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Infernal Machine - final edit (could use feedback on changes)....
      #854371 - 18/08/10 12:48 PM
Hey folks,

Did some final alterations to the track which was featured in July's Sound on Sound for Mix Rescue, and would love any feedback on this final edit (will def leave it after this). Essentially I've always wished to replace my own vocal take (female effect) with a proper singer in order to attain a smoother/musical feel - realise its at the expense of character, but its weighing up commercialism with experimentalism. So we're now a two person team working on more tracks.

Mike's mix on the original track for the SOS article has been invaluable both in terms of opening my own eyes and showing what can creatively be done with the right tools.

Please note the following things:

1. hissing - yup, aware of it, I'll gate the instrument track thats causing this and re-upload at some point.

2. levels - I've held back on limiting too much in the master chain, but I don't think it detracts from the feel.

3. energy - controversial, but I ended up changing the drums entierly, and bloomed one of the guitars (actually a SQ Pro-1 through an amp) to create a softer sound. Dynamics should still be there. I'll explain more on this below.

4. kick/bass levels - think the kick might be too loud or EQ'ed a bit too extremely, although I need to listen with subs to check this.

The tracks...

New Version:
http://www.obscuresounds.com/audio/infernal_machine_new.mp3

Mikes SOS Version:
http://www.obscuresounds.com/audio/infernal_machine.mp3

Original:
http://www.obscuresounds.com/audio/infernal_final.mp3

So whats changed?

This version is based on multitracks that Mike sent me after the article, so I created a few additions and changed a few elements.

Drums:
Drum wise, I opted for a more jazz/soft rock style kit mainly to get a snappier sound, which I think may cause some contention depending on whether you like/dislike heavier stuff, but I don't think it detracts from the song itself. Using Mike's input I ended up placing the overheads through a UAD LA2A to give a wide open effect... works really nicely on the ride and crash cymbals.

Bass:
In the original the bass was based on an Commodore Amiga PCM which I then resequenced in Ableton Live, but it ended up causing too much digital rubish to seep through, so I decided to use the SQ Pro-1 with LFO controlled pulse-width modulation - its something you don't really hear much today, but it sound nice to my ears.

More Bass:
At the very end you might notice a 1/8 bass hit... this is a Clavinet D6 going through a Marshal Bass amp. Just wanted things to bounce along more.

Vocal:
Obviously this is the most controversial element. The original track was praised for having a characterful style with my voice processed to sound like a fake female singer. I thought about this for a long time, but the sad truth is that I'm not a good singer (hence disguising my voice), so ultimately from a performance level I would prefer to team with other people if it means making something I feel to be a better sound. The new vocal is going through some pretty hefty equipment - Neumann M149 and x2 U87 (for grabbing room footprint) which then heads in to a UAD 1176. Also did a separate send which goes in to an EMT 250 with an LA2A on a slow attack/release which makes it sit nicely (learnt this by listening to a Radiohead track which used a similar effect).

Guitar:
The original has more energy, but because of the new vocal take, and drum change I felt that this needed to change as well. Before it was a sequence from the Pro-1, however I've opted to do it on a guitar and the bloomed it to give a nice wash.

Vocoder:
Roland SVC-350... yummy


Enjoy! Loved all of the feedback from creating this track. Next step, this is hopefully going off to get mastered as I don't trust my studio for that side of things. Want this on radio if its good enough so will probably pigeon hole it.
How do the changes sound?
You may choose only one
Better
Worse


Votes accepted from (18/08/10 12:00 AM) to (No end specified)
View Poll results



--------------------
Lawrence Eldridge - Obscuresounds


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Re: Infernal Machine - final edit (could use feedback on changes).... new [Re: Flip^]
      #854488 - 18/08/10 10:26 PM
Damn - annoyingly I was right about my problem of lower-frequencies. The new Pro-1 bassline is taking up too much headroom again, so bare that in mind when you listen to this! Next time I'm in the studio (Saturday/Sunday) I'll reduce that.

Also had some comments on the vox reverb. I like it, but does it need to be reduced?

Any comparisons would be great.

--------------------
Lawrence Eldridge - Obscuresounds


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Axonaut



Joined: 11/04/10
Posts: 112
Re: Infernal Machine - final edit (could use feedback on changes).... new [Re: Flip^]
      #855920 - 23/08/10 04:51 PM
I'm surprised you haven't had more feedback yet, because this is an interesting song.

There's an obvious step up in quality from your original version to Mike's mix. Compared to Mike's mix, I wouldn't say your latest remix is clearly better, or worse, just different.

