Author Topic: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc  (Read 4751 times)

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Offline diademgrove

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Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
« Reply #30 on: February 28, 2013, 05:44:52 pm »
That was a relief. I noticed Endureth liked it last night. Just got in from work and am really pleased with Digger's comments.

Justin and Digger the vocal was not meant to be punk, it was my attempt at putting ADT on John Lennon's vocal, but who cares as long as it worked.

Endureth I envisaged the solo ending on a bent note with a bit of vibrato. From about 1:44 I envisaged a bit of Hendrix, the slide section of All Along The Watchtower. The first part of the solo would be the first rush of love, the next section comfortable middle age and finally the last note happy old age. Yes I'm an old romantic at heart. If we were in a studio that's what I would have suggested.

It is a really good song and well recorded, all I did was put a bit of sparkle into those places I felt it needed it.

I'm pleased you all liked it. Any time you want me to look at something I'm generally available, health permitting.

Finally, all I've learned I've learned by trial and error. I've not wasted large amounts of tape and the undo button is always available. I always ask myself does that sound good? If it does I keep it, if not it disappears into cyberspace. Be careful though it may become addictive.

Offline digger72

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Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
« Reply #31 on: February 28, 2013, 08:48:08 pm »
Hi Diadem,

I envisaged a bit of Hendrix too - then i woke up and realised it was me playing! :D

There's this song, which is based on Justin's "write the lyrics" challenge, which I've mixed and unmixed, and mixed some more. As soon as the vocal is done (hopefully by Katja when she's back up and running), I will post our version with the wavs so others can have a go.

Cheers,

Digger

Offline diademgrove

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Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
« Reply #32 on: March 01, 2013, 09:49:17 pm »
Hi Digger,

still recovering from my week. I've done far too much. Looking forward to getting the stems for your next song.

Starting to write something about our game with Huddersfield Town and the way we are being treat by West Yorkshire police. Still bouncing around the ceiling in anger. Its funny how the muse appears when you least expect it.

Take care,

Diadem

Offline digger72

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Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
« Reply #33 on: April 08, 2013, 10:23:13 pm »
These are the wavs to our new song, Eternally Yours, should anyone fancy a mixing challenge.

http://www.4shared.com/rar/xwseH-o0/ey_wav_pack.html

Cheers,

Digger

Offline TB-AV

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Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
« Reply #34 on: April 08, 2013, 11:26:28 pm »
Is there some reason all those files are recorded so low.

Piano-1 for instance -33dB peak -56dB RMS

Vocal are in the 20 -30 range. Most everything is way down.

any midi tracks? Exact Tempo?

and what key is that?
« Last Edit: April 09, 2013, 04:54:31 am by TB-AV »
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Offline digger72

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Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
« Reply #35 on: April 09, 2013, 10:40:44 am »
Code: [Select]
HI TB,

Bpm = 90
Key: not sure. The overdrive guitar plays A - G# - B5 - G in the verses and A - G# - D# - A# in the choruses. (all as barre chords)

It's not that i record the tracks low, i just turn them down so that the master doesn't go over about 6dB. (Don't know if this is a bad thing to do - just read it somewhere)

I then bring the volume up a little when i do my messing with the final track.

Endureth's done a new bass line which can be found here:

http://www.4shared.com/music/vgQ_JHPK/Eternally_Yours_-_Endureth_Bas.html

Cheers,

Digger
« Last Edit: April 09, 2013, 09:51:13 pm by digger72 »

Offline TB-AV

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Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
« Reply #36 on: April 09, 2013, 02:32:25 pm »
Ok, in the future, you want to deliver your tracks the way they were recorded.

IOW,,, there is Tracking ( recording ) and Mixing.

During Tracking you want to have peaks not exceeding -6dB. -10dB is fine too. -12dB is fine. Those are peak values. Your RMS will vary depending on instrument. At any rate those are your raw traclks. They represent the best the artist and engineer were able to capture. they basically say... this is it.. this is my art and talent to the best of my ability.

Phase two....
--- For talented artists these tracks are now delivered for mixing.
--- For less talented maybe there are five takes of a vocal or lead guitar and they get compped down to one "keeper" track. Again level not to exceed -6dB. That comp take is then delivered as the vocal track or lead guitar track. You can also send the scratch tracks because maybe the mixer might hear something or need a note or two or whatever.. but the final "keeper track" represents what you feel was your best artistic and recorded effort.

so you deliver
Kick
Snare
HH
cym
vocal
--- vocal scratch tracks ( possibly in a folder and clearly labeled )
Keys
--- Keys scratch tracks ( same as above )
vocal
--- Vocal scratch
Etc.
Etc.

