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audio Stairway to Heaven Cover

Discussion in 'Fix This MIX!' started by DogsoverLava, Jun 29, 2016.

  1. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Active Member

    Hi Guys - I've been working on this since December and it has been out for vocals for a while now - it's looking like my vocalist may or may not be indisposed so I thought I'd post it here in this mix sans vocalist and see what you think. I know vocals will change everything when they arrive in terms of EQ so I know it's not just a matter of dropping them in - I'll most likely have to go back and look at everything EQ wise when they come in...

    Is there anything else I could be doing now? Is there any point in going further with the mix? Or am I literally hostage from moving forward without vocals? Anyone know of any awesome singers that might like to sing on this? (I need a plan B in case my vocalist remains indisposed).

    Thanks for listening.
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/b6uxictmazb5zmu/Stairway-learicist-g8.wav?dl=0
    Wave File Above
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/onzwk699od3dhni/Stairway-learicist-g8.mp3?dl=0
    MP3 file above

    Just a quick note: my MP3 is 18MB -- too big for uploading (it's a long song).
     
  2. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    I think the bass guitar track could come forward a little in the mix...I was A/B'ing it between a set of Yamaha HS7's & a pair of Rokit 5's and I was trying hard to hear the bass...it seemed a little buried in the background to me once it came in. Get it further up front locking in with that electric guitar and then the drum track in harmony with each other.

    There were some sections where it sounded a little thin, but I think raising the bass track a few db could help fill things out a little and give some bottom end to the mix.

    What I say is only subjective to what / how I'm hearing it. I would also add some volume automation to build crescendo from the 5:30 sec mark ...you really it to rock out from the lead break to build up to the big finish.

    STH is a song of three sections...

    1) the mellow acoustic intro,

    2)where the electric guitar and bass come in,

    3) finally you really want that uptempo hard rock finish to the end.

    It would be good to hear it with vocals as this adds much more to the track...a good vox track is basically another instrument by way of voice, especially in the style Robert Plant sings Zeppelin songs.

    I'd try a little more reverb on the drums also, maybe something with a longer reverb tail. They sound a little dry, especially the snare.
    Bozo had a huge, powerful drum sound that added heaps of character to the final section of STH and this also helps add to the crescendo to the big finale.

    Not a bad effort for such a legendary song to take on...but its one of those songs you have to nail to give it justice, even playing it live.

    My comments are only subjective to how I would like to hear it...others may have a different opinion.

    IMHO of course.
     
  3. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Active Member

    Thanks Sean:

    I'll wait for any additional comments on the drums then dig into those a bit deeper - I had set up for lots of ambient bleed and had more OH then got a bit spooked it was too much so toned it back.
    I'm not sure what happened to the bass - I think I inadvertently messed up a fader just before rendering that may have been the culprit - that's adjusted now but may need more.
    Notes: I don't own a 12 string so the 12 string guitar is simulated by playing the part with two guitars - one in standard tuning and the other Nashville tuning to replicate. Getting the balance between the two guitars is tricky (I actually used 3 - I doubled the Nashville tuned part but kept one dominant).

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/isdzbjyax8jlrle/Stairway-learicist-g9.wav?dl=0
    Wav File Above

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/pa00wcendw8q382/Stairway-learicist-g9.mp3?dl=0
    MP3 File Above
     
  4. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    Sounds much better now the bass can be heard. The drums sound like they are sitting better as well now they have something to hold hands with and there is balance to the rhythm section...and it has a little more rockin' going on in the final section of the song...a little more swing to it by having that bass there that was a little absent in the first post.

    (y)
     
  5. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I think it's a very admirable and respectable attempt at a very iconic - and difficult - song to get right.

    There were a few things that stood out for me:

    Tuning/Intonation - you need to check these on your two ( three) guitars, and I'm pretty sure your bass guitar isn't tuned to the track. Resolving the tuning on the 12 string may fix this.

    There are times where it seems "pushed"... somewhat beforehand, but especially when the drums come in. It seems a bit fast to me at that section, and the drums are sitting too far "up top"... this isn't a term to describe the volume level of the drums, but that describes where the drums are sitting rhythmically and feel-wise on or against the downbeat, or, "the 1".

    While not an obvious "pocket/groove" oriented song in general, (not like an EWF or Kool & The Gang track), there's still a "feel" to this song.. it's a relaxed kind of vibe, and Stairway does "lay back" quite a bit, and right now it sounds too pushed to me.

    I'd also like to hear it with a lead vocal.

    But, all in all, a very respectable job. ;)
     
  6. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Active Member

    Thanks Sean - I'm hoping the vocal will kick off that section as well.

    Thanks Donny -- I'm interested in the drums particularly because I've hand programmed these on the grid (one mouse click at a time). I didn't use any quantization/humanization so I'm curious about programming strategies with those. What would the best way to achieve that kind of thing (without automating some kind of quantization)? Is there a specific strategy or tip folks use?

    I'll look at the tuning as well - I know I made some intonation adjustments at some point . I'm hoping when vocals come in I can glue this all together in the mix.
     
  7. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    You should be able to take the midi file(s) for the drums and slip-edit ( slide) them back a tick or two, as a whole, by highlighting ( selecting) all of the drum tracks, and then slipping them back a bit.

    I'd start with two ticks ( depending on your midi resolution, I work with 96 ticks per 1/4 note) and then see how they feel.

    I don't know exactly how your midi commands work on your DAW, but I would think that you could select all the drum files and pull them back a scoodge. It wouldn't take much, and I wouldn't think it would take much time, either.

    Just something you may want to try.

    What DAW are you using?
     
  8. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Active Member

    I'm using Reaper -- I'll dig into this and report back.
     
  9. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Good. What Donny said. The drums are the absolute hardest part of this to get right. The reason being Bonzo had a backbeat feel like no before or since. His feel of the drumms actually PULLED the beat backwards if you will...."relaxed" is a correct term yet it was relaxed with very bad intention. The man hit the heck outta things and hit them where the tone was the largest. So yeah, this take feels "pushed".....And the bass doesn't have that back feel either. JPJ is a master at the Motown/James Jamerson/Babbitt thing of making the changes in the pattern either in front of the chordal change or behind it. So at times there's a half count of bass being already on the next change before everything else or waiting a count to get there after. Its something a person gets or they don't. But it IS the FUNK that happens behind all that wall of sound with ZEP. The drums drag and the bass is lyrical yet in its own pocket. And ITS BEHIND TOO just not the same behind as the top of the drums.

    Look at the beat as two separate pieces. The bass and the kik are in a different space than the cymbal/snare work. It is the beauty that was John Henry Bonham. And NO ONE has duplicated that feel .....No one.
     
  10. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Active Member

    I'll be digging into this over the holiday here for sure guys - many thanks.
     
  11. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Active Member

    One of the challenges I've found doing this is that the song has a tempo crescendo in it. When I laid down the matrix and set the bpms I could program the crescendo gradually over several bars so this makes any adjustment of the midi track as a whole complicated because 2 ticks (or positions) on any measure does not equal the same for the next.

    I'm going to try to break the midi up and deal with it in sections and maybe do some math to see what specific adjustments would be needed on a section by section basis.

    Just to be clear - by moving the beat back we are actually talking about moving the track forward -- ie linear to the right which moves the beat back?
     
  12. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Correct, DOL.

    You want the drums to be slightly behind the beat, just a little more than they are now... which means you'll want to shift the position of the drum tracks on your timeline to the right, so that they sit a tweak late... but I wasn't suggesting you do it by much... just a tick or two to start, and adjust in very small increments, ( it might end up needing more than just a few ticks, you'll have to play with it) to have the drums "sit back" in the pocket a bit more, as Bonzo's style is "relaxed" on this track.

