Four Songs from PapaRomeo

Final “Lima Bean,” plus three more

Folks:

Just before X-mas, I finalized four songs and put them on a CD to give as presents to my kids, nieces, and assorted other relatives and friends. I’d love to get your feedback on these. I ran out of mixing time before the holidays, so there are a few remaining rough spots, but overall I am pretty happy with them.

“Abbey, Do”

“The Ballad of Mealy Worm”

"(She’s A) Serious Girl"

"I’m a Lima Bean"

Your feedback and suggestions on the early mixes of “Lima Bean” were hugely helpful and educational. I look forward to your reactions and and ideas you might have for improving these and future recordings.

THanks in advance…!

PR

No one had anything to say? Is my stuff that awful? Or so perfect that there’s nothing constructive to offer?
???

Sorry for my comment being a little late… - Busy with Real Life and stuff… - you know the drill. I finally got down to finding the time to listen closely to your offering.

I will start by saying I really like your songs - the lyrics have wonderful twists to them. You also manage to get good variety from a limited assortment of instruments. I do have a few ideas for improvement, though.

In all, the instruments have a tendency to “clash” a bit with each other. This makes it really hard to tell the instruments apart. Try using EQ creatively by reducing an unwanted frequency band from each track.

E.g. if the rhythm guitar has a frequency that dominates over the same frequency in the vocal track, reduce that band of frequencies from the guitar track to make the vocal stand out more. It is usually best to reduce troublesome frequency bands instead of amplifying the ones you want. Don’t go overboard, though. If you find that you have to reduce a frequency band by more than about 6 dB, consider re-recording the part with different microphone placements etc.

Try adding a short reverb to the vocals and a short echo (delay) to the drums - excluding the bass drum. This is a quick and dirty way of getting more punch into an otherwise good song. Again - a little bit goes a long way.

I like your approach to double-tracking. I’ve grown much too accustomed to using some form of ADT (artificial double tracking) on my own tracks instead of recording an extra take. The more the two takes of a double-tracked part (i.e. the old-fashioned way - “your” way) are alike, the stronger the effect on the finished song. Try making the doubled tracks sound as similar as possible using similar compression/limiting on them - then try reducing one band of frequencies (say, 2 kHz) from one track and another band of frequencies (say, 3 kHz) from the other track. this makes the individual takes of the part stand out while enhancing that double-tracked fullness of the whole part.

I don’t know how you do your drum recordings, but try making them sound more “groovy” by putting a lmiter on the individual drums. Sounds sort of like close-miking the drum kit. (you could try that, too).

Regarding the balance of the mixes, you should try to pay more attention to the vocals. Your lyrics deserve to be brought all the way out to the listener. I know, I still lack the confidence myself to give all I’ve got when I sing (in, fact, I don’t, although people tell me I have an OK voice), but you could really get the songs going if you focused your mixes more on the vocals and the lyrics. For listeners not having english as their native language, this will also help them to understand the words better.

I really enjoy your work so far, and I hope that my (very personal, admitted) comments and suggestions inspires you, or at least gives you some fresh ideas.

regards, Nils

Wow, Nils, thank you for taking so much time to listen and to offer such thoughtful and constructive comments. I still have a lot to learn, especially regarding EQ and compression, so your comments are right on target. I have also struggled with where the vocals should “sit” in the mix. My instinct is to put them way out front, but then I listen to commercial recordings, and they tend to pull them back and push drums and guitars out front. So I’ll have to keep working on finding the right middle ground.

On the drums: I use LeafDrums to program the rhythms (I have a whole slew of freeware samples I’ve downloaded), and to save time, I have Leaf write a single stereo wave file of the whole drum track. Obviously, that severely limits my flexibility in adjusting compression, reverb, EQ for individual drums later on. From now on I will use the option to output separate files for each drum (or maybe group toms, crashes, hat, snare, etc) so I can really work with them. So much to learn, and so little time…! :laugh:

Thanks again!

Best regards,
PapaRomeo