Recorded a band in my home studio - thoughts?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by jdogric12, Mar 10, 2015.

  1. jdogric12

    jdogric12 Supporting Member

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    I know it's not great. But I'm slowly learning. Comments welcomed!



    Band's gear:
    Bonham vistalite kit
    Rhythm guitar - Travis Bean into Fender... IIRC, Deluxe Reverb?
    Lead guitar - Epi Dot through Pignose 60W tube amp
    bass - Rick 4003 through Ampeg PortaBass 228 (direct out XLR)
    Harmonica into some Fender tweed amp, IIRC

    Recording gear:
    Drum kit -
    Kick - Gear One MK1000
    Snare top - SM 57
    Snare bottom - EV PL10
    Hi Hat - AKG C1000S
    all 3 toms - SM 57's
    OH: pair (not matched) of AKG Perceptions... IIRC, 200 model?

    Amps miked with SM57's
    Voice into some SM57 knock off

    Interface - Focusrite Saffire Pro 40, with a Presonus Digimax D8 to add 8 more channels
    Pro Tools 10 on a 2011 MacBook Pro.
    Did this in 16/44.1, bounced to mp3.
    Reference monitors are M-Audio BX5a's.

    I'm still getting the hang of EQ and compression. I don't have a good room to mix in, and it shows. Anyway, there it is. I appreciate any notes you can give me. But hey if nothing else listen to the band and not the recording - aren't they great? I took some liberties in the post-production, like adding that gas tank reverb on the guitar intro, picked one or two guitar notes to add extra reverb to, etc. Hope you like it! Cheers, J
     
  2. loudboy

    loudboy Member

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    Cymbals are overwhelming the rest of the kit.

    Start the drum mix w/the kick, bring in the snare until it's at the same level.

    Then bring in the OH's to balance the cymbals w/the kick/snare.
     
  3. 56Tweed

    56Tweed Sub-Octave Member Silver Supporting Member

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    Based on your super humble opening line my expectations were pretty low, but it was a pretty pleasant surprise.

    My biggest thing would likely be the drums and I think Loudboy's response was a good start there.

    Also regarding levels, I would personally like to hear the bass a bit better in the mix to help fatten it up especially with all those cymbals it just sounds a bit thin and borderline harsh.

    On that note, I see a lot of SM57s being used. I love them, and tend to use then in most of my recordings on guitar, but it might be worth trying two mics next time so that you can blend the sounds a bit. This may be somewhat nit-picky, but I think something added to blend/fatten up that guitar tone would make a positive difference while still giving you the bite that you have there now. See if you can borrow something like a Sennheiser 421mkII, Bayer M160, or an AKG C214 which all work great on guitar cabs.

    Good stuff, keep working at it!
     
  4. logang

    logang Member

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    Yep, main thing I'd do is turn down the hihat a good bit, overheads down a tad, snare up a tad.

    The vocals sound pretty good, but just curious why you'd use the knockoff 57 when you've got real 57's? Did it just happen to sound better? Did you try an AKG perception?
     
  5. sessionplaya

    sessionplaya Member

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    I agree, the cymbals are a little overbearing. You'll get it with a few tweaks!
     
  6. jdogric12

    jdogric12 Supporting Member

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    Awesome, thanks everyone!

    The band recorded this all live. 14 songs in about 6 hours, most in one take. Only overdub was harmonica, and one or two songs' vocals. The singer used his regular vocal mic. I didn't even bother to check out what it was since he uses it all the time live. Couldn't use a condenser (I usually do vocals with a Neumann TLM103) due to everyone being in the same room at the same time. I'll try the drum mixing technique mentioned. I was doing the opposite in my ignorance - starting with OH's and bringing in other things to match - FAIL! :) Thanks for all the input everyone - you all are very nice!
     
  7. mixwiz

    mixwiz Member

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    My thought as well. I think you did really good especially since it was tracked live.
     
  8. MoPho

    MoPho International Man of Leisure Silver Supporting Member

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    Lining up to purchase this album/EP when it's been tweaked. I love it! I agree about the drum mix, nothing wrong with the drummer though.
     
  9. stevel

    stevel Member

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    Agree with everything said about the drums.

    However, if I heard this in a different context, my first thought would be "hmm, sounds like it was recorded by a guitarist".

    In my band, the drummer is the band leader, and his wife is the soundperson. Any guesses as to which instrument is always loudest in the mix?

    I'm listening on my laptop, so not the best, but yes, needs bass, and needs kick and snare. Guitar could go back in the mix a bit - at least when the vox comes in.

    But I think most of the "problems" are balance issues. Could it stand "studio gloss", sure, but I like "raw" recordings like this.

