new version of Lilina up

Discussion in 'Member Video and Sound Clips' started by zenpicker, Oct 31, 2005.

  1. zenpicker

    zenpicker Member

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    Just redid my tune "Lilina" using a new and much better (ADesigns) preamp and a Goodall rosewood guitar. Any comments/critique on tone, tune or performance much appreciated! I'm still learning how to use this hotrod.

    http://www.edwardhamlin.com/music/lilina.mp3
     
  2. pfrischmann

    pfrischmann Member

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    Beautiful!

    Are you using a mike as well? The top end just seems a little steely.. I usuall find that adding a mike pointed at the twelth fret adds a bit of midrange and calms down the piezo top end.

    Very small point based on preference.

    Very, very nice.

    Goodalls are just plain magic.
     
  3. r9player

    r9player Silver Supporting Member

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    just want to say that is beatiful! and one awesome git
     
  4. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    That is a nice composition and I think the recording sounds really good.

    A few comments that are meant to be constructive since I do a lot of solo acoustic recording as well. I'm probably listening closer than any normal listener would.

    1. Was this compiled from a few different recordings? The beginning and end sound fairly midrangey (perhaps a phase issue?), but the faster middle section sounds different.

    2. The panning of the guitar changes through the track, which again makes me wonder if you compiled takes.

    3. There is some distortion/clipping at some points during the clip, especially during one of the pull-off bits in the fast section.

    4. The playing is for the most part very clean, but there are a few string squeaks that I think you could clean up.

    Again, I think it is a good tune and it sounds well recorded, just a few things to think about.

    Bryan
     
  5. zenpicker

    zenpicker Member

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    What a wealth of helpful comments! Thanks to all. A couple replies to points made:

    Actually, I'm only using open mikes--no piezo at all, which I think supports your comment about the sound being steely. The mike setup was an LDC pointed at the 14th fret and an SDC pointed at the saddle end of the soundhole. They're not expensive mikes--weakest link in the chain (after the player). I suspect the steeliness might be due to vertical position of the SDC (too close to the treble strings), or to the mike itself.

    Busted. Yes, it was one session but I recorded the fast section separately. (Ironically, that was easier and less takes than the slow "easy" sections.) I heard that tone change too and was trying to remember whether I fiddled with the preamp knobs during the session; it's a new toy for me and I am still learning, but obviously I should have left everything set where it was for the duration. I like the tone of the fast section better, personally.

    An artifact of the mixing process on the computer--for some reason the volume of the right channel dropped way low for the middle section--probably knob twisting again--so I tried to compensate for that in Audition through a variety of means, including panning some of it toward the middle. Fact is, I'm learning my new preamp AND my new editing software, so I think the engineering here is a mess and will probably redo it when I get the chance. It gave me a whole lot more problems on the computer than I thought it would, and I don't know what I'm doing there as well as on the guitar.

    I missed that one, but you're right.

    Actually, I don't mind a certain amount of that, but I'll listen again when I re-edit the thing on the computer.

    Again, thanks to all for the comments and criticism--it's more helpful than I can say. I'm feeling my way as a performer and certainly as an engineer, so it's good to learn from one's betters.
     
  6. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    First off, comping takes together is a perfectly valid way to record a tune. You just need to be careful about any differences in tone, volume, tuning, mic placement, etc.

    I liked the tone of the faster section better, as well.

    Have you thought about keeping a notebook of you engineering decisions? Michael K suggested this and I think it is a useful thing to have. I'll write down gain settings, microphone positions, compressor settings, and any other comments that might affect the performance or the recording. It becomes very useful when you listen back to something a long time after recording and can't remember how you achieved the sound. It is also a good way to learn about your equipment.

    It is a tough call to decide how much string noise is acceptable. For some reason, it really annoys some people who listen to my playing, so it is something I'm more conscious of. The last CD I did had some tracks with Elixir Nanoweb strings and some with John Pearse Phosphor Bronzes and the most striking difference between the two was the string noise. A lot of non-musicians picked up on the difference.

    Bryan
     
  7. zenpicker

    zenpicker Member

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    I do, actually, though I am probably not as assiduous as I should be in noting all the details. I think the big problem this time was changing the settings midstream. Once I know the gear that shouldn't be necessary.

    Bryan - Do you record with the Elixirs on open mikes or with a piezo? I've tried them and found them a little dead sounding on open mikes. I know they last longer and they're quieter in terms of stray noise, but I've heard more negatives than positives about them, so I am curious about your own take. You seem to know your stuff.
     
  8. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    I use the Elixir Nanowebs with a pair of small diaphragm condensors - I haven't found an acoustic guitar pickup that I liked enough to install on a guitar. There are a few varieties of Elixirs out there, but I usually use the Nanowebs, which are the brightest of their strings. I'm a big fan of the sound of fresh strings, so I usually put a fresh set of Nanowebs on before recording. You might have tried the Polywebs, which definitely sound dead.

    They've just come out with a set of Phosphor Bronze Nanowebs. They aren't quite as bright as the normal Nanowebs, but also get rid of a harshness in the upper midrange that shows up when I play harder. I like them so far, but have only tried them on my Santa Cruz and haven't recorded them yet. I use a mixed gauged set on my Goodall, so I haven't tried the new strings yet.

    Try recording with a set of the Nanowebs and see what you think of them. You might hate them, but they might work well for you. What strings do you usually use?

    Bryan

    P.S. One benefit of using the Elixirs is that they are more consistent from day to day, which is nice for recording. Ideally, I'd use John Pearse Phosphor Bronze strings all the time, but they seem to lose their tone after just a few days.
     
