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Can’t get that “Record” sound.

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Can’t get that “Record” sound.

Postby pillorygem » Sun Feb 17, 2019 9:41 pm

For a good while now I have not been able to get a “record” sound similar to some of the
Albums I look up to (The Cure, Beatles, Nirvana, Fleetwood Mac, etc.).

I don’t claim to be an amazing musician or engineer, but I’ve been doing both for a while
with a little success, but I want that extra push.

I go into a Scarlett 2i4 (which isn’t amazing, but hey.) I Eq, compress, add reverb, delay, and whatever other tricks and sparkles I can and it always just ends up sounding like I did it in my home; it has an amateurish sound.

I’m not really sure what I’m really missing here other than analog outboard and better pre’s, and I’m not so sure that that’s the main issue here either.

What am I not doing correctly?

I don’t have an example to give just yet since I’m not home.

Thank you!
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Re: Can’t get that “Record” sound.

Postby desmond » Sun Feb 17, 2019 9:55 pm

I know it sounds glib, but if it sounds amateurish, it's because it was done by amateurs.

If you want to sound like it was done by professionals, do what everyone else does - hire professionals!

For all the rest of us, it means a lifelong quest of listening, learning, trying, analysing and improving by a few per cent each time. The tuition/learning resources available to everyone these days are staggering, but if you want something more hands on, there are good folks on this forum who can do you some one-on-one sessions, look at your material, and give you a head start to improving things.

There really isn't a magic bullet to this stuff - it's a long amount of hard work until you get the skills and experience necessary, or buying the skills in from people who already have the skills and experience.

Of course, you're welcome to share tracks and get feedback on them here as well, for more specific advice... :thumbup:
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Re: Can’t get that “Record” sound.

Postby blinddrew » Sun Feb 17, 2019 10:26 pm

As Desmond says, pop a track up here and ask for some feedback. There's some very knowledgable folks here who are happy to share their experience.
If you want something a bit more in depth, drop a line to the folks at SoS about doing a mix-rescue feature. (links in this thread here: https://www.soundonsound.com/forum/view ... 16&t=40570)
Depending on where you are there may be folks who can help you out with some 1:1 tuition as well (at very reasonable rates).
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Re: Can’t get that “Record” sound.

Postby pillorygem » Sun Feb 17, 2019 10:29 pm

desmond wrote:I know it sounds glib, but if it sounds amateurish, it's because it was done by amateurs.

If you want to sound like it was done by professionals, do what everyone else does - hire professionals!

For all the rest of us, it means a lifelong quest of listening, learning, trying, analysing and improving by a few per cent each time. The tuition/learning resources available to everyone these days are staggering, but if you want something more hands on, there are good folks on this forum who can do you some one-on-one sessions, look at your material, and give you a head start to improving things.

There really isn't a magic bullet to this stuff - it's a long amount of hard work until you get the skills and experience necessary, or buying the skills in from people who already have the skills and experience.

Of course, you're welcome to share tracks and get feedback on them here as well, for more specific advice... :thumbup:

Thank you for the advice. I definitely come from the camp of studios aren’t dead, so I agree with the “hire professionals” talk.

I’m in Louisiana and the studios I’ve reached out to either aren’t booking or are MORE expensive than the high end facilities in Los Angeles and the likes.

Thank you again!
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Re: Can’t get that “Record” sound.

Postby Wonks » Sun Feb 17, 2019 10:37 pm

You don't need outboard gear or better pre-amps to get a good sound. They are all nice-to-haves, but 90% is a good tune/song and a great performance.

The main thing you physically need is a decent recording and listening environment. Which means room treatment. Loads of threads on here about it, but a description of your current room arrangement would be useful.

Are you mixing on speakers or headphones?

After that it's down to practice and getting to really know what your plug-ins do.

If you want some well recorded tracks to practice mixing on (to take the recording part out of the equation), then there are sample tracks available here. https://www.soundonsound.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=26779
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Re: Can’t get that “Record” sound.

Postby CS70 » Sun Feb 17, 2019 11:34 pm

Well, the others said it all - forget the kit, it's most often not that at all. Songrwriting and performing skills, recording skills, mixing skills are what makes the difference. Good kit makes things easier but that's about it.

The good news is that you already are a musician so you surely have lots of stuff already, and probably it's a few "gotcha" points that need to be cleared out of the way.

