DP24 - Song 1

Discussion in 'Song Mixes: Tracks for review and critique' started by SimonPD, Jun 10, 2019.

  1. SimonPD

    SimonPD New Member

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    Dear all,

    I'd really appreciate a bit of feedback on this song I've written:

    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/k2to1yjv9sgfye3/AAD6AE7y-kHxIF-wl7lB1xSca?dl=0

    Some thoughts/points:

    1. I've purposefully left the arrangement quite bare for now
    2. Please excuse the singing - I'm not a lead singer!
    3. The lyrics are more or less complete but there's room for improvement
    4. My voice isn't powerful, so any recording tips on how to get the vocals sounding a bit thicker or richer without sounding too processed would be a big help
    5. Drums are essentially mono at this time. The pattern is by no means finished and can be re-programmed via an existing sync track
    6. There's probably more but I can't think of it right now...
    Please critique; good, bad or indifferent - it all helps...

    Cheers,
    Simon
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019
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  2. -mjk-

    -mjk- Well-Known Member

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  3. SimonPD

    SimonPD New Member

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    Thanks -mjk-, much appreciated.

    Putting your producer's head on, or engineer's, do you have any thoughts on what I could add in terms of perhaps additional parts, or maybe the way it's played, to give the song a bit more umph?
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  4. -mjk-

    -mjk- Well-Known Member

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    Hi Simon. IMO, for the most part it's well produced. It starts out very sparsely, and as it goes on, the sections change and it brings more instrumentation in, and a different sound on the bass for the verse, which is good because it differentiates that from the chorus. The changes are good, however I think you may want to think about increasing the value of the Hookline at the end by doing less of the "oh yeah" sections in the ending. Seen many writers develop a really fine hook, only to abandon it at the end of the song and fade out on a completely different chord progression for some weird reason. Thats not the case here, but you do the "oh yeah" section 2 times earlier, and it's my opinion that it's enough because there isn't anything different about the additional ones, and it's really not the hook. You may want to consider thinking of the word "drive." You really want to drive the hook and increase the energy on the second verse, so maybe kind of like a muted comp guitar. However, I know there is a guitar there, but I just can't really hear what it's doing.

    To be honest I really wouldn't change all that much, but I would love to do a very high-energy, hot mix for you. From a production standpoint most of what I was hearing is mixed based issues.

    These are just my opinions, and you may want to familiarize yourself with my past catalog to understand where I'm coming from. It's a very good song, and a very good effort and you should be proud of that, and not discouraged by anything that I say. On the contrary, I'm trying to encourage you because you got a lot of it right in my opinion. If you're interested to hear what I could do with the mix, please feel free to DM me.
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  5. SimonPD

    SimonPD New Member

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    Hi -mjk-, thanks for the (brilliant) feedback.

    I think you're spot on with the repetition of the, oh yeah, bit - makes a lot of sense.

    I took another listen to the song this morning and there's also couple of lyrics in there that I'd like to adjust as well. Am going to write those up this afternoon then record another pass.

    That's a very generous offer to do a hot-mix and I'd love to take you up on it. It'll provide a really interesting insight into where things can go with my, essentially quite basic, home-recording setup. At the moment, the drums are recorded and panned central on channel 23/24. I want to give you individual drum tracks, so I'll sort that out this afternoon. Will take a few hours to do but will DM you when complete.

    Once again, many thanks for your input - it's much appreciated.
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  6. -mjk-

    -mjk- Well-Known Member

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    Sure Simon, it's my pleasure. I've had the benefit of working with many fine producers and artists over the years, and in various genres. It's my turn to pass on what I've learned. I'm looking forward to hearing what you come up with! As for tracks, the more of them there are, the better. My console is setup for mixing 32 tracks, and as many individual tracks (mono tracks) as you can give me of the various parts, the more control I'll have over the mix. Thanks!
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  7. Mark Richards

    Mark Richards Well-Known Member

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    You're off to a good start, and mj's comments are spot on.

    As to your mix, I also like the air around the drums and how they sit in the mix. Some Suggestions:

    While you build the instrument tracks, drop the vocal out and substitute a temporary melody instrumental. That will help you focus on hearing how you want the backing tracks to sound without the distraction of vocal phrasing, lyric choices, etc.

    To my ears the vocal is a bit too far forward in the mix. Try bringing it down by about 3 dB.

    Double tracking is the most common way to thicken a vocal (see the Tips stickies for more on that).

    Hope this helps.
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  8. SimonPD

    SimonPD New Member

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    @Mark Richards, many thanks for taking the time out to listen and comment.

    I've been reading quite a few of your posts on the forum and was particularly interested in the notion of the "sound-stage" when mixing. It makes a lot of sense and has certainly helped when preparing the monitor mix.

    Also, substituting a temporary instrumental melody onto the vocal track is an excellent tip to do when building the instrument tracks. I'll definitely give that one a go on the next song.

    In terms of vox thickening, I took another look at the production tip sticky and realised I'd already tried your trick of cloning and nudging the track forward by a frame. I was actually quite pleased with the result. Having now gone back and re-recorded the vocal I think I probably need to take another look at a combination of things; finding the right microphone for my voice, compressor settings when recording vox, and of course the various doubling techniques. Food for thought... Thanks again for your input.
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  9. Arjan P

    Arjan P Well-Known Member

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    Nice song, I like it!
    I also like the clean arrangement, but what I'm missing is a musical emphasis in the chorus - I'm thinking maybe synth chords or some sort of organ, just to 'lift' the choruses from the verses.

    I love vocal doubling (if it's good enough for John Lennon, who are we to criticize?), but IMO it should really be a second recording. In my experience with cloning you either get weird phasing issues or pan issues - if you pan the two a bit apart the vocal seems to shift to the earlier version's side, even when we're talking milliseconds. I usually equalize the softer take more extremely, but it also depends on how good=equal the timing and phrasing of the two takes is.
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  10. -mjk-

    -mjk- Well-Known Member

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    Simon, the technique of using 2 identical tracks hard panned and offset by a few milliseconds will make the tracks sound wider due to precedence effect. It's a really great way to move the track from the center out to the sides so you don't have center channel buildup in the mix, and you can make certain mono tracks sound more interesting that way. I am in complete agreement with @Arjan P because it is the small random variances in the way you sing the second track that makes the desirable affect we called doubling. I also agree with Arjan about another instrument in the chorus. But as it is, I'm having a lot of fun playing around with the mix of the tracks you have. By the way, I'm using the TC-Helicon Voicelive Touch 2 on your vocals to widen them but also thicken them. I usually try to put the vocals in their own three-dimensional space, so they don't interfere with the other instruments, and the instruments can't cover them up so easily. Wikipedia has a nice article on precedence effect, and it's easy to do that with the DP machines if you like to experiment.
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  11. SimonPD

    SimonPD New Member

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    @Arjan P , many thanks for your input.

    Re the chorus, I totally agree. The first time I played back the song in rough demo format the dropout was already there and a bit of a problem.

    To try add some movement I had been thinking of slaving an arpeggiator via the sync track. The only equipment I have for doing this is Logic Pro X (currently using Logic's guitar/bass amp emulation to record with), but unfortunately it's proven unworkable. That said, there's still room for some kind of arpeggio or synth/organ chords like you suggest. The chorus does need a lift.

    I'm going to experiment more with vocal doubling and recording in general. This song was recorded with a AKG C1000S. For someone whose singing voice is a little thin, my tendency has been to get really close to the microphone and I'm not sure the AKG likes it. Having done a bit more research it seems the Shure SM7 could be a mic that will lend itself to this type of approach. Have you used the SM7 before?

    Cheers
  12. -mjk-

    -mjk- Well-Known Member

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    Hi Simon. Given a choice for recording singing, I prefer a large capsule condenser microphone above all other types. It just so happens that there is a Taiwan company called JTS that makes one with a valve preamp, and the retail price is about 300 USD! I have one and I'll put it up to the old vintage valve condensers I used in the 80s.

    If you are getting too much proximity effect, just back off a few centimetres.

    I hope you like what I'm doing with the guitar track in the chorus (on the mix-in-progress). I'm trying to give it some movement by using delays. I think it sounds very interesting. When you are all finished with a final version, I'd like to add those tracks to the mix.
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  13. SimonPD

    SimonPD New Member

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    Dear all,

    Have implemented a couple of suggestions you guys made - dropped the lead vox a few db, and added an arpeggio and some synth texture into the chorus for a lift. At some point will cut the arrangement down further to give it added "drive" as per -mjk-'s suggestion.

    This is the first real go at getting something close to a finished song on the DP24. I'm really pleased with this machine and it's functionality. The learning curve hasn't been too steep, and that has left much more time to just get on with recording, which is what I was looking for.

    The new master in the linked folder is compressed using the DP's mastering tool compressor preset number 1. It seems to have evened it out reasonably nicely.

    Thanks again for all your input, it's been mighty useful and much appreciated!

    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/9uhczzn9wjvs7ux/AACDjFBVwqPh9YUgryGcqBfva?dl=0
  14. -mjk-

    -mjk- Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, now you're talking! That's Production in action. Nice work - keep going Simon!
  15. Arjan P

    Arjan P Well-Known Member

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    Nice, a real improvement!
    Not sure if the handclaps were already there at the end, but like 'em. The arpeggios in the chorus could be a bit more prominent IMO: they're a nice addition and do lift the chorus.

    I'm not crazy about the compression on the master - it's clearly pumping to my ears.

    And about the mic: Long ago I also used the C1000 and was blown away when after that I got my first large diaphragm condenser. Much more body and warmth (controllable to a certain extent with the proximity effect). After that I only used the C1000 for drum overheads. You can get a pretty decent LDC for around €100 - €200. Røde, sE Electronics and Studio Projects come to mind - or like mjk suggests, even a valve condenser.
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  16. SimonPD

    SimonPD New Member

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    Took another listen this morning - you're quite right, a bit "pumpy" on the compression...

    Re mics, looks like it's time to head out and do some shopping!
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  17. -mjk-

    -mjk- Well-Known Member

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    Simon, there are quite a number of really good large capsule condenser microphones that won't break the bank. AKG Has several models as well as AT. Even Tascam has several. Have fun!
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