Stand - My first BTR. Please be gentle (hahahahaha)

Stand - My first BTR. Please be gentle (hahahahaha)
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#1

This is the second song of my upcoming album, and I’d like to hear what you all think. It sounds pretty much the way I want it to sound, so I’m sort of just looking to see if there’s anything that’s just broken with it. There’s not a lot of history to it. I tend to write all my songs in a day or two, and then tweak them for a couple weeks and call them good (which means that I get them to the point I think they sound good and move on to the next song).

Thanks for taking the time to listen!

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#2

I really like this song and the sound you have. I like how it gets going right out of the gate, no long intro. Both yours and Dan’s songs were put up here in the same week, and I’m loving this heavy, sludgy, pounding sound that has a prominent low end and not tons of high end.

It sounds very good to me. If I were to nitpick, I’d say the groove feels a bit challenged sometimes by the slow tempo, in terms of timing. With slow tempo, that’s going to stand out more. No issues really, the timing of the instruments locking together is good. I like your vocals and how you have processed them. Drums work nicely, bass and guitar really lock in for a driving sound so it seems like the frequency range between them is well balanced for this style.

If you would like to explain how you record stuff I’d be extremely interested. I saw Superior Drummer in your Twitch feed. What guitars/amps (or sims) are you using? Same for bass guitar. Mic for vocals? Recording techniques?

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#3

Oh, and as I commented on the other thread, consider using Thick Metal as a genre. :grin:

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#4

Ooooh yeah baby!!! Typing as I listen
Love that opening vocal… Are there harmonies coming? I may wet myself a little if there are!

You have a similar sounding snare style to what I was after too.
Hey!!!Harmonies… not commenting on the fact I wet a little…

I think you’ve done a great job here. Anything I would change would just be to suit my taste. I’d personally make the guitars a little more gainy but only a smidge. But, they are killer the way they are too!

Are the drums you or loops (or both). There is an argument that there is not a great deal of variation in them (just little subtle things) but still, they do what they have to do which is drive it along.
You push vocals a little higher than I do, but again, that’s personal preference and it sounds great.

Loving it and about to go and listen to your album on bandcamp. I’m due for a bulk purchase in the next month or so (i tend to buy that way) and there’s a fair chance your material will be on the shopping list.

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#5

Cool - slow ‘n’ sludgy!.. yet very melodic - I like it!..

The guitar tones actually remind me of a Big Wreck track that I’ve been a bit obsessed with lately… It’s pretty much a straight ahead blues chord structure, but the guitar tones and the melody make it really compelling:

Your track sounds really cool and accomplished.

I think one of the only thing I’m missing is a little more brightness and “attitude” out of the drums and the vocals. I think all the low end and low mids in the guitars and bass just needs to be offset a little more by these other elements to give more balance to the overall frequency spectrum.

Possibly pushing up the level of the overheads in the drums might with a little brightness too. I’m not really hearing much in the way of crash cymbals to punctuate the arrangement, & that might be something that would help balance out the frequency spectrum too.

… so maybe just giving the drums and vocals a bit in the way of distortion/saturation and a little more high end might push things in the right direction. I think you also might want to try eq’ing the reverb send on the vocals to take some of the murkiness and muddiness out of the reverb

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#6

Great sound. The lyric line drags a bit. Sung very well tho. Ok, I get the slow vibe now. You have enough great guitar work to keep this moving. Just wonder how this would sound just a little faster? Love what you did her, but I lost interest after awhile???

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#7

Listening on laptop speakers. I like what I hear.

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#8

First, thanks for your thoughts! Glad you enjoyed it.
This might be a long post :slight_smile:

The guitar is an ESP LTD EC1000 with EMG pickups, and it goes through two different chains, one for the left, and one for the right, recorded separately. I’m not going to mention all the effects, just the main ones.

The one on the left goes through a Boss DS-1 with the distortion cranked almost all the way down, the through a Ibanez TS-7 (which is off for the rhythm parts), into an Egnater Rebel 20 amp->Orange PPC112->Cascade Fathead->Warm Tonebeast. I might or might not have had a chorus on in the effects loop of this amp for this song. I can’t remember.

The one on the right goes guitar->Big Muff Pi->Orange Tiny Terror->Egnater Rebel 112x->Audix i5->Focusrite 18i20 pre.

Why do I have the Orange cab on the Egnater and the Egnater cab on the Orange? I liked them better that way :slight_smile:

Both cabinets are in a closet under the stairs surrounded by 4" bass traps made from OC503

In the DAW, I take a little bit out around 350hz using the Scheps Omni Channel, and that’s about all I do to them.

