One song, two versions

My Father-in-law wrote a song to enter for a Christian songwriting competition. He asked me to help; I asked Ardour to help.

He played acoustic guitars and sang. Then he left it to me to add the other instruments, mix, and master the tracks. There is a soft version and an upbeat version.


For the soft one, I let the arrangement stay pretty sparse, adding fretless bass, shaker, djembe, and a short cello synth line (rosegarden with fluidsynth dssi). I recorded the guitar with a Mid-Side setup (AKG 451 as mid, AKG 414 as side) pointed at the 12th fret. The M-S matrix plugin and a high-pass filter were almost the only thing used. I did have to use a notch filter to fix some extra noises (explained here)

For the upbeat version, I used my Line 6 POD X3 quite a bit with 4 electric guitar parts (open, capo 2, and two capo 7), plus the bass (fretted fender j). For the drums I recorded MIDI from my edrums (pintech pads with roland td-8) into rosegarden. Then after I cleaned/edited the midi parts, I played the midi back through the roland module and recorded each drum as a separate audio track so that I could tweak each one separately. I used TAP sigmoid booster on the kick and snare, and a lot of single band parameter eqs.

For both versions I used TAP reverberator in a stereo bus and routed sends from each channel into that. I find that you get much more control this way (pan instrument left and reverb right, etc), use less system resources, and get a more cohesive and realistic reverb effect.

I used JAMin to master each one, mostly using the multiband compressor, though I did use the limiter to get more apparent volume from the soft track.

The title of the song is “Christ Reigns”, so it definitely got Christian lyrics.


Sounds very good thank you for sharing.

I really like the upbeat version – a gospel choir towards the end would be great. :wink:

Thanks for giving it a listen.

The upbeat version is the “main” track. The soft one was to show that the song could work in that format - the goal was a songwriting contest.

My father-in-law decided he wants to tweak it a bit in case he does another cd, so he can just use it as is. I was under a time crunch to get it done as it was posted. I really need to tweak the tone of the vocals (both versions).

When I read “Christ reigns” I thought it was some Slayer-like metal :smiley:

Great sounding piece. Could you elaborate a bit more on how you added the TAP reverb using a stereo bus? I could use all the help I can get to save some resources. Maybe a PC setup also? Thanks.


treenester - just create a stereo bus and put the Tab reverb prefader. Add sends to the channels you want to have reverb for, and adjust their send level and pan. You can put your send post-fader if you want the reverb to rise/lower based on your tweaks to the tracks volume, or pre-fader if you want the same reverb level no matter the track’s level.

Another great thing about this method is you can put an instrument panned left, but it’s reverb to the right (or vice-versa). Listen to the hihats, they are panned mid-left, but the reverb is slighlty to the right. On stereo tracks, you can send the left’s reverb to the right and the right’s to the left, etc.

PS - don’t name all your reverb sends the same name as Ardour won’t open the session anymore.

Hey hogiewan… That sounds great. If you’d be interested in adding some live drums to replace the canned ones you have on the upbeat mix, please let me know. I’d love to play along with this song with my set. I’d do it for free.

I’ve done some prior recording, and do it for fun. Anyway… Let me know.

Some of my work can be found in the music section of (The songs “Such Is Life, and “Chosen” are done with live drums”.) All recording was done in ardour.

Anyway… Let me know. Great stuff.