Tear my music apart!

Dark Raven XDark Raven X Laugh hard, run fast,be kindRegistered User regular
edited September 2012 in Artist's Corner
OK, I have a problem mastering music. I've never formally learned this stuff, just grabbed some software and been dicking around with it for a few years. I sorta plateaued last year though, and have been unable to get stuff to sound any better. I can never pinpoint what it is that's wrong, like everything will sound great while recording and then when it comes time for a final export it just all falls apart, usually with the 'real' instruments, guitars and bass especially - synth stuff and VSTs usually sound fine and balanced. It all just sounds off somehow?

I've shown music off to friends but they're way too nice to get proper feedback from. I know there's way more artists than musicians here, so I doubt I'll get too many replies, but honestly any feedback is helpful. :P

So! Here's something I did today, a cover of Ezio's theme from Assassin's Creed II; http://dl.dropbox.com/u/23237150/Ezio Heart.mp3

To contrast, here's something else that's basically all VST, an arrangement of The Doctor's theme from Doctor Who; http://dl.dropbox.com/u/23237150/Silence Falls.mp3

How can I get it sounding a little more professional?

Thanks. ;D

Oh brilliant
Dark Raven X on


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    WalterMachadoWalterMachado Registered User regular
    1-Where are your drums?
    2-When recording real instruments, you have to manage the latency (better way? buy an asio soundcard and a mixer... I have one m-audio audiophile 192 (perfect and not expensive), or buy a mixer that work with asio drivers)
    3-Record clean guitar and bass direct on line, then put effects with vst.
    4-Better Sample packs put the regular guy on a pro level with just a few clicks.
    5-use soundcloud.

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    Dark Raven XDark Raven X Laugh hard, run fast, be kindRegistered User regular
    There's loads of drums! There aren't any in the second track cause it didn't call for any, imo. :P

    I use EZdrummer for heavy stuff, SuperiorDrummer for everything else. That Ezio Heart thing has both being used, EZdrummer for bass & toms, SuperiorDrummer for the lighter percussion & everything in the fill in the middle.

    I didn't think latency was too much of an issue - I do use an interface (a Line6 UX2) and have 14.830ms imput latency, 29.683ms output. IIRC, my times using an ASIO Full Duplex Driver and a straight line in were higher.

    Alright, so 3! I tried this for a little while, recording clean then using an amp VST like keFIR and cab impulses to distort it, and it did work OK for a while, but there's so little control over your final sound. I found the impulse you use is by far the biggest determinant, and any tweaking of the settings in keFIR produces minor changes at best? Since getting my interface though, I've mainly used the bundled POD farm software, since I figure that's the same principal - it's taking clean guitar and producing distortion, I assumed it was filled with all the backend stuff like impulses, and just has more frontend control over the result?

    By sample packs, you mean stuff like my orchestra synth? I like em! D: Or you mean more stuff like impulses? Cause, yeah...

    Soundcloud's more for people looking to get noticed, right? I'm not really up for sharing with the whole world or anything like that. Maybe when I get a little better. ;D In terms of storage though, dropbox is fine for my needs, right?

    Thanks. :3

    Oh brilliant
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    WalterMachadoWalterMachado Registered User regular
    29.683 of latency!!!!
    With Audiophile 192, recording on 192.000 hz and 64 samples I have 0.3ms in, o.7ms out... when I have too much effects I record on 128 samples and it goes to 0,7 in, 1,5 out... but if it is not disturbing you, ok...

    Look for BETA MONKEY for drums.
    Toxic Biohazard for pulses.
    I love pod amps, but everything else sucks... had you used IL Hardcore(amps sucks but effects are nice)?

    I think more layers and dinamic filters make anything look more professional if used with some moderation...

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    lizard eats flieslizard eats flies Registered User regular
    The biggest thing i'm noticing is the lack of dynamics. Everything is in your face, all the time. The first song, that main instrument starting was just too much. And it seems with every layer added, you always try and make that the forefront of the song. So it just ends up being more in your face. I would play around with trying to push things backwards in the mix a bit, both in volume and possibly using effects. Example: a longer reverb time will make things sound more distant. Then try and add some shape to the song dynamically, especially with any orchestral parts. Swells, and quiet passages and whatnot. That way your lead doesnt always have to be loud, just louder than whats around it.

    The recorded instruments sound alright to me, except that they sound 'off' with the plugin instruments. For me, this shows up a lot when I try and mix in recorded instruments with sequenced ones since an actual performance has so much more... intricacies and inaccuracies and 'human' elements. I kind of feel that is what you are running into here.

    As far as how to record bass/guitar, I actually record both Direct and mic-ing the amp. I've spent a lot of time getting my amp to sound the way I want to for performances, so it makes sense to use its sound instead of modeled effects. My latest project, I'm using the mic track on my bass for the 'color' and sound of the bass, and I have the DI bass track EQ'ed to be more of a 'cut thru the mix' definition track. I blend the two together. So when I need a bit more mids from the bass, I just push up the DI track a bit, and it will start to cut without losing too much character. The bit downside of mic-ing an amp (or recording with effects on) is that you lose flexibility so it can be a decision. If you can record both a clean signal and a processed signal, its the best of all worlds and you can pick and choose.

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    Dark Raven XDark Raven X Laugh hard, run fast, be kindRegistered User regular
    Think I've been making improvements in the whole 'every layer at the front' thing;

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/23237150/The Showdown Demo2.mp3

    Made this as an attempt to emulate those old MIDI guitars from Howard Drossin's Mega Drive games, put a bit of extra effort into levelling the accompanying synths after the guitars cut out, think it worked out so there's no sudden loss of an instrument, I dunno. Might be way off, bit I think it sounds better balanced between the real instruments and the synths than most of my stuff so far.

    Oh brilliant
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