A simple method of recording for the web is needed.



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A simple method of recording for the web is needed.

Postby ed_shaw » Sat Oct 01, 2011 6:36 pm

Going, as I do, far and wide on the world wide web in search of talented country bands and singers who might
use my backup melodies for originals, one unfilled need stands out -- big talent, weak audio repro.
I am talking about the dismal quality of online audio by the time it reaches the listeners' ears. Anyone who has surfed around the millions of MP3's on line knows just what I am talking about:

1) wavy and inconsistent sounds that remind us of the days of "flutter and wow" brought about by tape stretch and cheap servo motors and poor recording technique. Only, we can't blame tape. In this case, the culprit is possibly the compression/decompression. If I knew, which I do not, I would do something about it. That's why I am posting here.
2) An echo and reverb vocal track that is barely comprehensible to the listener. It may have sounded great to to the recording tech, but by the time it gets to the i-player, it is weak.
3) Vocal tracks that are drowned out by the band. This happens all the time.
4) Way too much bass.

I happen to like Apple Garage Band. I make simple audio tracks, not for broadcast, but for demonstration, because I peddle original melodies. Yet, my off the cuff recordings, the techniques of which I am more than happy to share, outperform 90% of the serious amateur, even entry level pro, online recordings. How can that be? I think you'll agree, that in their own way, my recordings get the job done.
http://nashvillemusiciansandsingers.ning.com/profile/EdwardSShaw?xg_source=activity
First, I turn up the vocal track way loud. By experience, I know if "stacking" will help. That's adding three or four more audio copy tracks to the mix. Second, I turn down the drum and comp track. Third, the lead instrument, in my case, electric guitar, plays in the upper octaves, fifth fret and higher. Last, I modulate the bass so that you hear it but it does not overpower.

Look, I have some recording experience but am by no means an expert. Through trial and error, I find out what works for me. I have posted more than my share of poor audio files that had to be taken down.
So, I open this thread by asking for simple guidelines to recording "for the web."
Thanks for reading my long winded explanation. Note that my vocal tracks are "suggested" more than meant to be featured. My vocals are a guide to creativity. See Creole Town as an example.
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Re: A simple method of recording for the web is needed.

Postby Kimmy » Sat Oct 01, 2011 7:25 pm

Vocals drowned in the mix.....easy.........

http://www.waves.com/content.aspx?id=9945

Were the demo tracks on your site done with band in a box? :shock:

I have to say theres so many aspects to recording and mastering music, i don't think theres an easy way to get a polished final result without......experience and developing an ear, good monitoring setup that includes the room and the monitors and everything in the recording chain from recording with good musicians to mics, mic placement, preamps, ad-da conversion and some quite expensive gear.
Putting the vocals up high is not the answer, it sounds like a singer with music in the background, the song has to work as a complete track not vocals and music, the vocals have to be sunk into the music, instrument tracks have to be panned/eq so the vocal fits into the music.......my brother runs a studio back home and i've seen the engineers spent a week on a track to get the vocals/instruments working as one......

Kimms :bighug:
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Re: A simple method of recording for the web is needed.

Postby ed_shaw » Sat Oct 01, 2011 10:51 pm

Hey, sure, Kimmy:
That vocal rider looks very good. The question will then become, "Will the mix stand up to the uploading process; in other words, will the sound remain faithful to the original, after it has been uploaded, and, maybe just as important, as it is streamed. There is a hidden area there. In poor reproduction, is the problem in the upload, or is it in the streaming? If it is in the encoding, the upload, the damage could already have been done by the time it is streamed, and there may be no way of knowing. It could be the internet connection; but, the problems are so consistent: echo and reverb laden vocals to low to hear and too processed to make out the words. That's why I say jack up or stack the vocals. The original will sound out of balance. The streamed track will not.
That's not to say I don't appreciate your comments, because I do. You mention the engineer working for hours to get a track to stream right. That's easy to picture. I would also say the problems seem to be mostly in the area of home studio people. Listen to Mike Evan's "Country Man," on You Tube. It's a great job, but you will hear some of the same problems I am describing on that video. Top professional tracks seem to breeze right through the process.

Yeah, the first track I lay into Garage band is a Band in the Box generated backing track with few if any effects entered as a clean basic audio track. I lay the other tracks in with an electric guitar and mike through a digital audio interface fire wire into Garage Band, one track at a time. Usually do some suggestion of a vocal track after the instrument work, and if I lay in a bass line, it is with the six string guitar, not a bass. When I take my time, the backing track virtually disappears into the subconscious, like a metronome, or, I can smother it with a keyboard comp track, time permitting. I am trying to keep a couple of lyric writers interested, so have been rushing things lately.

Thanks for the suggestions. I am learning as I go with this, and had not concerned myself with panning. Good idea. My advantage, if I have one, is that I can play to the existing recording. In production, the only monitors are headphones. I have new found respect for audio engineers. I won't even attempt to shoot a music video now without the services of a pro audio tech. There's just no way. (You Tube user is edwardshaw1

Thanks! :lol: Ed
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Re: A simple method of recording for the web is needed.

Postby Kimmy » Sun Oct 02, 2011 9:28 am

Theres a loss when converting to mp3, but if you use the highest conversion rate then its not too noticable, Wav files are no doubt the way to go, i'm no expert at this but no doubt there's a few guys who do this around here for a living?
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Re: A simple method of recording for the web is needed.

Postby ed_shaw » Sun Oct 02, 2011 1:51 pm

Thanks, Kimmy. Maybe someone with experience in this will shed some light on it. I have noticed
the technology changes regularly. My goal is, using the equipment I have, to post good quality
audio and video on the web. A growing number has accomplished this feat, but still a relative few.
Here is where I am now, Sept. 2011.
http://www.youtube.com/user/edwardshaw1?feature=mhee#p/a/u/0/NwNNblxYpKg
Living on a Prayer was posted as a 35Mb MP4 (M4V) compressed from an 835 Mb .mov.
Soundcloud supports AIFF, WAVE, FLAC, OGG, MP2, MP3, AAC files.
Musicians are going to Soundcloud and Soundclick. Apple uses AAC and MP3 .

My needs are for a relatively easy to produce, entirely understandable demo of an original composition, not a true karaoke-type backing track. But, I am pained that so many wonderful musicians are putting up great songs that I can't even make out the words to.
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