New release (with an Evanescence cover)

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LlyncEwrom
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New release (with an Evanescence cover)

Post by LlyncEwrom » Sun Sep 21, 2014 4:01 am

Hello again!

I'll step out of the Society of Lurkers for a moment because I have something to share once more... It began when I was looking through some pictures from a few years ago and came across some I'd taken after it had rained. The pictures are nothing special, but I was reminded of how I would listen to Eternal when the weather was in this state. "Why not make my own version?"

The track grew more than I thought it would and I couldn't just post it online by itself; it needed something to go with it. So I started working on one more track. And then another. "Alright, I'll have a three-track EP, then." But I kept finding more ideas I had been wanting to finish.

After months of work in Mixcraft, I have eight.

Here is the finished cover of Eternal:
Image
(^youtube link)

Two more videos of other tracks are here and here if you care to see them.

Or if you'd rather just listen to the whole release, you can do that here.

- - - - - - -

Some things I learned this time around:
- Don't EQ to death; use the volume knob. Instead of over-EQing frequencies I didn't like, I'd lower the volume THEN EQ what wasn't fixed by that. I hate having to go back and undo things because I over-did the EQ and have a really thin sounding mix. It's much easier to start out with less editing, then add as you go along and notice problems. Let the mix reveal what's wrong on it's own as you listen in your car, in your headphones, on your speakers in your room. Keep a notebook with you or write notes on your phone: "tambourine disappears on speakers", "bass overpowers melody", "percussion too quiet", etc...

- When you do make decisions - finalize them! Think about how "back in the day", they added reverb to a track and then had to mix down and that was that. Whatever they did was final. This will force you to really think about the decisions you make. Get your piano how you want it to sound and then save that track as a wav. You are stuck with it.

Of course, you should save each project as you go along. I save by day, for example:
2014-08-25_eternal.mx6
2014-09-10_eternal.mx6
2014-09-21_eternal.mx6
That way, you aren't really stuck with decisions, you can go back... But it's a hassle to do so - so that decision better be good!

- Write the music first and THEN build the track. With midi, it's so easy to just add new sections without having it sound like a month passed between the first and second minute. I have a habit of starting tracks and then letting them sit around for a while. With the first album, I spent so long on the first minute or two of a song... I found it hard to continue tracks and make them grow as they went along. How in the world was I supposed to make the next section bigger? The climax already happened! This time I had the music and the skeleton of the track prepared and I went from there. Even if you just have an ugly midi piano playing the melody and the chords, you can build the bass, melody, and percussion around that and then add the rest. Projects are less likely to sit around for months or even years.

I did that with Eternal and Unleaving of Goldengrove. I would choose ugly, bright synths because they stick out - much like metronomes. In fact, it's much easier when that ugly, bright sound is played along with your metronome. You end up not getting lost as you play parts. I tend to go into a bit of a trance and daydream while I play and then I forget where I am in the song and mess up. Having something playing chords in the background instead of just a lone metronome clicking away is really helpful. Of course you'd mute or delete this track at the end. You don't want the ugly sound in your final mix.

- Add a tiny bit of compression and a limiter to you master effects. This will give you an idea of what your mastered track will sound like and will help with some mixing decisions. **Remember to turn them off before you mix down and send it to the engineer!**

- Free is just as good. There are so many fun looking plug-ins out there. But I just don't have the money for them. I've decided I don't mind. I've done well with what I have. In case you are in need of a good compressor, eq, and reverb - I use these in almost every track:

FerricTDS - Tape Dynamics Simulator
I don't care too much about the tape simulator part. This thing is just easy to use. Pick a compressor and learn it like the back of your hand. This is the one I chose. I love how nothing sounds like it's hitting a brick wall (doesn't look like it either).

MEqualizer
Turn on the analyzer; so easy to find those ugly frequencies. Has copy+paste capabilities, and an A/B function. (Actually it's really more like an A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H function).

ANWIDA Soft DX Reverb Light
Doesn't have that ugly tin-y sound. Not so great with automation, though. It has popping sounds when automating. This forces me to use two tracks. For example: one dry violin track and a second saturated in reverb. I can then automate the volume up or down on the second track depending on how much reverb I want.

- All of the mixing videos, and books, and blogs, and even what I'm saying - everything is a suggestion. There are no rules. Do what you want. Don't think too much about whether or not your EQ should go before your compressor. Or maybe the compressor should go after the reverb... or before the reverb. Just DO what you think is right and you will either love it or figure out what is "correct" as you go along.


That was a lot of words and I hope it was beneficial to someone!


- - - - - - -

Anyone that works for Acoustica, I'd like to offer the release for free as a thank you!
Assuming the moderators can see my email address, replace the "@" symbol with a "."

That will give you a special url where you can download the album if you'd like.

-mk

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Mark Bliss
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Re: New release (with an Evanescence cover)

Post by Mark Bliss » Sat Sep 27, 2014 7:57 pm

Great video and soundtrack, very good work!

I am not sure about what you said about the reverb near the end. Have you tried using a send track or is that what you are saying didn't work for you?
Stay in tune, Mark

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LlyncEwrom
Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:25 pm
Location: us
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Re: New release (with an Evanescence cover)

Post by LlyncEwrom » Sun Sep 28, 2014 6:41 am

Hey, thanks.

I was just saying that although I love the reverb plugin, it doesn't play nice with automation. So instead of automating the traditional way, I'll have one dry track and one wet track. Then I'll just automate the volume of the wet track to give myself more or less reverb depending on what I need. Such as when the violin begins to disappear into the reverb near the end.

That was probably still confusing but it was just an idea of a workaround for automating with the plugin in case anyone wanted to give it a try.

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Mark Bliss
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Location: Out there

Re: New release (with an Evanescence cover)

Post by Mark Bliss » Sun Sep 28, 2014 7:35 am

Define the "traditional way" that gives you problems with the plug-in.
I am just curious as to the specifics of the problem. Using a reverb send and automating the send level should work out the same as the two track method you describe unless I am misunderstanding what you mean. It would be interesting if the plug somehow didn't like to work that way.
Stay in tune, Mark

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My SOUNDCLOUD Page

LlyncEwrom
Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:25 pm
Location: us
Contact:

Re: New release (with an Evanescence cover)

Post by LlyncEwrom » Sun Sep 28, 2014 9:25 pm

By traditional I mean by automating the wet/dry, predelay, decay and so on using automation. The problem is that if any "knob" is turned in this particular vst, you hear a popping sound; it's not a smooth transition. So instead of automating that way, I'll do what I mentioned: have two tracks, one dry and one wet and adjust the amount of reverb that way.

I was just mentioning a flaw in the vst and how I deal with it.

I like having it separate anyway as you can chop up the reverb track, stretch it, reverse it, and do other interesting effects to a mixed down wet track.

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