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Straight From My Heart (re-recorded original song)

Hi everyone,

”Straight From My Heart” is another ”one of the first songs” that I wrote and recorded a few years ago after buying my ”first DAW”. At the time I did only one mix / version and again, I was really never happy with the mix and the performances. So - now I’ve re-recorded almost every track and done some changes to the chord progression, arrangement, instrumentation etc.

Everything is recorded in my home studio by myself (except the ”old Gtr solo) using Logic X, 3U Audio Warbler MK IV mic, Apogee Duet 2, GAP Pre 73, Gavin and Peders guitars and a lot of different plugins.

This is the first mix of this song, not mastered, but I’ have used some eq’s, compression (2-3 db), tape sI'm in the mix bus + limiter to raise the over all level to peak at -0,5 dBFS / rms -14-15 dBFS max. I used only one reverb (but several reverb modes), Valhalla Plate (which I recently bought) in this mix as I wanted to test it. I’m not sure if it’s the right option to all tracks / instruments?

So - I’d appreciate any kind of feedback about the mix, levels, tones, performances or what ever that could help me to improve this mix. If anyone would like to compare this new version to the original, just listen to the original mix behind soundcloud.com/splproject/straight-from-my-heart (copy this link to your browser)

Thanks

http://recording.or…

Attached files

Straight from my heart testmix.mp3 (9.7 MB) 

Comments

DogsoverLava Wed, 06/01/2016 - 11:18

What did George, John, and Ringo say when you played it to them? ;) ---- love your voice - it's got a Paul merged with Julian Lennon quality to it that opens up as the song goes on. Is it just me or is the mix a little left side dominant? I love the restrained guitar playing - the purposeful avoidance of cliche - very song forward. My only mix critique would be that the song pops so much that I'm missing a little warmth that might otherwise exist in the silence -- like there's maybe just slightly too much sparkle. As always - defer to some of the more experienced guys here with mix stuff as I'm still learning the ins and out of it.

iMacCartney Thu, 06/02/2016 - 04:02

DogsoverLava, post: 438755, member: 48175 wrote: What did George, John, and Ringo say when you played it to them? ;) ---- love your voice - it's got a Paul merged with Julian Lennon quality to it that opens up as the song goes on. Is it just me or is the mix a little left side dominant? I love the restrained guitar playing - the purposeful avoidance of cliche - very song forward. My only mix critique would be that the song pops so much that I'm missing a little warmth that might otherwise exist in the silence -- like there's maybe just slightly too much sparkle. As always - defer to some of the more experienced guys here with mix stuff as I'm still learning the ins and out of it.

Thanks DogsoverLava. Ringo liked the song, George and John didn't answer my call for some reason....:sneaky:
As I wrote earlier, this is the Mix 1 and I mixed it until it sounded good to my ears. I didn't use any reference tracks etc that I normally use, just wanted mix it with a "feel". I'd like to receive some feedback/comments and improve the mix after that. So right now it may sound too bright, have too much sparkle.....

Thanks for your comments.

iMacCartney Thu, 06/09/2016 - 04:21

Sean G, post: 438825, member: 49362 wrote: Personally I'd try notching about -12db out at 3.6K

But thats' just me. YMMV.

Thanks Sean. 12 db cut sounds like a lot...?

Here's a mix 2. A lot of level, eq etc. changes. Again, I’d appreciate any kind of feedback about the mix, levels, tones, performances or what ever that could help me to improve this mix.

Thanks

[MEDIA=audio]http://recording.or…

Attached files

Straight from my heart mix 2 320 kbpm.mp3 (9.7 MB) 

audiokid Sat, 06/11/2016 - 12:59

Very nice.

If I may get into your snare without sounding insensitive to the wonderful work you have done.

If it were me producing /mixing this, the first thing I would do is augment the snare to a more "noble thwack attack".
Your current snare is forcing your beautiful song and vocals into weakness, defeat, failure. The song can still have the gentle direction you have, but a change in the snare would give support and strength to you vocally rather than pulling you further "down".

Another way to describe what I hear.
Your current snare lacks inspiration. Snares play a major support role to the backbone of a song, especially songs with this kind of openness. If you are going to use it, don't hide it and kill the attack. It needs conviction.
A fuller body to it would greatly improve the music, thus the vocal dynamic. It may inspire you to sing it over again.
The snare is neither here or there, it's just hiding in the mix lacking direction between brushes or a weak side stick. It's pulling you into a "rut", vocally. Change it and I think it will improve the production.

