"What's more important? The lyrics or the melody?"
Personally I'm a melody man. A song's melody is very important to me, but the vocal melody is what I really listen to - and hum. Others, like my wife, will know every lyric to every song she hears upon her first listen. I, on the other hand, will probably only get the lyrics to the chorus until I've heard the song about 5 times. Even then I'll probably only know the lyrics to the first verse.
Anyway, Robin gives us his insight and has a questions for the audience at the end of his piece. Enjoy!
If you missed it, on our recent SXSW preview show, I revealed one of the secret ingredients you can add to a song to get Bob Boilen to love it: speak singing.
He's a total sucker for it. If an artist rattles off his or her lyrics in more of a spoken monotone than a sung melody (like Lou Reed), you can reel Bob in, hook, line and sinker.
Conversely, I can't think of anything that turns me off from a song faster. I don't want to mention any names, but let's just say albums by Leonard Cohen or the Joy Division or The Hold Steady aren't exactly the first records I reach for (all brilliant artists, just not my thing).
Before I purchased my own surround system, I’d hardly ever heard surround sound outside of movie theaters, so when I finally got my system all setup, I had a blast watching, and especially listening to, all three Lord Of The Ring DVD’s and many other big blockbuster action movies. Well mixed surround sound really is an amazing enhancement of the movie watching experience, and that elevated my already high expectations for surround music even further.
But after purchasing my first couple of DVD-Audio discs and dealing with the hours and hours of headache it took to figure out how to even play them back on my Mac, (To this day I can only playback Dolby Digital and DTS streams through VLC and have to resort to obscure command-line DVD-A utilities running in Windows under VMWare Fusion to rip the CPPM protected Meridian Lossless Streams to hard disk) I was kind of disappointed about the whole experience. To put it simply, it basically seemed to me that most mixes could be put into one of two groups. Either they were very conservative or they were way too gimmicky.
I'm a member of a few music production groups on LinkedIn and found that the information being shared over there is really, really good. The title of this article came from a discussion happening in the Small Recording Studio Network. It's a group of highly passionate professional sharing their experiences with recording gear and techniques. This discussion was started by Songwriter and Producer, Mark Moore who was was smart enough to add a poll.
As you can clearly see most production work is being done in-the-box.
68% of production in happening in-the-box.
As I mentioned the information being shared on LinkedIn is really good. So good that I found this gem of a technique from Producer/Engineer/Mixer, Robert L. Smith.
Multiple de-essers set minimally at specific frequencies, as opposed to one de-esser really digging in. Found this to be the best method. Sometimes this could be up to 5 different de-essers. Some of those new 'bright' microphones can be kind of harsh... Robert L. Smith.
I've never heard nor seen this done before but it makes perfect sense and I'm very excited to try out. If this sounds like something you'd like to contribute to please join us over in the Small Recording Studio Network on LinkedIn or leave a comment below.
This is huge for the LA based group of "five friends who wanted to transcend the disconnected and nonsensical nature of life in the city to create something consequential, the band embarked with hollow-body guitars, well-tuned drums, and a glockenspiel."
If you're doing vocal overdubs, and doing them right, it's going to take some time. If you have an inexperienced singer the best place to start is by making them feel at ease in the studio.
Setting the environment
A good place to begin is to make the environment comfortable by dimming the overhead lights. Bright lights can make even the hippest studios feel clinical. Candles also work well in this situation, but don't make it so dim that they can't read the lyric sheet. A light on the music stand could help create the best of both worlds.
Takes. Lots and lots of takes
Next, if you know they are going to be doing a lot of takes of the same parts make sure to leave a good amount of space before and after the punch (that's a drop-in for you Brits). They need to know that they have enough room to feel comfortable before the punch so they can get into the vibe of the song. Better yet, don't let them know where you're punching in or out. Just have them to sing along and you punch what needs to be replaced. The less thinking the vocalist needs to do the more natural the take will be.
This is a guest post by mix engineer, Unne Lilijeblad over at www.mix-engineer.com. This is the first article in a five part series about his experience with mixing in this still under utilized medium for listening to music.
Unne Lilijeblad - Mix Engineer
It’s been seven years now since I took the plunge and invested in a complete Dynaudio Air 5.1 surround sound monitor system. At the time, I thought that Surround Sound on DVD-Audio and SACD discs was going to take off among music consumers. That didn’t really happen. At the time, I could walk into a Tower Records Store or the Virgin Mega store in Union Square and find DVD-A discs from the likes of Seal or John Hiatt, but the last time I visited Virgin, I had to talk to a whole bunch of store people before I found someone who even knew what a DVD-Audio disc was, and how they differed from regular DVD-Video discs with music content on them. “Hmm, yeah, I think I do remember those. No one ever bought them.” Now Tower Records is no more, and the Virgin Mega store in Union Square that I used to visit has been closed for a few years. These discs are still available on Amazon of course, but I doubt they sell in any large numbers.