    And yes, there is a slight increase/decrease in tempo as the song moves on - after all, it was a human playing the drums, and I'd bet money they didn't use a click track when they recorded STH; so it sort of pushes and pulls periodically...
    I'm not talking about the obvious change-ups, (ie the section right before the A/G/F progression at the end with the lead solo) I was referring to when the drums first come in with the tom fill, and up to the D Sus riff that sets up the A/G/F section
    ( 4:19 - 5:23 ).

    This was the section where the drums stood out to me as sitting too "on top" of the beat. I just wanted to hear the drums sit back a bit.

    Of course, all of this is being pretty picky; I don't know how accurate you want your arrangement to be - it's certainly not an easy song to exactly copy by any means, ( as if this is really even possible) and I think you've done an admirable job thus far.

    I haven't really commented on the actual mix yet, as I don't believe that you've yet done a final mix on your end. Up to now, I've been listening more with the ears of a musician, and not as much as an engineer. That said, I haven't heard anything glaringly wrong with your current mix.

    I'd be happy to listen to the final mix once you get one - and provide engineering suggestions if you want - and that's if I hear something I think needs adjusted - once you've tweaked the arrangement to your satisfaction and put a mix in the can.

    ;)
    -d.
     
  13. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Active Member

    Hey Guys - here's a new mix that's a little cleaner, but more specifically with the drums adjusted. To my ear this sounds better for sure - especially the drums -- have I gone far enough with them? Too far? Donny - you've been invaluable with this so far - everyone's help is much appreciated for sure.

    Obviously I'm still waiting on vocals and I do think I'll take another run at the base track - I'll audit the arrangement there for accuracy then spend a day on it making sure it tracks well -- but here's a question with respect to that. If I re-record the bass tracks to the new drums as opposed to the metronome/perfect time, will this not affect the nature of time for me in the bass pass and actually bring me into conflict with the other tracks? Should I record my bass track with the unaltered or unadjusted drums or do you think I'm safe to lay it down here with these new adjusted drum tracks?

    NOTE#1 My intended vocalist for this was seriously injured in a car accident and is dealing with the complications of severe life altering injury. I'm hoping he'll be able to sing this (and I offered it to him) but it just might not be possible. I can only imagine what he's dealing with and no matter what - if he delivers I'll do a mix with him for sure - but I'm on plan B looking for vocals. If you know anyone that would like to take a stab at this or that you think might I'd be happy to talk to them for sure.

    Note#2 Just a Note on the file here: mp3 quality is at 90% as I was hitting the file limit for the site upload

     

    Attached Files:

  14. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Much better... but can you pull them back even a little more?

    Take a listen to the original ( as if you probably haven't heard it more than anyone else in the universe has already, LOL) and focus your listening on the drums... I think you'll hear just how relaxed Bonzo is, sitting back in the pocket.
     
  15. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Active Member

    I feel like I just might have listened to it more than anyone in the universe at this point lol!!! I will -- I'll take a fresh listen tomorrow. My own unarticulated "discomfort" with the drum tracks definitely was relieved by the changes suggested.
     
  16. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Active Member

    Here we go - I adjusted them by about 50% more of the last adjustment - I'm amazed at how it changes the feel of the bass track already. Super happy with these changes - they change the whole feel of the song.

     

    Attached Files:

  17. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Now yer talkin'. ;)

    Much better feel, a nice pocket.
     
  18. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    Way better (y)
     
  19. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Active Member

    Thanks guys - It will be interesting mixing this with vocals as they come in. There might be the odd thing to re-track as I go forward but a lot of it will depend on vocals. I've reached out to a couple of people so I may get to play with a couple of tracks which could prove interesting trying to fit two different voices into the song.
     
  20. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Better. It still has that feel that everything is trying hit on one at the top of each measure. Could be the bass. If you want this to be right, then getting John Paul Jones in the right space is going to make a huge difference. He's playing "lead rudiment bass". Listen to the space he gives every other thing in the song. While at the same time covering so much real estate by himself. As I said before....he is a master much like the Motown guys....he hits the chordal changes in different reference to one than the guitars and keys. Think of the BASS breathing in on AND one on most of the phrasing and you'll get where I'm coming from. Its all about the funk.
     

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