Live off the floor with overdubs...

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Live off the floor with overdubs...

Post by kung_fu_elvis » Wed Jul 16, 2014 8:31 am

So... a bit of a bummer scenario.

I had started working up a new record with some great local players.
The plan was to cut basics live off the floor... vocals, acoustic, bass and drums.

All of us in close quarters feeding off of each other... with electrics and pianos, etc. overdubbed later.

There was no real rush on the project, so, we'd track, listen back and make adjustments as necessary... (arrangements or micing)

On the playback of this song from the session, there was too much bass bleed... no worries, we'd just turn the amp down in the room on the next session.

Until I got the call, the bass player suffered a heart attack at 60... in effect, I'd captured his last work. I had a few days to mix as best I could to give his family a cd of the three completed tracks...

It's at the point where I'm unable to be subjective... while 'high-fidelity' was never the aim... (let's say mid-fi), and we wanted it to have a vintage feel, any feedback at this point would be appreciated.


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Post by Gregg Juke » Wed Jul 16, 2014 11:10 am

So sorry to hear about that. My dear friend and bassist took ill a few years back; he died and I'm still sitting on his last recorded performances... I will finish that record, but the process was painfully interrupted, so I feel for you and his family.

I listened to "Italics" on some Sony MDR-V900's. I think you're aspiring to more than "mid-fi," my manski. Sounds nice. The few nits that I noticed: the keyboard pad, is that mellotron, or what? I only heard half a bar, but it's flutey/stringy/organy/accordianish. Anyway, it didn't really pop out for me until the end; it seems to be played in the same register as the guitars, and is kind of lost in the mix, imho. A bit buried by the guitars and piano, I think. Not sure if you want to play with volume balance, EQ, both, or neither if you like it that way. But I think you can carve some more space for it. Unless my brain is fooling me of course, and it's never really there until the end, in which case, "nice production values."

The other thing was a vocal issue, and I'm not sure how you tracked that (so what options you might have). And it's a good vocal and a good performance (not saying it's not!). The one thing at the end though-- if I didn't already know what you were saying by the title ("Italics"), I would've had no clue. As it was, I was looking right at the word on the screen and I couldn't figure it out for a bit. I think it's just a diction thing. So if anyone else mentions that as well, maybe you want to punch-in that section, if possible? Or play with some mid-range EQ envelope to increase intelligibility?? Just a thought. (Just listened to it again, and it definitely sounds like "tow-liques" to me)...

Those were really nit-picky nits that should be kept in perspective though; nice job.

Gregg Juke
Nocturnal Productions Music Group
Drum! Magazine Contributor

"He's about to learn the most important lesson in the music business-- 'Never trust people in the music business.' "

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Post by kung_fu_elvis » Wed Jul 16, 2014 1:55 pm

Thanks for taking the time and for the feedback...
I think, that me working it up quickly helped get it to this point, if I would have taken a break on it, it would have gotten harder to come back to.
The family really appreciated it, which was nice.

It's a mellotron app from an ipad that I used... the voicings certainly sit in the same range as the guitar and piano... will clean that up a little EQ wise. I think it was a case of indecision whether I wanted it as a low-lying pad, or something more prominent...

I'll try some EQ on that voice to help the words clarify... (as it would be poor form to have unintelligible words in a song referencing grammar... lol)

There was vocal spill into the drum overheads, but, to do a punch or two are possible... (EQ being the preferrence)

Thanks again for all the great advice on this!

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Post by lyman » Thu Jul 17, 2014 10:30 am

I don't have too much more to add other than it sounds really solid. Nice clarity/detail on the drums. I agree on the keyboard thingy sounding in between a pad and a full fledged part. Maybe edit it down so it comes in more towards the end (or after the solo) to give it more impact?

Imho, any intelligibility issues with the vocal are more a function of how he sang it rather than the mix. And it didn't really bother me to begin with. Sure you could maybe wring some more out of it with eq but I think it sounds nice and present.

If I were mixing it I'd probably throw a tiny bit of slapback on the guitar solo, but that's just me.

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Post by jgimbel » Sun Aug 03, 2014 10:37 pm

lyman wrote:If I were mixing it I'd probably throw a tiny bit of slapback on the guitar solo, but that's just me.
I think that's a really cool idea.

I had the same thought about "italics" at the end, but it definitely seems more like a pronunciation thing than where the vocal is sitting, especially since for the most part the vocal is very clear and forward. Those to me are artistic decisions that aren't necessarily up to the mixing engineer. In that situation I generally bring it to the artist's attention, and if it bothers them, try to work on it, maybe bump up some really quiet syllables if they're getting lost, but if it's their intention, then it's their intention.

Nice job on the mix!
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