Monday, August 29, 2005

Outside Looking In - Mix 1

As promised the first mix of the new song. This is a very rough mix. I spent less than 20 minutes on it, just enough to get an idea of how I need to progress. The vocals are scratch vocals. What this means, is that they are recorded just to guide the other instruments. They are not the final take. I didn't spend much time on getting all the settings correct, I just wanted to convey the energy of the song so the drummer could react accordingly. There are a few bum notes! I am not sure about the falsetto at the end. The drummer likes it, my wife doesn't , I kinda do. At least, enough to work at it.
I also haven't applied equalization to any of the tracks. For example, a standard EQ setting would be to lower the mid range frequencies of the guitar to allow other instruments or the vocals some space, or the remove the lower frequences from the bass drum to prevent the bass guitar and bass drum from muddying each others sound.
The drums were recorded with a set of Roland V Drums. These are pretty amazing. Roland digitally modeled hundreds of drum kits, and it saves an amateur engineer like me a lot of headaches, when recording. Micing up a live drum kit is an art, I've done it but it takes a lot of skill. We recorded the V drums as MIDI data. This means instead of recording an actual audio track, we record a track of digital triggers, how hard the snare was hit etc. As long as the drum brain is attached to my system, we can send the MIDI data to it and it will play what the drummer originally played. The great advantage of this, is that right up to the final mix, we can tap into the drum kits brain, and change any of the drums sounds or settings. For example, I am not that happy with the cymbals on the current mix, they are too wimpy. I intend changing the sound to a larger or darker sounding cymbal. When I am happy with the drums, I can send each individual part of the drum kit back into my system, and record each on a seperate audio track. Then I can do the mix down, (I had to do this to make the mix below).

The guitars were recorded with the amazing Line 6 POD. This is my favourite guitar toy. Like the drums, it is a digital modeling tool. In a piece of equipment not much bigger than my hand, Line 6 have digital models of all the top guitar amps. Again it makes dialing in the guitar tone a breeze, and recording guitar very easy. My only bitch is that the model of my favorite amp, the original 60's AC/30 with Top Boost, doesn't sound that great. I have a perfectly preserved AC/30, and the digital model is completely lacking the shimmery top end that makes the amp so famous.

As I see it the next steps are:
Editing the drum sounds, and doing some suble editing where the drummer sped up a little, ( this is pretty normal when recording live without a click track). Recording the lead vocals, and adding harmonies. I might throw on some acoustic guitar, or maybe some organ sounds on the chorus. Then I will have to re-evaluate. I'll post the new mix.

You can download the mix below. I'd love feedback, especially from recording engineers and musicians - talk about asking for punishment!

FYI there are 10 seconds of silence at the start of the song.

Outside Looking In Mix 1

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Anonymous Richard Greig said...

We have lots in common. Wife&Kids and still want to be a Rockstar. My name is Richard Greig. I made a CD a few years ago and took the advice of many socalled recording pros. I was not 100% satisfied so since then I have learned recording methods myself. I'm from Canada and my background in music has been lifelong. Check my tunes out at

11:36 AM  
Blogger John Mc said...

Welcome Richard!

Sounds like with plough a similar furrow. I took a listen to your stuff, nice heavy guitar tones. Good luck with it!

10:59 AM  

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