Ardour revived my band

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jablo
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Joined: 2011-07-19
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Hi

Band sort of had an extended summer vacation (1.5 years really). Meanwhile I got interested in ardour and sound recording. Got some cheap used equipment (Hoontech DSP2000, 8 analog + 2 digital) and a Ubuntu Studio linux box.

After teaching myself the very basics of sound recording, mixing and mastering (thanks to the forums and a lot of good info in the net), I invited the band over for a recording session. This way we can record ourselves, and use the recordings for practicing at home.

Here's a small example from the second session - please forgive the mistakes, it's the second time in 1.5 years we play this song.

Thanks to ardour, the sound quality is really really good.

http://soundcloud.com/jacob-lorensen/street-life-solo

GMaq
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Hi,

Yeah you guys are pretty rusty....NOT!

Sounds great! Love the electric piano sound and the solo is really nice, some pretty slippery chord changes going on in there too... I'd like the rhythm guitar to be a little rounder sounding, the guitarist is playing some great stuff but the guitar almost sounds like another keyboard to me. If this how you guys sound out of practice I can't wait to hear some more recordings when you guys are playing regularly.

Thanks for sharing, I wasn't aware Ardour had such superpowers beyond just being an amazing DAW, If only we could have gotten Ardour to the Beatles on time...:-)

jablo
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Thanks for the great encouraging comment, I'll relay that.

We were really surprised at how much we did remember, seriously. Know that there are places in the take where we stumble well and good. And I promised "no voice allowed" yet until the she's in singing shape again.

I am a bit of a nerd, I guess. Between the 2 practicing sessions I borrowed the drums and made some tests on where and how to place microphones. 1 close to snare drum/hihat, one just between the to tams, one very close to the floor-standing tom, 1 bass-drum-specific mic inside the bass drum. Each on separate tracks.

Bass directly line in (use the effect send output from my amplifier and block the effect return so there's no acoustic sound coming from the bass). Guitar directly through a digital effect box into the sound card (stereo), keyboard through a small mixer with preamplifier and stereo into the sound card.

There's a bit of compression ("SC4 mono", slow attack, short release, 1:10 or so on the bass drum and snare drum mics), and a hard limiter on all the drums iirc. And of cause, lead singer's vocal microphone picks up a bit of the drums too guess.

Otherwise instruments are really just adjusted wrt. sound level.

Master mix into jamin, some fairly default settings on 3 band compressors, a little stereo-perspective-enhancer, limiter on -0.2dB, and boost/gain set just so the loudest parts trigger a bit of compression - primarily in the mid range I noted.

Now - for Christmas I want my living room walls decorated with sound-absorbing material, plus a small sound isolated box inside which the lead singer can stand while we record. :-D

GMaq
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Hi again...

If I were you I'd also add some linuxDSP plugins to the Christmas list and use them instead of Jamin, they are commercial software but extremely reasonably priced and truly unrivalled by anything on the Linux (and others actually) platform for mastering. There is nothing wrong with Ubuntu Studio however you may also want to investigate the KXStudio add-on repositories for a source of more specialized and current (free) plugins as well.

Drums are tricky and it's easy to get the close up sound overpowering the ambience and crispness of the cymbals. I've had good luck with miking the kick and snare/hats and then hanging 2 large diaphragm condenser mics about 2-3 feet above the toms and cymbals which seems to nicely mix the ambience and direct sounds as well. But hey there is no end to experimenting with this stuff and you are obviously well on your way! Keep it up!

jablo
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Joined: 2011-07-19
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Thanks for the advice on linuxDSP.

They will be for a future wish-list. Being a cover band (we don't have any self-composed material), I think the setup we have now meets our requirement: Get something that sounds good enough to be encouraging and to ease practicing. Maybe also good enough for a web site demo or similar when that time comes.

In regards to Beatles - I can only agree :-D