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Please criticise my band's recording.

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by Kenzy, Mar 10, 2013.

  1. So we just got this recording back from a studio we were using a while back (t took them forever to get back to us). Just thought it'd be nice to hear from TBers on what they think of it. Say what you think about the quality of the recording, or say something about the music itself, all comments are welcome.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. sloppy_phil


    Aug 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    Not actually named Phil
    I think the tune is great, but I'm not really lovin the vocals. They're not necessarily bad vocals per se, but I just don't think they gel great with the groove here.

    Sweet bassing, dude!
  3. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    I think the vocals are fine just they aren't mixed well too far back in the mix? bring them forward some and they should be fine nice job.
  4. Thanks for the compliment! Do you know what it is about the vocals that you're not really digging so I can pass that along?
  5. RaginRog

    RaginRog Last guy you want to see is Employee Relations guy

    Nov 29, 2009
    Formerly Staten Island
    The singing during the verses is grooving with the rhythm, but I'm not crazy about the chorus. The "yeah, yeah" at the closing of the chorus, would be better served by an instrument playing a little fill. The levels are a little off, the guitar needs to be turned down a bit. It's going for "subtle" but the volume isa bit high. Right at around 2:48, the bass is a little loud. I think mastering will help get it all sorted.

    But overall, I think it's a really cool tune.
  6. RaginRog

    RaginRog Last guy you want to see is Employee Relations guy

    Nov 29, 2009
    Formerly Staten Island
    ...Oh, and nice playing on bass.
  7. That would be re-mastering, actually. Yeah, I did hear what you were saying about the levels, though I can't say that I thought the guitar was too loud. Definitely bass heavy at 2:48.

    I asked about the recording because this is the first time we recorded at this studio and we're still thinking on whether we should stick with it or not.
  8. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008
    How'd you record the bass? Sounds good!
  9. JCooper

    JCooper ...meep.

    Oct 21, 2009
    I agree with what RaginRog said, only minor level tweeks needed, IMHO.

    Nice work!
  10. We all recorded individually in a pretty intensely-equipped studio, actually. They formed a box around my rig with huge sound-trapping walls and stuffed two mics inside, which got us a pretty accurate and clean recording on the bass by keeping it isolated from interference from outside the box, making me a happy fellow :D
  11. SBsoundguy


    Sep 2, 2011
    Los Angeles
    The kick is too loud and then rest of the kit need to brought up a bit. Bass needs to step back too. There's a lot of reverb on those drums.
  12. BobWestbrook

    BobWestbrook Mr.

    Mar 13, 2006
    Philly suburb
    I think the overall mix sounds pretty good. The thing that jumps out at me is the drums - too much or too weird reverb makes them sound worse than the rest of the mix.
  13. IPYF


    Mar 31, 2011
    Here's a few things off the top of my head that I can hear with these lousy headphones, so take the below with a big grain of salt.

    Mix issues:

    - The bass is lacking compression and it's way way too loud for this mix. If it was compressed properly you could turn it down to an appropriate level without the edges falling off. I can hear it clipping too in a few places. At the moment it's dominating and making the whole mix sound wacky. Get a comp on there and apply a limiter to take off those hard peaks.

    - The vocals seem to be lacking processing and that's why they're too soft and hanging behind the other instruments. You need to apply some autotune, some reverb and a more dynamic eq. Don't be all prissy about that; it's industry standard across the board now and people expect to hear it in all recordings.

    - The guitar tone stinks (sorry, but I'm a spade as a spade kind of guy) and needs to be fixed. It's got no punch, it's muffled in the mids and the clumsy stereo throw panning has made it sound silly. It even sounds like it's the same track tossed left and right which is creating this odd artificial slapback. This is what I would address most. Get it brought in off the sides and start shaping the tone so it's closer to the middle of the sound spectrum. The panning is truly really bad and it's making the whole track sound wooly as.

    - Your snare sound is crossing frequencies with the bass guitar and the snare is getting lost. It needs to be snappier and the kick should be eq'd to differentiate between it and the snare. I can barely hear the kick drum. You need to get a few limiters on there to clean that up.

    - If this is mastered, it's really quiet and there's a lot of dead sound still left in the mix.