  9. zenpicker

    zenpicker Member

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    I've been using Martin Fingerstyle or Acoustic SP mediums lately, but I've tried a lot of things. I was a d'Addario fan for some time. Depends on the guitar, too -- I've got a Goodall jumbo koa that's got a boomy low end (as you'd expect), so lights are better, but I like mediums on my Goodall standard rosewood. Depends. I'll definitely try the nanos.

    What kind of condensor mikes do you use?
     
  10. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    I have a matched pair of Josephson C42 mics that I usually use in an XY configuration. I use an Apogee Mini-me for my microphone preamps, as a limiter, and to do the A/D conversion process. From there, the digital data goes into Pro Tools LE. I usually record using an iBook, as it is quieter than my desktop, but I do most of my editing on an old G4.

    Bryan
     
  11. zenpicker

    zenpicker Member

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    Anywhere I could audition your stuff created with that setup? Curious to hear the Josephsons. I feel a microphone purchase coming on, so I'm looking/listening...
     
  12. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    First of all, that was beautiful. Really nice playing, tone and recording!!

    Having not read any other replies yet and since you asked for comments, I had a few thoughts about areas where in my opinion it might be made even better... which is not easy, because it's already pretty damned good, and of course any creative decision has to be entirely your call.

    First off, as a song... I LOVED the beginning, the exquisite tension and restraint of the melodic line and your timing. It was so soulful, longing, almost like a human voice. Really beautiful playing. I was almost disappointed when the fast part began, because I was digging the flow so much that I just wanted to hear it played out to its fullest. The faster part sounded like a different song, a nice song, but it didn't flow naturally from the emotional groove you had established in the first part. It had a "pasted in" feel, but I don't mean the editing, I mean musically. Then when the slow part came back, the spell had already been broken and it took some time too get back in the groove. At least, that's how I felt as a listener. Just my subjective experience.

    I think as two separate songs they would work better. Don't be afraid to let a tense, soulful emotional groove just be what it is and let it go where it goes. A perfect example of that is Little Feat's "Lafayette Railroad." Even though it's a very different kind of thing, it's an example of maintaining tension that makes the listener feel like the song should break out "big" but it never does, and it works! Al Green made a whole career out of that concept.

    Secondly, I was listening through headphones on my laptop, so I didn't get a very detailed audio experience, but about halfway through, a few seconds after the start of the second part, I heard shift in the stereo field that sounded like a distinct edit. Then about 3/4 of the way through it shifted back again. Nothing wrong with edits, but IMO on a solo acoustic recording like this they really should be utterly transparent. It's VERY hard to do that when you change positions even a little bit, like just standing up to stop and start the recording then sitting back down again. Believe me, I know! It's just something you have to work out. I think the best way is either to record the whole song in one take or to have someone else help you with engineering. When I record solo players I try to get complete takes which I then edit as needed. Not being a solo player myself, my acoustic tracks are masked in the mix so I got it easy.

    Nice work!! Looking forward to hearing more! :)
     
  13. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    I don't have anything online, but I'll send you something tonight.

    Bryan
     
  14. zenpicker

    zenpicker Member

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    Michael - that's exactly the kind of constructive criticism we all hope for. Thanks for listening so sensitively.

    Your thoughts on the tension-and-release arc of the song give me a lot to think about. I certainly agree that sometimes unreleased tension can be brilliant...we all know examples of that one. Maybe what I need to do as the song continues to evolve is extend the melody into a slow B part (actually a C part) that flows from the central melodic line, and see where that takes me. Not quite sure I will abandon the fast section--that would be a big leap!

    Just as an anecdotal aside, I wrote this song with my wife's grandmother in mind (you can see her picture if you access the tune from my web site, www.edwardhamlin.com, rather than as a direct download). Somehow the dark tone of the A part isn't enough to capture her--she's got this playful side that the fast part expresses, for me at least. Not to say that this is the ultimate artistic criterion for where the song ultimately goes, because obviously it needs to stand on its own two feet, but it's a personal consideration. If I make it too dark it's not her.

    You're right about the shift in the stereo field--see my replies to others in this thread for comments on that. Basically I messed up both the initial engineering and the later mixing. Neat, huh? With another run at the mixing I might be able to compensate better for the mistakes I made in engineering....

    Thanks again for your very helpful comments, Michael.

    Edward
     
  15. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Hey, if a big leap makes a song better by a leap, it might be worth doing.

    I can dig what you're saying, that this about how you feel about a certain person and you want to "get it all in." Some songs you write mainly for yourself and they just stay that way. But I just felt this was so strong by itself that you really ought to consider the possibility. There's also this: maybe two songs, each expressing a different side of this person? You have to decide for yourself how important is the real-world emotional connection vs. writing a better, more cohesive song for the song's sake. I'm not saying there's a "right" answer to that question; it has to feel right for YOU. It's your baby!
     
  16. zenpicker

    zenpicker Member

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    I tend to come down on the side of the song and its needs rather than the context that spawned it. There's a long discussion about the universality of the artwork there, and an interesting one.
     
  17. adlibmusic

    adlibmusic Member

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    zp, that is awesome!! I liked the tone, the playing so full of feeling, all of it.
    I have an old jumbo Guild that I'm going to try miking as you have mentioned, to see how it will sound.
    Thanks for posting!
     
  18. zenpicker

    zenpicker Member

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    Thanks for the kind words, Adlib--they mean a lot.
     

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