new fingerstyle guitar tunes up

Discussion in 'Member Video and Sound Clips' started by zenpicker, Dec 6, 2005.

  1. zenpicker

    zenpicker Member

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    Gang, I just posted a new tune, "Horizon Line," and an update of an older one, "Lilina," to my site:

    http://www.edwardhamlin.com

    To reach the tunes, click on Listening Room.

    Would welcome your comments/criticisms/suggestions. For any who are interested, "Horizon Line" was recorded directly to computer using a Yamaha i88x Firewire interface taking the feed directly from my preamp. First time I've accomplished that--I think the audio quality is pretty good! "Lilina," by contrast, was recorded through the preamp to a hard disk recorder [Tascam 788].

    Cheers
    Edward
     
  2. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    Edward,

    I always enjoy listening to your tunes! My comments below are meant to be constructive.

    I'm listening to "Horizon Line" right now with headphones. There is something really weird going on with the audio, as it feels like there is a big hole in the middle of the stereo spectrum - probably a phasing issue. I hear it for the first 2:10 of the track and the last 1:30. The bass is also really heavy on the left side. The sound changes quite a bit for the middle section. Remember that when you are editing parts together you need to recreate microphone position and match all of your settings.

    It is a nice tune and cleanly played. The middle section is very interesting, but it seems quite separate from the rest of the tune. I'd suggest working on a transition to tie the two bits together.

    I think you should end on the next to last chord, rather than the major chord. That minor 9th chord has a great sound to it!

    Bryan
     
  3. Priestunes

    Priestunes Member

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    Nice, dude. Thoughtful and superbly articulated. It's like you are reaching beyond the common format, narrating with notes, but are still playing music, not something inaccessible or esoterically bizarre. That's what I get from it anyway. Nice note selection. I dig the complete alteration in the middle. It's like someone else takes over the conversation for a while; someone who is welcomed; someone whose voice is equally wise but isn't the same as the original narrator. Neat! Nice site, too!!! :D
     
  4. zenpicker

    zenpicker Member

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    Bryan and Pickhead - thanks for the careful listening. Sounds like you guys are going to have to decide for me what to do with that middle section! I agree that it's a rather abrupt change of mood and I nearly sliced it out. May do so still. It's also very different sonically.

    Bryan - your comments on the audio are very astute and appreciated. I was aware of those problems and they're bugging the sh*t out of me. The weird thing is, I did record this in pretty much one sitting, with fairly consistent mike placement, so I'm not sure why there are such radical changes in the audio. I may actually have botched it up in post-production. I've got to listen to the raw audio again. I had to do loads of noise reduction b/c I was recording next to a noisy PC, so I think that wreaked some havoc on the audio too.

    Do you have any suggestions about how to fix these problems? I am really a crude amateur when it comes to mixing, so I am totally open to ideas. I fiddled with the panning a lot to bring the four sections of the tune into the same stereo field relationship but didn't quite make it. I messed with EQ somewhat to take the edge off the third section (the slow part) which came out quite trebly. But it's still messed up. If you can suggest some steps to take to improve the audio I would be very grateful.

    TIA,
    ed
     
  5. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    Edward,

    My advice for getting consistent microphone placement when recording is to use a footrest and a chair that doesn't swivel. I make sure that I'm holding the guitar in a comfortable manner and then position the microphones relative to that, rather than trying to position the guitar relative to the microphones. I'm able to recreate my position very easily if I end up needing to get up during a recording session.

    Regarding computer noise: What a pain, huh?!? I ended up moving to recording on a laptop. I also ended up recording most of my tracks at a quiet location (a different house and a recording studio), as recording where I live was too noisy. You can try to make the best out of your microphone placement to minimize computer noise, but in my experience it is hard to get rid of it entirely without resorting to noise reduction software that will much with the rest of the audio.

    Regarding mixing: You are using two dissimilar microphones, correct? If it were me, I'd pan them both dead center and then use the balance of the different microphones to shape the sound. Trying to use two different types of microphones to create a stereo image is tough, as they have different frequency response characteristics. For a stereo image, I think it is important to use a standard stereo micing technique (XY, ORTF, etc.) with a pair of similar or matched microphones. I think a lot of the weird things I'm hearing in your recording are coming from the dissimilar microphones, possibly with some phasing issues due to placement.

    Regarding EQ: I find that the best thing to do is avoid having to EQ, especially if your monitoring environment isn't ideal. For my current CD, which is about to be mastered, I ended up taking my raw recordings to a "real" studio to work in a better room and with someone with more experience than I have. My recordings needed a few EQ tweaks, but for the most part they were good. I think that we, as solo acoustic guitarists, have it pretty easy - we just need to move the microphones around until it sounds like the guitar does. It takes a bit of practice to do that, but it is time well-spent.

    Sorry to be so long-winded, but you're going through a lot of the same issues that I did in the past few years.

    Bryan
     
  6. zenpicker

    zenpicker Member

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    Bryan - are you available to teach a short 10-week course in home recording? :angel This is really invaluable advice and I very much appreciate it.

    I spent a good part of this morning reworking that mix, and jumping off from your observation that there was a hole in the middle of the stereo field I wound up cloning the L and R channels as tracks 3 and 4 and panning these to center, just to see what would happen. I then pulled in the pan on the original L and R tracks so that they were only -14 and +14 respectively. These steps did indeed seem to fill in the center.

    I also reworked the noise reduction much more carefully this time -- it makes a huge difference which part of the audio you sample to get your baseline, and I had not made the optimal choices the first time out. So it's getting there. I will re-post after a few more tweaks and perhaps you'd be kind enough to see if you think I solved any of the problems.

    I do take your point about the different characteristics of different mikes and the need to blend them rather than pan them. This will now set me off on a crusade to remix several pieces....but for a good cause. What a difference the mix makes!

    Interestingly, I just replaced my studio chair with a very solid and quiet non-swivel one and yesterday purchased a foot stand. How's that for psychic? It makes a huge difference to be more ergonomically stable.

    Anyway, thanks so much for taking time to educate a moron. I am sure you've saved me countless hours already, hours better spent composing or performing. For that I truly thank you.
     
  7. zenpicker

    zenpicker Member

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    OK - new mix of Horizon Line just posted, incorporating some great suggestions made here. I improved the NR, removed the rubato section that bothered me and others, and tried to beef up and EQ the center channel.

    Curious what you all think if you don't mind listening again....thanks in advance.

    http://www.edwardhamlin.com/eh_music.html
     

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