So I just recently re-copyrighted the music for Melodic Dirt since its original copyrighting in FEB 2014. Apparently the relentless final push needed 4 more months of diligent trial and error with regards to the vocal work. All the extra time and effort is worth it. My mentality has been (and also seems quite common sensical) that once it’s released there’s no going back. I want no regrets. I am not perfect, my music is not perfect (nor do I want it to be) but I have to make sure that I get it right. At the age of 40 I can definitely say this will be my best work yet and will be difficult for me to produce above and beyond it but I am already developing that inner creative spark to pick up the guitar again and have at it.
Anyway, I was so caught up in finalizing the vocals that I never had the time up until now to work with the overall sound with regards to EQ and Compression the way I knew it needed to be. Basically for me the no brainer was to compare it on itunes radio… on my built in computer speakers (I have an iMac). For the past year I haven’t been listening to much music other than my own. And I’ve only been listening to it either on my studio headphones or on my ipod Nano (Melodic Dirt is the only album I have on it so not much a/b’ing going on there either).
Even though most of the past year has been developing the vocals, I have been tweaking things with EQ and Compression along the way. And when you aren’t comparing your music to other well produced music along the way the results are somewhat in their own isolated world. Meaning that while it might sound good in it’s own right, when taking a step back, comparatively speaking, it’s off the mark somewhat.
With my overall mix I found that it was very bottom heavy with the lower mids being very dominate. The overall sound was muddy but I didn’t want it to sound like Melodic Mud, I wanted it to sound like Melodic Dirt. The fix there was easy, boost the mid-to-higher-mids while cutting out some of the lower-to-middle-mids.
I also discovered that I had too much Compression and EQ on the drums making them sound weak, flat, and wimpy. So I removed all the additive tweakings (Compressions and EQ) off the drum track sending the raw drum tracks over to the Master Track which has plenty of EQ and Compression. To have the Master Track pretty much handle all of the drums Compression and EQ’ing was something kind of daring for me to do. Don’t know about you, but for me, that idea just seemed kind of crazy… but… it works. Of course using BFD for quality recorded drum samples didn’t hurt.
I think the moral of the story is that when it comes time to work with EQ and Compression levels within the individual tracks and Master track, is to a/b it, take a step back and compare it to other well produced recordings. I think it’s important to compare it (a/b it) outside of your normal production environment. On the flipside of that… to also compare your music to other professionally produced music within your recording environment (studio headphones or monitors) is equally important. Bottom line… compare it within and outside of your recording environment.
I think it’s also important to point out that to be a unique, distinct music artist extends beyond just what and how you play or sing. You need to stay true to yourself when it comes to your overall sound as well. When you’re a/b’ing your music to your role models, bands and artists that have inspired you, you need to acknowledge that they are produced and sound different from one another as well. I think it’s important to a/b to make sure you know where exactly you stand in relation to what’s already out there sounding pretty good, then to make your unique mark from there. I believe that normal non industry professionals will appreciate your efforts and not just the highly skilled professionals. Though I do believe it is subconscious as to why they (the average listener) like it or inspires them, they just may not have the industry jargon to articulate it.