Uh oh! Another rock band recording with Ableton!!!!

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zc
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Uh oh! Another rock band recording with Ableton!!!!

Post by zc » Tue Jan 18, 2011 2:30 am

Hey everyone!

This is my first post in the "Link your Music" section and I am super excited about it.

I am in a band called The Purity, which consists of two members. After years of playing in bands and spending hard earned money for studio time we decided to try things out on our own. So, we picked up Ableton Live, and the rest is history! For the past year we have been tinkering with the software, currently Ableton Live 8.x. I have frequented these forums for tips and tricks and have learned so much. But, as with anyone posting here, your feedback is essential to taking that next big step. We want to start releasing our music to our fans.

Being amateurs with recording, production, and engineering, we welcome all sorts of comments. Negative, positive, it will all be welcome. We want to learn, and master our craft. We love the diversity of the Ableton community, and look forward to hearing from you. Cheers to you all, and thanks!


http://soundcloud.com/thepurity/the-purity-b-side-girl

zc

zc
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Re: Uh oh! Another rock band recording with Ableton!!!!

Post by zc » Mon Jan 24, 2011 9:09 pm

Thanks for not feeding back! ;)

Cezband
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Re: Uh oh! Another rock band recording with Ableton!!!!

Post by Cezband » Mon Jan 24, 2011 9:28 pm

Feedback tends to be the exception rather than the rule in "link your music" - it's one of the least visited forums here. I can see that you've commented on a bunch of tracks though, so I felt duty-bound to give your tune a listen! :)

First I'll get it right out the way that I hate your genre. It's not my thing at all, so I'm not going to give you any musical feedback.

On the other hand, the guitars sound great. Crisp and clear on the verses, and nice and thick on the choruses. Everything sits in the mix really nicely. Did you record the drums directly through Live too? They're a little thin in places but in general, again, very clean and smooth sounding. Vocals sit just right in the mix too - from what you were saying about being amateurs I was expecting a horrible muddy mess but this sounds really good through my speakers. Well the production does, anyway :P

I've got a long way to go myself, but I think you've got a great attitude. Hope you find some people who like the tunes, I'm sure there are loads of people who love this stuff! All the best with it!
Live 7.0.18 | Axiom 61 | Launchpad | Homous | Nanokontrol | Saffire 6 | Ibanez Jazzmaster Bass | Biscuits
Soundcloud (solo stuff) | One Gear Go (my band)

zc
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Re: Uh oh! Another rock band recording with Ableton!!!!

Post by zc » Mon Jan 24, 2011 9:55 pm

Cezband wrote:Feedback tends to be the exception rather than the rule in "link your music" - it's one of the least visited forums here. I can see that you've commented on a bunch of tracks though, so I felt duty-bound to give your tune a listen! :)

First I'll get it right out the way that I hate your genre. It's not my thing at all, so I'm not going to give you any musical feedback.

On the other hand, the guitars sound great. Crisp and clear on the verses, and nice and thick on the choruses. Everything sits in the mix really nicely. Did you record the drums directly through Live too? They're a little thin in places but in general, again, very clean and smooth sounding. Vocals sit just right in the mix too - from what you were saying about being amateurs I was expecting a horrible muddy mess but this sounds really good through my speakers. Well the production does, anyway :P

I've got a long way to go myself, but I think you've got a great attitude. Hope you find some people who like the tunes, I'm sure there are loads of people who love this stuff! All the best with it!
Thanks Cezband! I had actually made my last post with absolute sarcasm in hopes of this thread just dying off like most. I do very much appreciate your post though, and am happy to answer your questions.

First off, thanks for the positive response. I was looking for more on the recording, production side for feedback anyway, and thats what you gave. :)

The guitars using distortion effects were layered 4x. So basically 4 different recordings of the same guitar sections, at low levels, to "thicken" or give a "meatier" sound. The same was done with the clean or more relaxed guitars, but with less tracks. The drums were done on a Roland TD-9 V-drum set, directly into Live. After some sound tweaking, I came up with a nice setup and added some room effects for reverb on the snare and bass. You are right on though, they are thin, and I have been trying to figure out how to beef them up a little more. The drum processors in live seem to add too much or too little to the overall sound of the drums, so its been a struggle. But, a work in progress of course.

