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Author Topic: Made of Stone - room for improvement?  (Read 2903 times)

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Offline neilmac

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Made of Stone - room for improvement?
« on: June 05, 2013, 03:27:58 PM »
Yes people...here I am again with my monthly installment of "What was wrong with this one?" :P

As usual looking for feedback with a view to improving my art ;)

This time I think I'm going to ask anyone who's interested enough to participate to break down their feedback for me....

I'd like to get more into specific areas rather than the song as a whole...
I know it's sounding better than when I first arrived here, but I also know it can get much, much better yet....

If you could please comment on the following areas:

The Song: By this I'm talking about the song itself rather than anything to do with the technical stuff - structure, lyrics, melody etc

The Performance: Instrumentation, tuning, timing issues, sounds

The Mix: All the techy stuff - what am i doing right? - what am I doing wrong?

As always, your participation is greatly appreciated :)

And if anyone fancies some mixing practice, raw tracks are available upon request ;)

Offline Gazebo

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Re: Made of Stone - room for improvement?
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2013, 04:28:56 PM »
Neil - I have emailed you.
Member of the Talkbass Mediocre Bassists Club #708.

Offline neilmac

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Re: Made of Stone - room for improvement?
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2013, 04:37:30 PM »
Neil - I have emailed you.

Uh oh...that don't sound good..... :P
lol

Offline agradeleous

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Re: Made of Stone - room for improvement?
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2013, 05:01:34 PM »
Man no secret stuff I want all the dirt out in the open! wait this ain't my thread   :o  Oops !:)

Hey neil raw me baby I need to try out R7 before the wife rips off my head for getting it  ;D  plus I need the mixing time . :)
« Last Edit: June 05, 2013, 05:04:48 PM by agradeleous »

Offline neilmac

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Re: Made of Stone - room for improvement?
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2013, 05:17:28 PM »
Man no secret stuff I want all the dirt out in the open! wait this ain't my thread   :o  Oops !:)

Hey neil raw me baby I need to try out R7 before the wife rips off my head for getting it  ;D  plus I need the mixing time . :)

LMAO no dirt Ags :P

Are you sure?? lol
What format do you want? mp3? flac? wav? carrier pigeon? icelandic runes?

Offline agradeleous

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Re: Made of Stone - room for improvement?
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2013, 05:36:19 PM »
oooo  talk more icelandic runes I'm gettng all warm and fuzzy  :P


Waves of surf will do fine .  :D

Offline neilmac

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Re: Made of Stone - room for improvement?
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2013, 05:42:22 PM »
oooo  talk more icelandic runes I'm gettng all warm and fuzzy  :P


Waves of surf will do fine .  :D

Ok....when I get home I'll get them to you :)

Offline onetrackmind

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Re: Made of Stone - room for improvement?
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2013, 06:13:02 PM »
Neilmac,

I for one thought this was the best song if heard from you. Vocals were loud and clear and where others might have had some of key moments this was pretty solid.

The music was too notch but (and this is the trouble with blues style and not your song) the instrumentation for me could do with being a bit more varied. Eg don't have guitar and keys playing all the way through. Take it out some places and mix it about.

This is something I do I get more variety to te listener. Now you can take all this with a pinch of salt as my challenge places tend to show I'm not usually at te too end of the spectrum. But ten again I write songs for myself foremost. I don't expect everyone to love/like it but if one or a few do then ill take that.

Just keep doing what your doing and if u feel in yourself that you are progressing and improving then you can take that as a plus and you will one day have a winning entry. Sometimes you just gotta come up with a song that captures people more than the other entries.

Offline agradeleous

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Re: Made of Stone - room for improvement?
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2013, 07:29:54 PM »
Hey Al he won't listen bwahahahahahahahaha .....  :o :P    but +1 anyway :)

Offline Jahva

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Re: Made of Stone - room for improvement?
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2013, 09:01:07 PM »
My .02 worth

Quote
The Song: By this I'm talking about the song itself rather than anything to do with the technical stuff - structure, lyrics, melody etc

I like the lyrics first of all the elements. The over-all feel is a mix of country and rock but not rocka-billy. The structure meets the criteria of the challenge. The melody like most 1 4 5 tunes is fine.
I like the song.
Quote
The Performance: Instrumentation, tuning, timing issues, sounds

Musically sounds good to me I like the gits and balance I might throw some tremelo on the solo guitar but over-all music is pretty good and tight.
If I was producing it i might try to get a little more emotion out of your vocals.
like when you sing "Now I'm really worried where did everybody go"on the second line or repeat you go lower on the vocals seems every time.
I would have you try to kick it up a notch throw in some "Yeahs" or "I said" put a little more soul or emotion into the lines. Like you're doing a little preaching man Gospel time. Think Steven Tyler....  :o  earlier Steven Tyler.
Some of the vocal timing/phrasings could be a little tighter. The more you sing it the tighter and looser it gets. I know that sounds crazy but sing the song for another week go back and redo the vocals and I would almost guarantee you'll be smoother.

