Song production - what are your go-to songs you admire?

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Tiasdad
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Re: Song production - what are your go-to songs you admire?

Post by Tiasdad » Wed Jun 08, 2016 3:18 am

In the last decade?
I wonder how much input the artists get in the production of their own music. I mean, you have the likes of Busted, McFly, One Direction etc. or some great solo artists like Adele, George Ezra, even Michael Buble. Al very well produced but nothing really outstanding .. more like factory preset mass productions.
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Re: Song production - what are your go-to songs you admire?

Post by outteh » Wed Jun 08, 2016 7:13 am

I almost forgot about his one. Beautifully engineered and mastered and inspirational arrangements. Season of the Witch is fantastic. Album is titled Super Session, Mike Bloomfield, Stephen Stills and Al Kooper. A must listen and collectors item. :D
Last edited by outteh on Fri Jun 10, 2016 7:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Song production - what are your go-to songs you admire?

Post by midimoose » Thu Jun 09, 2016 6:53 am

Thanks Tom,

Wow, I had almost forgotten "Super Session"-- played it to death! Besides Season of the Witch, Harvey's Tune-- great horns!
Somebody bumbled into the turntable on my LP, so it skipped in one spot during that song :lol: Whoever thought of it first would stomp on the floor to get it back in the groove. Ah, glorious, vulnerable vinyl-- sounded good. Rick.
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Re: Song production - what are your go-to songs you admire?

Post by Tiasdad » Thu Jun 09, 2016 4:32 pm

Nice shout Tom, I just listened to this version on You Tube as I'm more familiar with Donovan's original.

This version does have great production and musicianship :)
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Re: Song production - what are your go-to songs you admire?

Post by outteh » Fri Jun 10, 2016 8:10 am

msnickybee wrote:
So.... could any of us come up with any on these lists that were written and recorded in the last Decade.......?
Thinking about this a bit! Remember when Doo Wap and Rock an Roll hit the musical ladder, the Sinatra and Big Band generation just couldn't understand it or go along with it. The same revolution has hit us '6o to '90 musical generation, we can't understand the Hip Hop, EDM, Rap and other genres that the generation today embraces.

Isn't music amazing! Wonder if it runs in circles? :D

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Re: Song production - what are your go-to songs you admire?

Post by msnickybee » Thu Jun 16, 2016 8:22 am

This is (partly) why I do this... of course, it's to be amazed by melody - and brought to tears by it - and to try to create a tiny bit of that myself.
But also, my love of music and *sound* means that for me, it's not enough to just record something. I must have it sounding ever closer to a track I love. Does that mean I will spend a queen's ransom on equipment? And my boys go hungry? No...
I will strive with the cheap equipment and a couple of tin cans tied with pieces of string, to Master something sounding good.
It's what I do.
Here's a freq pic of one of my songs I quoted ("Heal the Pain" by George Michael), with an interesting frequency response. It's partly my reference track for one of my own I'm currently working on.
Does it explain why I still haven't got enough "air" in my own track? Why despite me adding 25k sheen (even tho it's above human hearing technically), I can't replicate it? There's some serious equipment used there such that this track doesn't sound harsh. Multiband compression anyone?
But yeah, perhaps my obsession with the low-pass filter needs tweaking. Perhaps.
But yes, reference tracks.
Always a good idea, even if just to dream!!!

George & Paul on the left, lil' me on the right (the one with the huge rolloff...)....
freq.jpg
freq.jpg (118.91 KiB) Viewed 5040 times
PS
This learning mastering EQ from the good old TDR folks looks good...

PPS
getting close with some drastic EQ using the TB parametric, which is a bit worrying at the mastering stage, but I'm enjoying it (so that helps), the mix does sound good already (I think)
I worry about damaging hearing, bad EQ techniques etc etc, so I put this thro a sensible limiter afterwards, but, still LOTS for me to learn here. It's one thing to be a beginner and to make the rookie error of having every track brittle and thin or hollow, but it's another to get a pro sound with a silky and glistening treble......
match.jpg
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Mark Bliss
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Re: Song production - what are your go-to songs you admire?

Post by Mark Bliss » Thu Jun 16, 2016 10:02 am

Ya'll see an arc of light just flash across the sky? :wink:

Be back later.........
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Re: Song production - what are your go-to songs you admire?

