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audio Original - pre vocals basic tracks critique please

Discussion in 'Fix This MIX!' started by DogsoverLava, Sep 10, 2014.

  1. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Active Member

    This is an Original song with the basic tracks recorded by me in the home studio using very basic equipment at far as ITB or OTB goes. I will be adding vocals and other instruments to the song but this would be a great time to get some specific feedback on both what you hear and what you don't hear while the track is relatively free of clutter.

    Each instrument track is a single live take, with some minor punch in/outs - (maybe 3 or 4 instances). I have left a couple of small "flubs" in the mix at this stage as I'm was going for overall performance and continuity.

    Any feedback would be welcome. As the vocals get added the arrangement will become "fuller" but right now I'm still reworking lyrics so the song doesn't sound like it was written by a 13 year old girl.

    Soundcloud and Dropbox included

    As an aside: I wanted to record using my Boogie for the guitars - Dialed in a great sound in the room but I just couldn't capture it using my SM57 -- I will do a lot more experimenting with this (particularly when I get a reamp box) as the workflow is quite cumbersome and I may opt to do some blending with additional mics.

    Recording using Reaper through my M-Audio Profire 610 what you are hearing is the following:
    Drums:Superior Drummer w/ very little tweaking - some loops and some hand programmed parts
    Rhy Guitar (Electric): Fender Lead II through the interface using Guitar Rig 5 pro
    Lead Gutar track (Electric): Fender Lead II as above
    Lead G Solo: As above
    Bass: Fender P Bass through Guitar Rig 5 Pro
    Acoustic: Two Acoustic tracks (blended) using different guitars (Yamaha) both recorded in stereo with a pair of RODE M5 mics - one DI and the other with some slight chorus through Guitar Rig 5 pro

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/f1k7uj6mlcsiwea/Gentle Melody Workingv7.mp3?dl=0
  2. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    The whole drum kit is too thin, missing bottom. From the start I felt like the rithme of the guitar and the drums are not locking in but it gets better afterward.
    Great electric guitar sound, acoustic is ok. The bass could a little more bottom (60hz and lower)
    Can't wait to listent to it with vocals ! ;)
  3. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Looking forward to some vocals, great start. I'm not to fond of the snare but it might be perfect for the song. Hard to say until you have more melody happening.

    I'm expecting some Beatles harmonies .
  4. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Active Member

    Thanks guys for your listens and critiques. There are a few performance issues I'd like to tighten up here as well as the overall drum sounds. The timing of the intro (in particular) proved difficult. I recorded with a click track, as well as with the drums and did experience audible latency during the recording and live monitoring of the acoustic tracks. Any issues or strategies specific to recording to clicks and drums that I need to consider or look out for? I wonder if I'm following the beat drifting between drums and click. At some point I just cut and pasted a cycle from a more established area of the song (that was recorded with drums) and that made it better but I think I probably should have tried to address the latency first. I see re-tracking these in my future here. I also think that I need to add a slight delay to the acoustic tracks to match the electric Rhy track - that may be an issue as well. Still dialing in the bass but I also know the mix will change as it gets added to it so I'm doing more macro right now - keeping the focus broad.

    I can also confirm there will be Beatles harmonies. I was thinking Paul when I tracked the bass and George when I tracked the lead. Working those out now as well as overall lyrics.
  5. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    if you are more confortable, you could put a full drum through the whole song to help you play in time. Once you got a good track(s), you can rearrange the drums as it is.
    Getting to lock in needs a lot of practice and awareness. What is special about guitars is that note all the notes are getting played at the same time when strumming. So some player will put the last note of the chord on time and some will choose the first one. Then other player don't have a clue and just alternate. This third one often result in loose timing performances and we can hear that it's not tight.

    Even if you're not a drummer, I would recommend to take sticks and a practice pad (borrowed if you can) and play with a click.
    Just do single notes and change the rithme : half notes, quater notes and triplets, then eithteen notes and triplets....
    Doing that 5 min(or more) a day for a week before a recording session will help you having better timming. ;)
  6. Smashh

    Smashh Active Member

    Sounding nice DOL ,

    A natural vibe.

    As pcrecord stated above with the click track , you could do the same with practicing the guitar strum, sort of like
    how you can control /alter the swing straight knob on a drum machine.
    I am going through the same issue with too much swing /groove for parts sometimes and I find myself
    going for closer to straight ahead.

