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snabbu    435
Hi 
Couldn't get imbedding to work now I've got three links and can't edit two out.
This is a rework taking in to account the critiques  regarding the mix and the arrangement. 
The song writing issues I need to mull over for a few days.
 
Cheers
 
Gary

 

https://soundcloud.com/snabbu/highs-and-lows

 

 

 

 

Highs and Lows

© 2017 Gary Yeomans

 

Verse 1

How can you know what its like to be up

If you have never ever been down

Contrast is all it is

 

Verse 2

How can you know what its like to be right

If you have never ever been wrong 

Contradiction is what that is

 

Chorus

Highs and lows

Life ebbs and flows

Highs and lows

You know we’ve all had some of those

Thats the way life rolls

Not gonna drown if you go with the flow  after all it's only highs and lows 

Highs and lows”

 

Bridge

The colour scheme of the social scene

Has painted your emotions grey

No one can be radiate brilliance all the time 

All the time

 

Chorus

Highs and lows

Life ebbs and flows

Highs and lows

You know we’ve all had some of those

Thats the way life rolls

Not gonna drown if you go with the flow  after all it's only highs and lows 

Highs and lows”

 

Verse 3

How can you know what its like to be loved

If you have never ever been alone

Counterpoint is all it is

 

Chorus

Highs and lows

Life ebbs and flows

Highs and lows

You know we’ve all had some of those

Thats the way life rolls

Not gonna drown if you go with the flow  after all it's only highs and lows 

Highs and lows"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by snabbu
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HoboSage    1,904

The lead vocal is too up front, and the effected Sgt.Pepper backing vocals are really too up front.  What happens to the piano?  It's very present at the start, but over time it almost completely disappears.  There are weird volume changes going on throughout the song, Gary.  I think you might be over-compressing or something.

 

The "s" ending "lows" when you sing "highs and lows" isn't coming through.  It sounds like "highs and low."

 

The final, held "highs and lows" resolving the chorus must be in harmony! :)

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An emotional ballad. I agree with @HoboSage's comment regarding the vocals being too up front. It also sounds as though there's some sort of chorus effect going on there, or maybe it's extreme compression. Some other comments:

  • The piano has a distinct lack of sustain pedal use, for example at the end of the phrase around 0:29, and again around 0:33, and again at other points throughout the song. This is distracting from the performance. I'm assuming this isn't a real piano?
  • The piano -- at least during the first verse before the other instruments kick in -- sounds like it has had too much low-end EQ carving performed on it. It's sounding a bit thin -- the richness and body of it has all but disappeared. I would also play the left hand part an octave lower, at least in the first verse.
  • I would add a distant violin pad from 0:40 onwards, to give the section some more depth/ambience. The whole section sounds a bit empty to me.
  • The section around 1:40 sounds a bit empty compared to what preceded it. Ah, that's because the bass has gone missing!
  • The rogue snare drum in the first 4 or so bars of the chorus doesn't sound good to me. It's like it's randomly choosing a beat to fall on. No drummer (that I know of) does that. Again, I'm assuming the drums are programmed, but I could be wrong.
  • The bass drops in and out, making sections where it doesn't play sound really empty. Having no bass might work with some songs, but not with this one.
  • It sounds like there's some heavy compression going on with the whole song, with too fast an attack time, which makes the transients sound really weak at points. Are you compressing on the 2-buss?

All in all, a good song, but the mix and parts of the arrangement (piano, bass) could do with polishing.

 

Edited by Will Sketches

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HoboSage    1,904

I agree with Will about some piano notes needing to sustain longer to have it sound like it's being played with appropriate natural flow.

 

 

Edited by HoboSage

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ImKeN    251

@snabbu,

 

Your voice is a pop instrument: so clear and loud! I enjoyed the song very much, but I also think there's room for improvement - especially the chorus, I think it needs a stronger melodic hook. David and Will have given some awesome critiques on the production so I'll leave you to it.

