1. Dear Guest, if you haven't already... enter to WIN Samplitude Pro X5!
    Dismiss Notice

critique 25 to Life - my first Hip Hop Song

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by cowparsleyman, Jun 23, 2020.

  1. cowparsleyman

    cowparsleyman Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2020
    Location:
    UK
    Home Page:
    First I'd like to say that I'm a newbie here, I have read the rules of this part of the forum, and I was delighted that this is for real musicians with real instruments and real equipment.

    I was a member of the UK musicians union for many years and their motto is Keep Music Live, and so it is that this song is my first of many that I'll post here for honest, constructive critique, even if you don't care for the genre, any improvements will be considered, not necessarily undertaken...producer's perogative I guess.

    I have embarked on a project over the last 2 years called 'Genre Jumping' each song is a different genre, with the aim of improving my mixing and production skills/techniques.

    This one is entirely new to me, never rapped before, never done anything like this...the LVox is a bit pushed through Soundtoys Decaptitator to give it a more raw feel, due to the content, it's not clipping...

    I only use vsti's when I can't play the instrument, or the drumming is too hard for me, everything is me, including production.

    From a production angle there are 72 tracks including submix busses, using bx_townhouse then shadow hills comps on the 2Buss.

    If you want more info about instruments, plugs please ask.

    Read the song notes for more detail.

     
  2. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2014
    Location:
    Vancouver
    Home Page:
    My immediate impression here - and I'm posting this to start the conversation some because I'll come back to this a few times over the next week or so - is that the track is very 2 dimensional in space. It's full - but it's packed up and presented in 2D. And this opinion sounds counter-intuitive to what I know I'm hearing because you got lots of different layers - a whole collage thing going on - but that's my take away in my listening space right now.

    The rap part of it of course is fancy dress - so that element drags down my overall impression of what I'm hearing -- it's got a salad cream element to it as opposed to a pickle -- but that's on me to overcome so I'm trying to hear/listen beyond that....

    Some of the collage was fairly inventive.... I wait still before i offer more specific feedback on what I'm hearing...

    But getting back to the idea of 2D vs 3D --- I'm thinking Portishead as a starting point in comparison... I'm looking for depth and dimension in the spaces in this that I'm just not hearing today -- but Like I said - I'll revisit this for another day - just wanted to start the conversation.

    Welcome to the forum mate - Rob from Vancouver here.
     
  3. cowparsleyman

    cowparsleyman Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2020
    Location:
    UK
    Home Page:
    Dear @DogsoverLava Thanks for taking the time to listen, most appreciated.

    My first review and It’s salad cream not pickle, well that’s a thing...look forward to hearing more from this forum.

    Regards

    Rich
     
  4. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2014
    Location:
    Vancouver
    Home Page:
    Hey Rich - looking forward to listening to this tomorrow... going to make some adjustments in my listening environment first. Cheers.
     
  5. cowparsleyman

    cowparsleyman Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2020
    Location:
    UK
    Home Page:
    That’s interesting, how did you listen to it first time round?
     
  6. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2014
    Location:
    Vancouver
    Home Page:
    In my little home studio through the speakers - a fairly neutral setup which is good - one I know fairly well but I didn't have the volume where I wanted it.
     
  7. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2014
    Location:
    Vancouver
    Home Page:
    OK - @cowparsleyman So - I listened with headphones and through my monitors -- #1 - this track is very loud - too loud for the settings I usually use when I listen to music on headphones. And when I talk about 2D vs 3D - some of this comes from that loudness - all your instruments are the same volume - this places everything on the same plane aurally. There are no dynamics to take me to different planes in the mix. You have all these interesting figures and motifs coming from several instruments - but everything is up front and in your face in the mix. It's all very forward for me. On your vocals I get the sense that you are way too close to the mic and that there's this proximity effect going on. Everything is mixed so far forward and in your face that there's no space - you've taken up all the bandwidth. I think there's some sculpting you can do with the EQ to make some room/space for some things --- I'll leave that to others to comment on or check if they get a chance.

    As I listened to this my first thought was What would Trevor Horn do here? I thought of Yes in the 90215 and Big Generator era, and his work with Seal. Those are packed mixes but they have way more dimensionality and lightness....

    As always - I'm just one guy listening and there are others here with way more expertise than I have that might be able to add something (or disagree with me). Do any of these ideas or thoughts land with you when you listen?
     
  8. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2013
    Location:
    Quebec, Canada
    Home Page:
    For my taste, it's over compressed over processed for no reason. Some instruments come to loud, drums need to be more in your face to make people dance..
    72 tracks seems over the top for some simple song as this one..
    I don't know I'd like to have it disconstructed and rebuilt with minimal effects and trickery..
    Most of the sounds seems to be virtual instruments and those aren't needing much work to make them sound good.. they mostly are already mixed and mastered.. (most of the time)
     
  9. cowparsleyman

    cowparsleyman Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2020
    Location:
    UK
    Home Page:
    Thank you @pcrecord for taking the time to listen.

    72 tracks is what was needed, Intro - this had 2 Vocoders on some of the Vox, each vocoder needs a MIDI track to fire it, so for 4 BV and a Lvox in that section that's 7 tracks, plus a subbuss that's 8.
    The Hey Ho's were 8 BVox tracks plus a subbuss, so that's 9, have at least 1 BFD3 drum kit, a Spark2 kit, I think there's also a Air Boom 909 kit in there too, each with the commensurate amount of tracks required. A hammond B3 at the begining and a different organ at the end, the prince guitar section had I think at least 6 BV's, the bass line is an OBX, plus a Pigments plus a real Yamaha bass Guitar mixed into sub buss...tracks are starting to creep up, the ePiano was a Lounge Lizard EP4 another 2 for the samples, another 1 for the MIDI to drive stutter edit over the siren sample...(from memory)

    There is also an AllInstrSubBuss and a LVoxSubBuss.

