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Thread: Critique Some Music I Recorded!

  1. #1
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    Critique Some Music I Recorded!

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    In the past few months I've entered the world of amateur recording. And by amateur, I mean quite amateur. I have recorded three songs, but they don't sound like I'd like them to. I need help, equipment, and experience.

    My mics include:

    MXL MXL990 - 2
    MXL MXL991 - 2
    Audio-Technica AT2020 - 1
    Audix OM-2 - 3

    I recorded with a PreSonus Firepod with Cubase SX on all three songs. The first two songs were recorded on a new dedicated recording computer. The last one was recorded on an old IBM 550 MHZ AMD machine. As a result of the old slow computer (it is definitely a reliable machine, though!) there were audible clicks and pops in the audio due to the computer lacking resources to record well. I mixed the first two songs with some unreliable Aiwa stereo speakers (which I didn't realize how unreliable they were until I found the mix wasn't too good). The third song was mixed on a set of Altec Lansing computer speakers, which I think provide a much more true sound. I do not have any outboard effects/processors.

    The vocals on the top two tracks below were recorded in roughly three hours (consisting of mess-ups, discussion, etc.), as our vocalist was leaving for a trip the next morning for two weeks. These recordings were probably only the second time he'd ever sang the songs. He's never had any vocal training. We do intend to re-record the vocals at some point. I am not liking the sound of them too much, though. We've been using the pantyhose over a clothes hanger trick as a pop filter for the vocal mic. The vocals were recorded through an MXL MXL990. I've been using the Multiband Compressor in Cubase SX on the vocals, which I don't utilize properly, so it basically eliminates the original timbre of the vocals that I had in the beginning, which should definitely be fixed...

    Also, several of the instrument tracks were recorded just as reference tracks on these first two songs so that our vocalist could get his tracks recorded. We intended to record more final tracks later, but that hasn't happend, however, it most likely will.

    On the first two songs I recorded with the following mics on each instrument:

    Drums -
    R and L OHs - MXL MXL991
    Snare drum - MXL MXL990
    Bass drum - Audio-Technica AT2020

    Guitar -
    Close mic to speakers - Audio-Technica AT2020
    Cabinet ambience mic - MXL MXL991

    Bass -
    Pre-amp out

    Click on the song titles below to lead you to a link to download them.

    "Sand Dollar" - Vocal levels need to be treated in specific areas. The drums are being drowned out. I can't figure out how to bring out the bass drum without it causing distortion at high levels (even if it is not clipping). The guitars need to be more defined and separated. The bass needs to have more definition and punch.

    "Carthage" - Vocals are loud and need to be treated specifically in specific areas. There were some unnoticed hisses, etc., in the vocal parts when they were recorded. They aren't sounding too good. I have pretty much the same problems as above as I do in this song. The guitar needs more life. Everything needs more life.

    This next song was recorded back at the end of March. This was the first song I ever recorded. I'd say that it had basically the same mic set up as the above songs. I don't really intend to fix this song at all, but suggestions are welcome as I do intend to re-record it.

    "Street Robbery" - At this time I didn't know how to use compression. Vocals didn't alway cut throught the mix, as a result of no compression to bring them up. This song includes the clicks and pops as mentioned further up in the page. I am more satisfied with the mixing on this song than I am the most recent two songs.

    Vocals need to be worked on, melodies, etc. Yes, some of the singing is a bit out of key at some points in these songs, but the vocals will be re-recorded sometime.

    I'd like some help with anything, really. Any suggestions you've got would be nice to hear.

    We're called Lemon Test.

    We have an account at MySpace.com at http://www.myspace.com/lemontest

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    I listened to Street Robbery. Skilled writing and arranging. You're getting very good guitar sounds and it's well played. There's an interesting interplay between the keyboard lines and the guitar. The cymbals sound good and very live without being shrill.

    Bass is well played but needs a little high freq definition IMO. Sounds like the 990 isn't the mic for your singer. But I think the snare's the weakest link. Maybe you need to augment your mic locker with an SM57 for the snare, and maybe something like an AKGD112 for the kick and you'd be set. Who knows, the SM57 might work for your singer also.

    Cool song.

    Tim

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    cudos on the skills, I like those structures. I was listening to the first tune and it sounded to me... if you went to each track and shelve the lows off the guitars and voice, especially when the voice frequencies fall off naturally. I hear quite a bit of compounding of the bass freqs and the result is no one instrument gets enough to articulate itself well. That kick and the bass would enjoy a lil more definition. I listened to the next and it seemed to be there too.
    " Miwk Kowz "

    K: securelock

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    Mentioning the bass drum... I recorded it with no hole in the head, so the mic was just sitting outside of the head, about three or four inches away. All though, I doubt you can hear it too well in any of those recordings.

    Oh, and thanks for the suggestions and compliments.

  5. #5
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    Bump? I'd like some more responses...

  6. #6
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    I didn't have the attention span to read your whole set up before listening. Besides, I didn't want to be influenced by what you said, it's the song that matters.

    I listened to "Sand Dollar". You really have good arranging skills and it shows you take the time to write interesting parts for each instrument. Almost progressive in it's rawness. Good stuff. Good song and pretty good voice, too. The drums are a little dead and lack difinition, but the playing is very good. Besides that, I like the panning and levels, nothing gets in each other's way. Which is quite an accomplishment considering how interesting all the parts are.

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    I listened to Sandollar. I really enjoyed it.

    Great playing.

    I thought the panning was actually a little much. There is a guitar part that is panned hard left that sticks out so much that it is a little distracting to me.

    Overall, really cool

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    street robbery

    everythings a little distant, sounds like a 2 track to me. i'd try to get closer to my sources if possible, and maby treat the room you record in a little.......
    or maby un-treat it, it's kinda dark (not in a add hi's way)

    it's just not very present, and i can't exactly put my finger on it.
    a better room would help a bunch though.

    somehow it sounds better about 5:30 on, much better really.
    based on this id just say you were having some small problems with the mids.
    i like.
    audio?
    seriously, give me negative rep.

  9. #9
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    About recording guitar... I have found that the MXL MXL990s can't handle higher SPLs as well as the Audio-Technica AT2020, which has no problem with it. I have been placing the AT2020 about two inches away from the grills of the guitar amps I've been recording, aiming near between the center and the outside edge of a speaker. This approximates to about four inches away from the actual speaker. This recording seems fine, and I've been using MXL MXL991s as "ambient" mics on the cabinets, really more to record the sound of the cabinet. I've found that my "ambient" mics are really almost too quiet in the mix to cause any change and that they don't do to great of a job a capturing the sound of the cabinets. Do you think they should be eliminated from the mix if I see nothing happening from them? I usually have the mic positioned about three to four feet back from the cabinets, about a foot above the cabinet in height, but aiming at the cabinet. I'd probably aim it better in order to get a better sound. Do you think I should even bother with an ambient mic?

    Thanks for the suggestions and compliments so far. I actually didn't play any instrument or sing on any of the tracks. I'm just the "producer".

  10. #10
    RAMI Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Confusitron
    I actually didn't play any instrument or sing on any of the tracks. I'm just the "producer".
    Oh.........well..........in that case, it sucks.

    (Just joking)

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