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Paul Ledger



Joined: 06/02/12
Posts: 10
Feedback on demo, especially vocals...
      #1030031 - 23/01/13 08:32 PM
Hi all,

Below is a link to a demo of a track I have done and I'm looking for some feedback on the sound, especially the vocals.

Get Up & Grow Demo

I am pretty rubbish at singing to be honest so please tell me if I am just wasting my time as I have been working on this track far too long now and need to put it to rest. I have asked around for someone to do the vocals for me but didn't get anywhere and the last option was to do it myself.

Any advice or feedback very welcome, good or bad. I have compared the vocals to similar pop tracks but still haven't figured out how to achieve a similar sounding vocal mix. I usually just mess around with instrumental tracks...

I'm using the following gear if it's of any use to you:

iMac on OSX 10.8.2
Blue Yeti microphone
M-Audio Fast Track Ultra audio interface
Logic Pro 9.1.8
AKG K701 headphones

Thanks,

Bryan

--------------------
www.soundcloud.com/bryandoc81


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The Elf
active member


Joined: 14/08/01
Posts: 9419
Loc: Sheffield, UK
Re: Feedback on demo, especially vocals... new [Re: Paul Ledger]
      #1030040 - 23/01/13 09:35 PM
Typing as I listen...

The guitar/bass intro is good - nice start.

Ouch! That kick drum is horrible!

I have to be honest and say the vocals aren't very good. There are some tuning problems in places, but the real problem is you don't sound convincing as a vocalist. Sorry, but I would rather be honest with you, as you are clearly hearing the problem yourself. Maybe a performance with more conviction would help, but you still need to hit those notes cleanly.

The song is OK, but it doesn't light any fires. The synth backing is a bit cheesy-sounding (unless that's what you're aiming for!) and that kick drum is far too aggressive and insistent for the backing.

It would be worth getting a good vocalist in (once you've fixed that kick!), because that could lift the song dramatically. There's a sort of 'Empire of the Sun'-ish quality about the song, but it needs some work on instrumentation, arrangement and production to reach its potential.

HTH!

--------------------
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.


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Paul Ledger



Joined: 06/02/12
Posts: 10
Re: Feedback on demo, especially vocals... new [Re: The Elf]
      #1030120 - 24/01/13 01:06 PM
This is exactly the feedback I'm looking for Elf, thanks very much!

I'm definitely not a singer as you may have already guessed;-) I felt uncomfortable all the way through recording the vocals and I think this is present in the track. I would love if someone else would do the vocals but can't get anyone local and I've asked around online and never had anyone get in touch. Would someone reading right now fancy having a go?

Kick drum is very aggressive the now and it was just a sample I thought was ok for trying out an arrangement, will be looking to change most of the drum samples once I have a final arrangement and make them more natural sounding. There are no transitions either and it sounds a bit block like just now but these are things I tend to leave till the end. Should I try it differently in future?

Which synth part do you think is especially cheesy? It seems no matter what I try to write it always sounds a little cheesy! :-) I really don't intend it to but the cheese magnet always catches me... Any pointers or advice here?

EOTS is definitely on my influence list but with this track I originally had a fatboy slim - brimful of asha vibe in my head and it somehow strayed!

How did the baby laughing at the end sound? This was my son laughing for the first time when he was around 4 months old! He's now 18 months so that should give you an indication of how long I've been working on it! Or how little time I actually get now;-) I wrote this for him and hoped to have it done for his 1st birthday but obviously it wasn't possible due to me lacking the voice of an angel!

I would love to have someone else sing the vocals but if this is not to be, how could I turn it into an instrumental?

Edit: I forgot to add, my sons first word was guitar! It took me 2 weeks to get him to say it:-)

--------------------
www.soundcloud.com/bryandoc81

Edited by Paul Ledger (24/01/13 01:12 PM)


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Paul Ledger



Joined: 06/02/12
Posts: 10
Re: Feedback on demo, especially vocals... new [Re: The Elf]
      #1030725 - 27/01/13 08:42 PM
Since posting, some other kind person has offered to collaborate with me and do the vocals!

With this large problem out the way (and the terrible kick drum!), what would take the track to the next level?

I'm open to some more suggestions as I think there is potential to turn it around now...

--------------------
www.soundcloud.com/bryandoc81


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The Elf
active member


Joined: 14/08/01
Posts: 9419
Loc: Sheffield, UK
Re: Feedback on demo, especially vocals... new [Re: Paul Ledger]
      #1030739 - 27/01/13 10:50 PM
For starters think about the long-term dynamics of the song - a chorus that lifts and has something new to introduce to the ears. As it stands now nothing changes, progresses, or surprises the ears.

