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Recording Play-along Covers

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Hari Seldon, Mar 30, 2017.

  1. Hari Seldon

    Hari Seldon

    Dec 27, 2016
    I'm familiar with some of the great options for backing tracks such as karaoke-version.com and Jamey Aebersold. And I'm aware that you can make your own backing tracks. But I'm curious how some YouTubers record covers of what sounds like themselves playing with the original band. In the videos I'm talking about I don't hear any trace of the original bass player's playing. I've tried using really aggressive EQ and a high pass filter on the original track, but I still hear remnants of the original bass line (I'm using a USB interface and a DAW, with the original MP3 as one track and my playing as another). Is there some other holy grail website of backing tracks that I haven't found yet? If not, is there some other trick I'm missing? I can think of some other 'explanations', if you will, but want to hear what the rest of you think.

    Here are some examples of what I'm talking about. I can't find any of these on karaoke-version.com and they sound (to me) like it's the original performer in each one.

    Thanks everyone!

  2. Badwater


    Jan 12, 2017
    They do this is by using the original song, and putting it into a DAW. They cut the bass frequencies, and often will need to reduce the higher frequencies. There are techniques with how to cut specific frequencies on the YouTube. Cut technique is often used in Mixing to get rid of unwanted sibilence or essing as well as cut out specific frequencies that cause mud.

    Once they EQ the original track without most of the bass frequencies, they record themselves going direct into the interface and DAW, playing along to the track (hence the headphones or ear monitors). End result, the original song with their bass line.

    And, they can also video themselves playing along separately and match up the audio and video in their video editing software.

    Keep in mind you'll never be able to eliminate all the original bass frequencies, as some bass frequencies overlap on the kick, snare, and low toms, as well as vocals, guitar, and keys. The best that can be done is to go through each track with a EQ and make the cuts where the bass frequencies are the strongest. Some times you can use 2 or 3 EQ to narrow cut many specific frequencies.

    I would also try to use WAV format vs mp3 for more data to work with. Once you do a lot of cuts on a mp3 it will sound really thin.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2017
  3. Badwater


    Jan 12, 2017
    Here's a simple way to cut the bass frequencies.
  4. In the second video the bass tracks weren't even cut, she's a great player but it's not like she's going note for note so you can hear the diffs. 1st video is redundant so I lost interest.
  5. Hari Seldon

    Hari Seldon

    Dec 27, 2016
    Regarding the surgical EQ recommendation, yeah maybe. But as I said, I kind of took the sledge hammer approach and still could hear the bass in the original recording. In fact, I applied three different EQ's, on all of which I pulled every frequency slider below 1000k (I think..would have to check) down to the lowest it would go, and put on a high pass filter. I'd say 80% of the bass is gone, but octave pops on the G string definitely stand out, which is disappointing.

    And to be fair I'm then listening to it without myself playing over it. So I'm doing the three EQ's and high pass and just playing it back to see where I'm at. I'm sure it would be almost not noticeable if I then recorded myself playing over it. But it seems to me like some I've heard have been super clean (for example the first one above). So I'm still kind of searching for the holy grail, but also realize it may not exist. Would love to hear more ideas and approaches if anyone has ideas.
  6. Badwater


    Jan 12, 2017
    That's a good way to achieve what you're trying to do. However, there is no way to eliminate all the bass' sound from a master track. That's because the bass frequencies over lap into a lot of range. And if you cut too high, you loose the drums, and the track will sound very thin. The best you can do is to eliminate the majority of the bass.

    Use a HPF to cut the bass to about 300hz or until you start cutting into the kick drum. You'll want the kick as a reference when you record over the track. Then use one set of EQ to surgically cut around the kick, and pull down any other low end frequency to 800hz. Keep in mind to let some volume through to allow for the melody to come through. Then use another EQ to cut off some of the higher frequencies that will sound too loud and harsh.

    Also, use WAV files and split the stereo tracks if possible. Then pan each track for L and R channel volume. This allows some of the music to come through so it doesn't sound too thin.

    Try recording your bass over the mixed tracks and see how it sounds. And render the No Bass mixed track to see how it sounds without your bass.

    In the first video, she is playing way louder than the original track, that's what makes the bass stand out significantly. Once you record over the track, you can also use Sidechain Compresson on the original track to let your bass line consistently override any volume of the original track.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2017

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