Hope that helps.

That being said, nice work.

iMacCartney Sun, 06/12/2016 - 03:42

audiokid, post: 439071, member: 1 wrote: Very nice.

If I may get into your snare without sounding insensitive to the wonderful work you have done.

If it were me producing /mixing this, the first thing I would do is augment the snare to a more "noble thwack attack".
Your current snare is forcing your beautiful song and vocals into weakness, defeat, failure. The song can still have the gentle direction you have, but a change in the snare would give support and strength to you vocally rather than pulling you further "down".

Another way to describe what I hear.
Your current snare lacks inspiration. Snares play a major support role to the backbone of a song, especially songs with this kind of openness. If you are going to use it, don't hide it and kill the attack. It needs conviction.
A fuller body to it would greatly improve the music, thus the vocal dynamic. It may inspire you to sing it over again.
The snare is neither here or there, it's just hiding in the mix lacking direction between brushes or a weak side stick. It's pulling you into a "rut", vocally. Change it and I think it will improve the production.

Hope that helps.

That being said, nice work.

Thank you Audiokid. This is exactly the kind of feedback I need...but as a non-native English speaker I'm not quite sure what you mean. Anyway I did a lot of changes to snare - Dir - Top - Room -Btm levels, eq's, compressing and to my ears it sounds better now. Let me know what you think, thanks.

[MEDIA=audio]http://recording.or…

Attached files

Straight from my heart mix 4 mp3 320kbps 2.mp3 (9.7 MB) 

audiokid Tue, 06/14/2016 - 07:57

iMacCartney, post: 439192, member: 45490 wrote: @audiokid. I already changed the snare sound in the previous mixes. Any improvement?

iMacCartney, post: 439109, member: 45490 wrote: Thank you Audiokid. This is exactly the kind of feedback I need...but as a non-native English speaker I'm not quite sure what you mean. Anyway I did a lot of changes to snare - Dir - Top - Room -Btm levels, eq's, compressing and to my ears it sounds better now. Let me know what you think, thanks.

[MEDIA=audio]http://recording.or…

I think this mix and a few others sounds clearer than your current above, but they all sound really good. The changes you've made are all subtle.
My comment was directed at the actual snare and how it was possibly recorded? It sounds like the snare attack is late and the drum performance is not supportive enough which has a pulling back, laid back, behind the beat feel that does not help your performance like it could. So this is a production comment and it also could relate to how you miced the snare too?

Maybe this is a tip for the next time you record..

I'm being picky and treating this as a workshop.
If I was mixing this I would most likely use a drum sample, use drum replacement to add (augment) life into the snare. I would choose a snare with a better snap, tuned similar to what you have, adding a bit more reverb and mix it in with your current snare.

I suspect Marco @pcrecord or other drummers here might be able to translate what I am suggesting?

Its Wooly sounding. It could be that your equipment is restricting the attack of the snare, I don't know. Which is why I would personally add a supporting (sample) to help add this into the snare track.
Hope that helps explain things from a "music production perspective" . Nice work.(y)

iMacCartney Fri, 06/17/2016 - 10:47

audiokid, post: 439193, member: 1 wrote: I think this mix and a few others sounds clearer than your current above, but they all sound really good. The changes you've made are all subtle.
My comment was directed at the actual snare and how it was possibly recorded? It sounds like the snare attack is late and the drum performance is not supportive enough which has a pulling back, laid back, behind the beat feel that does not help your performance like it could. So this is a production comment and it also could relate to how you miced the snare too?

Maybe this is a tip for the next time you record..

I'm being picky and treating this as a workshop.
If I was mixing this I would most likely use a drum sample, use drum replacement to add (augment) life into the snare. I would choose a snare with a better snap, tuned similar to what you have, adding a bit more reverb and mix it in with your current snare.

I suspect Marco @pcrecord or other drummers here might be able to translate what I am suggesting?

Its Wooly sounding. It could be that your equipment is restricting the attack of the snare, I don't know. Which is why I would personally add a supporting (sample) to help add this into the snare track.
Hope that helps explain things from a "music production perspective" . Nice work.(y)

@audiokid, thank you for your detailed comments.

Here a new and hopefully a final mix. A lot of changes in compression (mixbus, lead vocals), limiting (Mixbus), levels (everywhere), some re-tracking etc.

If you have time to listen to these, please let me know what you think.

[MEDIA=audio]http://recording.or…

Attached files

Straight from my heart mix 7 320 kbps.mp3 (9.7 MB) 

audiokid Fri, 06/17/2016 - 11:51

really nice as well.

