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Recording/Mixing feedback on my song

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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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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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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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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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I really like the arrangment. I would invest in a drum programmin machine Like EasyDrummer or Addictive drums. It will allow you to make drum tracks for you song with ease, First program the drums in one of those programs, then lay. the guitars Playing to drums add feeling to the song and more accuracy. I have easydrummer and it works good enough to make tracks for my songs, but im sure addictive drum is more professional. I feel recording dry is better starting out. 

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