On a side note, I sent this mix to a mastering tech and got it returned with a note saying it was all recorded too "hot." I'm not sure if you have had experience with this before but is that pretty normal with material recorded in Live? That the audio is just normally louder than other DAWs? Even at low recording levels? Just a curious question really.

I'd love to hear some of your stuff if you can reference it. Thanks again, and cheers!

zc

Winterpark
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Re: Uh oh! Another rock band recording with Ableton!!!!

Post by Winterpark » Mon Jan 24, 2011 10:54 pm

heya,

some thoughts/comments...

I'm always a sucker for a good pop hook, so well done on that.

I think when doing the pop-rock thing, you've really got to find that perfect vocal take. I'd suggest that it's about 75% there at the moment.... some cool little vocal personality bits in there, which are great, but it feels a bit laboured... and sometimes even out of breath?

The vocal is also a little too up front for my tastes, maybe with a bit more careful eq-ing it could sit back in the mix, whilst still having some presence.

re: recording too hot.
when you record things pushing to the limit of your pre-amps input gains, you may not notice initially whilst you are are tracking, but when it comes to mix down, things can get a bit abrasive to the ears....
also, your mastering engineer may be referring to the master stereo file being too hot, which makes it difficult to work with, when adding mastering processes.

general theory is for your pre-master to have peaks at around -6dB, and enough dynamic range in it so that when final limiting or maximizing is applied, that it doesn't squash it so much that it loses its punch.

hope that helps!
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zc
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Re: Uh oh! Another rock band recording with Ableton!!!!

Post by zc » Mon Jan 24, 2011 11:11 pm

am wrote:heya,

some thoughts/comments...

I'm always a sucker for a good pop hook, so well done on that.

I think when doing the pop-rock thing, you've really got to find that perfect vocal take. I'd suggest that it's about 75% there at the moment.... some cool little vocal personality bits in there, which are great, but it feels a bit laboured... and sometimes even out of breath?

The vocal is also a little too up front for my tastes, maybe with a bit more careful eq-ing it could sit back in the mix, whilst still having some presence.

re: recording too hot.
when you record things pushing to the limit of your pre-amps input gains, you may not notice initially whilst you are are tracking, but when it comes to mix down, things can get a bit abrasive to the ears....
also, your mastering engineer may be referring to the master stereo file being too hot, which makes it difficult to work with, when adding mastering processes.

general theory is for your pre-master to have peaks at around -6dB, and enough dynamic range in it so that when final limiting or maximizing is applied, that it doesn't squash it so much that it loses its punch.

hope that helps!
am... thanks for the response and the tips. I'm totally taking them to good use.

Vocals - I'm going to be switching out microphones to see if i can't get a more robust sound from them. After reading what you said I took another listen and agree. There was little to no EQ done to the vocals, but they were done with a pretty cheap mic. The replacement will be a decent condenser with some processing on the Live side to brighten them up a bit. I'll work with my vocalist on the breathing. ;)

Pre-Mix - thanks for the tips here. I generally leave the mastering track empty even when finished with a song, as to leave the mastering effects to the engineer doing the actual mastering. But reading this, im going to be a bit more careful with my levels, and give it a little more love before sending it off.

Thanks so much. This is great stuff and a huge help. Cheers!

zc

Cezband
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Re: Uh oh! Another rock band recording with Ableton!!!!

Post by Cezband » Tue Jan 25, 2011 9:28 am

I think am has answered the stuff you asked me better than I could :)

When it comes to mixing ready for mastering, I found Tarekith's tutorials invaluable. The guy is some sort of wizard or something. Check this out:

http://tarekith.com/assets/mixdowns.html

Once I actually get together a set of songs that I'm really happy with, he'll more than likely be the guy I send my tracks to for mastering.
Live 7.0.18 | Axiom 61 | Launchpad | Homous | Nanokontrol | Saffire 6 | Ibanez Jazzmaster Bass | Biscuits
Soundcloud (solo stuff) | One Gear Go (my band)

zc
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Re: Uh oh! Another rock band recording with Ableton!!!!

Post by zc » Tue Jan 25, 2011 3:12 pm

Cezband wrote:I think am has answered the stuff you asked me better than I could :)

When it comes to mixing ready for mastering, I found Tarekith's tutorials invaluable. The guy is some sort of wizard or something. Check this out:

http://tarekith.com/assets/mixdowns.html

Once I actually get together a set of songs that I'm really happy with, he'll more than likely be the guy I send my tracks to for mastering.
Cez,

Great reference there. I will get to reading it later on. I checked some of your stuff out on Soundcloud and love it. Is it to be considered Industrial? Regardless of the genre lable, i liked it a lot.

TroyP
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Re: Uh oh! Another rock band recording with Ableton!!!!

Post by TroyP » Tue Jan 25, 2011 9:24 pm

I agree with the comments above and am not qualified to be considered an expert, but I do have this question, based on what I'm learning:

Re. the "hot" tracks. The mastering engineer needs more headroom to do his thing. So, are you applying the things he/she normally would (I know you said you didn't in the Master track, but did you elsewhere)? Compression, EQ or limiting could be the culprits.

Actually, you mix doesn't sound all that bad to me and you may want to just tweak the stuff yourself. If you can learn mastering, you have a lot more control of your music and will save some money, too. From what I've read, that takes a while.

Musically, I like that your song has some quieter sections, but I'd recommend even more. For me, a song needs more dynamics or else I get tired of listening to it pretty quickly. Where a song with lots of dynamics, texture, and variety can be played over and over without me getting tired of it.

zc
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Re: Uh oh! Another rock band recording with Ableton!!!!

Post by zc » Tue Jan 25, 2011 9:32 pm

TroyP wrote:I agree with the comments above and am not qualified to be considered an expert, but I do have this question, based on what I'm learning:

Re. the "hot" tracks. The mastering engineer needs more headroom to do his thing. So, are you applying the things he/she normally would (I know you said you didn't in the Master track, but did you elsewhere)? Compression, EQ or limiting could be the culprits.

Actually, you mix doesn't sound all that bad to me and you may want to just tweak the stuff yourself. If you can learn mastering, you have a lot more control of your music and will save some money, too. From what I've read, that takes a while.

Musically, I like that your song has some quieter sections, but I'd recommend even more. For me, a song needs more dynamics or else I get tired of listening to it pretty quickly. Where a song with lots of dynamics, texture, and variety can be played over and over without me getting tired of it.
Hey TroyP, thanks for the reply...

Yes, I had compression on a few of the individual tracks which were causing the overall mix to clip. After reading the mix down tutorial from Tarekith, referenced by Cez above, I went back and applied all the suggestions. Like lowering the overall volume of the mix, track by track, giving the mastering engineer that 6dBFS to work with. Also, in the process of remixing I found some issues with a few of the recordings and was able to clean them up and resend. Thankfully, the mastering engineer I'm working with is the type to send the track back if he still hears any issues he cant work with. This makes him my number one choice.

I'll take your advice on the dynamics. I have other songs that actually utilize more dynamics than this, which I hope to be finished with sometime soon. But I totally agree. It's important to keep the listener interested instead of bored by repetitive vs/chorus/vs/bridge/chorus.

Thanks again and many cheers!

zc

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Re: Uh oh! Another rock band recording with Ableton!!!!

Post by jesus god sandal » Wed Jan 26, 2011 3:52 am

like cezband first said, i agree the guitars and drums sound great and clean, and i thought you did a nice job on the vocals too, as my vocal recordings in the past with live haven't turned out so well
But i was wondering if you plug the guitar in with firewire or something or you just record in the room?
I have been wanting to record some guitar for a track lately but I haven't been able to get a clean sound out of it, I suppose the main reason is that I would need to use my closet and wall it up with a few comforters, but also I just wasn't sure if I could find any more tips on that aspect
I don't even have a mic worth using, I have my guitar hero microphone (which is just a logitech usb microphone in disguise, cheap but it gets the job done)
Additionally, my friend wanted to record some drums as well and have me master the track, but this was a complete failure,
what i'm trying to say is: can you tell me any more about what exactly you did in your recording process? As far as the room goes and stuff, to me the instruments just sound good and I'm just curious as to see what else I could do to achieve that sound
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zc
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Re: Uh oh! Another rock band recording with Ableton!!!!

