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The Non Glamorous Parts of Producing a Song

Discussion in 'Recording In Progress' started by matman14, Mar 7, 2021.

  1. loopfinding

    loopfinding Friend of Leo's

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    the most tedious vocal stuff i've ever worked on has to be east coast style hip hop stuff. with all the double ups and sound effects it feels more like editing a movie than working with audio. what you offload in beat work, you take on so much in compiling all the vocal stuff. never again. definitely prefer one-and-done screamy punk stuff, or buried in the mix dinosaur jr type vocals hahaha.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2021
  2. goonie

    goonie Friend of Leo's

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    So many great Beatles recordings polluted by double tracked vox... You've Got To Hide Your Love Away for God sakes! In My Life... beautiful, personal songs and they're turned into a singalong! As a fan it annoys me a little every time I listen.
     
  3. mexicanyella

    mexicanyella Friend of Leo's

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    The @matman14 OP reminded me of a time I shadowed a recording engineer recording a local pop-punk band. After helping him mike the acoustic drum kit with the expected close mics, stereo overhead pair and a few room mics to be gated for ambiance, he pulled out a bunch of drum triggers and started clamping them on to the kit. He had color coded mic cables and trigger cables, all running parallel and making these unison parallel bends here and there. The studio floor looked like a great big printed circuit board.

    The triggers triggered some kind of drum module. I think the triggered sounds went onto separate tracks so he could cross fade from weak parts to consistent triggered parts where needed, or bring up a triggered track fader to support a weak hit here or there. It was fun to watch him doing that.

    Another thing he did that I totally got off on was he split the guitar signal so that in addition to driving the guitar kid’s SS Crate half-stack (the engineer muttered “that distortion sounds like an air hose: PSSSHHHHHHHH...”) it also drove a cranked Fender Musicmaster Bass combo. When he’d bring in the Musicmaster Bass fader the super-scooped toothy crate sound filled in with warm, middy, lower-gain distortion and sounded incredible.

    I had read that C.C. Deville used to get that day-glo-sounding distortion on Poison songs by combining some kind of Mesa with a SS Crate combo and thought “whaaaat?” Watching this session take place made it clear that it does work: even bee-in-a-can distortion can be effective as part of a massive composite sound.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2021
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  4. matman14

    matman14 Tele-Meister

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    The plugins like Trigger or Drumagog or Logic's built in one are pretty similar in function/purpose to the physical triggers, you can just add them after the fact.

    And more on guitars to come.....
     
  5. matman14

    matman14 Tele-Meister

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    "Happy Accidents" -or- "Is A Phase Problem Really A Problem"
    plus waking up a guitar (owners of the music rights gave me the OK to share some clips)

    Working off a my laptop today, since I had my second vaccine shot last night I didn't want to book time with anyone today, turns out to have been a good choice, but I can get some stuff done through the Advil and Tylenol

    So, we recorded a guitar part a few days ago, on guitar through an active ABY into a Princeton micd with an SM7B and a champ micd with a Royer R10.
    Maybe this is always the case with single ended vs push pull, or (which is very possible) I screwed up when building the Champ during lockdown, but the two speakers are 180 degrees out of phase. so when the Princeton amp speaker is moving forward, the Champ one is coming back. wave forms of the tracks look like this
    [​IMG]

    Oh no, phase issues, that'sa problem..... well is it really, is it? We noticed it during tracking, the guitar had a slightly unfocused, coming from everywhere sound and decide to keep it because we liked it. Worst case flip phase and align in the DAW

    sounds like this. Still sums to mono OK because the amps, the speakers, the mics, the pre amp settings and tracking EQ are different enough that the recorded tracks come nowhere near to nulling out.


    with the phase flipped, it has more focus, and is more present.


    we liked the out of phase version, it's much better in the context of the song.

    in order to get a little bit of focus back added a DI single note from the chord


    and we went off on our separate ways.

    now thinking about the production, the guitar supports the vocal just fine but it;s not very interesting. still no EQ or compression or anything, no fader automation but I want something more
    so I stuck a vibrato on the DI


    ok thats better but it's not building toward the chorus, how about adding a ping pong delay that gets more intense as we get to the transition. that gives some movement, how about some drama. Cut a parallel octave part from another part of the track and ran it through a synth filter and panner to make it wider as it gets to the transition (all kind if exaggerated since this is a small part of a much larger mix. Will likely dial it back in the final).


