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Lucidity Thief -- aiming for a kind of 'juxtaposed Zappa' sound.

Hey All,

This is another recent track I've been working on. Used my tele and some Bias Amp 2 plugins for the amp simulation. All drums were programmed in EZDrummer, and bass in EZBass. Mixed on a pair of DT990 Pro headphones (like the other track I recently posted); unfortunately I don't have the space for decent monitors. I sometimes find the DT990s a bit difficult to mix bass well on (usually I mix it in too loud). Hopefully I nailed it more or less here?

Overall I was aiming for a kind of 'juxtaposed Zappa' sound..

Thanks for any listens and/or feedback.

Cheers very much!

Ben.

Comments

audiokid Sat, 05/21/2022 - 08:50

Pleasure.

Your programming and guitar is excellent. The bass in this mix sits really well.

Can you share anymore info on your process < tools etc. How many tracks to make this song?

benhj Sat, 05/21/2022 - 10:07

audiokid wrote:

Pleasure.

Your programming and guitar is excellent. The bass in this mix sits really well.

Can you share anymore info on your process < tools etc. How many tracks to make this song?

Thank you kindly! I guess my process is quite organic in that I don't really know what direction the piece will take as and when I'm recording it. I start with a riff for one section and once happy with it, move on to the next bit, etc.

All of the guitar parts are double tracked and then panned left/right to varying extends just to make stuff wider. I've got my Logic Pro screen open and I have around 20 tracks in total which includes multiple routings from EZDrummer for individual drum parts (kick, snare, hihat, etc) and some of these are stereo (toms, overheads, room ambience, etc.).

Guitars comprise the most tracks -- 12 guitars: two heavy for the opening and chorus riff, two clean for wah parts, two clean for hendrixy 'voodoo chile' style wah parts, another two for a clean lead riff I do mid-song (very short); 4 lead tracks (double tracked twice where I swap between each stereo pair during different parts -- i.e., for a lot of the lead parts, I double track one small part, then I touble track another small part -- so a collection of double tracked guitar melodies and licks, really).

Everything is tracked in Logic Pro. I have a variety of plugins -- Bias Amp 2 for all guitars; EZDrummer (a custom kit I made based on DrumKit from Hell but with the snare from the Progressive Kit); and then EZBass with 'modern' bass. I do own a real bass guitar but it has an extremely crackly jack input / is rather dead sounding even when I can get it to work.

I add a bit of plate reverb to the snare; also on each of the snare and kick is an enveloper plugin to add more attack or punch. I'm not sure exactly what this is doing but I like the effect; it's like a poor man's SPL transient designer, I guess. I then also have a stereo bus reverb -- everything is sent through this to varying extents, except the bass guitar, with the aim of putting everything into the same acoustic space.

I have a small amount of compression on the master (Platinum Digital setting from Logic's compressor plugin with a very low ratio) to bring everything together before passing that through Ozone 9 Elements plugin. Once I have the overall mix, I bounce it down to a stereo wav which I then run through emastered (website) which is automated online mastering -- I pay for this but it's worth it imo.

Thanks again!

Ben.

benhj Sat, 05/21/2022 - 10:09

audiokid wrote:

I'm astonished over how well the DT990 Pro headphones work for you. Mixing on headphones isn't easy.

I like the DT990's; I also reference check on another pair of cheaper headphones and also through the soundbar on my TV. One of these days I hope to have the space for some decent monitors :-)

audiokid Sat, 05/21/2022 - 18:09

Thanks for the details!

with the aim of putting everything into the same acoustic space

Smart! I do this too, it glues a mix real nice.

Drums sound great. Snare is perfect for this.

So are you direct for the guitars?

benhj Sun, 05/22/2022 - 01:08

Yep — direct with the guitars. They always go straight into a Focusrite 2i4 and I then apply Bias Amp 2 plugins on given guitar tracks for the amp/speaker simulation. But I always record them clean so I can go back and change the plugin settings later if I need to. A good advantage over mic’ing up a real amp I suppose!

benhj Sun, 05/22/2022 - 01:58

audiokid wrote:

Cool, 

What pickups do you use?

So I’m using a road worn vintera 50s tele with its stock pickups (a pair of 50s style single coils). Not certain of their technical spec but I really like how they sound! The lead tones are mostly using the neck position while the heavier riff parts are set at the bridge. I may have used the middle setting for some of the clean wah parts :-)

benhj Mon, 05/23/2022 - 02:47

Rene Asologuitar wrote:

Very nice guitar riff and progression.

I am a sucker for guitars so this is a real treat!

The guitar solos sounds great, with a touch of sophistication and class!

Lovely music.

You area skilled guitarist and artist.

I love this.

Rene

Thanks tremendously -- I really appreciate the kind words!

Ben.

paulears Mon, 05/23/2022 - 09:30

I listened expecting frankly, something I'd hate - but got a really well crafted, complex and clever bit of a guitar study. Very well blended and the changes in guitars you describe only become obvious when you gave the list and you can hear them. All those tight starts, stops and hits really fit together so well. For me to get to the end of anything in one complete listen when it has distorted guitars is very rare. Nice one!

benhj Mon, 05/23/2022 - 14:36

paulears wrote:

I listened expecting frankly, something I'd hate - but got a really well crafted, complex and clever bit of a guitar study. Very well blended and the changes in guitars you describe only become obvious when you gave the list and you can hear them. All those tight starts, stops and hits really fit together so well. For me to get to the end of anything in one complete listen when it has distorted guitars is very rare. Nice one!

Awesome, thank you paulears! Really appreciate the feedback and super happy you ended up enjoying the listen! Was certainly a lot of fun playing and recording! :-)

Ben.

audiokid Mon, 05/23/2022 - 17:13

paulears wrote:

I listened expecting frankly, something I'd hate - but got a really well crafted, complex and clever bit of a guitar study. Very well blended and the changes in guitars you describe only become obvious when you gave the list and you can hear them. All those tight starts, stops and hits really fit together so well. For me to get to the end of anything in one complete listen when it has distorted guitars is very rare. Nice one!

What I’m most astonished on is how this was mixed on headphones. 

paulears Mon, 05/23/2022 - 23:19

DT990s could be worth a listen I think. I have always had great respect for the 100 and 150 but never heard 990s.

EDIT

just read a review on a high site. Apparently, you have to let them warm up for half an hour, to get the tone balance right and remove the trebly edge! What do these people think? Probably half an hour for your brain and ears to adjust how you feel they sound!

benhj Tue, 05/24/2022 - 02:15

paulears wrote:

DT990s could be worth a listen I think. I have always had great respect for the 100 and 150 but never heard 990s.

EDIT

just read a review on a high site. Apparently, you have to let them warm up for half an hour, to get the tone balance right and remove the trebly edge! What do these people think? Probably half an hour for your brain and ears to adjust how you feel they sound!

In case it makes any difference, I use the DT990 Pro (250 Ohm) pair. Looking at Beyer Dynamics' online store, there are also non-pro versions (possibly some of these are more premium).

I hadn't heard of this 'warm-up' period. Although, I'm certainly mixing for a lot longer than half an hour, before I start to even think I might be happy with a given mix -- but yes, probably the time it takes for my ears to adjust / get used to how reference mixes also sound!

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