Old 01-09-2018, 10:06 PM   #1
sammartin23
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Default "the money and the greed" - pop/rock

Working on the last song for my project. I'm not entirely happy with all the first verse words, might be changing some of them this week, but you get the picture. It's a song about things that are more important than money and the pursuit of it. I think I'm slowly getting better at getting mixes to translate better to different listening environments, but look forward to any suggestions from y'all.

https://soundcloud.com/sam-martin-80...-and-the-greed

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Old 01-10-2018, 02:45 PM   #2
COAndy
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Really solid song. Great melody, great musicianship, great songwriting. Great message too!

I think the vocals were the only weak point. Not to say they were bad, but I just feel like they were the one thing keeping the track from being "GREAT" instead of "good". I feel like the mix was good, I just think the vocals needed more projection, more oomph, more emotion. Something.

Otherwise, I enjoyed the song. Nice job!
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Old 01-10-2018, 03:15 PM   #3
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Great song Sam! and GREAT MIX!!

You've got all the right ingredients; song writing, lyrics, good vibe, slammin' mix.. etc.. i think you just need to focus on the vocals a little more.

Are you using a condenser mic? The reason i ask is because your vocals sound a little muted - don't have that sparkly high end. a 57 will produce that - as well as a few others. Generally a condenser will give you a more polished sound with nice highs (and lows in some cases). If you don't have a condenser, I highly encourage you to get one - it'll make a YUGE difference for your type of music. Mainstream pop has in-your-face vocals for everything today. Usually translates to some nice high end (3k?, 5k?, 8k?, etc) to cut through - with a lot of mud pulled out. I ALWAYS do a pretty wide pull down starting around ~300hz and easing it up to 1k on my vocals. Really cleans them up. Sounds drastic, but give it a try. It allows the vox to peak through on the mix. Usually a 3k/5k boost does wonders too! And then there's COMPRESSION. It is your friend for vocals of this genre. You really want to tame peaks and pull up that volume so everything is sitting up on top of the mix and out front. I use REACOMP (w/ makeup) in combination with a BX OPTO plug to really level out the vocals and bring them up - as well as some parallel compression. You can't have a modern vocal sound without doing some of this. Don't be scared to give this a go and be aggressive. Do what sounds right to your ears. Maybe you do it already - if so - push it a little more in conjunction with the EQ notes above and I think you'll be happy with what you hear.

One other note.. If you had background vocals going on the chorus, it was hard to hear. You really want the chorus to POP OUT at the listener and bringing in some big lush backgrounds is a perfect way to do it. This falls into arrangement - and I highly recommend giving it some thought on your next tune. Do some octaves of the lead, harmonies, etc.. and pan them all hard left and right. Duplicate them, one hard left, one hard right. Really makes a difference!!

Sorry, didn't mean to get overly preachy/wordy.. I can just hear how close you are to something really fantastic and amazingly good - and I know how much you care about this stuff - so wanted to provide a few things I've had luck with.
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Old 01-10-2018, 03:39 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by COAndy View Post
Really solid song. Great melody, great musicianship, great songwriting. Great message too!

I think the vocals were the only weak point. Not to say they were bad, but I just feel like they were the one thing keeping the track from being "GREAT" instead of "good". I feel like the mix was good, I just think the vocals needed more projection, more oomph, more emotion. Something.

Otherwise, I enjoyed the song. Nice job!
Thanks for the kind words and for listening! I know what you are talking about. I had some peaky tones jumping out at me on some words so I tried to dynamic eq them out and probably got a bit heavy handed with the dynamic eq. I will adjust.

Sam
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Old 01-10-2018, 03:52 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by mschuster View Post
Great song Sam! and GREAT MIX!!

You've got all the right ingredients; song writing, lyrics, good vibe, slammin' mix.. etc.. i think you just need to focus on the vocals a little more.

Are you using a condenser mic? The reason i ask is because your vocals sound a little muted - don't have that sparkly high end. a 57 will produce that - as well as a few others. Generally a condenser will give you a more polished sound with nice highs (and lows in some cases). If you don't have a condenser, I highly encourage you to get one - it'll make a YUGE difference for your type of music. Mainstream pop has in-your-face vocals for everything today. Usually translates to some nice high end (3k?, 5k?, 8k?, etc) to cut through - with a lot of mud pulled out. I ALWAYS do a pretty wide pull down starting around ~300hz and easing it up to 1k on my vocals. Really cleans them up. Sounds drastic, but give it a try. It allows the vox to peak through on the mix. Usually a 3k/5k boost does wonders too! And then there's COMPRESSION. It is your friend for vocals of this genre. You really want to tame peaks and pull up that volume so everything is sitting up on top of the mix and out front. I use REACOMP (w/ makeup) in combination with a BX OPTO plug to really level out the vocals and bring them up - as well as some parallel compression. You can't have a modern vocal sound without doing some of this. Don't be scared to give this a go and be aggressive. Do what sounds right to your ears. Maybe you do it already - if so - push it a little more in conjunction with the EQ notes above and I think you'll be happy with what you hear.

One other note.. If you had background vocals going on the chorus, it was hard to hear. You really want the chorus to POP OUT at the listener and bringing in some big lush backgrounds is a perfect way to do it. This falls into arrangement - and I highly recommend giving it some thought on your next tune. Do some octaves of the lead, harmonies, etc.. and pan them all hard left and right. Duplicate them, one hard left, one hard right. Really makes a difference!!

Sorry, didn't mean to get overly preachy/wordy.. I can just hear how close you are to something really fantastic and amazingly good - and I know how much you care about this stuff - so wanted to provide a few things I've had luck with.
Thanks for listening and for more of your excellent tips!

I do use a condenser mic (3U warbler MK1D--supposed to be U87ish) through a warm audio WA 12 into a RNC and then to my audient id22 interface. Decent home recording chain I think. The problem is my voice. There are some midrange tones in my voice, esp when I sing loud that are not pleasant and seem to jump out. I have a helluva time eq'ing my voice. As I stated in another reply I probably took out way too much via dynamic eq in this song. Also when I record I have to have the mic offset a bit to compensate for my higher than average sibilance, which takes away a bit of the sparkle from the mic. My recording space is the end of a hallway at the bottom of some stairs, which I deaden with soundproof blankets and a reflection shield behind the mic. Could be worse, but not great.

I do use compression--reacomp at -4 to -8 db of compression, and DSM V2 mostly to deess for which it is worth its weight in gold. I will definitely try your eq and compression suggestions. Do you do clip gain adjustment before you compress? I've read about that but haven't tried it.

I agree that harmonies are needed. I will try to add some over the next couple days. I like the way you bring in short, panned vocal parts in some places in your song's verses to emphasize phrases. I think I could try a bit of that as well.

Thanks again for sharing your knowledge!

Sam
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Old 01-10-2018, 05:19 PM   #6
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Do you do clip gain adjustment before you compress?

No, not really - my setup is pretty straight forward. I do manually move my vocal segments around to different tracks based on their volume, though. Sort of a manual effort at leveling, if you will. I always group my LEAD vocals (usually a couple - verse and choruslead..) and then group my CHORUS vocals separately to allow me to process them differently so they "fit" in the mix. My chain on both are pretty similar: ReaFir->reacomp->BX opto plug. I use to De-ess, but don't really do that anymore. I probably should on some songs - but I think it's more important to keep it simple and reduce the plugs I'm running through (plus all 3 people that ever listen to my music probably don't mind.. ).

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I like the way you bring in short, panned vocal parts in some places in your song's verses to emphasize phrases. I think I could try a bit of that as well.
Thanks. I think it's all about keeping the listener engaged. Think about the lyrics that you want to emphasize and go for it!! Definitely on the chorus!! Have fun.. find some interesting harmonies that accentuate the melody and go nuts!