Mike's mix has a bit more punch and contrast at the beginning. I slightly prefer this intro for that reason, and also because the vocal comes in sooner and the vocal sound and timing are extremely interesting.

Have you considered using parts of both versions of the vocal separately (not mixed together)? They both have desirable qualities, which could be accentuated if you switch from one to the other. Your processed vocal is very spooky and attention-getting at the start of Mike's mix, but it's so weird that it gets tiring over the course of an entire song. OTOH the, new vocal is comparatively rather smooth, bland even, so it could be good to use it maybe 80%-90% of the time, but totally replace it with your processed vocal sometimes, maybe as a spot effect for a few key words here and there.

To be brutally honest, I think one problem the vocalist has is that the song itself isn't particularly memorable if you strip it down to bare bones. The production, lyrics and presentation are what turn it into a piece with really strong impact - so anything close to a plain, conventional vocal doesn't fit very well. The song would be perfect theme music for a TV drama that has an atmosphere of alienation, for example.

I can't offer suggestions on fine tuning the mix, because I don't have the skill or the listening environment to say more than it sounds very good to me in the two most recent versions.


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TheBazmeister



Joined: 04/06/06
Posts: 300
Re: Infernal Machine - final edit (could use feedback on changes).... new [Re: Flip^]
      #856572 - 25/08/10 10:43 PM
I think your new mix has better clarity and polish than the original, but isn't quite as good somehow, mainly due to 'normal' vox and drums. I prefer the SOS version out of all them. Really good tune though.

Also I like the reverse reverb and general fx in your new one, just not the mix as a whole!


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Re: Infernal Machine - final edit (could use feedback on changes).... new [Re: Flip^]
      #858526 - 01/09/10 03:40 PM
Hey guys!

Firstly thank you so much for checking them out, and taking the time to reply. Totally agree with all of the points made and hopefully I'm a step closer to getting it there! Sorry for taking a while to reply but I haven't been in the studio for a while so its a case of finding the time to make corrections. Phew, hope people here aren't tiring from the track though!

If you download the new version (I overwrote infernal_machine_new.mp3 for ease of listening), then it should include some changes made in this thread. I feed on the feedback so happy to make more changes. Think of it as a community effort to get things done.

http://www.obscuresounds.com/audio/infernal_machine_new.mp3

So what's changed this week?

1. energy back in. I just wanted it clear before limiting. Chain is currently just UAD Fatso -> Waves L2.
2. bass line. Decided to go halfway and add the Amiga PCM sample back in, but mixed it with the Sequential Circuits Pro-1, so you now get oompth and dirtyness. This sends compressors crazy so will tidy this up next weekend.
3. snare. err ignore this... was just experimenting, but its lost its snappiness, so next weekend I'll change it to something a bit like Hot Chip's "Thieves In The Night".
4. Backing Oooo's - yup, I'm now doing the job as backing singer.
5. Aware of hissing at the very end. Drums are going through some pretty hefty compressors.


@Axonaut:

Hopefully sorted the intro out now. I'm going to do a little tweak with the guitars as without the bass line its a bit empty or out of position. Regarding the old vocal I'm probably going to do two version of the same track, as the singer wants to keep the new version, but I'm going to sneakily change her voice so that its in time with the old one - might work, or might not, but it'll take a while to do that.

Am very tempted to use both mine and her vocal take together... its mainly the EQing with my vox take that's the problem, as it fits with hers, or mine, but seemingly not together. Its a case where I processed mine so much I ended up losing a lot of the 'life' in it. Hmm, I'll experiment!

@TheBazmeister:

Should be sorted now. I held back before on feeding it through any limiters, so it probably felt as though it had less impact. Hopefully once I've done a few remaining alterations next weekend I'll mix-down some stems and then do some multi-band compression on each stem before going out to a buss compressor. I'm lucky enough to own an Avalon VT-747SP, which I used on the original track, but held back on others until I'm happy with production.

--------------------
Lawrence Eldridge - Obscuresounds


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Re: Infernal Machine - final edit (could use feedback on changes).... new [Re: Flip^]
      #858540 - 01/09/10 04:45 PM
oh... should note that although the chain is currently Fatso -> L2, the intention is to go as follows:

1. Multiband compression to sort out a few problem areas.
2. Avalon Mastering Compressor/EQ with slow attack/release.
3. L2 for final limiting.

