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audio Uptown Funk - Or is it ?

Discussion in 'Fix This MIX!' started by Voiceofallanger, Mar 4, 2015.

  1. Voiceofallanger

    Voiceofallanger Active Member

    Hey guys,

    So me and the guys in my band were just messing around and recorded this quickly. It was just for a laugh and it's nothing serious and pretty much every aspect of it has been rushed but we did it as a thank you for people attending our album launch. We um... re-wrote it except for the lyrical content.

    Was wondering what you thought of it as a "cover" and a quick mix. And errr... sorry if you like the original hahahaha! Really interested to hear everyone's criticisms and hopefully some nice things as well. If you like my band then we're called "Furian" and you can find us on youtube or at http://www.furian.co.uk ! Shameless plug. Cool.

    Best wishes from the UK

    - Dan

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/pwrojxfnciv18rr/Furian - Uptown FxxK .mp3?dl=0

    ^ You might have to copy paste the link it's being weird.
     
  2. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    You're better off to upload your song to Sound Cloud and then post the link to it here, so that it can be listened to without having to download it.

    People here are wary of downloading anything.

    You might get a few who will DL it, but I wouldn't count on it.
    I can only speak for myself when I say that I'm not going to.

    No offense. I just don't need the hassle of a virus or malware. ;)
     
  3. Voiceofallanger

    Voiceofallanger Active Member

    I can't because it's meant to be a secret. I'm just showing you guys before I release it hehe! It's an MP3 Donny so they have nothing to be worried about :O Exe files are the one to be wary of! It's also an Https link to be extra careful :) As an IT tech I can tell you that if you're ever worried about malware then it usually comes via an installer of some sort which will have a .exe extension. Mp3 and audio files aren't a threat unless they come torrented with other files. It's alllllllllll good man :) I wouldn't do that to you anyway.. I'm a regular here remember!
     
  4. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Okay, I DL'd it. If I end up with a case of the digital crabs, at least I know where to go for a pound of revengeful flesh. ;)

    Very nice. Not a huge Bruno Mars fan, but I still dig funk anyway. ( I played in a funk band for a few years back in the early 80's - as a drummer - doing Tower of Power, Nile Rodgers, Ohio Players, that kind of stuff, so I have a soft spot for well done funk. )

    Great pocket/groove, very tight, great performances all the way around. I have no doubt this would pack a dance floor in seconds..

    Although I think the kick and snare are getting washed out during the section around 1:05 though, maybe too much GR there? There's a definite loss of down and back beat definition going on in that section...

    Vocal performance is good, I do like the doubling on the LV, but sonically they sound a bit ... uhmm... well, a bit "thin"... missing some "weight".... but I'm also hearing that it's a little shy on the top end, the "silk" frequencies.

    Questions:

    What mic and pre were you using? Did you use something transparent, or, a tube or other transformer-based "character" pre?

    Any processing on the way in?

    How much and what kind of compression were you using on the Vox? Single stage? Dual? Parallel?

    I'm nit-picking of course, (I'm running low on nits, so I have to pick a few) but all considered, I think you did a great job.

    FWIW

    -donny
     
  5. Voiceofallanger

    Voiceofallanger Active Member

    Excellent feedback! Just what I wanted to hear :) Thanks Donny. I'm also thankful you trusted me about the file being safe because well.. As you can see.. it is! Haha.

    Anyway. mic was a 57b.. I do actually have a thin voice anyway. I'm not much of a singer. I think I might have been too fast with the attack on the compressor tbh now that you've said that I've noticed too. I was just straight though and not dual/parallel. I didn't use a dedicated outboard pre I just used the in on my presonus 16.4.2 board. I'm very straight forward with my source. Usually it sounds right there or I just don't use it but I did rush this. The whole thing was top to bottom in 3 hours and then mixed in maybe 1 hour ? And no I didn't use any pre-processing it's all post.

    (Just checked my ratio it's 6:1).
     
  6. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    That's pretty heavy - depending on your other settings of course.

    The SM7B is a great mic, but it might not be the best mic for your voice on this song.

    I've never used an SM7 through a presonus pre, ( I've worked with both many times, just never together) I think the Xmax pre's gain up to around 65db or so, which should be sufficient, I'm just not sure that when you get them up to an optimal level for the SM7, that you're not also perhaps introducing some noise, or even maybe some low level distortion... I do know the SM7 mic requires some pretty beefy gain to perform at its optimum.
    (Some of our other members here would know better - I think it might be @Davedog who knows Presonus gear very well .... IIRC it's him.)

    Doubling the vocal helps some with the body... the pre you are using is fine, there's not a thing wrong with the Presonus XMax preamps.... as long as you aren't pushing them.
    That's generally where lower caliber pre's will show the difference - when compared to higher quality pre's.

    I think that tracking your vocal as transparently as possible was probably a good choice, you can always warm it up or add "character" after the fact, during the mix.

    If it were me mixing this vocal track, I'd back off a bit on your GR ratio, slow down the attack, and quicken the release, as this song moves along pretty good... so IMO, you'd want the compressor to re-set fairly quickly.
    I'd also consider using a "character" plug, such as a Waves or T Racks (or UAD if you have them) Neve 1073 or 1081 clone, this would add some "thickening" to your voice ( choose only one of your lead vocal tracks for this... don't do it on both).

