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Playing in a Band again (yeah) and trying to produce it (hard)

Have had an opportunity to play with some cool dudes and I'm recording them right now. Forgot how hard it is to produce a band you play in. Any input on the mix or production would be appreciated

please click on the link, it'll stream


anonymous Wed, 04/30/2014 - 10:38

You've got some very nice tones happening here. Reminiscent of early Pearl Jam.

Mix-wise, I think the vocal needs to come up to match the intro bluesy guitar riff. There's also a hint of sibilance on the lead vocal track that you could listen to and reign back a bit, not much, just enough to tame those "sssss" transients... I wouldn't go and attenuate all the frequencies in that range - don't go crazy and overdue it, because you'll lose the very pleasing edge to the vocal. Try finding where the dominant S frequency is happening notch it (use a very tight Q) a few db, or, put a de-esser on it at the freq that you find is the culprit.

Other than the S's... you've got great "air" and resonance happening on the lead vocal. I'd just like to hear it come forward in the mix. It's being swamped a bit by the guitars (which sound great to me...just a bit too overpowering)

My personal taste would tell you that the guitars sound a bit too widely panned from each other... but, that's a personal taste thing. Not a deal breaker by any means.

Drums have nice space and punch, silky top end.

Can you give us some details as to what gear was used? Mics, Pre's, placement, etc...

anonymous Thu, 05/01/2014 - 06:48

I'm a big fan of the SM7, and I thought I heard the texture of a nice mic pre in there as well. ;)

I understand that more current music has uber-enhanced highs - at times to the point of being ridiculous, where it can even become UN-listenable for me. Yours is not that case. But I think you should consider at least taking another listen and look at that 5k to 8k freq range on the lead vocal, and see if you can notch it out, or, as I said previously, you could also use a de-esser plug. Just be careful to keep your Q fairly tight regardless of which process you use, because while you do want to attenuate those hard S's, you don't want to wipe out the nice edge that's there and very pleasing as well.

IMHO of course.

RemyRAD Thu, 05/01/2014 - 09:18

I really like what I'm hearing and what's going on. This is dark, smoky, spooky, ethereal, I like, I like. I have like Donny said, no screaming high end. Yay doggy! Thank you.

If you want more edge on that vocal? Here's what I recommend. While it might be a good idea to D-S the vocal (every software program as a preset for that). Ya still want more edge on the vocal. So you need to crank up the high end, on the vocal. Then you'll probably want to high frequency limit it. Otherwise, it'll get screechy.

The high frequency limiter, basically requires a standard limiter, with a side chain feature. Whether it's hardware or software. This software you would just add a high-frequency boost shelf, at 10 kHz. Or with an equalizer, into a hardware-based limiter, where you just crank up the high end on the EQ, in the side chain. This will make the limiter more sensitive to high-frequency content. In essence, in a sense, it's like a Dolby B, decoder. Sort of. Allowing one to still retain that edge without it getting too bright. Very effective.

This would just add more sparkle and better articulation to the vocal track. Otherwise, I'd think, you won't find anybody that has much to say? It's already solid sounding.

Worth hearing it on air.
Mx. Remy Ann David

steppingonmars Thu, 05/01/2014 - 12:40

Thanks everyone, Also I should say I have two vocal tracks here, which is often what I do. One is with a Rode NTK with a blue Robbie and the other is the SM7 with a UA 710. So maybe it might be a matter of just pulling back the condenser a bit an bringing up the SM7. I'll give it a try. Also thought the bass was a little low in the mix, I'll pull it up a notch too!

RemyRAD Fri, 05/02/2014 - 17:12

More like duck and cover LOL. No it doesn't mean duck and it has nothing to do with sidechain. Although one would need a limiter/compressor, hardware device or in software, where the detector circuit can be influenced with equalization. In that respect, a DE-ESSER, is a dynamics processor, with specific equalization, in that frequency spectrum where sibilant sounds are irritating. It lowers those sibilant sounds because the compressor limiter is influenced by an equalizer that has the high and low frequencies untouched. With a boost around 3-6 kHz, making the limiter more sensitive and able to DE-ESS, the sibilance.

So a DE-ESSER, DE-ESS's's's the S's.

I suppose you could also look at it as a "DE-SHITER"? Because if you don't? Your sibilance takes a big dump.

This is why Bob Clearmountain had toilet paper, covering his tweeters. And quite literally. Especially since, Yamaha, NS-10's, had such an over exaggerated, screaming high-end. It was his trademark. And it spawned a lot of people to do the same those monitors. I couldn't stand them. Nevertheless, the irritation from sibilance and over exaggerated high-end equalization, enhancing everything, builds to the point of feeling like a diamond tipped drill boring through your cranium. Ouch! Don't go there. Guys like it. Girls don't. That's all ya need to know.

It's really fun to turn a dynamic sibilance controller a.k.a. DE-ESSER, up too high. It's always good for a laugh, as it makes everybody sound like they have a speech impediment LOL. So a little goes a long way. Of course... unless... you want to laugh yourself silly? You have to do two mixes. One for the shock and awe. One for what you were paid to do.

I'm full of them. Full of something?
Mx. Remy Ann David

anonymous Sat, 05/03/2014 - 05:25

I agree with Remy... a de-esser in the hands of someone who doesn't know how to use them can do much more harm than leaving the sibilance alone entirely. ;)

Generally, with De-Esser plugs - and there are many, some of which are good and others that are terrible - you don't need to attenuate all that much, and this is where most new engineers run into trouble... as with other plugs like compression and limiting, they tend to over-use - or mis-use them, when in reality, a little goes a long way.

All you're looking at doing is taming those transients in a particular frequency range - if you're really lucky, your singer's sibilance occurs in a very tight bandwidth (Q) around a center frequency, and you won't end up wiping out the other frequencies around it that you want to keep. Go with small steps at first, tight Q's, minimal threshold settings.

Just enough to attenuate the problem...and don't try to get rid of the S's entirely. Otherwise, " she sells sea shells" will come out as "ee ell ee ell from the ee ore ".

CrazyLuke Thu, 05/08/2014 - 04:07

The song is way cool. but the two guitar parts - 1 panned hard L, the other panned hard R, makes the rhythm section a little disjointed. You could keep the "two guitarist on either side of the stage" feel, and still make the guitar parts inhabit a little of the soundscape by using a Haas effect plug-in, What that will do is this make the listener "perceive" that one guitar part is coming from the left, and the other from the right even though they are panned in the center, then mix to taste.