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Is Actually Recording
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, you guys gave me some great feedback on the first song I shared a while back, so here's a couple other recent mixes from that project that I'd love some feedback on. In particular, the low end isn't as solid as I would want.

Dead Man's Mule - Kind of a slow bluegrass track. This is the last song my dad wrote for this project and the last full song we recorded (for those who are into this stuff, this was done with the CAPIs on acoustic instruments and the BAE for vocals). I want to play with some volume automation on the "chorus" at the end, and I'll probably do some more tweaking of the drum programming. This one's in pretty good shape, I think, though.

https://drewpeterson7.files.wordpress.com/2018/05/deadmansmule.mp3

The Raven's Prayer - I wrote this one, and as has been par for the course on this project, if you write it you sing it, so I apologize profusely. :lol: This is more squarely in minor-key folk rock territory, but there's a LOT of layers here - acoustic, sparse piano, and a string keyboard part as well.

https://drewpeterson7.files.wordpress.com/2018/05/theravensprayer.mp3

Feedback on anything is welcome, but I only rarely mix vocal music so that's an area of concern, and when I burned most of the "mixed" tracks to a CD-R to toss into my car while running a few errands over the weekend I felt like the low end was pretty mushy. I've done some work to these since, but that's still an area of concern.
 

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It's always a ballsy move to put vocals out there, so you'll never hear me knock it. :yesway:

What I will say though is that you need to relax and re-track 'em. I get that you're going for the John Voight / Bob Dylan thing where it's half-sung half spoken, but when the vocals are this dry it honestly just sounds like you mic'd yourself up singing along to the radio in traffic. It sounds like someone that's uncomfortable singing and IMO makes it hard to listen to.

Alternately, have a few drinks first. :lol: The mix sounds cool otherwise though, it's just that the super dry vocals that aren't really punched in there sound really out of place.

:2c:

Your dad's vocals sound great, btw. :yesway:
 

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Also, I totally meant Tom Waits and not Jon Voight, but it's kind of fitting so I'm leaving it there. :lol:
 

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Is Actually Recording
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
:lol: Honestly, this is about as good as they're going to get, I'm just a shitty singer. Thankfully, aside from you motherfuckers, this isn't going any farther than immediate family. :lol:
 

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Hates Richie Kotzen
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Hmmmmmm, quick thoughts...

-Needs more grit in general. On every element. Maybe some very sparing plate/spring reverb on the entire mix.

-Vocals need to be more Tom Waits-y. I don't like Tom Waits, but the material/lyrics kind of call for it here.

-Composition wise on the second one, it would really benefit from you harmonizing a line here and there to mix things up. You don't even necessarily have to be harmonizing concurrently, it can be an echo effect kind of harmony that occurs slightly after. Lines like "a thousand miles long"/"lost siren song"/Never runs dry"/"Dead mans cry" etc. Can't really put my finger on the example I was thinking of off the top of my head, too early in the morning. But Fleetwood Mac does it a lot I guess. Not even excessive vocal harmonies, not even pitch perfect, one or two examples in the entire song. One or two lines, would really put it over the top.


-This is to taste, but in general, I feel the mix has the wrong EQ profile. It sounds too modern, for this kind of music I would want something more mid-centric, even honky. Nowhere near as hi-fi sounding. I would specifically reference Fleetwood Mac's "Rumors" and any of Ennio Morricione's soundtracks. Some people might like the hi-fi sound, but I would prefer a period correct mix/feel in all honesty. High pass the vocals on the second one higher too.


-The piano on the second one, is it programmed? I personally don't like that piano sound for the material. IMO, it calls for more of an "up right old west saloon"/"honky tonk" piano. Didn't listen too closely, but that sounds like, a top 10 concert grand kinda thing. It needs an upright type sound. EZKeys has some awesome piano sounds if you are programming, although it's kind of expensive, might want to look into it. The piano is too mellow though, I don't think it's a mixing choice really, you want a ruder piano sound IMO.

-Easy trick for guitar to get a grittier "old west"/"country" type sound is to stick a dollar bill (or $20 or $100, although tonally I doubt it makes a difference :lol:) and thread it through the strings near the bridge. Hard to describe in words, check the below video or google. "Johnny cash dollar bill trick". Johnny Cash popularized that. Very old trick, highly useful. I wouldn't replace the guitar sound you have, but another layer of guitar sound mixed in with the dollar bill trick might sound cool/"authentic". Not really a massive change, but adding a sparing layer of that might be cool.


-I feel like you could use more musical elements. Particularly in the second one. Personally I would say pedal steel or mandolin. I mean, there is something to be said for simplicity, but I really think one of those would work brilliantly. Maybe both. Traditional pedal steel would be awesome, but you could do some simpler rock pedal steel type stuff like 2:47 here, though perhaps with less gain. Solos/accompaniment/whatever. I mean, unless you are going for a really sedate Norah Jones coffee house type sound, I don't see any reason to not add some cool pedal steel. Mandolin would be excellent as well.

