One of my band's first big recordings. Prog Metal. Thoughts on mix/production?

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by hoffmaniv, Jul 25, 2016.

  1. hoffmaniv

    hoffmaniv Basement Dweller

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    Hey guys! Hoffy here. The song I want to show you guys is actually relatively old as it was written by my bandmate a couple of years ago, but he and I finally finished it as sort of our first big production in May. We did all the recording, mixing and mastering ourselves (naturally, as most bands tend to when starting out).

    If I can describe it: it's prog metal. It's in 6/8 for most of the song but we play a lot with dynamics. Towards the end, it gets much more progressive and we start throwing in lots of time sig changes. (And if I can be totally transparent, my criticism is that I feel like there are a lot of chordal sections that would benefit from having a melody. I think that has a lot to do with the fact that the song was meant to have vocals when it was originally written.)

    Looking for tips, scathing criticism, anything!



    (and here's the bandcamp link, in case you'd like to hear a better quality version)

    Cheers guys!
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2016
  2. Fretless

    Fretless Knob Fiddler Contributor

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    Not bad! I do wish there was more going on in the background though, doesn't need too much, just some strings, maybe a Hammond organ holding chords behind the solo, maybe some melodic strings or something in other parts. The track does sound good to me though!

    Also, bonus points for full self production! Here's a song off my bands upcoming album that we did the recording, mixing, and mastering for https://www.dropbox.com/s/858ujrkzbui8q4w/01 - Visitation.wav?dl=0 (I made some of the microphones we used, and our bassist built out a tube amp we used for guitars too so extra fun there!)
     
  3. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    ^ Agreed, some strings or an organ or something in the back would hold everything together, methinks. I can imagine some clean vocals over it too. Otherwise pretty good. :yesway:
     
  4. hoffmaniv

    hoffmaniv Basement Dweller

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    Thanks! I'll address the issue of the strings in the bottom quote. As for vocals -- there won't be any vocals. We've had so many bad experiences with assholes who have rock 'n roll personalities that it has soured our taste for it. We don't want to spend any more time looking for one when our city just doesn't have that kind of person. Fragments is just not gonna work as a band with vocals. So we're going to make instrumentals. :D

    Thanks! It's funny that you say that it needs strings ... it does have strings! They're just very sub-threshold. Next time we include strings, we'll be sure to raise them up in volume more.

    Organ wouldn't make a lot of sense to me though, haha. It's a little too corny for this song.

    And that sounds pretty cool! It's got some overtones of Tool, Breaking Benjamin and so on. I like it! Send me a twitter link of your band sometime, if you've got one. I'd like to keep up with what you're doing.
     
  5. Fretless

    Fretless Knob Fiddler Contributor

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    Yeah, I heard that it does have strings, but there are plenty of places where it would help glue the track together.

    Organ done wrong can indeed sound very cheesy, but when done right can add a lot to a backing track, especially under solos. The solos in Pink Floyd's Hey You is a perfect example of this. It's quite like how strings can add an epic feel to some parts of a song, well Hammond can add a very emotional foundation. For a more modern example listen to the solo in Satellite by David Maxim Micic.

    Thanks! We don't have a Twitter account yet, but if we do make one, I'll definitely let you know! My sig has our FB page, though we only have our old EP on there currently.
     
  6. hoffmaniv

    hoffmaniv Basement Dweller

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    True, I'm not disputing you when it comes to organ done right -- I just don't think it would fit this track at all, haha. When it comes time to do an EP release, we'll probably have to see about taking those strings and bringing them up until they sit underneath the rhythm guitars! Appreciate your input.

    Sweet. I followed you guys on there!
     
  7. Fretless

    Fretless Knob Fiddler Contributor

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    Likewise! If you ever need any advice for synth type stuff let me know! That's primarily what I play!
     
  8. hoffmaniv

    hoffmaniv Basement Dweller

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    Actually, I could use a tip or two! I'm a big fan of synth VSTs like Z3TA+2 and Omnisphere, and as much as I like the analog sort of sounds, I'm finding myself enamored with possibilities for more hybrid/sampled kinds of sounds. Moreover, I'm really a big fan of "getting it right at the source", which means trying to work with the best kinds of timbres and sounds so that I don't have to do nearly as much EQing or volume-adjusting to get them to sit in the mix.

    Unfortunately I spend a lot of time doing this, and I'd like to avoid this as much as possible as, well. It detracts from time that can be spent playing more guitar, lol. I realize you might not use either of these VSTs, but I imagine that the process is very much the same for any other kind of synth library -- are there any kinds of approaches that have helped you develop interesting/unique pad and lead sounds?
     
  9. Fretless

    Fretless Knob Fiddler Contributor

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    While I have no experience with either of those VSTi's I have quite a number of soft synths that I use, and have used a number of hardware synths too. One trick I find to making my best pads is to make your sound 100% dry, and then use the wettest reverb possible. This is the easiest way to make kind of a droning pad. Back off the reverb a bit, add some LFO modulation/chorus and you get really great and easy ambient pads that build and flow.


    Here's an example https://soundcloud.com/fretless-1/synth-pad-example First one is just the plain jane version with no modulation, second is the polyphonic version of the first sound for reference, and the third has some feedback, delay, reverb, and LFO modulation on things like cutoff and filter Q. You can make really good pads easily this way.
     
  10. hoffmaniv

    hoffmaniv Basement Dweller

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    Going to have to try that, thanks! It's amazing how far all those effects will take a really vanilla square sound.
     

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