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#342063 - 03/26/16 07:51 PM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Mastering a song [Re: CocoTex]
dga Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 02/22/15
Posts: 671
Loc: Raleigh NC
Originally Posted By: CocoTex
This must have been asked/covered before, but I don't find it.

I'm a songwriter, and solo folky-country-ish performer (I ain't all that, but I have a good time and have a small, twisted following). I'm new to BIAB, and I've started making arrangements for some existing songs, deconstructing and reconstructing. I've rarely played with an accompanist, if so usually just a harmonica or bass, let alone a whole band, and this is giving me a great opportunity to see what the songs might be if enhanced/supported by a band.

I don't need anything album quality, but I'd like the songs to be relatively mastered. I have one ready to go now. I could get a studio here to do it, but I thought I'd see if anyone here wanted to give it a shot. Trying to mix it is driving me insane. Many, many days. I'm probably too invested in the song and my voice, etc., to be able to see/hear it reasonably.

Original song, lyric heavy, story, 7 piece band and my vocal.

If anyone is interested, shout.

Either way, thanks for your time. This whole experience has completely changed me and my understanding of music.

Andy



CocoTex

Don't pull out all your hair. In BIAB with a full drum set, Kick, Snare, Toms, Open Hi Hat, Crash and ride, and possibly a Closed Hi Hat, all recorded in stereo with at least 4 variations and 7 instruments mixed with your vocal that's a lot of sound. I would choke on mixing it down without a CONTROL SURFACE (something to control multiple channels and sub mixes at the same time), and automate the mix within your DAW.

But, I don't do it that way, I do the following.

I strip out 4 of those 7 instruments and get the song rock soliid. Just use the Drums, Bass, Keys or guitar tracks. Set the levels of those instruments. Render those 3 tracks down to a stereo file (mute the other 4 instrument tracks before you render this mix) Listen and sing along to see if you have solved your level problems with those 3 tracks. If you have not solve the problems with those 3 tracks remix and render a new version to sing over. Repeat this procedure until you have a three piece stereo mix that you like to sing with. Now record your vocals with these three tracks leave the other channels muted. Now, you can add (unmute)one instrument track at a time. You have simplified your solution to leveling problems because you can ride one channel while listening to the mix, all the way through the song. I usually find that after one or two passes I can set a volume and leave it there. Remember you can also PAN an instrument to the left or right to move it away from the lead vocal. + -15 to 20 is usually sufficient. In some cases as little as + -5 will do the trick.

I always produce a 4 track version of my original songs, Drums, Bass, Rhythm Guitar, or Rhythm Keys, and the lead Vocals. I do not wait until I finish the complete arrangement. After listening to this 4 track arrangement my production could take a whole different direction. (Especially if I record background Vocals. But, that is a different topic all together.)

I am a singer/songwriter too and those 3 piece backing band versions of my songs rendered .wav files allows me to play my guitar and sing with that track, and have other musicians join in.

Hope that helped. Good Luck mixing.
_________________________
"When you help somebody else you are really helping yourself"

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#342068 - 03/26/16 10:33 PM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Mastering a song [Re: CocoTex]
Carolyne Offline
Apprentice

Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 213
Loc: California
Wow, it has been interesting reading the different methods. I go about the mix completely different. Once I get all the tracks just like I like them, including the vocal, I do a Merge Audio and VSTi/DXi Tracks to Stereo Wave file of all tracks. This then gives me a single Wave file track, which becomes my Master. I mix the master, always leaving the Seq file raw, as is. I mix using the PG Music plugins which are marvelous. You just have to play around with them to see what you like and what matches your voice, style of music, etc.

I am generally pleased with the overall finished production sound, but after reading these posts I'm thinking I'm doing something wrong. What am I missing?

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#342072 - 03/26/16 11:13 PM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Mastering a song [Re: Carolyne]
dcuny Offline
Expert

Registered: 09/27/10
Posts: 1740
Originally Posted By: Carolyne
I am generally pleased with the overall finished production sound, but after reading these posts I'm thinking I'm doing something wrong. What am I missing?

It doesn't sound like you're doing anything wrong.

There's one rule of music: if it sounds good, it is good.

All these tools and procedures are a means to an end. If you're happy with your results, there's no need to change anything you're doing.
_________________________
-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?

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#342080 - 03/27/16 03:35 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Mastering a song [Re: dcuny]
VideoTrack Offline
Veteran

Registered: 06/05/12
Posts: 7238
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Carolyne, I agree with David

I don't ever see that you are doing anything wrong. The technique you are using is apparently working very well. Your material is always first class. You just use a different approach. And that's obviously perfectly OK.
_________________________

BIAB, RB 2018(Audiophile), Sonar Platinum, Izotope Prod. Bundle, Roland RD-1000, Synthogy Ivory, Kontakt, Focusrite 18i20, KetronSD2, KorgX3R, RodeNGT2, AM802mixer, NS40M Studio Monitors, Pioneer Active Mons, AKG K271 Studio H'phones

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#342099 - 03/27/16 06:37 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Mastering a song [Re: dcuny]
Guitarhacker Offline
Veteran

Registered: 04/03/09
Posts: 5248
Originally Posted By: dcuny


There's one rule of music: if it sounds good, it is good.




Yup... it doesn't matter how you get there. There are many paths you can go by.... If someone listens and says.... "Wow, that's good"... you have done your job.
_________________________
You can find my music at:
www.herbhartley.com

Add nothing that adds nothing to the music

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#342112 - 03/27/16 08:41 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Mastering a song [Re: CocoTex]
ROG Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/12/11
Posts: 2356
Loc: York, England
Hi everyone.

I'm surprised that this thread has gone so far without anyone mentioning compressors.

I remember back in the 70s, mixing with the old guy who was my mentor and who taught me most of what I know about recording and who had mixed a fair few chart successes. The first thing he would do is to patch compressors into all the rhythm tracks. If you have too much dynamic range in your rhythm instruments then the tracks can combine in all sorts of horrible and unexpected ways, which will interfere with the vocal in exactly the way that CocoTex described. This technique gave rise to Malcolm's famous phrase - "When I put something in the mix, I want it to stay there". And generally it did! With the rhythm tracks tamed, mixing the backing track was a piece of cake and it left room for the vox and lead instruments to use dynamics to good effect without getting lost. Some years later, I was talking to one of the guys from the cutting room (mastering), who said that they rarely touched Malcolm's mixes - they just cut the copper master straight from the tape.

Don't get to thinking that the Realtracks don't need compressing - they are generally recorded without too much compression, in order to leave the choice up to the mixing engineer.

Finally, I'm not saying that automated envelopes aren't useful - they obviously are, but they aren't the full story.

Just trying to help with a few thoughts....

ROG.

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#342118 - 03/27/16 09:04 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Mastering a song [Re: Carolyne]
Carolyne Offline
Apprentice

Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 213
Loc: California
Thanks to all for the clarification. I just want to make sure I'm mixing my songs in a manner that gives me the best sound advantage. It's sort of like poaching eggs. You think you know what you're doing, until you see someone else do it. I take the information on these Forums seriously, and always listen with an expectation to learn something. Ha! It's a principle I wish I had adopted earlier in life. Thanks again for sharing.
-Carolyne

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#342134 - 03/27/16 11:42 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Mastering a song [Re: CocoTex]
CocoTex Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 02/14/16
Posts: 39
Loc: Portland, Oregon USA
Well...this outpouring has been amazing and helpful and a great sanity check.

As suggested, I did strip tracks off, starting with 2, and removed all bar and chord setting (many times, I'm always finding something here and there, and often the ending no longer plays correctly if I change much or certain things. I don't mean anything near the ending, but eventually I get it back on track).

Starting with 2 tracks and building is excellent, nod to DGA and others.

I've not even learned about compression yet, way over my head as it is. I did get 1 song the way I like it. I don't have formal music training, can't read it, so no note tweaks, just worked with what I had. I ran it thru LandR a couple of different ways, and the result was what I was looking for (just for Reverbnation, and perhaps later I'll use it to explain/show the studio/producer what I want in the song).

Here's something I could use help with, and I was able to accomplish this previously, but must have tweaked/set something up wrong. Let's say, for simplicity's sake.

I record 3 tracks on BIAB, guitar, drum, bass, get them where I like them, render to wav files, then I load the wav files on a separate digital recorder I use in my home studio, Zoom R16, which has worked great for me.

The 3 tracks play great on the Zoom, the settings from BIAB are generally preserved, the volume can be a little iffy for each, but the tempo is right on for them.

Then, using the Zoom, I'll record a vocal track (separate track, mono, 24 bit).

Zoom saves all files as wavs. I'll transfer the one vocal wav track back to BIAB, (File, Import audio wav etc files). I only do this so I can see if I'd like different/additional instrument tracks. This worked fine previously, but now the audio file loaded into BIAB is out of sync and the tempo is off.

To test, I loaded all 4 wav files (all 3 instrument wavs from BIAB, and the 1 vocal wav from the Zoom unit) directly into a couple DAWs and everything is in sync there.

Is there a fix for it in BIAB? Or can I correct something I've set improperly?

(I have rebooted and fully shut down all devices several times to see. Just in general, I do have to do this often with BIAB anyway for some reason, and the error at the time is missing once rebooted).

Also, while I'm begging for info, when I make a chord change, it is not recognized until I regenerate the entire song. Like if I just regenerate the piano, it will recognize the new chord, but the other non-regenerated instruments will not. I'm sure there's a better way to do this, hate regenerating when it's not required.)

Thanks everyone.

Andy
_________________________
2016 BIAB UltraPlusPak HD
Windows 8.1
8 GB, 64-bit, 2 TB
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB 2.0 Audio Interface
M-Audio AV40 Monitors (powered)
Zoom R16 Recorder - Interface - Controller

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#342139 - 03/27/16 11:59 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Mastering a song [Re: ROG]
VideoTrack Offline
Veteran

Registered: 06/05/12
Posts: 7238
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: ROG
I'm surprised that this thread has gone so far without anyone mentioning compressors.


Wow, yes, excellent point. They really can be a very important go-to tool. A must for getting some dynamic balance into the mix.
_________________________

BIAB, RB 2018(Audiophile), Sonar Platinum, Izotope Prod. Bundle, Roland RD-1000, Synthogy Ivory, Kontakt, Focusrite 18i20, KetronSD2, KorgX3R, RodeNGT2, AM802mixer, NS40M Studio Monitors, Pioneer Active Mons, AKG K271 Studio H'phones

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#342182 - 03/27/16 07:27 PM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Mastering a song [Re: CocoTex]
dga Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 02/22/15
Posts: 671
Loc: Raleigh NC
Andy why aren't you using RealBand to open up your BIAB files?
_________________________
"When you help somebody else you are really helping yourself"

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#342185 - 03/27/16 07:44 PM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Mastering a song [Re: CocoTex]
dga Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 02/22/15
Posts: 671
Loc: Raleigh NC
If you don't want an instrument to regenerate with the others Freeze the track/instruments. However, if you make a Chord change with frozen track/instrument the chord change will not effect that track. You can change a C7 to a C9 freeze the piano, Drums and Bass leave the guitar unfrozen that will sound OK. But if you change a C to an F that will not sound at all correct. Look up substitution chords and you can see what chord changes you may try making for only one instrument while others are frozen.
I freeze the drum track when I like the sound of the drums.

I also freeze my guitar/piano track when I change a C to a C/G(or Cmaj with a G Bass that is what this notation represents) C/B, C/A and I only want the BASS to pick up the change. I'll make a series of slash chords after freezing the Guitar track (or piano) and then regenerate the Bass. The bass pattern follows the bass notes indicated in the cord, most of the time. The Guitar and/or the Piano stay on the basic chord.
_________________________
"When you help somebody else you are really helping yourself"

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#342186 - 03/27/16 07:52 PM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Mastering a song [Re: CocoTex]
dga Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 02/22/15
Posts: 671
Loc: Raleigh NC
Originally Posted By: CocoTex




Also, while I'm begging for info, when I make a chord change, it is not recognized until I regenerate the entire song. Like if I just regenerate the piano, it will recognize the new chord, but the other non-regenerated instruments will not. I'm sure there's a better way to do this, hate regenerating when it's not required.)

Thanks everyone.

Andy


The Snowflake is the Freeze button next to the solo and mute buttons. Turns blue when its frozen, grey when it is unfrozen. I freeze all tracks when I like the arrangement that the instruments are playing. And I freeze all track on a song when I am finished with it. If you accidently enter a chord or push the generate button, you may never hear that super arrangement you once had.
_________________________
"When you help somebody else you are really helping yourself"

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#342216 - 03/28/16 05:28 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Mastering a song [Re: dga]
CocoTex Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 02/14/16
Posts: 39
Loc: Portland, Oregon USA
Thanks, DGA.

I've rarely opened RB. My head's about to explode as it is. But I'll try that with the "new" audio vocal track. Still it's weird that once I could, but now I can't get an imported audio track to play in sync.

I knew that about freezing, and that's why I asked. I did not know if there was a work-around when changing a chord other than regenerating an instrument, or all instruments to pick up the new chord, but then losing all the frozen arrangements.

I'd never thought about singling out instruments for chord tweaks, though. Cool idea.

Thanks for your help.
_________________________
2016 BIAB UltraPlusPak HD
Windows 8.1
8 GB, 64-bit, 2 TB
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB 2.0 Audio Interface
M-Audio AV40 Monitors (powered)
Zoom R16 Recorder - Interface - Controller

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#342248 - 03/28/16 11:53 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Mastering a song [Re: CocoTex]
Jim Fogle Offline
Veteran

Registered: 08/20/11
Posts: 3166
Loc: Winston-Salem, NC USA
CocoTex,

When you record a track on your Zoom R16 are you creating space for the two bar lead in BiaB requires? When you listen to a BiaB recorded track on the Zoom R16 while you are recording a new track you will hear a two bar count-in generated by the R16 and a two bar count in generated by BiaB. Even if you do not include the BiaB generated two bar count in when BiaB renders the track, two bars of empty space need to be present at the beginning of the R16 created track if the R16 track is going to be imported into BiaB.

Another thought is your R16 recording settings may not match BiaB settings. BiaB uses 16 bit depth at 44.1Khz sample rate. You indicated the R16 bit depth is 24 bits. That's fine as BiaB just ignores the extra bits but what sample rate do you have the R16 set at? A mismatched sample rate can cause pitch or timing error.

Here's another approach to mixing you may like:

Lower all track faders to 0 volume.

Raise the drum fader until the drum volume level is comfortable.

Raise the bass volume level until the sound of the bass blends well with the drums. Can you clearly hear the kick drum? Does the kick drum hide any of the bass notes? If so then you need to adjust both track EQs until everything can be clearly heard then adjust your fader levels again to blend the tracks.

Add another track and repeat the last step.

By the time you're finished adding tracks everything should still be clearly heard and at the correct volume level relative to each other.
_________________________
Jim Fogle
2017 BiaB (470) UltraPlusPak RB 2017 (Build 8)
Sonar Home Studio - Cakewalk Music Creator 6 - Audacity
i3 laptop, 64bit Win 7, 8 GB ram, 480GB HDD
Music at: http://fogle622.wix.com/fogle622-audio-home

++ Saving My Sanity One Song At A Time ++

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#342265 - 03/28/16 03:13 PM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Mastering a song [Re: CocoTex]
CocoTex Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 02/14/16
Posts: 39
Loc: Portland, Oregon USA
Thank you, Jim.

The R16 allows a choice of either 16 or 24 bits, and the depth is 44.1Khz, no changes allowed for this sample rate. I'll change it to 16 just in case it accidently has an effect. But you may have hit a spot for me.

When rendering BIAB tracks to wav files (mono and one file per BIAB track) I do select 2 bar lead-in, and I don't find a way to specifically add 2 bars to the R16, but I'm recording the track based on the BIAB track's lead in.

BUT I think recently I added the BIAB 2 second delay (the Render to Audio File cell under "ACID info"). So that might be it, but the tempo still has been off when I import the new track from the R16 to BIAB.

(I don't know if ACID info is needed, so if you think that's a problem too, please let me know.)

I've reset the delay at start to 0 seconds and will try it. Like I said, I used not to have this issue, so it must be something I tinkered with.

Thank you again for taking time to help me. All of you, too.

Andy


Edited by CocoTex (03/28/16 03:29 PM)
_________________________
2016 BIAB UltraPlusPak HD
Windows 8.1
8 GB, 64-bit, 2 TB
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB 2.0 Audio Interface
M-Audio AV40 Monitors (powered)
Zoom R16 Recorder - Interface - Controller

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