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John Bradley

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  1. Call Me The market has spoken. Back to the ‘80s stuff it is! Note: I cheated a bit and dropped it from D to C#. The last note of the bridge (in the original key) requires hitting an E5, and while I can get to Eb5 (briefly), I’ve yet to find the amount and location of electrical shock required to make an E5 come out of my mouth. Could have stayed in the original key and ‘fixed’ the note in Melodyne, but a subset of the mix serves (in theory, at least) as a backing track for my band, so I need to be able to hit that note live, too. --- Drums: Session Drummer 3. Running my normal setup. 6 outputs (kick, snare, hat, toms, crash, ride). A BREVERB send on each. A “shell comp” send on the kick/snare/toms (BOZ Manic Compressor doing the grungy squashed parallel compression thing). A “cymbal comp” send on the crash and ride (ProChannel PC76 comp doing instantaneous (0ms) 8:1 compression to smooth them out). All going to a drum bus where a AudioDamage Rough Rider 3 (freebie!) does some additional parallel compression on the whole kit (mostly has the effect of boosting the reverb tails on the snare hits) and an Ozone 8 Vintage Limiter adds loud. Bass: IKM's MODO Bass, P-bass model, direct out, running through a Blue Cat Axiom dual amp chain, one of them fairly fuzzy and the other not so much, plus a little room reverb. Synths: An Arturia MINI provides the 8th triplet pattern that runs through the whole song. (The retriggers are happening in-VST, the actual midi in CW is just a series of held notes.) There’s an OP-X Pro II playing a high clavish part on the 2s and 4s starting after the first chorus, though it’s pretty well hidden in the final mix. An Arturia B-3 organ briefly enters for the bridge, and then leaves again. It is not hidden in the mix. The solo is done on another Arturia MINI, running through a Valhalla Supermassive and a BREVERB. Finally, in the repeating choruses at the end there’s an Arturia Prophet playing a single note (D) on quarters, which has a Valhalla Delay on it. Guitars: Three of them. Guitar 1 is playing the distorted, held chords in the R side, Guitar 2 is answering with the clean chorus high stabs in the L. Guitar 3 is provides the little lead bits (right up the middle) that occur during the interstitials and the bridge. All three recorded dry from my old Strat, running through Blue Cat’s Axiom. Vocals: The lead vocal (verses and bridge) is single tracked and run through a Nectar 2 (gate / de-esser / compressor / saturation / harmony / EQ / limiter). The harmony module is doing the two-voice unison thing, panned l/r, with time & pitch variation for fake double-tracking. After that there’s a pair of EQs that get switched in/out via automation to correct for tonal differences between the different takes. There’s also a Valhalla Delay adding a subtle 1/8th triplet echo, and another BREVERB. The other lead vocal (choruses) is double tracked for realsies. Each track goes through a Nectar 2 (same chain as the verse vocal, yes, including the harmonizer), into a Valhalla Delay running in Dual mode, doing 8th triplets on the L and 1/4s on the R side, and into a BREVERB (preset: Late Colour) which is where the really late and odd-sounding echo is coming from. Backing Vocals: Three vocal ‘lines’ (they just say “Call me” at different pitches in answer to the lead vocal) , each double-tracked and panned l/r to varying degrees. Those go to a bus where iZotope’s Vocal Doubler (freebie?) does what it does, and a BREVERB (preset: A Capella Vox) adds quite a bit of sloshy wetness. Melodyne Studio 4: Big heaping slabs of it. As usual, a GW MixCentric and Ozone 8 on the master to add a little bit of 'magic' and loud, respectively. --- Previous Releases: Take Me Down to the Infimary • Harder to Breathe • Dirty Laundry • Paradise by the Dashboard Light • Ashes to Ashes • Lies • Enter Sandman • Wanted Dead or Alive • Too Much Time on My Hands • Are You Gonna Go My Way? • Blue Monday '88 • Fame • One of Our Submarines
  2. Take Me Down to the Infirmary Harder to Breathe Here’s a pair of songs I recorded back in March 2020, when we were all going to die for some reason or other. My memory is hazy, but I believe it had something to do with a gigantic swarm of twelve foot piranha bees... either that, or the entire planet was in imminent danger of being eaten by an enormous mutant star goat. Whatever it was, it was darned terrifying, of that you can be sure! Sadly, none of that panned out and we’re all still here. They don’t make global disasters like they used to, though of course the beatings will continue until morale improves. ---liner notes--- Take Me Down to the Infirmary – Cracker (cover) It’s the What the World Needs Now guys, with a lovely little country ballad. Not a whole lot of secrets hidden in the sparse mix, but here’s a breakdown, just for the record. Drums: Session Drummer 3, ‘Motown’ kit. Running a simpler version of my normal setup. 