    On this track its the second and third strum of the group (which I guess is an up down ) , for me you could leave more space before them
    and it would sound more groovey and confident , and lock with the drum groove ( try that groove with a metronome for a while e (y) )
    The drum groove for me is pretty spot on with a couple of single hit exceptions.

    Id personally like to hear more boing and body of the snare drum.

    Thats my five cents , hope its helpful :)

  7. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Active Member

    Thanks Ash -- I'm working away on this still. There's a palm mute that follows on the back of the second strum that lands on the 2 -- what complicated it during recording was that I had both a click track and a hand programed 2&4 snare close going -- plus the drums coming in after the first cycle. My 2&4 were both behind the beat - the click was on the nose - so when my original take of that first cycle had a different feel than the cycle s with drums - so I did cut a cycle from deeper in the track (recorded with the drums) and popped it in there - it helped but I am not happy with it either so I will likely re-track those parts and really try to lock in better (and try to get a better sound as well). I'll also check the doubled electric Rhythm part - there may be a delay on it that's not quite synced with the acoustic and causing issues as well.

    It leads me to a workflow question. Initially I have recorded stuff using a click -- then brought in drums after the fact - but I sense that this workflow will produce less of a pocket groove (better to play record along to the drums from the start?) I may also experiment with free timing that opening cycle (liberate it from the BPM of the DAW) and introduce a cesura right before the drums come in and we are back in Locked in DAW time. REAPER allows for time sig changes etc - I think it will allow for this as well. How do others handle things like cesuras or intentional tempo changes in DAWs?

    Is there a best practice for this? In my past life when we'd cut tracks it would be cutting live scratch tracks with a drummer to get the drums down - then coming back and tracking with those drums tracks ---- As a song writer/arranger doing this on my own I'm writing and tracking with a click - then laying drums after the fact. What would be best practice here methodology wise?
  8. Smashh

    Smashh Active Member

    Ive been going through the same questions as far as work flow for using click .

    What seems to work best for me at the mo is to practice with a click away from any song and i dont have a
    strict regimine,Try little strumming riffs and single note lines. It amazes me how often I get excited
    unnecessarily doing a turn around and i get in front of where I think I am in my head .

    So I am working at being relaxed and smelling the coffee more .
    I am convinced that playing music sort of mirrors your way of life , and money is not an important part
    of that equation . yepeeee...loll , ( I guess its different if you read music for money )

    So when I go to record, the click shouldnt be a go to because its already strong in my head and I can
    place my shots at the right moment .On the downside ,I can see a time when it will sound better
    but wont be so exciting for me at the moment .....:unsure:

    I guess I could try and find excitement harmonically and dynamically :cool:, yeah that d be a cool place :)

    Another thing to consider is ( and Ive learnt this the hard way ),

    It is easy to make your music sound stagnant and boring by following a click too much.
    Especially tracking one thing at a time, so dont be a slave to the metronome .
    Make the metronome your slave and find freedom :D

    Well thats where I wanna be , hope that helps DoL :)
  9. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    I'd build the idea up using a click. Then either layer everything else in, and have the drummer play to that w no click, or record a scratch guitar track to a click, and have the drummer play to that, and the click. I like the second method personally, cuz it gives the drummer more room, and the click, in most music, is a guide. You don't have to play right on it the whole time, and especially if the musician is good, the part may move a little. Depend ing on style ect, that could/should be just fine. And as a guitarist, I'd rather lay to drums than a click, but really, people make a bigger deal out of a click, than it really is. And if u are used to playing to a drummer anyway, it's not hard at all.

    As far as tempo changes, I just have the band play tracks to a steady tempo first. The if they can't get thru it, or they're really is an actual tempo change, (not just an excited drummer on the chorus), they stop at the change, and I program the new tempo at that point in the timeline.

    It can be difficult especially coming off a fill, to jump right into a new tempo, so if the becomes time consuming or unnatural, I'll if hs the first part, when the change comes up, do a 4 or 8 click count in right there in the middle, and resume playing.

    Then just trim the blank space out and be done. This does become more challenging w multi track drums especially of there is a cymbal decay that needs to bridge both parts, but w some work, it can be done.
  10. CrazyLuke

    CrazyLuke Active Member

    If you do write a melody for this song, you might want to stay away from the Motley Crue opening melody of "Home Sweet Home".