 

All the best,

 

Ken

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Jim622    76

Good song. You have gotten some good input on the recording. I'll just say I'm not completely in agreement with ImKeN about the chorus. I think lyrically it can work fine, it does have a George Harrison feel to it with the backing vocals. Maybe if you just came at the chorus from a slightly different angle musically. Again good song.

 

Jim

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snabbu    435
20 hours ago, HoboSage said:

The lead vocal is too up front, and the effected Sgt.Pepper backing vocals are really too up front.  What happens to the piano?  It's very present at the start, but over time it almost completely disappears.  There are weird volume changes going on throughout the song, Gary.  I think you might be over-compressing or something.

 

The "s" ending "lows" when you sing "highs and lows" isn't coming through.  It sounds like "highs and low."

 

The final, held "highs and lows" resolving the chorus must be in harmony! :)

 

Hi Dave

Thanks for having listen.

I must have done something to the piano by mistake because when I listened again I see it's gone real weak. 

Also I think today what sounded OK yesterday now is sounding horrid. Its hard to believe your ears sometimes. 

I know it's a thing that your ears get fatigue but I can usually hear when I'm not singing in tune. There's a couple of real bad notes in the harmony.

Particularly on "and" In that section I don't even think its of the key. 

Thanks again.

 

Cheers

 

Gary

 

 

 

 

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Just1L    902

Are you planning

To upload a new track?

If that's the case

Then I'll have to come back.

Edited by Just1L

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snabbu    435
12 hours ago, Will Sketches said:

An emotional ballad. I agree with @HoboSage's comment regarding the vocals being too up front. It also sounds as though there's some sort of chorus effect going on there, or maybe it's extreme compression. Some other comments:

  • The piano has a distinct lack of sustain pedal use, for example at the end of the phrase around 0:29, and again around 0:33, and again at other points throughout the song. This is distracting from the performance. I'm assuming this isn't a real piano?
  • The piano -- at least during the first verse before the other instruments kick in -- sounds like it has had too much low-end EQ carving performed on it. It's sounding a bit thin -- the richness and body of it has all but disappeared. I would also play the left hand part an octave lower, at least in the first verse.
  • I would add a distant violin pad from 0:40 onwards, to give the section some more depth/ambience. The whole section sounds a bit empty to me.
  • The section around 1:40 sounds a bit empty compared to what preceded it. Ah, that's because the bass has gone missing!
  • The rogue snare drum in the first 4 or so bars of the chorus doesn't sound good to me. It's like it's randomly choosing a beat to fall on. No drummer (that I know of) does that. Again, I'm assuming the drums are programmed, but I could be wrong.
  • The bass drops in and out, making sections where it doesn't play sound really empty. Having no bass might work with some songs, but not with this one.
  • It sounds like there's some heavy compression going on with the whole song, with too fast an attack time, which makes the transients sound really weak at points. Are you compressing on the 2-buss?

All in all, a good song, but the mix and parts of the arrangement (piano, bass) could do with polishing.

 

Hi Will

Thanks for the detailed comments.

I was quite tired when I bounced this down and I was doing an EQ thing from something I had read just recently and scooped out quickly from other instruments the primary voice frequencies, this completely stuffed the piano but I didn't notice it at the time, through headphones. So I think point one and two are fixed by getting rid of the subtractive eq and turning the piano volume up to where the sustain is audible. 

 

I have taken note of the violin pad comment. I stopped using pads because I was overusing them and they are boring and lazy, or perhaps I was using them wrongly like too loud in the mix. My feeling is that if that section is a bit empty maybe I should write a countermelody for say guitar and maybe as I see you are saying for ambiance just a very low string pad.

 

The bass thing, I was worried about having cellos and bass going at the same time so I didn't play bass in the bridge. I will have a listen for the drop off and I guess I either have to do double bass there or just play the electric in that section as well.

 

With the compression. I first gain ride the vocals, then apply 5 db of compression before outputting it to a vocal buss on which I have my effect plug ins.