    We'll see what the band thinks. I'm off for some Tylenol.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2021
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  6. FortyEight

    FortyEight Tele-Afflicted

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    And what wrong with New Order in the 90s? :) ;) I think I got your point though.

    In either 88 or 89 I sat out all night to get tickets for the first "monsters of alternative rock" concert at summerfest. sugar cubes / PIL / new order and the headliner the violent femmes. I got second row seats. I think the next year they started calling it Lalapalooza and janes addiction was there. I like new order.

    I also like lots of vocal tracks. I do it on all my songs. Most of time im going for imperceptible. And the second track is usually way lower in volume and warms it up and fills it out. One time i purposely left one that was sung a bit late in one part and it sounded like reverb or delay to me.

    I hear professionally recorded songs I like with doubled and probably more vocal lines. N

    Now all this is not even including harmonies. sometimes I double them sometimes not. If it sounds corny, so be it. I dont think it does. but i suppose it could. Plus I do hear differing opinions on what people like.
     
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  7. matman14

    matman14 Tele-Meister

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    Today, Bass.

    Fixing micro time-alignments in a DI tracked bass and then running the corrected version through Melodyne.

    This is one of those things that can really make a difference. Even a great player makes an occasional error and it's a crazy-inducing task to go through and figure which gives the bass beautiful humanity and adds vibe to the track, and which just stick out as wrong and need to be tucked in. Also then time stretching notes that didn't run long enough and trimming back those that went on too long and are sucking the air out of the mix. Lots of sanity coffee breaks in this task. This was a good bass player so mostly very small changes.

    You don't see much about pitch correction on things that aren't vocals, but bass is the foundation of the track. If it's not right, the whole thing is weaker. I find even a few cents of drift is a thing that makes you go hmmmm. The trick is to not mess too much with the initial hit, just clean up the ringing notes.

    Once that's done it can be re-amped to my Ampeg bass head and a 12" speaker and recorded. (I usually go with a 12" since I find that if I use a 15" I end up high passing out all the extra low end anyway)

    then the tracks can be blended together once the real mixing begins.
     
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  8. FortyEight

    FortyEight Tele-Afflicted

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    Out of curiosity, what kind of bass were they using?

    I hear you on the high passing. It was the instrument I started doing first cuz yeah, the low end just sort of brings everything down..... But I like a lot of low end on my bass so it's kind of a hard thing to figure out where too much is too much.

    Lately I just started high passing all my tracks in case there was some kind of low frequencies in there that muddy stuff up. I'm not always sure if there is but I mean I go at a pretty low frequency that I figure it won't hurt the track. The hard one is an acoustic guitar. I'm doing it on Audacity so you have to do it and then see if you like it later. You can't find the sweet spot real time.... Blaaaaaaa. But the last acoustic track I did I did it like 5 times. I would do it and then think, no that was too much warmness taken out so I'd shut down audacity without saving. And then repeated that process. LOL. It was worth it though cuz I thought I found the right spot. Maybe? LOL.
     
  9. matman14

    matman14 Tele-Meister

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    Fender J bass.
     
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  10. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    One thought would be that you could try to be more aware of how something you doing now, will fit in with what you do in the future. If you can afford the time and the break in your flow, you might experiment with this and devise some principles that help.

    Hint: masking?
     
  11. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    I'm also a fan of high-passing.
     
  12. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

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    Sir, are you suggesting that I employ common sense and rational thought??

    I demand satisfaction!!
     
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  13. matman14

    matman14 Tele-Meister

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    How about making orchestra stabs on Kontakt with the stock Library


    45 minutes of work for 4, 2 second clips of audio at different pitches to be reversed for an '80s vibe :lol:
     
  14. matman14

    matman14 Tele-Meister

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    Not a big fan of high passing for it's own sake. If you can't hear a problem then why add processing to tracks and suck the transparency out of them? Same thing with EQ. If you can get as much right as possible at the source, you can avoid over processing.

