Announcement
Collapse
No announcement yet.

Here's what we sound like

Collapse
X
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Here's what we sound like

    Hi! One of my bands has started learning how to record. We're using a Tascam 2488neo. Here's what we sound like so far:

    http://www.thefullertons.net/recordi...ned-music.html

    Recording tips for future efforts welcome!
    Last edited by Delmont; 12-11-2016, 08:34 PM.
    Del
    www.thefullertons.net
    ( •)—:::
    Sent on my six-string jumbo ukelele

  • #2
    There's allot going on there that needs to be corrected. Everything from the levels to the lack of essential effects.

    First it sounds like you're mixing with either headphones or bad monitors. I may be wrong but it sure sounds like you have monitor issues where you cant hear the levels properly. You cant mix properly using headphones or non professional monitors. If you cant hear the music properly you will wind up EQing things in strange ways that don't do the music justice. Studio monitors are ultra linear and its unlikely you would have posted those mixes if you could hear how unbalanced they actually were

    Second, the instruments are not balanced in volume levels. Have you played these mixes back through several playback systems, stereo's car systems? The inadequate mix levels should be obvious. I suspect a guitarist mixed these songs by the way the guitar is the loudest thing in the mix. Bass and drums are practically non existent.

    A little trick. Turn the volume off, then gradually raise it. The first thing you should hear are the snare and vocals, followed by the kick, bass and guitar. As is you have the guitar 3~6db too high, vocals in back of the guitar then everything else buried far behind. This either means the monitors being used had a huge midrange scoop or the person mixing was biased to hearing guitar above everything else.

    Vocals need major RX. I'm not a good singer myself but I learned how to work miracles using a few simple tools. Your issues began with the tracking and inconsistent singing levels. This may be caused by using a dynamic mic and not maintaining a consistent distance from the mic.
    It can be compounded by having the headphone levels too high as well. You hear yourself too loud in the headphones and fail to sing out beyond the mic like you would be singing to an audience. Part of this is psychological. You have to get past hearing yourself intimately in headphones and imagine yourself singing through a PA where you have to sing loud to be heard.

    Next, Compress the vocals when mixing. This is essential in getting an even level so the vocals don't drop out like they are. You need enough compression to match the sustain of the guitar strings. Use a short attack of maybe 2 milliseconds, a release of 120, threshold between -16 ~ -20 and use makeup as needed. EQ can be done before and/or after compression. Get the highs above guitar and below the cymbals. Given the vocal style half singing and speaking, you'll want some rich bass tones. Don't boost the bass, instead scoop the mids, then roll off above the bass at around 200hz or so. Personally, I redo the vocals till you get them right. Get a different mic too. The one being used doesn't suit the singer or at least he needs to work with that mic 24/7 till he knows how to achieve consistent dynamics. Backing off the mic at least 6" and cranking up the gain should help. You'll get more room reflection but you can minimize that hanging some heavy blankets around the mic on stands like curtains to create a booth.

    Before all of that solo the drums and bass. They are the backbone of the music. They should sound fantastic on their own without any other instruments. Get the bass and kick to work together. They provide the bottom end of the music. The cymbals provide the high end, above all the other instruments. Snare provides upper mids and highs too. If the snare interferes with the vocal frequencies put some short plate reverb on it and it will move to the back of the stage.

    Guitar can stay as it is. Its got a decent combo tone and small club tone, but you got to bring everything else up behind it. Its hanging off the front of the stage and your other instruments are at the far back of the stage behind curtains. Vocals sound like a karaoke singer they are so dry and up front. Use some medium reverb to make the singer sound like he's on a live stage. Don't overdo it. you don't want the vocals pushed to the back of the stage, you want maybe 15~20% reverb mix, and make it bright. The vocals lack brightness and the reverb can help give the vocals what they are missing. I'd likely suggest the vocalist sing along to cover tunes of people like Dylan, Petty and Dire Straits. The style of singing being used will benefit by developing the kind of vocal inflection these singers have.

    I realize my critique may be a bit detailed here but I have an idea where you're trying to go. its going to take quite a bit of work to get it there and it simply takes allot of practice mixing. Once you get a good mic the recorder you have has a multiband compressor you can use for mastering. When used properly, this tool can even up the frequency response tremendously. The mix has to be good first however. You'd use a brick wall limiter last to bring the mix up to commercial playback levels. The three main mastering tools are EQing the entire mix, followed by multiband, then brick wall limiting. The mix changes allot when using these tools. As of now it doesn't sound like you're using any of them on the stereo mixdown.

