Author Topic: Monthly competition general chit-chat thread  (Read 58461 times)

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Offline Fourtwo

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Re: Monthly competition general chit-chat thread
« Reply #275 on: December 23, 2018, 04:34:47 am »
Following the collaboration for the December comp, I thought it might be interesting for others to hear how our team developed our song and perhaps share the same with their productions. That way, we might be able to learn something more from the process.
I knew from previous comps that Brian has a talent with writing lyrics. I therefore expected a quality lyric to use as the basis of our song, but I wasn't quite ready for the length of the lyrics! I believe his original extended to 6 verses with no chorus. Given the length of the song ( or so I understood) was limited to 3 minutes that clearly wasn't going to work. Our "Bohemian Rhapsody will have to wait for another day! At this point Brian and I adopted a Mexican stand-off posture with each thinking the other was going to "own" the song. In the end I convinced Brian that the lyricist should own the song, and I suggested he go away and work up a chord sequence - a simple I, IV, V would suffice. In retrospect that was a little unfair since Brian is in the early stages of his guitar/musical journey and I think he was perhaps a little daunted. However, he worked with his friend Chris, who does have more musical knowledge and they worked up a first draft of the chords and sent it to me. At this point I'm expecting a simple I, IV, V major chord sequence in a basic 4/4 rhythm pattern. What I got was more chord changes, in a minor key and in waltz rhythm (3/3 I believe)! Now I may know a little about putting a song together, but Johann Strauss I'm not! So I reworked the chords slightly, changed the rhythm and put together a backing track with a suggested vocal melody and shared that with Brian through Soundcloud. It was here that one of biggest practical problems came into view. I was about to be travelling for 4 weeks and would not able to work on the production until I returned a few days before the deadline. Timing was going to be an issue and a few things conspired to cast doubt on whether we'd finish in time. During this period Brian, Chris and Eithne practiced the vocal part(s) and tried out a few other things to add into the mix. Included in these other items were the Trump narrative and the video. All of a sudden the track turned from being a mish mash of a song into something funny, with a consistent narrative and visual element to match - inspired stuff.  We agreed that Brian would email me their contributions for my return and then I would spend a few days mixing the track for their approval. Brian duly sent the mp3 files which included his vocal track. Now I'm sure each producer has their favourite studio for acoustics, dynamics etc, but nowhere in the handbook would it suggest recording the vocals on a phone in a car! However, this is what Brian had done, which I found very amusing - was it to get away from the family for peace and quiet - we'll never know. Much as I wanted to use this version, sadly the recording wasn't quite loud enough and I used another version recorded on his phone, but not in the car. It gives new meaning to the phrase "phoning in the performance"! Anyway I managed to mix all of the different files together, included some inspired violin lines and acoustic guitar lines Chris had done and the song eventually came together in time to post on the forum. All in all a terrific learning experience for me and I'm sure Brian and Chris. In summary here were our biggest challenges:
1) Time - we were up against the clock big time in the end, but thankfully got it done
2) Equipment - Whilst I have a music room full of stuff to make a full recording, Brian had no kit. Technology being what it is today, it's amazing we were able to put together something that managed to fit together. How did other people manage this?
3) Distance - particularly for vocal parts, the inability to practice harmonizing to the backing tracking and reworking the vocal parts until they worked together perfectly was a big impediment. When I mix my own tracks I usually have to rework the vocal tracks many times until I get an acceptable version. We didn't have the luxury of this.
Particularly on the last of these I'm really interested to hear about how other people managed that process in their productions and look forward to hearing from you.
Neil

Offline close2u

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Re: Monthly competition general chit-chat thread
« Reply #276 on: December 23, 2018, 08:49:56 am »
Neil.
What a fantastic post and a great idea to add even more worth to this comp.
Thanks so much for taking the time and setting out your story.

Ps
It looks like I need to update the credits as I didn't mention the additional collaborators.

