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Michael Martinez

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Posts posted by Michael Martinez


  1. continuing on, for the rest of you: are the vocals clearly heard on the recording? It's important to me for the vocals to be clearly heard and understood. Someone else mentione that the cheap reverb vst on the vocals was distracting. Is there some recommendation for another reverb or something that can be done to bring more focus on the vocals and make them more clearly heard?


  2. 7 minutes ago, Byron Dickens said:

    Send me your MIDI file.  I'll prove to you that it ain't the guitar,  it's the guitarist. 

    Exactly. As I already said: real instruments, or realistic-sounding software instruments versus cheap-sounding software instruments. Of course it makes a big difference. 

    You're going round and round here.

    By the way, there's no guitar on this song. It's all vst synths.

    Do you want to be a contributing musician to be included on the mastered version of the song that will get posted online?


  3. Anyway, let's stop beating a dead horse. Ok, it's dead, lifeless music. Fine.

    Now back to the reason I opened this thread. I'd like specific technical suggestions on the mixing/mastering of the song as it currently exists. In other words, if you were a mixing engineer and you were handed this song and your job is to mix it in a style similar to an 80s new wave style, what would you do? What type of effects/reverb/etc would you apply and on which instruments would you put them? I'm asking because I don't have any experience mixing or mastering audio.

    So far we have one suggestion to improve the quality of the reverb on the vocals. This is a practical suggestion that I can work with. Any others?


  4. That "rescue at sea" link you posted, the guy used Miroslav Philharmonik 2 ($300), IK Multimedia's Fairchild ($50), and Mixbus ($80) plus SONAR to produce that sound. Obviously there's a big difference in quality and realism of samples/instruments between paid versus free stuff. Something that sounds more realistic will obviously have more life.


  5. 1 minute ago, Byron Dickens said:

    I'm not trying to start a fight or anything. 

    You asked  how to breathe life into a dull and lifeless mix.  The only way to do that is to -  well, to breathe some life into it.  There ain't a VST  in the world - free or paid - that will do that. No one makes a "soul" plugin. 

    Agreed. Unfortunately not within the scope of what I'm able to do at the moment. Given this constraint, anything you can think of that would improve the current mix?


  6. Andy, actually the only two songs on soundcloud that are "ready" (have been mixed and mastered) are Forever Lament and It's Never Late. For mastering, I'm probably not going to bother doing it myself (yet another thing I would have to learn).  For those two songs, I ended up just using an automated cheap online service called cloudbounce. I might look for another service.

    So, for The Forever Lament, apart from replacing the singer and replacing everything with real instruments, the things that can be done to improve the mix are:

    • use a better quality reverb on the vocals

    That's what I understand so far.


  7. yeah man, real instruments. no way to compare it, real instruments played live breathe life into a song.... So you're hinting you'd like to contribute vocals/instruments on my song?

    regarding previous comment on vocal melody, I'm fine with the melody, it's how I intended it. I'm fine with the cheapness of the reverb, I'm just using free vst plugins, after all.


  8. I should note, when I say "demo" I don't mean any sense of sending it to try to get it played on the radio, or whatever people usually think about when they say "demo." I don't have any interest in promoting my music or any interest in selling it. My purpose is just personal artistic expression, so my goal is to have recordings that are decent enough for that purpose.


  9. Bryon,

    Good overall critique. I would like hear what you have to say about the other songs when I post them.

    Agreed 100% on the vocal performance. Not much passion there, but we get what we can get. And in her case, I think it's the result of two things: 1) I don't know whether she's real "passionate" overall; 2) the mood of the music and the lyrics are pretty ethereal to begin with.

    The other thing is, it's difficult to find people to bring life to your art the way you envision it. If I were to get 5 different singers to do the song (which I probably can't), likely none of them would  have the right kind of thing going on.

    The other thing that's a bit monotonous in the song is the vocal melody. That's how I wrote it as I myself was singing it/composing it. It's kinda monotonous, but the monotony also kinda expresses the sentiment, so I'm rather okay with it overall.

    Yep, I'm not a real big fan of quantizing. But it's necessary when I'm doing everything myself.

    The rest of the song is pretty spot on with what I'd like, given the constraints I am working in, that is that I'm doing everything myself. I would like to record this music with real musicians - that was the initial idea - but I don't have any, haven't been able to find any, and so what I've done is to create everything myself as a vehicle to:

    - express the lyrics I want to express

    - express the mood I want

    - have a "demo" recording which I could later use to hopefully entice fellow musicians to form a band.

    I would much rather have real musicians playing this, including myself on keyboards, in a live environment. i mean, I know that as much as you. Any musician knows that. But that's just not possible at the moment. So I have to settle for next best thing.

    Given the above constraints, I'm satisfied with how it came out. It does what I want. The lyrics and the ideas can be heard, and the general mood is felt the way I want it felt. In my mind, this recording is the "first stage" - a demo that stands on its own if it needs to, and hopefully can be re-recorded with real instruments later.

    Regarding the mix, seems like adding room to the vocals and then mastering it would be the main things remaining to do.


  10. 46 minutes ago, jude77 said:

    In my opinion, part of your perception that they aren't that good is because your comparing your material with other material that's been professionally mastered.  Good mastering can bring the best out of a track.

    That's true, I have been overlooking that. Thanks for bringing it up. I think what I'll do is add reverb/delay on the vocals, then ship it to a mastering service and see how it sounds after they've had their hands on it.


  11. thanks Tom, I totally agree about delay/reverb on vocals, that's what I was thinking too. Particularly if you compare it with 80s new wave/goth/new romantics stuff (which I listen to a lot) - those tend to have substantial reverb on the vocals.

    It's a lengthy intro. If I were to redo it, I'd cut it down, but I'm going to leave it like it is for now because I've got six more songs I need to finish up.

    The primary chords in the chorus are C melodic minor (plagal cadence in the key of G), and Abminor, with some connecting chords to get from the one to the other.

    I like your username and profile photo


  12. Hi, I put together this song on my laptop using Cakewalk, soft synth instruments, and free VST plugins (and a vocalist I found online). I'd like to improve the mix as it sounds lifeless and dull:

    https://soundcloud.com/mwtzzz/the-forever-lament

    To me the vocals sound dead, as do many of the other instrument tracks. I'd like suggestions on what steps can be taken to improve this. I feel that the stereo field and the sense of depth needs to be opened up, but I don't know how to achieve this. I'm totally new to mixing stuff in a DAW.

    By way of reference, please listen to the following song which is by the 80s synth group B-Movie:

    https://youtu.be/pMz6oSd0FdM

    In the above song, the vocals are lot more alive (not so dead sounding as in my track), and there is more stereo and depth perception in a lot of the tracks.

    Is it a matter of adding more reverb to the vocals? Is it a matter of using a vst plugin that will apply Chorus to give depth perception? Is it a matter of panning different vocal tracks? These are the types of questions that I think are the right kinds of questions to ask, but I have zero experience with this, so I'm not sure. Finally, is it possible, using Cakewalk plus free VST plugins to achieve a mix similar to the B-movie song, or am I better off paying a professional mix engineer?

    Or, is there someone here who'd like to take a crack at mixing the song? I'd be willing to buy you a case of craft beer or something in return.


  13. Ok, so would the idea be to export each track individually as wav and give him all the tracks? Or export everything except the vocal track as one single wav file and then he would create a vocal wav file in addition to it? In the example you show above, you export multiple wav files (one for each track).


  14. Hi.... so my friend wants to lay down a vocal track for one of the songs. It'll be a remote collaboration since he's in a different state. He uses ProTools, I use Cakewalk. Can someone suggest what we need to do to achieve this? Is there a way for Cakewalk to export tracks that he can import into ProTools?

    Any tips/suggestions how to achieve a remote collaboration, how to sync up the tracks, etc, is appreciated.


  15. Talked to a buddy of mine in Santa Fe, he says he can contribute drums on a couple tracks, so that'll be a nice improvment ... 

    I'd like to eventually replace all the sounds on the songs with real instruments, so if any guitarist or bassist is interested, let me know, I can provide individual tracks for those instruments which you can use as a guideline and overlay the tracks.


  16. thanks for the toontrack drum link, that looks like a good reference, I'll bookmark it

    as per progtronic, my understanding is those aren't samples, he actually engineered those sounds. But I could be mistaken.


  17. Oh ... so in your song the drums are not real? Softsynth drums? I'll needto listen to the track again.

    37 minutes ago, batsbrew said:

     

    but IF you can find ANYONE who is playing canned sounds and making them sound like THIS......

     

    Actually ... there is ... if by canned you mean non-real instruments... There's a dude who, in the 1980s, started doing everything in synths/computers and paid a lot of attention to engineering his guitar sounds, with outstanding results. He works under the name progtronic:

    https://progtronic.bandcamp.com/album/requiem-2000

    This particular album ^^^ I believe was recorded in the early 1990s. He seems to have a very prolific output. I'm not real familiar with his stuff other than just know a little of the history and have one of his albums.

    I believe he's still active in music forums on the internet.


  18. Just for clarification, all these are real instruments, correct? Cakewalk comes into play simply to record audio tracks, but everything else is done through instruments, hardware effects, pedals etc, right? Cakewalk being used only as a multitrack recorder on this mix


  19. Very nice. I don't like classical music much except for stuff from about 1870 - 1930, but your music tells a story, and keeps my interest. It's rhythmically interesting, harmonically interesting, changing moods, changing tempos. One of the rare classical pieces I would leave turned on if it happened to come on the radio or something. Not just saying that either. I truly it find it pleasant to listen to.

    Seems pretty nice from a sound quality perspective too. The only thing towards the beginning was in the strings that are panned left, I feel are a little dead, maybe some reverb or something on those would open it up. Other than that, can't think of anything else to improve it. It stands nicely on its own the way it is.

    Would like to hear other things you might have to share.


  20. 7 minutes ago, KRISSSY STRINGZ said:

    I am a bit shocked that you are paying someone to sing your tunes.

    Me too.

    Hey man, thanks for the offer to do some vocals, I'll ping you shortly. Can you pick out one tune from my soundcloud page that you'd like to work on? I'll send you the lyrics, and send you an mp3 or cakewalk project files, I'm not sure what the best way to do remote collaboration is for this.


  21. 35 minutes ago, daryl1968 said:

    Hi Michael - I listened to  'Grey Skies and Blue Waters' - I enjoyed the vocal style to be honest and the song is solid enough.

    Mix-wise, vocal needs to come up in the mix. Drums need some work - they sound like a drum machine but not in a good way. Some bass would help too

    Hi, thanks for the feedback. I'm suprised you enjoyed the vocals. It's my own voice, I don't like it, I'm going to replace it, so yeah in the final mix it'll be mixed in better and will definitely not be my voice.

    Drums... yeah. I'm no drummer. I programmed those in. I might have to farm that out to someone and replace the track.  I was trying to get my former bandmate John Swick to do drums with me, cuz he's a great drummer, but he's busy with a new R&B gig and doesn't have any time. Plus I don't know if he's even interested in the music. Probably not. Not everyone's cup of tea.

    https://www.reverbnation.com/johnswick

    Actually looking at this link I see I was in the first two bands on that page. I was the keyboardist in Boomslang - that track "Flood in Franklin park" was done on a Nord electro something-or-other, I can't remember the model. And I was the keyboardist in Camino before they decided to get rid of keyboards in total.

    Any other feedback on the other tracks is appreciated. I've decided to go with contracting the vocals out on vocalizr.com. When I first went on the site, I had utter sticker shock and I said "no way" but then I realized the prices are substantially negotiable and I was able to find a singer who agreed for a reasonable price for all seven songs. She's got a great voice and likes the lyrics. I guess that's the route I'll have to go.

    I hadn't planned on paying anybody for collaboration, but I guess that's how things are nowadays, especially if we're in music-starved zones like silicon valley.

    I think I'll take the same route with the mixing - pay someone to do it - because I don't have the knowledge/skills/desire to spend much time on it. But I'm still open to suggestions from everyone on how to improve the songs.

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