    So as a summary, get your mixing monitors straightened out first. Unless you have near field monitors its impossible to mix properly. Headphones are OK for tracking and checking the stereo image but you cant mix with them. Doesn't matter how good the phones are they cannot give you the mix near field monitors playing in the open air can. With the monitors set to 85db (about as loud as you'd watch a normal TV) you'll be able to clearly hear the track levels and intuitively adjust the levels and track EQ's to sound right by what you hear. Everything else will make sense from there getting the instruments properly placed within the sound scape. Personally I'd pull the tracks into a good DAW where I'd have the ability to use audio tools that have visual displays to help make the mixing allot easier. Mixing and mastering on a stand alone with its buried menus is challenging for even a seasoned pro who knows how to use the tools well.

    When you get a better mix balance repost some tracks and I'll give you some other suggestions for improvement. Don't wear your ears out before mixing either. The first impression you have after a couple of days letting your ears rest is usually correct. Take notes of that first playback and then focus on those improvements. Then give it a rest and come back to it again in a few days.

    Remember, casual listeners are not performers and have no emotional investment. Do not be influenced by musicians, friends or family members either. They know you personally and will pat you on the back and make you think you have something better then you actually do. A casual listener wants to be entertained by what they hear. If they have to strain their ears trying to hear all the parts the recording is a fail. The mix has to be highly transparent and free of technical faults so people can imagine themselves hearing the music live as though the band is in the same room with them.

    Use A/B comparisons of your mix against commercial mixes. Use a song similar to style and genre to yours. Play the song through the same monitors then flip between it and your own song. There should be no dip in the clarity, musical power or frequency responses. None of this has anything to do with the actual musical performance. Its purely a production aspect. Because your mix is your own music its very easy to delude yourself into thinking its better then it is. Its easy to listen past the actual recording quality and be impressed with your own performance. Its too easy to let your own personal bias will mask the truth. You have to wear a different hat when mixing and avoid letting yourself groove on your own playing. Get your head out of playing mode and focus on the music as though the performers are complete strangers. Only then can you do what's best for the recording. When you A/B compare, your own recordings it should knocks your socks off. That's when you can sit back and groove to your own tunes, not before.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by WRGKMC View Post

      Hey, W., thanks for giving a listen! To clear up some possible points of confusion:

      1: I'm Charlie Bernstein. I call myself Delmont here at HC (and at one other forum) only because HC wouldn't let me put my own name in the user name field.

      2. When I copyright the songs I write, my pen name is Leon Fullerton.

      3. My main focus is song writing - not singing, playing guitar, or engineering. So don't worry about critiquing my singing, guit picking, or mixing. They're all fun, but my ego isn't riding on what people think of them.


      There's allot going on there that needs to be corrected. Everything from the levels to the lack of essential effects.

      First it sounds like you're mixing with either headphones or bad monitors.

      Both! The headphones are pretty good, but the monitors are 5" M-Audio nearfields.

      I may be wrong but it sure sounds like you have monitor issues where you cant hear the levels properly.

      Yup. I try to compensate by listening to tracks on a cheap stereo I have in the basement, my livingroom stereo, and the car stereo. Right now I'm working on getting some of the boominess out.

      So far, we haven't been able to isolate instruments or voices very much. For instance, using one mic to cover the bass and drums makes it hard (as you can imagine) to do much with either. We'll work on it.

      You cant mix properly using headphones or non professional monitors. If you cant hear the music properly you will wind up EQing things in strange ways that don't do the music justice. Studio monitors are ultra linear and its unlikely you would have posted those mixes if you could hear how unbalanced they actually were

      Second, the instruments are not balanced in volume levels. Have you played these mixes back through several playback systems, stereo's car systems?

      Yup. See above. Again, we're still experimenting with miking.

      The inadequate mix levels should be obvious.

      Yes, they are!

      I suspect a guitarist mixed these songs by the way the guitar is the loudest thing in the mix. Bass and drums are practically non existent.

      Yup, again. I'm a guitarist, and I did, indeed, push up our lead guitarist. I thought he was pretty well balanced against the harp.