Agree also with Drew, tell more of what you feel is missing, or simply put out some track.
Also keep in mind that sometimes your stuff can be up to scratch and you may not know it, you need others opinions... sometimes not, of course, but you don't know until you try. :)
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Re: Can’t get that “Record” sound.

Postby pillorygem » Mon Feb 18, 2019 12:51 am

I want to thank you all for the help and advice. I’m going to finish a few of these tracks up and post them if I’m still having trouble. I really appreciate it everyone!
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Re: Can’t get that “Record” sound.

Postby Jack Ruston » Mon Feb 18, 2019 7:30 am

All those classic recordings you're referencing are very performance driven. Those records are made a certain way. They may have a lot of overdubs and production tricks, but they're built around a band in a studio. You can't substitute that. I have this conversation with clients often. We can make a certain kind of record by 'producing' it, and another by playing. Both can be amazing. It's Def Leppard Vs Fleetwood Mac. If you've got one when you wanted the other, it's disappointing.
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Re: Can’t get that “Record” sound.

Postby The Elf » Mon Feb 18, 2019 9:27 am

If you can perform to a professional level, and you have at least the basic gear to make a good recording, then these days getting a decent mix is as simple as whisking it across the internet to a good mix engineer. It's simply no longer necessary to hire an expensive studio.

If your mix engineer is up to scratch he will advise on tracking (and re-tracking, if he feels it is necessary), and he will only undertake the mix when he feels that you have provided material that can achieve your aims. 80% of the mix work I do is handled this way.
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Re: Can’t get that “Record” sound.

Postby Zukan » Mon Feb 18, 2019 9:54 am

Hire someone like Elf for the day and let him mix your track and you observe closely and ask relevant questions. That will get you much further than 'winging' it.
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Re: Can’t get that “Record” sound.

Postby Alba » Mon Feb 18, 2019 9:59 am

There's an enormous difference between the sounds of records. It might be that your sound is the 'record' sound but its just not had enough time to propagate around enough ears yet.

There are also plenty or crap sounding records, wouldn't want to stoop to those levels....

Every great breakthrough in musical art has brought us a new sound. Not just individual sounds, but the overall delivery of the whole, the colour from a distance.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yd60nI4sa9A

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ll37rY-yiQQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdlWUQedW9I

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vP1kZLGG5gw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLV4_xaYynY
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Re: Can’t get that “Record” sound.

Postby OneWorld » Tue Feb 26, 2019 12:40 pm

Jack Ruston wrote:All those classic recordings you're referencing are very performance driven. Those records are made a certain way. They may have a lot of overdubs and production tricks, but they're built around a band in a studio. You can't substitute that. I have this conversation with clients often. We can make a certain kind of record by 'producing' it, and another by playing. Both can be amazing. It's Def Leppard Vs Fleetwood Mac. If you've got one when you wanted the other, it's disappointing.

At one time I would have tended to disagree, but I once listened to one of those stem tracks made available and it was 'Bohemian Rhapsody' where you can hear Freddie Mercury and piano in isolation, and it was absolutely stunning, even if it were recorded on a portable cassette recorder found in a charity shop - it would have been a world wide hit.

That being said, if one has a half decent tune written, might as well give it the best chance to invest in decent gear and learn the techniques to produce a 'commercial' recording. I think one of the problems we have is that one is both writer/performer/arranger/producer/mixer/engineer/mastering expert - hard to be an expert in all of those, but on the other hand, a great learning opportunity.
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Re: Can’t get that “Record” sound.

Postby G-Doubleyou » Tue Feb 26, 2019 6:34 pm

My greatest improvement happened after I added minimal room treatment to my small space.

Having good monitors doesn't hurt, room treatment helped me to make better decisions.

:thumbup:
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Re: Can’t get that “Record” sound.

Postby Martin Walker » Wed Feb 27, 2019 1:05 am

G-Doubleyou wrote:My greatest improvement happened after I added minimal room treatment to my small space.

Having good monitors doesn't hurt, room treatment helped me to make better decisions.

:thumbup:

We regularly get comments like these, and most of us have experienced the gob-smacking benefits of acoustic treatment at some point.

It really does make EVERYTHING in your studio sound more expensive! :shh: ;)


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Re: Can’t get that “Record” sound.

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:40 am

And many who don't have acoustic treatment yet struggle to reconcile spending £300 on a few panels when they could spend it on a sexy new mic or other studio hardware. They make excuses like "I can't fit acoustic treatment 'cos it's a bedroom" or "I rent so can't fix anything to the walls". Then, eventually, they do stick a few panels up and have that 'lightbulb moment' :D
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Re: Can’t get that “Record” sound.