Again, I'm being picky but your snare (starting at 0.37) is thick and lifeless. I loved the side-stick or thinner snare used from (0.13 to 0.36).(y)
However, the next snare used throughout the song is wrong sounding to me. Its too muffled and lifeless. :notworthy:

Suggestion: Maybe add 2 db bell curve to the snare at ( 2.5k to 5k) to help the excitement and clarity of only the snare. Or reduce a bell curve on that snare 2 db in the area of 250hz.

If it was me, I would try what I suggest with an EQ first, (even try a side-chain expansion effect) and/or sample the opening snare (0.13 to 0.36) and stack your first snare to your second snare so it gives a "more" upper freq attack? Does this make sense? The second snare sounds lost and too thick.

I know this can be hard to understand let alone explain these processes to anyone that has never done it. Which is also why I am sharing these tricks.

Other than this, your song sounds great. I just don't like your snare sound and how it sits in the mix.

iMacCartney Sat, 06/18/2016 - 04:18

audiokid, post: 439325, member: 1 wrote: really nice as well.

Again, I'm being picky but your snare (starting at 0.37) is thick and lifeless. I loved the side-stick or thinner snare used from (0.13 to 0.36).(y)
However, the next snare used throughout the song is wrong sounding to me. Its too muffled and lifeless. :notworthy:

Suggestion: Maybe add 2 db bell curve to the snare at ( 2.5k to 5k) to help the excitement and clarity of only the snare. Or reduce a bell curve on that snare 2 db in the area of 250hz.

If it was me, I would try what I suggest with an EQ first, (even try a side-chain expansion effect) and/or sample the opening snare (0.13 to 0.36) and stack your first snare to your second snare so it gives a "more" upper freq attack? Does this make sense? The second snare sounds lost and too thick.

I know this can be hard to understand let alone explain these processes to anyone that has never done it. Which is also why I am sharing these tricks.

Other than this, your song sounds great. I just don't like your snare sound and how it sits in the mix.

This makes a lot of sense.(y)

So I did some changes:
Snare; 200 Hz -1,3 db; 4 kHz +1,3 db
Lead vocal 220 Hz - 1,2 db; 1280 Hz -2 db (steep bell)
Removed intro HH hits

Any better?

[MEDIA=audio]http://recording.or…

Attached files

Straight from my heart mix 8 320 kbps.mp3 (9.7 MB) 

audiokid Sat, 06/18/2016 - 13:31

If you really want to spice this up now. ( just as an experiment) .. add a bit longer reverb tail and reverb mix only to the snare now. Don't touch anything else.
Reasons... The guitar and the snare are reflectively out. But that isn't a bad thing. It just means we need to increase the reverb on the snare a touch. (make sense)?

To clarify... The "snare" reverb is almost perfect but its a bit short and subtle. Add just a bit more tail and level and I think it will really polish this up.

audiokid Sat, 06/18/2016 - 13:42

Please post the change.

Then... (and this is just a personal taste thing now.
If you choose to take another suggestion,
At 1:37 (verse) take the music back a bit. Let the song build up and breath more.

Examples.. You could reduce a guitar volume, possibly put the intro snare back in again. Break that verse down and let it build up.

Space is a good thing in this song. It will keep it more interesting. Use it more.

Possible even further along, just a vocal with a guitar for a few bars could be tasty. Then the ending and wow.

A slow song can tend to drag on so by removing the same drum to the end may keep it more interesting.

hope that helps.

iMacCartney Sun, 06/19/2016 - 05:34

Thanks again @audiokid. I really appreciate your comments and suggestions.

So here's what I did:
Snare: I increased the level of snare "room" by 2,5 db and decreased Snare Dir/Top/btm by the same amount in total. I'm not using any additional reverbs in drums.
El. piano: Cut some 970 Hz to make more room to the vocals
Back vox: panned a bit wider

Will think about that arrangement change in 3. verse....

Thoughts?

[MEDIA=audio]http://recording.or…

Attached files

Straight from my heart mix 9 320 kbps.mp3 (9.7 MB) 

audiokid Sun, 06/19/2016 - 08:48

I like either of the last two, not sure which one.
Do you have an reverb effect? I would use that. I wouldn't increase your drum room level at all. I find your drum room small and closed in. I would use a reverb effect that has more space and a longer tail for the snare. You need an effect for this.

iMacCartney Sun, 06/19/2016 - 09:26

audiokid, post: 439359, member: 1 wrote: I like either of the last two, not sure which one.
Do you have an reverb effect? I would use that. I wouldn't increase your drum room level at all. I find your drum room small and closed in. I would use a reverb effect that has more space and a longer tail for the snare. You need an effect for this.