      A little trick. Turn the volume off, then gradually raise it. The first thing you should hear are the snare and vocals, followed by the kick, bass and guitar. As is you have the guitar 3~6db too high, vocals in back of the guitar then everything else buried far behind.

      Hm. I'll try it! Thought I was backing the guitars down pretty far where the vocals are. I'll work on it.

      This either means the monitors being used had a huge midrange scoop or the person mixing was biased to hearing guitar above everything else.

      Vocals need major RX. I'm not a good singer myself but I learned how to work miracles using a few simple tools. Your issues began with the tracking and inconsistent singing levels. This may be caused by using a dynamic mic and not maintaining a consistent distance from the mic.

      Probably. I always figured, if Ella Fitzgerald and Janis Joplin can sound good on a 58, I shouldn't blame my voice on my mic.

      It can be compounded by having the headphone levels too high as well. You hear yourself too loud in the headphones and fail to sing out beyond the mic like you would be singing to an audience. Part of this is psychological. You have to get past hearing yourself intimately in headphones and imagine yourself singing through a PA where you have to sing loud to be heard.

      Probably, again. Me singing loudly isn't something I'd subject friends to. Or strangers.

      Next, Compress the vocals when mixing.

      I've tried figuring out compression on my Tascam and haven't had any luck so far. I'll give it another try.

      This is essential in getting an even level so the vocals don't drop out like they are. You need enough compression to match the sustain of the guitar strings. Use a short attack of maybe 2 milliseconds, a release of 120, threshold between -16 ~ -20 and use makeup as needed.

      That's something else I haven't figured out on the 'scam.

      EQ can be done before and/or after compression. Get the highs above guitar and below the cymbals. Given the vocal style half singing and speaking, you'll want some rich bass tones. Don't boost the bass, instead scoop the mids,

      Yup, I've already a scooped the mids a lot.

      then roll off above the bass at around 200hz or so. Personally, I redo the vocals till you get them right.

      Yup, again. I spend hours redoing the vocals to get them as good as they are there. Again, ain't no singer, never set out to be one, don't plan to be one in the near or far future.

      Get a different mic too. The one being used doesn't suit the singer or at least he needs to work with that mic 24/7 till he knows how to achieve consistent dynamics. Backing off the mic at least 6" and cranking up the gain should help.

      Really? Everyone I play with and everyone who coaches me - everyone - says "Eat the mic." I hate it, but I do it. You think I shouldn't? How come?

      You'll get more room reflection but you can minimize that hanging some heavy blankets around the mic on stands like curtains to create a booth.

      Before all of that solo the drums and bass. They are the backbone of the music. They should sound fantastic on their own without any other instruments.

      I just got sent an article that says to record the drums separately first. That makes no sense, since the drummer needs to know where he is in the song. I talked to someone recently who makes throw-away tracks with just voice and rhythm guitar. Then he record the drums, bass, vocals, rhythm instruments, and lead instruments over it and erases the original vocal-and-rhythm track. A sort of stone soup approach. That makes more sense to me.

      Get the bass and kick to work together. They provide the bottom end of the music. The cymbals provide the high end, above all the other instruments. Snare provides upper mids and highs too. If the snare interferes with the vocal frequencies put some short plate reverb on it and it will move to the back of the stage.

      Guitar can stay as it is. Its got a decent combo tone and small club tone, but you got to bring everything else up behind it. Its hanging off the front of the stage and your other instruments are at the far back of the stage behind curtains. Vocals sound like a karaoke singer they are so dry and up front. Use some medium reverb to make the singer sound like he's on a live stage.

      I have a washtub I could sing into. Or I could run the vocal mic into my guitar amp and then mic the amp.

      Don't overdo it. you don't want the vocals pushed to the back of the stage, you want maybe 15~20% reverb mix, and make it bright. The vocals lack brightness and the reverb can help give the vocals what they are missing. I'd likely suggest the vocalist sing along to cover tunes of people like Dylan, Petty and Dire Straits. The style of singing being used will benefit by developing the kind of vocal inflection these singers have.

      I like those guys. I'm not as loud as Dylan or Petty. Closer to Knopfler. (Actually, closer to Wild Man Fischer and Pete Stampfel.) I've been making music (of sorts) since '68, so I don't think my voice is going to improve.

