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Song Of The Month Nov 2019

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Pete Effamy

Pete Effamy

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I did some quick and dirty (meaning without much preparation and in only one or two takes) recordings of this song back in April 2015. Recorded a slow version at 90 bpm with a bass only backing and a faster one with a backing track from YouTube .

Here is the slower take, which was actually the first time I ever played this song (recorded before the faster take posted below). The start wasn't that bad I think, but I lost my way a bit after that, resulting in some very 'out' playing and not so clean altissimo! Kind of raw and adventurous take, PB searching his way through a new song:

- 'Days Of Wine And Roses' (Florida no USA 10* - Plasticover 2 - slow):

And here is the link to the faster and more clean take, played on the same setup as the slower version posted above:

- 'Days Of Wine And Roses' (Florida no USA 10* - Plasticover 2 - fast):
Very nice. Parts of the fast version reminded me a lot of Scott Hamilton. Thanks.
 

rhysonsax

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Well done Rhys. I've tried this sort of thing myself, it isn't easy is it. What's your method?
It's quite similar to when I record my sax with a backing track, using a dynamic mic via a FocusRite interface into Audacity, so I won't describe the basics, just what I do differently for a multi track sax recording.

In place of the backing track, I make a template track, which is either a click track, a rhythm track, or a model audio track that I have exported from Sibelius or found from someone else's recording of the exact quartet arrangement I want to record. I pan that hard over to left channel and use headphones with one ear on and the other off.

I record the different saxes to a mono audio track each whilst listening to the template track. I might do two or three takes of each instrument and then select the best one. If there is a really bad mistake then I might cut and paste in from a different take, but I tend not to do that, preferring to do a whole new take (quite a lot of swearing at this point).

When using an audio template I mute each recorded take when moving on to the next one or the next instrument, so I am concentrating on playing in time with the template track rather than what I have just recorded. When playing with a click track I will usually listen to the sax tracks I have just recorded and build up the arrangement that way.

The order in which I record the saxes depends a bit on the arrangement - often it will be SATB in that order but sometimes I would record the baritone first.

I try not to alter the recording volume between takes or between instruments and also make sure that there is enough "headroom" so none of them clip or distort. I don't apply any effects at this stage and don't normalise or amplify the volume. The sax tracks are just "dry" although I might remove any extraneous noises like coughing or breath noise in silences.

When it comes to mixing, I mute the template track and then pan the mono saxes as follows:
  • Voice 1: Sop sax (or lead alto if no sop) 20% right
  • Voice 2: Alto sax 70% left
  • Voice 3: Tenor sax 70% right
  • Voice 4: Baritone sax 20% left
With the sax tracks still dry (no effects) I try to balance the relative volumes and have the overall volume below about -3dB. Then I mix the four sax tracks down to stereo and apply some very gentle Reverb to that.

Rhys
 
OP
Pete Effamy

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
Messages
2,358
Locality
Hampshire
It's quite similar to when I record my sax with a backing track, using a dynamic mic via a FocusRite interface into Audacity, so I won't describe the basics, just what I do differently for a multi track sax recording.

In place of the backing track, I make a template track, which is either a click track, a rhythm track, or a model audio track that I have exported from Sibelius or found from someone else's recording of the exact quartet arrangement I want to record. I pan that hard over to left channel and use headphones with one ear on and the other off.

I record the different saxes to a mono audio track each whilst listening to the template track. I might do two or three takes of each instrument and then select the best one. If there is a really bad mistake then I might cut and paste in from a different take, but I tend not to do that, preferring to do a whole new take (quite a lot of swearing at this point).

When using an audio template I mute each recorded take when moving on to the next one or the next instrument, so I am concentrating on playing in time with the template track rather than what I have just recorded. When playing with a click track I will usually listen to the sax tracks I have just recorded and build up the arrangement that way.

The order in which I record the saxes depends a bit on the arrangement - often it will be SATB in that order but sometimes I would record the baritone first.

I try not to alter the recording volume between takes or between instruments and also make sure that there is enough "headroom" so none of them clip or distort. I don't apply any effects at this stage and don't normalise or amplify the volume. The sax tracks are just "dry" although I might remove any extraneous noises like coughing or breath noise in silences.

When it comes to mixing, I mute the template track and then pan the mono saxes as follows:
  • Voice 1: Sop sax (or lead alto if no sop) 20% right
  • Voice 2: Alto sax 70% left
  • Voice 3: Tenor sax 70% right
  • Voice 4: Baritone sax 20% left
With the sax tracks still dry (no effects) I try to balance the relative volumes and have the overall volume below about -3dB. Then I mix the four sax tracks down to stereo and apply some very gentle Reverb to that.

Rhys
Interesting. I’ve always done Bari upwards. I find it to be a difficult process, so much easier playing alongside even just one more player. I’ve done a few big band recordings in that way, where all tpt, tbn and saxes were covered by 6 players. There’s backline to play to though, unlike the SATB only quartet.
 

rhysonsax

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Surrey, UK
Interesting. I’ve always done Bari upwards. I find it to be a difficult process, so much easier playing alongside even just one more player. I’ve done a few big band recordings in that way, where all tpt, tbn and saxes were covered by 6 players. There’s backline to play to though, unlike the SATB only quartet.
Cloning can help ..


Rhys
 

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
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We have come to the end of the month, so I would like to thank @Pete Effamy for acting as host, and also to thank all the contributors.

As usual, the thread will remain open, so further contributions can be added in the future.
 

Mark Hancock

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Zurich
I didn't post my own version, here it is. I recorded this a few weeks ago but I didn't like it. On listening again, I sorta like it - at the moment! So gonna post it while I'm okay with it..

https://soundcloud.com/peter-effamy%2Fdays-of-wine-and-roses View: https://soundcloud.com/peter-effamy/days-of-wine-and-roses
Excellent, Pete. What's not to like!? Great control, tone and great lines. That's something I'll be working hard for a long time to achieve (if I ever do achieve it). Nice one.
 
OP
Pete Effamy

Pete Effamy

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Hampshire
Excellent, Pete. What's not to like!? Great control, tone and great lines. That's something I'll be working hard for a long time to achieve. Nice one.
The problem is that I'm hearing my idols play my lines as they come out of my head. Music is a tormenting curse most of the time!
 

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
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rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
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Surrey, UK
Lovely and tasteful recording. I really like the use of space and your tone.

The problem is that I'm hearing my idols play my lines as they come out of my head. Music is a tormenting curse most of the time!
That gives me an idea for another thread about how improvisers come up with ideas - I'll go and start that now.

Rhys
 
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