The bass is a DI into one channel of Joemeek Twin Q with the iron switch on, then into an Art Pro VLA. I like to use CamelCrusher, and then I tweaked it a bit with the Omni Channel, Bark of the Dog, and a stock EQ.

The vocal mic is a Behringer B2 Pro->Joemeek Twin Q->Art Pro VLA->Interface. I have usually used an SM7B, but when I was writing the first track for this record, the Behringer was already up, and the SM7b was not in the studio, and I just had to get this lyric out, so I used it - and ended up liking it. It’s got Scheps Omni on it, plus Butch Vig Vocals and the Scheps 73 EQ, plus a bunch of stuff on the vocal group buss that I don’t recall at the moment. The delay is probably D16 Repeater, and the reverb is Soundtoys Little Plate.

As far as techniques go - I leave the stuff set up all the time. Everything is ready to go, so I can go down, start the computer, start cubase, load up the template, and start writing/recording. I write directly into Cubase, as it’s the easiest way to remember things. I generally start with guitars first, put down the first “verse” or whatever it is, fill it out with bass, drums (whatever midi loop I have on my machine that sort of fits, if there is one), and then a vocal, then I move on to the next section. I used to try to write the whole guitar part at once, then do the whole bass part, etc… but I’ve found that doing the song in complete(ish) sections seems to work better for me.

The other major thing that’s helping get that low sound is that the guitars are tuned to open C, the guitar has a 24.25" scale length, and I’m not using super heavy strings, so there’s quite a bit of sloppy going on.

Whew - not quite a book, but…

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#9

I apologize - I hope the cleanup wasn’t too difficult!

If you read through the book I wrote for @Stan_Halen, you’ll notice that the amps I’m using aren’t exactly very gainy to begin with :slight_smile: I do prefer a more bitey sound I seem to get with less gain, though, and gain is absolutely a preference.

The drums are modified loops in Superior Drummer 3. I find what I have on my machine that’s close to what I want, then modify them to fit. I’m working on my editing skills, though. Drums thinking doesn’t come naturally to me (I always had my brother as a drummer, until he quit a few years ago).

Hope you like what you hear. It’s a bit different than this. It was a collection of stuff I’d written over a period of six years, most of which I still like :slight_smile:

Thanks for listening and giving your feedback. I appreciate it!

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#10

That’s an amazing guitar tone - very close to a lot of early Melvins stuff. I love it.

My vocals seem so bright to me already. I can hear the need on the drums, though.

@feaker, @BigAlRocks and everyone else. Thanks for listening! I appreciate the feedback!

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#11

I think it sounds great, but there are some things that you could do to make it sound a lot better.

  1. Vocal layers. Everything is thick an mushy (the good kind of thick an mushy) but it makes the vocals feel separated from the rest of the song. Double tracking the vocals, as well as adding harmonies, would make a huuuuuuge difference to the song.

  2. The drums feel a bit at times like they are playing a faster beat slowed down. Some of it feels kind of forced. It’s hard to pinpoint exact moments, but playing drums slowly requires a different approach, and I think these drums feel like they are straddling somewhere in the middle.

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#12

Well, guess I have to go back and fix that, because someone can tell. Frankly, I think I’ve known I need to redo the majority of them, I’ve just been hoping not to.

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#13

Right away it reminds me of Doom. (The video game. I have no idea if it has anything to do with the genre name haha.)

I was listening to this last night and knew that I had an issue with the vocal, but I couldn’t figure out what it was. I think it might be what Boz said, that the vocal doesn’t feel glued to the track. I also feel like I’m hearing a weird mix of autotune and (slightly) out of tune vocals. And maybe there’s a nasal quality that could be EQ’d out?

I love the sound of the guitars. It’s a delicious, warm yet super crunchy sound. It sounds good on my laptop speakers, and I know it sounded awesome in my headphones.

And +1 for the timing being a bit off at times. It’s not really bothering me though. I kind of wish the vocal sounded a bit more “drunk,” if that makes sense. A bit more care free and rebellious. So yeah I guess my general feedback is that I really like the sound of the track, but I think that the vocal isn’t meshing with it as well as it could be.

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#14

Thanks for all the details on the gear and the chain! That’s something I need to do more of is having more things set up and ready to go, and writing in the DAW directly. Nice “iso-booth” for your guitar cabs!

