Starship Krupa wrote:I'm really enjoying your performances on the vocals and guitars and the lush, spacious mix. Wow. You are a really good mixer and masterer. MIDI instrument programming is nice, too.
You did the video shoot all on a mobile phone? I'm curious what software you used to edit the video (if it wasn't Mixcraft).
It's nice that someone has taken an interest.....because really, I'd love to get started discussing all the musical aspects of it! And maybe some of these random words might help someone (gawd knows how lol), but it's a thought.
So my reply will be long! Your fault for taking an interest, and writing nice things!!
For me, there's the technical side of the production, but there's the compositional element too...
So, given your kind words, forgive me for a second if I share some of my thoughts on what you said?
Here we go lol.
In terms of the guitars:
as Mark will know, I've long been on a journey of trying to get a reasonable acoustic guitar sound. Still not there, but it's getting better. This time it's real double-tracked, playing the exact same part twice. Not too many punch-ins to be fair. Many folks would criticise this - "it'll get phasey!", "too echoey!", "you can never play it the same twice!" etc. But, I still do this, I'm a bit stubborn. Personally? I quite like it. The acoustic sits slightly left, with some mild ADT just off centre right and a little Plate, but then the 2nd (real) double-track sits rightwards.
Mild compression during recording process, only really TDR Nova for EQ mixing.
For me, the driving acoustics are the rhythm of this track...I can remove a lot of their mid/low-end to clean up the mix, and then it becomes an Eagles song with crisp but ultimately thin sounding guitars, and feels a little empty.
Curiously, there's no electric guitar on this track! The melody guitar, and the solo is my Taylor GS Mini... I'm a big fan of Acon Digital "Multiply", and I quite like the ProStudio Twisthead amp sim too, and Klanghelm IVGI (the 1st gen one) for a bit of grit.
The melody guitar gets double tracked only for the ending section
The solo also uses 2 sends I setup, one panned left, one right, just for delays - one timed double the speed of the other (both in tempo), just to go as big as poss
(not to mention a ton of reverb at this point)
On the rhythm section:
I admit it, I cut corners with drums. I really do. Early on I use loops, maybe recording initial guitar with a metronome, but the real drum samples then inform my better overdubs, like the melody guitar parts.
I have to cut corners with the drums, because otherwise I'd be at it for months and months, and I will then lose patience, I know I will! The song is more important than that, and for me it's all about the melody.
It's my first time playing my new (well, I've had it unused for 2 years!) uBass too... required a fair few punch-ins!!
On the synths/midi instruments:
I'm a big synth fan. Am I any good!? No. It's all in the box. With the worlds tiniest keyboard. But I think it adds texture, and keeps panned roughly R in a bit of space, until it's double-tracked with lower register notes in the ending section. It's all in the build-up of the song, I guess.
On the vocals:
Not my strong point, but I'm a big fan of backing vocals. To me, a BV can be a Hook. It really can. There's tons of examples of that. I'm not trying to create 10cc's I'm Not In Love, but you know what I mean. Great fun can be had with Melodyne for things like this!!! It's truly a wonderful thing, despite its AWFUL interface.
Compression during tracking was key for me here, as my technique isn't brilliant, and then there ends up being too much processing...and months pass by...
That 14.5k+ area is where it's at for me. I regularly go back and listen to Eagles "Lyin' Eyes", from Steve Hoffman's gold cd. Sure, all my music is MOR, smooth...a little boring... but it's what I like. Sounds from analogue gear 22k+ can affect the range we hear... does TDR Vos slick EQ recreate? I actually think it does, if you've got a reasonable recording in the first place.
I mix and master entirely in the box, and don't even roll a separate mastering project. A1stereocontrol, Limiter 6, TDR Vos slick EQ, maybe an extra hi/lo pass to clear some plugin distortion, SPAN. That's it.
Reverb is kept real simple this time round to be honest, just a single Plate that everything uses. I really seriously tried to limit the number of plugins.
And I try to move away from Limiter 6, but *always* come back to it. It is vastly underrated, and vastly misunderstood. Mid/side compression is where it's at, for these wide mixes, where I have slightly panned guitars. Why would you want all that careful central bass/drums squashed in with the carefully mixed guitars? It really works, in my ultra-humble opinion.
On the video:
Yes, shot entirely on a phone. Won't be doing it again though! Back to my trusty Canon IXUS! See how the video sometimes keeps hunting for focus! Grrr! But then, I used to use Windows Movie Maker, but microsoft got rid of that.... so I found "Shotcut" (google or "duckduckgo" it in my case lol), it's actually really really good. Fades/transitions, colorising, all these things aren't too difficult, and a lot easier to master than eg Lightroom I think. Now if I could only get some kind of timecode thing going to make lip-sync easier
but, well, this is only a hobby inbetween my day job!
I've also just used Shotcut to create a 25second video which I'm about to upload to Instagram...
So why don't I use Mixcraft for video? Well, because it's cumbersome. The video playback engine stutters. All kinds of things. And I've tried ever since it was introduced (v6 or v7?). Anyway. And Shotcut provides much better control over the output format... MKV? no problem! rescaling and cropping? no problem! All kinds of things.
On the composition:
Whilst it's not such a great song, I am quite fond of the jangly guitar overdubs. That's where I want my time to go when I'm doing this really!! To be honest, I spent quite a while recording those, and editing them, and fixing the sound of those. It's a signature of the song. The song is deliberately short, and non standard. Technically, there should be another verse before the bridge, instead we get 1 1/2 verses, no chorus, but the "Blue Sky" line, then a Bridge...but not a 2nd bridge? Not like a Beatles Verse/Bridge/Verse/Bridge either? Strange. But these days I'm obsessed with keeping it as close to 3 minutes as possible! And channeling the 60s vibe... a big Beatles fan thanks to my mum and brothers growing up!
Ok, I've taken up enough of your time (and patience) here, but hopefully you take it in the right way, in the spirit of this forum & all things Mixcraft...thanks again!