6 outputs (kick, snare, hat, toms, crash, ride). A BREVERB (900ms plate) send on each. The snare has a BOZ Manic Compressor doing some heavy parallel compression to beef it up. Each track has some ProChannel comp/eq/tube processing to fluff the sounds up a bit. No limiting on the overall drum bus for a change. Bass: IKM's MODO Bass, ‘70s P-bass model, using the built-in amp sim plus a bit of direct. Percussion: There’s a tambourine sample being triggered by TX16Wx (version 2), which I find superior to version 3, at least from a UI perspective. A BREVERB (500ms Room, damping at 3.5kHz) to give it some space. Synths: none. Guitars: Three of them. Guitar 1 is the acoustic in the left side. Recorded from the piezo output, going to Blue Cat’s Axiom (no amp modelling, just an impulse to make it sound mic’d), iZotope Neutron for some compression, EQ, and exciter, a 2getheraudio ST3REO for stereoification, a BOZ Pan Knob to move the whole mess over to the left, and a BREVERB. Note that I put the Pan Knob before the BREVERB rather than just use the track’s built-in Pan control so that the reverb isn’t panned. Guitar 2 is the electric on the right side. Strat going into Axiom (Twin Reverb model, no fx), eq’d fairly dark (whether on the guitar or in the amp, I don’t recall) a Pan Knob to move it right, and a BREVERB using the same Bright Dream Room preset as on the acoustic. Yes, I could have had a single BREVERB and had both tracks send to it, but I prefer going this route because I like to freeze the tracks with all their effects. Guitar 3 is the lead, done in BIAS FX. Was transitioning over to Axiom around this time. Strat into a compressor, dual-amp config (Duo Verb & Tweed Deluxe), and another compressor. Then a Pan Knob (guess I recently bought!), a BREVERB (Hall), and an Ozone 8 Maximizer. Vocals: The lead vocal is single tracked into a TDR Nova for de-essing, then a Nectar 2 chain (gate, de-esser, saturation, compression, eq), followed by a BOZ T-Bone just to roll off the highs a smidge, and another BREVERB (Full Short Plate). Backing Vocals: There are two tracks of backing harmonies that come in on the “Let me sleep” at the end of the first verse, and hang around until dropping out on the final verse. There's a Nova (for de-essing) and a BREVERB on their bus. There are another 4 tracks of vocals ‘oohing’ the chords from the first chorus through to the last chorus. Four-part harmony, albeit not especially complex or interesting. Basically serving as a sung B-3 organ, but easier to transport. Melodyne Studio 4: Big and brassy, Vegas style! Tokyo Dawn Slick EQ (free version) on the master 'Music' bus to thin out the mix a bit (-2db at 520Hz), giving the vox a little more space. A GW MixCentric and Ozone 8 on the master to add a little bit of 'magic' and loud, respectively. Harder to Breathe – Maroon 5 (cover) What’s this, a ‘new’ song!?! (It came out a mere 18 years ago.) Things to listen for: I love how big the choruses come in, compared to the sparse verses, especially the Floyd-esque swirling organ and the falsetto harmony. Also, dig the ‘lonely guitar player’ solo which is quite different tonally from the original. You can actually hear it, for example. Drums: Session Drummer 3, ‘Motown’ kit. Running a simpler version of my normal setup. 6 outputs (kick, snare, hat, toms, crash, ride). A BREVERB (‘MiniDrum’ preset) send on each. Varying amounts of ProChannel comp/eq/tube on each to make them decidedly un-Motowny. Ozone 8 Vintage Limiter on the drum bus for extra loud. Bass: IKM's MODO Bass, ‘Japan Bass’ model, using the built-in amp sim set slightly crunchy, plus a bit of direct. A touch of BREVERB (‘Heavy Room’) to put a little air around it and give it a bit of width. Percussion: Tambourine, a shakey egg, and a stick hit, each on their own TX16Wx. Also, there’s some percussive breathing during the breakdown and bridge – that’s just me, on a microphone, trying not to hyperventilate. Synths: An Arturia B-3 organ comes in during the choruses. It’s got a lovely slow swirlyness to it courtesy of the built-in Phaser, Chorus, and Leslie. Guitars: Three of them, each using an instance of BIAS FX. Guitar 1 plays the crunchy riff on the left side. Guitar 2 enters in the chorus, on the right side. Brighter, less crunch, different voicing. Guitar 3 is the lead: drive pedal, dual ‘plexi’ amps, tape delay (all in BIAS FX), followed by a Phasis for some some slow stereo motion, and a big ol’ BREVERB (Hall, 2 seconds, 5K damping) to make it downright soggy. Vocals: The lead vocal is single tracked into a Nectar 2 chain (gate, compressor, harmony (2 voice unison, panned l/r), saturation, FX (distort, chorus, delay), EQ, and limiter). A BREVERB (‘Modern Plate’) follows. Backing Vocals: The aforementioned falsetto harmony runs through a copy of the same Nectar 2 chain as the lead vocal. It also drops down to a regular harmony on the last line of the first chorus, but otherwise it stays up in the hurt-me area. A second track comes in for the various ‘Woah-oah-oh’s and whatnot, as well as a fine impersonation of a European police siren at the end of the bridge... not that you can hear it in the final mix, but it’s there! Finally there’s a third vocal, unaffected (other than some reverb) that harmonizes with the lead vocal on the “is there anyone out there ‘cause it’s getting harder and harder to breathe” bits. Melodyne Studio 4: You betcha! Ozone 8 on the master for limiting and whatever else it deemed necessary. Previous Releases: Dirty Laundry • Paradise by the Dashboard Light • Ashes to Ashes • Lies • Enter Sandman • Wanted Dead or Alive • Too Much Time on My Hands • Are You Gonna Go My Way? • Blue Monday '88 • Fame • One of Our Submarines
  3. Possibly the guitar tracks were in the headphones when you recorded the vocals, and that bled into the microphone. That's always a danger, especially if you're not using closed-back headphones. Though if that's the case, it's not a huge problem. Stick a gate on the vocal track to mute it when there no actual vocals happening. Or not -- the quiet guitar on the vocal track will get lost in the mix anyway. Plenty of examples of instrument bleed on the 'isolated' vocal tracks of many Huge Pop/Rock Hits.
