Sound Engineer - Producer Backing Track Challenge

Discussion in 'Twanger Central' started by Tobias, Nov 11, 2018.

  1. Tobias

    Tobias Tele-Meister

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    All these backing tracks, they are overflowing my looper pedal!

    Looking for tracks to clean/delete, I came across this old basic backing track (made in my Trio). I am curious what you all can/would do with it. I've had comments that my method of using the iPhone to record my Vox AC15 doesn't always lead to the best results sound-wise, so I am curious:

    1) What can you do to clean up the sound (if you like, of course: ignore this bit if you don't care!)
    2) The playing (years ago) is not all that tight! So, would you fix it (I am so curious what you can do here), or demand a new take?
    2) Like any old backing track, what would you add?

    I am fully aware that you have no reason to respond, other than your own curiousity or hobby, so feel free to ignore any and all bits.

    Looking forward (with surprise) to any possible reactions :)

     
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  2. Mellencaster

    Mellencaster Friend of Leo's

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    I quite like it in its present state , it has that raw garage band feel to it but what other way could you re edit this since it's already rendered to a single track , I guess you could add some sort of enhancement.
     
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  3. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    the first thing i noticed was mud, most of the recorded matterial is in the same frequency bands and all of the top end is missing, reminescent of a bad tape recording, or over multitracking by one player

    I would have a meeting with the artist to see what they were triing to acomplish

    first: I would want separate tracks for all the instruments to bring life back to it, and to see what was salvagable and to determine what had to be redone

    second: i would tighten up the changes then consider what treatments , eq , and space to give the individual tracks

    third: remember if the signal is not there you cant add it in afterwards so to boost eq on an instrument that has not got information there is only goint to raise the noise floor.

    this would be before I even started
     
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  4. Mjark

    Mjark Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    There's nothing you can do at this point. You nee to at least use a DAW of some kind with the Trio if that's the way you want to work.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2018
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  5. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I should clarify I have no issues with the matterial it self , I was responding to the engineering aspects , ( I usually detach myself from the music to deal with the techincal aspects of the recording) moments are magical and should be recorded , even for posterity I have about 1000 cassetes of jams and rehehearsals some really good and warrented a full production but were captured on cassette with all its limitations. etal

    BTW I like the tracks
     
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  6. Tobias

    Tobias Tele-Meister

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    Thanks!

    I’ve worked with GarageBand a little, so I know some of the things you’ve said. I was genuinely asking though - no clue how much a pro could do.
     
  7. estreet

    estreet Tele-Meister

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    There are various things that can be done to enhance old recordings and I have done a bit of that. EQ alone will provide limited results because you can't boost frequencies that aren't there and it will only produce more noise after a certain point. However, there is an effect called an Aural Exciter which synthesises upper frequencies by adding a kind of harmonic distortion to the ones that are there and it can yield very good results. There is one in the later version of Garageband but I haven't really tried it enough to know how good it is. This is the quickest way of tarting it up a bit. You could also try the mastering options in GB. Noise reduction plug-ins that sample the background or tape noise and then remove it can be dramatically brilliant although I guess tape-hiss has long been a thing of the past unless you are as old as me.

    If you had stumbled across a previously unheard of lo-fi recording of Hendrix jamming with the Beatles then there is much further you can go with lots of time and money. There is an amazing program called Melodyne which can actually smash apart a mono or stereo mix and allow certain amount of editing and tuning of individual components. I once used Melodyne on an old mix to tune the top string on the acoustic guitar part - it's that clever. There's loads of Melodyne skullduggery on Youtube, from putting 'Losing My Religion' into a Major key to cruelly using it to put Britney Spears' voice horribly out of tune and then claiming that's what she sounds like without Autotune. You can also change the amplitude of individual notes which allows for a limited amount of remixing. This would be enormously time-consuming though!
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2018
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  8. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I would also add you can use melodyne to create a midi format from an audio format
    take a guitar part and use melodyne to turnit into a midi readable and editable format allowing you to change the pitch of a missed guitar note and place it back into pitch also move the note timing wise to the correct place , a wonderful program.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2018
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  9. Tobias

    Tobias Tele-Meister

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    @estreet and @24 track - thanks! I suspected such programs might exist :) . Do you also perhaps know about expected developments / tech leaders in that field?
     
