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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In the interest of doing something "unique" for our wedding, my wife and I recorded a CD of songs we enjoyed (either songs that I enjoyed playing or songs that she enjoyed singing, hopefully both). While we've still got a few songs to finish up, these are the ones that we've had the most fun with so far:

http://studio.naughtybutterspoon.com/sweetchild.mp3

http://studio.naughtybutterspoon.com/barracuda.mp3

http://studio.naughtybutterspoon.com/heartbreaker.mp3

http://studio.naughtybutterspoon.com/magicman.mp3

All the guitars on the following tracks were produced as follows:
PRS Custom 24 or McCarty Rosewood --> Ibanez WD7 wah --> Randall RM4 preamp (Blackface, Top Boost, SL+, Recto, and Ultra Lead modules) --> TC G-Major in series FX loop --> Randall RT2/50 power amp --> Avatar 2x12 cabs (one open back with G12T75's, one closed back with V30's) --> each mic'd with SM57 --> ART Tube Channel preamps --> M-Audio 1010LT --> Sonar 2.2XL

Everything else:
either mic'd (Nady DMK7 kit for drums, CAD GXL1200 condenser for acoustics, Nady SCM900 condenser for vocals) or ran direct (bass through Trace Elliot head, acoustics direct from onboard preamps) --> ART TPS preamps --> Behringer compressor --> M-Audio 1010LT

Anyway, I'm not done mixing/mastering the tracks yet, but I think they're not too bad as is and give a good idea of what the Randall preamp/power amp pair is capable of. Also, it gives a good sense of what you can do with a lot of relatively inexpensive studio gear.

Any comments are welcome, particularly around any things I should try to improve when I sit down to do more mixing & mastering.

--B
 

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listening to the sweet child o mine track...

wow ur wife can sing! I like it! Except I'd mix that lead guitar louder!! I'll get to the other tracks sometime and get back to ya. So far great job ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
btangel said:
wow ur wife can sing! I like it! Except I'd mix that lead guitar louder!! I'll get to the other tracks sometime and get back to ya. So far great job ;)
Thanks! For some reason the lead guitar seemed to stick out more on my studio monitors than everything else, so I mixed it down too far. I think that's first on my list of things to fix!

--B
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Robotechnology said:
Congrats on scoring a musical wife! Sounds good!
Thanks! Yeah, I feel like I lucked out, that I get to spend the rest of my life with someone who enjoys music (and all the associated toyz) as much as I do!

I managed to get my studio put back together this weekend (we moved end of April, then got married end of May, then honeymooned early June, so most of my studio gear has been in boxes in the basement for 2 1/2 months). After spending who knows how much time running wires and such, I managed to get the computer fired up, installed the latest version of Sonar, and spent a small eternity troubleshooting issues between Sonar and my 1010LT cards. I was hoping to finish the mixing & mastering today, but with all the technical difficulties, it'll probably be a few more days. (On the bright side, I did fix the tech. difficulties, and in the process discovered that Sonar 4 has some pretty nice reverb and multi-band compressor plug-ins, which will come in handy for the final mixing anyway.)

--B
 

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Ditto on the lead guitar and singing wife on Sweet Child. My only other constructive criticism are the drums. Not sure how to say this without coming across wrong, everything sounds great -- state of the art -- but with a kid's drumkit. And I might bring down her vocals just a bit.

Wow, she really nails Ann Wilson!! Do you have magic hands? ;)

My computer is struggling with Magic Man, so I'm about to give up. Sounds great though!!!
 

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Her voice really stands out on the Pat Benetar track, her voice is right in that range that Benetar has. Pretty kewl you have someone you can relate to musically like that.
One thing I'd add is double the vox on the lead in and choruses.
Kewl stuff man!

Bamm
 

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Oh yeah...
I doubt you'd want to retrack the guitars but the heart songs really didn't have much gain on the originals, they had more of that bass thump that you get from a minimally driven amp on a clean setting with the master volume up.
Just an observation...I always loved Howard Leese's tones.
(I know it is small stuff, but you said any comments and those were the only cons I found)
Everything else is great, solid performances all around.
Bamm
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for all the compliments and suggestions!! I'm sure I'll play with the vocal & guitar levels a bit.

I guess I did over-do the gain a bit... to me things always sound "gainier" recorded than they do in person, so they felt cleaner when I recorded 'em than they do now. Then again, using the "recto" module on my amp probably didn't help either. :) I need to get in the habit of finding the gain level I like, then during it down 2-3 notches when I record.

bpd111 said:
My only other constructive criticism are the drums. Not sure how to say this without coming across wrong, everything sounds great -- state of the art -- but with a kid's drumkit.
Not quite sure what you mean by that (but constructive criticism IS all good)--can you describe it in a little more detail? Re-recording the drums is not an option, but if it's something I could help with a little EQ/compression/reverb/etc. I'd love to give it a shot. Looking over the tracks in Sonar, all the drums are dry--no FX at all so far. Perhaps that's what makes them sound toylike?