    My approach to this particular genre was that the lyrics are the centrepiece, so I held up the LVox a bit more than usual, I listened to a few Rap song before starting to see how the genre expects to be delivered, and this seemed to be the norm.

    It is a simple song, and I think that's one of it's assets.

    With regard to it being over compressed, this could be...I wouldn't remove the first master buss comp, but I'll take a listen without the Shadow Hills.

    With regard to the fx, some of these are hooks (the Sync'd Stutter over the Siren for example) and I'm afraid that's part of the song.
     
  10. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2014
    Location:
    Vancouver
    Home Page:
    Was this a "Hey it will be neat to try a rap song" kind of thing? And - "Hey cool - I did a Rap - that was fun - next I'll do a Psychobilly song" or are you actually looking at this as some sort of commercial release representative of the kind of stuff you want to be known for?
     
  11. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2010
    Location:
    Boulder, Colorado
    Home Page:
    My impression is that it's for a client.
     
  12. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2010
    Location:
    Boulder, Colorado
    Home Page:
    I feel that the mix could be tonally carved down a little to give things a bit more space. It needs a strong bottom, but it seems like it's a bit stuffy in the low mids rather than beefy down low. I want to scoop out a chunk of the synth bass around 150Hz, and maybe add a little definition somewhere between 500Hz and 2kHz. And I would probably shelf down the LF on the electric piano sound, perhaps around 200Hz (possibly on some other elements as well). If I could download the track I could be more specific about frequencies.

    Maybe use less individual compression so elements trade off being up front, letting the master bus compression push them around a little. Although that's the opposite of my normal approach, it seems like the thing to do here. Perhaps that's because some of the elements are highly compressed to begin with. In my mixes I tend to be starting with real sounds I've recorded that are a bit too dynamic, so I have to compress them.
     
  13. cowparsleyman

    cowparsleyman Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2020
    Location:
    UK
    Home Page:
    @DogsoverLava

    Thanks for your reply, in my first post I set out my scope...

    I have embarked on a project over the last 2 years called 'Genre Jumping' each song is a different genre, with the aim of improving my mixing and production skills/techniques.

    This is the driver, to improve my production, so as a producer I can understand what is involved in a rap song, and at least i can offer a smidgen of expeience from both a songwriter an artist as well as a mixing engineer and producer.

    I don’t want to be nor consider myself as a commercial rapper, and it isn’t as frivalous as hey ‘look at me’. It all has a Purpose.

    Was this a "Hey it will be neat to try a rap song" kind of thing? And - "Hey cool - I did a Rap - that was fun - next I'll do a Psychobilly song" or are you actually looking at this as some sort of commercial release representative of the kind of stuff you want to be known for?

    It is one song, so i would be interested in hearing both critiques for both of te scenarios you put forward.

    I am learning, that’s why I’m here, Im after tangible advice as to how to make the song better, in your opinion.

    I like your opinion regarding the dimensionality , i can work with that, and eq, i wanted an in your face mix, with little verb on anything, so the upfront approach was intentional. i had the perception that prince used quite dry vox, and couldn’t see where verb would work...

    thanks again for your time



     
  14. cowparsleyman

    cowparsleyman Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2020
    Location:
    UK
    Home Page:
    Afternoon @bouldersound thanks for taking the time to listen and critique - This is interesting indeed. I'll take another look at the insert fx on each channel and the subs, and see if there's a lot of comp going on, then that would make sense regarding the summing of the comps. I usually start off on the LVox with a light LA-2, and that's about it for Vox, I try to keep the BV's comp less, or if they are a bit intrusive I'll apply subtle comp on the sub.

    I'm aware that as I like to master my dance song a bit 'hot' SoundCloud will crush it rather when streaming...

    I'll revisit the song, and consider your comments, thanks again

    btw the way it's not for a client, it's one of my songs.
     
  15. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2013
    Location:
    Quebec, Canada
    Home Page:
    Feel free to post other versions.. ;)
     
  16. cowparsleyman

    cowparsleyman Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2020
    Location:
    UK
    Home Page:
    OK I will, when I'm done. Thanks
     
  17. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2010
    Location:
    Boulder, Colorado
    Home Page:
    If you're using samples, it might just be that they're already compressed. It's just a guess.

    Once you have enough posts you can upload an mp3. I like to pop them into my DAW and use my eq to find the precise frequencies of things I'm hearing.
     
  18. cowparsleyman

    cowparsleyman Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2020
    Location:
    UK
    Home Page:
    @bouldersound - I don't use samples for my music, only for voice overs,special fx, and solos of instruments that I can't play and don't sound convincing on any VSTi's that I have.

    Would you like a pre 2buss mix or a mastered version?

    What do you use to analyse the frequencies?

    My home studio is pretty busy right now, so I'll be back onto this when I'm able.

    Thanks again for the interest.
     
  19. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2014
    Location:
    Vancouver
    Home Page:
    Don't wait too long.... there's a momentum both with learning but also keeping folks engaged. It's easy to lose people if you are not ready to follow through posting stuff based on feedback or suggested corrections. It doesn't have to be real time, but it should be pretty timely. Just a little FYI for you.
     
  20. cowparsleyman

    cowparsleyman Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2020
    Location:
    UK
    Home Page:
    @DogsoverLava - OK, noted, I just had to finish mastering an album, that's done now so i can attend to this.

    I'll try and do it this evening.
     
  • AT5047

    The New AT5047 Premier Studio Microphone Purity Transformed

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice