, bass trombone, flugel horn, some sort of small tuba, not sure what the specific name of it is. I think we put down a bass trumpet part as well. The main horns in the intro are french horns and the arrangement builds, evolves and changes from there.
I also added MIDI flute, piccolo, and i think either english horn or oboe

One of my favorite songs i've worked on in my career. good to see its inspiring others. Kanye is a visionary. I do know that this song evolved tremendously from original conception to completion, over the course of months. I think Rihanna was one of the last things added to it. her parts and her voice were added after i heard what i thought was the final version. I sat down to watch the Runaway movie and when this song came on, my jaw hit the floor when Rihanna's part came on. I thought the song was great before i heard her on it, and she took it to the next level.
Thanks for the complement and response Ken- we put a lot of time into this track and as such it's very fulfilling to hear from someone who worked so intimately with the song. The brass arrangement is definitely the driving force that pushes the whole piece forward. It's great that you guys had the chance to play most of those instruments live- I don't think the track would be anywhere near as epic without that authenticity. It's amazing that Kanye does both the dead simple (dark fantasy) and the extravagant (all of the lights) so well.

Thanks for all the positive feedback guys. That's what keeps us all going!
Old 1st January 2011
  #9
Here for the gear
 
GDEnt's Avatar
 

that is a great "remake".
Old 2nd January 2011
  #10
T1M
Gear Maniac
 

The drums on the original are intense, probably the best thing about the song.

Were there any samples used at all?
Old 2nd January 2011
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by T1M View Post
The drums on the original are intense, probably the best thing about the song.

Were there any samples used at all?
I agree- the drums give the track a great amount of energy. I had actually recreated those drums beat for beat when I started putting this together- the round snare that's panned slightly to the left was the trickiest to get right. Eventually we decided to take those hits out and give the track a slower, chilled-out feel.

No samples from the original track were used- some of the instruments were played via MIDI with sample libraries if that's what you meant.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #12
T1M
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by scepstral View Post
I agree- the drums give the track a great amount of energy. I had actually recreated those drums beat for beat when I started putting this together- the round snare that's panned slightly to the left was the trickiest to get right. Eventually we decided to take those hits out and give the track a slower, chilled-out feel.

No samples from the original track were used- some of the instruments were played via MIDI with sample libraries if that's what you meant.
When I asked if any samples were used I was asking if any samples were used in the original. Your version isn't very good in my opinion.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #13
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by T1M View Post
When I asked if any samples were used I was asking if any samples were used in the original. Your version isn't very good in my opinion.
You should read Ken Lewis's response (above) about the brass section. I think the other elements of the song are pretty self-explanatory.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #14
Gear Nut
 

I noticed how raw the beat was when I first got the album. Sounds like it came right off of an MPC. Probably a 2000xl or something. All the beats on the album sound like this to me.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #15
Gear Nut
 

u guys recording in omni???
Old 3rd January 2011
  #16
Lives for gear
 

Ken,

Great info. I just had a question if i could hijack for a sec. How do you deal with Kanye's heavy drum arrangements? On alot of his tracks, it seems like he plays the kicks with note repeat. How do you create space and depth when an arrangement is full of bassy kicks? Are you automating the volume of his drums constantly?
Old 3rd January 2011
  #17
Gear Nut
 

U guys must of been recording in omni ur mic is facing the other way....other than that it sounded great and they both went in.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #18
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MG_BEATS View Post
they both went in.
I was waiting for that first Beach Boy to be like, "Our nigga dead!" haha. But seriously, this was a really cool remake, and both of the emcees came with it. The drums are where it fell short, imo, and it sounds like you were going for a more laid-back sound. You achieved that, but I don't think it's working for you. Great effort nonetheless.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #19
Lives for gear
 
Ken Lewis's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkung View Post
Ken,

Great info. I just had a question if i could hijack for a sec. How do you deal with Kanye's heavy drum arrangements? On alot of his tracks, it seems like he plays the kicks with note repeat. How do you create space and depth when an arrangement is full of bassy kicks? Are you automating the volume of his drums constantly?
you are asking the wrong guy. while i have mixed a half dozen songs for Kanye over the years, i am not his mix engineer, and i am not his tracking engineer. The guys mixing are typically Mike Dean, Manny Marroquin and Andrew Dawson.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #20
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Lewis View Post
you are asking the wrong guy. while i have mixed a half dozen songs for Kanye over the years, i am not his mix engineer, and i am not his tracking engineer. The guys mixing are typically Mike Dean, Manny Marroquin and Andrew Dawson.
sorry bout that...

