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Heavy PUNCH!!!

Discussion in 'Recording' started by liveit777, Mar 22, 2011.

  1. liveit777

    liveit777 Active Member

    Hi guys... I was wondering... What is it that gives a song that heavy punchy sound. I've heard songs that are supposed to be a heavy song but doesn't have the punchy boom it needed. I am having that problem. I think it's the master that gives it that sound but Im not sure how to get it. Any tips?

    PS - thanks so much for the help and God bless!
  2. Jeemy

    Jeemy Well-Known Member

    Apologies mate, but this is terribly terribly vague. The effort to post up a linked example of what you strive for and what you are currently producing would pay dividends. People are very willing to help but not massively likely to respond to something this ambiguous.

    Given plenty of leeway for the time of night and my understanding of your post, things to strive for would be:

    - tightly controlled bass end generated by good monitoring and steady transparent compression
    - clever EQ to allow kick and bass to complement rather than destroy each other, and quality high-pass EQ on other parts to allow the bass end of the mix to breath

    To allow this kind of sound to transfer across systems you need to be really confident and competent in your monitoring and control room acoustics when mixing. You need a couple of systems, with and without subwoofers, to evaluate how your mix will translate.

    The problem you are having adding 'punch', and 'boom' to your mixes could be solved by any number of things, or a combination of them. Acoustic treatment in the mixing room is the first step.
  3. Paul999

    Paul999 Active Member

    As Jeemy pointed out this is a little vague. For me I define punch as "air movement". The shock wave created by a bass drum for example is tough to keep from the point of recording to a final mastered product. I notice that drum machines tend to loose this. Making very long attack times on high quality compression CAN start to make this "air movement" really come to life. In all honesty the best way I have found to keep this is with Tape.

    Good Luck
  4. jkchuma

    jkchuma Active Member

    Yes, you can EQ so the lower midrange doesn't get all muddy but IME a poor performer can also take the punch out of a track. An inexperienced drummer might not hit the kick drum consistently or with enough force to create punch. The same goes for the bass guitar. Hardware and software like the SPL transient designer can help. I would rather have a good performer than fix the track though.
  5. uncamike

    uncamike Active Member

    Hello Liveit777,

    I am not a professional sound engineer, but it sounds like you are experiencing a type of phase cancellation. When sound leaves the monitors at the same time the sound waves hit each other and cancel each other out. This can be because everything is mixed up front and not seperated from side to side. You can get an Aphex Aural Exciter or some other machine to do this but I heard another trick that fixes this as well. To do it you have to run more tracks because each track has to be individual for each side of stereo. I tried this and it did help some.

    Example: I record my guitar to track one in cakewalk. I then take and copy that same guitar track to track 2. Track one then is put all the way to the right side of stereo and track two is put all the way to left side of stereo. We will still have cancelation and loss of punch at this point because the sounds are canceling each other out. Here is the trick... We slide track two forward in time just a milisecond or two. Now the sounds from stereo right are no longer in phase with stereo left and do not cancel each other out as much. The next thing to do is to EQ one of the tracks ever so slightly so the frequency is different than the original track which should also help with eliminating phase cancelation.

    How far you slide track two or how you EQ those tracks is like making soup. You will have to play with it to dial it in to what works for your song you are trying to punch up. Also how far left and right you have your tracks is not a perfect science. You may want your track two lower in level and farther left, while track one is louder and more to the middle for example.

    Both Josh and Jeemy have brought up EQ already and they are right about this. Sometimes my guitar tracks need to have full bands removed from them because the detract from the tune. The guitar sounds great by itself but once in the mix I realise maybe there is too much buzz or other sound that just takes the oomph out of the sound. Paul is also right about tape over computer. I have recorded on both and for some reason tape always comes out better. You can change monitor position in the studio and it can sorta fix it but that will not help end users since you cannot control where their speakers are located. The only way to fix the noise cancelation problem for the masses is to do it in the mix.

    If you ever listen to your mix in the headphones and it sounds awesome and then put it in the speakers and it sounds thin. This is an example of what I am talking about with cancellation. Keep in mind that headsets move really easy compared to studio monitors that need alot more power to breath. Some heavy duty speakers don't even start really responding until you reach RMS wattage and this will make the song sound thin if the power to them is not reaching it. That would not be the same as cancellation.

    These tricks may help but they are not going to give you the sound you hear on a quality mastered CD you would buy at your local music outlet. Mutt Lange was probably one of the worlds most renowned producers and researching on the web what he uses for gear might give you an idea of what is needed to make that end game sound that professional studios use to make those punched up CD's.

    As I said before I am not a sound engineer and probably not even qualified to answer this question, the intent of this post is just to make you aware of the cancellation problem and that more research should be done to find out why your tracks are coming up thinner than you want.
  6. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    A punchy sound is a combination of both instruments, playing technique, microphones used, recording technique, mixing technique. It's no one thing.

