Les Feuilles Mort

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
11,014
Location
Burnley bb9 9dn
#1

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
11,014
Location
Burnley bb9 9dn
#4
Personally I find the sax a bit too loud but I'm going with the flow of forum opinion.

I started playing saxophone from scratch back in the mid 1980's, busking and whatever gigs turned up. I'd knocked it on the head by 1990. Picked it up again about five years ago during that long freeze. No work, skint. Saxophone under the bed. Why not.
 

jbtsax

old and opinionated
Subscriber
Messages
6,071
Location
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
#7
There are lots of very nice stylistic things in your treatment of the melody and in your improvisation that are fun to listen to. There is even a bit of your idol Acker Bilk coming through from time to time. What a lovely backing track as well. Did you make that in BiaB?
 

Ivan

Undecided
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Messages
5,109
Location
Peeblesshire
#11
I've missed the chat about your recordings being too soft, Colin ... I like your sax forward of the backing. It's YOU I want to hear

The coal scuttle has a winning tone

The xylophone in the backing is giving me the heebees, which is my problem not yours
 

Veggie Dave

Sax Worker
Subscriber
Messages
2,339
Location
Hutton, Essex
#12
Personally I find the sax a bit too loud but I'm going with the flow of forum opinion.
Normally we can't hear you, especially the nuances (which, it turns out, you're rather good at), partly because you mix the sax down but mostly because of the amount of reverb you often use.

No one's really commenting on the mix because for once we can really hear you play and, quite honestly, the sax mix pales into insignificance compared to that.

Mixing/production are huge subjects in their own right, with many of the rules being more personal preference than any thing. But, as this subject has been raised, I have a few personal preferences that may be of interest. ;)

Reverb - generally speaking, less is more.
Reverb adds tone and body to an instrument while also making the listener feel like they're in the room with the player. It is an incredibly important effect, however it shouldn't be an obviously noticeable effect. If we take this new recording, I would say the sax/reverb balance is about right. If you then dropped the sax a little in the overall mix, so that it becomes a little more part of the whole ensemble rather than a lead instrument over the top of it, I think you'd find the reverb would almost completely disappear (unless you're specifically listening for it) while still doing its job, you would be happier with the balance of sax to backing track and everyone would still be able to hear every note and subtle nuance you play so brilliantly.

Mixing - always check.
No two speaker set-ups are the same. Add a massively harmonically diverse instrument like the sax and you have a situation where your mix can sound hugely different from one system to another. On one you may be barely able to distinguish the sax from the other instruments whereas on another system it over powers them. Referencing your mix on as many different systems as you can may be time consuming but it's never going to be counter-productive.

Also, compare your mix to albums that you like. Obviously, you're not working in a pro studio so you have to accept that you won't be able to produce a recording as professional sounding as the one you're using as a reference. However, as you're directly referencing something you know sounds great, and you're referencing it on the same system you're mixing on, you can compare EQs (is your sax too bright or painfully dull), reverbs (Bilk sounds like he's in an acoustically perfect concert hall while you seem to be in the world's biggest cave), levels between instruments etc.

It sounds like hours of hard work but it becomes second nature very quickly and before you know it, you'll be doing these sorts of things without even realising. And doing them as part of the recording process so that there's very little mixing required when you get to that part of the process.
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
11,014
Location
Burnley bb9 9dn
#13
And then you upload to soundcloud and something happens to it.:confused:

There's very little backing track with this one. I was going to do it just bass but it didn't sound right so added brushes and the minimalist vibes.

I do find it hard to get the balance right across a range of players. The headphones will sound good but then playing it through the speakers it's different and then, yes, another system will sound different again. I don't think my tired old ears are up to the sound mixing.

My laptop keeps not responding since it decided to update to windows 10 and I do lose patience waiting.

I've also got into some bad habits with reverb and compression which don't seem to work as predictably since the "upgrade".

So much to learn:rolleyes:
 

Veggie Dave

Sax Worker
Subscriber
Messages
2,339
Location
Hutton, Essex
#15
And then you upload to soundcloud and something happens to it.:confused:
It shouldn't. I've read about quite a few people who have this same problem but I've not read what's causing it. If you're uploading a wav or MP3 at 320bps and the file isn't peaking then Soundcloud shouldn't change it.

I do find it hard to get the balance right across a range of players.
I've never used BIAB but can you adjust where the instruments are in the stereo mix as well as their volume? I mean, can you position an instrument to the left, right etc.? If so then use this to help stop all the instruments from merging into one large audio mass.

For example, have the drums in the middle, the piano mostly to the left, bass slightly to the right of centre and the sax mostly to the right. When played through a stereo system it should sound like there's a band right in front of you with the instruments creating a musical whole while remaining distinct from each other. Through headphones, it will be far more obvious that an instrument is panned predominately to one side but it's not a problem in my opinion.

The headphones will sound good but then playing it through the speakers it's different
I would suggest leaving the headphones for recording and mix through the speakers. Headphones, even good ones, sound very different to speakers in a room. What sounds good through speakers should sound good through headphones, but not necessarily the other way round.

I've also got into some bad habits with reverb and compression which don't seem to work as predictably since the "upgrade".
You probably know this, but just in case you don't - effects react differently depending where you put them in the effects chain. If we have a sax track with EQ, compression and reverb, we can get a number of dramatically different sounds without changing a single parameter on the effects, we just change where that effect is in the chain.

For example, if you have reverb, then compression, then EQ, the reverb will be added to the sax, that sax/reverb sound will then be changed by the EQ and then everything will be compressed. However, a more usual chain would be EQ first, then compression and finally reverb. The sax has its core sound perfected/improved by the EQ. That sound is then compressed (in my opinion as lightly as possible, if at all) to smooth out the troughs and peaks. And then you sprinkle a little reverb on it to make it sound alive.
 

ac30kev

Too old for a six-pack, it's now a sax-pack
Messages
600
Location
United Kingdom Manchester-ish
#18
I've watched the youtube vid in your signature and would like to see you play live, Colin, as I can tell you have a way with the sax that is beyond my comprehension.
Is there a page on this site for informing others about up-coming gigs? And if so, have you got any upcoming? I'm not too far away from you and don't mind travelling to a gig.
 

Jeanette

Organizress
Cafe Moderator
Messages
21,425
Location
Cheshire UK
#19
I've watched the youtube vid in your signature and would like to see you play live, Colin, as I can tell you have a way with the sax that is beyond my comprehension.
Is there a page on this site for informing others about up-coming gigs? And if so, have you got any upcoming? I'm not too far away from you and don't mind travelling to a gig.
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