The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
New Song - The Moment
Old 15th July 2009
  #1
New Song - The Moment

[Edit: Updated with a more refined mix, the final one for me]

So, this is my fifth song. I started into this whole thing of ours about two and a half years ago. I spent about a year just fumbling around and learning. I did a few full songs about a year ago. But I felt I wasn't far enough along on the technical side and was therefore wasting potentially good songs. So I stopped again and have just been working on the technical side of things. This is kind of a 'stop and take stock of where I am' type of thing.

The Moment (WMA format)
The Moment (MP3 format)

It's definitely note a modern, super-crunchy, hyper-compressed, uni-volume type of deal for the ADD generation listening on ear buds while driving a motorcycle. It's old school, very dynamic and kind of fat, with quiet, introspective parts mixed with bombastic lound parts. And it's not optimized particularly for small speakers.

It's pretty dark, being partly related to the suicide last month of a cousin that I was very close to when I was young but grew apart from. So it's about depression, anxiety, loneliness, etc... Because of the subject matter, I kept a couple of wobby vocal lines, because they seemed to suit the part.

I did another couple mixes, which were technically better, but lacked the kind of character and mojo that this one did. But I'm going to just leave it as is. I've learned the lessons from this one and it's time to move on to the next one.

But any comments and criticisms are welcome, to be applied in the future.
Old 16th July 2009
  #2
No one even wants to abuse me? :-) I wrote, performed, and mixed it, so that's like three times the usual possibilities for scorn that could be rolled up into one. There aren't many deals like that out there, you know? So you should take advantage of them when they are available.
Old 18th July 2009
  #3
Nothing at all? I should probably point out that I don't do this for a living, so I have no particular need to try to upsell my stuff, and am interested more in an honest appraisal than trying to impress anyone. So the above might give the impression that it's way worse than it really is. That it's only my fifth song is a little misleading, since I've just been working on little test pieces mostly to improve my tracking and mixing, instead of doing whole songs. I've actually been learning for about 2.5 years now. So it's not a complete train wreck. Though, you will have to listen for more than 15 seconds before it really kicks in and starts becoming what it's going to become.
Old 18th July 2009
  #4
Lives for gear
 
greatgreatriver's Avatar
 

I dig the song - maybe the verses gets a little boring and they feel a bit too long. I would introduce something new from time to time in the song. The chorus thing is cool - it doesn't feel finished but I think it can be great with a little more work.

Hey you talked about vocal pitch etc in another thread. And I think you should apply those words on your own vocals because you are singing in the same pitch through out the whole song... It's get's extremely boring. I think the vocals needs to carry the song.

Try to track the verses live with guitar and vocals. The chours sound cool I think your voice work better there. But the verses need some love.

My 2 cents...
Old 18th July 2009
  #5
Gear Nut
 
Boro's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey View Post
Nothing at all? ... Though, you will have to listen for more than 15 seconds before it really kicks in and starts becoming what it's going to become.
I've just done a quick mastering job on this song and tried to send it to you via e-mail (at your site) - I am new to GearSlutz and still need to get used to the features, so, please excuse me!
Compare the mastered version side-by-side with the original mp3 file (as offered here) and you'll instantly notice the increased clarity and depth, much better vocal and instruments focus and definition, enhanced detail and atmosphere, superiour overall sound quality! And that's only from a poor mp3 file - just imagine what we could do with your original studio mixes!
Old 18th July 2009
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by greatgreatriver View Post
I dig the song - maybe the verses gets a little boring and they feel a bit too long. I would introduce something new from time to time in the song. The chorus thing is cool - it doesn't feel finished but I think it can be great with a little more work.
Yeh, this was an area of conflict for me. It's a song about emotional flatness, depression, etc... So I wanted the verses to reflect that, and wanted them to reflect on the words and not be distracted. But the first version probably goes on too long without some accessorizing. I think I may add some little accents in there. The other verses are actually pretty short, the last one being quite short. But the first one is the most stretched out.

Quote:
Hey you talked about vocal pitch etc in another thread. And I think you should apply those words on your own vocals because you are singing in the same pitch through out the whole song... It's get's extremely boring. I think the vocals needs to carry the song.
Yeh, there again because of the subject matter, I just felt that was appropriate for the tune not to be overly emotive. I brought in the harmony vocal to help offset that, but didn't want to do it on the first verse because I wanted it to grow as it goes.