    One of the ways I get a lot of punch out of the drum tracks was frequently compressing & gating snare drum & bass drum and even Tom Toms. While not doing that to the overheads. It also required a certain amount of EQ & The right choice of microphones, to keep the drums from getting mushy. I don't like most " bass drum" microphones but rather preferred Sennheiser MD 421's is my first choice & SM57's as my most utilized. I've even used those for overheads with fine results without the need of condenser microphone technology. I worked at a hit recording studio in NYC in 1979 where their in-house mantra was "An ounce of punch is worth a pound of sound". Something I've always lived by from the time before I was hired there to this day. I don't like neutered sounding drum sets nor anything else. Which is a rather contradicting statement coming from a person such as myself. But that's not part of this discussion.

    With my processing, I preferred the Universal Audio 1176's with Allison Research KEPEX 1, downward expanders. And I liked to follow the limiter with the expander. But I get very nice results with inexpensive DBX 166 & 266 units which will gate prior to the limiting, utilizing RMS sensing instead of peak detection. When you know what you want to get, you'll figure out how to get it most anyway. From the top shelf right down to the cheap stuff. I'll drink any kind of Scotch good or bad but of course I have my preferences. Inconsistently so, I rarely drink Remy'.

    I don't drink me
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  7. liveit777

    liveit777 Active Member

    Hey dude... Thanks soooooo much for the advice. It helps a lot! I know this is off subject, but you said you worked at a hit recording studio in NYC? If you would please check out my band on YouTube. I'm not asking for a record deal or anything, although that would be nice... I would just like some tips on what could make us better. Type liveit777 on YouTube and we should come up. If you would do this, it would be sooooo helpful! Thanks and God Bless!
  8. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    I certainly would be happy to but, you are either incredibly prolific or there are other folks with similar names to yours? I found a boatload way too many to go through. How about a little more direct suggestions? Specific links would be nice.

  9. liveit777

    liveit777 Active Member

    Hey dude! Thank you so much for being willing to listen. I'll put some kinks at the bottom. The first one is called Overdo. The second one is called Answer the call. And the last one is a medley of a lot of songs. We have a diverse sound between Overdo and the rest if our songs. But you'll here it. Thanks again and God bless!

    YouTube - liveit over do (music video)

    YouTube - Live-It --- Answer the call DEMO

    YouTube - Live-It demo medley
  10. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    I have to tell you I really joyed all of those examples. All of your videos are certainly fun to watch, good clean fun, no bull crap.

    On to the sound...
    I really like what I'm hearing. You have a lovely sonic signature. I sort of review music like Goldilocks and the three Bears. Your sound is not too heavy, and not too light. It's just right. Here are some of the things I like about what I'm hearing... It's big. It's fat. It's warm without any over exaggerated high-end grit. No cwispy crunch, how refreshing. It's real, it's organic.

    The drum mix in your music video I found ever so slightly out of sorts with. The entire drum mix seemed to be rather left of center & Sounding really good. But with that all the while the hi hat & one of the toms were heard extreme right. I found it sonically interesting but also found it to be more of a distraction that would jerk my attention away from the melody & lyrics. I think had the right channel information been panned to center, the drum mix would have been more cohesive? But that's a subjective call on my part. I just enjoy the fact that all of your selections I found pleasant to listen to without any kind of over-the-top high frequency extraterrestrial exaggerations. It certainly had more of a classic refined sound. Good solid engineering where you are not trying to reinvent recording engineering. These feeling like legitimate performances because of that. Bravo.

    My only other recommendation would be that when you draw a face on a paper plate and cut a hole for your lips you should make the face upside down and then you shoot camera upside down. This makes your lips look even more gross that way. Make sure you keep licking your lips with your tongue & smacking your lips. This will vastly improve the total gross out factor. I think this will rank highly in one of my favorite music videos.

    I really don't have any suggestions to make to you for any kind of improvement. You've created a viable sonic signature, included good video and obviously a wonderful sense of play & humor. That's one of the things I also particularly love about the Foo Fighters videos. It's great musical comedy while the musical is just super.

    And so now what this lovely quality sound, I would be interested in knowing what you utilized and the technique you went about using? You probably don't think you're audio equipment is up to par? It actually is. Could anything be done to improve the sound quality? Sure. It could be EQ' ed up a little ever so slightly and perhaps a little dynamic range enhancement wouldn't be an awful thing since the integrity of your mix will be retained complete with this lovely warm quality and fat sound. I really think it's more difficult to screw up a good quality sound than a misguided mediocre effort. Mastering should mean just that. It's an enhancement accoutrement rather than a restoration/recovery effort. Most folks think that mastering is there to fix what they screwed up. It's really there to just enhance something that's already good.

    Let me see if I also perceived this correctly? Is this also your contribution to Christian base rock 'n roll? Nothing wrong with Christian rock 'n roll. One of my good friends is quite famous from doing that and I appreciate good music regardless of the genre. And perhaps was just a reference to being reverent about something? Something you don't hear very often these days. Keep up the good work.

    Maybe I should appear in your next video as I am one of those girls gone wild?
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  11. liveit777

    liveit777 Active Member

    WHOOOOOAHHH !!!!! THANK YOU SOOOOOOOOO MUCH!!!!!!!!!! I was really nervous when I asked you what you thought of them. I was really expecting you to come back with all these things that we're doing wrong and that we just don't have what it takes. But apparently we're doing something right! I can not tell you how much I appreciate it.