      I realize my critique may be a bit detailed here but I have an idea where you're trying to go. its going to take quite a bit of work to get it there and it simply takes allot of practice mixing. Once you get a good mic the recorder you have has a multiband compressor you can use for mastering.

      Good to know. Haven't found it yet. I'll keep looking. The mics I have are an Audix OM2 and a Sennheiser e945. No more money in the budget for mics.

      When used properly, this tool can even up the frequency response tremendously. The mix has to be good first however. You'd use a brick wall limiter last to bring the mix up to commercial playback levels. The three main mastering tools are EQing the entire mix, followed by multiband, then brick wall limiting. The mix changes allot when using these tools. As of now it doesn't sound like you're using any of them on the stereo mixdown.

      Have done a huge amount of EQing to get the three songs where they are, don't know what multiband is, and don't know anything about limiting.

      So as a summary, get your mixing monitors straightened out first. Unless you have near field monitors its impossible to mix properly.

      I'll keep working with them.

      Headphones are OK for tracking and checking the stereo image but you cant mix with them. Doesn't matter how good the phones are they cannot give you the mix near field monitors playing in the open air can. With the monitors set to 85db (about as loud as you'd watch a normal TV) you'll be able to clearly hear the track levels and intuitively adjust the levels and track EQ's to sound right by what you hear.

      I pretty much thought that's what I'm doing. Did you listen to any of the other tunes on the website? If you scroll to the bottom of http://www.thefullertons.net/oberon-...f-samarra.html, you'll hear what my recordings sound like when I have full control of everything and am not hanging mics all around a garage.

      Everything else will make sense from there getting the instruments properly placed within the sound scape. Personally I'd pull the tracks into a good DAW where I'd have the ability to use audio tools that have visual displays to help make the mixing allot easier. Mixing and mastering on a stand alone with its buried menus is challenging for even a seasoned pro who knows how to use the tools well.

      Love to, but a DAW isn't in the budget.

      When you get a better mix balance repost some tracks and I'll give you some other suggestions for improvement. Don't wear your ears out before mixing either. The first impression you have after a couple of days letting your ears rest is usually correct. Take notes of that first playback and then focus on those improvements. Then give it a rest and come back to it again in a few days.

      Remember, casual listeners are not performers and have no emotional investment. Do not be influenced by musicians, friends or family members either. They know you personally and will pat you on the back and make you think you have something better then you actually do.

      That's not my experience. My back is virtually patless! Advice I get is more along the lines of "Don't quit your day job" and "Sing tenor - ten or twelve miles away!"

      A casual listener wants to be entertained by what they hear. If they have to strain their ears trying to hear all the parts the recording is a fail. The mix has to be highly transparent and free of technical faults so people can imagine themselves hearing the music live as though the band is in the same room with them.

      The main thing the Fullertons have to do is record in stages so all the tracks aren't bleeding into each other or lost in the shuffle. It's impossible to EQ a vocal that goes out a PA and into every mic in the room. It's impossible to turn up a kick drum without turning up everything else that mic is recording. At this point, after hearing how these three songs came out, the rest of the band members are more willing to take isolation seriously.

      (Now I just have to convince myself to take singing seriously!)


      Use A/B comparisons of your mix against commercial mixes.

      Really, I already know how unprofessional the recordings are. That's why I came looking for comments here.

      Use a song similar to style and genre to yours. Play the song through the same monitors then flip between it and your own song. There should be no dip in the clarity, musical power or frequency responses. None of this has anything to do with the actual musical performance. Its purely a production aspect. Because your mix is your own music its very easy to delude yourself into thinking its better then it is.

      I don't think it's good. It's just what we have. The goal is to learn and improve as we go. Nome wasn't built in a day.

      Its easy to listen past the actual recording quality and be impressed with your own performance. Its too easy to let your own personal bias will mask the truth. You have to wear a different hat when mixing and avoid letting yourself groove on your own playing.

      Except for one solo, my playing is dialed way back - just atmospheric, mostly.

      Get your head out of playing mode and focus on the music as though the performers are complete strangers. Only then can you do what's best for the recording. When you A/B compare, your own recordings it should knocks your socks off. That's when you can sit back and groove to your own tunes, not before.