Then.... comes the mixing.

This is where the mixer blends the tracks to make it sound interesting. IOW that tambourine that was played for 5 minutes maybe gets blended out for all but 30 seconds total. Guitars ride up and down as vocals appear. The overall dynamics of the song are applied. Maybe even some "sweetening" elements are applied in the form of a new instrument. Maybe an instrument is replaced as Endureth has now provided.

So it's TWO very important and separate processes. RAW but "highest quality" tracks you can provide. Mix  + production... which is usually guided by the Producer.

In your case... you are pretty much giving free reign for anyone to produce whatever they want. I mean someone could turn it into a dance mix if they wanted. OR.. you as a producer could say... I absolutely want this, this, this and that as you mix it. In that scenario the Mix engineer is still going to make it sound as interesting as possible but he won't turn a Pink Floyd type song into a Fat Boy Slim type song.

=============
Key,,,, OK.. I was trying to do something with the vocals and it seemed like you were singing a C# held note and then a D# held note and one or the other sounded out of tune. I put a tuner on everything and set it to D# and the notes were close for the most part but some of course sounded really processed. I was pretty tired when I did it so need to relisten. It's actually a pretty interesting song to mix. Needs a lot of automation that I was too tired to do, but you can get a lot more power out of it.

Right now though.... as you can see from my outline above... each mixer will have to get your tracks to there pre-mix raw state where you can say for each track... ok this is the art ready for mixing. Each is a finished item. So the bottom line is... when you listen to a raw track... you should ask yourself.. Is this what I want my guitar, vocal or whatever to sound like. Is this the quality and size I want the mixer to process?

For instance you might deliver a DI guitar signal AND a distorted guitar. You may tell the mixer.. look the distorted is what I want but it's not the exact sound as I don't a good amp. Here is a DI track too IF you happen to have a means of processing it through a modeler for a better distorted guitar. IOW, don;t expect a mixer to turn your distorted Crate Amp into a Soldano. But s/he can run a clean DI guitar through a Soldano model. So you send both tracks and label them accordingly.

It's also not a bad idea to record 10 seconds of "room silence" at the level it would appear on any of your tracks. Also if you have AC noise or any noise source... record 10 seconds of that, again at the level it would have been recorded during instrument tracking. You can fix that noise issue or ask the mixer to try and fix it depending on who is most likely to get it right.

Hope that makes sense. Also you are going to need to provide Tempo, Key, Song Chart, and other notes that help others understand what you did, what you think you did, and/or what you want.

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Offline TB-AV

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Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
« Reply #37 on: April 09, 2013, 03:00:00 pm »
OK,, Endureth... same thing for you.... You file was way to low but this is a very good example.

Now when you load your file it's real low so i press play... sounds ok I turn it up a bit... so now I decide I will have to gain that up with a plugin or normalize or something. So let's just normalize it to -7 or so.

Now take a listen... Now we hear string clacks........ that's a lot different..... did the player want..... do they realize it's there..... do they realize compressors will hear those clacks and act on them? OR... did the artist really want just a clean smooth notes without the clacks....... the mixer has no idea.

Again in this case where the mixer is producer as well he can choose to work around it, use it as is and if people don't like it say well that's what I was delivered, fix the clacks - time consuming, Use the clacks as a percussive element in the song.......... BUT...  we never really know what did the artist want to deliver?......... should the artist have delivered a line with clack and one without?

So this is a very good example of the track you deliver being important as it stands. It's almost like each track you deliver is a mini solo song with regard to how it sounds "as-is".

.... and I'm not saying the clack is good or bad. That's irrelevant. If the mix requires no clack then that is what has to be. If the song needs clack then that is what has to be. This is simply to get everyone thinking about what they are delivering and how it looks to others. What they will be able to do with it.

Some things sounds very odd on there own and other times good on there own and odd in the mix. there is never harm in delivering two versions of something. Not everything of course but two bass lines in different styles or tonalities certainly would not be a problem. Just label them accordingly.
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Offline Endureth

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Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
« Reply #38 on: April 09, 2013, 04:44:30 pm »
OK,, Endureth...

It's not me on bass.

Oh, I just read the other posts and saw Digger put up my bass.  Didn't see that, sorry.  I just recorded to the same level Digger did for consistency.  I don't see this as an issue though, the point of this isn't to mix the song as the artist's want it, but to do it how you want, that's why we uploaded the rawest of raw tracks with no processing.

If I were to mix them, I would just normalize each track and then go from there.  Instant volume.

