Thread: My Own -

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  1. #1
    Join Date Jan 2015
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    Default My Own -

    This is just an exercise so it's not a critical thing by any stretch.

    My first hip hop flavored mix ... looking for thoughts on staying in control of the low end.
    My Own

    There are 2 bass lines, one right, one left. Plus an 808 style kick mixed with an actual kick drum. I've tried to keep the kick up above the bass lines. The bass lines both got some tratment from one or more SoundToys filters. My thinking there was to give them something besides just sub bass for systems that can't do it.

    When I threw this on my headphones this morning, the Left bass line seemed to be to dominating. The lowend was strong when I printed it last night, but I felt like it was ballanced and not overbearing.
    I'm afraid my monitoring set up isn't representing all of the bass that's there?? Seems plausable with my monitor set up, plus not being real sure of my room yet/still.
    Normally I'd reference in my truck, which has tons of sub bass and quickly points out when I've gone overboard. But my head unit finally gave up the ghost ... so not an option right now.

    Another concern is, I tend to like lots of bass. Like lots...
    So where things are comfortable to me might be too much.
    I noticed it this morning listening to this song vs some 90' hip hop reference stuff. I liked what I had better...but that may not be a good thing.

    Any thoughts you'd like to throw out at me would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!

    -r
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  2. #2
    Join Date May 2013
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    Default Re: My Own -

    Bass seemed fine to me. It was the top end that was a little too much in the piano and synths. Also the vocals are a bit top-endy in the sibilants, and the vocals need tons more compression for hip-hop. In general I think you need more going on in the music, that piano gets annoying quick, so I'd cut that out of quite a few sections. Maybe get some pads or Rhodes going on in places?
  3. #3
    Join Date Jan 2015
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    Default Re: My Own -

    Thanks Rev. I'm going to strip it down and build it again tonight/tomorrow. I'll see what I can come up with for additional parts. My contributions might make it worse though. lol.

    Can you tell me what the thinking behind more compression on hip-hop vocals is? Is it because there tends to be a rhythmic emphasis on some words, creating some larger dynamic gaps between words? Because of that I'm trying to flatten it out a little?

    Thanks again, man.

    -r
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  4. #4
    Join Date May 2013
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    Default Re: My Own -

    Can you tell me what the thinking behind more compression on hip-hop vocals is? Is it because there tends to be a rhythmic emphasis on some words, creating some larger dynamic gaps between words? Because of that I'm trying to flatten it out a little?
    I hadn't thought of the rhythmic component to be honest. I feel like the urgency is served with an "everything to 11" kind of sound. The vocals should be waaaay out in front, popping out of the speakers. Really in-your-face, like you should be able to feel the spit on your face when you listen to it.

    Know what I mean?
  5. #5
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    Default Re: My Own -

    I feel like the urgency is served with an "everything to 11" kind of sound. The vocals should be waaaay out in front, popping out of the speakers. Really in-your-face, like you should be able to feel the spit on your face when you listen to it.

    Know what I mean?
    Yes. that makes perfect sense.
    So how much of that can be coaxed from processing after the fact, vs needing to be delivered in the performance? My assumption is like 80/20 that it has to come from the performance.

    When I listen to the vocal tracks on their own, I don't get a sense of urgency. I get a strong feeling of uncertainty. Like it it might have been most or all of their first times in the studio.

    I haven't put in any parts of my own, but I chopped up the piano part a fair bit. I think it helped, but it made the song a little more uninteresting. It's too simple mabye. I thinking that's a sign of it needed some other parts to begin with. I also changed the lo-fi effect on the vocal that's responding during the chorus. It's way less harsh to me now, but still has the effect I was after.

    New Version

    -r
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  6. #6
    Join Date May 2013
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    Default Re: My Own -

    Yes. that makes perfect sense.
    So how much of that can be coaxed from processing after the fact, vs needing to be delivered in the performance? My assumption is like 80/20 that it has to come from the performance.

    When I listen to the vocal tracks on their own, I don't get a sense of urgency. I get a strong feeling of uncertainty. Like it it might have been most or all of their first times in the studio.
    Yeah, definitely. Not sure what you can do about that to be honest. What these guys need is a producer. Also some better rapping chops to spice up their rhythms a bit.

    I think the verses aren't too bad, but you could afford to bring up the vocal levels by a lot. Maybe some forensic gain automation on the chorus could help, to level it all out a bit more and stop the effect of sounding like he looses interest half-way through each line.

    I haven't put in any parts of my own, but I chopped up the piano part a fair bit. I think it helped, but it made the song a little more uninteresting. It's too simple mabye. I thinking that's a sign of it needed some other parts to begin with. I also changed the lo-fi effect on the vocal that's responding during the chorus. It's way less harsh to me now, but still has the effect I was after.

    New Version

    -r
    Definitely less aggravating to the ear, and the different parts sound more distinct now.

    Here's what I would consider a good example of a simple hip-hop arrangement (bit of a different style, but still):



    One thing that I feel has stayed with hip-hop (not that I'm an expert) is the lack of top end in a lot of the backing. In ye olden days that was down to low sample rates of hardware samplers acting as a low pass, but it works well to bring the vocal to the front.
  7. #7
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    Default Re: My Own -

    Appreciate the feed back. I'll go to school on this for a bit and see what I learn.

    -r
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: My Own -

    Last one for a bit...

    I tried to match the vocals more to what I hear in the Luda song. I feel like there's more of the presence or urgency ... but overall it sounds brittle now. Too much top end. I was hunting and guessing at it, but got frustrated.
    I may roll it back and start over at some point, but I'm leaning towards pulling up another song. Mostly to avoid being overly frustrated... that said, I know if this were a paying customer I couldn't just shelve it for a while. Small steps forward I guess. Try and learn from this and do better going forward.

    Appreciate your feedback Rev!

    -r
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  9. #9
    Join Date May 2013
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    Default Re: My Own -

    Last one for a bit...

    I tried to match the vocals more to what I hear in the Luda song. I feel like there's more of the presence or urgency ... but overall it sounds brittle now. Too much top end. I was hunting and guessing at it, but got frustrated.
    I may roll it back and start over at some point, but I'm leaning towards pulling up another song. Mostly to avoid being overly frustrated... that said, I know if this were a paying customer I couldn't just shelve it for a while. Small steps forward I guess. Try and learn from this and do better going forward.

    Appreciate your feedback Rev!

    -r
    The vocals are much better. Maybe a little harsh in places but the performances work better, which is the main thing.

    Don't feel bad about dropping this one. If they were paying clients you'd be doing them a favour if you told them to come back once they'd found a producer to develop their ideas. There isn't a record here, and no amount of mixing is going to dig one out of the material.

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