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Thread What else can I do to help my music?

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Topic What else can I do to help my music?
I'm interested in expanding my mastering/recording skills. I am currently recording jazz/blues guitar instrumentals. I use a variety of sequencers and Acid 2.0 for the backing tracks. The guitar (or bass) is going through a Bellari tube mic pre to a Samson S-com compressor to a Tascam US-224 to a DAW running SONAR 3. I mix (with delay, reverb, amp modeling, or whatever) down to a 2-track WAV file, EQ if necessary, then add some tape analog saturation to both tracks to warm it up. I also run it through Steinberg's Wunderverb 3 with all settings at zero. It just sounds better and I think it's acting as a spectoral enhancer of some sort. I then adjust track levels, etc with Pyro and burn a master CD in one shot. I monitor with Hafler M5 monitors. 2 questions:

1. Anyone know what the wunderverb is doing? I just stumbled on it.
2. What else can I be doing help my music? Any good references on mastering?

If you want to hear sound samples, you can at :
www.Candlewoodblues.com
then go to the "sound samples" page.

Thanks!
2
I think your website is broken or something....
Can't hear a thing.
3
I just tried it - seemed to work OK. Perhaps the server had trouble. Also, the file sizes are 500 kb - it may take a while to load if you have a dial up connection. I have a cable modem and it takes about 3-4 seconds to load.
4
elamberth-

I listened to a couple of cuts. Here are some thoughts:

Lack of stereo field-

Everything seems to be panned up the middle. I don't think these are mono mixes, because there is some stereo field to the drums (loops, right?). So I think you need to take a look at you monitoring setup. Make sure you're in the sweet spot and getting a good representation of the stereo filed. You might try monitoring some commerial CD's in this genre that you know well and like the sound of. That will give you a better idea of what a good mix should sound like on your setup.

Fit together-

there is a definite disconnect between the "space" the drum loops were recorded in and the "space" the stuff you recorded occupy in the final mix. The are not blended well. You need to try to create a more coherent space between the two. If you have dry drum loops, this may be easier. I like to close my eyes (this helps me for some reason) and picture my mix as a band in a room. Where is everybody? How big is the room? Where am I standing?

Bass-

The bass sounds kind of wimpy. No punch. The tone is ok, but it's not providing a driving bottom for the tunes. I suspect you recorded it direct, right? You generally don't want reverb on the bass, and if you're recording direct, compression is a must. And, for recording bass, I generally like to compress as I'm recording through an outboard compressor. You say you did, so I think I'd look at the settings and EQ you used. I generally squeeze the bass pretty hard...... Overall the relationship between the guitars and the rhythm section weren't right. The guitars were too far forward and too loud in relation to the bass/drums.

The guitar tones were decent, and so were the tunes. You're on the right track!! :D
The Axeman (##(===> Cuts From My New Blues CD
5
Thanks for the input - I really appreciate it! Yes, you are right, the bass was not compressed - I got the compressor after most of the bass was recorded, so sorry if that was unclear in my message!

Yeah, I was wondering if the guitars were too forward - It's just me working right now so a fresh perspective is very welcome! Most people who listen are not musicians, and they say they like the tunes, which is nice, but doesn't really help me get better!

Thanks again for the honest feedback.
6
If you don't already have a software plugin for compression, check here:

http://www.fasoft.com/comp/comp.shtm

I use this thing all the time- it's a GREAT plugin- especially for $20. 8)

As I said, I'd rather compress as I record with bass, but you may be able to "punch" up what you've already got with this plugin.
The Axeman (##(===> Cuts From My New Blues CD
7
I found an awesome Free dual band stereo compressor plugin called "Endorphin" Y'all should check it out. Let me know what you think..
It's here: http://www.digitalfishphones.com/main.php?item=2&subItem=3