I certainly do recognize that if I was making music to sell that I'd not want to do it this way, because it wouldn't be nearly as commercially palatable.

Anyway, I'm working on another mix, just to take a completely different approach to it and see how it comes out, and I'll see if I can add a little more spice to the first verse.
Old 18th July 2009
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boro View Post
I've just done a quick mastering job on this song and tried to send it to you via e-mail (at your site) - I am new to GearSlutz and still need to get used to the features, so, please excuse me!
Compare the mastered version side-by-side with the original mp3 file (as offered here) and you'll instantly notice the increased clarity and depth, much better vocal and instruments focus and definition, enhanced detail and atmosphere, superiour overall sound quality! And that's only from a poor mp3 file - just imagine what we could do with your original studio mixes!
Oh, yeh, as mentioned above, it's not a finalized mix. There's no master buss processing at all other than a little glue compression. So there's no overall mix EQ or gluing reverb or anything like that.

But anyway, yeh, certainly post it somewhere so that we can listen to it. I'd like to hear what you did to it, in order to get some ideas. Hopefully it wasn't just 'squash it' :-) I'm not much interested in making it appealing by modern compression standards. But I'd like to hear what you did and steal the good stuff.
Old 19th July 2009
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peacock View Post
The song in AABA form would bring out the song. etc etc.
Isn't that just the songwriting version of a click track? :-) I really kind of consider those things to be the equivalent of a click track honestly, and I always have felt that conforming to those types of extremely overused structures makes your songs into sonic wallpaper just like being overly quantized does. I actually felt that this song was already a bit overly structured along standard commercial music lines.
Old 20th July 2009
  #9
I guess that's the one beneficial fallout of everyone just stealing the music instead of buying it. They aren't going to buy it anyway, so we can just accept that it's never going to pay off anyway, and do whatever moves us :-)

Not that that's my real reason, which is that I have my own software company and this is just a funtime thing for me, so I'm not constrained by any commercial viability issues. Still, even if that wasn't the case, I'd probably still have the above attitude. It's pretty much doomed as a career because of what's happening out there. So you might as well makes what moves you. Maybe you'll luck up and it'll be used in a movie or commercial or something.

My personal opinion is that artists should completely stop making music that would appeal to the 'shallow music consumers' (aka stealers) out there, since they aren't paying anyway. The market can't work if people continue trying to please people who are just stealing it. So make more complex, less accessible music that only real music lovers will like. Reward the folks who do the right thing, instead of trying to pump out more and more to the folks who don't.
Old 20th July 2009
  #10
I updated the first post with the 'final' mix. Not perfect by a long shot, but fixed some obvious issues with the initial one:

1. The tubby toms issue was improved
2. The snare was always supposed to be big, but it was being overly enhanced by the finalization (see #3) and was overwhelming in the final mixes, so it was lowed a bit.
3. The bass was taking up a little too much space, so a chunk was carved out in the mids to free up some frequency space
4. I'm not using a limiter/maximizer type program, I'm using my outboard SSL bus comp for this. I'm basically bouncing the mix through it and 'playing' the compressor through the mixdown, to ride the output and threshold up and down to get things optimal. The first mix was just a stream of consciousness version and had lots of mistakes. This time I practiced it a few times before doing the final one, to get it much better. I'm using the CLA style SSL settings, 10ms attack, auto release, 4:1 ratio. That is a 'punch it up' type of setting, and that was causing the snares to be too punched up.
5. Raised the left/right 'power chord' parts up (which come in in the 2nd and 3rd chorus) to emphasize that entrance into those larger choruses.