Quote
The Mix: All the techy stuff - what am i doing right? - what am I doing wrong?

I'm not one to comment much on mixes but it sounds fine to me. Balanced and everything sits proper in it's place to my ears.

Neil you really are improving in all aspects from what I see. Keep at it!  8)
Playin' the mind guerrilla Chantin' the mantra, peace on earth

JL

Offline agradeleous

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Re: Made of Stone - room for improvement?
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2013, 08:05:45 AM »
  Both Al and Jahva are spot on with their descriptions that's where I fail because I can't put into words what they just said and have it make sense LOL that is to anyone else be me hahahaha


  Jahva nailed the emotion part, as being a blues style song to me emotion is an important part of it as well as the guitars ... they to have to express like the voice does.  but it's all a learning curve one that covers all styles .


   I had a short piece i did for Fordy might be a good example for the vocals I did but can't say they were great  but I can't find it ... Yet :( I was hoping he would complete the song . 


   Anyway you still gunna send the waves ? do you use a site like media fire or other to pass them along ?
Boy is sick so I home and I can get some play time since it's raining so no outside work . :) 


Offline neilmac

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Re: Made of Stone - room for improvement?
« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2013, 08:21:13 AM »
Thanks guys!

The vocals were the only take where I didn't cough and choke from being sick for two weeks lol
I was lucky to get through them at all lmao

Ags - Unfortunately I didn't get any "playtime" last night either lol
Maybe tonight.... :(

Offline agradeleous

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Re: Made of Stone - room for improvement?
« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2013, 09:42:38 AM »
K how you going to send files ?

Offline neilmac

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Re: Made of Stone - room for improvement?
« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2013, 10:04:34 AM »
I use dropbox....would that work for you?

Offline Gazebo

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Re: Made of Stone - room for improvement?
« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2013, 12:14:36 PM »
Uh oh...that don't sound good..... :P
lol
On the contrary - Neil has received the e-mail and we remain friends!
Member of the Talkbass Mediocre Bassists Club #708.

Offline neilmac

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Re: Made of Stone - room for improvement?
« Reply #15 on: June 06, 2013, 12:18:21 PM »
On the contrary - Neil has received the e-mail and we remain friends!

Absolutely!!
lmao

In fact, I'd even buy the first round :P

Offline agradeleous

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Re: Made of Stone - room for improvement?
« Reply #16 on: June 06, 2013, 05:30:23 PM »
I use dropbox....would that work for you?



sure :)

Offline agradeleous

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Re: Made of Stone - room for improvement?
« Reply #17 on: June 07, 2013, 07:18:20 AM »
Will DL after work thanks for the opertunity to play around with it ;) Oooooo that's wide open ..... Lol

Offline DinoWodini

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Re: Made of Stone - room for improvement?
« Reply #18 on: June 07, 2013, 09:42:50 AM »
Apart from being a pretty cool bluesy 12 bar I can only offer a couple of crits
 
I felt the Left guitar was in competition with the Right guitar.  I felt the left guitar was fiddling too much and maybe with a different EQ setting may have given a good point of difference.  Seemed a little 'flat' in tone.  I felt it needed to have a little more punch.
 
 
The right slide guitar was slightly out of tune to my ears.  I wonder if you used a different guitar for the slide? ? ? OR maybe when you were recording the Slide part you didn't monitor the incoming signal loud enough??? maybe??.
 
I cant comment much really cos my entry was a quick mash-up and there were a lot of little errors that I could hear in my playing but.......sometimes (most of the time) whenever I record a new guitar part I will only have the basic track in the playback OR lower the fader level on the other already recorded tracks.  That way, I can hear the new signal clear and loud I will usually be able to hear any mistakes or 'didn't quite make that note" moments.  The temptation to have every track blaring can sometimes give you a false sense of what is going on in the mix. 
 
Adjust and balance all the levels to your personal taste after you have recorded ALL the tracks.  Even at that stage, play around with the tracks.  For example, mute all tracks except your left and right guitar and see how they play together, just have a 'drums and one guitar' listen - see if the up and down strokes match what the snare and kick drum are doing (or similar), just playback the bass and guitar tracks in a pass to see if they are in sync.  Lots of little things that might help with any tuning issues or timing issues.
 
I am not perfect by a far way but these are just a couple of things that I do as routine.
 
In saying all that, you are advancing in your technique recording after recording so that's a great thing.

Offline Glenn

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Re: Made of Stone - room for improvement?
« Reply #19 on: June 07, 2013, 10:13:27 AM »
Hey neilmac
I like the blues number ...  overall, it sounds pretty good. ... and I think you've made some improvements over the past while, for sure.  :)
 
as Mr. Dino mentioned, once you have the tuning/timing foundation, the rest is details.
The more details you address, the closer you are to making vast strides in improvement.
 