If Mike Dean is reading, hopefully he will have some insight. Thanks!
Old 3rd January 2011
  #21
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drollz View Post
I was waiting for that first Beach Boy to be like, "Our nigga dead!" haha. But seriously, this was a really cool remake, and both of the emcees came with it. The drums are where it fell short, imo, and it sounds like you were going for a more laid-back sound. You achieved that, but I don't think it's working for you. Great effort nonetheless.
Thanks for the feedback- we had started out with a beat for beat remake of Kanye's drums in the song, but honestly it wasn't worth it to try to emulate what he did. We all know that tactic would end up falling short and sound far cornier than simplifying the beat a bit. At the end of the day we're covering Kanye- we did the cover because we're all fans of his, not because we wanted to make a better version of the song, you know?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MG_BEATS View Post
U guys must of been recording in omni ur mic is facing the other way....other than that it sounded great and they both went in.
The video was shot during off-hours in a studio that was gracious enough to let us shoot there. Believe me, the mic and room that we recorded the vocals in was much worse than that mic in omni would have been.
Old 7th January 2011
  #22
Lives for gear
 
Dayl's Avatar
I'll check this when I get home (no streaming at work), by the sounds of things, it's something to look forward to.

On a side note. This track is my favorite track of 2010 and is bleeding into 2011.

I loved the track to begin with.. the chorus vocals are so well blended that the become something else... really expressive. From a geek perspective, it seems to keep giving.. what those horns are doing... that rumble beneath the track. Amazing.
Old 11th January 2011
  #23
Gear Maniac
 

thanks for all the love- our cover is currently #32 in the top 100 of hypemachine. pretty wild stuff! http://hypem.com/item/180xc/
Old 11th January 2011
  #24
Lives for gear
 

u guys only did the 1st 4 bars of the 8 bar loop?

wheres the part where bass goes down to the f?? ok tho!
Old 12th January 2011
  #25
Here for the gear
 

Okay, I'd like to start by saying I most sincerely wouldn't write anything out of pure negativity. Normally, if I wasn't feel something I wouldn't say anything. But, I'd like to say something about this in hopes that you can see what I'm saying as another point of view and not out of hate. This sounds good, but I feel like it has ulterior motives. I feel it was done more out of getting the attention of certain people rather than being "art for art's sake." I may be completely out of line and wrong and I apologize if that's case. I personally feel that this lack an artistic sense of sincerity. As "artist" sometimes we're more concerned with adopting traits, qualities, and etc.. that make others successful that we over look our own unique qualities. I guess I'm just questioning if "we're" putting the music first and letting everything else be a by-product of creating great art. Thanks for allowing me to add my opinion to your thread. Congrats and best wishes to you.
Old 12th January 2011
  #26
Lives for gear
 
Mark D.'s Avatar
 

LOL on the mic. Folks, I think this is a lip-synch for the video. I'm sure it was properly turned forward for
cardioid vocal recording, when recorded. Nice redo of the original. There is some "beating" in the low end
where it seems the subby part of the kick and bass are intermodulating. That's a common thing in lots of
pre-made beats I get to mix vocals/rap to here. Some EQ and side-chaining would help clear it up a little.

