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Recording/Mixing feedback on my song

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Triffid    6

Hello... I have this posted in the song feedback section too.  But... I've been tinkering for hours on this all week and it still doesn't sound great to me.  I feel like the low end may be "muddy", but I'm rather new to this so I don't know for sure.


Begin Again



My setup:

Pretty much this: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/steinberg-ur22-mkii-recording-pack

Macbook pro

Garageband 10

an old midi controller



Basically my process for this was:

1. record the acoustic guitar... use one of the canned acoustic guitar sounds, adjust some settings

2. record the vocal... use the "compressed vocal" sound, adjust some settings

3. add fake bass drum (midi controlled)

4. add real shaker

5. add real tambourine

6. add fake bass (midi controlled)

7. tinker over and over and over with all the compression, reverb, eq in the tracks... no master compression or limiter though

8. export from garageband as mp3

9. open audacity and increase the volume (Base/Treble effect) because it was really low


That pretty much how I ended up with this mess... I recognize that being able to do this myself is crucial to me sharing my music... so I want to get better!


Here are a couple others I've recorded with pretty much the same process it it helps:


Show The Way



One Day Is Enough




Thanks for any help


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Mike B    79

Hi Triffid, I'm at work so can't listen to your mix, I'll tell you a few things you can do differently:


1) Don't convert WAV files to MP3 until the mixing/mastering is complete.   Even at 320k bit rate, you lose a lot of digital information when you convert to MP3 (hence the smaller file size).

2) Mixing:  You're using headphones (MF friend you linked)?   This can give you a very false impression of how the mix will sound in other systems.  This is the crucial thing - you want your mix to sound good on other systems - whether it's earbuds, a car stereo or a computer speaker.   You can somewhat learn this from experience, but it takes time.   I started out using headphones a lot because I had some small 3" monitors that didn't give any low end, and I found muddiness and too-soft vocals and lead guitar often resulted - because the headphones accentuated the mids and highs, but 'scooped' the low mids (where the mud is).

I started burning my mixes to CD, then listening in my truck, because I know how music should sound on that system, I've listened to hundreds of CDs in it.  Also play them on my living room stereo system.  Then I make notes of what's wrong with the mix, go back to the computer, remix, do it all again.   A time-consuming process for sure!  I had times when it would take me 5 or 6 'tries' to get it close.  Then I sent the mixes to a mastering guy who told me the low end was out of control!

The solution is decent monitors, and acoustic treatment in the room (bass traps, not "acoustic foam").

3) Not sure what you mean by 'one of the canned acoustic sounds' - if you mean an FX preset, turn it off!   Instead, listen to the track you have recorded - what does it need?  More high end?  Low end?  Volume automation or compression?  Same thing applies to the vocals.   I'm guessing Garageband offers these presets - no other DAW does as far as I'm aware.  If there was a magic 'make everything sound good' plug-in, everyone would use it.

Usually its not a good idea to add FX to tracks until you are in the mixing stage - for example, how do you know the guitar needs more high end until you've got it playing along with the rest of the parts?


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Gerry Nolan    2

Mike you are right! A good set of monitors makes a big differences...  After using them for awhile you will know the sound you are looking for. It may take awhile!  It did me..But you can get it. 

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Triffid    6

Thanks... I do have a couple monitors I bought at guitar center for about $150 each as well.


One thing I realized after posting this is that I was mixing with waaaay to high of volume.  I lowered all the tracks, exported to wav & uploaded a couple tracks to wavemod.com and landr.com... both sound better than what I did on my own.

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Burnin_Sven    0

This is what I found out by watching a few youtube videos


1 To avoid troubles with volume you have to tune/balance everything to unity gain that you use (software and hardware) to get a good sound.


2 You do this before you add any effects or padd etc at all. This means you put your sliders and knobs (real life ones and in your software) to unity gain.


3 Then you start moving around the mic to get the best sounding and the loudest signal you can get with out getting to hot which in most cases wont occur since your gain is set all the way down.


4 Then you start upping the gain to get the closest to unity gain you can and it still sounds good or like you want or if its to hot back of the mic a little.


5 After that you start working with compressors if you need/want it on the track.


6 Then you start with other effects.


You do this to get the most information you can squeeze out of your mics, preamps and soundcards. By moving the mics forward or backwords you adjust how much of the sound from the room you are recording in that you want to be audible. Shortly said how big/wide it will sound.

To far back you will have to turn up the gain and you will pick up more background noise and the closer you get the more controll over the sound you will get so you got to count that in before you start.

Sadly this means that every time you setup to record you have to go through these stages per channel/instrument/anything you use to input audio if you wanna get the absolute best sound your gear can deliver.


The good thing is that music recording gear even the cheaper stuff is pretty good today so your are good to go looking at your specs over what you use.

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