Demo Finished! - I used Studio Kit (link to the songs too)

mcjaco

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Well as my last topic a couple weeks back asked if I should suck it up and pay the studio $40 to use their Pearl Sessions kit, or bring my own knowing that it'd take more time for our ten hour session, the decision was pretty eay when I go there.

The kit was in beautiful condition, and was the studio owners kit he'd played on since the 90s. It's his baby, and it showed. I used my snare, and cymbals, and we used his kick, a 13" rack tom, from the kit, and he had a 16" 60s Slingerland floor tom. The kit just sang, and he had it dialed in within ten minutes. So, I'm out $40 dollars, but I didn't have to lug a kit anywhere.

So you can check out the four demo songs (the first four). Let me know what you think. For bashing through this in less than 10 hours, I'm pleasantly surprised. There's a few mnistakes, but there okay.

http://www.reverbnation.com/4dashf
 

Rich K.

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Drums sound good. I'd think for a demo you'd try to have a little diversity. All the songs sounded pretty similar.
 

Man minus label

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It sounds like a 10 hour block demo recording. Which is not a bad thing. To get into the studio knowing that the clock is ticking for tracking and then quickly mixing at the end when the ears are fatigued is very challenging for engineers and musicians and everything you want to do is impossible.

I listened through some regular earbuds and Ipad, and I heard:
- Lots of high end (which may be my headphones) on the drums. Lots of hats/cymbal and snare.
-The BD was "wet" sounding with minimal depth.
- The toms had lots of reverb and didn't sound cohesive (soundwise) with the rest of the set on the rolls. They were audible, just a bit tucked in the back.
- The rhythm section (drums and bass gtr) could have used more bottom end to thicken the sound a bit.

So hopefully you don't take offense. Its just one guy's ears mixed with what I like to hear from recordings.
With more time for recording and mixing this could have been better, but it's 10 hours to do 4 songs. It's hard to expect too much from a sonic perspective or squeezing out all the potential a song may have in 10 hours. I think you should be satisfied with it for a demo recording. It's a decent 10 hour effort.
 
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Matt Middleton

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I agree the mix is a tad top heavy, for my taste anyway, but I like that it's got some air in it. I hate when a mix gets squashed.

Very Police-ish sounding.
 

mcjaco

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No. That's perfect guys. Exactly what I want hear. The guy producing said he never masters the same day, but our singer was a bit schizo that day, and was really pushing him to finish it within the ten hours. He paid for the whole thing, so we weren't going to get in his face about backing off. In hindsight, we probably should. What's another day or two to let the guy get it mastered correctly.

Unfortunately, I had to leave after the first song was mastered, so I didn't get any say on the other three mixes.


Thanks for the input. And the Police remark. They're the guitar player's favorite, and the feel he goes for.
 

devinw

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I agree with other on the mix being thin and top heavy. The kick drum is just not present IMO. Overall reverb choices on the kit are not ideal either IMO. Cymbals are not being done justice. Other than that, not bad though!

And yeah vocals are very Police! In a good way.
 

doctor dirt

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No bottom end at all on anything. You need a real bassists about as bad as it gets! Someone who could play slightly behind and in the middle of what the guitar player is doing. The guitar is not a feature player so you need someone with the ability to be featured.
Your singer is off 35% of the time in each selection. I believe he's going for the edge of the chord but he falls over far to many times.

studio------95% of the time you use the studio set, sometimes even their snare and cymbals, give a listen to a few recordings with all the studio drum gear on it. Just because you love your snare doesn't mean its not going to change completely on the recording.
The toms were buried but not bad considering the selections. The snare was abit too bright & thin to me. I hated the hi hats they were very thin but bordering on trash cheap sounding (again I think they sound like that because of the recording) bass drum was lost, no sound no resonanting at all, no depth, no nothing!! Not good.

I agree it sounds like your being "chased by the Police" the songs are void of melody which adds to their "speed"!! Nothing wrong with being up tempo but the combo of Police vs Greenday doesn't leave much to experience. Sorry to have more negative than positive but thats what I hear and whast I feel.

.................................don't have the guitar player lay down bass tracks, that NEVER works unless your Sting or McCartney.
Find a Bass Player, if you can. Good luck, Doc
 

equipmentdork

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Disclaimer: Just one man's opinion...and what do I know? :)

I listened to most of it. It does have a rough mix quality. Having said that, no one on Earth can record, overdub, and mix 4 songs satisfactorily in 10 hours, so don't feel bad. From what I understand, someone else was paying for it, so they became Executive Producer. So be it. You weren't going for a "live in the studio" thing...I don't think. It depends on what the ultimate goal is, getting live gigs, demos for a full album, etc.

First off, the songs do have a sameness to them, and production-wise, they are similar too, with nearly identical guitar sounds, drum patterns, and even tempos. Honestly, I hear you all being very tense and not together. Some parts were loose. Part of that, IMO, is because the songs are too fast for their own good. My feeling is that they don't want to be played that way, so they feel forced into a place where they don't want to go. Ex. I could hear Generation No opening up and grooving more at a slower tempo.

I found the drum sound on the thin side, with the toms being the best part. Cymbals seemed bright. The singer was all over the place, pitch-wise. The mix is a bit strange: the drums are overall too loud, with the kick not being loud enough, and the bass seems to be lacking.

Whew. Now, the positive: I can really hear the potential in the band's sound. Not sure how long you have been together, but I can see where things might go.
I like the singer, but at least on these tracks, he doesn't seem to be in control of his voice; it also doesn't have that "oomph", like he hadn't warmed up yet and did a handful of passes, if that.

I know that the singer was in a rush and paying for the session, but 10 hours is just enough for basic tracks. You just can't expect a Dire Straits album under those circumstances. With more time for a keeper vocal, more and different guitar tracks, maybe percussion or backing vocals and a separate mix session, you could have a darned nice little demo there. You did a phenomenal amount of work in little time, though, don't get me wrong! Three or even four sessions would have been more realistic.

Overall, a terrific first effort.


Dan
 

mcjaco

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Dan, thanks for the input. As an original band we're having a tough time finding gigs because we didn't have a good demo to pass out. The main goal was to get something better than the terrible recordings we had with a handheld digi recorder. Within one day of sending out the demo to some local booking guys we've had three calls, and just got booked for NYE.....so it worked, which is all that really mattered right now.


The day basically went as us recording live tracks. If I liked what I put down, we went back and did the bass, guitar, and then vocals. I'm not going to lie, our guitar/singer has timing issues. The first track is the one I counted in, which seems to be the most steady throughout. And by the time we got to redoing vocals, I think his throat was done. So yeah, there's some pitch problems here and there.

What I can't figure out is all the complaints about the low end, because on my home theater set up (Marantz w/ Morduant Short speakers), my car (Bose), and my Sony noise cancelling head phones, I get low end, a lot of it......I do agree there's too much high end in all of it. Unfortunately, I had to leave to pick up my kids, and I wanted to be out of the guy's hair, and let him do his thing. I did have him start dropping it in the first track, then I left. The Producer is a drummer, which is I beleive is why the drum tracks seem to be in the forefront of the mix....so sometimes having another drummer mixing isn't always good.

I think we got a good set of songs out of a hectic day, where we knew we were rushed to get them done. Also seeing how I was the only one that had ever been in a studio, and even that is limited, it was a learning process for the other two guys. I think if we had charcoal brickettes and stuck them you know where, we might have gotten two diamonds by the end of the day with the other two guys. All in all, we like (not love), the end product, and now know more time is needed to truly do it right, but this got the job done.

I love the feedback, because a lot of it's right on what I've been thinking since we started this project. We've only been playing together since August, so I think we're doing quite well. :)

Keep it coming people! And if you're in the Chicagoland area, we're playing at Penny Road Pub on NYE (the 7PM slot - so you can still make your parties). I'd love to see a DFO'er!
 

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I'm going to agree with the majority here that the mix sounds very thin. I can concur that its very hard to track songs and get them mastered in the same day. Its just not possible and it really makes no sense, but budgets and time constraints make it that way. When your an engineer and you spend 6 hours tracking instruments your ears take a beating. Then when your mixing the tunes they don't get that freshness, so they get mixed with tired ears. We tried to do that on our EP and found out it was better to take the rough tracks; listen to them for a week, and then come back in with fresh ideas and mix them down. IMO bringing the bass drum out some more, rolling back on the highs a tick and throwing some thick bass guitar in would make these songs sound even better!