--------------------
Lawrence Eldridge - Obscuresounds


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Re: Infernal Machine - final edit (could use feedback on changes).... new [Re: Flip^]
      #867269 - 10/10/10 11:06 PM
Hey guys,

Right, finally got around to finishing this off. I've put this under a new filename but I've also overwritten the old one as I can't edit the original post...

http://www.obscuresounds.com/audio/infernal_machine_a80.mp3

The hihats have been taken out, and I've sorted out a few niggles here and there (mainly with EQing). I originally held back on mastering this until the Studer A80 was fixed (ended up being a massive job as the power board was fudged, so had Clive Kavan give it a proper service).

Really gone to town on this one - after mixdown the chain was as follows:

1. Avalon 747, with TSP on... works well on here as it smooths out the highs.
2. Studer A80, 15ips, RMGi 900 tape... few niggles with this as the tape was already starting to shed (1 year old), but it was the only thing to hand, and I managed to find a clean run. Quantegy where art thou?!
3. Waves X-Noise... see above.
4. UAD Manley EQ... nice stuff, tested the demo for this, and its pretty cool for sorting a few problem areas. Tailed off some high freq's, and reduced high-mids slightly.
5. UAD Fatso Senior... just used the transformer preset to beef things up, although I set the saturation much lower, as it was messing with the bass.
6. UAD Multiband... not much to do on this one, but compressed a few bands, and expanded the lower/kick for more punch.
7. UAD Maximizer... final chain, again just in demo mode, but I love it so far. L2 seemed flatter when I tried it.

Well thats it! As usual, I would appreciate any feedback (profesisonal or otherwise) on this. To my ears it seems okay, although as a song its pretty busy. This is going to be used for a Kickstarter project I'm going to set up, as Milly (the singer) and I are looking to sort out an album, but need funding to do it seriously.

--------------------
Lawrence Eldridge - Obscuresounds


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TheBazmeister



Joined: 04/06/06
Posts: 300
Re: Infernal Machine - final edit (could use feedback on changes).... new [Re: Flip^]
      #869337 - 19/10/10 08:36 PM
Really like this now. If I were being picky I'd say the drums still sound quite MIDI (mostly timing / variation). Like the vocal delivery and sound and the FX. Can't help but feel the track loses its way arrangement-wise when the vox peter out towards the end. Either make a decisive ending or do more with it I'd say.

Still, good work there!


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Cameron AV Productio...



Joined: 31/03/08
Posts: 27
Loc: Oegstgeest, Holland
Re: Infernal Machine - final edit (could use feedback on changes).... new [Re: Flip^]
      #872926 - 05/11/10 09:53 AM
Hello

Greetings from Holland...

Love the new mix. Plenty of power and production interest to keep the listener engaged.

Especially liked the vocal sound. I am currently working with a female singer with a similar tone and I would be interested to know the path you used and the types of effects.

Any insider tips would be helpful.

Cheers,

Ewan

Chee


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Re: Infernal Machine - final edit (could use feedback on changes).... new [Re: Cameron AV Productions]
      #874274 - 11/11/10 09:40 PM
Thanks Chee!

So sorry for taking ages to reply - been a bit hectic here. Firstly, thank you ever so much for taking the time to listen. Been getting some wonderful feedback so far! I think production is the word here... wish my actual song-writing abilities could be improved upon, but that comes with time. The only thing I might change is the vocal track, as some have said that the timing is a bit off here and there, although I've listened to it so many times I can't tell where its wrong any more. :S

Absolutely no problem regarding the vocal chain! - hopefully you should be able to get a similar sound.

The vocal chain is Neumann M149 going straight in to the RME Fireface 800. Its actually two vocal takes layered on top of each other, but I re-synced it with a bit of time-stretching. These then go in to a UAD Time Cube Mk II for chorus effects, then out to a split chain - the 1st chain goes to a harmonizer (publison digital delay), to spread the vocal out with the Haas effect, and then the second chain goes through the Eventide Orville with a preverb (essentially a reverse audio with loads of reverb). I also tracked the vocal with a vocoder in some places for a bit of contrast. These all go back in the computer and I put a final grouped chain with a UAD Fatso to blend it all together.

Hope this helps! The main effect you're after is a preverb.

Quote Cameron Audio Services:

Hello

Greetings from Holland...

Love the new mix. Plenty of power and production interest to keep the listener engaged.

Especially liked the vocal sound. I am currently working with a female singer with a similar tone and I would be interested to know the path you used and the types of effects.

Any insider tips would be helpful.

Cheers,

Ewan

Chee




--------------------
Lawrence Eldridge - Obscuresounds


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