Anybody want to be an Interstellar Fur Trader?

Anybody want to be an Interstellar Fur Trader?


I think we have some good tracks all around, and a large part of the nature of the long distance collab is how to fine tune a final mix. I’m no expert, but I in the end go with what sounds best overall. I can say I’m liking my latest mix and do not yet notice the specific problems with any of it. @stan_halen is our lead drummer. and it could be the two drum tracks clash here and there. If that is the case, we can mix the drums by themselves, pinpoint the spots, and either fix one to the other or cut out the worst spots. The very end seems a little heavier than before to me now, for instance, maybe not a good thing.

I hate to say it, @ingolee, but I did not notice the auto tune on my vocals! On the other hand, I am aware I am floating in and out of pitch at the beginning especially, but there is a lot of subtle overlapping of chords and notes that color the song, and I think we need to try not to fix all of that. Part of my midi philosophy is to introduce enough looseness to keep it from sounding too perfect. Sort of fake authenticity.

How about we post your drums, bass, vocals, and my drums, synths and vocals separately and fiddle with it over the next week. I’ll be out this weekend, back a week, and then out another week. Thar’s gold in them thar hills, I say!

Meanwhile, why don’t we begin to contemplate the next part, maybe Cue 2. I’m imagining the beginning will be a quick POBP spinoff settling into an instrumental for Charlton, and then something completely different for the captain that would lead into No Turning Back smoothly.

And No Turning Back has no bass, and its drums are not fabulous. Stan is probably consumed with GAOTSS, so Ingo, you may be able to go for it if you have time and desire.


Hey @steban, ( and @Stan_Halen ) just to be clear, I did not autotune your vocal, I manually tuned it, big difference.

That means I went through it note by note and tried to interpret your intentions. So I left most of the wavers that you meant to include and firmed up the little places where it sounded like a slip to me. If done correctly this should be transparent, ( as you say ) and the dirty little secret of the audio world is that this is a very common approach because no vocalist is perfect! And I’m sure many of them don’t know that an engineer is secretly doing this and then complimenting them on their “perfect” pitch.

This unfortunately is what listeners, especially anal retentives like me, have come to expect of a professional production.

I will post an improved drum and bass track when I can.


So you guys are using mostly MIDI stuff for your compositions? What drum and bass sounds do you use Ingo? Also for both of you, which Virtual Instruments are you using to get these sounds, which DAW do you use (if mentioned earlier I don’t remember), and other gear etc? I use Reaper mostly, but sometimes still go back to Pro Tools. I use drum VI’s like EZD2 (though I can play a kit, albeit “rusty”), but play (real) guitar and bass, and do vocals.

Is there any possibility of having a shared Dropbox or Google Drive, or something like that, to share .WAV files of these song arrangments and mixes? I guess we can do it here at IRD with MP3’s, though I don’t know if that’s the most effective/efficient as we get deeper into production?

I’ll try to get the next Cpt Bishop and Charlton narration parts done soon, as having those might help with composing the music?

Yes, the load is going to be there but I’m also trying to find more time to spend on it, including GAOTSS, the narrations, and guitar/bass parts for some songs. If the song tracks (instruments/vocals) were uploaded to a shared Cloud drive as I mentioned above that might make things easier? Have it all there when you’re ready to try working on something? Parts can be added to the MP3’s already uploaded, for sure, but having another part may change the mix dynamics and it might be handy to remix when right in there. Then again, I guess we’ll have to watch the collab tendency to have “too many chefs in the kitchen”. :wink:

Ingo, which vocal tuner do you use? Melodyne? Reatune? We’re focused on cranking out compositions and tracks, though this is also a great opportunity to learn from each other about our approaches and tools :bulb:, if it doesn’t detract too much from the production objectives.


@steban and @Stan_Halen

Cloud storage makes sense to me Stan, good idea! We’d need some good organization though, file names that give info for song, author and version, and maybe some per song directories? Yes, individual dry tracks are the best for a mix. And in there somewhere an updated master copy of the overall script so I don’t have to go look for it in our endless thread here.

