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my band, singer & my style, other bass player input appreciated

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by mrWr0ng, May 31, 2004.

  1. Here are our latest three recordings... We just finished these out of San Francisco State's studio with the production of John Barsotti. I'm particularly concerned with my bass tone, I play a '90 ernie ball and I feel like I should be having really great tone but I keep getting recordings that I just don't feel live up to what could be my sound. I am often at odds with the producers and engineers, who really want me to have a specific sound overall. On this production I only plugged into a DI box and went straight into the mixer, and the tone just feels to be lacking overall, devoid of all the famous sting ray punch. It's also really quiet, and as a busy bassist & songwriter, I feel my basslines really need to be in the mix for the whole song to be understood.

    Anyways, enough of that blather, you knwo what I mean. Also the singer produces a lot and it's him that I'm often at odds with, but I hear a lot of complaints about his singing. I don't want this to get in the way of the potential of the music if musically we are good as people say. So I am concerned about what specifically it is that rubs people the wrong way and what we could do to fix it.

    Here are the recordings, thanks for any input
    Air of Change
    Four to One
  2. BryLMoo


    Mar 25, 2004
    Charlotte, NC
    I like.

    Good song writing. Eventhough I'm not a really good ear, it sounds to me like you band is onto something special.

    Nice playing!
  3. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    I like the tunes, your playing is great... but your tone is almost *springy*... what kind of DI??? Sounds like something was mis configured somewhere. and Yeah, you need to be fuller/hotter in the mix.

    The singer is pretty ok... definately listenable to me. I hear on the second one that he is fighting to keep it together (at the edge of ability almost).

    Pretty good overall... I added them to my master playlist :bassist:
  4. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Yep I agree with you. You guys are good, with a good recording you'd be better though. Not to be overly harsh, and taking into account the randomness of listening online, it reminds me of mixes I've heard by people with some noticable hearing loss. Your singer is Ok, sort of reminds me of the guy from Live.
  5. i liked the songs, but i agree with everyone else here too, your guitar player gets some really cool tones, and you should stand out more in the mix.

  6. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Ah, leave it to me to be the lone voice of dissent here. I think your bass does sound lame, but I think it's at the right level in the mix. There's no air around your tone, and it sounds very sterile. No need to bring it up in the mix at all; is it your/our ego as bassists making us want it higher in the mix?

    I don't think that your singer sucks, but I am not terribly impressed either. I think his lyrics are pretty cliche, and a bit emo-ish, which I'm not a big fan of.

    The drums don't sound bad, but I think there's a bit too much reverb on them at times. The bass drum is lacking some punch too. The snare sometimes dissapears, and the cymbals take over the mix.

    The guitar is a bit hollow sounding. It sounds like either a POD was used, or a small cab was mic'ed. Sometimes the single note guitar lines are weak; some overdubs of some chords going on might help fill out sometimes (or a bigger bass tone would work too).

    I don't think you guys are a bad band, but there's nothing real special about it either. I would recommend to take a hard look at yourselves and your style and see what you can do to separate yourselves from all the other bands out there (that, in all fairness, sound like you guys). You don't have to change your sound necessarily, but take it to the next level in some way.

    Keep it up, though. No band ever got worse from hard work.
  7. Is there anything you would suggest as far as trying to discern ourselves from other groups a bit more? I write a lot of the basslines first and although I have ideas for what I'd like the guitar and drums and vocals to do, they usually write their own parts. I think we have a pretty unique sound as it is, but I'm definitely open to suggestions on what works musically, what doesn't, what sounds generic, what tones can be improved and tone ranges, etc.

    I'd just really like to know how we can improve the quality of ourselves as seen through our latest recording
  8. Lazlo Panaflex

    Lazlo Panaflex

    Sep 30, 2003
    definetly sounds like your not loud enough in the mix, the singer is bearable but, maybe he needs to tone it down a little? like hes trying to do to much? not sure what im trying to say :meh: he definetly has potential.

    kind of sounds like mad at gravity
  9. I wrote this on the band's MSG board and thought I would post it here. Does this sound agreeable or am I totally off course? It's all subjective opinion but I'm just curious:

    "Okay, I've been listening to the new EP a lot and looking at how things sound overall and where the band is now/was then, musically speaking.

    I think we have come a long way, and we are sounding better than ever. But there are things we can still stand to work on and grow on.

    So here are my thoughts on the recordings as a whole:

    The recording quality on the drums and bass are below what we should be at, i believe. The cymbals on the drums sound great, but the snare and the bass drum both lack a solid 'punch' to get them in the mix. Erik's bass drum hits, while well placed, don't have enough substance to them to really hit at crucial moments.

    The same goes for my bass. When we were laying down the bass tracks again and I was in the studio, I had John dial in a tone with more low-mids for added punchiness. It wasn't perfectly to my liking, but it was a lot closer. However, during the recording, the overall volume is too low and it lacks that low-mid punch that I really wanted to come across when I had John dial in that tone. There is some low end, but overall my notes are running in together and not coming across individually because that crucial middle tone range isn't there enough. It doesn't help that I have the bass on my stereo system turned all the way up and I'm still struggling to hear what I'm playing.

    While playing the show on Sunday, I think I came across the same thing as well. While the settings Beef has dialed in give a lot more low end, my bass loses a lot of the punch and that detracts a lot from what I want to come across in my basslines. I'm going to spend more time working with my EQ next practice, and I will take suggestions on how to keep enough low end to keep everyone satisfied, but this recording and the last gig have helped me understand what i do want in a bass tone - and what i don't.

    Guitar sounds good overall. It bleeds into the low mids and lows a lot, which would be a problem if my bass tone were there, but it's not so the guitar works overall, but to me it sounds like the guitar succeeds there because the bass lacks. Note that this is NOT anything beef's playing, just where I envision the guitar's tonal range and the bass. Beef's tone often dips into range i would prefer to be covered by my bass playing, but since tha tdoesn't really happen on this recording, it's not an issue now - but it will be later on.

    Vocals come across as a little *too* reverb-y at times, and oftentimes too loud. If I have the volume a little bit lower, usually I can somewhat hear the music under the vocals, but as soon as Bateman does something that he wants to emphasise, the music gets completely lost under a vocal wash. I think a lot of the layered melodies sound good, but need to have less reverb and less volume. Things stand a lot more equally at a higher volume, but I don't want to have to listen to the music at too high of a volume to appreciate the musicianship. This is something that has often been commented on as well, in that the vocals in general are too loud. I feel they could be taken down just a touch (say 1 - 2dB) just to even them with the music, and things would be about perfect.

    Although I would like to see more bass in this recording as a whole before I could properly give it my complete approval (tone issues aside), it is most definitely our best recording yet. Hearing how well it came out, however, just tells me even more what we could fix on it to improve the next one."