Thanks again for the tips and taking the time to listen!

--B
 

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bduersch said:
Not quite sure what you mean by that (but constructive criticism IS all good)--can you describe it in a little more detail? Re-recording the drums is not an option, but if it's something I could help with a little EQ/compression/reverb/etc. I'd love to give it a shot. Looking over the tracks in Sonar, all the drums are dry--no FX at all so far. Perhaps that's what makes them sound toylike?
I'm being picky here--I'm a perfectionist after all, but it almost sounds to me like the drum skins (if there actually were any--they're electronic, I understand) need to be tightened. Just sounds kind of small and squashy. (I'm suddenly sorry about my inefficient command of the English language ;)) Maybe it sounds to me like it's a low-end kit. I'd also like some reverb, and maybe, just maybe, compression. Hope it helps, but I'm at a loss.

Try this. Give a listen to an older recording like Jimi Hendrix Are You Experienced. The drums on that record sound attrocious to me. Much of that was likely production. Then listen to say Tommy Aldridge on Ozzy's Tribute CD. The drums are tight, huge even. That's the way I think all drums should sound.

Let me say this too, the recording is great. Absolutely great. I'm jealous that I can't do what you and your wife have done. It's just that these few things I mentioned just take away from an otherwise, as far as I can tell, near-flawless recording.
 

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Vocals are great. Maybe a bit more power in some sections.

Ditto on the guitar mix. Also the bass. But in reality it reminds me of the vinyl. And that means I love it.

I think the problem with the drums is that they don't sound like they're hit hard enough. Sounds very polite.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Ok, this is really helpful for the drums!

I bribed the drummer from my band with beer to learn a few new cover songs and come over for an evening of recording. He's killer... he knocked out a couple of the songs in just one take, which was pretty amazing considering that we had never played the songs together at all. He plays an older Pearl kit, seems pretty nice, but probably could use a serious tuning.

But the truth is, we've always had a hard time nailing good drum tones on home recordings (although this is definitely the best we've ever gotten). Some reasons: the drums aren't tuned well, the lack of decent mics & such for recording, the lack of knowledge on how to use them properly, and (the worst part) we've recorded everything in an unfishished basement with pretty much no sound isolation.

I did dig out the Hendrix & Ozzy CD's you referenced, just for comparison. I get what you're saying about the drum tone on my tracks... from a gear & setup perspective, I think what we were working with was probably closer to Hendrix's setup than Ozzy's. But, I think a little EQ & compression could tighten the drums up a bit, so I'll pay attention to that next time I sit down in my studio.

For reference, there's probably about 4-5 hours put into Sweet Child, divided up as follows:
~ 45 minutes to get the drums right
~ 2 hours for all guitars (electrics, acoustics, bass)
~ 1.5 hours for vocals (vocals, like drums, are another area I've always struggled with recording, but at least they're a lot easier to figure out than drums!)

--B
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Ok... let's see if these are any better...

http://studio.naughtybutterspoon.com/sweetchild2.mp3

http://studio.naughtybutterspoon.com/barracuda2.mp3

http://studio.naughtybutterspoon.com/heartbreaker2.mp3

http://studio.naughtybutterspoon.com/magicman2.mp3

In a nutshell, I applied some compression & reverb to the drums to thicken them up a bit, compressed the bass, panned the rhythm guitars out a bit and increased their levels, increased the lead guitar levels, and applied some compression & reverb to the vocals. Things are certainly thicker now. I've only listened on my studio monitors, so there may be some "surprises" that pop out on computer/stereo speakers.

For reference, here are the original tracks:
bduersch said:
As always, any thoughts, tips, and constructive criticism are welcome. Thanks!

--B
 

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Hey man, great stuff all round. What a great voice your wife has too. The lead guitar sounds like it still needs to be raised a lot in the mix here, and is in definite need of some more power. So if bringing it higher in the mix doesnt help, i reckon you still need to crank the distortion up a bit.

You got any pics of you two?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
themaidenmaniac said:
You got any pics of you two?
Now that I think about it (sad as it is), I don't really have any scanned/digital pictures of us. Hmmm. That might be a rainy day project.

I did a semi-final mix tonight. I brought the lead guitar levels up a bit more, took the bass down a bit, brought the rhythm guitars back towards the center, and ran a multi-band comressor on the overall mix to even out the levels. It passes the studio monitor test... we'll see if it passes the home stereo test later.

http://studio.naughtybutterspoon.com/sweetchild3.mp3

http://studio.naughtybutterspoon.com/barracuda3.mp3

http://studio.naughtybutterspoon.com/heartbreaker3.mp3

http://studio.naughtybutterspoon.com/magicman3.mp3

--B
 
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