The songs do all sound similar but kudos for writing your own songs! I don't think enough credit ever gets out to the guys who make their own music! I dig the tunes and you can always write more diverse songs and throw em on their with the others.

Good job! Its always a learning experience. I look forward to hearing more.
 

drumbum91

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What I can't figure out is all the complaints about the low end, because on my home theater set up (Marantz w/ Morduant Short speakers), my car (Bose), and my Sony noise cancelling head phones, I get low end, a lot of it......I do agree there's too much high end in all of it. Unfortunately, I had to leave to pick up my kids, and I wanted to be out of the guy's hair, and let him do his thing. I did have him start dropping it in the first track, then I left. The Producer is a drummer, which is I beleive is why the drum tracks seem to be in the forefront of the mix....so sometimes having another drummer mixing isn't always good.
Ill have to listen on better speakers!
 

mcjaco

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drumbum91 said:
What I can't figure out is all the complaints about the low end, because on my home theater set up (Marantz w/ Morduant Short speakers), my car (Bose), and my Sony noise cancelling head phones, I get low end, a lot of it......I do agree there's too much high end in all of it. Unfortunately, I had to leave to pick up my kids, and I wanted to be out of the guy's hair, and let him do his thing. I did have him start dropping it in the first track, then I left. The Producer is a drummer, which is I beleive is why the drum tracks seem to be in the forefront of the mix....so sometimes having another drummer mixing isn't always good.
Ill have to listen on better speakers!
Actually, I'd rather get feedback on what everyone is listening to the tracks through. Headphones, speakers, EQ? We had him add bass at one point and the mix was terrible, so I'm a bit confused on the low end comments.....but I want to know!
 

Man minus label

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OK, I just listened to it on Bose headphones and then some crappy earbuds. There is definitey a difference. There is more bass present in the Bose headphones, which is probably the same thing you're hearing. The bass completely dropped out in the earbuds, which iis probably the same deal if heard through laptop speakers.

However, even with more present bass, I think once everything was playing, the bass guitar sounded muddy. I'm trying to figure out how to say this, but it's like it wasn't solid. There was no definition to his picking or fingering (except when throwing in fills). Maybe it was the panning on the recording. I also tried to listen to each side separately and it sounded like everything was panned to the middle or very close to it.

But as you said, this was for demo shopping/gig purposes, and it think this recording serves the purpose.
 

dwdave

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I listened on cheapie headphones and there was some low end but not much. The drum sound was not coherent with the guitar and bass. the snare sound IMO sucked. Having engineered many 10 hour sessions, this is what happens. You have to keep the session moving so drum sounds and the overall vibe go out the window. The band sounds fine, I'm REALLY glad to hear original music. Maybe next time record yourselves and think about how the tones are all working together. That way when you are back in the studio you already have that part covered. Maybe some overdubbed synth or Guitar would be nice as well.
 

mcjaco

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dwdave said:
I listened on cheapie headphones and there was some low end but not much. The drum sound was not coherent with the guitar and bass. the snare sound IMO sucked. Having engineered many 10 hour sessions, this is what happens. You have to keep the session moving so drum sounds and the overall vibe go out the window. The band sounds fine, I'm REALLY glad to hear original music. Maybe next time record yourselves and think about how the tones are all working together. That way when you are back in the studio you already have that part covered. Maybe some overdubbed synth or Guitar would be nice as well.
Thanks guys, for the headphone info.

Describe what you mean be drums not being coherent. Do I need a different pattern altogether? Without a strong bass line, I'm struggling to mix it up.

I will say, I'm not happy with the snare at all....I should have tried the two he had in studio. It just didn't translate well in the recording like I thought it sounded in person.

We started doing a few overdubs on guitar toward the end, and yeah, lots to think about if we get back into a studio and really hammer these down.
 

charlesm

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Honest opinions here. Some of what I'm hearing (listening on a good speaker system):

1. Mix is definitely thin. There is not a lot of dimension or dynamic happening in the mids. Not very 3-D or exciting in general.

2. Drumkit is not punchy and needs to be, especially for stuff like this. This is crucial to a good mix.

3. I think your snare technique needs to change. You either need to lay into it more sometimes or play it more for tone. It sounds kind of papery to me.