I will look forward to hearing your changes!! Good luck!! Again, great song Sam!
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Old 01-11-2018, 08:42 AM   #7
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Hi Pop Dude
Agree with the others about the vocals.
Maybe you EQ'ed the vocals too much?
Keep some dirty freq's to bring up the emotion level.
And the back vocals are way too low.
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Old 01-11-2018, 10:43 PM   #8
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Hi Pop Dude
Agree with the others about the vocals.
Maybe you EQ'ed the vocals too much?
Keep some dirty freq's to bring up the emotion level.
And the back vocals are way too low.
Hello!

I have made some changes. Re-eq'd the vocals to demuddify them. Added some harmonies. Added a few new words at the end which really help make the ending more interesting.

Thanks for the listen and the advice!

Sam
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Old 01-12-2018, 02:45 AM   #9
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Great song,
tight and snappy playing

The vocal is well mixed to my ears,
it's more about getting the fullness of your voice,
singing from your stomach and not your head.
This is more than just singing-technique,
as it's expressing what you say grounded in your body.
(I'm no better than you at this )

The tempo of the song is fast,
giving less support for each syllable/note,
but has this energized feeling
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Old 01-12-2018, 04:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sammartin23 View Post
Hello!

I have made some changes. Re-eq'd the vocals to demuddify them. Added some harmonies. Added a few new words at the end which really help make the ending more interesting.

Thanks for the listen and the advice!

Sam
No new upload?
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Old 01-14-2018, 12:50 AM   #11
sammartin23
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Originally Posted by G-Sun View Post
Great song,
tight and snappy playing

The vocal is well mixed to my ears,
it's more about getting the fullness of your voice,
singing from your stomach and not your head.
This is more than just singing-technique,
as it's expressing what you say grounded in your body.
(I'm no better than you at this )

The tempo of the song is fast,
giving less support for each syllable/note,
but has this energized feeling
thanks for listening! Getting my vocals to sound good has been the hardest part of my project by far, even more so than programming all the drums, which was a pain in the arse. I think I just need to accept that they won't be perfect given my experience and abilities. But hopefully they are getting better. I try not to sing too much head voice as I sound nasally but there's always room for improvement. It's a fast song, but at least I finally got one under 4 minutes!!!

Sam
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Old 01-14-2018, 12:53 AM   #12
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No new upload?
Hello!

I replaced the file on my soundcloud account with the newer version when I posted last so I figured that would take care of it. However, today I realized that when I listen to my songs on my phone via the soundcloud APP, that they are not the updated versions. But if I just browse in chrome to soundcloud and search for my songs, they are the updated version. I had to uninstall and then reinstall the app to be able to hear the newer versions via the app on my phone. That's messed up. Or am I doing it wrong?

Sam
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Old 01-14-2018, 04:34 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by sammartin23 View Post
thanks for listening! Getting my vocals to sound good has been the hardest part of my project by far, even more so than programming all the drums, which was a pain in the arse. I think I just need to accept that they won't be perfect given my experience and abilities. But hopefully they are getting better. I try not to sing too much head voice as I sound nasally but there's always room for improvement. It's a fast song, but at least I finally got one under 4 minutes!!!
You've done great!
Accepting what is is a good thing
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Old 01-14-2018, 04:49 AM   #14
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The app is crap. Browsing your tracks via Chrome I only see the 4 days old version
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Old 01-14-2018, 01:40 PM   #15
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https://soundcloud.com/sam-martin-80...-and-the-greed

Here's the link to the new version if you want to listen to it not on the app.

Sam
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Old 02-04-2018, 12:01 AM   #16
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I think this song is superb as a composition. The mix is good but it seems overall a little too soft or thin, but the balance is good. Hard to explain, maybe it just needs to be mastered? I like the vocals, and I agree the BG/harmony vocals need to come up more. Everything is played well, your drums are fine.

The one thing that made me curious is how did you do the bass lines? Is that a bass or a keyboard bass? I was hearing bass lines in my head that were maybe a bit more complex, but using the same bass sound that you have in the song.

I really like this tune, and the message. Especially since I just finished listening to the Chicago song "I Don't Want Your Money."
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