1. #1

    User Info Menu

    I posted an audio track in the Showcase section of the forum (I'll attach it here for convenience).

    My first attempt (also true of most of the players) at doing a bunch of things -- recording at home, using Reaper (others used other software) to syncronize things, mix, fix errors etc.

    Comments on how to improve the process are welcomed.

    Overview of process.

    1. wrote out the arrangement note by note in musescore and created a reference track. Snipped 40ms from the beginning so it would line up with the Reaper click

    2. each player recorded while listening to the reference track, at least at first. After we had a few tracks done, some people may have used some combination of them instead of the reference track.

    3. we used box.com to put all the tracks and charts in one place. Not everybody recorded into a DAW which meant that synchronization problems had to be fixed.

    4. Musically, there were issues since we weren't listening to each other as we played. Some re-recording was required. Some things were fixed in Reaper.

    5. I used very little of the processing available. I EQ'ed the electric bass into submission, since the original tone was attracting small birds. I panned the two guitar rhythm tracks. The guitar solo was unprocessed by Reaper. I used a Boss ME80 to get the tone.

    And, that's about it.
    Last edited by rpjazzguitar; 06-06-2020 at 06:01 AM.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    Congrats. It’s a good first time achievement.

    This is very personal, as always, but I would make an investment on the mix process, specially due to the fact the recording was done far from the desired conditions. Adding some effects wouldn’t be bad.

    The drums sound to me very mechanical and monotonous, adding an overdubbing here and there and some variations on volume dynamics could be helpful.

    The overall process was ok, this is simply a reflection on what I’ll do if it was my “tape”.

  4. #3
    Agree about the drums. What's ironic is that it's a live drummer. The bass, in contrast, is computer generated. Musescore produced a pretty nice acoustic bass sound, to my ear. In this mix I varied the volume here and there to make it a little less robotic. Same with the drums per your suggestion.



  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    Sounds better, more humanized. It’s funny that detail about the drummer playing live, in most cases it’s a compliment.

    I think you choose the right parts to made the volume variations. Be always subtle in the mix.

    I never used Reaper, I work with Cakewalk by BandLab, a powerful tool, but mixing is never an easy task and is long time consumer. Writing on Musescore maybe should have been done with a small midi controller keyboard, it’s very cheap and time saver, just suggesting.

    I’m curious about the name of the song, a Portuguese word and another one in French. Any story?

    Thanks for sharing your music and experience. What you did to make that recording wasn’t easy. Hats off.

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Cordalis
    Sounds better, more humanized. It’s funny that detail about the drummer playing live, in most cases it’s a compliment.

    I think you choose the right parts to made the volume variations. Be always subtle in the mix.

    I never used Reaper, I work with Cakewalk by BandLab, a powerful tool, but mixing is never an easy task and is long time consumer. Writing on Musescore maybe should have been done with a small midi controller keyboard, it’s very cheap and time saver, just suggesting.

    I’m curious about the name of the song, a Portuguese word and another one in French. Any story?

    Thanks for sharing your music and experience. What you did to make that recording wasn’t easy. Hats off.
    Thank you again.

    Reaper is the deepest software I've worked with. I've learned enough to record and edit volume. I think I know how to move clips (like if a hit is late), but I've run into trouble too, accidentally moving more than I had in mind. So, there's a learning curve and I'm barely on it. Maybe next virus.

    My approach here was to start with the two guitar comping parts and the click and adjust volumes until they were mostly supportive of each other.

    Then, I added the bass, which, since it was computer generated, didn't require much work. Just to vary volume in parts of the tune. Probably should have had more dynamic marks in the original musescore chart.

    After that, I adjusted the volumes on the leads, which were actually done in 5 segments.

    Next, I put the piano in. The piano was the first track done, and he played it to click only. So, it's fairly busy and, being a piano comping samba, quite percussive. As the third chord instrument to enter the mix, the task was to tame it. Mostly, I did it by mixing it quietly.

    Last was drums. I wasn't crazy about the drum part, but, it was played with reasonably good time. Because of the way he recorded it, I had to slide the track - and that turned out to be harder than I expected. Because of human variation, some hits are early, some late, and it isn't clear if it's better that way. Do you line them up to the click, or allow some humanity? When I previewed the mix without drums I didn't miss them, so I put them in pretty quietly.

    There is a live bassist on the project. I have to ask him to re-record his contribution. I'm hoping he'll read my score and play the bass line I wrote (which is the one you hear on the track) but humanize it.

    Muito is Portuguese for "very". Non is French, but it's also used in English when something isn't something, as in, say, "Non-invasive surgery". So, together, the two words are gibberish. I included Muito because, when I wrote the tune, I was trying to write a jam tune in the style of Muito A Vontade, which is a Brazilian standard. Non, just came to me, probably in recognition that I wouldn't be able to write a tune as good. A great Brazilian drummer heard the title and thought it was funny, so I kept it.