4. The drumbeat on every song is essentially the same. Ghost notes played the same way, etc. You need to find new ways to approach the grooves of the different songs.

5. The singer is pretty pitchy. That needs to change. Anyone with good ears will key in on that right away. If you're shopping this to anyone serious--a&r, labels, etc.--they will likely just dismiss this because of that.

Related to this last point, I have to tell you this--again, honestly (Why sugar-coat it? Life's too short.):

This material is cool and all but it is REALLY borrowing The Police's sound big time. I don't know how far you are looking to take this stuff, but it will not go anywhere serious in this day and age. No record company is going to get behind this. Anyone listening to it is thinking that you're trying to imitate. The problem? The Police were the originals, they have already been there, and they did it much better, frankly...brilliantly, in fact. What's the point of trying to be some version of The Police that isn't quite as good?

You guys are all obviously talented. I suggest that you find your own voices and strive for something truly original. That is how you will get somewhere.

Hope no offense is taken. None is intended. Just an honest perspective.
 

Tim Boettcher

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Every song sounds the same... Nothing remotely stands out as any song having it's own personality.

Bass player should to re-cut his tracks..... Tempo, feel etc.

The singer could possible front a Sting tribute band...

All in all, good job IMO but could be improved upon like anything.

Timmy
 

dwdave

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mcjaco said:
I listened on cheapie headphones and there was some low end but not much. The drum sound was not coherent with the guitar and bass. the snare sound IMO sucked. Having engineered many 10 hour sessions, this is what happens. You have to keep the session moving so drum sounds and the overall vibe go out the window. The band sounds fine, I'm REALLY glad to hear original music. Maybe next time record yourselves and think about how the tones are all working together. That way when you are back in the studio you already have that part covered. Maybe some overdubbed synth or Guitar would be nice as well.
Thanks guys, for the headphone info.

Describe what you mean be drums not being coherent. Do I need a different pattern altogether? Without a strong bass line, I'm struggling to mix it up.

I will say, I'm not happy with the snare at all....I should have tried the two he had in studio. It just didn't translate well in the recording like I thought it sounded in person.

We started doing a few overdubs on guitar toward the end, and yeah, lots to think about if we get back into a studio and really hammer these down.
I think you are on the right track. Different snare, different drum sound and a bass player. To me, the guitar was up the bass was down and the drums were lost. So, it didn't sound coherent, like you were all playing music together. This can happen when rushed or if a guitar player is anywhere near his fader...
 

mcjaco

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The bass lines have been our one bone of contention. Playing in a multiple power trios before, I keep saying a bonafide bass line is needed. They keep saying they need to fill the space. So, I've been forwarding a lot of the comments here too them. Hopefully it stirs them up a bit. I've been trying to bring in my friend that played bass in my last band, and letting the current "bass" player move to rythym, which is where he's comfortable and wants to play. The singer wants it to be a trio....so there's still some feeling out going on here.

As for our plans we have none. I'll be 39 in March, the bass player is 39 currently, and the guitar player is 40. We have no delusions of grandeur here. We're not out shopping for record deals, or radio play. We're not trying to reinvent the wheel. The guitar player admires Andy Somers, and it shows in his songs. I don't think it's a bad thing. We just want to play original music to people, and have fun....making some cash along the way helps keep the wives more understanding of the time commitments. I've got 20 month old twins so, I don't have time, or money to buy loads of gear (nor do I want too), so I use what I have. The demo was a bucket list item of the guitar player. He'd never recorded in a studio, and wanted to do it. We weren't getting nibbles with our rough recordings, so it was kind of a no brainer. Or we folded.

I will say this, we sent out the demo to a handful of local agencies over the weekend, and we've booked two shows (one on NYE), and were asked for availability in February by another....so it did it's purpose.

I appreciate all the feedback, and I am taking to heart the comments on my sound and technique. Whether I do anything about it....well that's another story. This is a hobby, and I'm enjoying myself. I know my ability limits, and physical limits especially after years of marching and garage bands that destroyed my hands. I am relistening to songs with fresh ears though, and thinking of ways to reinvent my parts, because I already knew they were repetetive from song to song.
 


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