      Yup! Don't worry about any of that. I'm just trying to learn how to record.
      This is all a huge help. THANKS!!!
      Last edited by Delmont; 12-15-2016, 10:00 AM.
      Del
      www.thefullertons.net
      ( •)—:::
      Sent on my six-string jumbo ukelele

      Comment


      • #4
        Your responses give me a better idea of where you're at and where you need to go. Two that stuck out were these.

        Really? Everyone I play with and everyone who coaches me - everyone - says "Eat the mic." I hate it, but I do it. You think I shouldn't? How come?
        That's something you do live. You keep the mic gain low to minimize feedback and sing close and loud into a mic to get a strong enough signal to project through a PA.

        That technique gets thrown out the window when recording for several reasons. First is the proximity effect of the mic. Within 3~4" of an SM58 there is a big bass boost when you close in on the head basket. Its OK to use that live but recording you don't want any unwanted changes in frequency response or you'll have major problems trying to fix the problems it causes within a mix. When you position the voice 6" you're beyond the bass boost region and the frequency response wont change is you move around a bit when singing. This will allow you to add consistent EQ when mixing that doesn't need to be tweaked for every other word.

        Second reason to stay 6" is to minimize breath noise, bass boom and pops that prevent you from getting the words loud and consistent in a mix. You see you have no problem boosting things up so long as there aren't any major disturbances that force you to dial things back. You can use compression to strengthen weak words and the hard ones will easily be attenuated to produce a fluent string of notes. You cant do this well on a live mic because the kind of compression you'd need would cause major amounts of feedback through a PA.

        The goal of course is to improve the singing so the dynamic level is consistent and controlled instead of relying on a volume automation too like compression. Really good singers need very little compression but most benefit from its enhancement when done properly.

        Eventually you can snag a large diaphragm condenser mic for vocal recording. They don't have the issues with proximity or volume changes when you sing. They remain at a steady volume even when you move around and sing. You cant use them as a crutch however like you would a live dynamic mic by getting closer to boost weaker words or back off to sing louder ones. A condenser will force you to learn how to properly project words, They are very inexpensive too. I saw an MXL SP1 on Ebay yesterday for $30. They are good enough to match many older mics that sell in the $500+ range and blow the doors off a live mic like a SM58.

        I have a Beta 58 now which is fine for live work but its not a good recording mic for me. Its got a frequency response that minimizes feedback from a PA and an upper mid bump that helps it cut through a live mix, but that same response curve does nasty things on a recording. I wind up having to EQ the crap out of it to flatten its response and get a more liquid sound.

        If I had someone with zero recording experience I might let them use it but I'd have a second condenser mic going to capture the top end that mic simply doesn't have. You need that top end to give the vocals Air, that glossy FM radio sound you commonly hear. Most live mics wind up sounding like boomy megaphones because they have good mids designed to drive PA horns. They don't produce the kinds of Highs you want coming through a good Hi Fi speaker because they would simply squeal heavily through a PA system. If you ever get a condenser and plug it into a PA you'd know exactly what I mean.

        They do make some hand held condensers that will work great live or recording. My lead singer owns a Shure Beta 87A which is very good. I came across some EV PL84's on sale for $40 each. They were exactly what my voice has been needing for decades and I didn't have to spend $250 on a Shure to get it. My singer actually prefers the EV's over the Shure now. They have a better top end then the Shure recording.

        Just goes to show you don't have to spend a mint to get quality recordings.

        Oh, and you mentioned you use a stand alone recorder. If its the one I think, it can be used as a DAW interface. Setting up a DAW program wont cost you a dime. There are many you can download for free and you can download hundreds of free effects plugins. I'd surely do that for mixing. That's probably one of the biggest issues you have, trying to get good mixes on that stand alone recorder with its buried menus and limited effects. That's like writing a book and not being able to see the words.


        I just got sent an article that says to record the drums separately first. That makes no sense, since the drummer needs to know where he is in the song. I talked to someone recently who makes throw-away tracks with just voice and rhythm guitar. Then he record the drums, bass, vocals, rhythm instruments, and lead instruments over it and erases the original vocal-and-rhythm track. A sort of stone soup approach. That makes more sense to me.
        I'd have to read that article, but this boils down to the skill level of the drummer. I've worked with dozens at both extremes of competence. Your weak players with no formal musical education are probably going to need cues to keep their breaks and changes in the right places.