« Last Edit: December 23, 2018, 09:42:14 am by close2u »

Offline DavidP

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Re: Monthly competition general chit-chat thread
« Reply #277 on: December 23, 2018, 10:25:22 am »
Thanks Neil. 

Here's a rundown of the Pam/Max/David collaboration.  Max/Pam, hope you don't mind me jumping in with this and feel free to chip in with more from your point of view.

1) Forming the band

I started thinking about this after my Skype session with Justin when he asked if I'd be entering.  He clarified that the ineligibility rule for past winners was intended only to influence actually being judged the winner, not to limit participation. But if getting involved, with whom. Then I saw Max post the same thing after his Skype session and the penny dropped (I'm a bit slow on the uptake sometimes) ... of course, check in with Max.  And later ... what about Pam?

2) Picking the song

So once Max was in he offered up two songs.  In an example of unconscious confirmation bias I was drawn to C(BPCH).  Later I discovered that the Buble version was on my Family Christmas Playlist, but I'd forgotten that.  Timing wise, we'd agreed on the song just ahead of Pam joining the band.

3) Guiding principles and logistics

We agreed fundamentally on two:

a) Wanted to keep it simple.  From my limited experience of collaborations (all two that I've produced), I know that this is not as easy as it may seem and given the fact that there was a deadline, we figured it made sense
b) Team ownership of the arrangement and mix.  While I was designated to put it all together, we wanted the final production to meet the approval of all

We used both email and private messages to communicate.  Sharing mp3 versions of working samples could be done via email attachments.  Final tracks were rendered in a lossless WAV format, which being much larger were shared via a shared DropBox folder.

4) Arrangement

Max took the lead on this.  First he confirmed the tempo that would suit his vocal and that it was a simple 4/4.  Then he produced a simple score that laid out the chord progressions for each part of the song bar by bar.  We also agreed the strumming pattern for the acoustic to enable effective multi-tracking.

At the outset, again I think before Pam was engaged, we agreed that Max would sing and play electric guitar -  a couple of different tracks in keeping with the Death Cab For Cutie version that he enjoys.  I offered acoustic guitar and midi bass and drums. When Pam came in her role was backing and harmony vocal plus acoustic guitar.

We wanted a really full acoustic guitar sound, so I planned to double track my standard acoustic plus double track a second acoustic  Nashville strung (Nashville strung is done by taking the additional 6 strings added onto a standard 12 string and putting them on a 6 string. So you have the higher octave E A D G strings plus a standard B e).   Pam would another standard acoustic, essentially a triple track for the acoustic guitar.

5) Recording

First step was my acoustic guitar tracks.  I recorded the 4, mixed and shared an mp3.  Plus a simple drum track to drive the rhythm.

Then Max recorded some electric guitar plus a first vocal.  He was sharing individual tracks plus sample mixes.

Then I had a go with adding some bass and drums.  The drums were OK but Max didn't really like the bass, so had a go at recording a bass line, which was much better. Plus final vocals (who ordered that cold for Max midway through the project?)

Once we had that down then Pam tracked an acoustic guitar plus a number of vocal parts.

6) Editing & Mixing

Once I had all the tracks I did a minor edit to get best possible version from some of my multiple takes and tighten up on the timing on some of the other parts.  I learned working with Roman how important being tight on the beat is, so tweaked a little here and there.

I used all the material Pam recorded plus listening to Buble's version to create a first mix, that included applying various effects on individual tracks and the master bus.

It was not great!  At this time we also discussed how best to treat the vocals on the song.  Max shared some alternatives.  Cut a long story short, we bounced I think 3/4 versions, each time working on timing of backing/harmony and levels across the board before settling on the final version.

Overall I think the project went pretty smoothly.  We were able to come to agreement on the creative decisions and everybody provided useful feedback and contributions throughout.

Once again, I thank Pam and Max for the opportunity to collaborate.  The final song turned out well and I think is a fair reflection of our various musical abilities.  It was great fun and another memorable learning experience.

