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Michael Martinez

suggestions for improving the mix on these tracks

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Any suggestions on improving the mix would be welcome. 

The jazz guitar "lead" is just a temporary placeholder where the vocals should go. lyrics are given in the links below

https://www.soundcloud.com/mwtzzz

  * Grey Skies and Blue Waters (Laura's Dolphin Tattoo): https://justpaste.it/3dob1
  * The Forever Lament: https://justpaste.it/5dmma
  * Steel Branches: https://justpaste.it/2cghv
  * Good Night, Moon: https://justpaste.it/4p3r9
  * A Juncture of Peace: https://justpaste.it/7hz77
  * Trickster: https://justpaste.it/321cn
  * I Still Hide, Laura
  * It's Never Late: https://justpaste.it/1ke1x

 

And I'd greatly welcome anyone who might be interested in contributing their vocals on these songs

Edited by Michael Martinez

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No responses? I guess I should note that these tracks were done in Cakewalk with mostly free plugins and instruments. Everything done "on the cheap" as it were - all soft synths, done on a laptop not dedicated for that purpose, etc... Still, I think it should be possible to get a better sound out of the mix. Interested in suggestions on how to achieve a cleaner sound, the tracks seem kind of muddied to me at the moment.

Driving around listening to them in the car, a couple things stood out: the bass seems too strong, the hi-hat and cymbals aren't clear. Wondering what other people's impressions are.... Just ignore the jazz guitar, it's just something I threw together this morning as a placeholder since I can't sing.

Edited by Michael Martinez

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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

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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.

Edited by Michael Martinez

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Hi Michael sometimes presenting a lot of tracks to be reviewed in one go can put peeps off, your choice but I would suggest offering one at a time.

I listen to the first and the last tracks on Soundcloud.

With the vocals, it should be noted I am not a vocalist as Wookiee singing is extremely dangerous to none Wookiee life forms, not so much for me up as more a little vocal riding to match the supporting music.  The drums do sound a little mechanical this can be sorted by moving some of the beats a few ticks backward or forwards of the beat.   Perhaps invest in either a quality drum sampler like BFD or SD 3 or look at MIDI drum libraries.

WIll keep the furry ear out for more of your stuff thanks for sharing.

 

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17 hours ago, Michael Martinez said:

No responses? I guess I should note that these tracks were done in Cakewalk with mostly free plugins and instruments. Everything done "on the cheap" as it were - all soft synths, done on a laptop not dedicated for that purpose, etc... Still, I think it should be possible to get a better sound out of the mix. Interested in suggestions on how to achieve a cleaner sound, the tracks seem kind of muddied to me at the moment.

Driving around listening to them in the car, a couple things stood out: the bass seems too strong, the hi-hat and cymbals aren't clear. Wondering what other people's impressions are.... Just ignore the jazz guitar, it's just something I threw together this morning as a placeholder since I can't sing.

Hello Michael.  I had a listen to all of em.  They are a bit gentler than my usual kind of thing to be honest, but then I'm a fifty something rocker I suppose.  Full marks to you for putting the effort in and actually producing something.

I am a bit shocked that you are paying someone to sing your tunes.  I do a lot of writing and recording of my own stuff and I'd be happy to do a vocal for you some time, or some other collaboration.  Like you, I'm a hobbyist, so I have no great aspirations to make a fortune.  Anyway, there it is.  Good luck out there. 

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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.

Edited by Michael Martinez

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45 minutes ago, Michael Martinez said:

Hey Wookiee - thanks for the suggestions. A Wookiee voice might be just the thing a couple of my tracks would need...

You need some peeps to be bereft of life Michael?  They only need to be within a Parsec of me singing to be rendered life less. 😂😎 

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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.

Edited by Michael Martinez

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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.

Edited by Michael Martinez

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9 minutes ago, Michael Martinez said:

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?

Yes, just export the tracks as wav files:

export_tracks.gif

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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).

Edited by Michael Martinez

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1 hour ago, Michael Martinez said:

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).

I guess either will do.

Individual tracks will allow him to adjust the balance better when recording the vocal though.

I should have put this in the example above, but consider changing the format to "Broadcast Wave (time-stamped)" rather than straight wav files when exporting.

They're still wav files, but the timing information is then embedded into the wav file.

He should do the same when exporting the vocal track back to you, that way you don't have to mess around with aligning the tracks.

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Hi Michael! Good luck on your journey! I listened to the "Forever Lament". I'd get to the vocals earlier, and more delay or reverb on the vocals in the verses. Your treatment of the vocals in the chorus, with bgv's and ear candy, is pretty cool. You have a nifty synth echoing and quoting the vocal lines in the chorus in spots - very Thomas Dolby which I totally dig.

 I liked the arrangement and especially those cool chords in the chorus.

 

As far as posting songs here, one at a time is the trick.

 

Cool stuff! Creative songwriting!

cheers,

-Tom

 

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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

Edited by Michael Martinez

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Hello Michael,

I listened to your songs (albeit on small computer speakers) so I can't comment on the mixes in depth, but I do think the vocals tended to be a little too dry.  Try some reverb/delay and I think you'll be happier with them.  Also, I think your mixes are better than you think they are.  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.  There are several mastering services online that are not terribly expensive.  You might try one of them and see if you're happier with your material.  If you want to try your own hand at mastering Izoptope has Ozone 8 on sale right now and Waves has Abbey Road TG Mastering chain on sale as well.  Both have demos if you're up to it.

Best of luck with you music.

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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.

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