    The biggest problem with studios is that they're usually really expensive and someone in the band is always going to be looking at their watch. This recording sounds really really rushed to me. The drums are out of time in a few places, and they haven't been quantised and there's no apparent sample replacement. There are a few flams and flubs that sound in the drums that are throwing your other instruments out of time and giving an overall amateur vibe.

    On the whole, I'm sorry to be a harsh cat but there's nothing in this that I couldn't do in my bedroom given a decent DAW suite and an appropriate amount of time. I really hope you didn't pay a great deal for it. Sorry to be so negative but you did ask. I'm not a pro either, just a hobbyist, so you're welcome to discount this entirely.
  14. obimark


    Sep 1, 2011
    No offense, but the recording is not doing your band any favors, the vocals sit too forward in the mix, and some of the singing is off a little. The guitar doesn't sound great, sounds kind of thin. Your bass playing is little too busy for my taste, sometimes a little less is a whole lot more.
    If you paid a lot for this recording, you should get some $$ back, I have recordings close to this good off the handheld Alesis recorder from my band rehearsals.
  15. No offence taken! I appreciate the honesty, actually, as that's exactly what I asked for :)

    You think that the vocals sit too forward in the mix, though? Everyone else seems to be of the opinion that they're too far back. I agree that something should be done about the guitar; it's lacking the drive (punch, really) that was intended for the piece, or, as you said, it "sounds kind of thin". I definitely agree that having less bass can sound really good at times, but I personally don't feel that's really an issue on this track, but that's just IMHO.

    I'm happy to say that we actually did not drop bank on this recording, it was done for free by art students, which is part of the reason I wanted to see what some of the good, seasoned people of TB thought, as I'm certainly no sound engineer. I just play.

    Thanks for the honest feedback, it's always appreciated. :D
  16. BassKitty101


    Jun 28, 2012
    Endorsing Artist: Luna Guitars, Ashdown Engineering, Cactus Picks
    Just sounds like it could be mixed better, everything sounds too close, up front and individual. Not necessarily clean and tight sounding. Not the playing, just the mix in general, definitely could use some nice mastering to clean up the mix, maybe bring the vocals a little more to the front.

    Short version, mix sounds cluttered and unfocused. Some mastering and perhaps changes to the mixing will clean and tighten up the mix and give it some more power as a result.

    I dig the song and playing. Vocals aren't too bad either.

  17. No problem being the "harsh cat", man, you're being helpful! Keeping in mind that I'm no sound engineer, I'll try and understand your substance-filled post by breaking it down part by part and working my way through. ;)

    Okay...right...I don't understand compression. So...so, yeah...awkward... But clipping is unacceptable. I hadn't previously noticed any clipping before, though?

    Huh, I just re-listened to it and I'm definitely hearing that the vocals are a bit restrained-sounding compared to the instruments. That "buzz-word", auto-tune, though...like I'm sure it does many people, that immediately makes me uncomfortable. Just listened again. I think I'm actually satistfied with there the vocals sit in the mix, despite the fact that they do sit a bit back (that is to say, I kind of think I like that they're back a bit in the mix). I'm curious, though, as to what the argument is for bringing it forward.

    The guitarist did complain about his tone, as did the rest of us, saying that it lacked punch. The panning is also an issue, thanks for reminding me, I'll be sure to bring that up again as well.

    This next bit about the snare, bass guitar, and kick drum I won't even attempt to pretend that I understand. It would be great if you could maybe reappear a moment and clear this up, as this really means nothing to me but it sounds important, haha...

    Dead sound in the mix...I don't understand this either, and you're making me feel as though I should really learn up on this stuff (and I will, I promise).

    Wrapping this up: Yes, definitely drums. Quantised? Sample replacement. Hmm. Amateur is unacceptable. Your post was certainly enlightening, if not a bit esoteric, given your audience (me), and I'm glad that you could be honest about it! There no way to improve if we're just hearing "good job", eh? ;)
  18. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    I'm really proud of your efforts I love the song if you are close to a Guitar Center they always have free seminars on recording I would check one out if you get a chance or take the mix to a local studio and have them take a look at it and I'll be ready to buy it when you get it ready.
  19. IPYF


    Mar 31, 2011
    Sorry. I made a bit of a silly blanket assumption that you were a home recording buff as you mentioned that you had made some tracks at home. I'm happy to help clear up what I posted, and remember I'm just one amateur guy who does things one way. There are a billion other schools of thought that are equally valid.