Merry Christmas all  :)

Offline close2u

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Re: Monthly competition general chit-chat thread
« Reply #278 on: December 23, 2018, 10:39:50 am »
Update with additional info:


a] Silent Night

Digger (England) guitar, bass & synthesiser
Katja (Germany) vocals & piano


b] The Last Snowflake

BrianLarsen (England) song-writing, vocals, bell chimes, Trumpisms and video editing
FourTwo (Bermuda) Drum programming, rhythm guitar, lead guitar, bass guitar, vocals, keyboard & production
Chris (England) guitar & violin


c] White Christmas

embishop (Canada) jazz & lead guitar
KristaR (Canada) vocals & rhythm guitar


d] Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

DavidP (South Africa) acoustic guitar (standard and Nashville strung) & midi drums
pkboo3 (USA) vocals & acoustic guitar
max_mue (Germany) vocals, electric guitar & bass
 

e] All I Want For Christmas

Garfield (USA) guitar & vocal
Kerrie (USA) keyboard


f] God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

diademgrove (England) guitar, Production, additional instruments
redrhodie (USA) vocals and bells
Dave (USA) synthesisers


g] Run Run Rudolph

schlaffenwagen (Russia) drums & production
KasperFaurby (Denmark) rhythm & lead guitar
Batwoman (Australia) backing vocals & cheerleading
Balamuthia (USA) lead vocals
Kevin (France) lead vocals, rhythm & solo guitar, bass
Ju (France) backing vocals
« Last Edit: December 24, 2018, 08:45:58 am by close2u »

Offline max_mue

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Re: Monthly competition general chit-chat thread
« Reply #279 on: December 23, 2018, 02:52:57 pm »
@David: Very good summary :)

@Richard: Wow, the list is very impressive - thanks for sharing & updating it :)

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Offline john256

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Re: Monthly competition general chit-chat thread
« Reply #280 on: December 23, 2018, 02:53:14 pm »
Um,I thought this was an instrumental only collaboration? I remember complaining about it right at the start and it's a major reason I didn't pursue the contest... Did you change the rules?

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Offline close2u

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Re: Monthly competition general chit-chat thread
« Reply #281 on: December 23, 2018, 04:00:55 pm »
Um,I thought this was an instrumental only collaboration? I remember complaining about it right at the start and it's a major reason I didn't pursue the contest... Did you change the rules?

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Oh john, so sorry you missed it. We did make several high profile announcements to the updated rules and discussed both here and Justin announced in his newsletter too.



Offline Fourtwo

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Re: Monthly competition general chit-chat thread
« Reply #282 on: December 24, 2018, 02:50:29 am »
Richard
Our third collaborator was Chris Goldring who is located in England.
Neil

Offline Fourtwo

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Re: Monthly competition general chit-chat thread
« Reply #283 on: December 24, 2018, 03:01:49 am »
David,
Thanks for sharing your interesting story - a few questions:
- Max worked up the strumming pattern - how did he communicate that pattern to the rest of you?
- Acoustic guitars. How did you mix the acoustic guitars to get the wide, clean sound? What settings did you use for that track?
- Max's voice - what effects did you use? Similarly with Pam's voice?
- What did Max and Pam use to record their parts?
Btw I wasn't aware of the term "Nashville strung" so thanks for the lesson on that!
Neil

Offline close2u

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Re: Monthly competition general chit-chat thread
« Reply #284 on: December 24, 2018, 08:43:26 am »
@ Neil

thanks for clarifying Chris' location.

re: Nashville tuning:



Offline close2u

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Re: Monthly competition general chit-chat thread
« Reply #285 on: December 24, 2018, 09:42:28 am »
@ Neil …

Nashville tuning & standard tuning side-by-side




Offline max_mue

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Re: Monthly competition general chit-chat thread
« Reply #286 on: December 24, 2018, 09:44:51 am »
Max worked up the strumming pattern - how did he communicate that pattern to the rest of you?
https://www.dropbox.com/s/7eijauwsd4iw048/BabyPleaseComeHome.pdf?dl=0
Here is the simple score that I've sent to David and Pam :)