This is so I can get really good input level most of the track without peaking the input on my plugins. I am then using a waves CLA bundle which on this includes a compressor.

Then there is a multi on the stereo out which is just the factory default. In rock finaliser channel strip settings, there is then a limiter with about 6db of gain from memory.

So if I am to cut the amount of compression should it be in the Chris Algie plug in as I have already compressed before then or should I be reducing the values across the board. Like raising all the thresholds by 20 percent. I don't have a 2-buss I am mixing entirely in the DAW. I have a feeling this makes gain staging a lot more important. So I need to bone up on that.

 

Thanks again for the detailed comments.

 

Cheers

 

Gary 

 

 

 

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snabbu    435
42 minutes ago, Just1L said:

Are you planning

To upload a new track?

If that's the case

Then I'll have to come back.

Hi

Yes what was up there was not the best so I took it down not to waste anyones time until I fix the glaring issues.

 

Cheers

 

Gary

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snabbu    435
8 hours ago, Jim622 said:

Good song. You have gotten some good input on the recording. I'll just say I'm not completely in agreement with ImKeN about the chorus. I think lyrically it can work fine, it does have a George Harrison feel to it with the backing vocals. Maybe if you just came at the chorus from a slightly different angle musically. Again good song.

 

Jim

Hi Jim

Thanks for the listen.

I need to go back and check what I am doing there as far as melody and chord flow maybe the melody setting, maybe some extra space around the melody with an instrumental hook I will have a look at that.

 

Cheers

 

Gary

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snabbu    435
10 hours ago, ImKeN said:

@snabbu,

 

Your voice is a pop instrument: so clear and loud! I enjoyed the song very much, but I also think there's room for improvement - especially the chorus, I think it needs a stronger melodic hook. David and Will have given some awesome critiques on the production so I'll leave you to it.

 

All the best,

 

Ken

Thanks for the listen Ken

I am going to revisit the chorus not so much to change what is there unless there is like a poor chord choice shooting it in the foot. 

I may play with extending it to put some space around the melody that sometimes helps. 

 

Cheers

 

Gary

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Just1L    902
18 hours ago, snabbu said:

Hi

Yes what was up there was not the best so I took it down not to waste anyones time until I fix the glaring issues.

 

Cheers

 

Gary

 

Understandable, but I still think you should have left it. Sometimes I feel we could use more "less perfectly done" songs posted here if for nothing else but to make really new songwriters more comfortable posting their stuff. I'll be back.

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snabbu    435
5 hours ago, Just1L said:

 

Understandable, but I still think you should have left it. Sometimes I feel we could use more "less perfectly done" songs posted here if for nothing else but to make really new songwriters more comfortable posting their stuff. I'll be back.

Hi

I am back up with the second draft.

I think your right on two fronts. One the new guys who are song writers not divas, but also this forum concentrates on production and performance values rather than song writing.

It's probably important to get the writing right before the performance and production. By posting one plus ones I think critiques could focus in on if the melody is the best it could be, and are the chord choices supporting it. Does the feel match the lyric etc. etc.

 

Cheers

 

Gary

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snabbu    435
On 7/13/2017 at 6:29 PM, Will Sketches said:

An emotional ballad. I agree with @HoboSage's comment regarding the vocals being too up front. It also sounds as though there's some sort of chorus effect going on there, or maybe it's extreme compression. Some other comments:

