6 Track, 7 Piece Band EP recorded and mixed using Ardour

Hi there,

here’s another one: Tata Beya from Southern Germany and her first Album „High Hopes“: https://tatabeya.bandcamp.com/releases

This was recorded 95% live into Ardour. 5 to 7 musicians per piece that played live in a rehearsal room. Basically they did some kind of jam session, not much was planned. And I added some organ snippets afterwards. (Using setBfree.)

I had an Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 interface connected to my old ThinkPad running Kubuntu/kxStudio 18.04. I hooked up an Focusrite OctoPre MKII via ADAT and a Behringer UltraGain Pro analog to get enough mic channels. The piano player popped in very spontaneously and there was only a vintage Korg digital piano that sounded like hell. I was lucky to find a MIDI cable in the mess of the rehearsal room, so I could record the notes, too.

Rhodes and piano sounds from the Korg where replaced by sounds from PianoTeq 6 during mixdown. I used Audio Technica AT4041 small membrane condensers a lot. The vocal mic was a Lewitt LCT440 Pure. For drums I used Line Audio CM3, EV320 on Kick, AT4041 for the cymbals. Bass went in via an Eden WTDI preamp, and the sax went into an Audix clip mic.

Mixdown featured x42eq, the old version of the Harrison plugin collection (mainly gates, spectral comp), Sknote Disto-S (Windows VST emulation of the Empirical Labs Distressor), stuff from Voxengo (mostly Voxformer and Elephant compressors), some Windows VST dynamic EQ that I cant rember the name of now, plus reverbs from the Bricasti M7 as impulse responses (using IR.LV2). Mixing was done at home on my old Lenovo ThinkStation with two screens.

I also used the Focusrite 18i8 as a monitor mixer and had connected up to 8 headphones via its 2 front jacks + one HeadAmp by ART. This would not have been possible without the Scarlett Mixer frontend from Robin.

For more information on the artist, I think she’s working on her web page at the moment: https://tatabeya.com

When I started using Ardour around 2006, I wouldn’t have thought this to be possible. Both in terms of my skills and in terms of audio on Linux. But now, we’re there. Thanks to all people making Ardour possible, thus making this album possible.


EDIT: The Scarlett 18i8 is “1st Gen”, Ibought it used. On later generations of the Scarlett series, the internal mixer may not be USB class compliant any more. (The audio still is, mostly, AFAIK.)

1 Like

Lots of interesting info here, and congratulations on the release!

The vocals seems a bit muddy to me. I listened to the album with Beyerdynamic DT-990 headphones. Seems that the high end is missing, I can’t hear any on sibilants which usually have plenty. Also the singers voice has lots of lows that overlap some of the instruments frequencies and create muddiness. The vocals would benefit from low cut, high boost, a little compression and reverb.

I think the instruments sound great but feel a bit isolated from each other, like they are not playing in the same room. A little common reverb would tie them better together. I wonder what you used for monitoring the mix, you might have a problem on those monitors (or room) that masked those things I mentioned.

Apart from those little things I think it’s a very good album and it sounds great. Great work, thanks for sharing :slight_smile:

First of all, setBfree ftw hahaha.
Second of all, I think the frequency profile is absolutely fine. Not all music needs to sound that hyped. Her vocals sound earthy, but not bad. The bass guitar sounds fantastic. I have all these expensive bass pre’s for nothing lol.
What’s this “scarlett frontend” you speak of? I have the first gen 18i20 and I just use whatever graphical ALSA app…

Hi there, I’m into the second song and listening and finished reading through the comments. I wont be arguing with anyone. I Think this is great and it deserves a place “out there” on the internet to be streamed. I certainly will be put it in my list… It is nice to hear something this good been made with Ardour, it makes me happy.

I have focusrite scarlett 2 gen, and since kernel 5.4 it is embedded in the kernel . So I have full controll on the internal hw mixer, and use alsamixer or Qasmixer(gui). I also have a scarlett octopre 8 mic preamps. Works like a charm.

Im listening in the old DT 770 pro 80ohm headphones. Im going to listen on the genelecs a few hours after my neighbours waken up :wink:

Congratulation with good work and release - Love from Norway! :slight_smile: <3

Mhmh, concerning the „muddiness“ of the vocals, a friend of mine had the same opinion. Unfortunately I cannot detect this with my means of monitoring here. However, the high end of the vocals is a matter if taste to my opinion. Many people nowadays seem to use the Shure SM7B mic for vocals, which is a fairly good mic but doesn’t provide a lot of „air“ as it is a dynamic mic. However, in many styles of music/mixing, this is also not desired. I listened a lot to records by Sophie Hunger for comparison. A level I don’t yet reach, but I can recommend it as a reference for mixes sounding „only natural“, but at a closer listening use reverb and depth graduation to the point.

Apart from that, there was serious cross-talk, since this was recorded live all in one room. I tried quite some tricks to easy that, e.g. the base drum was shielded using some cases and thick blankets, there was a mic screen in use, and most of all the positioning of the musicians, mics, guitar amp beams was designed to minimize cross-talk. But it’s of course impossible to get rid of it in one room and it makes mixing a challenge.

For monitoring, I mostly use some old Fostex speakers in a not quite optimal room, however both room and speakers treated (some acoustic treatment, careful EQing). And the Beyerdynamic DT1770, which I must say has quite a bump in the frequency curve when it comes to „warm sound“. So when it sounds a bit too boomy on the DT1770 it’s about right. I don’t use it for mixing a lot, only for controlling things independently from the room. However I do mix live with it for video-live-streams, and it is not easy to do.

There is reverb. Plenty of. :slight_smile:

Scarlett Mixer. This one: https://github.com/x42/scarlett-mixer

The Eden WTDI is surprisingly good for its price of around 100€. I love the SWR „Enhancer“ bass amp sound, and this would have been the other option. However, in a quite crowded arrangement, the WTDI seemed to do better. I also use it myself when I don’t use a real amp for whatever reason. The bass was a modern one, a Fame Baphomet I think. Some active 5-string something. (I myself play another modern beauty, a Maruszczyk „The Frog“ custom model. Plus, for the experimental stuff, a Steinberger Synapse.)

The album is also on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon MP3 and so on. However I can’t find it on Spotify right away, so I can’t send a link. But hey, Spotify is a rip-off anyways. So in case you love this hard, get your FLAC copy from BandCamp and Tata Beya will get the most out of it. :smiley: