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#791744 12/24/23 12:16 PM
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Midnight Shade

In the past, I've used very few plug-ins, mostly reverb, compression, and small amounts of distortion - the common ones. Last week I decided to play around with some of the more "adventuresome" plug-ins at my disposal. Let me know what you think - good or bad.

Also, I want to apologize to Noel, Vic, and David Cuny for not having replied to their comments on one of my recent song posts - "Hotter Than Hades". I appreciate your input very much. I just wasn't able to get to them in a timely manner. And I didn't want to resurrect a song from page 3. But thanks so much!

This song is in the Smooth Jazz Fusion genre - quite a bit different from regular Smooth Jazz due to the effects used and the louder-than-usual drums. Plus, it's a little less fluid than typical Smooth Jazz.

Anyway, here are the particulars with a brief explanation of the plug-ins and why I chose them.


Song Summary – Midnight Shade

Title: Midnight Shade

File:Midnight Shade.SGU

Key=C , Tempo 90, Length (m:s)=3:01

Style is _BUTTER.STY (Butter Smooth Fusion Soloist)

RealTracks in style: ~903:Bass, Electric, SmoothCool Sw16 100
RealTracks in style: ~906:Piano, Electric, Rhythm SmoothCool Sw16 100
RealTracks in style: 3760:Guitar, Electric, Soloist FusionSmoothBrent Sw16 100
RealTracks in song: 1267:Synth Pad, PopShiningA-B Ev 120
RealDrums in Song:NashvilleRadioCoolSw16^1-a:Snare,Hihat , b:Snare, OpenHat

RT 3760 with following plug-ins: PG Dynamics, Sonitus - fx delay, Sonitus fx – modulator, Cakewalk- Para-Q


The plug-ins used, for those who might care about that -

PG Dynamics is a BIAB indigenous plug-in that pretty much gives the same effect as loudness (vs volume) control on a stereo amplifier. It slightly extends the presence/richness of the higher and lower frequencies, giving a touch more fullness to the outer edges of the employed frequency range. I used it for the obvious reason - to fatten the sound of the guitar.

The Sinitus fx - delay is pretty much self-explanatory. It creates an echo delay effect but includes a few more options than some other similar plug-ins. I like the delay effect on this song. But I gave it a relatively fast decay with a small amount of feedback that worked with the tempo of the song. I didn't want those two effects to carry over more than one beat from one bar to the next. That was the most tedious part of the project.

The Sinitus Modulator is basically a flange with a few other compatible options. I used a very small amount of flange - just enough to barely hear it. Why? because I like the somewhat quirky and mysterious sound of it.

The Cakewalk Para-Q gave me some phase shift along with some cross-tracking. I used a very small amount of phase shift as I wanted it to compliment the cross-talking, rather than compete with it. The cross-talk simply tosses a small amount of the left track over to the right channel, and vice versa for right to left.

The main reason I used the touch of phase shift and cross-talk was to fill out the soundscape. The EP was the only backing track other than the drums and bass. I tried multiple other backing tracks to work with the EP, but none of them were a good fit. Since the left and right-hand separation of the EP wasn't substantial when panned to the center, I used the cross-tracking to fill in the outer edges of the soundscape.

Hope that wasn't too boring!

But hope you enjoy the song.

Alan


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Al-David #791757 12/24/23 01:35 PM
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Alan, loved the groove in this one.
Super use of RTs.
I guess you would call this smooth fusion!
This is in the realm of Pat Metheny.
Sounds great!


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Al-David #791762 12/24/23 01:53 PM
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Alan, super job! About 30 years ago I jumped into the jazz guitar world with both feet. So many of the (at that time) new guys were processing their guitar sound in new and exciting ways. Your experiment sounds exactly like something many of them would have put out then. Think your use of FX is entirely appropriate, and sounds great to my ears. Particularly like the ping-pong delay on the lead, although I didn't see you call that out per se, so I may be hearing two different delays panned opposite. I frequently dislike long BiaB solo pieces since it can be challenging for them to sound like they are going somewhere musically. But this style sounds appropriate with a long BiaB solo. So...GREAT job!! Wishing you and Di and very Merry Christmas. Ron


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MarioD #791765 12/24/23 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by MarioD
Alan, loved the groove in this one.
Super use of RTs.
I guess you would call this smooth fusion!
This is in the realm of Pat Metheny.
Sounds great!


Hi Mario ...

Glad you liked it! I did some experimenting here that's all new to me. I guess I got some of it right!

Pat Metheny and Lee Ritenour are two of my favorite Jazz guitarists. Metheny is from the Kansas City, MO area (Lee's Summit, I think) and from the St. Louis. MO area (St. Charles). I like Kevin Eubanks, too.

Thanks for the listen and nice comments. Merry Christmas.

Alan & Di

Last edited by Al-David; 12/24/23 02:38 PM.

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DC Ron #791766 12/24/23 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by DC Ron
Alan, super job! About 30 years ago I jumped into the jazz guitar world with both feet. So many of the (at that time) new guys were processing their guitar sound in new and exciting ways. Your experiment sounds exactly like something many of them would have put out then. Think your use of FX is entirely appropriate, and sounds great to my ears. Particularly like the ping-pong delay on the lead, although I didn't see you call that out per se, so I may be hearing two different delays panned opposite. I frequently dislike long BiaB solo pieces since it can be challenging for them to sound like they are going somewhere musically. But this style sounds appropriate with a long BiaB solo. So...GREAT job!! Wishing you and Di and very Merry Christmas. Ron

HI Ron,

Thank you so much for the kind words!

You are hearing two delays panned opposite. I just liked that effect better than other options I tried. I've always been a smooth Jazz fan, but I got into other subgenres of Jazz in the late 70s and 80s. George Benson was a major influence in that decision. Larry Carlton and Earl Klugh also influenced my pleasure with the genre.

Many thanks! Merry Christmas from both of us.

Alan & Di


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Al-David #791908 12/26/23 07:26 AM
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Alan,

Smooth and tuneful! Loved this track. Excellent mix and some great sounding drums.

Bob

Al-David #792064 12/27/23 09:29 AM
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Alan,

Your instrumentals are always well done, nicely structured, SO listenable...
This sounds great.

LOVE the processing. It has Life! Sparkle.

Excellent.

fj

Al-David #792086 12/27/23 12:41 PM
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Hi Al
Cool song
Really a great sound you have created
The song sounds extremely good
Great job Al
Many greetings
Andi ;-)

Al-David #792123 12/27/23 02:42 PM
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The guitar's dynamics certainly are enhanced - a more "live" sound too.
Nice one Alan.


Cheers
rayc
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Al-David #792285 12/28/23 09:23 AM
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Dig it, Alan. Listened a few times and not once did I analyze plug-ins. Besides, with my Wall-Of-Sound thinking, I would not be one to give the best advice. One thing I DO know is good music, and this piece is really really good. Brent is so extraordinarily good at this style. The changes you gave him are just so much fun and results in such a pleasent feel. Did you have to work on his playing much to get is so fluid? A good write like this presented by outstanding musicians will sound so good no matter what.


Enjoy whatever happens!
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Al-David #792289 12/28/23 09:43 AM
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Alan,
You are a king of these types of tunes. Composition skills on display. Well arranged and mixed. Enjoyed it and thank you for sharing.
Misha.

Al-David #792295 12/28/23 10:11 AM
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Alan...this is some cool jazz indeed...you use BiaB with perfection....I love the effects you chose to fill the stage with sound...very tasteful...sounds like a great band at an uptown club!


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rsdean #792331 12/28/23 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by rsdean
Alan,

Smooth and tuneful! Loved this track. Excellent mix and some great sounding drums.

Bob

Hi Bob,

Thanks a bunch! Glad you enjoyed it. And yeah, the drums are a little more upfront. That's not uncommon in the genre.

Hope you had a great Christmas and that 2024 is your best year ever.

Alan


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Originally Posted by floyd jane
Alan,

Your instrumentals are always well done, nicely structured, SO listenable...
This sounds great.

LOVE the processing. It has Life! Sparkle.

Excellent.

fj


HI Floyd,

Many thanks for dropping in for a listen and the really nice comments. I had no idea what I was doing with those plug-ins. I just kept playing around with them until I got the sound I wanted. But by doing so, I learned quite a bit about them. So that's a good thing! I think I'm pretty good at arranging and that my mixing is getting a little better. Part of that is because the recent version of Audacity has so many new options that are very useful - it's getting to being a basic DAW.

But these plug-ins (the ones I used in this song) weren't from Audacity - they were ones BIAB found for me on a plug-in scan. Although I have no idea how to use it, I downloaded Cakewalk and BIAB managed to find most of the Cakewalk plug-ins on the scan. All total, i spent about 8 hours on this song.

Hope 2024 brings you everything good!

Alan


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Originally Posted by PROJECT M
Hi Al
Cool song
Really a great sound you have created
The song sounds extremely good
Great job Al
Many greetings
Andi ;-)


Hi Andi,

It's good to see you back on the forum! I'm glad you enjoyed the song. Thanks for telling me!

I hope 2024 is a very good year for you.

Alan


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rayc #792335 12/28/23 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by rayc
The guitar's dynamics certainly are enhanced - a more "live" sound too.
Nice one Alan.


Hi Ray,

Thanks for all those really nice words! I'm just now learning to use more than the basic plugins. Having fun with it! And yeah, the cross-tracking gives it somewhat of the effect of playing in a large cavernous room. The chorus & delay is minimal.

It seems to have all worked out just fine. Thanks for the visit!

Here's hoping 2024 brings everything you hope for.

Alan


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Originally Posted by BabuMusic
Dig it, Alan. Listened a few times and not once did I analyze plug-ins. Besides, with my Wall-Of-Sound thinking, I would not be one to give the best advice. One thing I DO know is good music, and this piece is really really good. Brent is so extraordinarily good at this style. The changes you gave him are just so much fun and results in such a pleasent feel. Did you have to work on his playing much to get is so fluid? A good write like this presented by outstanding musicians will sound so good no matter what.


Hey Marty!

It's always a good time when you drop in for a listen. Brent is pretty versatile. He can play a wide variety of styles and genres. And with all the tools BIAB gives us, we can massage them to make them even more versatile. He's an amazing talent - as is BIAB.

I'm most delighted to hear that my "massaging" the sounds I chose works for you. And no, I had to do very little work to get this fluidity from him. I used the Multi-riff option only two or three times. The most time-consuming chore was getting the exact feedback and decay so the repeats wouldn't carry over more than one beat into the next bar. I spent close to two hours tinkering with that. I was very pleased with how the cross-tracking came out. It's just enough to fill the edges of the soundscape without distracting from the center.

Many thanks, my friend! Here's hoping 2024 is your best year ever.

Alan


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Originally Posted by Rustyspoon#
Alan,
You are a king of these types of tunes. Composition skills on display. Well arranged and mixed. Enjoyed it and thank you for sharing.
Misha.


JHI Misha,

So glad that you stopped in for a listen and left those nice comments.

Wishing you and yours a very happy 2024.

Alan


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firesong #792339 12/28/23 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by firesong
Alan...this is some cool jazz indeed...you use BiaB with perfection....I love the effects you chose to fill the stage with sound...very tasteful...sounds like a great band at an uptown club!


Hi Dan,

I'm always pleased to see your name on a review of my music. I'm delighted the effects work for you. I had a good time learning how to use them and being fortunate to get such an unexpectedly good result.

It's a genre I really enjoy. Thanks for the kindness.

Here's hoping you and yours have a blessed and prosperous new year.

Alan


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Al-David #792417 12/28/23 11:47 PM
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Hi, Alan.

Smooth jazz, cohesive song, love the FX processing.

And no, your notes weren't too long. It's interesting to see what sort of things people consider during production - especially if it's something I've never though of.

smile


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