        Drummers educated in learning to read music in fact read their drum parts as notes just like any other player in an orchestra does. I've played with many who can play their parts perfectly from beginning to end with no accompaniment and no cues. They learn to count measures and know when their verse, chorus, bridges, breaks etc come in. You find many of these drummers go on to doing studio work where they are handed a musical score and have to play it solo to a click track.

        The first drummer I ever played with at the age of 12 had been a studio drummer. He took a job to do a commercial and went into the drum booth to play his part. When he came out he was asked if he got the part right. He told them he did. When they played it back he was made to feel like a complete fool because of all the timing issues and mistakes made. He learned an important lesson in humility and being honest about his abilities.

        In summary a good drummer always knows where he is and doesn't have to lean on other musicians to follow them. It helps if they learn how to read a bit but I've known many who have no formal training and know exactly where and when their parts are. This is a matter of competence and experience. In fact all musicians really need to have their S**t wrapped tight if they expect to get good recordings.

        Modern digital recorders have made it easier to fix mistakes. People who use them have little concept of what it takes to cut and splice tape. When you recorded to tape, edits cost big money. It is always cheaper to simply do your part right the first time then have to try and fix the problem mixing. There's a reason why only your best musicians got recording contracts. Only the best could turn a profit by having their S**t wrapped tight and be well rehearsed before they walk into the studio. Not much time for on the job training when you're talking hundreds or dollars an hour.

        The big problem with digital its way to easy for people to perform poorly and think they can fix the problems afterwards. Fortunately that's not the case. Sure there's some tools that help but half the time they are so time consuming to use properly, its still easier to just redo things and get it right through improving your performance skills.

        There are many ways to record when multitracking. Much of it comes from how you write the music too. I've tried them all to great extent and for me it comes down to a couple of methods for purely productive reasons. If the drummer is good I can track the bass and drums at the same time. If the drummer is weak I usually do rhythm with the drums so the drummer knows where the critical breaks are.

        Solo I often use electric drums. I'll do the rhythm guitar at the same time. I can easily go back and add bass, lead, vocals, keyboard etc so long as the rhythm is tight. I have done many songs where I may only have guitar or keyboard and go back and add the drums. This is not as easy because both tend to drift in tempo as they play.

        The best thing you can do in these cases is train your people to use a click track that everyone must play their parts to. This gets rid of allot of conflict that can arise when the blame games start. ie, this guy lost his place because this guy missed his beat and things wound up being a train wreak. When you use a click track there is no one to blame but yourself is something flubs up. No one uses anyone else as a crutch to get through their parts.

        Of course this all takes tremendous dedication to learn how to record well. Last studio band I had, the drummer and I were together for 16 years. We were in a cover band first then switched to recording originals 100%. The other guitarist who co-wrote music with me was together for 10 years. We got so good we could write and record music on single takes never having heard or practice the music. We were like the Funk Brothers who worked at Motown. We'd bring in other solo musicians wanting to record a song and we'd back them up writing the music on the spot as we played. We recorded over 5000 songs that way and never ran out of new ideas.

        I don't know ho much of this applies to your situation or may be inspirational. It does sound like you're new to this stuff, but keep at it. No matter how good you get you can always do batter and no matter how bad your think a song is learn from it. 10~20 years from now you'll be able to compare your new work to the old and have that contrast as a backboard. I have some recordings that have survived 50 years. Its amazing for me to hear those songs and realize I thought they sounded great at the time. The recording quality sucked and the parts weren't played well but the one thing that was there was the passion.

        That's something all music must have to actually sustain its life force over time. Its also a balance when it comes to recording. Some players like Dylan didn't give a rats rear end about refining a recording, even though a little polishing up could have done wonders. He is what your consider a primitive recording artist that lets the raw unrehearsed sound come through. You'd expect this give his solo background and how he saw other musicians as simply accompaniment players looking to build their resume's playing with a famous artist (Klingons).

        Other players go to the opposite extreme and refine and homogenize every note of a song so its both musically and sonically flawless. This often strips the emotion out of a song and though it may become a hit for a week its may impossible to perform live. Boston comes to mind here. They had a great studio album but when people went to see them live it was a huge let down because the band simply couldn't match the performance of the studio album.