The “too many chefs” problem is an issue for sure, I’ve already crashed my way into Steban’s POBP mix. I’m happy to let Steban have final say over those choices. But I’m also hoping he won’t mind if I post my own mix on, say for instance, my SoundCloud page (now empty anyway).

I’m using Reaper. For vocals I have a lot of things I might try, but most likely I’d do some ReaTune, ReaComp, and ReaEQ, they all seem to work pretty well, but my voice is pretty weak so I don’t sing much at all. For guitars I have Guitar Rig and an 11 Rack, my amps don’t get much use. Drums lately are from the East West Composer Cloud which has lots of other stuff too. I have some old Cakewalk softsynths that don’t work very well on 64 bit and I’m just starting on Omnisphere which may want to kill my system, we’ll see (my computer can’t handle East West very well at all). I usually put Izotope Ozone on the master buss with some basic settings. Still have lots to learn with all of this!


I meant manually tuned, Ingo. Thanks for all that! I do it myself on occasion. I also stretch a lot. Reaper is great for that!

Reaper for all, Stan. I do all MIDI, and bad ukulele and slide guitar. Right now I use Alchemy Guitar Mutations (no longer available), Sonik Synth 2, Jamstix, and the VG Iron, VG Amber, VG Sparkle and VG Silk virtual guitars.

I use Google Drive a lot, so I think we can use it with a wee bit of setup. I already share the mp3s there by giving the link. I already set up POBP as a public folder, so I’ll pop something in there for you to try.

But SoundCloud might be better. I haven’t been there in a while. But Google Drive is great for creating folders etc. I prefer a folder per song. Naming files is muy importante, something like pobpbass1-001 for pobp bass track 1 version 001 is mostly what I do now. I will try to set up a folder and slap all my tracks in it tonight so we can test that out.

That’s a good selection, dude, and the big super rich instruments like Omnisphere and EW might force some creative usage, premixes. But the older stuff also has issues on new PCs. I tend to write bars that I use on multiple instruments and varied layerings.

I must say, this thread is getting big!


Yes, organization is coming up - to keep things straight and to have access to everything while in creative mode. I just saw that Dropbox has a new thing called Dropbox Paper, which may be like Google Docs or something, but is for “projects” and includes text based commenting and file uploads. Something like that might be ideal. I think it’s now part of Dropbox, but I don’t have any experience with it yet (I think it’s brand new), or how the storage requirements work. I know Google Drive has shared folders, but I haven’t worked with that yet either. Something we’re all already familiar with and use might be ideal.

Good to know. We can speak the same DAW language and such. I use Ozone too. I have several Master chains I can go to, but Ozone wins much of the time.


I just added the script and my POBP mp3. It was very easy to do, but I don’t know how it works for you guys adding/editing/etc, if you can try it. With your gmail accounts I can limit access to only us.


Is that in Google Docs? I don’t have a gmail account, but I was able to log in to Google Docs (which I have rarely used). I’m guessing if you have my email address (non gmail) you can probably add me as a collaborator or team member. I can PM you the email address if you think a non-gmail will work.

I did try Dropbox Paper, and it looks pretty cool. I looks like it doesn’t hit Dropbox data usage, at least not yet (maybe when the product is more mature), it’s maybe a lighter alternative to Google Docs or Evernote but seems to work quite well. It got good marks for “rich media” which I think means that most video and graphic formats can be posted, Soundcloud, etc. I don’t know about straight audio files though.


Send to me at I think a non gmail will work, we’ll see!

I now have 4 tracks there that comprise my original song.


Let’s see how this goes!

It looks like we could each have shared folders and save to our hard drives as needed for Reaper or just stream as well.


@steban @ingolee @Stan_Halen

My head’s in a better place now, so I’ll have a good listen over the weekend to what you guys have achieved so far and see what I can input… better late then never!



Yes we still need some bass parts I believe.


