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Strange Dream

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About Strange Dream

  • Rank
    Muse In Training
  • Birthday 18/02/1987

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  • Music Page

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Pittsburgh PA

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  • Lyricist, Composer or Both?
    Mostly composer, occasionally churn out mediocre lyrics
  • Musical Influences?
    Dreams, Memories, Imagination/Fantasy, and whatever music I happen to be listening to at the time!

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  1. Strange Dream

    Song order on an album

    In addition to the "not having two similar songs in a row" rule, which I agree is important: the first few songs shouldn't give a misleading impression of what the whole album sounds like. For example, if an album is mostly ballads with only a couple of faster/upbeat songs, don't put all of the fast songs at the beginning. On the other hand, I really like it when an album saves a "surprise" for the end. For example, if there are no guitar solos for most of an album, it can be kind of cool when they show up for just the last couple of songs.
  2. Probably some of you here have heard of the RPM challenge already, but if not, it's something that takes place every February where people try to write and record 35 minutes of music in one month. There's no prizes or anything, just kind of a way of trying to force you to put something out there instead of endlessly waiting for inspiration to strike. Anyway, the point is, I did the challenge in 2017 and am planning on doing it again in 2018. And although you're not really supposed to start writing until then, I have a pretty good plan in my head already, and for one song I'd really like to have a "guest" singer. I'm A-okay with on-line collaborations, and here's how I've done it in the past: I can write and record everything on my end, then send you the instrumental, the lyrics, and a "guide" track (I can also send a PDF of sheet music if that helps), then you record yourself singing it and send me the .wav file of just your vocals so I can mix everything. Basically the goal is to minimize the amount of work and effort required on your part. The genre would be something like heavy-rock-but-maybe-not-quite-metal, so no screaming required The required range would be about an octave and a half, from a low C, up one octave, and then to the next F, so something like C3-F4 or C4-F5 etc. For the curious, I can post a link to my results from last year as a reference, just make sure to lower your expectations....
  3. Strange Dream

    You You You

    I love these lyrics! It sounds like a really fun song and I think *everyone* can relate. I guess if I *had* to make one nitpick it would be that in the third verse you rhymed "you" with "you," and rhyming a word with itself can sound a bit awkward. I feel like changing the last line to "to you I'm just two ears" could have the potential to rhyme with something like "after all these years" or something, but I'm not sure-- I'm not really much of a lyricist myself!
  4. Strange Dream

    Beyond The Gates - New Release

    Oh cool, you're in Pittsburgh too? I didn't realize that! I do live here now but grew up near Buffalo so I still support the Bills, but usually I find that most Pittsburghers don't get angry about that, they just feel sorry for you instead. I still haven't decided if that's better or worse
  5. Strange Dream

    Beyond The Gates - New Release

    That's awesome! I'll check it out this afternoon!
  6. Strange Dream

    Acoustic Guitar Recording

    This all sounds great! I may have to forgo the sound pads as well for budget reasons, but now I know what to try!
  7. So I'm trying my hand at writing some acoustic stuff, which is something I'm somewhat new to-- I think I might qualify as one of the angst-ridden doom metal guys referred to in that "unrecognized genius" post over in the lyrics forum, but I think I might be doing that part wrong too since at the moment I'm wearing one of those cheesy "Life is Good" shirts with the cartoon stick figure, rather than something with an unreadable band logo Anyway, getting back to the point, I've heard a lot of songs on here from other people that have some really great acoustic guitar sounds, so I was just wondering what you guys do for your recording. Things like what type of microphone you use, how close to the guitar do you put it, and any effects/EQ you use on it.
  8. Strange Dream

    Here For You

    Okay, I have to say overall I love the "feel" of this track, with the sort of ethereal sounding guitars and the high harmonies. Definitely think the second version is an improvement too! Now, I know we all have our own styles and preferences and all, but I tell ya what I'd do if this was my song-- I'd extend it a bit. I don't mean add any more lyrics, I think the minimalism of the existing lyrics works really, really well. I just mean take some of the instrumental "breaks" in between the lyrics and make those longer. That, and I feel like it needs a little something extra, like a piano or something playing a second melody throughout the whole thing, so that there's more to the instrumental section than just acoustic strumming, and also because I feel like there's room for it since the vocals are fairly simple. Anyway, that was just my thought when I first heard it!
  9. Strange Dream

    Anyone have any experience with amp sims?