  4. Yep. My 'throw down' system (where I play with all the demos and whatnot, and wouldn't be a huge disaster if I had to format and reinstall) is a i5-9400F @ 2.9GHz with 16GB of memory that I put together last year for $700 (including a $200 graphics card, for gaming). It's a 6-core, no hyperthreading CPU, and it's almost certainly faster than the 10 year old machine I do all my work on... ...though without benchmarking it'd be hard to know. Both machines handle everything I ever throw at them.
  5. Almost anything you can buy today will be more than adequate. (Within reason: a 1.3GHz Atom-based tablet with 2GB of ram isn't going to cut it. But any reasonable laptop or desktop with 8GB ram and an SSD of some sort will get you there.) I'm still running a 4-core i7-950 system with 12GB of ram that I built in 2010 (upgraded from win7 to win10 at some point), and I'm able to put together projects with 30-40 tracks of content (audio + fx and VSTi's). Yes, I freeze most of the tracks, but that's not a very big limitation. Just be sure to get an audio interface of some sort (Focusrite Solo is a fine choice). Running a DAW on the onboard Realtek chipset that most machines have is just begging for 'hurt-me' problems.
  6. Thanks! And no it isn't, at least not for an old guy who doesn't play fast and rarely strays outside the pentatonic minor HappyZone. Though I'm sure there are 14 year olds on Youtube that can nail it at 125% speed... <grumble grumble> Thanks @DeeringAmps -- btw, per your earlier feedback I've been paying attention to the excessive brightness of my vox, and reigning them in to be more in line with 'normal', so as to minimize the ear-bleed factor.
  7. "Now you're talking. Keep the nasty big-lipped trollop, bring on the giant plate of bacon." "But John, the nasty big-lipped trollop could, at least theoretically, be taught to cook giant plates of bacon." "Intriguing. Do go on."
  8. Much better. Perhaps you could fix those giant, disturbing lips of hers. It looks like she was trying to suck the chrome off a tailpipe while the engine was running. Yeowch!
  9. Hey guys, thanks so much for taking the time to listen to my track and comment on it. Very much appreciated! Also, if anyone's interested, I've updated the original post with a set of links to my previous releases. If you liked this, you'll probably enjoy some of those as well. (I'm particularly pleased with 'Submarine', 'Fame', 'Sandman', and 'Paradise'.) Fair enough. Every track I make at least theoretically serves double-duty as a backing track for my 3pc band to play over, so I pretty much always put an "exclamation point" at the end of the songs rather than a fade.
  10. Hear hear! If I'm going to buy yet another reverb I don't need, and probably won't use beyond the initial dicking-around-with stage, let's have it cost $16 instead of $50!
  11. John Bradley

    iZotope MPS 4

    FWIW, I'm at MPBundle2 + O8N2, which I think might equate to "MPS 1". (Damn their confusing and poorly documented bundles!) Basically what I've got is O8 Advanced, Neutron 2 Advanced, Nectar 2, RX 6 Standard, VocalSynth 1, TBC 1, Trash 2, and so on. I could upgrade to MPS4 for $299, which would get me incremented versions of everything (O9, Neutron 3, Nectar 3, RX8 Std, VocalSynth 2) as well aa NIMBUS (already own R4) and this new reverb thing. It's not outrageous as upgrade prices go, but I'm not certain that newer versions of stuff that I already have is worth $300 to me. Perhaps I should watch some hype videos selling me on the new versions. Then again, perhaps I should avoid those same videos!
  12. I'm not sure exactly what you do for a living -- that's more a hobby thing for most of us guys -- but if you can get paid for it more power to you! 😜
  13. It sounds dirty when you phrase it that way.
  14. Also, you don't have to start recording at bar 1. In fact, unless your timing is super-perfect, you run the very real risk of chopping off the start of the first note/chord/etc. (assuming it hits on the 1 of the first bar). I typically start my projects at bar 5, giving me up to 4 bars of click intro (I make backing tracks for a live band) and/or pre-song sound effects or a pick-up of some sort.
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