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Azura
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65 posts since 6 Dec, 2004, from Montréal, Québec

Postby Azura; Mon Oct 30, 2017 10:52 am Our first submission in Music Cafe: No More

Hi everybody,

This our first post in Music Cafe. It is a composition we wrote, recorded and mixed in October. We would really appreciate some comments, especially about the mixing. We are two amateurs, and please note that English is not our first language!

https://soundcloud.com/duoazura/no-more

Credits:
Stephanie: Vocal, percussions, lyrics
Marc: Guitars, bass, drum, percussions, keyboard, music, lyrics, mixing

mp3 file: 4:50 192Kb/s

Note: The drums were recorded using Aerodrums, it was a lot of fun!

Thanks in advance!
Marc from DuoAzura
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skipscada
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1281 posts since 22 Oct, 2004, from Schmocation

Postby skipscada; Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:11 am Re: Our first submission in Music Cafe: No More

Good stuff. Sound well recorded and balanced. Nice vocal sound, which is key. Perhaps a bit safe mix. More movement and letting some elements jump out a bit more (like that soaring guitar) could make it more engaging. But most importantly: tighten up the timing. It will gain a lot. If you're unable to play in time (speaking from my own experience here), fixing it in the mix (or rather, after recording and before mixing) is perfectly normal.
Azura
KVRist
 
65 posts since 6 Dec, 2004, from Montréal, Québec

Postby Azura; Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:12 am Re: Our first submission in Music Cafe: No More

Hi Skipscada,

Thank you for your comments, it is greatly appreciated. Good idea to let some elements jump out. I always try to make sure that the vocal is not burried behind instruments, so that's why I tend to "safe mix" as you said.

You're right, timming has always been my main weakness. Do you spot particular parts or instruments that need more tightening?

Thanks again and have a wonderful day!

Marc
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skipscada
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1281 posts since 22 Oct, 2004, from Schmocation

Postby skipscada; Tue Oct 31, 2017 9:16 am Re: Our first submission in Music Cafe: No More

One reason for timing issues may actually be your audio interface. There will always be some latency, and there must be some sort of compensation for it in your DAW to avoid bad timing. I'm not saying that's the case here, but it's worth looking into.

If you simply fail to keep time, on the mixing stage (or pre-mixing) it's a good idea to isolate the most reliable track, timing-wise, and align the others to that. For instance, if you have a rock solid drumtrack, isolate the drum track and one other track at a time, and manually nudge phrases or notes that are late or early to fit with the "solid" track. Robotic, right-on-grid corrections isn't normally the ideal, though, so don't be too precise. When you have those tracks locked together in the groove, add more tracks, in order of importance.

The bad timing is most obivous at the beginning, in the more "naked" arrangement, but I get the feeling that it slackens the groove somewhat throughout the track, so I think you have a lot to gain with a bit of work on that.

I totally understand your strategy for not burying the vocals, which are strong and should be in focus. Perhaps you could use the moments between vocal phrases to bring other elements forward, if only for a second? It's a question of arrangement more than mixing. Good interplay between parts make them easier to mix. So maybe avoid busy guitar parts during vocal phrases and save the best licks for the moments when the vocal is quiet and the guitar can stand out. You could try some aggressive work with the volume fader / automation to bring the guitar up and down when there's room for it. Good luck!
Last edited by skipscada on Tue Oct 31, 2017 9:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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nineofkings
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1710 posts since 9 Apr, 2011

Postby nineofkings; Tue Oct 31, 2017 9:17 am Re: Our first submission in Music Cafe: No More

The melody is great! I agree with skipscada's comments about timing though. The loose timing of the snare and the clap is cool, but the vocals and the lead guitar are often ahead of the beat, which doesn't sound very together. The structure in general is very good. I like the bridge a lot; it gives an effective break from the verse and chorus.

If English isn't your first language, why not sing in your native language?
Azura
KVRist
 
65 posts since 6 Dec, 2004, from Montréal, Québec

Postby Azura; Wed Nov 01, 2017 12:23 pm Re: Our first submission in Music Cafe: No More

Thank you nine-of-kings and skipscada,

I will thighten up things this weekend. The challenge is to find the right dose between robotic and sloppy!
As for the language, we are French speaking and we live in Montreal (Quebec). We did in the past a full album in french. But as we wanted now to make more rock songs, it is easier to write them in english. It's very hard to write good lyrics in french for rock music.

Have a nice day!
Marc
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folderol
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4680 posts since 5 Aug, 2006, from UK - Here!

Postby folderol; Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:23 pm Re: Our first submission in Music Cafe: No More

Agree with the other comments. I like it but it needs some work.
If the vocal track is sort of 'fixed' now, you can sometimes get away with delaying it slightly. A late sung word is often less noticeable than one ahead of the beat.
It wasn't me! (well, actually, it probably was)
Azura
KVRist
 
65 posts since 6 Dec, 2004, from Montréal, Québec

Postby Azura; Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:35 am Re: Our first submission in Music Cafe: No More

Thanks folderol,

Good advice, but I will try to fix it at the source, i.e. fixing the timing of the percussions and other instruments. I'll post it again when finished.

Have a good week-end,
Marc
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annode
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6037 posts since 28 Mar, 2003, from Location: Location

Postby annode; Fri Nov 03, 2017 3:59 pm Re: Our first submission in Music Cafe: No More

The problem are those Aerodrums.
Unless your an experienced drummer and somewhat skilled enough to play 'air-drums', your going to have timing problems.
I suggest quantizing all your MIDI notes to the track editor grid, then manually correcting the notes that fall too far out of your resolution (1/8 - 1/4 note).

EDIT - just saw this;
Robotic, right-on-grid corrections isn't normally the ideal, though, so don't be too precise. When you have those tracks locked together in the groove, add more tracks, in order of importance.

I strongly agree, but in this case...non-experieced drummer playing those Aerodrums, the simple beats that come from that combination can not do better then grid.
....................Don`t blame me for 'The Roots', I just live here. :x
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Azura
KVRist
 
65 posts since 6 Dec, 2004, from Montréal, Québec

Postby Azura; Tue Nov 07, 2017 7:22 am Re: Our first submission in Music Cafe: No More

Hi annode,

Your comment about Aerodrums is not completely true. In fact, I can achieve better timing with Aerodrums than playing the drum on my keyboard. The truth is that the problem is not the tool, but me! Precise timing has always been my main weakness, regardless of the instrument I play (guitar, bass, keyboard, drum, percussion). When I take a look at the midi drum on the piano roll, I note that during some parts I'm quite tight on the beat, but in some other parts, I'm rather off beat. And I realize that, during tracking, my drumming becomes sloppy if I loose a bit of concentration. I really try to get better at it by practicing, but it's tough!!

Thanks and have a nice day!

Marc
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annode
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6037 posts since 28 Mar, 2003, from Location: Location

Postby annode; Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:48 am Re: Our first submission in Music Cafe: No More

I see. I have a friend who plays a full drum kit. He is a very good player, but his timing will fall off without notice.
It's an odd thing. So I can understand you.
Skipscada asks about your soundcard/audio interface above. You did not say if you use an ASIO interface and if so, do you have the timing set for low latency when your recording audio and midi? I have very good time, but a long latency can really screw me up.

I don't have any experience with the Aerodrums, but being an electronics tech and a drummer/bass player, I just assumed.
....................Don`t blame me for 'The Roots', I just live here. :x
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Azura
KVRist
 
65 posts since 6 Dec, 2004, from Montréal, Québec

Postby Azura; Tue Nov 07, 2017 11:35 am Re: Our first submission in Music Cafe: No More

I have a Behringer UMC404HD and I use its ASIO driver. I don't remember the buffer size used at that moment, but I adjusted it to make that sure that latency was at minimum. I also had a scratch mix of the song that I put in an empty Reaper project (same BPM of course). I recorded the drum in that project with the metronome. I did it because I wanted to eliminate any delay induced by a plugin. The Aerodrums program is quite CPU intensive, so it's just its MIDI data that I recorded in the Reaper session. I then copied the MIDI data in the original Reaper project. That's the way I found to minimize the latency.

Aerodrums is really a godsend to me. My studio is in my country house where I go during weedends, so I can play it weekdays in my appartment without disturbing neighbours. It also allows to simulate a continuous hi-hat pedal, not just on-off that is often found in most inexpensive edrums. And finally, it is quite fun!

Cheers,
Marc
fastlanephil
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333 posts since 3 Jan, 2016

Postby fastlanephil; Tue Nov 07, 2017 4:32 pm Re: Our first submission in Music Cafe: No More

As far as keeping the beat, maybe you could create a timing track with just a basic beat for a few measures and once you’re or whom ever is satisfied with it you could then duplicate it with copy/paste for a longer duration and use it as a timing guide.

At 2:13 the song shifts and the vocal delivery is much quieter. For me at least, it loses momentum there because I have to strain to make out the words and the song’s energy deflates a little. It seems to need a remix or some sort of changes there. Maybe also a dryer vocal so there is more intimatency between the singer and the person whom they have a problem with to maintain the storie’s angyness or edge.
Azura
KVRist
 
65 posts since 6 Dec, 2004, from Montréal, Québec

Postby Azura; Wed Nov 08, 2017 7:17 am Re: Our first submission in Music Cafe: No More

Very good idea for the beat, fastlanephil, I will try that for sure next time. And I'm gonna check about the vocal presence problem you mentionned. Well, that track is far from finished!

Thanks a lot!
Marc

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