Postby MarkOne » Fri Mar 01, 2019 6:52 pm

While I totally agree about sorting out your space acoustically speaking, (I was amazed by the differences in my last two little rooms) the pictures I've seen of Rockfield in the Bohemian Rhapsody era didn't appear to have a whole lot of 'studio-ness' being more obviously a converted barn

And then you get people like Steven Wilson who appears to have mixed grammy nominated stuff in the bedroom of his mum's house.

But I guess there are exceptions to every rule and Queen and SW are both exceptional exceptions :)
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Re: Can’t get that “Record” sound.

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Sat Mar 02, 2019 12:36 pm

The venerable Sam Spoons summed it all up on another current thread on a similar topic:
A great song, performed by a great band in a great room will get you 99% of the way to a great record. All the rest is fluff, or those old Sun Studios recordings (with 1950s tech) of the greats would sound rubbish.

Dr Feelgood were great, and you could have recorded them on a dictaphone and they would still be great (though maybe not quite 'CD quality') ;)

Many of us on this forum have been there on the voyage of discovery which always starts with "If only I had xyz gear my recordings would sound like [insert major band/artist here]". And then you learn that it simply isn't true. (Usually after spending a lot of dosh.)

It's all about the 'content', to use a modern term. Good song, well sung, well arranged, well played. Especially it's about being in tune and in time. Get all these right and record and mix it competently on even what might be considered really budget gear and, bingo, your track will be well on its way to sounding like a record.
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Re: Can’t get that “Record” sound.

Postby jaminem » Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:52 am

Biggest improvement to my mixes recently, was Softube Console One and more importantly the effect it had on my plugin usage.

I'm not suggesting you buy it as a magic bullet, of course that doesn't work, however it did do several important things that have really helped;

1. stopped me chucking loads of plugins on everything. It just doesn't sound good and it often is a huge distraction from what you're supposed to be doing - Listening!
2. Using loads of different 'flavours' - Yes, we now have the ability to have a neve on bass, API on guitar, Tubetech on something else. The pro's do it right? so it must be right, right? No not really if you're not that experienced. it just becomes a non-cohesive mangled mash of flavours.
3. Mixing with my ears - plugin GUI's look nice. The Console 1 GUI doesn't nor does the hardware, but turning a knob and hearing whats happening is way way more useful and less distracting than the GUI on most lovely looking plugins...
4. Simplifying workflow. Console One provides a good sounding toolkit of everything you need in one plugin. You often don't need anything else. I find this means you can get to mix quicker and easier because the decision making process of should I reach for this plugin for this task is removed, so you focus on listening and getting the mix working well. If its not happening in a certain area, THEN you reach for an alternative. Having loads of options is great. But its also really stifling to the creative process...Learn one tool well, rather than loads not so well....
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Re: Can’t get that “Record” sound.

Postby blinddrew » Mon Mar 04, 2019 2:41 pm

I'm not a softtube user but taking a similar approach with a 'standard' channel strip and a control surface has given me the same benefits in terms of focusing my attention and speeding up the work. :thumbup:
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Re: Can’t get that “Record” sound.

Postby OneWorld » Mon Mar 04, 2019 6:50 pm

blinddrew wrote:I'm not a softtube user but taking a similar approach with a 'standard' channel strip and a control surface has given me the same benefits in terms of focusing my attention and speeding up the work. :thumbup:

+1 to that. I have sort of setup my own Softube arrangement. I got a Novation Launchpad and with that I have instant access to any of 48 channels, and 16 other buttons (well they are pads actually) for the more common commands, including transport - using the Cubase 'learn' is quite easy.

I have a UAD 2 DUO PCIe card and I have set up various recording templates where I have each channel with the basic UAD channel strip by a cheap MIDI controller which has 24 rotary and 8 fader controls, I can not only control the values but open and close the plugin too.

To top things off I have a dedicated controller - the ICON QCON and I have my virtual mixing desk and I hardly go near any of the myriad of plugins, I stick to the UAD ones and maybe a couple of the better Cubase ones, and yes it really focusses the attention, feels more like a mixing desk.

Only the other week Cubase started crashing when closing it, all down to one of those pesky plugins that I cannot seem to resist, took the offending plugin off and now running smoothly again, so now I need to book myself into PlugIn Rehab and do a PlugIn Detox and cure me of the habit of keep downloading them and slapping them into Cubase
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