    The more processing you add, the more processed your tracks will sound. If it's an effect you need that's cool. If not, it's a problem
     
  15. FortyEight

    FortyEight Tele-Afflicted

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    I hear ya. I think my issues are way different than what you encounter. I was having an issue with a lot of muddiness until I started high passing. The ones I high passed more tracks on seem to be clearer..... I think it's a hardware issue. I'm using a pretty old interface right now. Could also be the room I'm recording in. I just started recording with a 57 instead of a 58 and actually that might be the even bigger reason. I think the 58 just brings in a lot of lows that need to be then taken out. Possibly?

    I think I may have exaggerated with the word "lately". I think I basically all the tracks on one song to see how it would turn out.... But honestly now I don't remember which one it was. I do take notes..... It's on one of the ones I haven't posted yet. I think.... Or maybe it was the country song I did... Anyways.....

    I may not have to high pass the tracks I've used the 57 on..... I'm constantly learning and every song is an experiment. I am a total newb and I appreciate your input.
     
  16. Skully

    Skully Doctor of Teleocity

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    I had issues with muddiness until I switched from a Fender Precision (Squier) to a Fender Jazz Bass (also Squier). The Jazz Bass really cuts through the mix, except for the fifth string, which tends to go "splat," but I think that's merely what happens when you go that low on an electric bass. Of course, I'm still going to compress it and EQ it.
     
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  17. FortyEight

    FortyEight Tele-Afflicted

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    I can see how that would help. How are you recording? I've actually been pretty happy with the results lately with my Mexican P bass. I did start eq'ing in less bass on the amp though (rumble 100). These next few recordings that I will be posting you can tell me what you think. I've got two done by my video production manager hasn't had a chance to make the videos on her phone. (my wife) :)

    I either go direct from the amp or direct and mic'd. But for me the 57 has made a discernable difference in stuff. And I think it's for the better.
     
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  18. matman14

    matman14 Tele-Meister

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    Aside from EQ, High Pass, Adding distortion etc. one thing that makes bass easier to fit into the mix is timing. If the piece calls for the bass note to be a quarter note, or dotted eighth note (or crotchet or quaver, which ever nomenclature you are using), make it (close to) exactly that. If the bass that's supposed to be out of the way in the next snare hit, or acoustic guitar strum is still hanging around; or if the bass is supposed to pushing slightly ahead in the pocket, but in a few measures it's behind (and it's not an intentional groove change), it makes everything harder to mix because the bass is stepping on parts when it's supposed to be quiet, or doing something else.
    This can fool you into thinking the bass is too loud or some other part needs to come up when in reality the bass just needs to stick to the groove and be out of the way at certain points.

    My bass recordings frequently end up looking something like this come mixing time, where I've cut each note to the correct length and put in a fade at the end of each one to make it sound natural. No mater how good the player was, it helps the groove stay groovy, the mix fit together better and sound how it's supposed to. Helps with noise from bass pickups and any unintentional bumps and bangs in between notes too.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2021
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  19. Mike M

    Mike M Tele-Holic

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    True, but the Beatles were gods, and almost EVERYTHING they did worked out.

    1. Lets have instruments backwards for no reason (I'm Only Sleeping)
    2. Lets incorporate random "buzzing" I just accidently discovered. (I feel Fine)
    3. Lets incorporate an instrument I just found (Norwegian Wood)
    4. Lets fly in random tape loops we just made (Tomorrow Never knows)
    5. Lets slow down the band (Rain)
    6. Lets Speed up the vocals (When I'm 64)
    7. Lets change the speed and key of the track in the middle (Strawberry Fields)
    8. Lets put an orchestral "orgasm" in the middle of a song (Day in the Life)

    To this day, they are the only thing that approaches "mythical" in my life.
     
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  20. FortyEight

    FortyEight Tele-Afflicted

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    What's the one where you can hear him set down the instrument and walk out? I just listened to it the other day. I love that extra stuff personally. But I think I get what you're saying, somehow it did actually sound cool. Whereas it might not always in other recordings possibly. But I do like hearing unpolished stuff in other peoples recordings.

    How about how I think it's George counting off taxman. He does it in this sort of low weird voice. LOL.
     
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