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Thread: Why canít I replicate the sound of commercial recordings?

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by trusso11783 View Post
    Thanks for all of the responses. I kept it a bit vague because I was confused that I couldn't replicate the eq and space of a simple kick\snare sound. I'm not trying to recreate the song. But if I cant get passed the minimal drums sounds, I am screwed. Most of what I will be recording are only vocals and direct bass or guitar. Possibly mic'd guitar. The drums, piano, synths, etc will all be vst instruments, so there is not much mic'ing going on in the studio. My room is my basement but i recently bought acoustic foam for walls and corner foam bass traps (which are probably not very effective at all).

    My way of thinking is if i can sonically match some of my favorite recordings, ones that sound great in my room, then my songs should sound good on the outside. That may be a flawed thought process. I will post a short passage soon and post the link shortly.
    Drums are likely the toughest thing you can replicate. You can change amp settings/room/guitar, but you can never duplicate a drum kit and the room it was recorded in. Not to mention the player.

    Hell, I have never heard the same snare drum sound the same with different players. Tuning, approach, mics...

    I assume you are using a drum program. There are many tricks to get them to work well, but it not simple. Some are way better than others. The stock drums on most DAW's will get you a basic beat. Nowhere near approaching the real feel of a drummer that the expensive ones do. And then that IMO is not so cool. Nothing like a great drummer recorded in a room that sounds great for the situation and the right mics to capture the performance. That is not easy or cheap.
    Last edited by jimmys69; 12-10-2018 at 20:03.
    PC Win7-64-24G i7-4790k/Cubase 9 Pro 64-bit/2-Steinberg UR824's/ADAM A7x/Event TR8/SS Trigger Plat Deluxe/Melodyne 4 Studio/Other things that don't mean anything if a client shows up not knowing what it wants.

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  3. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by trusso11783 View Post
    I'm not trying to recreate the song. But if I cant get passed the minimal drums sounds, I am screwed.
    Do you mind saying why...?
    I mean...there's nothing wrong in trying to recreate a sound or feeling of some music you love...but honestly, considering your setup (DI, mostly VSTi, etc) that you're working with, and that probably those original sounds were NOT gotten that way, you may not hit the mark at all...but still no reason to feel like you'll be screwed because of it.
    Just get on with making some music...make your own sound.

    I rarely even bother with reference tracks, or if I do, it's just to get an overall idea of tonal balances, etc...but never as my target for my own mixing.
    You don't need to copy those sounds exactly to feel like you're on the right track with your own music.

    Is there some really specific reason you feel you must get them exact (or you're screwed)...?
    Oh...and since you're kinda hanging everything on the kick drum sound (why?)...are those also VSTi samples, or a live recorded kit in your space?
    If they are samples...man, there's like a million kick drum sounds you can dial through with most drum applications...just get more sample packs.
    Which drum application are you using if not a live kit?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bouldersoundguy View Post
    Drum overheads are usually condensers, anything from Audix F15 to Shure SM81 to AKG C360, or even iFet and U87 in a mid/side arrangement. I use AKG C535EB and C1000S in live situations quite regularly. Then there's the odd bluegrass band that just has to use their AT4030 on stage. Whether live or in the studio, condenser or dynamic, there are ways to manage (not necessarily eliminate) bleed.
    I can see that on the overheads. Why someone would bring a a U87 on stage has me scratching my head though.

    On the bleed, I personally like it as long as it's a good room and the band is incredibly tight. I like the ambience and natural reverb it can give. But that's just me.

    Edit : just out of curiosity what are some of the biggest rooms you've worked. I've done some smaller clubs (200 people max) and a few outdoor gigs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snow lizard View Post
    You could use an inline pad in that situation if necessary.
    If you happen to have one on hand that passes phantom power. That's honestly just another possible point of failure, though. That's another issue with condensers on stage: phantom power is just another thing to go wrong in the heat of battle, and the pops that can happen if something gets unplugged or goes weird...

    Mostly I was just trying to agree with bsg that the reason people seem to think condensers pick up more room sound is that they normally place them further from the source than they might with a dynamic. If you can get right up on them, they work about the same.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ashcat_lt View Post
    If you can get right up on them, they work about the same.
    Kind like the principle of signal to noise ratio.


    But back to the OP's original question. I interpreted that as not trying to specifically sound like a particular artist, but rather to get proffesional results. IE:; sound like the record or whats on the radio.
    It really comes down to practice and getting good at the craft. Once someone masters that, they can make a record in a shitty room with a radio shack mic and a 4track and it will still sound great.

    I'm still working on it. Got a ways to go.

    Last edited by RFR; 12-10-2018 at 22:58.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFR View Post
    I can see that on the overheads. Why someone would bring a a U87 on stage has me scratching my head though.

    On the bleed, I personally like it as long as it's a good room and the band is incredibly tight. I like the ambience and natural reverb it can give. But that's just me.