    Firstly, compression. In simple terms it levels out the peaks in your playing, and brings the soft parts up to match if used properly. A bit of compression should take the variance out of your track and make it sit more comfortably in the mix. You have good attack on the track so you shouldn't notice any muddiness if it's done right. I compress like a crazy person, it's my favourite thing and I apply it liberally. Lot's of people don't get into that for fear of removing 'feel'. It's a fine line sometimes so you need to use your own ears to determine how much is too much.

    If you're not comfortable with vocal effects and pitch correction then that's perfectly alright. It took me a long time to get used to the idea myself and I actually had to use it extensively before I became cool with it. If it's done right then you never even know it's there and to the casual listener it just sounds modern and 'right'. I'm not talking about getting all T-Pain on your song, but for now I think it's not a primary problem.

    For the bass, snare and kick your engineers need to do some work. I hope they set up the appropriate amount of mic points for your kit. If they just used room mics and no triggers you might struggle a bit. If you listen to your track hard you'll notice that the snare seems to melt into the music a bit too much when the bass is playing on it. It sounds to me like your bass and the snare are sharing frequencies. Certain software and post-processing limiters could fix this but the simplest solution is to draw the mixing engineer's attention to it and to try to get them to mix the frequencies correctly. The kick is a bit flabby and I'd try and tighten that up to get a better groove. Don't worry about stuff like drum replacement and quantisation. That ship's probably sailed and again it's not super important.

    The primary problem is your guitar sound though. Hit that first. Get rid of that pan and try and get a brighter sound out of that guitar track. If you DI'd the track you might be able to re-amp or use a guitar sim. If you've only got cabinet sound then you're limited a lot more. Once you mend that guitar tone you'll be able to get a much clearer picture of what needs to happen with the rest of the song.

    It's cool that you didn't spend much on this. It's also cool that you got some students involved because I think learning by doing is the best way of learning. Have a chat with them and see what they actually did to the song. Maybe go in and sit with them and work on it. Could be a lot of fun.
  20. bottomend!


    Oct 23, 2007
    My critique will deal mainly with the mix.


    1) BD is waaaay too loud. Sounds to me like the mixer didn't have a subwoofer and over compensated without checking.

    2) HH needed to be spot mic'd and not just picked up by the OH's. This could be fixed/helped with some compression but it's not the ideal.

    3) SN mic ( if any was used.. sounds like OH's again ) is too low. SN tuning has a lower mid bump thats clouding up stuff in that range. Could be helped/fixed with EQ... hopefully.

    4) The feel at 3:10 gets weird. Bass and BD are fighting each other. This could be "hidden" to some degree by properly balancing the bass and BD.


    1) Clean tone isn't terrible but right off the bat it needs to be EQ'd to stay out of the way of the bass and (virtually non existent!) SN.

    2) Adding some grit to it would bring some life to the track thats missing. It's too dry and creates a "recorded in the box" sound overall which sounds amateurish and low budget. And not in a kewl way... When doubling guitar it's pretty common practice to switch things up (even slightly) for the double track.

    3) it's mixed too far out in front overall. I like it at the top and again at 2:43 but it needs to tuck in better to help with achieving a sense of dynamics.

    Bass -

    1) Mixed waaaay too far out in front overall. Nice tone overall.

    2) Bass doubled parts are cool musically but they dont always line up with each other rhythmically which along with the guitars lowend and the BD being too bassy, creates ALOT of mud, especially when I mono the track.

    3) Musta been a bass player mixing this, right?! ha ha ha :)


    1) Good singer.. shame he's not out front more. I dont know what the one guy who said he's already too far out front but I'm sitting here listen on three different sets of monitors and they are all telling me the same thing. Need more! If he was a lousy singer, you'd be right to try and tuck him in deep but this guy can sing good, is confident and his pitch is good so theres no reason to not have him front and center.

    I'm working with another band from San Diego right now FWIW. My studio is in LA and if you want, I can fix this mix for you and see how you like it.

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