I'd be happy to help in any areas I can, although I'm not a vocalist, so I can't help ya there.. but there may be a few other areas I might have some input and tidbits of info that you might be able to put into practice.
 
We can do the PM thing.
 ;D
 
you're definitley improving!
 :)
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Offline neilmac

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Re: Made of Stone - room for improvement?
« Reply #20 on: June 07, 2013, 12:37:58 PM »
Thanks Dino and Glenn!!

Dino : the "tuning" issue probably isn't the guitar, but rather my playing - I can't play slide too well (obviously lol), this is all part of the learning process for me :)

And yes...it WAS a different guitar! Well spotted!

I generally don't do anything (eq, panning etc) till after the tracks are recorded, and I generally turn up or down or off various tracks while recording....one of my few good habits :P

It's the little things that make up the foundation that I need to get ingrained in my head...I am getting better with that stuff...slowly lol

Glenn: It's a deal!

Offline agradeleous

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Re: Made of Stone - room for improvement?
« Reply #21 on: June 07, 2013, 04:12:20 PM »
Ok Neil got the Dl's thanks :)

Offline neilmac

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Re: Made of Stone - room for improvement?
« Reply #22 on: July 01, 2013, 06:53:20 PM »
Well folks....it's several weeks down the track......:)

I have to say a huge thank you to Glenn....on top of his busy, busy schedule he took the time out to help me with my mixing/mastering/recording issues :D

What can I say...the guy is a recording genius!

He even managed to make me sound good :P

I've been applying the stuff he's been teaching me (...or a least trying to and things are looking up :) )but there's not enough of an improvement to really wow you with...

Sooooo...for your delectation I present you the following:

Glenn's mix of that song - nothing added - based on the same raw tracks :D

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/109751477/MOS%20Gs%20Mix.mp3

I think you'll agree...the difference is phenomenal....
 Here's his notes of what he did to it:

I added some 'shtuff' on yer guitars, ran it through some FX, same for vox, and added a bit of dirt and saturation on the bass track.  Drums added a tad of reverb (tight room sound) to bring out the snare a bit more. Organ was fine.
I added light compression to all tracks, and notice there is no clicking now..  the boom and mud are cleaned up considerably, and it has some 'sparkle' to it too... but kept the bottom end pretty fat and thick (the way you like it).. the voice cuts through nice now.. I also increased the gain on the lead guitar when it came to it's solo time...
 
Limited it with the Master Limiter (kjaerhas) and then reduced gain to  -2.2dB ... exported as 32 bit float and imported into Mixbus, added a slight EQ adjustment.. added some analogue tape Saturation (without the tape hiss) and then ran it through the Master, rendering the file back to -2.2dB once again....
 
There was a lot of low mid cuts made to almost every track, except the organ and bass and drums...  also added some high end energy to most tracks, which balanced the bottom end bass out much better. .. so it's pretty good on most systems IMO.


I honestly can't say enough good things about Glenn...not only does he know his stuff...he's also a great teacher!

Enjoy the listen :)

Offline Glenn

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Re: Made of Stone - room for improvement?
« Reply #23 on: July 07, 2013, 10:10:19 AM »
Hey neilmac
I meant to reply to this earlier, but my puter or server was acting up at the time and I couldn't post.

You're most welcome for the tidbits of info and the mix.

I'm glad you felt it helped.

You're like a sponge, I must say, and soaked that stuff up really well, and put it into practice.. keep at er, you're making vast improvements, bud.

Glenn  :)
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Offline Jahva

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Re: Made of Stone - room for improvement?
« Reply #24 on: July 07, 2013, 10:49:49 AM »
Neil I don't remember the original mix but this sounds fine to me. I do remember liking the lyrics... still do. Nice approach there. I like the shuffle of the drums now... I don't remember that before.
Not to have you change anything but I'd make the snare a bit crisper our louder and maybe loosen up the bass line a bit so it's not so rigid... but that's just a personal preference. 
Was tough competition on that challenge... lots of good tunes from W2L's challenge.   
Playin' the mind guerrilla Chantin' the mantra, peace on earth

JL

Offline Glenn

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Re: Made of Stone - room for improvement?
« Reply #25 on: July 07, 2013, 05:18:19 PM »
Jahva
the original mix is near the top of the topic as an attachment.

I think nm wanted people to A/B the two mixes so you could compare the before and after.

the snare in the first mix was very 'hidden' and subdued, and is brought out more now, but because the kit is a stereo track, there was only so much EQ could do for that snare. .. short of bringing in a whole new snare track.

there's quite a few other elements that are tweaked too... you can hear the difference if you A/B the two... if you're interested.

thanks for checkin' it out though.   I was just dealing with the 'mix' - with the tracks I had.

good suggestions. 
 :)
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