Post by AHornsby » Thu Jun 16, 2016 11:33 am

msnickybee wrote: It's partly my reference track for one of my own I'm currently working on.
Does it explain why I still haven't got enough "air" in my own track? Why despite me adding 25k sheen (even tho it's above human hearing technically), I can't replicate it?
Hello. Try your 'air' starting at about 14k.
msnickybee wrote: George & Paul on the left, lil' me on the right (the one with the huge rolloff...)....
How much of this might have anything to do with what mic they /you used? -h

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Re: Song production - what are your go-to songs you admire?

Post by msnickybee » Thu Jun 16, 2016 11:47 am

AHornsby wrote:How much of this might have anything to do with what mic they /you used? -h
I think there's some element of that, yes. Hi hat and shakers samples are there though, vocals with a Rode which is quite bright, but a Shure Beta for acoustic.
The frequencies are there, but, multiband peak limiting, saturation, whatever tools I have in the box, the smoothing of those 16-22 frequencies seems beyond EQ to me.
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Re: Song production - what are your go-to songs you admire?

Post by Mark Bliss » Thu Jun 16, 2016 8:54 pm

That arc of light is a brilliant star trailing across ahead of all of us I think!

If it was anyone else I would respond with something like "don't concern yourself so much with what you see, rely on your ears" or something. But no. Nicky is using her ears, eyes, brain, and travelling a little faster than this old fart can keep up with!

No one could possibly fault you with setting your sights too low, or not trying hard enough my friend. I wouldn't underestimate what you might learn to do with those tin cans and string!

When you sent me that song about two weeks ago and told me you were using it as a mix ref, I played it and analysed it and just as you have shown, stared at that frequency graph in wonder, thinking "well thats different isnt it?" Watched the meters as it played. Ran it through an LUfs analysis. What I was hearing didnt seem to match what I was seeing.
Like I told you then, "I think somebody's got way nicer toys and way more skill than us!" :D


Yes, I think its a lofty goal. Yes the mics and pre's that were used probably cost more than any one of my cars is worth. And I have nice vehicles. The mixer, gear and room probably far out value my house, and I have a pretty nice house. And the skill and experience of the people involved probably adds up to far longer than I have been alive.

But that doesn't mean we can't study and learn from it does it? Keep thinking the way you are Nicky. Your doing fine. And your keeping me on my toes. I appreciate that! You are forcing me to look at things a little harder too.

I'll be back after some experimenting! Take a break and have a piece of cake would ya? :wink:
Stay in tune, Mark

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Re: Song production - what are your go-to songs you admire?

Post by Mark Bliss » Thu Jun 16, 2016 9:52 pm

Alright, take a look at this:
I removed everything but the very high frequency and sub with an EQ and compared both the spectrum analysis, and listened carefully. (Be careful trying to duplicate this, cranking frequencies like this causes radical clipping.)
Micheal and Paul.jpg
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Nicky.jpg
Nicky.jpg (29.52 KiB) Viewed 5025 times
Just as you noted there is additional content in both ranges of the Michael and Paul tune, as compared to the yet to be released Nicky Bee project. But ya know what, I'm pegging meters and clipping and well.....

Bottom line IMO, unless you have some super subwoofer system, the bottom end isn't going to make a big difference. Yeah, you could add some sub content, but even on good headphones I cant really make much of it. Sparse hints of "thud". And your gonna have to supplement the kick drum with some deep sub synth content to do it. Its simply a lower frequency than your kick drum, plain and simple. Important? I wouldn't miss it. Its barely there. Maybe if it was a dance tune......

Similarly, the high end is skirting on the limits of my hearing. I mostly hear the upper range of what I believe is the jingles of a tambourine. And I barely hear that. You could add a hint more high freq content, but doing it by turning up what you have isn't going to improve anything IMO.

So in both ends, there is content there I cant hear, and some I do. Barely.
I am going to call that empirical evidence that you don't need to worry too much about what the eyes say in this case. :D
And I am going to back that up by assuring you, the results you are getting are very good. The improvement in your work and skills in the last four or five weeks , (yes WEEKS folks! :shock: ) are simply amazing.

Did you save me any cake? 8)
I am in awe of the effort you have been putting into learning this.
Stay in tune, Mark

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AHornsby
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Re: Song production - what are your go-to songs you admire?

Post by AHornsby » Fri Jun 17, 2016 8:43 am

msnickybee wrote: I think there's some element of that, yes. Hi hat and shakers samples are there though, vocals with a Rode which is quite bright, but a Shure Beta for acoustic.
The frequencies are there, but, multiband peak limiting, saturation, whatever tools I have in the box, the smoothing of those 16-22 frequencies seems beyond EQ to me.
I'm thinking that it just might be the difference between a condenser mic and a dynamic.

Plus perhaps, as long as those frequencies are present they can be 'smoothed' but you couldn't do that for any that aren't there.

