GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Green Gecko » Mon Apr 27, 2020 6:59 pm

Victor Mildew wrote:Lovely cheers. Im doing some more recording tomorrow so ill try that out.

I have an ISO of literally hundreds of free VSTs that have disappeared from the web if you want to try as well as a couple of illicit installers of better synthesisers. Most of them will probably still work on Windows.

Managed to get a legit copy of the Arturia Minimoog V some time ago which has always been wonderful. If you want some decent sampled instruments to play it's worth picking up one of the more sensibly priced DAWs.

There are also a couple of plugins that basically act as a platform with individual unlocks and a cloud based account thing, where you can buy individual instruments. Take a look at AddictiveKeys, I'll see what others work in a similar way.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Lime » Mon Apr 27, 2020 9:30 pm

I missed the updated in this thread, I've bookmarked it now.

Congratulations Oblomov on the piano! Having a dent is annoying, did you call them up about it?

Oblomov Boblomov wrote:The worst news: I just had a quick go at Fantaisie-Impromptu and what the strawberry float :lol:. If I commit every spare waking moment to practice and pray each day to all gods ever invented to become a pianist twenty orders of
magnitude better than I currently am, I estimate I will be able to play a small fraction of it at 10% speed within about seven years.


:lol: It does feel like that when you first try it! It sounds so nice and inviting too! Play me!

You can do it, just work on some easier pieces first! Listen to recordings of it loads of times too, you'll start to hear/see the patterns. The middle section is far (lol!) easier, and the ending (if I remember correctly) does away with the 8 over 6 rhythm between the left and right hand, and sounds great. Try that! But don't bust up your hands.

And for the love of Jebus don't try to play hands together straight off the bat, it's like trying to juggle kittens.

It's always good to have a long term goal. I've set my long term (several years) sights on Chopin's Ballade no.1 in G minor. There's parts I can play (the first 3-4 pages), but some of it is just :fp:

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Victor Mildew » Wed Apr 29, 2020 10:19 pm

Green Gecko wrote:
Victor Mildew wrote:Lovely cheers. Im doing some more recording tomorrow so ill try that out.

I have an ISO of literally hundreds of free VSTs that have disappeared from the web if you want to try as well as a couple of illicit installers of better synthesisers. Most of them will probably still work on Windows.

Managed to get a legit copy of the Arturia Minimoog V some time ago which has always been wonderful. If you want some decent sampled instruments to play it's worth picking up one of the more sensibly priced DAWs.

There are also a couple of plugins that basically act as a platform with individual unlocks and a cloud based account thing, where you can buy individual instruments. Take a look at AddictiveKeys, I'll see what others work in a similar way.


Sorry I forgot to reply. Thank you, but I don't quite need that volume of vsts just yet ( I cant play beyond by ear On keyboard) so I really only need a handful of quality instruments to layer up at the moment.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Oblomov Boblomov » Wed May 20, 2020 9:58 am

Lime wrote:I missed the updated in this thread, I've bookmarked it now.

Congratulations Oblomov on the piano! Having a dent is annoying, did you call them up about it?

Oblomov Boblomov wrote:The worst news: I just had a quick go at Fantaisie-Impromptu and what the strawberry float :lol:. If I commit every spare waking moment to practice and pray each day to all gods ever invented to become a pianist twenty orders of
magnitude better than I currently am, I estimate I will be able to play a small fraction of it at 10% speed within about seven years.


:lol: It does feel like that when you first try it! It sounds so nice and inviting too! Play me!

You can do it, just work on some easier pieces first! Listen to recordings of it loads of times too, you'll start to hear/see the patterns. The middle section is far (lol!) easier, and the ending (if I remember correctly) does away with the 8 over 6 rhythm between the left and right hand, and sounds great. Try that! But don't bust up your hands.

And for the love of Jebus don't try to play hands together straight off the bat, it's like trying to juggle kittens.

It's always good to have a long term goal. I've set my long term (several years) sights on Chopin's Ballade no.1 in G minor. There's parts I can play (the first 3-4 pages), but some of it is just :fp:

I'd completely forgotten about the dent until re-reading this :lol: I'm just going to act like it's not there and it'll probably come as a nasty surprise several years down the line!

I don't have Fantaisie-Impromptu on proper sheet music, so I'm not working on it at the moment. I'm focusing instead of getting back up to speed with whatever it was ABRSM decided was Grade 8 material many years ago!

Separately: I drunk-purchased a big Einaudi book the other day, as I've enjoyed listening to it and my mum loves the music, so I thought it would be nice to be able to play it for her at some point. However, pretty much the entire book is made up of an endlessly repetitive stream of broken chords/arpeggios and really very dull! It's not satisfying to learn at all.

Overall I am loving the piano so much, though. It is ideal with working from home in lockdown. I have already spent many, many hours at it and it feels great to be back into the swing of things.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Lime » Wed May 20, 2020 12:54 pm

Oblomov Boblomov wrote:I'd completely forgotten about the dent until re-reading this :lol: I'm just going to act like it's not there and it'll probably come as a nasty surprise several years down the line!

I don't have Fantaisie-Impromptu on proper sheet music, so I'm not working on it at the moment. I'm focusing instead of getting back up to speed with whatever it was ABRSM decided was Grade 8 material many years ago!

Separately: I drunk-purchased a big Einaudi book the other day, as I've enjoyed listening to it and my mum loves the music, so I thought it would be nice to be able to play it for her at some point. However, pretty much the entire book is made up of an endlessly repetitive stream of broken chords/arpeggios and really very dull! It's not satisfying to learn at all.

Overall I am loving the piano so much, though. It is ideal with working from home in lockdown. I have already spent many, many hours at it and it feels great to be back into the swing of things.


Glad you're enjoying it!

I didn't take many grades so I try not to think about what the grade is of stuff I attempt. I had a few odd lessons every so often since my childhood just to be sure I hadn't developed bad habits and might damage my hands, but other than that, if I like the sound of it I'll have a go at it!

Weirdly, some stuff that sounds 'easy' can be really tricky. I found this, tracked down the sheet music and can play it OK, but I don't know why it just doesn't fall under the fingers easily :x

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXhFMOP3SX0


But I learned the piece below earlier this year, and it's easy by comparison (This is the only recording I can find on the whole internet, he belts it out somewhat, and he does make a ton of 'Les Dawson' mistakes, bless him)
It's a really nostalgic tune from my childhood, we had a player piano roll of exactly this transcription, so it's amazing to now be able to play it by hand.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJkmJfOjqRc

Meanwhile, progress with the Ballade is being made, slowly....

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by blackoutHERO » Wed May 20, 2020 3:20 pm

Anybody have a loop pedal for guitar? If so, any recommendations for a basic 4 track one.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Victor Mildew » Thu May 28, 2020 11:47 am

I've nearly 'finished' (you're never finished) recording another song, except I just can't stop myself messing around with it (context) and I'm never happy. The best one ive recorded uses mostly live mic'd up instruments, wheras this uses a lot of pod modelled stuff and I think it shows. Thinking of just using what ive done as a guide track and rerecording the whole thing with my proper guitar amp.

Most stupid thing is, who cares? Nobody is ever going to hear any of it :fp:

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Squinty » Thu May 28, 2020 3:31 pm

Victor Mildew wrote:I've nearly 'finished' (you're never finished) recording another song, except I just can't stop myself messing around with it (context) and I'm never happy. The best one ive recorded uses mostly live mic'd up instruments, wheras this uses a lot of pod modelled stuff and I think it shows. Thinking of just using what ive done as a guide track and rerecording the whole thing with my proper guitar amp.

Most stupid thing is, who cares? Nobody is ever going to hear any of it :fp:


Have you got stuff up? Would love to have a listen!

I also get like this. I just get to the point where I get sick of working with it and I just gooseberry fool out whatever I have done. The last cover track I done, I grew to absolutely hate. The mix annoyed the hell out of me.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Victor Mildew » Thu May 28, 2020 4:03 pm

No, I was planning on getting 10 or so songs done and then putting them out at once to be listened to like an album, but I'm so obsessive over it all that it feels like I'm never going to finish any of them properly. One day I'll listen and think it sounds great, the next I'll think my vocals are terrible and ruin it, another I'll think they're great but the mix is all wrong.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Green Gecko » Thu May 28, 2020 9:32 pm

Victor Mildew wrote:I've nearly 'finished' (you're never finished) recording another song, except I just can't stop myself messing around with it (context) and I'm never happy. The best one ive recorded uses mostly live mic'd up instruments, wheras this uses a lot of pod modelled stuff and I think it shows. Thinking of just using what ive done as a guide track and rerecording the whole thing with my proper guitar amp.

Most stupid thing is, who cares? Nobody is ever going to hear any of it :fp:

Have you tried re-amping? Record clean and then run that signal though your guitar amp and record the output using a headphone socket or emulated speaker output, or a microphone. Then you can do whatever you want with a solid performance.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Green Gecko » Thu May 28, 2020 9:33 pm

Victor Mildew wrote:No, I was planning on getting 10 or so songs done and then putting them out at once to be listened to like an album, but I'm so obsessive over it all that it feels like I'm never going to finish any of them properly. One day I'll listen and think it sounds great, the next I'll think my vocals are terrible and ruin it, another I'll think they're great but the mix is all wrong.

Just create a 1-3 track EP an then compile them later.

This has actually been done a bunch of times just nobody noticed.

Generally speaking, in BIZ SENSE, nobody cares what you think except the listener. Divorce your work when it's done, and if it's gooseberry fool, it's gooseberry fool or it isn't, who cares, it's done.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Victor Mildew » Wed Jun 03, 2020 3:51 pm

Green Gecko wrote:
Victor Mildew wrote:I've nearly 'finished' (you're never finished) recording another song, except I just can't stop myself messing around with it (context) and I'm never happy. The best one ive recorded uses mostly live mic'd up instruments, wheras this uses a lot of pod modelled stuff and I think it shows. Thinking of just using what ive done as a guide track and rerecording the whole thing with my proper guitar amp.

Most stupid thing is, who cares? Nobody is ever going to hear any of it :fp:

Have you tried re-amping? Record clean and then run that signal though your guitar amp and record the output using a headphone socket or emulated speaker output, or a microphone. Then you can do whatever you want with a solid performance.


I've never heard of that, it's sounds like an interesting way to get a 'proper' amp sound.

I was reading about gain staging last night, and it looks like I've been recording my stuff to loud (not clipping but just on the cusp) which definitely explains why I'm finding it hard to get balances right, even using compression.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Green Gecko » Wed Jun 03, 2020 5:31 pm

Yeah you need enough headroom in your initial waveform for EQ boosts, limiting, compression and a final multi band compression / limiting plugin with a tad of reverb in your master chain or whatever you do. Check the level at each stage of the signal chain, in Live this is expressed as miniature level in between each audio device/plugin. It's easy to forget that a simple EQ boost can clip your channel (in which case you want to actually cut the other bands not boost the one you feel is too quiet).

You can always just normalise the wave or turn the tracks down in your DAW though, the important thing is getting a good signal to noise ratio in the first place. You can't do anything with a high noise floor or otherwise weak, piffly sound - especially with mics or other sources with a lot of bleed from other sources/instruments/monitors even headphones and clicks can turn up in your recordings after mixing them. If you boost those you're just going to get a load of reverb and ambient crap along with it but very selective EQing can fix it - will probably lose dynamics though.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Lime » Tue Jun 09, 2020 12:19 pm

Not sure if anyone else has tried these, but Spitfire Audio have a set of free plug-ins (know as LAB) that sound great. They seem to be a stripped back version of their 'paid for' versions, but there's quite a few usable sounds/textures available.

Also, they are offering their BBC Symphony Orchestra Discover plug in for £49, or FREE if you answer a survey and wait two weeks for it. The sounds are very good.

https://www.spitfireaudio.com/bbcso/

There are more expensive versions that have a lot more articulation and mic positions etc, but if you're interested in having a bash at orchestral compositions it's well worth a look.

Here's Guy Michelmore knocking up a quick theme with it.


Skip to 49:39 to see where his 'composing on the fly' ends up. It doesn't sound like a direct feed from his DAW so the sound quality isn't brilliant, but you definitely get an idea....

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Squinty » Tue Jun 09, 2020 12:56 pm

Gain staging?

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I don't know anything about this. I will have to read about it.

Might give that Spitfire audio thing a try. I downloaded one of their products, it kinda annoyed me that I had to download a launcher thing for it.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Green Gecko » Tue Jun 09, 2020 4:07 pm

Basically you need to bear in mind that each time you process a signal, whatever it is, you are probably introducing additional gain. If you keep doing that starting with a "hot" signal in the first instance everything you do is going to clip and sound flat and gooseberry fool.

Basically you need to project how much processing you're going to do to any given recording. Decide in the first instance whether it's going to be clean with a tad of EQ or with a million effects added on top, then set the level appropriately at the signal source i.e. pre-amp. If you don't do that and for example record from the emulated speaker output of a massive Marshall valve amp at a level just bellow clipping (so 0dB) or something else and then pour effects on top of that, you're going to muller the sound, have zero dynamic range, and get a flat sounding result. You need to record at a level that's not so low it's inaudible or you get noise when boosting it later and not so high that you can't do anything to it.

This also impacts the master channel. Gain added to gain equals double the gain - gain multiplies. This is why when you "sum" a stereo track into a mono mix it sounds twice as loud because it's 2x the "sound" = twice the (perceived) "volume". Basically, gain multiplies.

So you need to sum together say 6 or 8 tracks that when added together need to be quieter when they're destined to be "louder" or louder when they're destined to be "quieter". It's confusing that's for sure. All of this is to avoid a wall of sound that just sounds like you can't make out any of the individual instruments. As the saying goes, less is more.

Of course, you can cut and boost, normalise etc. the recorded waveforms but you'll get a better quality result if you get the levels right in the first instance. If you have to drop the amplitude of a signal you'll get a weak and piffly sound from processing it. If you have to boost you'll introduce additional noise (unless you have really clean pre-amps / zero background noise in your recording or instrument source like a guitar, which is unlikely) which will get processed on top of the sound you want to keep, muddying the sound. All of this can be addressed to a greater or less extent using EQ and compression, gating and smoothing over with subtle reverb etc. but the no.1 goal in audio engineering is to get the sound right fro the original source and sum them together efficiently, not spend hours or days strawberry floating around with automation and levels to solve problems that shouldn't be there. Back in the days of analogue, harmonic distortion introduced by lots of processing was much more musical and sympathetic but these days where it's all digital you need to be more careful about getting the basics right. You can't just turn everything up to 11 and hope for the best, if you do that, it will sound terrible thanks to digital clipping.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Lime » Tue Jun 09, 2020 4:25 pm

Green Gecko wrote:Useful stuff......


Thanks for this, it's very timely!

I've been recreating an instrumental track from my band from years ago, the only recording I have of it is a very poor quality live version.

I've managed to put together a recording with me playing all the instruments (the band is no more, sadly), and I was wondering why I couldn't hear everything properly. Each time I noticed something I couldn't hear clearly, I nudged it up in the mix. Consequently everything gets louder and louder :lol:

Then I compressed the crap out of it at the end and it's just a big pile of mud.

I'm going to have another go at mixing based on your advice- this part is new to me. I should really watch some mixing/mastering tutorials.

Also, just a thought - there is a guitar solo that's way beyond my abilities... is anyone any good at listening, transcribing and recording a take I could use? I'm not sure if I want to do this yet, as I've done the rest myself and should really go up the curve on my guitar playing, but just looking at options....

I should say, working out the notes is easy enough for me, it's the things that guitarists can do after years of practice/experience that elude me!

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Green Gecko » Tue Jun 09, 2020 4:34 pm

In that scenario your first priority should be EQing the individual instruments so that they are harmonically distinctive, cutting any frequencies the instrument doesn't really use or simply aren't important to the character of the sound and perhaps boosting the areas that are. But it can also be down to your individual decision for the timbre of each instrument and how they fit together in the spectrum, in the patches you choose on a keyboard or the range you choose to play in on the guitar for example. And perhaps (before the EQ in the chain, noise reduction should be first in the chain for that track/instrument) some noise reduction plug-ins. EQ will help a lot in this respect if you can find where the noise floor is by "sweeping" through the sound using an interactive EQ graph (a plugin that uses nodes on a graph rather than faders that you can pull around) and listening back in realtime, then cutting where the noise is most prominent.

Try to imagine all of your EQs overlapping each other, do they interlock like a puzzle piece or are they all battling for the same areas in the mix?

If for example you have to have two instruments or sounds battling each other in the mix, simple solution is to let them do that but pan each hard left or right (but perhaps not too far or they can sound "out there"). We call this sound staging. It really was a huge revolution in audio engineering - stereo, sad that quadrophonic and 5.1 never really took off as it makes it more possible to reproduce something like a rock band with 4 guitarists on a CD than any other method besides a live performance - that said, the same principles generally apply to a live mix as well because the PA is usually stereo with discreet bass channels. Try to think of how the instruments would actually line up on a stage and replicate that in the stereo field as well.

Always cut with an EQ if you can rather than boost. Only boost the bits you really want to "cut" through the mix. I call this "negative EQing". Then you can compress that signal to bring up the overall level if you like.

There's a whole hive of knowledge in these areas from sources like Sound on Sound magazine, check their website, but it can be a bit hit and miss finding what you need as every situation is different.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Victor Mildew » Tue Jun 09, 2020 4:43 pm

I always find it hard to reply to your posts GG as there's so much to refer to, but I've already started taking this in to account with my stuff. Luckily most of what ive live recorded was accidentally done pretty neutral volume wise, and it's only the latest one I was doing that was too loud, so I was able to pull it all down and it sounds much much better.

Lime wrote:
Also, just a thought - there is a guitar solo that's way beyond my abilities... is anyone any good at listening, transcribing and recording a take I could use? I'm not sure if I want to do this yet, as I've done the rest myself and should really go up the curve on my guitar playing, but just looking at options....


Send me a link over, I'll let you know if it's within my abilities.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Lime » Tue Jun 09, 2020 4:44 pm

Green Gecko wrote:more gold


You're the best :wub:

I'll work through this over the next few days.

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