Yes, I see it. It looks like you just added me for share also. Thanks!


I added you, Ingo and Ailwyn by your email address. You may need to create a gmail account within two weeks for better security. You might be getting an invitation email from me/gmail soon… It does get you 15GB free cloud space handy for any type file.


I already have Google Drive and have been using it for some time. Had a Google account for a few years too, but never got a gmail address. I suppose it wouldn’t hurt, I may need to use it at some point, but I tend to avoid signing up for more stuff when possible - got enough things to keep up with as it is … including tons of accounts and logins. :slightly_smiling_face:


@steban and @Stan_Halen I logged into Stebans Google drive with my Google account and uploaded a file, seemed to work fine, thanks for that!

I uploaded a wave file for best quality, is that OK?

Are we going to keep communicating on this thread?


That’s probably better when we’re doing real production mixes. For demo’s or experiments (ideas) then MP3’s might be fine. I don’t know if Steve is hosting those files on his Google Drive (space) though, or if it’s separate as part of Google Docs. I guess he can answer that.

That’s the thing I liked about Dropbox Paper is you could do comments next to files, kind of like a forum. But that platform may have some limitations too. It’s possible we could leave notes in a designated Google Doc for each other, but for now I think we’ll still need to communicate verbally through this thread for the most part.


Oh, and having a basic “project plan” might be helpful. It may not be necessary, but as more tracks start coming together and wanting/needing extra instrument parts plus the Cues and narration parts it could be handy to look at a To Do list of desired outcomes. That way you can look at it and stay on track or have a quick reference where we’re at. I mean, this is an albums worth of material, and a concept album at that, so any way to keep continuity would probably be helpful. A Google Doc spreadsheet might serve that purpose well.


Great idea, Stan. I added three spreadsheets:
POBP Notes, to use for private communications
POBP to-do list, a simple project plan
POBP Project Plan, free version using a template but much fancier

I added some stuff, but I’m hoping you guys are more organized than I tend to be! Nonetheless, I will get into the swing of it I hope as you’re right, it will get more complicated, and we need to know where we are. Please feel free to revamp anything I’ve begun.

I would rather not learn DropBox right now, although I promise to take a hard look at it.

As far as file formats, 320kb mp3s are 10mb vs. wav at 40mb. I have 7gb right now remaining, which is 700 mp3s or 170 wavs. I’m leaning toward mp3s, but either is acceptable so long as we clean up after a final mix on a song.

I really want to reiterate how excited I am at your participation, guys, @Ailwyn, @ingolee, Stan, at this point. I added my cell in the Notes spreadsheet, in case you want to discuss anything.


Great, thanks!

I think this will help. We may need to get familiar with each other’s organizational habits as we go along, but time invested in being organized should pay off. I took a look, and widened a column width where some comments were not fully showing.

It was a related product called Dropbox Paper. It’s supposed to be a bit like Google Docs or Evernote, rich in media options but slim on formatting options. I just played with it yesterday so don’t know a lot. I liked that forum-like comments could be left right next to a media file (pictures, videos … presumably audio files but not sure). Not sure that would be very helpful, but it was interesting. Google Drive may be best for the audio files.

We do seem to go through multiple revisions and critiques, so maybe MP3’s until a mix is “approved” and then the MP3’s could be removed and .WAV put in their place (only if needed)?

I may only do the narration files in 320kb MP3, unless otherwise requested, as that is considered “broadcast quality” for spoken word.



Er… this is much like a foreign language to me…

Just to put you 3 very clearly in the picture, I’m very busy during the week with work, etc, as my day job is very demanding, so the only time I have to work on these projects is weekends. That’ll be sandwiched inbetween rehearsals, food shopping, walking the dogs, scratching my backside, gigging, etc! Can you PM me please to explain some of the jargon?

I couldn’t make head nor tail of Reaper, so I’ve knocked that idea on the head. Steve, I’ll try to use some jiggery pokery to get a file to you via email and leave the mixing, effects, etc for you to do!