  • The piano has a distinct lack of sustain pedal use, for example at the end of the phrase around 0:29, and again around 0:33, and again at other points throughout the song. This is distracting from the performance. I'm assuming this isn't a real piano?
  • The piano -- at least during the first verse before the other instruments kick in -- sounds like it has had too much low-end EQ carving performed on it. It's sounding a bit thin -- the richness and body of it has all but disappeared. I would also play the left hand part an octave lower, at least in the first verse.
  • I would add a distant violin pad from 0:40 onwards, to give the section some more depth/ambience. The whole section sounds a bit empty to me.
  • The section around 1:40 sounds a bit empty compared to what preceded it. Ah, that's because the bass has gone missing!
  • The rogue snare drum in the first 4 or so bars of the chorus doesn't sound good to me. It's like it's randomly choosing a beat to fall on. No drummer (that I know of) does that. Again, I'm assuming the drums are programmed, but I could be wrong.
  • The bass drops in and out, making sections where it doesn't play sound really empty. Having no bass might work with some songs, but not with this one.
  • It sounds like there's some heavy compression going on with the whole song, with too fast an attack time, which makes the transients sound really weak at points. Are you compressing on the 2-buss?

All in all, a good song, but the mix and parts of the arrangement (piano, bass) could do with polishing.

 

Hi

I have not added any extra  sustain to the piano because when I fixed the eq it sounded about right to me. Also I have not transposed the left hand down an octave.

I want to see if with the new setting if you think that is still the thing to do.

The string pad I put in in the choruses I was quite pleased with the difference it made it for some reason seemed to lift the chorus. So that was a good call.

I put bass guitar under the bridge as you suggested. 

I have reduced the compression by a lot. I went away and had a read and discovered that the compression rates vary with the type an mood of song. 

For this sort of song it is about 2 db on the stereo mix with individual instruments around 2-5 attack and release adjusted for in time breathing and transients.

I think the sound is quite a bit better. I am really surprised about the effect of the string pad.

 

Cheers

 

Gary

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snabbu    435
On 7/13/2017 at 10:10 AM, HoboSage said:

The lead vocal is too up front, and the effected Sgt.Pepper backing vocals are really too up front.  What happens to the piano?  It's very present at the start, but over time it almost completely disappears.  There are weird volume changes going on throughout the song, Gary.  I think you might be over-compressing or something.

 

The "s" ending "lows" when you sing "highs and lows" isn't coming through.  It sounds like "highs and low."

 

The final, held "highs and lows" resolving the chorus must be in harmony! :)

Hi Dave

I did the best with the "s" thing as I could without going into the file and boosting it.

I don't have an esser plug in :lol:

Seems bit strange to be trying to bring it out more when it's usually the other way around.

Anyway the second draft is up and I am now thinking about a couple of writing modifications.

There is something I played halfway through the last bar on the piano which I like for a coda beats one and two repeated a few times. 

And I am looking at the chorus melody I am thinking that the obvious thing to try is 8va on the "lines high and low" 

to use the highest not in the song hook type idea.

 

Cheers

 

Gary

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Hey Gary,

 

I didn't listen to the previous post of your's but this one sounds nice! It's got a sweet melody seems to give off a Take That vibe (the lead singer's name was Gary, too :P )

 

I think your vocals can be brought forward just a wee bit in some parts (like the first verse & chorus and the third verse). Perhaps bring a little more variety to the ending (?).. the song ends a bit abruptly. And, oh, I can't hear the "s" in "lows" :)

 

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Quote

I have not added any extra  sustain to the piano because when I fixed the eq it sounded about right to me. Also I have not transposed the left hand down an octave. I want to see if with the new setting if you think that is still the thing to do.

 

I wasn't quite sure which of the three links is the latest, but in all three the lack of sustain on the piano seems about the same. To me it sounds like the sustain pedal isn't being used there. I also do still think the left hand should be played down an octave. But at the end of the day, this is just my personal opinion!

 

Quote

I put bass guitar under the bridge as you suggested. 

 

This sounds so much better now!

 

Quote

I have reduced the compression by a lot. [...]

 

Again, I'm not sure which link is the latest version, so I don't know if it has improved.

 

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crystalsuzy    83

I listened to last version, but I don't know if that's your latest version or not :o  You've had some really good feedback already Gary, but I just wanted to say that, I really like your song. I like the subject and lyrics are well written, and the vocals really stand out :hippy:

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