Springsteens "I'm on Fire" covered

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feinorgh
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Hey everyone.

I have used Ardour on and off for a couple of years, but only just recently started learning it somewhat well, but I still consider myself a newbie both in regards to mixing and mastering, and have used the trial-and-error method over the years with - well - mixed results [drumroll]. ;-)

Either way, I am very grateful for the effort of all the people who have been putting down a lot of hard work and ingenuity into the software I have been using.

I have recorded songs in Ardour before, but never really gotten around to mastering anything properly, so this is the result of an attempt to make something that sounded reasonably good.. I poured through the forums and searched online and considered using Jamin, but in the end I settled for a multiband EQ and a Dyson compressor to vamp up the punch a bit - maybe too much.

This is recorded with a Hydrogen drum track, three takes with a Fender Telecaster for the guitar parts directly into the mixer board (but with a couple of Tone Stack plugins added afterwards), one vocal take and the rest is ZynAddSubFX played manually. Everything is run in Gentoo Linux from the official repository (so, no pro-audio overlay).

Any constructive feedback is appreciated, as I am curious and willing to learn.

http://feinorgh.dyndns.org/audio/im_on_fire.ogg

There's a FLAC version as well:

http://feinorgh.dyndns.org/audio/im_on_fire.flac

Cheers

Smeefer
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Feinorgh, this is awesome! Great cover. I have a few suggestions for you, but keep in mind, these suggestions of mine are just about what I think would sound good...I have no expert opinion to offer.

EQ/Mastering: I'm taking at the JAMin spectrum after listening a few times. You should definetely lower the gain on 5k-8k area, but only by a few db. Depending on what you think sounds good, I would significantly raise the gain on bass frequencies in the EQ (everything under 250Hz) or even better, raise the gain on the bass track significantly and on the kick drum slightly in the ardour mix. I think it would sound better. The bass sounds are important in this song.

Vocals: They need a bit more reverb. This track sounds great when the vocals are not necessarily at the forefront of the mix, but seeped into the depths of it, with a dreamy sound. So I'd lower the gain on some of the higher frequencies that come out of the vocals...get rid of the sharp S sounds, etc. I'd even consider playing with a bandpass filter centered around 900Hz, with some quiet LV2 distortion (MDA Bandisto probably)....just for fun to see how it sounds.

Great cover though. I love the zynaddsubfx synths you used for it!

feinorgh
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Thanks for your suggestions! I upped the gain on the bass frequencies and somewhat lowered the overall compression somewhat on the mix. I lowered the gain in the 5k - 8k Hz area just as you suggested. And I also put some more reverb on the vocals, but to me it seems as if it drowns a bit against the pad, so I'm not sure what result became - maybe my ears are a little tired at the moment.

I tried the Glame Bandpass Filter for the vocals, but I had to make it quite broad, I still haven't decided what I like best though ;-)

The distortion sounded interesting (i tried the MDA Bandisto), but in the end it may not have added that much to the final mix, maybe it needs more punch, but at least to me the vocals now sound a bit more buried in the mix.

I put the "Smeefer" mix up too, for comparison :-)

http://feinorgh.dyndns.org/audio/im_on_fire-2.flac

Smeefer
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Sounds like you headed in the right direction with the vocals, but separating them a bit with EQ can help (the Multiband EQ plugin is pretty nice, even to use as a filter). The reverb - if you're using CALF reverb, try putting decay time at 1s, bass cut at 700Hz, treble cut at 6000Hz, room size medium or small. Might make it sound less muddy.
Bass frequency gains - i'd limit the gain to 3db max on everything under 250Hz.
The vocals not much more loud than any other instrument, but distinguished/emphasized through a unique sounds, perhaps EQ. That's what i'd go for.
If you wanna send me the original tracks, flac or wav, packed into a tarball then I wouldn't mind giving it a try. Fun times!

feinorgh
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The Ardour v2 project files are here:

http://feinorgh.dyndns.org/audio/im_on_fire.tar.bz2

Unpacks into folder "I'm On Fire", (350 MB) compressed.

You may find the effects and the mixer settings horribly misplaced, but in that case I'd be willing to produce a blog post or equivalent to add to the documentation about best-practice and things-to-avoid and link it here. :-)

And if you feel like doing a total remix (I've checked some of the other stuff that you've made out and have been rightly impressed) - feel free!
:-) Any help is very much appreciated.

Smeefer
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I got the project files and I will make my own mix. This might take me awhile because i'm working on a lot of other projects at the time. But i'll get around to it as soon as possible. Thanks for sharing.

DonF
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Hey feinorgh, I hope you don't mind that I took a whack at a mix. Here it is: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/89868807/im_on_fire_donf.ogg

Don

feinorgh
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Hey DonF. I don't mind at all, I think it's an excellent mix. :-) I really like what you did with the vocal track. And someone said "go easy on the synths", which you did really well. I think it sounds really nice, and you managed to make my sloppy guitar playing sound good :-)
What effects did you use on the vocals?

DonF
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I only used the "Vocals II" vocal track, with these effects:
(pre-fader)

  • Glame Highpass (freq: 130Hz, stages: 1)
  • SC4 mono (RMS/peak: 0, attack: 56ms, release: 245ms, threshold: -18dB, ratio: 3.5, knee: 3.25, makeup gain: 0)

(post-fader)

  • send to bus with IR reverb (True M7 small chamber 4)
  • LADSPA Feedback Delay (0.080 sec, 0.226 wet, 0 feedback)

Here's the session file:
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/89868807/im-on-fire.ardour

Don

Smeefer
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@feinorgh - I haven't forgot about this...still going to do my own mix of your track, just getting a bunch of other projects done first (stopmotion & synfig studio work takes forever haha).