There are times the low end does overwhelm things, and also, the lower mids could be cleaned up a little
on the instruments. Nothing major though. The first rapper has a little too much high mids, and could use
some notch EQ in spots. The bright Studio Project C3 may not be the best match for his particular voice,
while it works on the second rapper much better. Getting the right mic to match the vocal can be tricky.
Old 12th January 2011
  #27
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jalsanders View Post
This sounds good, but I feel like it has ulterior motives. I feel it was done more out of getting the attention of certain people rather than being "art for art's sake." I may be completely out of line and wrong and I apologize if that's case. I personally feel that this lack an artistic sense of sincerity. As "artist" sometimes we're more concerned with adopting traits, qualities, and etc.. that make others successful that we over look our own unique qualities.
I completely hear where you're coming from. I certainly didn't intend to make this thread more about my version than the original. At the same time it's hard to relinquish attention when you're just starting out as a musician. We did the cover because we're fans of kanye and wanted to pay tribute to the fact that he's done tremendous things for hip hop. If we were making covers of rihanna+eminem and BOB + hayley williams (i.e. radio hits), I think you'd have a point, but this is the first time we've ever worked with anything that's not our own, and the only thing we've released since our first album.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark D. View Post
LOL on the mic. Folks, I think this is a lip-synch for the video. I'm sure it was properly turned forward for
cardioid vocal recording, when recorded. Nice redo of the original. There is some "beating" in the low end
where it seems the subby part of the kick and bass are intermodulating. That's a common thing in lots of
pre-made beats I get to mix vocals/rap to here. Some EQ and side-chaining would help clear it up a little.

There are times the low end does overwhelm things, and also, the lower mids could be cleaned up a little
on the instruments. Nothing major though. The first rapper has a little too much high mids, and could use
some notch EQ in spots. The bright Studio Project C3 may not be the best match for his particular voice,
while it works on the second rapper much better. Getting the right mic to match the vocal can be tricky.
Try this for a laugh- we recorded the vocals in an untreated apartment on an AT2020 direct into a presonus inspire. I like to think I did well making the best of a bad situation as far as mixing the vocals is concerned- it's very hard to get a good sound out of a cheap chinese mic (let alone a cheap mic in an untreated room). We had a friend who let us shoot the video in the studio during off hours- I figured it would be less lame to make the video that way, and most viewer/listeners can't tell the difference.
As far as the mix goes, I really appreciate the feedback. Mixing in an untreated room with near-fields and no sub is very challenging when it comes to hip-hop. I have no doubt that the low end has serious issues, but I just have no way to check those things. As time goes on, and we are able to use proper equipment I have no doubt that the glaring errors in our recordings and my mixes will become instantaneously obvious. For now, though, we're just enjoying making music and trying to make the best out of very prude gear situation, while at the same time learning everything we can along the way.
Old 12th January 2011
  #28
KT1
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KT1's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by scepstral View Post
I completely hear where you're coming from. I certainly didn't intend to make this thread more about my version than the original. At the same time it's hard to relinquish attention when you're just starting out as a musician. We did the cover because we're fans of kanye and wanted to pay tribute to the fact that he's done tremendous things for hip hop. If we were making covers of rihanna+eminem and BOB + hayley williams (i.e. radio hits), I think you'd have a point, but this is the first time we've ever worked with anything that's not our own, and the only thing we've released since our first album.



Try this for a laugh- we recorded the vocals in an untreated apartment on an AT2020 direct into a presonus inspire. I like to think I did well making the best of a bad situation as far as mixing the vocals is concerned- it's very hard to get a good sound out of a cheap chinese mic (let alone a cheap mic in an untreated room). We had a friend who let us shoot the video in the studio during off hours- I figured it would be less lame to make the video that way, and most viewer/listeners can't tell the difference.
As far as the mix goes, I really appreciate the feedback. Mixing in an untreated room with near-fields and no sub is very challenging when it comes to hip-hop. I have no doubt that the low end has serious issues, but I just have no way to check those things. As time goes on, and we are able to use proper equipment I have no doubt that the glaring errors in our recordings and my mixes will become instantaneously obvious. For now, though, we're just enjoying making music and trying to make the best out of very prude gear situation, while at the same time learning everything we can along the way.
Well put buddy. You just gained my irrelevant respect. articulate, fair, concise and humble. Good luck to you matey.
Old 12th January 2011
  #29
Lives for gear
 

I mixed ham in a hotel

Checked it on my speakers at home in houston. Went back to hotel and mastered it. No treatment at all!! Good job dude!!
Old 13th January 2011
  #30
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mike dean View Post
Checked it on my speakers at home in houston. Went back to hotel and mastered it. No treatment at all!! Good job dude!!
Hey Mike,

What do you use for mastering? All ITB? Which plugs?

Thanks and props!
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