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Thread: I need honest, constructive criticism.

  1. #1
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    Question I need honest, constructive criticism.

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    Hello! I'm Josiah, and I'm new to this forum and recording.

    I need your feedback on my first recording. It's an acoustic cover of Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash.

    Here it is:
    Ring Of Fire (Johnny Cash) - Acoustic Cover - YouTube

    Lemme break it down: I recorded this with 2 mics, a dynamic for my voice and a small diaphragm condenser on the guitar. This idea works in theory and for others, but it didn't record exactly how I would've liked it too. Because the dynamic mic wasn't close enough to my mouth, the pickup was rather weak. And (I'm guessing) due to the height of the condenser, it picked up the vast majority of the total sound.

    This ran to a Presonus AudioBox Usb into Presonus Studio One Artist. No processing on the way in.

    Once I had the tracks in S1, I applied a "Deaden The Room" noise gate because it was necessary. I then applied a compressor to each track. I used a rather light compression(around 1.8:1) to liven up the sound, rather than make it feel super processed and over produced.

    After that I used a Default (flat) EQ and subtracted the most offending frequencies off of the condenser(main) track. Acoustic and male voice occupy alot of the same spectrum so I cleaned a bit to make it a little less cluttered and nasally. I rolled off some super highs and inaudible lows as well.

    On the vocal only dynamic, rolled off the extremes. I warmed this track up, added a gentle shelf of low mids to my liking.

    The whole idea is to sound a natural, pretty unprocessed recording. I'm really satisfied considering it's my first time.

    I exported the track as .wav (all I can do), then lined it up with the video in Windows Live Movie Maker. I don't think I exported in the highest quality, as the track sounds MUCH better S1 than WLMM. Also, I imagine YouTube's file compression watered it down some.

    That being said, PLEASE listen critically and help me out! I'm willing to learn.


    I understand the performance may not be platinum quality, that's part of why I want to start recording. It helps me notice my issues (vibrato, over-compensating for fear of being flat).

    Sorry for the massive wall o' text but I wanted to let you guys know exactly what was going on so you can help me

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    Try the MP3 forum. That's what it's for.

    The general advice for people wanting to make 'live' YouTube videos is don't. Record the audio properly and then mime your video to your recorded sound. I haven't Watched your video as I'm in a remote location at the moment and ain't spending bandwidth on you...

    And maybe I'm not familiar with noise gates but I have never seen the need for one in a simple recording such as you're describing.

    And ask yourself why you used a compressor to 'liven up the sound'...

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    Moved to MP3 Clinic.
    PC Win7-64-24G i7-4790k/Cubase 10 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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    Are you wanting input on your live sound or your recording? If you want your recording critiqued, then I completely agree with Armistice and you will want a more proper recording. Maybe try recording your acoustic first and then ad your vox on top. You could use your condenser on both the guitar and voice then or do what ever combination sounds best. Also, I am thrown off by your noise gate and compressor decisions as well. I assume you are wanting to limit the computer fan noise, etc from the recording with a noise gate? But you are also going to lose all subtleties in the music by not accepting anything quiet. Also, you may be achieving the completely opposite effect that you were hoping by adding the compression.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Armistice View Post
    Try the MP3 forum. That's what it's for.

    The general advice for people wanting to make 'live' YouTube videos is don't. Record the audio properly and then mime your video to your recorded sound. I haven't Watched your video as I'm in a remote location at the moment and ain't spending bandwidth on you...

    And maybe I'm not familiar with noise gates but I have never seen the need for one in a simple recording such as you're describing.

    And ask yourself why you used a compressor to 'liven up the sound'...
    Alright, sorry for misplacing it. Thanks to jimmys69 for moving it!!

    See there's my conundrum. The isolation and ability to tweak the tracks would be unparalleled if I recorded them separately and then mine.

    But my performance is terrible when I do that. The guitar and singing is when I perform the best. As hippy as it sounds that's when I feel the music the best and deliver the best take.
    So I justified the live sound decision by realizing a good performance with less than ideal isolation will sound better than a great sounding track with a shaky performance.

    I understand not spending the bandwidth on me


    phriq, I guess I'm wanting input on both. I'm pretty set on sticking to the live performance at least for the guitar & vox only things I plan on doing.

    The noise gate was used to get rid of this hiss ( I'm assuming it was coming from the condenser). I figured I would lose a few nuances but the recording sounded better to my ears with than without.

    As for the compressors, I realize what compressors do, making the track more streamlined and losing life in the extremes. But the compression made my tracks present in a wonderful way to my ears. Hard to describe, but it sounded MUCH better with than without to my ears.

    I understand my ears haven't ever mixed a track, but it was a better sound to me with than without. I don't think the track sounds bad, it's just not as fantastic as I'd like for it be!
    Should I ignore my inexperienced ears for conventional wisdom?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Josiahjjr View Post
    Should I ignore my inexperienced ears for conventional wisdom?
    Definitely not. The only way to get experienced ears is by doing. It can be hard to give input (such as with the compression and noise gate) because we cannot hear the difference between with and without. Only you can. Because of that, we will fall back on conventional wisdom, learned traits, and personal experience to give our input. Ultimately, it comes down to who do you want to please with the mix? If you want to please us, by all means, abandon your ears and go with whatever input people here provide. Your mix may sound amazing, or it may come out completely crappy. However, if you are aiming to be happy yourself with your mix and enjoy your own product from your own work, well then you are on a good start already as you are happy with your mix. Honestly, that's how it should be. So don't abandon anything. Take each critique and suggestion openly and honestly. Listen to their side, understand where they are coming from and then decide whether it is a good option for you. Try it, and if it doesn't work, revert.

    With that said, you mentioned earlier in your first post that "I understand the performance may not be platinum quality, that's part of why I want to start recording. It helps me notice my issues (vibrato, over-compensating for fear of being flat)." So again I come to your goals? It seems that your not looking for recording masterpieces as opposed to more honest review for learning of your live performances. There is nothing wrong with that either. As far as your performance goes, it is decent. It's a little more melancholy than I would prefer. I like the pacing, but it seems like it could use more energy. Part of what made Johnny Cash and this song popular was his punchy and powerful voice. Your voice doesn't have that unfortunately, and so I would put some extra energy into it. Cash would sing from his stomach and diaphragm. Your breathing seems to be up high, more in the shoulders where if you were to take more efficient breaths you may be able to put more emphasis into the vocals. This can help tremendously with pitch as well. Just be sure to not push or force anything as that causes pitch issues too.

    Those are just a few suggestions towards your performance. Good job though.

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    Yeah, the vocals definitely sound boxy in terms of the recording. What dynamic mic are you using?
    "Nahhhhhhhhhhhh mannnnnnnnnnn. I ain't touching that mic. That thing's expensive."

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    If you're gonna do a tune like Ring of Fire, you have to sing your ass off. If you do that, you might even be able to pull off that part toward the end when you kick the melody up into your upper range for a bit. Honest.

    Constructively yours,

    dobro
    Like is like still like the worst.

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    You miss my point. I'm not saying to change the way you record it. Record it however you want. Mime the video content to what you recorded.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dobro View Post
    If you're gonna do a tune like Ring of Fire, you have to sing your ass off.
    Someone shoulda told that to Johnny Cash!

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