Yes, I do have a lot of different plug-in reverbs....

So, I went back to the previous "drum settings" and added Valhalla Plate reverb, steel mode, 1,4 s, 44 ms pre-delay to snare's aux track. Any better now? Or is it too loud now?

[MEDIA=audio]http://recording.or…

Attached files

Straight from my heart mix 10 320 kbps.mp3 (9.7 MB) 

iMacCartney Sun, 06/19/2016 - 10:30

audiokid, post: 439362, member: 1 wrote: Better. (y)

I'd add more. And more decay...

:) Ok, lets try it one more time. Now decay time 1.4 s > 2 s, reverb level up a bit, eq before the reverb > low cut at 285Hz 6 db slope, 1,6 db cut at 2 kHz, hi cut at 8 kHz

[MEDIA=audio]http://recording.or…

Attached files

Straight from my heart mix 11 320 kbps.mp3 (9.7 MB) 

audiokid Sun, 06/19/2016 - 10:49

iMacCartney, post: 439340, member: 45490 wrote: This makes a lot of sense.(y)

So I did some changes:
Snare; 200 Hz -1,3 db; 4 kHz +1,3 db
Lead vocal 220 Hz - 1,2 db; 1280 Hz -2 db (steep bell)
Removed intro HH hits

Any better?

[MEDIA=audio]http://recording.or…

I like this mix best, it has the most pleasing balance to it. The centre imaging is clear and defined.

I just don't care for the reverb on the snare. I would choose a larger plate approach around it. That being said, you've done a beautiful job with this. I think my suggestion on reverb now are strictly personal.

Well done.

iMacCartney Sun, 06/19/2016 - 11:01

audiokid, post: 439366, member: 1 wrote: I like this mix best, it has the most pleasing balance to it. The centre imaging is clear and defined.

I just don't care for the reverb on the snare. I would choose a larger plate approach around it. That being said, you've done a beautiful job with this. I think my suggestion on reverb now are strictly personal.

Well done.

Thank you again. So mix 8 is the final mix then? :unsure:

DogsoverLava Sun, 06/19/2016 - 14:51

I love how the opening guitar just floats out of the stereo image in 3 dimensions. This is a fantastic song - wonderfully performed and arranged - sonically beautiful - dense and rich without being crowded. Repeated listens reward with more familiarity. Great finger touch too on the guitar - expressive, emotive. You could do something with this for sure. This would play very well in Europe (Germany and Scandinavia for sure but also the Baltics) -- it's got a cross cultural accessibility -- it would play well in Asia too. An "unplugged" version would be awesome to hear as well.

As I get deeper into recording and then hear you guys go deep into the mix and talk about nuances on the snare drum and reverb tails etc. I get inspired - but I also know there's so much more for me to learn on the technical side. I really want to see and hear more stuff like this where songs get workshopped in the mix. This one came in already pretty high level, I'd love to see a range as well -- I don't want people to feel intimidated and not post stuff because the bar is too high --- so just a general request -- guys -- post more stuff!!! This was great.

iMacCartney Tue, 06/28/2016 - 08:26

DogsoverLava, post: 439375, member: 48175 wrote: I love how the opening guitar just floats out of the stereo image in 3 dimensions. This is a fantastic song - wonderfully performed and arranged - sonically beautiful - dense and rich without being crowded. Repeated listens reward with more familiarity. Great finger touch too on the guitar - expressive, emotive. You could do something with this for sure. This would play very well in Europe (Germany and Scandinavia for sure but also the Baltics) -- it's got a cross cultural accessibility -- it would play well in Asia too. An "unplugged" version would be awesome to hear as well.

As I get deeper into recording and then hear you guys go deep into the mix and talk about nuances on the snare drum and reverb tails etc. I get inspired - but I also know there's so much more for me to learn on the technical side. I really want to see and hear more stuff like this where songs get workshopped in the mix. This one came in already pretty high level, I'd love to see a range as well -- I don't want people to feel intimidated and not post stuff because the bar is too high --- so just a general request -- guys -- post more stuff!!! This was great.

DogsoverLava, thank you for the kind words. I appreciate it.
Btw. I have no plans to "release" my songs but never say never....:whistle: