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Author Topic: New song to check out as of June 22nd with UltraSpace! Will return the favor!  (Read 5834 times)

aaron aardvark

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I put a new song in my music website called "Fortify Your Faith". It has various synths, and has some guitar.  I use UltraSpace effects on the vocals, guitar, and some synths.   Please tell me how you like the song and how it can be improved, and I can return the favor if you wish. The song is at this link:

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_songInfo.cfm?bandID=224436&songID=13743882

Markus Krause

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Hello Aaron,

this is a really nice track. Good work!

I listened to it on my (bad sounding) laptop.

You could try to use some compression on the vocal track. This would add some presence and normalizes the dynamic range a bit.

Markus

aaron aardvark

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Thank you for listening and commenting, I appreciate it!  The vocals currently have compression, but that's not to say they couldn't be compressed some more.  :)

Dumbo

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Hello Aaron,

I actually like your song! I like your voice (which is rare for me, because I only like very few singers  :D).
I would say the same as Markus: The vocal could use some (cautious) leveling. I don't mean to hammer it down but there are some parts, where it peaks and some where it is a little bit soft. I'd do it by hand with volume curves or whatever your DAW offers. The other thing is about the guitar(s): The rhythm guitar seems sometimes to be a tiny bit untight rhythmwise. I don't know if you doubled it by playing twice or if you used an effect but, if you have delay fx on something, it is sometimes good, to shift it a tiny(!) bit in the time axis to the left, especially when the material has a slow(er) attack. This has to be done while listening to eveything together, to get the overall rhythmic feel. But again: I like the track and some other tracks also, there are some very nice transitions and decent fx! I also like that your overall mix can breathe and is not overproduced. One last thing: You write that the songs sound best with good headphones: That implies that you mix and master with headphones. You CAN do that, but you have to know your headphone VERY well. You have to know how something sounds on different equipment. Overall, and this is just for my taste, your mixes could have a little bit more presence in the upper mids / highs. My tip would be to listen to final mixes al least on: tiny speakers (for laptop etc. reference) and then on big speakers with a good bass range. I once made some DUB music and mixed with headphones and then a neighbour came and invited me to test his new soundsystem. I brought my new songs and they almost blew the speakers (in a bad way :D ) because there was so (way too) much deep bass on the recording, that tiny speakers or headphones just could not reproduce...
Ok, thats my 2 cents, keep up the good work, I really enjoyed listening to your tracks ;)

Cheers

Dumbo

aaron aardvark

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Dumbo,
Thank you very much for listening and replying!  I certainly don't mind some constructive criticism, that's how I learn to do better.  I appreciate you like my vocals, because my singing is a bit controversial.  You are correct, I mix with headphones.  Mixing is always a dilemma.  It's hard enough to sound decent on my own headphones.  Then if I tweak the mix to sound decent on my home stereo speakers, it makes my mix sound worse on my headphones.  I've heard some people say that if music is correctly mixed, it sounds good on any sound system, but sometimes I wonder how that is possible.  Often lap-top speakers sound extremely tinny and really crappy.  Some sound systems with speakers can be really bass-y if they have sub-woofers.  Mixing on anything other than headphones would be challenging for me as of the last 20 years.  It seems my wife typically has the TV running, and my 18 year old daughter has zero interest in hearing my tunes, much less hearing it a million times as I experiment with the mix.  But that's my problem.  I have no doubt the mix could be better.  The rhythm guitars are double-tracked; my timing has never been flawless.  I used to do this: mic > hardware compressor > recorder with internal/software compressors.  Well, I ruined my $100 hardware compressor one day when I used the wrong electrical voltage transformer (long ago).  I probably need to experiment with multiple software compressors, though I'm already maxing out my computer.  Yes, some manual volume tweaks could help, though I'm often not speedy enough.  Though Cubase (that's what I use) has a good automated volume ability in my opinion.  Though yes, I could be better with volumes.  I generally spend roughly 40 hours on a song, then I'm ready to start a new one before I burn out.  Are you from a particular country or state?  I'm always curious where people are commenting from. 

Dumbo

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...Yes, some manual volume tweaks could help, though I'm often not speedy enough...

What i meant was drawing the volume curves by hand, not in realtime. Just to make light valleys an the peaks and light hills on the lower parts. (Yes on all words or even syllables  :o ) It is quite some work, but with time one can get very fast with it. This gives (in my humble opinion) the best result, because you can define exactly where you want your volumes. If you do this first and if you compress then lightly, you will get a very homogenous sounding vocal track. But, you know, for me the most important part of music is having fun! Having fun making it and having fun listening. I always prefer a more rough mix of a song that has feeling and soul over an overproduced perfect clean cold meaninglessness...
I mixed with headphones for many years. Then I worked professionally on voice recordings for some years and after a while I couldn't stand to hear all the mouth details and went to listening with monitors. I currently  often listen to my collection of old 80s guitar-punk and electronic music records and I like the open, sometimes thin sound of the recordings a lot. It is often a matter of taste, what's good and what's not. ;D
Ah, and I am from Berlin, Germany ;)

Cheers

Dumbo

P.S.
I'm now listening to: "watch out for us", very nice track too, I like it a lot!
« Last Edit: July 08, 2018, 06:22:33 AM by Dumbo »

aaron aardvark

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Yes, I don't always do it, but sometimes I draw volume curves in Cubase for the automated volume.  It can be fairly time consuming, if there are multiple vocal tracks, and the vocal effects are on yet a different track.  Glad you liked "Watch Out For Us"!  With your vocal recordings, was it singing, talking, or both?
« Last Edit: July 10, 2018, 06:37:09 AM by aaron aardvark »

Dumbo

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I only did narrative vocal recordings for audio books, but of that a lot.
My new favorite song of yours is "contain yourself". Where did you get the drums from, they sound really heavy!
I like your combination of electronics and guitar/bass. Do you know "Punishment of Luxury", especially the "Laughing Academy" LP. Its a band from the 80s, the had a very original style and some of your songwriting reminds me of them.

Cheers

Dumbo

aaron aardvark

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Here is what I used for drums on "Contain Yourself" (glad you like it!): I have toontrack Alt-Rock EZX Drums operating within toontrack Superior Drummer 2 (for a bit of gated-reverb).  I'm putting the entire drum track through u-he Presswerk compression.  I have Ultraspace reverb & delay on all guitar parts, I believe.  I most likely have Ultraspace effects on my vocals.  If you didn't already know, you can download any of my songs for free.

I'm now listening to Punishment of Luxury's (never heard of them) song "Puppet Life".  Pretty trippy stuff.  I think I hear some similarity with their guitar tones and mine?

Have you done recordings with any famous books?

Dumbo

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Oh, I see, Alt-Rock was produced by Steve Albini, no wonder it sounds great (Big Black!). I guess I'll have to switch some day from Addictive drums to EZ-Drummer.
I already found out, that I can download your songs for free (thank you!) and they (some) are now waiting to get on my mp3 player.  ;)
I haven't recorded Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter, but a lot of german classics, like Goethe, Schiller, Kleist, Fontane etc. These days I don't record speech anymore myself, I am directing voice recordings instead  :D

Cheers

Dumbo

aaron aardvark

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Superior Drummer 2 is being phased out (they want you to buy Superior Drummer 3).  EZDrummer 1 stopped being supported a while back.  You can try EZDrummer 2 for free for a short period of time; I tried it, but didn't buy it.  I have a few other EZX's though.

Sounds like you have a cool audio directing career.  Good thing I am a mechanical engineer, I haven't made a penny with music in decades.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2018, 06:04:54 AM by aaron aardvark »