Post by zc » Wed Jan 26, 2011 4:41 am

jesus god sandal wrote:like cezband first said, i agree the guitars and drums sound great and clean, and i thought you did a nice job on the vocals too, as my vocal recordings in the past with live haven't turned out so well
But i was wondering if you plug the guitar in with firewire or something or you just record in the room?
I have been wanting to record some guitar for a track lately but I haven't been able to get a clean sound out of it, I suppose the main reason is that I would need to use my closet and wall it up with a few comforters, but also I just wasn't sure if I could find any more tips on that aspect
I don't even have a mic worth using, I have my guitar hero microphone (which is just a logitech usb microphone in disguise, cheap but it gets the job done)
Additionally, my friend wanted to record some drums as well and have me master the track, but this was a complete failure,
what i'm trying to say is: can you tell me any more about what exactly you did in your recording process? As far as the room goes and stuff, to me the instruments just sound good and I'm just curious as to see what else I could do to achieve that sound
Hey jesus god sandal..... thanks for the post!

Bare with me. There are 23 tracks total on this song. 16 of which are dedicated guitar parts. The main rhythm guitars on the left and right panning have 3 tracks each. Basically I recorded the same guitar part 3 separate times, with the volume and distortion at a low level. Doing this helped me achieve a meaty sounding guitar, without all the clipping, and effect work. Avoid copying the same guitar recording multiple times to other tracks, that only increases the overall volume. The recording itself was made from my guitar amps "Pod Out" output, directly into my audio interface. After working out the levels between the two, I found a sustainable level that gave me every bit of sound from the amp. All lead guitars or "guitar hooks" as I like to call them, where also doubled up. Let me know if you would like to talk more on this, as I could go into much much more detail.

I don't mic anything in my studio normally. I have this space set up specifically for silent recording, hence my use of V-drums, and headphones. No speakers, or cabs. My setup is in my house, and since I typically wake up in the middle of the night to write music, I didn't want my family to wake suddenly to my spark of creativity. So the silent studio was the way to go. :) I do have a vocal booth that I fashioned from an empty closet, in which I put up bed eggshell type pads (Walmart $23.00 US for queen size) all over the walls. It' pretty quiet in there, and I was able to notice a significant difference the first time recording vocals after putting the "soundproofing" up. I also recently recorded a guitar amp in my vocal booth with a mic on its cab. It was a first, but worked great. I used an Audix OM2 dynamic mic, which is cheap but good for low budget vocal and instrument mic-ing. I layered that guitar sound like i described above and the result was the same. A big, beefy distortion guitar that sounded just about the same as a tube amp in a professional studio.

For drums, again I use a set of Roland TD-9s. These are great for quiet studios like mine, or even for live performances. I love that I can pretty much pick from a wide range of set styles or even use the set as a midi controller to work with drum instruments in Live. Having that versatility is fantastic. For this song, I created a drum set on the TD-9 Module specific for this band, and recorded the audio directly from the TD-9 to my audio interface. It produced a stereo recording but ensured the correct panning of the drums according to how they were set on the TD-9 module( hi hat on left, floor tom on right, etc.). If I was to do a live or acoustic drum recording for this, I would have to get a decent mixer, some drum mics, and a well padded quiet room to record in. Otherwise, you can run into a lot of background noise, and other sound issues. I am not a pro by any means, but I have tried to record acoustic drums in the past by using microphones, and its almost always had its issues.

What did you use to record your friends drums that ended up in "failure?" What kind of drums does he have? Is the Logitech mic your only option for now? You are already light years ahead of the recording game if you are using Ableton. Have you and your friend considered writing the drums using some of the drum instruments Live has? If you have only one microphone.. you could record each piece of his drumset to single samples, work the sound out to how you want it, then create a MIDI setup with all the recorded sounds. Then you will have his drumset in LIVE without having to mic the entire set for each song. :) just an idea.

Here is my equipment list for this recording...

Audio Interface: M-Audio Profire 610
DAW: Ableton Live 8.1.3 (still haven't updated)
Line 6 Spider III 150watt guitar amp head
Roland TD-9 V-drums (
Audix F50 dynamic mic (Vocals)
ESP Guitars, Ibanez 5 string bass.
two working class dads with music pumping through their veins! :)


I hope this helps. I am still extremely new to all of this, so I really hope someone calls me out if I am leading you in the wrong direction. Looking forward to your response.

zc

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