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Thread: "What Does It Take"

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    "What Does It Take"

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    Hi all. This is an older recording I did back in 2005. Didn't know much about mixing back then, and not much time was spent on the mix at all. I recorded it, got the levels decent, added a little reverb, and then had it mastered. It's been on my mind recently to re-record it, everything I've learned about tracking and mixing over the last ten years, I know I could do a better version. I guess my concern is this:

    Is it worth re-doing? Does the vocal and acoustic sound good enough as is? What do you think of the song idea as a whole? I'm not a fan of my voice at all, I'm much better at backgrounds than leads. I'll have no problems with honesty, if it's terrible just tell me, won't hurt my feelings at all.

    Wasn't sure if I should post this here or the Mixing Clinic, but decided on this forum, since it's not necessarily mixing advice I'm seeking (although I'll gladly take some if you have any ideas or suggestions on the new recording, if that's the route I go) I don't have the individual tracks anymore, but I do still have the un-mastered version.

    It's literally just one acoustic, lead and harmony vocal, subtle bass, and a short, clean electric lead.

    Thanks!

    What Does It Take | Johnny Amato
    Pro Tools 12.7 - Superior Drummer 2.0 - Sound Forge Pro 10

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    Hey Johnny, the acoustic guitar sounds a bit washed out. That works if you're in The Smiths and have a full band to cover it up, but with just voice I don't think it works well. I'd much rather a dry acoustic. Your voice's tone is actually pretty good, but you're quasi-staccato during delivery. The lines like "let's fine a place/show me your face" are examples. You're cutting them short. Staccato vocals can work (e.g. think something like Talking Heads), but that's pretty rare and usually follows a staccato groove (e.g. with the talking heads think "psycho killer" with the jerky staccato grove). It's a bit of a mismatch. I'd personally redo it if you have the means. Try to sing legato. Your voice is better than you seem to realize. No problem at all with the vocal. The staccato issue is just opinion, so if that's how you hear it roll with it.

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    Hey thanks Nola. I remember when I recorded this, didn't pay much attention to style or whether it was too staccato, just simply sang it with literally no practice. Wrote the acoustic riff one night and liked it, wrote lyrics the next day and recorded it. Not much thought went into it, but I see what you mean. A lot of my friends and people that regularly come to my shows like it a lot and always tell me I should perform it live more, which I've only done a few times. I do play "Good Riddance" a lot and this tune fits nice together with it, I also do that new Green Day acoustic tune "Ordinary World" (if you haven't heard that one yet, check it out, I bet you'd like it) Anyway, the three together do make a nice little acoustic segment at a show, a nice break from all the high-energy Rush, Boston, and AC/DC we do...

    Yea I've never really liked that acoustic tone. It's an Ovation Custom Legend that I do still own, it's a great guitar, but I didn't really use it properly for this recording. It's electric, and what I did was played it through my Digitech board through an actual acoustic simulator, meant to make a regular electric sort of sound like an acoustic. For some strange reason I liked how it sounded that night and just went with it. It's just one take in stereo, and I also added a little chorus. It does have a slight "haunting" quality to the sound, but I've always felt something just wasn't right.
    Pro Tools 12.7 - Superior Drummer 2.0 - Sound Forge Pro 10

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    Oh Jesus dude. Come on man. lol.

    Your voice is great. I think this is the first vocal I've heard from you. One of the top around this forum, I believe. Really, really good. Yeah, enough of that nonsense - I'm now wondering if you were in some band with a dick of a lead singer who gave you bad feedback intentionally. Now, please go record vocals for the rest of your songs. excellent, excellent vocal delivery John.

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    Maybe post in the clinic. I don't know if many will see this here. Again, pro-quality voice dude. Don't sweat anything about that. One of the best I've heard, honestly. BTW, I get a slight (now don't be offended) Richard Marx 80's vibe from this. Might just be the treatment of everything, and the reverb. That chorus-y sound on the guitars too, not sure. Still excellent, by all means.

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    Thanks a bunch, Taras. No need to post in the clinic, I don't have the original tracks anymore to remix anyway. I'm planning to redo it, I'm even kind of hearing a bigger, more commercial version with drums, two panned acoustics, keys, etc. I'm hoping to start it in a few weeks once I get caught up on all the tunes I'm working on now (which is a lot )

    I also just replied to your PM
    Pro Tools 12.7 - Superior Drummer 2.0 - Sound Forge Pro 10

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    I didn't see this. You should re-post at the clinic.

    It sounds fantastic. Really nice vocals. Like Taras said, get busy tracking vocals for your songs. With your musicianship and voice, you could produce stuff as good as any I've heard on the forum.

    I would not re-record this, unless you think you've got a better vocal take in you. Mixwise, you might lower the acoustic guitar to give the vocal more space.

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    Thanks Robus, means a lot.

    I can't do any mix adjustments, I don't have the tracks anymore. All I have is the final mixdown wave, and the mastered version that I posted here, so I didn't feel the need to flood the clinic any more than I already do. I recorded it on just an 8-track, the Boss BR-8, in 2005. I knew basically nothing about recording back then, nothing is panned ('cept for maybe the quiet hat that's in there) nothing is compressed, just a little reverb and eq. I just dialed in sounds and hit record.

    I'm getting ready to lay all those vocals soon. I record mostly at night, so I'm trying to think of a way to sort of soundproof the basement/jamroom where I record, so I won't wake the wife up. Plus, I'd rather be doing take after take in better privacy. I do have a small house way up in northern Wisconsin, I'm tempted to bring my computer and a mic and do some there...
    Last edited by JohnnyAmato; 04-13-2017 at 03:12.
    Pro Tools 12.7 - Superior Drummer 2.0 - Sound Forge Pro 10

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyAmato View Post
    Plus, I'd rather be doing take after take in better privacy. I do have a small house way up in northern Wisconsin, I'm tempted to bring my computer and a mic and do some there...
    That'd be great. You should plan a few days out to do that. I can't sing recorded vocals in front of anyone. It's too bare bones and probably sounds ridiculous without music or context. I hear you on that.

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    Had to listen again. Man what a great song. Really good tune.

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