The drum pattern is also 'dug-chak-di-dug-dug-chak' all the way through, barring the drop. The piano holds a similar pattern, and the guitar mimics it too. They all need more variety. The white noise swoosh is nice, but it is repeated too often. When you go to the drop then make it a dramatic drop.

There are so many ways you could go, but it really needs to come from your heart. I'd say go listen to your references and see how those arrangements are handled. I think you'll be surprised how many constant subtle shifts are happening in those songs.

HTH, and good luck with the new vocals!

--------------------
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.


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Paul Ledger



Joined: 06/02/12
Posts: 10
Re: Feedback on demo, especially vocals... new [Re: The Elf]
      #1099421 - 24/04/14 08:17 PM
Ok, it's been over a year since I last post here but it's been a busy year and music creation time is very scarce in my household!

From the last time I uploaded my demo, I have since re-done the majority of the track numerous times and got someone to collaborate with me and do the vocal takes.

The link for the older version with my scary vocals is thankfully no longer available so if anyone has the time, please feel free to give me feedback on the latest effort.

I am looking to finish off this track now so any advice would be great.

Link below:

SoundCloud

Thanks :-)

--------------------
www.soundcloud.com/bryandoc81


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The Elf
active member


Joined: 14/08/01
Posts: 9419
Loc: Sheffield, UK
Re: Feedback on demo, especially vocals... new [Re: Paul Ledger]
      #1099446 - 25/04/14 07:52 AM
The vocal sounds oddly congested/phasey/resonant and is getting lost in the mix. There's an odd middy 'room' tone to the voice too, as if it was recorded in an airing cupboard. Am I also hearing auto-tune artifacts? If so I would smooth those out.

The piano is loud and insistent, making the rhythm a bit 'ploddy'. A more sympathetic part with more dynamic playing would help. The drum pattern is still a bit 'set and forget' - adding loops isn't really hiding the fact that the basic pattern doesn't change.

There's still not enough variety in the dynamics of the song. The verse and chorus really don't have enough differences to give the song a structure.

Overall I think there's a bit of top end missing. I'd brighten the drums and vocals in particular.

HTH!

--------------------
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.


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Paul Ledger



Joined: 06/02/12
Posts: 10
Re: Feedback on demo, especially vocals... new [Re: The Elf]
      #1099581 - 25/04/14 08:13 PM
Hi Elf, thanks for the feedback.

I have a phase effect on the intro vocals but not throughout. Listening back again just now I get what you are meaning though. I'm not sure if the vocals were recorded in an airing cupboard... Maybe I have over processed them?

There is no auto tune (I hate that sound!) but I did use logics pitch feature to mess around with the vocals at the end of the middle 8 part. Where does it sound like auto tune to you? I have a copy of the vocals on another track that is pitched 1 octave up and sits underneath. Is it possible this is too high in volume?

I wan't sure if the piano was too loud or not, you have confirmed this!

Do you have any ideas of what I could add to make the chorus stand out compared to the verse? I have tried to resist putting lots in and keep it as simple as possible but would be willing to add if it helped. Would an electric guitar part or solo work?

I guess I could add a little top end but it sounded ok to me. What are you listening to this track on? I know you are a fan of the AKG K701's and that's what I am using for mixing/listening. I've been using Frank Turner - Losing Days as a reference track mixing this as it has some similar sounds and on my system it sounds mot too far off in terms of overall range and levels. The vocals on the reference track are much wider sounding but this is more to do with the fact that they have been mixed properly!

Thanks again for the words of wisdom and any further advice would be great.

Has anyone else had a listen yet? would love to here some other comments

--------------------
www.soundcloud.com/bryandoc81


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Paul Ledger



Joined: 06/02/12
Posts: 10
Re: Feedback on demo, especially vocals... new [Re: Paul Ledger]
      #1112644 - 22/07/14 08:29 PM
I have eventually finished this track to a point where I am happy with the result. It's not perfect by any means but it's far better than I had ever imagined I would get it and was a nice learning curve for me with regards to producing a pop track.

I would love to hear anyone's thoughts if they have the time to listen:

https://soundcloud.com/bryandoc81/bryan-doherty-feat-dave-gorst-get-up-gro w

Many thanks to Dave Gorst who kindly assisted and sung the vocals for me. I couldn't have done it without him!

Cheers,

Bryan

--------------------
www.soundcloud.com/bryandoc81


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