        I've learned it important to have both. I like being able to perform my live as well or better then I can record them. This way I'll always have the ability to give an impressive performance live to those who like my recordings.
        Last edited by WRGKMC; 12-20-2016, 09:43 AM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by WRGKMC View Post
          . . . You keep the mic gain low to minimize feedback and sing close and loud into a mic to get a strong enough signal to project through a PA.

          That technique gets thrown out the window when recording for several reasons . . . .

          Oh! Makes sense. Now I know.

          The goal of course is to improve the singing so the dynamic level is consistent and controlled instead of relying on a volume automation too like compression. Really good singers need very little compression but most benefit from its enhancement when done properly.

          I still have to figure out compression. It's now on my things-to-do list.

          . . . Eventually you can snag a large diaphragm condenser mic for vocal recording . . . .

          Can't spend much for the foreseeable future. Retired a year or so ago and am now on a fixed income. Been fishing for magazine article writing opps (just got one published in Fretboard Journal - yee-haw!), and if I can find a few more, maybe I can think about things like mics and monitors. I've always recorded with that Audix OM2, which I bought when I knew less about mics. For now, I'll see if using the Sennheiser e945 helps. If not, I'll try doing some borrowing or swapping.

          Oh, and you mentioned you use a stand alone recorder. If its the one I think, it can be used as a DAW interface. . . .

          Wow! Who knew? I'm not a techie, so I never even thought to wonder. If I can just plug the 'scam into my old Mac Book, I'll have Garage Band right there. I've used Pro Tools a few times, so it shouldn't be too daunting.

          . . . I'd have to read that article, but this boils down to the skill level of the drummer. I've worked with dozens at both extremes of competence. Your weak players with no formal musical education are probably going to need cues to keep their breaks and changes in the right places. . . .

          There's a jazz pro I jam with weekly at a blues jam who can read straight from charts (he's a trumpeter, too), but the Fullertons' drummer is more like me - a self-taught amateur who loves playing but has no illusions or delusions about quitting his day job.

          . . . There are many ways to record when multitracking. Much of it comes from how you write the music too . . . .

          How I write music: I wrote lots of poetry and whatnot when I was a kid. Then when I was sixteen (1968) a friend got me started on guitar, and I naturally just started writing songs (which was fun to discover, because lyrics are more flexible than metered poetry, because timing works differently.)

          It was four or five years before I noticed that none of my other music friends wrote songs. They just learned stuff that was out there already - a talent I've never had. It takes me months to memorize a single song. (And I'm not a good stuff-strutter, either. If some people have stage presence, I have stage absence!)

          So forty-some years later, I still just sit around with a pen and pad in front of me and a guitar on my lap and make up words and chords that go together. Not much of a process, but it puts me in the zone
          .

          The best thing you can do in these cases is train your people to use a click track that everyone must play their parts to. . . .

          You're right. For us, I think a stone-soup approach would work: Make one track with click, voice, and rhythm guitar combined, then add all the parts one or two at a time while listening to it, then toss out the original track.

          I don't know how much of this applies to your situation or may be inspirational.

          It applies 200% and is a big help.

          Some players like Dylan didn't give a rats rear end about refining a recording, even though a little polishing up could have done wonders. He is what your consider a primitive recording artist . . . . Other players go to the opposite extreme and refine and homogenize every note of a song so its both musically and sonically flawless . . . .I've learned it important to have both. . . .

          As you can probably tell, I'm in between. I want my recordings to be entertaining, not beautiful.

          Right now, I'd like to get a dozen of the Leon recordings up to where they can be mastered for a CD song sampler via Disc Makers. Then I can try peddling some tunes and see if anyone bites. Pie in the sky, I know, but the sky can always use more pie, right? If I can sell off some gear, I can pay for it. (Of course, I want to sell off as little as possible!)
          Thanks again, W! I'm sure I'll check in here again.
          Del
          www.thefullertons.net
          ( •)—:::
          Sent on my six-string jumbo ukelele

          Comment


          • #6
            Allot of the music I write is progression based. I come up with a nice progression, often times based around a good hook line. I instinctively know what kind of a melody I'll add but I intentionally leave it vague during early production. I'll get the drums and rhythm guitar tracked, then add bass.