 

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:lol: Honestly, this is about as good as they're going to get, I'm just a shitty singer. Thankfully, aside from you motherfuckers, this isn't going any farther than immediate family. :lol:
Your pops is recording an album with his son. Give him a non-mailed-in performance man, he's going to listen to it a hell of a lot more than you are. :yesway:
 

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Is Actually Recording
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Dude, that IS a non-mailed-in performance, for me. I'm not a good singer, I've already re-tracked that a number of times and even that one was comped together from several takes, sometimes phrase by phrase, to minimize the shittyness. :lol:

Greg - at this point I don't think we're going to be going back and adding additional instruments (and, I don't own a pedal steel, though it'd be a blast to have one), but I can definitely try to make this a grittier, less contemporary sounding mix. I've gone pretty light on things like tape and console saturation, but that wouldn't take much rework to push that a little further. The piano isn't programmed, but it was played on an electronic keyboard rather than a mic'd up piano. I can definitely brighten or grunge up the recording though.

EDIT - though, re: overall mix EQ and harmonizing/echoing certain lines, I feel like that would be working at cross purposes a little, wouldn't it? The latter would strike me as a fairly "modern" touch, at least compared to, say, the vibe of an old Tom Waits track.
 

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For the genre, I think you're on track. If anything, bring the drums a bit back in the mix as this style of music is typically more about the vocals and acoustic instruments.

Vocally, good on you for giving it a go. Well done! It sounds like you're running out of air / control in a few places. Find a vocal teacher and take dozen or so lessons and you'll be amazed at the difference you'll get.
 

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Is Actually Recording
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Find a vocal teacher and take dozen or so lessons and you'll be amazed at the difference you'll get.
I try to avoid situations where I have to sing, but that's probably good advice. :lol:
 

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Dude, that IS a non-mailed-in performance, for me. I'm not a good singer, I've already re-tracked that a number of times and even that one was comped together from several takes, sometimes phrase by phrase, to minimize the shittyness. :lol:
Now all I can do is picture you in the booth doing the lines for "Cruisin' in my 6-4" like Eazy-E in Straight Outta Compton :lol:
 

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for the first song, you need to eq the vocals a little more, it's a little spiky.

when you tracked vocals for the second one, were you sitting or standing?

sounds like you were right up against the mic as i can hear how quiet you're singing in the room. you'll get a little better pitch if you're actually pushing some air out. set up the mic 3 feet away and stand up. push from your diaphragm.

i also suck at singing but those are the things i've learned. retrack one or two lines like that and then compare. i think you'll like it more.
 

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Is Actually Recording
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks Beard - by spikey, you mean the high end, and not the dynamic content?

I was definitely standing, but was singing within 3-6" of the mic, probably. And the problem with pushing more air, is my pitch control, already bad, tends to go to shit. :lol:
 

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Thanks Beard - by spikey, you mean the high end, and not the dynamic content?

I was definitely standing, but was singing within 3-6" of the mic, probably. And the problem with pushing more air, is my pitch control, already bad, tends to go to shit. :lol:
might be a bit of both high end and dynamic content. i'd try to squash it a little more first then fuck with the eq.

the reason your pitch control goes fucky when you're pushing more air is because you're used to singing along to shit quietly instead of belting it out. practice, son. :D
 

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Is Actually Recording
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
might be a bit of both high end and dynamic content. i'd try to squash it a little more first then fuck with the eq.

the reason your pitch control goes fucky when you're pushing more air is because you're used to singing along to shit quietly instead of belting it out. practice, son. :D
How about I just stick to writing instrumental music? :lol:
 

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Is Actually Recording
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Eh, play to your strengths. :lol:

Next album I do I'll probably hold it a bit less close to my chest while I'm working on it, and post rough mixes up around here, though considering the advice I'm getting so far is "retrack it all" maybe that's a bad idea. :lol:
 

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The instruments sound good really. They are nice and clear. Are you double tracking your vocals? A good thing to do is to double track them, and make one track your dubs or your wet track. Even if you dont put any processing on them, you can put them lower in the mix and give the vocals support. It is sorta like double tracking guitar parts.
 

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Eh, play to your strengths. :lol:

Next album I do I'll probably hold it a bit less close to my chest while I'm working on it, and post rough mixes up around here, though considering the advice I'm getting so far is "retrack it all" maybe that's a bad idea. :lol:
i think everyone is saying retrack it because we all hear that you actually have the talent/skill to do it but then again, i'm not yo' daddy, do what you want. hahaha
 

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If you're going to leave the vocals as-is on the second tune, at least add some kind of processing to them IMO. You asked for the feedback, and everyone's telling you the same thing. Retrack it with some gusto, or cover up the bad with SD2.0BluBPreZetpaX.
 
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