This is part of my final major project: click here to return to the main menu:
Firstly I went through both the live takes, where both the girls were singing and playing guitar, and the overdubs, the tracks which were performed over the live tracks, and decided to use just the overdubs since they gave me the most freedom, since after listening to the “live tracks” I felt the room didn’t sound as great as I had hoped it would. This then left me 4 tracks.
However since the live tracks was their point of reference for doing the overdubs, fulfilling the purpose of a guide track, so I used it to then create a tempo map of the song, and although fairly consistent it fluctuated between 85-90bpm, which meant that any added MIDI would also speed up and slow down, making it sound more realistic.
Also since the singer who played guitar on the overdub didn’t start playing until after she heard the song, the intro was a bar too short so I duplicated the first bar in front of the original to make it sound like the guitar didn’t start too soon.
The Chimes I recorded didn’t seem to fit in the section of the song they were in, so I used the audio suite to see how it would sound reversed. To my surprise, It sounded quite interesting, as they now got louder as the clip progressed, building tension. Due to them not needing to be in time, I placed them at the start of the song, as this made a nice transition into the guitars, adding momentum.
Even with the addition percussion, the song was still lacking dynamic range and sounding a bit empty, so initially I decided to add some bass guitar to the mix playing root notes of the acoustic. However the guitar was out of tune slightly, so no matter what I played it didn’t sit well with the guitar, same when I tried piano and synth’s.
I then went through some of the loops in structure free, to not only fill out the lower frequency range, but to also add a constant element in the mix. I ultimately settled on this R’n’B loop, which sounded like it was using a Cajon as the basis for the rhythm, fitting well with the acoustic nature of the song. I then started to listen to the original song to get myself more familiar with its structure, which gave me the idea to layer the drums with an electronic sounding kick and snare.
Once I had the loops in place, I then bounced them down to two stereo audio tracks, giving me a total of 6 tracks.
I then bused both the guitars and both the vocal tracks to two separate auxiliary buses, so I could adjust the volumes of their overall respective levels.
Now that I had all the elements of the song I thought I needed, I then proceeded to EQ-ing certain tracks, starting with Ellie’s vocals. I could of EQ-ed them on the auxiliary bus, but because their voices are different, trying to make one vocal sound better might make the other one sound thin, or too pronounced. I added a High Pass Filter (here on referred to as HPF) with a 6dB/Octave shelf at 636Hz, to both of the girls audio tracks, taking out some of the lower frequencies which resonate within the throat, giving a more “Head” voice sort of sound.
I then listened to Evie’s vocals and took out a really resonant frequency around the 4Khz mark, while on Ellie’s I then boosted the area 6Khz to sort of even the spectrum out, creating an overlap so than there isn’t a massive drop in content.
Then on the vocal bus, I added a compressor to bring up the overall volume of the track, using a 4:8:1 ratio, and 10/80 attack/release time (here on referred to as A/R) so only the higher parts will get pushed down below the threshold, set at -19.8dB. Also by having a long attack and slow release times means that the compressor takes a long time to get back, keeping it on for the duration of the track.
The guitar bus I added a HPF to also, with a 6dB/Octave shelf set at 493.3Hz, while boosting 1Khz by 3.2dB and 2Khz by 5dB, This cuts out the lower frequencies, making room for the drum loops by taking out some of the” muddy sounding” frequencies, while also accentuating the higher mid range on the guitar.
I then added a compressor to the bus to even out the guitar, having a fairly hard ratio of 5:7:1 and threshold of -25.2dB, giving one consistent level, with A/R times the same as the vocal compressor, getting it to sit in with the drums and the vocals.
Finally I added in yet another auxiliary input and set it up as a reverb fader, having its input the sends from the other two buses, while having them pre-fade meant that I could still have the dry signal, while adjusting the wet signal to taste being set at 100%.
For the reverb I used a medium hall setting, as this gave me the ambience the track needed to blend all the individual elements together, while also finding a sweet middle ground between an acoustic cover and borrowing production elements from the original.