    Last point. I have a midi keyboard and it does connect to Musescore. But, when I tried it, I didn't really save that much time. I could get the right note, but not the right timing. I probably have to learn a little more about how to quantize. Virus after next.

    Thanks again.

  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    Thank you again.

    Reaper is the deepest software I've worked with. I've learned enough to record and edit volume. I think I know how to move clips (like if a hit is late), but I've run into trouble too, accidentally moving more than I had in mind. So, there's a learning curve and I'm barely on it. Maybe next virus.
    Me too. From videos I've seen of folks that have moved from other software to Reaper, maybe it's the deepest of all DAWs? But, you only have to learn what you need, and once you get some time in it's easy and intuitive.

    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    Thank you again.

    My approach here was to start with the two guitar comping parts and the click and adjust volumes until they were mostly supportive of each other.

    Then, I added the bass, which, since it was computer generated, didn't require much work. Just to vary volume in parts of the tune. Probably should have had more dynamic marks in the original musescore chart.

    After that, I adjusted the volumes on the leads, which were actually done in 5 segments.

    Next, I put the piano in. The piano was the first track done, and he played it to click only. So, it's fairly busy and, being a piano comping samba, quite percussive. As the third chord instrument to enter the mix, the task was to tame it. Mostly, I did it by mixing it quietly.

    Last was drums.
    I am impressed with how good the bass sounds considering it was MuseScore. Surround a midi track with a bunch of non-midi tracks... can sound good.

    Where to start is a good question and depends on what you have available. I'll often start with guitars as part of a writing process, but after I have the arrangement done those tracks are muted and I essentially start over. I like to start with drums and bass as that's where most of the groove comes from. With a live drummer that is problematic.

    With a live but remote drummer, I would start with a good (non-quantized) drum track, like from EZDrummer. I'd have everyone record to that, bass first, and then dump the EZdrummer track and have the drummer record to all the finished tracks.

    However it's worth trying giving the drummer the arrangement and let him record to a click first. Some drummers can pull that off and have it sound really good. Sammy Hagar (The Red Rocker), said he has been doing exactly that on his shelter in place facebook music videos.



    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    Thank you again.

    I wasn't crazy about the drum part, but, it was played with reasonably good time. Because of the way he recorded it, I had to slide the track - and that turned out to be harder than I expected. Because of human variation, some hits are early, some late, and it isn't clear if it's better that way. Do you line them up to the click, or allow some humanity? When I previewed the mix without drums I didn't miss them, so I put them in pretty quietly.
    I vote a yes to keeping human variation. I'd suggest if you are going to correct timing use your ears first, not your eyes. If you hear something out of whack, or dragging, or rushing etc. then fix that bit using your eyes and ears..

    To me, just an opinion, the mix and/or orchestration is missing high end content. Perhaps the hi hat or cymbles aren't coming through. Maybe an egg shaker or something like that might fill in that part of the sonic landscape.

    There's a mixing term that goes something like... "to glue it all together". The guitar in particular to me sounds a bit seperated. I think some light reverb to the overall mix, and some really light compression might get this sounding more like it's all in the same room. This could be done in the master effects bin. Or the reverb could be in a reverb bus.



    On this one below, ignore the latency setting unless you're trying to record with the reverb on for your monitoring. I always just mute the reverb when I'm recording and turn it back on when mixing.

    Last edited by fep; 06-06-2020 at 01:59 PM.

  8. #7

    User Info Menu

    Just to add, it is already a really good result. And great job on the performance and composition.

  9. #8
    Each player seemed to have a different idea of what to listen to while recording.

    The pianist just wanted a click. He was first to record, so his choice was reference track with or without click, or just click.He picked click only. I think that led to a pretty busy piano part

    The bassist wanted rhythm guitar and a half time click (half as many clicks as everybody else), but then he turned in a track with too much variability. He then increased the frequency of the click but rejected my suggestion to have the click emphasize the "big 2", the surdo beat of 2/4 samba (second quarter note). His second attempt was better, but still not useable because of time fluctuation.

    I recorded the two guitar comping tracks using the entire reference track, all parts, with the click on too. I recorded the melody and solos without the reference track, but with the piano, musescore bass line, both guitar comping tracks and click.

    Reaper gives you two click sounds which you can place as you wish. I had it emphasize the surdo (second quarter note in 2/4). da da boom da, da da boom da.

    The drummer tried it different ways and, I believe, settled on playing along with the reference track, which actually had a musescore drum part I wrote (which was a place-holder -- it wasn't a good drum part). There are three grooves in the tune, which he understood and did his best to provide.

    An underlying issue is our American accent in trying to play Brazilian rhythms. The feel is everything and it's elusive. In 2/4, the Brazilian rhythms can be played on the quarter notes, but, the sixteenths are subtly stretched and compressed. It goes with the samba dance rhythm. So, for example, the bassist played some straight 8th note fills which, to my ear, were incompatible with the underlying tamborim pattern (that term is comparable, roughly, to clave). It's an important issue, and hard to nail