    Edit : just out of curiosity what are some of the biggest rooms you've worked. I've done some smaller clubs (200 people max) and a few outdoor gigs.
    Yeah, iFet and U87 were in the studio. But I often see what appear to be Shure KSM32 on overheads for major artist concerts.

    I also like some bleed live, but not too much and not the wrong kinds. Dealing with it live helps train one for dealing with it in the studio.

    I've mixed a few 500-1200 capacity theater shows, but I've mixed hundreds of shows in 100-300 capacity clubs. The small places are much harder due to the smaller stages and closer walls around stage. I've done some outdoor gigs up to several thousand.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bouldersoundguy View Post
    Yeah, iFet and U87 were in the studio. But I often see what appear to be Shure KSM32 on overheads for major artist concerts.

    I also like some bleed live, but not too much and not the wrong kinds. Dealing with it live helps train one for dealing with it in the studio.

    I've mixed a few 500-1200 capacity theater shows, but I've mixed hundreds of shows in 100-300 capacity clubs. The small places are much harder due to the smaller stages and closer walls around stage. I've done some outdoor gigs up to several thousand.
    Cool that would be fun to do the theater gigs.
    I think the smaller places are tougher too. Or rather thought so at the time. I haven't done it in a long time, and in my time it was big amps and that was a chore.
    In addition to dealing with the room, which changed depending on the band's draw, you had to deal with stage volume blending in with FOH.
    Thankfully smaller amps and quieter stage volumes are the current fashion.

  9. #28
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    The big problem I have with smaller gigs is poorly maintained gear that was underspecified at the time it was installed. Most of the gigs I mix are small enough that the stage sound IS the FOH, and I'm perfectly cool with that as long as the PA has enough enough headroom to get the vocal up over the din. Unfortunately about half of the time it's actually not. I have tricks that can help a lot, but I'm not real afraid to blow up your bar's shitty little powered mixer or pop the horns in your cute little pawn shop cabs. I figure that just forces you to upgrade so it'll be better next time I have to deal with it.

    But anyway, in those cases there are no mics on the drums because it's just a waste of headroom. I often say "You know it's actually loud when the guitars are so loud you can't hear the drums". It's a feature.

    On bigger stages (with decent systems) the company Ive been working with usually provides this stubby little Octavia condenser for an overhead. It's actually pretty great and a lot of times that and the kick drum is all I really need. I take some time finding the right spot just like when recording and I rarely need any kind of close mics.

    A lot of the recording I do is live in one room. It's not a real big room. There's some space to keep things separate, but things bleed. It has never occurred to me that swapping out my overheads for dynamics would help that. Mostly because it won't. All it would do is lose some detail on the cymbals and probably add noise. Instead I do the best I can with placement and distance, and embrace that bleed as free reverb for the whole band.

    Vocals are often a lot more sensitive. Like for grindcore bands I'll just stick an EV Co7 in front of them right there in the room. They're going to eat it and growl and bowl and scream and bleed won't be an issue. But that's the right sound for that session. In more serious recordings I usually want the vocalist back from the mic a bit, so the S/N is always worse and I'd rather either move them out of the room or overdub later. I could probably find a way to make it work. The one time I tried it, it was at the band's request, and there was a limit to what we could do with the voice before it started to fuck with the cymbals. If I had caught that in tracking, there are a number of things I could have done. Probably just move Bob. It's a great record anyway.

  10. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by trusso11783 View Post
    I have a good setup. I7; 32 go ram, all sad drives. I was using Samplitude Pro X 3 but am moving slowly back to Cakewalk. I am at a point in life that I want to re-record many of my songs from the 80s and 90s simply because they all sound so rough because of my limitations of the time.

    One song seems to sound quite a bit like Voices Carry by Til Tuesday sonically. So, I listen to the tracks and get it close to what I think it sounds like. I then play Voices Carry and mine sounds anemic. I canít explain it. My snare sounds similar but was dry. Theirs has a reverb on it but stays crisp. When I add reverb to my snare, it adds a low end trail. I tried to use a new to bring it up but doesnít sound right.

    Am I doing this the right way by comparing to the original? I am not copying their song by any means. I am just trying to emulate their sound. This is a lot harder than it seems. I am using Waves plugins to do this. Any help will be appreciated.
    .

    Lack of knowledge, and experience mostly, room, and gear also. Fortunately there is a ton of information out there on the interwebs now. Plus you can practice mixing by using free downloadable song tracks.

  11. #30
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    I am back and am leaving a link of a clip of the commercially released song followed by a clip of my song. I do not need to replicate the released song. I am just trying to match the song, sonically. If my mix can sound anything like theirs, then I am on the right track. I am talking about quality and nothing about the actual song itself. I seem to have a problem balancing everything and keeping things from clashing. I suppose I have to practice more with the eq settings to get everything in their own space. My song is only the drums, bass and keys. No vocals or guitars. I am more concerned with getting the drum sounds right.

    Go here if you want to listen and it would be great to get any advice or ideas to move forward.


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