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Jon Loder

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Posted (edited)

I've been recording with a Tascam DP24-SD and transferring to Cakewalk for mixing. Now that I've got the workflow down, I really need to learn how to use cakewalk. I've got some of the basics down but I'm having trouble getting things polished. Here's my first attempt:

(there's some dead space at the beginning for intro)

I've already used Melodyne to tighten up (and fix a few clinkers) the vocals. I've also turned on the "Pro Strip" and selected some defaults. I could use some suggestions for where to go next with processing.

 

Also, I can't seem to get a tempo map. I can get the transients to show up but I can't select the markers to drag them.

Edited by Jon Loder
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I like the energy of your song, the holy honky tonk vibe.

First question - have you taken an eq to every instrument, and lopped off the lower frequencies (except on the bass and the kick drum)? a.k.a "high pass filtering" . . . certainly the piano could be conflicting with the bass down there.

After that you could pan some things wider, a lot of this sounds dead center. Keeping vocals and bass elements in the middle?

The mal bgv's are almost as loud as the lady lead in spots, I'd bring her out more.

 

You might also look at that bass recording, it doesnt have much of an attack transient, it's kind of a pillowy bass sound and you might want better recording of a more articulated bass tone.

 

Just a few thoughts . .  nice vibe, nice tune, and good luck!

cheers,

-Tom

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Jon

Agree with Tom re the Bass - I would start there and get it sounding better - then balance with the drums.

Definitely some panning and EQ needed and the with the vocals, again agree with Tom

When I am doing a track - I always start with getting a solid bass drum foundation, then add synths guitars and vocals, so they all sit in the mix and have clarity.

Hope this helps a bit

Nigel

 

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The general assessment seems to align with what I first thought. That is, very busy. It's everything, everyone, all the time.  It's musical information shooting at the brain like a garden hose aimed at a shot glass.

The bass player is relatively new at it. He has a lot to learn. I've been trying to get him to be more punchy. I don't think he knows how to adjust pups, tones, gain, etc. I'll work on that.

I tried the high-pass filter last night. Mostly on the piano but a little on every track. It really brightened things. Great trick. Gotta remember to do that. I'm relying mostly on presets in the Pro Channel for starting points.

I panned the backup vocals and found that it makes a huge difference. I didn't expect that. You mentioned keeping bass and vocal elements in the middle. Is there a general rule for what goes where for a starting point?

I need to figure out track automation so I can get the backup singers balanced. I'll be working on learning that today.

Thanks for the help. It means a lot.

Jon

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The drums are an issue. My recording equipment is kind of limited. Our drum kit is a Pintech with an old Roland module. I think there's a problem with the MIDI output.  I can't seem to get any signal to the interface. I gave up on that and allowed the drummer to balance the kit and I mic'd his monitor speaker. It's not the best option but, without some expensive equipment and acoustic drums, I think it's the best I can do. I suppose the easiest option would be to replace the module and go MIDI.

Thanks, guys. I'll post some progress shortly.

Jon

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Posted (edited)

You have had some really good advice already. It seems you can send individual tracks to your daw for further work. IOW this isn't a  stereo 2 channel mix I take it?

I say the following thinking these are independent tracks. Drum replacer comes with CbB ? This might be helpful in adding more bottom end to it the drums or alternately play a drum sample on keys underneath the bass drum, or the kit if you only have the kit on one track. The "thwack" of the snare is a bit much. You might be able to back it off some in EQ. A better solution would be more in line with forensic subtraction like Izotope RX. Expensive program though for those features. Vocal tracks can be slightly panned and balanced for a more cohesive sounding harmony.

If i could I would remove the bass track and add your own walking bass to give the piece more movement. 

"IF" this is a two track master you are obviously much more limited. You could alternately use the track as a guide, bring everyone into the studio and retake in a better environment. The only issue here is sometimes the music will loose it's pizzazz or mojo because it isn't live and you don't have that energy. Best case would probably be to retrack all live in the studio and tell them to imagine they are performing it live :)

Edited by Starise

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The drums are on a single track. I would like to do something about that but, for now, that's what we're capable of. 