That would probably help me too. I have focused on the whole parts to get consistent tones, but it’s quite easy to keep the same settings so I could try it this way. I guess it’s part of the “write while you record” paradigm, which is something I’ll try.

I haven’t tried that one, but the low E string helps with the ‘sludge’ sound I’m sure. I did go through a phase of tuning down to C# with the regular guitar tuning (dropped all strings 3 half steps), based on researching the Black Sabbath “Masters of Reality” album. That will probably get revisited, as well as trying the open C.

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#15

Open C is kind of a trip, and I’m still learning how to play in it, especially leads. There are things that become really easy, and other things that end up a bit more difficult. I think it’s definitely affecting how my songs are turning out.

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#16

This is what I meant in my first post about “If I were to nitpick, I’d say the groove feels a bit challenged sometimes by the slow tempo, in terms of timing. With slow tempo, that’s going to stand out more.” The slow tempo makes timing really apparent, and I what I’d guess is going on is your MIDI drum arrangement is following a straight tempo so it’s “spot on” as a groove (though we know these can sometimes sound mechanical without some “humanizing”). Then, the guitar and bass seem to be played a bit faster because it’s kind of hard to play those instruments at that slow tempo. It may seem counter-intuitive, but playing slow can actually be harder than playing fast, and keeping steady time. My guitar teacher used to say “slow is fast and fast is slow”, which sounds kind of cryptic, but just means pay attention when practicing guitar.

So what I heard (as a long time drummer) is the perceived sound of the drums dragging the beat, slowing it down, but yet I assume the drums are pretty tight to the grid. Which tells me the guitar/bass groove is faster creating the perception of slow drums. This is fairly subtle or irrelevant (in this case) to the average listener IMO, but with the trained ears here it’s just something we’re noticing with fine-tooth combs.

You could go back and re-record everything except the drums (and maybe vocals), which pretty much means re-doing most of the song, and I doubt you want to do that. Or, you could go back and slide the drum MIDI parts slightly faster in time, ahead of the beat they were at, to align them more with the guitar/bass groove. You’d likely have to play with this a bit, try things and Undo until you find the magic formula, but if you can move whole MIDI lines or all lines at once (after finding the slight timing difference) it might not be that much trouble. Obviously, save the whole session to a new session or version just in case. Or, you can leave it as is, knowing that we’re trained ears giving you some really detailed feedback that may not impact the average listener’s enjoyment of the song or their decision to buy it (if that’s your goal).

Also, keep in mind that that perceived dragging drum tempo is actually giving your song that ‘sludgy’ feel. Anything pushing or dragging the beat actually adds an emotional effect and tone to the song. So if that is part of your goal for the song, then it may actually serve a strong role. I’d say there’s even a strong counterpoint/irony in what the lyrics are saying vs the feeling of the music. Meaning that from what I could tell there’s kind of an inspirational wisdom in the lyrics, but the music has a melancholy depressive feel - suggesting a mismatch, but ultimately creating a complex emotional tapestry for the listener.

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#17

One of the nice things about Superior Drummer (and Toontrack in general) is that most of their midi drums loops are played by real drummers and aren’t super tight to the grid. The BPM of the basic loop I used (if it were played at it’s appropriate speed) is 180bpm, and the track runs along at basically a half-time 120bmp, so there are major discrepancies in the drum timing.

My thoughts on it are that the ghost hits on the snare really expose the fact that it’s replaying slower than it was originally played. When I go back through it, the first thing I’m going to try is just removing those ghost hits, or bringing them closer to the initial hit. I don’t want to completely grid it out, because that would really destroy the feel I’m looking for, I think. I don’t mind it dragging a tad, but I don’t want it totally sloppy, either.

What you may be hearing is the effect of the Waves Reel ADT plugin. I’m going to try Boz’s suggestion of doubling the vocal, but when I’ve tried to do it in the past, it’s been a failure every time. I struggle to sing the same thing twice (I just don’t have a lot of control yet - I’m better than I was last year, though, I think).

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#18

That’s partially why I provided the Big Wreck track as a reference. Due to the similarity in the guitar tone/style, it seemed like an ideal example of the direction the drum and vocal sounds on your track might go to improve the overall sound.

Compare the brightness and density of the vocals on that with yours. Those qualities help it both nest into the track with the particular insrumental backing, as well as stand out from it clearly.

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#19

Interesting, I haven’t heard something like that cause quite that effect before, but it IS a significant shift in timing in terms of BPM.

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