This one sounds considerably better, though not different in any radical way.
Old 20th July 2009
  #11
Lives for gear
 
Darwin James's Avatar
 

It's cool. I like it. The music is good. Has emotion. Vox need to be cut again. Tighten up the tune and try not to get the frog in the throat thing in there. Not really liking that. But it's got a nice Beatles (as said above Floyd) vibe.
Old 20th July 2009
  #12
Gear Maniac
 
dafe's Avatar
Like it very much, even though I can't refer it to Pink Floyd or sth (it's 'merican style imo).
Maybe a little padding right from the start would do some good for the vox? It's generally good vibe but is a bit on the edge if naked off the go. Bit tighter phrasing from the acc guit?
I would go for real drums later in the song, which are matching the 70s signature (f. i. low tuned single head tom rolls. Or high tuned d/head used up ambassador head fashion...). Drum pattern is too artificially scattered imo.
More compact, intentional, humanoid.
Old 20th July 2009
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darwin James View Post
It's cool. I like it. The music is good. Has emotion. Vox need to be cut again. Tighten up the tune and try not to get the frog in the throat thing in there. Not really liking that. But it's got a nice Beatles (as said above Floyd) vibe.
Actually the frog in the throat this is very purposeful :-) I kept the froggiest takes generally.
Old 20th July 2009
  #14
Quote:
Bit tighter phrasing from the acc guit?
I don't have a problem with flaws, I think that they are often a good thing. But in the case of the acoustic guitar I was struggling. I'd not played an acoustic for decades and had only very recently started playing it a little just before recording this. The heavier strings were killing me. If you listen carefully, you may be able to hear me crying towards the end of the song, and it's not from the emotion of the song, it's because my fingers were about to start bleeding. So yeh, the acoustic guitar part is a little rough because of that.
Old 20th July 2009
  #15
Gear Maniac
 
dafe's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey View Post
...start bleeding.
Argh. I'd say get a player but it's a matter of spare time for this I gather (CQS running and all). Have similar issues sometimes and try to raise the bar every next time I'm recording... sounds familiar.
Like some drums? Like say these (with funny snare ring):
Attached Files

snip.wav (2.80 MB, 89 views)

Old 20th July 2009
  #16
Yeh, it's a fun time thing, and half the fun is learning how to get there really.

Drum production is a huge thing for me. I've spent sooo much time on that because it's one of the hardest things, IMO, to get right. I'm getting better each time, but still lots to learn. It's one of those areas where I can sit down at 9PM and the next thing I know it's 2AM and I have drool down the front of my shirt. I think actually aliens are probing me during those times, and are then putting false memories of working on drum production back into my brain to cover it up.

I've since done a fair amount of playing on the acoustic so I'm getting the fingers back into shape. You'd think that bass would do that, which I play a lot also, but the acoustic is far harder on my fingers than the bass is. I kind of hate the way my accoustic sounds, at least so far with the strings I've tried. I get a different kind each time, just to survey various types and see what works. I just put some Elixir Nanowebs on it and those may work out much nicer, we'll see.

It's a Yamaha LL6. I see a lot of folks out there really like it, but it just has a horrible sound to my ears. I didn't know about about them when I bought it to pick out anything better, nor did I have the money to do so. I think that much of what you read out there from people's opinions on acoustics is related to playing live, and those characterstics they like don't necessarily translate so well to recording.

And I have a lot of problem with my small room and getting reflections back into the mic, which causes lots of comb filtering problems. I still have to do more experimenting with this in terms of where I record and setting up the bass traps to minimize reflections and such.
Old 20th July 2009
  #17
Gear Maniac
 
dafe's Avatar
The particular challenge seems to be the song tempo. Sloooow. Now that with steel strings holding the chords...
Same with drums either programmed or played.
The yamaha is a bit thin, true. Not bad in a way though. No chance recording it in a bigger room with close/room miking?

I love these recording half-nighters. Came back to the family last week at 3 in the morning smelling like an entire zoo after 4h under the cans/between the cords.
Old 20th July 2009
  #18
The whole tempo thing is difficult when you are a one man band project studio type. In a band you can try different tempos out quickly and see what works best. But if you are creating it as you go, it can be difficult to foresee what will really be the optimum tempo by the time all the parts are there.

For this one of course slow is good. It's a dirge of sorts, so up tempo wouldn't have been a good thing. But yeh, it does mean holding chords for a long time. I guess for this type of song that pain is probably a good thing. It's hard to do self-flaggelation while recording, so this is the next best thing for that 'suffering' vibe.
Old 20th July 2009
  #19
Lives for gear
 
john caldwell's Avatar
I like your track as is, and do enjoy its Pink Floyd sensibilities. Like some others, I wouldn't mind a different vocal take, but not so much for performance, intonation or lack of variability of melody line. I'd be curious about more intimate and up front vocal sound for the verse "A" segments, to be followed by a wetter approach during your lush "B" patterns. That might add to the atmosphere you're creating. Sorry to learn of your cousin's death. Suicide leaves a real path behind.