    Certainly! Here's a demo I whipped up last weekend. The raw, clean guitar signal: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9EJfZDMJ4fWMFlkTmthanFEd2M The sound after adding the amp sim: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9EJfZDMJ4fWQTRadXJ6SXFhYVU And here it is in context with bass, drums, and keyboards: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9EJfZDMJ4fWZE5sT1dsMVY4aEE A bit of extra information-- I record every guitar part twice, and pan them left 50% and right 50%, and put the plugins on each track separately. By the way, I really appreciate all the advice! I know it's usually next-to-impossible to "debug" a problem remotely!
  10. Yup, that's how I started too! Ten years ago I was writing stuff on my laptop using a MIDI editor (Cakewalk Music Creator). The songs were terrible and MIDI sounds kind of like cheap 8-bit video game music, but I at least learned how to write multiple instrument parts that sound "right" together. Then at some point I bought an adapter that allowed me to record guitar and bass by plugging directly into the headphone jack on my laptop. A couple years later, I got my Korg keyboard so I could record more realistic sounding violins/piano/horns/etc. through that same adapter. Everything kind of came out sounding like you were listening to it through an old walkie-talkie or drive-thru window or something, but I at least learned how to build songs one instrument at a time and keep everything on tempo with each other. And then five years ago I got a USB audio interface and some proper recording software (Cubase AI 5); three years ago I got EZDrummer software so I could have more realistic sounding drums, and the whole time I've been trying to teach myself how to do mixing and editing. So it's taken some time to get to this point, but every little bit along the way helps! Jury's still out on whether my songwriting has gotten any better though!
  11. Strange Dream

    Anyone have any experience with amp sims?

    Yes, but that's definitely a good thing to double check!
  12. Strange Dream

    Anyone have any experience with amp sims?

    Okay, so my audio interface is this one: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/yamaha-audiogram-6-computer-recording-system The description does say that it has a built in pre-amp, though it might only be for the microphone, I wasn't clear from the description. One of the things I tried yesterday was from the emusicians link-- I mic'd up my cheap Crate amplifier with the cleanest sound I could come up with (making sure it wasn't too loud!) and then put the plugins on that. I still think it's sounding about the same, but sometimes I wonder if my ears are just getting "tired" and I get to a point where I can't tell the difference anymore. Also I'm still getting better at mixing-- which is the nice way to say I kind of suck at it right now, but I'm hoping to eventually become good at it by doing it more!
  13. I checked it out on soundcloud-- it there seriously no guitar on this like the description says? Because that's awesome that you're able to get such a "full" sound with just bass and keyboards! I guess my completely non-expert opinion would've liked to hear a solo-- but I'm just kind of a sucker for guitar solos and keyboard solos, so that's probably just me But maybe at around the 3:30 mark, before the main riff comes back in, you could insert either a third verse that has a different melody than the first two, or just jam for a bit on a new musical idea before bringing things back around to the main riff and the chorus, just to make the bridge between the second and third choruses a bit more substantial. Other than that I thought it sounded great! I really loved the main "riff" that started the song and I thought your singing had a really nice Queens of the Stone Age sound to it-- that's who I immediately thought of when I heard your voice.
  14. Strange Dream

    Anyone have any experience with amp sims?

    Thanks for the quick reply guys! I'm definitely going to check out that article. I'm also going to show my ignorance a little bit and say I actually don't know off hand what model I have, or whether it has built-in preamps! (I'm not at home right now to be able to check). But it sounds like I have a few things to try over the weekend!
  15. Hi all-- first-time poster here (actually just joined yesterday!) and I had a question about using amp simulators for recording guitar. I've been following some tutorials online (for example: http://www.santoclemenzi.com/?p=839&lang=en and http://jasonsmetal.com/lepou-legion-amp/), and it sounds like people are able to get some great sounding guitars by recording clean and using these simulator plugins. My question is going to be essentially a version of "so why doesn't mine sound like that?" I'll try to provide as much detail as possible about what I'm doing, hence the lengthy post: So for my setup, I'm plugging my electric guitar (a Schecter Diamond series) directly into one of the inputs of a Yamaha USB audio interface. This feeds into my DAW (Cubase AI 5) and I record clean. Then, I add the TS808, amp simulator, and cabinet simulator plugins in that order to the clean guitar track. For the amp simulator, I've been experimenting with both the TSE X50 and LePou LeGion, and I use Poulin LeCab 2 for the cabinet simulator. I've got a few different impulse responses I've been experimenting with, including the "God's Cab" IRs used in one of the tutorials (https://www.wilkinsonaudio.com/product/gods-cab/?v=7516fd43adaa). Aaaaand the result still sounds, for lack of a better term, cheap. Like I'm playing through a $30 solid-state amplifier (which I already have, so I don't need a plugin to recreate that sound!) I can post some in-progress recordings if necessary. I have a couple of theories about what I'm doing wrong, but I don't know enough about recording to know if they're worth exploring: First, it's possible I'm supposed to have something between the guitar and the audio interface rather than plugging in directly. Something like either a pre-amp or a DI box, but 1) I'm not clear as to what those are actually for, and 2) I don't want to spend money on something if it's not going to make a difference. Second, my guitar isn't quite top-of-the-line. As far as I know, the Schecter isn't a bad model, but it's not a $2000 Ibanez either. It also does need new strings, though I can't imagine that would make *that* much of a difference. Anyway, I tried to give as much detail as possible-- I appreciate any tips/thoughts anybody has to offer!