Soft rock - Ghosts of the spoken word

Just finished this mix with ardour Thoughts/comments/suggestions welcome!

  • soft rock using sonatina orchestral samples via linuxsampler
  • using composite sampler as lv2 plugin to drive a self assembled hydrogen drumkit with the drums midi programmed in ardour.
  • The excellent calf plugins and linuxdsp plugins to shape the tone


Beautiful acoustic guitar tones and timbre!

Hi GMaq - Thanks for the feedback! Glad you like it!

That’s a Juan Hernandez Concierto classical guitar recorded through a SE 2200T tube condenser mic (with the high pass filter on mic switched on) pointing to the 12th fret around 3 feet away and a SM58 pointing at the bridge a lot closer recorded into an XStation 25 here at home :). Didn’t really have to do much EQing after that, most of the tone is due to the SE 2200T - I however did pass this through the Calf Saturator (post) to get a more focussed tone and to bring it to the front a bit - this was after reading about a comparison between ardour and mixbus where it was suggested that using tube saturation on each track might get a more mixbus like tone!

nice Song, nice guitar at 05:12
How many tracks you made?
I love the idea of making recordings with as less tracks as possible.
You should record vocal track again, with more “stability” and more shure& relaxed.
Vocal is not standing on its feet.

  • give to your strings (left side) some reverb and mix it on stereo bus ( your strings are without sustain, try it with reverb)

  • clean your tracks ( i hear strange klicks at beginning) ( Mouth opening while playing guitar ?) :slight_smile:
    double “cutt” in vocal track ( punched)
    at 03:00
    …spoooooken word
    …still linger (and hier short double breath)
    clean it.

  • more deesser on vocal, or “desharpen” it out whith eq

  • make one mix version with -2 db of bass g.

  • clean amp noise at end of song (from 06:20 until end)

  • give to snare some reverb from 04:00 to the end

I know, im making you tired with my “critical listening”
but its the way you have to go.

Hey nedzad,

Thanks for the detailed analysis! Really appreciate you taking the time for giving this feedback. In terms of tracks I have eight stereo buses ( classical guitar/vocals/electric guitar/bass and 4 midi drums/flute/violins/double bass)

Vocals- yeah when i sang it, it was a bit a challenge for me to sing the 5/4 parts smoothly , I am a better guitarist than a vocalist - I suppose that does show :)… Will give it another go
Strings reverb - i did give it a try using the SR2B plugin - but I guess wasn’t the right tool for this track; I do want to try and get that sound of a violin playing in an orchestral hall i.e. just the right balance of wet/dry - will give the calf reverb a shot

Lol- yes, could be my mouth opening or me licking my dry lips or something that is getting caught on the guitar track - will clean it out.

noted that bit about the vocals - i did download the linuxdsp deesser - will give it a go!

Noted the suggestion on the bass - listening to it again, i also wonder if i need to level the notes a little bit more evenly - will give it a go!

Good spot on the amp noise! I usually clean all the regions via audacity to remove hum- looks like there is one I have missed!

reverb on the snare from 4:00? Interesting - i did layer my snare to get it as crisp and full as possible while keeping it dry and clear - hadn’t considered using a reverb at all - will give it a try! I was thinking of separating the bass drum into another track so that i could have the option of using a sidechain compressor on the bass with the bass drum coming in - so worth giving it a shot on the snare as well

Cheers and thanks !

You welcome

make some “mute” automation on the amp noise.
Audacity can remove noise but it could “shave off” some important
signal you wanna have. Automation is the best way for that amp noise.
Leveling bas on all notes is good thing ( lower those notes beeing louder then others )
I noticed thad my bas ( acoustic ) is always more present at G and A note (1. and 3. empty strings )
And side chaining is great thing.
Just take some time and patience for your song.

and cheers
ah, “bass and dragons school of magic and wizardry” is here:
Do it like Bob. Look for his books, his brain consist of
notes and frequencies :slight_smile:
He is Maestro.
Nice K-metering is integrated (thx. Paul and other developers)
in Ardour.
Damn god thing.

Hey Nedzad,

Just reposted a mix with your comments on the same link. it really does sound a lot better now - t’was a tremendous learning for me, to go through this process -so thanks again for your time!

The changes are as follows

I took it through the calf de-esser -I watched a few videos on youtube on what de-essers are and how to use them, started listening to the vocal track in a new way so to speak as in I started noticing the Ps/Ss and other bits a lot more! I haven’t had a chance to redo the vocals yet; will need to plan for that,m but hopefully most of the sibilant hiss is now gone.
i suppressed the double breaths, but the ‘spooken’ bit have left it alone- it was sung that way so dont want to really dice it, also left the other breaths in the rest of the song alone…it sounded natural. So will have to take it into account when i redo the vocals. For now raised the vocal levels ever so slightly in the mix to bring them in front.

Took them through the calf reverb - they do “fit” more in the track now in their own space and come through the mix more clearly

Cleaned them, sometimes by borrowing portions of regions from other areas and overlaying just on that spot where it wasn’t possible to remove them without destroying that portion of the track!

reduced the levels and also passed it through the SR2B - seems to make it “sit” a lot better without crowding the entire mix. Also watched the video you sent, very interesting!

I have a view that the bass setup also plays a part in the notes sounding more louder in some parts of the bass than others, I reduced it by minor adjustments in the intonation/string heights to make the overall intonation more accurate and checking against a strobe tuner/ my ears across the entire fretboard to see if the notes played were more accurate by the cent. Interestingly as the setup became more accurate, the notes also “sat” more comfortably on the fretboard in terms of the feel under my fingers and sounded more balanced neediing less EQing ultimately. An issue also was that a mistake in the lower B (which was rather difficult to intonate) would affect the E and the A (Even if they were correctly setup). Also to check, ran it directly into the mixer so that the any mistakes came out upfront rather than into an amp first which tends to be more forgiving of intonation mistakes.

In any case hopefully now the bass sounds better. Avoided the sidechain - read an article that it should be used only where needed - it seemed to make more sense to manually adjust the bass levels here for the bits where the bass drum was not clear rather than run the entire bass drum through a sidechain compressor into the bass when it now seemed to sound more or less ok.

Amp noise at the end- strangely, there was noise in the soundcloud playback but but i couldn’t hear anything in the original mix in ardour or on the tracks in solo. In any case, I reduced the gain at the end of the electric guitar track and then checked the output FLAC to see if it was gone…looks like something in the conversion process was amplifying the hum in the guitar track for whatever reason. In any case it’s now gone.

Reverb on snare
I noticed that in hydrogen the decay was set to full for the instrument, but the resonance parameter was set on bypass, so made it active and raised that a bit. I can hear the difference in the original mix (32 bit float), but not so much in the Flac file which was produced during export (24 bit) which is strange as I wouldn’t have expected to hear that much of a difference between the two. But with the reduction of the bass, the other instruments do sound more “present” and so does the snare, so overall it does sound better.

A few other tweaks here and there as well, as I listened to the track again - I kept the midi bass section of the orchestra for the introduction (this is panned to the right side of the track while the 7 string electric bass is panned centre with the kick drum) but took it out once the vocal started as it was really not necessary any more - the tracks sounded clearer without it, and the 7 string was doing enough for the mix in any case.