    The verb on the guitar at the beginning is not to my taste. It reminds me of a lot of early electric blues guys that did have their sound soaked in verb but this sounds like aftermarket verb and not spring verb, and the wet/dry balance is bit wet for my tastes. It might be OK (more to my taste that is) if the soakiness is the same, but with less wet signal. IMHO it would be worth testing. . Actually, I think it's good on the opening feedback stuff and select notes - you need it kind of spacey, but when the riff start there's this "bounce" (early reflection kind of thing) happening that I find a little distracting. Mind you if I heard it on the radio, I might complain, but I did that about the ride cymbal in John Mayer's Waiting on the World to Change and no one seemed to care ;-)

    Little bit of competition going on between the guitars and vocals during the verses. Would love to hear each get their own space. Again, I'm on my laptop - what's the panning on those guitars? Are they split? Might want to try moving them out from center or around a bit to see if they sit better anywhere.

    But I like it. For your disclaimers, I think you did a great job! Not "too polished" sounding (a good thing), and I feel like there's some energy captured, which is great. Made me want to continue to listen despite cymbal mayhem ;-)
     
  10. BeatleScott

    BeatleScott Member

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    I really like this - quite a catchy riff! Reminds of old ZZ Top a bit.
     
  11. maydaynyc

    maydaynyc Supporting Member

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    Really nice job. I'm wondering if one reason the snare and kick are not as prominent as they could be are due to phase issues. Check the phase on the kick with the overheads, and also make sure the top and bottom snare mics are set correctly. The other advice I can offer is to use eq to give things their own space in the mix. For example you could use use a high pass filter on nearly every track except the kick, floor tom and bass. On some channels like guitar you can turn it up quite high, maybe 150-250 hz. I usually turn it up until I just hear it start to thin out in the mix, and then back it off a bit. This could open up the mix a bit.

    Nice work!
     
  12. Motterpaul

    Motterpaul Tone is in the Ears

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    I am listening on Roland studio monitors.

    1. The opening guitar is swimming in reverb, and it is too quiet. I say this because when it came on I turned up my speakers pretty loud, then I had to jump to turn them down when the song started. Avoiding this is an "advanced" mixing technique you want to learn (it is often fixed in the mastering process, but it's better if you don't have to fix it that way).

    2. When the full band is playing a lot hear a LOT of grating, harsh midrange (about 1k) on guitars, cymbals, harmonica & especially the slide guitar. Meanwhile the vocals seem a bit buried to me. A better mic would have served. The vocals are interesting but could use more "presence"

    3. For the drums, I would turn the cymbals down, but also turn up the other drums. Make the kick, snare & toms fatter with more low mids.

    4. I don't get much sense of stereo - it seems almost mono. I prefer to hear a wide spectrum.

    One the other hand, I think you got a good bass sound, which usually hard for beginners.

    The guitar opening is that authentic Fender sound (just too much reverb, Question, was the reverb on the amp when he was recording? because if it was, NOT doing that could make a lot of your future recordings sound much better. You know the old rule, you can always add reverb, but you can never take away what is recorded onto a track. If it wasn't recorded that way then you could remix it with less reverb.

    Not a bad first track, though. Thanks for sharing.
     
  13. jdogric12

    jdogric12 Supporting Member

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    Thanks for all the comments everyone. This thread has been super helpful! I'll post the album when it's done - which has to be ready for the release show on Saturday!
     
  14. dennwall

    dennwall Member

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    Thanks for posting this -- it's really helpful for all of us who are trying to master (so to speak) the recording process. Based on my experience, it's not easy. I really enjoyed listening to this and reading the comments.
     
  15. ejanuska

    ejanuska Member

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    I'm curious about the recording environment. Was everything in one room or in separate rooms? How big was the room? Did you use dividers or other devices to increase separation?
     
  16. gitfiddler99

    gitfiddler99 Member

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    Kudos on the tune. It's pretty damn good. Thats the most important thing.

    I'd bring the guitar down a bit and definitely the cymbals. Bass should be pumping.
     
  17. jdogric12

    jdogric12 Supporting Member

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    Thanks!

    Everything was in one big room, 25' x 15' roughly.

    Harp was in between the couch and the vocalist/lead guitarist, and his amp in the bathroom, but his harp mike had more band noise than harp in it, so we had to overdub him later. Thankfully he didn't bleed into any of the other mics.

    To do it again, I would have put him on the other side of the door to the stairs, which is mostly glass, so he could still see, but not get band noise in his harp mic.

    The three "dampening" walls are portable PVC and moving blanket (thick ones) frames I made, about 4'x7' IIRC. Effective and easy to move and make.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. DesertCoupe5.0

    DesertCoupe5.0 Member

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    Sounds much better. I like
     
  19. newb3fan

    newb3fan Member

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    this quote from cruisemates was my additional take as well:

    2. When the full band is playing a lot hear a LOT of grating, harsh midrange (about 1k) on guitars, cymbals, harmonica & especially the slide guitar. Meanwhile the vocals seem a bit buried to me. A better mic would have served. The vocals are interesting but could use more "presence"

    I would not have said it as well or specific though. My thought was that there were multiple instruments/mics sitting in the same frequency range fighting for dominance and as a result everything there was not as clear as it could be.

    My disclaimer - I know about as much as you do about how to do this. Just giving you the perspective of another set of ears.

    Keep at it- you are clearly onto something!
     

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