The recording is being done on a Tascam DP24-SD. The workflow is basically having the piano, lead singer and one backup singer record live and use those 3 tracks for a headphone mix. Then we record the individual parts using a Sennheiser e935 mic. The piano is a Yamaha grand with a single Sennheiser e835.

My preference would be to use a click track but the pianist does the arrangement and she needs some latitude with tempo changes. It's her call. I'm working on creating a temp map in Cakewalk but, for some reason, the markers aren't selectable for me. I can't move them to the transients.

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9 minutes ago, Jon Loder said:

The drums are on a single track. I would like to do something about that but, for now, that's what we're capable of. 

The recording is being done on a Tascam DP24-SD. The workflow is basically having the piano, lead singer and one backup singer record live and use those 3 tracks for a headphone mix. Then we record the individual parts using a Sennheiser e935 mic. The piano is a Yamaha grand with a single Sennheiser e835.

My preference would be to use a click track but the pianist does the arrangement and she needs some latitude with tempo changes. It's her call. I'm working on creating a temp map in Cakewalk but, for some reason, the markers aren't selectable for me. I can't move them to the transients.

I looked at the Tascam DP24-SD. Looks like a very full featured stand alone recorder. So luckily you can at least get those three tracks and drums down "live" but also as separate tracks. Tempo doesn't really seem to be as much of an issue here. I've used click tracks . They can be ok but they can also be bad because you can loose the vibe or swing of the music.

If it was me what would I do? Hmmm.............................If I were making something to sell at gigs or online I would probably lean more in the direction of replacing the drums completely due to the limited mix. I would take the dry tracks from the Tascam, IOW no reverb or tampering at all, and feed them right into Cakewalk.  Have singers in a non live area ( no reverb) and close to mics when singing.  Mic'd pianos can be ok but a patched synth with a piano sound into the board or vsti is probably going to sound better. Grand pianos are best with two mics usually. One mic, no matter now nice the piano is might not cover it.

Once you have everything in dry including the drum track for reference. Add a reverb bus to the mix, select a reverb and add send to the tracks you want to hear reverb in. FYI you need VERY little reverb. Download a free drum kit online MTPOWERKIT to use as a replacement for the existing kit. Alternately you can mix the two together for a more cohesive feel...like maybe just the snare at low volume and roll everything else off on the original. Maybe get your drummer to tap the beats in.

I didn't hear much of the bass in this mix. Same could be done with it as with drums.

Alternately, go into an equipped studio, pay them a little and track it with everything there all set up. JMHO.

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I have no complaints about the Tascam. It's very easy to use. I just keep the peaks around -6db or so. Noise ratio seems to be zero issue.  The tracks go into Cakewalk completely raw. I don't even use compression in the Tascam.

I didn't think the drums were an issue until you guys mentioned it. The snare does appear to be a bit intrusive. I'll try some selective EQ and see if I can notch it down some. Other than that, maybe I'll take another run at trying to get the MIDI out to work.

We're planning on re-recording the piano part Sunday. I'll try the two-mic method. I've watched a few instructional vids on grand piano mic'ing. It seems like the only proper way to do it is with expensive stuff. 

The bass is attenuated quite a bit. There's no punch to it. We're probably going to have a different bass player on this one. He just verified that he'd do it.

 

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Great start Jon!  You have gotten some good advice in the comments above.  My only comment would be that there is a lot of competition between the instrumentation and vocals.  I am not sure if the female voice is intended to be the lead voice or if this is intended to be more of a group sound.  A wee bit of tweeking (EQ'ing and or panning)  on this might help.

Anyway, good start, great song, and I look forward to hearing the final product.

 

Cheers

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I've added some of the suggestions. We plan on re-recording the piano tomorrow. The pianist realizes that she needs to leave some room. There's also one more backup singer and we'll use a different bass player. I tried to EQ the track we have but it's just not there above 300hz.

I think I got the snare tamed with a notch reduction around 400hz. I also panned a few things around and added a touch of reverb on the vocals. I automated the backup singers on a bus for volume changes. I think I'm getting close. 

This is a great forum. Thanks guys. I appreciate the help more than I can say.

 

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