Quote
In your case... you are pretty much giving free reign for anyone to produce whatever they want. I mean someone could turn it into a dance mix if they wanted.


Yes.  That's the idea.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2013, 05:04:04 pm by Endureth »

Offline TB-AV

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Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
« Reply #39 on: April 09, 2013, 05:42:37 pm »

Oh, I just read the other posts and saw Digger put up my bass.  Didn't see that, sorry.  I just recorded to the same level Digger did for consistency.  I don't see this as an issue though, the point of this isn't to mix the song as the artist's want it, but to do it how you want, that's why we uploaded the rawest of raw tracks with no processing.


I'm just telling you how it should be done. Not many people want to spend time cleaning up files to do a free mix. If you win something or were being paid that's a different story. you quote a fee to reflect the work that needs to be done.

I'm not talking about processing the file. Yes, you want it raw. But if you delivered that to someone the first thing they are going to ask is ... "was there a problem" "why are your levels so low"

Ideally you don't want to be normalizing. You want the raw file to be peaks of about -10dB and that's it.

IOW, everyone that get's the file should hear what basically plays back as listenable raw track unaltered.

Also while this is a "mixer choice" deal... I'm pretty sure digger would like to hear a mix done in the style he presented. One that reflects his original intent. I mean it wouldn't make a lot of sense to provide a bass line that was say the mega metal distortion version. So there is some intent to serve the original idea no matter how adventurous the mixer may get.

All I can tell you is this... the more professional the tracks you receive the better your mix will likely be. Really well prepared tracks will almost mix themselves. Just raise the faders and the song appears. Also it is way more likely others will want to work you in the future.

Just passing along what is considered standard operating procedure. I have tracks from some people that sound so good I can hardly mix them because when I raise the faders it sounds like a song and I don't know how to make it better.

I have tracks that need so much tweaking that it never gets mixed. These type usually end up with the mixer being a very competent musician that replaces most of the parts.

You can guess which songs get heard the most.

Watch the YouTube videos of George Martin mixing the Beatles on a 4 track. If his raw tracks were all over the place he could not mix it. Yet when he pushes those faders up the song just happens. It's because they were recorded properly with forethought as to how they would used in the final product.

It's part of the art. Digital is not a panacea for attention to detail. What I am speaking of is no different that saying you need to sing in key and tune your guitar. It's the accepted and desired method.

... and again I'm not saying anything was wrong with these tracks aside from the levels. It's not like they have defects. But if one doesn't understand the general process they should take note.

If I recorded a bass or guitar lick. It would get delivered exactly the same to any one for any song. One file, one level, use on any song.  If someone were talking or a dog barks.. that would be edited out. Just one clean raw file that anyone can use for any purpose.

No different than what you find on a sample or loop CD. One file fits all.

 

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Offline digger72

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Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
« Reply #40 on: April 09, 2013, 08:42:02 pm »
Hi TB,

You see I thought raw meant "raw"- bare basic - give me free reign. I can re-upload with the levels zeroed -no problem. Do i leave compression, etc on, or is that for the person mixing the track?

Bpm - no problem
Chord chart - Do i do this for both guitars, or just the one playing the main chords, i.e. the overdriven guitar
Key - this is where the problems start. I'm guessing A.

Cheers,

Digger

Offline TB-AV

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Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
« Reply #41 on: April 09, 2013, 09:19:39 pm »
It's like this ..... Let's say the guitar sound I want for a given song is achieved by me plugging my guitar into a preamp, into an EQ, into a compressor, into a synth, into another compressor, into a fuzz box and finally.... into the DAW track...

I record that. I set my levels such that I get peaks of about -6 to -10. I press record and play.

Now I could emulate all that hardware in the box with software emulations. So YES, if that is the sound I want my guitar to have.... leave all processing.

What you --don't- do is then apply reverb or compression, process the file ane then send that processed file. That is no longer the raw tracked file.

A guitar track with chorus miced through amp is still considered a raw file. So it's your decision at some point... what do you consider the base voice of the musical instrument you played. Or another way... what did you record?   that's pretty much it... what did you record.

Now again.... if your cat wanders in the room and meows. You take a minute to listen to your track and edit that out. Also if you are using high gain, maybe your track has a lot of buzz and bleed..... if you can... if you know how.... clean that stuff up.... or make a note in the project that the guitar track needs noise gating.

It's sort of like deciding to cook a really nice meal. You decide what you want ( type of  song ), then you buy ingredients ( the good stuff, not road kill ), then you get fresh spices ( not 20 year jar with bugs in it )..... then.... you give all to your wife to cook  :D so it's suitable for consumption.