What might also be happening is that the frequencies beyond hearing are generating harmonic discordances which are amplified and result in inferior tones. (It gets really bad when things like bass fiddles and low piano notes are detuned, etc., which is on the opposite side of the scale, but in theory, and since we can't hear at those ranges, could be an issue. ) -h

Since I don't have your results I can only relate in general terms. -h

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Re: Song production - what are your go-to songs you admire?

Post by Mark Bliss » Fri Jun 17, 2016 9:56 am

There are certainly audible effects on a song from inaudible frequencies, but I dont think thats exactly the point here.

There are reasons in the many hundreds why one song sounds different from the next, and possibly reasons in the thousands why at any moment a spectral graph might look different.
I think using the graph as one of many mixing tools is good and a thoughtful approach, but dont get too hung up on that one thing. Trying to mix a song so your graph looks like another songs could be a path to mental anguish anyway...... :D

And if we are going to dive deep into spectral analysis as a mixing tool, I think something a bit more sophisticated than SPAN might be called for.

I was A/Bing the two projects while listening to the specific frequency ranges. A similar trick to what I tried to describe in a basic way, is available in some more advanced tools.
For example, in Fabfilter's ProQ plugin, you can put it in a mode where you can only hear the adjusted area of the EQ plot, and compare songs frequency content while sweeping with the EQ. Pretty nifty. There's a video demonstration of that somewhere. I'll try to remember where it was. May not be able to find it though.
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Re: Song production - what are your go-to songs you admire?

Post by Mark Bliss » Sat Jun 18, 2016 5:44 pm

And another thing..... :lol:

I am aware of advanced functionality in Span as well, but either some of it doesnt work in Mixcraft, or I just cant figure it out!
But it is supposed to be capable of internal VST routing to link instances and overlay spectrum analysis graphs from different tracks.
I've never been able to make it work, and the only demonstration I have found-
1: Makes it sound like it should be obvious. (as if!) And-
2: Uses Ableton.

The Voxengo manual is gobbledy goop. (technical term.) 8)
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Re: Song production - what are your go-to songs you admire?

Post by msnickybee » Sun Jun 19, 2016 2:53 am

Mark Bliss wrote:If it was anyone else I would respond with something like "don't concern yourself so much with what you see, rely on your ears" or something. But no. Nicky is using her ears, eyes, brain, and travelling a little faster than this old fart can keep up with!
No one could possibly fault you with setting your sights too low, or not trying hard enough my friend. I wouldn't underestimate what you might learn to do with those tin cans and string!
Keep thinking the way you are Nicky. Your doing fine. And your keeping me on my toes. I appreciate that! You are forcing me to look at things a little harder too.
Well, I'm having a ball!!!
But, it's tiring too.
I think that comes with the whole obsessive personality thing.......
It used to take me 6 months to finish a song which was then wholly inadequate.
Now, my quickest is 2 weeks.
Of course, this is around a full-time job and family, like us all...
Mark Bliss wrote:Take a break and have a piece of cake would ya? :wink:
Well, I did just that. Needed it!!! Carrot cake. I always find the idea of that strange... but, I like it!!
Mark Bliss wrote:I think using the graph as one of many mixing tools is good and a thoughtful approach, but dont get too hung up on that one thing. Trying to mix a song so your graph looks like another songs could be a path to mental anguish anyway...... :D
And if we are going to dive deep into spectral analysis as a mixing tool, I think something a bit more sophisticated than SPAN might be called for.
Hmmmm, I agree.
It's been useful to do this for me, with your kind help, because... this is WHY I DO THIS. To strive a bit, to sound a little bit professional in the end product, at least in overall EQ and polish, if not singing and songwriting.
In terms of my own current song, understanding where the top end is, has made me realise that I'll be doing some overdubs later in the process, some chiming/strummed acoustic with a high capo, recorded right, just to fill that in a bit, alongside my ever-present shakers!!
Mark Bliss wrote:There are certainly audible effects on a song from inaudible frequencies, but I dont think thats exactly the point here.
THIS is something I *do* think about... it's one of the reasons why after one too many VSTs, and on the stereo bus too, that I sometimes low-pass, I worry that there might be inaudible frequences above 25k that might be affecting the audible parts of the song... that worries me, but I don't know how to find them?
Mark Bliss wrote:The Voxengo manual is gobbledy goop. (technical term.) 8)
+1 on that!!

Thanks as ever Mark :-) :-)
Nicky
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My latest EP Bittersweet is still available on Spotify, still writing the new one!
or check out my YouTube channel

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