What did Max and Pam use to record their parts?
I have a Rode NT1-A that I used in combination with a Focusrite Scarlett / GarageBand :)
For the guitar and bass part I used my telecaster and amp simulations provided by GarageBand


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Offline DavidP

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Re: Monthly competition general chit-chat thread
« Reply #287 on: December 24, 2018, 10:56:23 am »
I have a Rode NT1-A that I used in combination with a Focusrite Scarlett / GarageBand :)
For the guitar and bass part I used my telecaster and amp simulations provided by GarageBand

And to add, I am also using a Focusrite Scarlett AI with the Focusrite CM25 MKII condensor that came with the AI.  Acoustic guitars recorded with the mic, rather than built-in electronics.

Pam will have to share what she is using, I don't know.

All mixing and final rendering done with Reaper.

For acoustic guitars:

1) Adjusted the signal level of the acoustic guitar tracks to all be between -18dB to -12dB, Pam's a little hotter than mine

2) Added stock Reaper EQ on all the standard-tuned acoustics.  Used the Reaper pre-set for acoustic guitar, which is a high pass filter, cut at 630 and boost at about 6k, the cut and boost small 2-3dB gentle, broad effect ie gentle slope into and out of

3) Added standard Reaper compressor on all acoustic tracks, based on a acoustic guitar pre-set, tweaked to be gentle.

4) Kept Pam's acoustic C, panned one Nashville and one standard 100% left and the other 2 100% right.

5) Fader on centre pulled down -16dB.  Others pulled down from just under 0dB to -6dB

6) Also using the Softube Drawmer S73 plug on the Master bus, using the ambience pre-set which helps with the sense of width

For Max's vocal:

Max provided me with a dry and wet track, I used both. I duplicated the dry vocal and panned L & R 10%.  Applied standard Reaper EQ and compression, again using pre-sets with small tweaks plus Waves CLA Vocals, starting from the Rock Man pre-set.  That does some simple EQ, compression, reverb and delay based on standard settings with ability to adjust the level of each effect. Same fx applied to all three tracks with little tweaks.  Then played with the faders on all three until it sounded good, not dry but not overly effected.

For Pam's vocals:

Pam provided a number of tracks with the Christmas backing plus some other Baby pleases, harmony on the lyrics and some ooohs. Her vocals treated similarly to lead vocals, same plugs adapting some different pre-sets.

For the Christmas backing, I created three tracks.  Using different renditions from the different tracks provided at each point.  Then on two of the tracks I used Reaper pitch-shifter, up on one down on the other, 3 semi-tones.  Pulled the levels down differently on each track.  All panned left by slightly differing amounts around 20-30%.  All to try and get more of the effect of having a number of different backing vocalists.

The oohs and some backing were also panned left 11%.  Harmony plus some backing vocals panned right 36%.

Levels adjusted until it all sounded OK.

As I said, the fine tuning of the mix took a few rounds to reach the finished song which had a feel and sound that we all were happy with.

@ Neil

thanks for clarifying Chris' location.

re: Nashville tuning: <video clipped>

Thanks Richard.

This is exactly what I did.  I'd kept my old acoustic when I upgraded and strung it with the other set of strings from a 12 string set, when re-stringing my acoustic.  Bought a 12 string set and split it for the 2 guitars, which was good economically as the 12 string set was not double the 6 string set.

I played the same guitar part twice on the standard and twice with the Nashville ... OK, more than twice but ended up with two decent tracks for both, after a little splicing out of the odd bit that was too flawed.

From other reading I've done, apparently studio versions of Wild Horses by the Stones are recorded this way.  Richards often uses this approach in the studio.

Offline Fourtwo

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Re: Monthly competition general chit-chat thread
« Reply #288 on: December 25, 2018, 03:02:18 am »
Max, Thanks for your response and Davis, many thanks for the detailed overview of your labours in the production. All a bit above my head (what is a reaper?) but I get the general drift. I tend to be a bit lazy with the background research on technical aspects of recording and rely on feel and experimenting with turning knobs and pressing buttons. The vocal explanation though was very helpful and I will be broadening my knowledge in that area as that's typically what I find the most difficult and frustrating.
Merry Christmas!
Neil

Offline batwoman

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Re: Monthly competition general chit-chat thread
« Reply #289 on: December 25, 2018, 03:34:34 am »
All a bit above my head (what is a reaper?) but I get the general drift.
Neil

Reaper is a Digital Audio Interface (DAW).

Offline close2u

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Re: Monthly competition general chit-chat thread
« Reply #290 on: January 05, 2019, 10:36:00 am »
Attention all collaborators - judgement day is imminent.

Please ensure that Lieven and I have the full names / details of all participants - the forum names and real names of all forum members, the names of all participating non-forum members.
Can you send via pm.
Thanks.
Richard

Offline DavidP

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Re: Monthly competition general chit-chat thread
« Reply #291 on: January 08, 2019, 09:01:54 pm »

Congrats to the Run Run Rodolph team. A most professional production and worthy winner.

Congrats Digger & Katja for your second place.

And all who entered take a bow, every entry was a good listen and an achievement for the folk who produced it.

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Re: Monthly competition general chit-chat thread
« Reply #292 on: January 08, 2019, 11:59:45 pm »
Congratulations everyone! Well done!

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Offline Garfield

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Re: Monthly competition general chit-chat thread
« Reply #293 on: January 10, 2019, 09:38:26 pm »
Good job everyone. For a while I was worried it was being boycotted but a good showing in the end and really enjoyable entries. Congrats to the run run Rudolph team and thanks to the justinguitar team for organising.
G

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Offline DanniTSI3

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Re: Monthly competition general chit-chat thread
« Reply #294 on: February 03, 2019, 09:07:11 am »
Sooo any news about the Feb comp parameters? Asking for a friend.

OK I'm really asking for myself




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Offline max_mue

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Re: Monthly competition general chit-chat thread
« Reply #295 on: February 03, 2019, 09:36:58 am »
Hey Danni :)

Quote
Important notice.

For a variety of reason there will be no competition for the first three months of 2019.

Please await further announcements about the planned resumption scheduled to start with a competition period that will span April to June inclusive.

Thanks.

:)
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Offline close2u

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Re: Monthly competition general chit-chat thread
« Reply #296 on: February 03, 2019, 09:59:26 am »
Yeah - sorry Danni.
We have a three month hiatus.


@ Christmas comp winners.

Justin got back from NAMM last week and started organising prize allocation.

All email transfers should have happened for vouchers, subscriptions etc.
Most physical products have been posted.
The Katana and Pacifica are going direct from the suppliers and should be done soon.

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Re: Monthly competition general chit-chat thread
« Reply #297 on: February 03, 2019, 10:31:57 am »
Yeah - sorry Danni.
We have a three month hiatus.


@ Christmas comp winners.

Justin got back from NAMM last week and started organising prize allocation.

All email transfers should have happened for vouchers, subscriptions etc.
Most physical products have been posted.
The Katana and Pacifica are going direct from the suppliers and should be done soon.

Thanks close2U and Justin. Just to confirm my prize has arrived virtually. I can now work my way through the theory course. I'm really looking forward to it.

Thanks again to all the organizers for a great prize.

Keith

Offline close2u

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Re: Monthly competition general chit-chat thread
« Reply #298 on: February 03, 2019, 04:56:15 pm »
FAO

ALL Christmas competition winners.

Please can you reply and / or contact me via message to confirm if / when you have received your chosen prize.

Muchas gracias amigos.

:)
All email transfers should have happened for vouchers, subscriptions etc.
Most physical products have been posted.
The Katana and Pacifica are going direct from the suppliers and should be done soon.

Offline DanniTSI3

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Re: Monthly competition general chit-chat thread
« Reply #299 on: February 07, 2019, 06:10:58 am »
Ah well give me time to get better for any comp entering

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