  10. Mjark

    Mjark Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    We used Melodyne in the studio a tiny bit, it’s great for a bad bass note, It didn’t do as well on a vocal note.

    My significant experience in making bad recordings gives me the impression nothing can really improve a track that has problems except doing it over.
     
  11. estreet

    estreet Tele-Meister

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    I dunno - I think Melodyne can be brilliant. I know how to use it but I would not claim to be a master of it and i think if you are then I think the more tricky the fixes you can undertake are. On this song, which I recently wrote and recorded with my friend, I heard something different after the sax player had left and I changed what he played by several notes which was quite easy. Is it obvious? it works for me I think ... the alternative would have been getting him back in. i have attempted vocal fixes that were less successful but I always put that down to me not being an expert at it rather than the program's shortcomings.

     
  12. Mjark

    Mjark Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I marked one spot where I thought I heard it. I have no clue how well versed in it the engineer that did it for us is in using it.
     
  13. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I liked it for turning an audio track inro a readable midi track and used it to trigger a synth , I agree its not the end all be all but it was fun to play with;

    but in the case of the ops track there needs to be some serious considerations to the tracked matterial before placing tricks on it to fix it, the first would be to listen to each track indiviually to see what could be done to liven it up, if the tracks are mixed already as in a cassette format then a re rcording of the whole thing is relevant may be keeping his track as above for a dummy track to follow.JMHO
     
  14. Peregrino69

    Peregrino69 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I kinda like both the sound and the style. Reminds me of a Finnish band from half a century back, Bluesounds. The biggest problem I see are the levels - this sounds like it's recorded with an older phone placed either on top or very close to the guitar amp. Hence the guitar keeps overwhelming everything else.

    Since I have absolutely nothing better to do, I took up the challenge. Didn't spend inordinate amounts of time with it tho, just wanted to quickly see what I can do. Decided to share the results. Here's raw mixdown using only your original track, Reaper and some free VSTs:



    Just to see how much further I can get I spent a bit more time with it. I added some elements and mastered it. I didn't midify anything to trigger anything else, just ear-balled it writing the bass down as MIDI file driving Steinberg's VB-1, and doubled the drums with samples. Your original recording is still providing the meat; my additions sound pretty thin by themselves. They are additions, not replacements. Result:



    So while the take itself can't be really "cleaned", a non-professional can already get a lot done with just free (or at least cheap :p) tools and a little time. I'd imagine that a hardcore pro could get way better results - with a hefty price.

    A question apart is whether it should be done? Definitely not. Unless just to have some fun :)

    EDIT

    Oh LOL. Made "IN my Trio", not "WITH my Trio" - puts somewhat different spin to the whole thing :-D
     
  15. decker

    decker Tele-Holic

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    Agreed, there ain't nothing wrong with it. Nice one.
     
  16. ASATKat

    ASATKat Tele-Holic

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    It's real pretty, the chords in the first part are B, to Bb7b13 to Ebmaj7. Sounds a bit Gilmour like. Here's some tab of the chords, might help someone out.
    That second chord is a bit jazzier but work great. Or just play Bb7.

    ...............(Bb7)
    .B..........Bb7b13......Emaj7
    -----------------------------------
    -7---------------7(6)----------4
    -8---------------7--------------4
    -9---------------6--------------4 < (6 if you like)
    ----------------------------------7
    -----------------------------------

    That's a really cool sequence of chords.

    Haven't got to the next part yet.

    Ok, got to the next part, easy,

    Abm Gb ... E . B
    (11)--------------------
    -12----11----9----7
    -13----11----9----8
    -13----11----9----9
    -11-----9-----7----9
    -----------------------7

    That's a rough idea, incomplete but,,, cool stuff. Tomorrow I'll give recording a shot with my little Zoom H2 recorder. That's a great recorder.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
  17. Tobias

    Tobias Tele-Meister

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    Thanks ASATkat! I don’t recall making up that chord sequence specifically, but I’ll have a try, see if this recreates the feeling.
     
  18. ASATKat

    ASATKat Tele-Holic

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    Lol, I need to play with it again, listen to a bit of recording to hear if it actually works.
     
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