Remember nice proper clean files have two things...

1. Headroom from processing ( That's the 6 to 10 dB below 0 )
2. Cleaned of background or other extraneous noises. IOW, is the file the best representation of what I am trying to do.


Think about it..... if you were getting ( especially paying ) someone to mix your songs, do you want to pay them to correct tuning, remove noises, adjust seriously bad levels, sort through tracks and try to figure what's what....

OR... do you want them using their gear and skills to make your tracks that you worked hard on to sound like a song you hear on the radio?

It happens both ways but believe me... mixers hate the former and give that work to interns to sort through.

You see this picture.... There is no marking but I assume the line at top is 0dBFS.


The first track is too hot. It hit's Zero.
The second track looks like it mightbe ok or close to where -6dB probably is.
The third and 4th tracks look like they would be in the -10dB range
Again, I'm guessing because there is no scale.

If your were in that picture they would look like near flat lines.

That's what you want when you hit the stop button. Not normalized. A few dB here and there is no big deal. Anything past -20 will do but not over -6.

The rest is up to your artistic nature. Is it the sound you want on your record. If yes, then send it on. If no then fix it or ask for help from someone.

Here ya go... this is what you want your tracks to look like when you hit stop. They are peaking at just over -12dB or near -8dB towards the end.. It would be fine to have it a little hotter but not a peak that hits -6dB. If all of your tracks look like that you are good. Then you clean it up if needed. THEN... you mix it.




BTW... you don't need to alter these files as it might be a good idea for people to learn to fix them themselves after reading this. In the future though....... I would try to deliver a full package of proper levels and a text file with track list and notes. for instance there was one track in there that I still don;t know what it is. Seems like it's a mix of the song?


« Last Edit: April 09, 2013, 09:40:22 pm by TB-AV »
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Offline Endureth

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Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
« Reply #42 on: April 09, 2013, 09:48:18 pm »
Quote
It's sort of like deciding to cook a really nice meal. You decide what you want ( type of  song ), then you buy ingredients ( the good stuff, not road kill ), then you get fresh spices ( not 20 year jar with bugs in it )..... then.... you give all to your wife to cook   so it's suitable for consumption.

I lol'd

And normalizing is fine.  All it does it max out the volume without adding distortion, this is digital, not analog.  Then you lower the volume of your newly normalized to where you want it.  It's not really that hard at all.  I mean... I figured it out.

I also have a little real world experience as well.  I was going to have one of our songs professionally mixed but a storm hit, and I had to start saving money to repair some roof damage.  But we did make it as far as me submitting the tracks.  What he wanted was all the raw tracks in wav form.  Then he was going to charge me one hour while he "set all the initial levels", set panning, etc. to prepare the song for mixing.  This is not hard to do.

Then I would come in for the first appointment and discuss how I heard the song while he mixed it.  This was the part we were leaving to you guys, to mix it how you heard it.  You could remove instruments, layer tracks, add your own solo, whatever you wanted.  But mostly, so people could just throw this into a daw to be able to learn their daw with if they were brand new at this and wanted to see how whole songs were built.

After you normalize the track, you just grab the top of the track itself and drag down to set your initial volume, NOT the volume slider, that comes later.  If it bugs you to have the volume down on each track while you're mixing, you can just 'glue' the newly adjusted track and it will reset the volume bar to the top of the track without adjusting the actual volume from where you've set it.

So, while I get what you're saying, I have to disagree.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2013, 10:36:28 pm by Endureth »

Offline digger72

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Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
« Reply #43 on: April 09, 2013, 10:00:38 pm »
It's funny. I was working on the chord chart and it wasn't F# i played, it was B5. Memory like a sieve.

Verse:
A  A-G# G#-B5 B5-G
G-A A-G# G# -B5 B5-G

Chorus:
G-A A-G# G#-D# A#
G-A A-G# G#-D# A#

it just repeats with variations on the strums under the solo.

The second guitar during the verse is a triad pattern on the ADG strings frets 9-11.
Am- C aug - two things i don't know what - but the notes are (F#, C , F#)(G, B, G)

Under the chorus it's just a bit of a lead line.

The other files are still uploading - so they will be there if you want them.

Production notes - i just like dark, rich sounds. Think Depeche Mode meets Muse. Slightly grungy, but warm.

Useless - I know! :D

Offline TB-AV

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Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
« Reply #44 on: April 09, 2013, 10:21:21 pm »
So, while I get what you're saying, I have to disagree.

Understood. Your opinion is simply contrary to most industry pros. I've found their advice to work well so I'm sticking with it.
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