            From there I am free to move to a secondary stage. I'm an old master at freelance jamming and backing up other musicians. With the basic 3 piece completed the melody comes to me effortlessly out of the blue. Some of it I hear within the music, the chords and the changes, the rest doesn't occur till I actually sing the part and work within my vocal range.

            Lyrics are something I'm good at but its not my favorite task. I can drum up hook lines, chorus and bridges but the actual theme and content isn't as important to me. I see the vocals as simply another instrument most of the time, but I do recognize when I have something that inspires.

            To save time I'll write up a dozen or more sets of lyrics written as poetry. When I add lyrics to a song, I'll fan through the sheets to find something that fits the mood and has a cadence that's close to what I need. Then I'll adlib, make additions and corrections as I get the lyrics to fit the melody.

            First pass I'm not overly critical of the results. I know I'm refining the melody and the actual words simply fill the void. When I listen to the results I'll often write a new set of lyrics which are much closer to the final results I want. I now know what the melody is and know exactly where the lyrics need to fit. From there I'll redo the lyrics and usually make that my final version.

            From there I'll go back and add the icing on the cake, add a second guitar, leads, keys whatever suits the song.

            I build songs in a similar manor live except I'll sing while playing chords. The musicians I've worked with have been exceptional and they are all great at writing new music at will. I've created more one take wonders than most musicians can imagine. We recorded ever session once a week for decades and I'd mix and refine them during the week. I'd get one or two keepers which We'd listen to before the next session. Some of the stuff was so creative it would simply knock our socks off.

            The method we used is much different then what I've done playing in cover bands growing up. In those bands we'd play a song till we hit a road block, stop, chastise the individual who screwed up, showed them their part, then started over and hope we'd get past that screw up till we got to the next, stop and do it all over again.

            This method is OK in certain aspects. The repetition of playing a song till you had it nailed down wasn't bad but there were several ill side effects. The most common was second guessing. You know where you had problems with the song and everyone would get to that part of the song and keep their fingers crossed hoping so and so wouldn't cause the cluster flub he constantly created at rehearsal. This put allot of stress on that individual and all the other players were ready to put the evil eye on him if he did in fact blow it.

            In all it makes for a shaky performance and getting it right enough times to build confidence and forget about it completely took far too long.

            In my later bands I abandoned that method all together. I instead adopted a method of plowing through a song beginning to end weather there were flubs or not. We'd then verbally discuss where things needed to be improved and in this way we built structure memory around verses chorus, bridges etc. We did become experts at faking parts we weren't sure of at the moment we were playing them.

            We'd almost always get it right the second time however and the best part we didn't develop ticks and glitches because we stopped every time someone screwed up, instead we used the power of positive thinking, and though this was new to some of the people I played with it actually worked much better then I could have imagined. Its similar to doing an open mic night where you get up on stage and jam with others. You either win or fail, but you pull every trick out of the book you know to cover up areas you are not too sure of.

            We used this exact same method writing music except we had to play the entire song that way. Lets face it, most of what we play comes from others. Most of the progressions, most of the riffs have all been done before. the trick is to come up with unusual combinations of parts that have never been used together. To me that's where all the fun is. I can write and record music that is both unique to myself and familiar to a listener.

            Here's one example of that. I wrote this one purely off the top of my head. I had no master plan for it and it just fit together like pieces of a puzzle. I didn't know how it would sound till after a week or two after recording it and could stand back and hear it as a listener might. Since this would be your first time hearing it I'll let you decide what kind of musical influences of my past 50+ years might be mixed into the music.

            https://soundcloud.com/wrgkmc/rain-stereo-guitars

            Comment


            • #7
              Aha! Just to compare notes:

              1. Yup, we're all magpies. I've never come up with an original idea in my life (with the possible exception of once when I was five and dropped large rock on my thumb to see what would happen). (I broke my thumb.)

              2. I spend ten or twenty minutes writing a song and anywhere from a month to a year repairing the damage.

              3. Making music full-time sounds like heaven. Good you've been able to make it happen!

              4. Your "Rain" song sounds great. I have a more modest rain tune (also with stereo guitars) on this page, if you scroll down to track 5, "Raining All 'Round the World":

              Blame It On Memphis

              Again, thanks!
              Del
              www.thefullertons.net
              ( •)—:::
              Sent on my six-string jumbo ukelele

              Comment

              Working...
              X