    View: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WAZ60xA9wo

    Also, this song could use a bridge, to take into another direction, then back.
  11. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Active Member

    I hear you on MC melody. Will stay far away from that one - and yes I'm not fully happy with the form/structure yet but there some vocal stuff after the guitar solo that might add that bridge element.

    EDIT to add: I was about 16 and I was sitting with my bass player playing a few song ideas... Had this little rhythm part worked out.... He starts following me and immediately it sounds good... Great even.... Then he starts this little walk and for a moment - 3 or 4 seconds - I thought "we hit the mother load of musical chemistry here..." Until I recognized the bass line to Ramble On. All I could say was "Fffffuuuuuuuu..........". I had just written Ramble On-- 15 years after Led Zeppelin.
    kmetal likes this.
  12. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    A lot of songs today have parts of melodies or chord structures that ressemble of older songs.
    My girl friend is always annoyed when I sing the original song over the new ones. The subconscious mind is very powerfull, you could write a song with a part of what your mother was listening when you were 2yo ;)
  13. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    "Is there a best practice for this? In my past life when we'd cut tracks it would be cutting live scratch tracks with a drummer to get the drums down - then coming back and tracking with those drums tracks ---- - then What would be best practice here methodology wise?"

    When working on my own, I prefer this method over recording drums afterwards to existing instrument tracks and a click.

    Generally, I'll record a scratch/cue track with a guitar/ vocal, and then record the drum tracks to that guitar/vocal cue track, using the cue track as a guide for arrangement only. Then after the drums are done, I'll go back and track keeper bass, guitar, keys, vocals etc to the drum track. But this is just what works best for me, and when doing it this way, it's important to record a drum part that has the dynamics and feel that you desire, because all instruments that are tracked afterwards will be following everything the drums do, performance wise. It requires a lot of pre planning and thinking ahead by the drummer.

    My first preference is to track drums, rhythm guitar and bass - with a scratch vocal - at the same time; this allows for a nicer groove/ pocket/dynamic feel, and results in a much nicer all round foundation because it's an ensemble playing. But, we don't always have that luxury.
  14. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    IMHO the most fun way to track too!
  15. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Active Member

    Here's a New Mix - featuring re-tracked electric rhythm and acoustic guitars, different drums samples (a more vintage kit and sound) a better more balanced mix and some BG vocals (scratch tracks) to flesh out the arrangement more. Main melody and lyrics still being developed (I've tossed two versions). I'm holding off making structural changes to the song as I hope to add detail with vocals and BG vocal parts (which may or may not answer the question of a bridge or change-up). I mixed this one About 12 feet from my Vintage home Stereo system - lots of warmth and clarity - everything set very neutral and positioned about 1/3 of the way in my 25x18 foot living room. Really tried to get better performances out of the rhythm work and tweak sounds and settings on amps etc... hard for me as my hands are in pretty rough shape.

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/lduyvnjxgvqobuh/Gentle Melody Working3v10.mp3?dl=0
    kmetal likes this.
  16. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Wow, this time, you nailed it. The solo is a bit hot, but it's a great mix and great music.
    The vocals are not a match for the song. I guess the music calls for a single very intimate melody. I wish you have nice inspiration on the text and melody.
  17. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Active Member

    Thanks PC - The BG vocals there now are just for context - to flesh out the sections. You are totally right about the single intimate vocal - I've cut a couple of versions of different vocal takes w/ different lyrical content.... nothing working for me yet - the melodies have been very contrived and my vocal has been thin - lacking body - not really working with the music. I'm still getting used to hearing my "recorded" voice. Trying a few different mic techniques (mixing dynamic and condenser).... The solo is still a little hot - I can hear that too.

    I'm now trying to free scat while recording to shake loose some melodies and free myself of the phrasing that is already locked in my head from previous attempts. Going to keep trying.
  18. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    A trick often used to find a melody is to sing without words, improvise only the melodies until you find something you like.
  19. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    The snare sounds far too bright and too compressed to me... but, that's just me. I prefer more "open" sounds in a style such as this.
  20. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Active Member

    What would constitute an open sound? Looser snare wire? less velocity on the hits? Detuned heads? Can you translate that into real drum language and sampled drum language that would help me achieve this?

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