    If you have access to any of these plugs, set your HPF at around 125, maybe even a bit higher (150), and select your input level as "mic", and "push" it... just a bit, pulling back a bit on your line out level, to add some lower mid to mid range "bite" and "edge".
    Look at the range of 300hz - 350hz (or so) to add some "weight", and look up around 8-10 k or so for some top-end presence, which IMO, you're missing a bit of...

    If you don't have any plugs like this, I'll be glad to run it through mine, if you like. I have several SSL, API and Neve channel strips, as well as 1176, LA2, 670, Focusrite Red, API 2500 and SSL bus compressors

    If you want to try this, send me the DRY mono vocal track, via drop box (I'll create a folder and send you an invite if you give me your email, or, you can create one and send me an invite - email below) and I can run it through a few different choices, if you like. Let me know what SR you're working at, as well as the BPM of the song ( this helps in "timing" the compression)

    If you want, you can even send two versions - one Flat, and one with your own EQ on it. Just make sure that both are mono and dry, with no compression, no effects.

    And... if you're happy with what you have, and you'd rather just not bother with it, then that's totally cool, too. ;)

    -d.
    donnyair@hotmail.com
     
  7. Voiceofallanger

    Voiceofallanger Active Member

    I'm always up for taking the advice and ideas of other engineers. That's the point of coming here in the first place. There's no point even posting for feedback if you aren't going to try the suggested methods that others have tried and tested! I actually have both of those plugins and I'll definitely give that a go. That sounds like fun. Thanks a lot for your in depth feedback and time Donny I really appreciate it.
     
  8. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Glad to help. :)

    One final suggestion... you might want to try a version of this with some "parallel-style" compression on the lead vox, by assigning the compressor to an aux, instead of inserting it directly into the track.

    Doing it this way will allow you to control the overall amount of everything on the compressor, by busing your LV track to that aux, you can then adjust the level of the auggie returns, and accordingly, the overall level of compression - in a kind of wet/dry fashion, similar to how you might add reverb or delay.

    Just saying, you might want to give it a try, this way you are kind of mixing into the GR, as opposed to adding it after the fact.

    It often helps to do it this way, because you can immediately hear how the settings/adjustments and tweaks on the track makes the GR react, instead of the other way around.

    IMHO of course.

    d.
     
  9. Voiceofallanger

    Voiceofallanger Active Member

    I think based on what you've just said I probably just need to get better with compression. I seem to be absolutely terrible at mixing my own voice. I never use parallel compression for anything except drums really and even then that's rare. Very much depends on what I'm doing. I tend to just slam my voice because it's not particularly strong but I think duffing up the attack setting has left it a little thin. I'll have a mess about and see what happens. Do you use parallel on vox a lot ?
     
  10. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Everything I do, in terms of what I use and how I use it, is completely song dependent. What works well for one song/performance might not work as well - or at all - for another.

    I do try to mix into GR as much as I can, as opposed to adding GR after the fact. I also tend to start off with very light amounts of it and adjust from there. Honestly, I can't recall the last time I used a 6:1 ratio on vocals for "normal" vocal reduction, and when I did, it was intentional, more for effect than for normal function.

    Over-compression doesn't necessarily need to do with just ratios, either. All the parameters of gain reduction work in tandem. Threshold dictates where in the db level of the track the reduction kicks in, so if you've got it set at -20 db, you're pretty much hitting it with reduction from the get go. Fast attack settings can have adverse effects too, cutting off things like the initial strikes of snares, toms and kicks. Release is pretty self explanatory, it sets the amount of time it takes for the GR to reset coming off of a previously compressed note. More detailed GR can also include things like HPF, which tells the compressor what frequency range to attenuate.

    Also, keep in mind how many instances of reduction you are using - if you've got compression on a track insert, then again on an assigned subgroup bus, and then again on the master 2-bus, you've got three levels of gain reduction happening that you need to be aware of.

    I think it's important to study gain reduction, not only to find out exactly what it does, but also how it does what it does. I'm not saying you're starting from scratch and that you don't know anything about it, but it appears as though you should study it a bit. Always remember that context is everything, and just because a certain setting might have worked great on one thing, doesn't mean it will work well on another.

    I'm not saying you shouldn't do any of above, I'm just saying that you need to understand what you are doing when you do it. ;)

    FWIW

    d.
     
  11. Voiceofallanger

    Voiceofallanger Active Member

    I think with me it's more that I do understand and when I'm rushing a mix I just don't stop and think as much as I should do. Regardless, your re-explanation is helpful to me because it's a good, solid reminder of things that I should be consistently bearing in mind when mixing! I guess when you've been trusting your ears for so long, when they get fatigued it's easy to just carry on instead of stopping and thinking about the technical side of it and what you're actually doing from that perspective and letting your ears reset. When I rush a mix out I tend not to think about those things and perhaps I should do! This one was just for fun but yeah. You are definitely onto something with your comments. Gonna see what I can do on the vocal compression front and see how much of a difference it makes to the thickness.
     

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