I'm Taking Control

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Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2019 7:17 pm

I'm Taking Control

Post by walthamstowman » Sun Nov 29, 2020 4:28 pm

Why I love Ableton Live (part 1).

One of my tracks was recorded in an East London studio back in the 1990s. It's a nice recording, well sung by a singer called Lisa Abbot, but I always felt that it was missing a piano riff through the chorus which meant that the chorus didn't quite work. Back in the 90s I couldn't play the piano, thus couldn't do it myself, and I wasn't even sure it was possible to add an instrument to a recorded track, and things moved on, but every time I listened to the song I could hear the riff in my head.

Fast forward to December 2018 when I first acquired Ableton Live, having taught myself some (very) basic piano skills in meantime and I finally managed to add the piano riff.

The track sounded okay I didn't mix it too well. Just yesterday, however, I did another mix, using some additional knowledge learnt, and mastered it using Live's mastering tools.

So if anyone wants to take a listen, I'd be interested to hear (a) any opinions as to how the piano riff sits in the track through the chorus and (b) any thoughts about the overall sound as mastered. It sounds good to me but does it sound strange to you?

The track is, perhaps appropriately, called "I'm Taking Control". If I was doing it today I might make some lyric changes but that's one thing I cant fix in Ableton!

Here's the link:


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Re: I'm Taking Control

Post by runningwithit » Sat Jan 02, 2021 5:48 pm

(a) - I'm hearing the piano riff and it does sound like Morse code tapping. It's fuzzy. Maybe you want more punch and kick. A sharper, more clear sound.

(b) - the overall sound has a problem in their levels, different tracks are difficult to our ear to latch to while vocals have had to be ultra clear. Think about the equalizer and changing their range of frequencies for each instrument. You want to hide certain frequencies for some instruments to make room for other instruments to occupy that space. Bass levels should reach above vocals sometimes. Piano riff should punch through the mids without going too low nor too high. Drums are okay but they are covering frequency space, this should be solved when you push individual frequencies around to have clear aural-cognitive space for your listener.

Good luck.
-runingwithit aka meisterable

Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2019 7:17 pm

Re: I'm Taking Control

Post by walthamstowman » Sun Jan 03, 2021 3:42 pm

Hi runningwithit,

Thanks for your thoughts which are much appreciated.

The track was recorded and mixed back in the 1990s on DAT, I think, and then transferred to CD. I took it from the CD as an MP3, so the quality was never going to be perfect.

If you're suggesting I can change the frequencies through mastering that's well out of my capability. I tend to use the presets in Ableton Live. On this occasion, I used the "Stereo Enhanced" mastering tool but I think I did fiddle with some of the buttons which almost certainly hasn't helped.

The "morse code" issue with the piano riff hadn't occurred to me but listening back I can hear what you mean. Perhaps it's a problem with the way I played it?

As an experiment, I loaded up the original version from the 1990s onto Soundcloud. This is the link:

https://soundcloud.com/user-97129328/im ... al-version

Comparing it to my mastered version I can only agree that my version sounds utterly dreadful! I didn't hear it before.

I've made the original version downloadable so if you or anyone else wants to have a play with adding a piano riff and then mastering it properly I'd be interested to hear.

But I've only done this for my own amusement and entertainment. I just wanted to record a riff that had been in my head for 20 years.

I've also uploaded to Soundcloud my unmastered version with the piano riff added by me. I think the sound is better than my mastered version but certain elements are a bit "wobbly" and distorted. That can't be my fault though! It must be the transfer from MP3 to WAV and then from WAV to WAV.

That unmastered version is here:

https://soundcloud.com/user-97129328/im ... unmastered

You've given me some food for thought about the way I master. I'm afraid that I tend to use a tool which increases the volume without much regard to anything else. I guess I don't hear frequencies very well. Probably from now on I will use the presets exactly as they are.

The above two versions will only be up for a short time to give you a chance to listen.

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