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Monday, 24 March 2014

8th Week - Fireworks (373rd Song)

I wrote and recorded this song when I was studying in London 3 years ago. I remember that I did it in one week, the week that the deadline was gonna be over, always waiting til the end to start everything. That's been me during the largest part of my life and I always try to change it, I'm doing much better now but I still have that instinct living within me. 

My goal was to make a new mix using the old tracks with all the knowledge that I've gained in all this time, in advance I'll tell you that the difference is not as big as I expected, but still sounds better, thanx god... I lasted a lot of time firstly to find the tracks lost in one of my various hard drives. Luckily I found it, it's good material to have as it's one of the songs that I remember with more affection. My first 'big' recording. After that I had to organize rejecting the tracks that I didn't want, putting the tracks that started to run later in the right place, naming the tracks, etc... It took quite long time, I had 73 tracks! So many different elements, and a lot of stacks that conformed a single sound. Even I lost a keyboard track that I had to re-record cause I found it essential in the recording; anyway I listened to that song so many times that every track is now essential to me. I had to trim some tracks that I already trimmed when I first mixed it at school. Back then I was using cubase, so I didn't have a project compatible with logic and everything had to be done manually. 

The mixing:

I was impressed to deal with such amount of tracks together with the easy that I did, when I stacked them together and I saw them days before looked so scary. I started with voice, which is something that someone recommended to me because he prefers to start with the element that you want listener to focus on. So I used the pitch correction tool on Logic that I didn't use last time and improved the pitch a little little bit, I tried some different compressors and compressions with each of them, till I found something that sounded good to me. I never note the parameters that I used in my compressions, I can't say if I used fast or slow attack or release, I should be more careful about that as I want to undestand what I'm doing and, when I read articles of mixers telling how they did something, understand what they are doing and why. I just do everything in the moment using my ear, which is good, but not enough. 

Then I mixed bass, this guy told me to do that again because with bass and voice you had covered the main focus and the bottom that carries the song and you can start putting things around. I'm not sure yet if I like this, I was so get used to record it in the order that I recorded it (drums first, bass, and so on leaving the voice for the last place. I had a stack of different basses and did my balance of them and then put them together in a bus and worked with that track from there. I don't know why but I put some reverb to it, I felt that when it sounded alone at the beginning would need extra stuff, I was happy when I did it but now I can't notice the difference.  

The drums are the most obvious improvement of my mixing, that's good bearing in mind that drums are my instrument and being able to appreciate that huge difference make me feel better with my skills. I used compressions with more knowledge, better eq, cutting off low frequencies when I didn't need them and highlighting those frequencies that I liked from all the parts. The panning is better too and the reverb more much better. The sounds that I chose for the recording were really bad, not the better choice, now I would have chosen from other libraries and I'd have known what the song required better. 

Then the guitars, here I had to add software amps and something that impressed me was how compression improves guitar comparing with my old mix, I didn't use it before as I couldn't hear any difference, now my ears are now better and I'm happy of it. 

The rest was keyboards that sounded incredible but themselves. They are all sound presets from FM7 synthesizer. I hate that those songs are so incredibly professional comparing with what I record, I can't compite with them at all yet, and the blending of mine and good ones sound unbalanced. I made just some Eq tweaks for keyboards and they work very well together. I had like 20 different keyboards, was really insane. 

I put the backing vocals where I feel them to be right. The weird thing about backing vocals is that I don't know if I'd need more reverb as I learned to make them sound further or dry them up, they sound almost the same among all those instruments, I dry them a lot finally, I could understand better that they were there, but not sure that it was a good option, both options sounded good for my inexperienced ear. 

At the end I mastered the whole song, I tried different things. It's the 3rd time that master a song and it's the first time that I hear that it was needed. I didn't know when was better or not but I had like a big big range in my ear that told me if it was too much compression or too less. I guess with experience that range will get smaller. 

Questions: Is it better to record voice and bass at the beginning? What are the best tools for mastering? How much reverb of which type should I use for this song? How can I improve the sounds that I create from the mic placing till the end of the process? How to know that you have reached an standard for 'good sound'?

PS: Guitar solo is not mine, it's played by Sean Worrall a school mate at Music Tech in London. 

Enjoy it!

1 comment:

  1. Qué temazo! El sonido de la guitarra al final es un primor. Por qué ya no los publicas en fb bulto?