John Caldwell
Old 20th July 2009
  #20
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey View Post
Nothing at all? I should probably point out that I don't do this for a living, so I have no particular need to try to upsell my stuff, and am interested more in an honest appraisal than trying to impress anyone. So the above might give the impression that it's way worse than it really is. That it's only my fifth song is a little misleading, since I've just been working on little test pieces mostly to improve my tracking and mixing, instead of doing whole songs. I've actually been learning for about 2.5 years now. So it's not a complete train wreck. Though, you will have to listen for more than 15 seconds before it really kicks in and starts becoming what it's going to become.
dude sorry but i didnt like it much, what preamps and mics you used for it by the way?
Old 20th July 2009
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Petelebu View Post
dude sorry but i didnt like it much, what preamps and mics you used for it by the way?
Well, since your dis'in my song, I'm not going to tell you :-) Just kidding. If everyone liked it, I'd know it wasn't different enough anyway.

But the equipment was:

Lead Vocal: AT4070 -> SCA Neve pre -> DIY LA-2A
Other Vocals: e609 -> SCA API pre -> DIY LA-2A
Bass: Amer Jazz -> SCA DI -> SCA Neve pre -> DIY LA-2A
Electric Guitars: Amer Strat w/ Vintage Hots -> Emery Microbaby -> DIY iso cab -> e609 -> SCA API pre -> DIY LA-2A.
Acoustic: AT4070 -> SCA Neve pre -> DIY LA-2A
Mopho Synth: Just straight into the audio interface at line level
Drums: These were done with BFD.

Reverb was Epicverb, a freebie reverb plug. The other plugs were Stillwell 1973 EQ and VibeEQ (very inexpensive), the Ferox tape simulator on the overall drum bus (free, though contribute if you use it), Kjaerhus GEQ7 and GCO1 in a few places. I used an EHX Deluxe Memory Man on the lead part, no effects on the electric guitar otherwise.

There's not much compression being done really. The LA-2A was used a lot above, but in some cases it was more for just warming the signal than anything, and not much compression happening. It was compressing on the vocals and bass the most, since that's what it's best for. I was working on a DIY 1176 but it wasn't ready in time for this or I would have used it a bit also. But I was really attempting to do something with minimal compression (by modern standards anyway) that still sounded good.

The final mixdown was bounced out through a Chameleon Labs SSL clone comp, with just a few dB of compression on the peaks for some glue factor, and to punch it up a little.
Old 20th July 2009
  #22
Just for contrast, here's the previous song (a year ago), which was done with a lot less experimentation under the belt and with a POD XT Pro, DIing in the guitars, and I believe using a Great River and Pearlman TM-1 for the vocals.

The Hidden Hand (WMA)

So definitely a lot of progress since then. The same guitar and amp were used, but through an Epi Valve Jr. cabinet instead of the Weber speaker in the DIY iso cab. Waves plugs were what I would have been using at the time. Amplitube and Ampeg were the amp sims for guitar and bass.
Old 20th July 2009
  #23
Gear Maniac
 
dafe's Avatar
Eh ?!?

Can't find the latter one bad at all. Drum programming, yes, but the frog is pretty crunchy otherwise, so to speak. Vox off pitch and major-ish key, in a good way I find. I like the guitars too.

Go on.
Old 21st July 2009
  #24
It's not horrible or anything, but production-wise it's fairly rough. It's interesting the difference between the two, in terms of how much processing was required to beat that previous one into some kind of shape and how much was used on the new one. I almost had as much processing on single tracks in the old one as used altogether on the new one :-)

I'll go back and re-do that old one again at some point. I think it has potential as a song if spiffed up some more and recorded a lot better.
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
Silver Sonya / The Good News Channel
3
s34nsm411 / Work In Progress / Advice Requested / Show and Tell / Artist Showcase / Mix-Offs
0
James Lugo / So Much Gear, So Little Time
5
IntelDoc / Work In Progress / Advice Requested / Show and Tell / Artist Showcase / Mix-Offs
8
Riad / Work In Progress / Advice Requested / Show and Tell / Artist Showcase / Mix-Offs
4

Forum Jump
Forum Jump