    Ok... You asked how what our technique was..... Well, the truth is I don't really know. Heres a list of our equipment. Then I'll tell you how we used it.

    Computer, Sonar Homestudio 4, presonus firestudio, waves plugins, guitar amp, bass amp, some mics. Thats all we have. Nothing else.

    There isn't really a specific way we recorded. We would just record something and then figure out what was wrong with it. We tried our best to fix it but we really don't know much about recording. Really the only thing we know how to use is an EQ, Reverb, and Delay. Anything after that we just mess around with until it sounds right. We have a horrible room to listen to it through. Its all concrete walls with no padding around. So we have to put it on a cd and listen out in the car everytime we change something.

    Panning -- We have always had problems with the drums but didn't know how to fix it. I will definetley be trying your suggestion on panning the drums.

    I might try that paper plate thing. The way you descibed it just looks gross in my head. It gave me chills just now thinking about it. LOL Not sure what you meant on the girls gone wild thing. But if its not bad, I would love to have you in one of our videos!

    Again.... I just want to thank you sooo much for all of the complements you given us. It is really encouraging to hear that.

    I was wanting to ask you a question..... How do you get a record label to notice you? I know you can send them demos. But theres got to be more to it. Could you be a reference for us? Like when we send them a demo with a letter that you wrote about us and sign it? Would that be a good idea? Or would that just be a dumb idea? We are really wanting to go somewhere with this band, but where we live we have no support. If you want to email me you can. My email is kickdevilbutt@sbcglobal.net

    I am going to thank you one more time for being so friendly, kind and willing to listen to our music. Thank you sooo much! God Bless!
  12. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Sending unsolicited material to record labels generally gets tossed in the trash. This is where money was the driving factor behind the record industry. How much money you got along with how much money you spend dictated what your success ratio might be. Today, things have most definitely changed. The Internet has changed everything. Being an independent label these days is the accepted practice. All you need to do is allow advertising on your YouTube Page and if you're audio/video goes viral, you'll be making money. Something about $20 for each 2000 that view it. One of the other things that I did back in the early 1990s was to take a CD demonstration with me to the AES shows/conventions in NYC. While looking for new monitor systems or other equipment, you request that they play your CD instead of their other available CDs. This actually sparked some genuine interest when people heard a band I was attempting to produce/record. These guys could have gone far but they unfortunately had no ambition nor passion. Just very talented but dumb. A perfect example of this mid-Atlantic apathy. Unfortunately, having worked for NBC-TV for so long, I really don't have any record company contacts. In many ways, I've been quite out of the loop working for network television. I Left that work behind me almost 10 years ago and have been struggling in the Balto/DC Metro swamp with this complete lack of visionary professionals in most any realm for too long. While what I do is somewhat out dated, what I do is still a classic case of good old-fashioned analog production & engineering with digital storage & manipulation. Mixing in the box (with the truck, the Neve) or in the computer, in the box, in the Neve, in the truck. A completely hybridized way to work. Using the best of both technologies not just one. There are no digital microphone preamps just good ones and bad ones. Cheap software can produce good recordings. But cheap equipment has to be disciplined & beaten into submission if it's to work. Your technical direction certainly that of thinking things through to make things happen. That's one of the most important ingredients of the recipe. Just don't try to over cook anything.

    I like fried eggs but not in my audio
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  13. liveit777

    liveit777 Active Member


    Thank you for all you advice. It has helped me a lot. But I have more questions. We live in a town of less than 700 people. Yes I said seven hundred. We have little support from anybody. So we're trying do to everything by ourselves. Three people doing music, run sound, run a light system, manage, record, make videos etc...... The list goes on and on. You know that though. But its all on 3 people and it's really hard to do all of them well. Do you have any tips for advertisement that doesn't coast a whole lot of money? What about managing and booking shows? These are probably the areas we are the worst at, but the most important.

    I'm sorry to ask soooo many questions. But you've been in this industry before and I couldn't pass up an opportunity to ask some important questions.

    Thank you again for all the help. God Bless!
  14. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Yeah, it's truly tough when you need to be the chief cook, recording engineer, producer & bottle washer.

    Free advertising can mean many things. Having a wonderful promotional package that you've assembled is the first step in getting professional engagements. This also includes proper printed materials spot lighting the talent, the inspiration, the direction. Internet mailing lists can also be very helpful. On a lighter side, having plenty of giveaway demo CDs works when you stop by bars, restaurants & clubs and just pass them out to people. You got to get people talking, along with passing your materials around to friends. Word-of-mouth is one of the most effective forms of advertising while keeping investments minimal. I can't tell you how many times I've run 2-3 cameras while also mixing PA & creating a separate recording mix & multitrack recording. It's not easy but somebody had to do it.

    A trade of all jacks
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  15. liveit777

    liveit777 Active Member


    Sorry I haven't replied. I usually get an email sayin someone replied to this thread. But i didn't this time. Thank you soooooo much for all the advice. It has really helped a lot. I think I'm all out of questions. Yay for you! Lol...... Anyway.... Thanks again and God Bless!

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