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My DVD-A Project - Original material

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edisonbaggins

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Ok, so after a couple months of kicking it around, I've decided to do this.

This is a project to produce a DVD-A of original material, both solo songs and some from bands/projects I've been in.
If selected, songs could date back to around 1998, when I first started writing complete songs. I'm also working to finish some brand-new stuff.

Potential project name is Magnets & Miracles - A Collection

Plan9 will be doing mixing and mastering. Perhaps another member here will be doing authoring, but that hasn't been worked out.
Other things to consider are: artwork, disc manufacture, web design, how to get material reviewed, among issues I haven't thought of yet.

For various reasons, the plan is to mix songs one at a time, probably around the rate of one per month.

A little background on me:

I've been a part of lots of local bands that went nowhere. I've taken part in the online collaboration The Boogeymen, produced a solo album called Out the Window in 2009 and most recently recorded two albums with American prog-hard rock band MotH (M.O.T.H.). I'm pretty sure the MotH albums are on iTunes and some leftover discs of Out the Window are up on Amerzon.
I'll post links to free versions.

As an independent artist, I'd say I've experienced modest success. My album Out the Window recovered all costs, the proceeds going to charities with connections to some of the songs.

Here is a playlist of some candidate songs:
https://soundcloud.com/mike-vieira/sets/magnets-miracles

I would really love some feedback, from those who have time and inclination to listen, as to what songs QQ members would most like to hear in surround.
I don't think we'll be able to do the whole list. Ideally, I'd like to pare things down to a normal album length and concentrate on the "best" songs.

For Plan9's test mix of one of the songs, see this post:
https://www.quadraphonicquad.com/forums/showthread.php?21018-Mixing-Help&p=266735&viewfull=1#post266735

Out the Window CD is available here:
http://www.amazon.com/Out-Window-Mike-Vieira/dp/B014VL1T58/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1445534672&sr=8-2&keywords=mike+vieira

This is not my best work... I like about 1/2 of it still, but it was a great learning experience (how NOT to make an album) and there is some compelling stuff on there.

All right, I think that's enough for now. I look forward to any feedback. Thanks especially for listening.
 

GOS

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I'm all about this...very cool. My super busy time at work is winding down, so I will/should have time to listen to music...(which I haven't had in the last 40 days more or less)

Thanks for posting this....
 

DennisMoore Jr.

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Hi Good young Sir Baggins!

I downloaded and played the flac for: M.O.T.H. - Disturbing the Universe 5.1 mix. First... I'd like to thank you for giving me incentive to fix my home theater to play 5.1 FLACs. (y)

My perspective is that of a long time guitarist/keyboardist/songwriter who chose to work in electronics/IT to make actual $$$. I have played guitar in a RUSH cover band and I have done some recording a long time ago in the analog world. I even was lucky enough to have had an impromptu duet with Keith Emerson on an old banged up piano far a couple of hours! So my dream has always been to produce music that rivals what is sold commercially. This is where I am coming from.

OK. I really enjoyed the eight minute plus track. It was easy to listen to a second time to get a better grip on it.

Had you done three minute pop stuff I still would have been supportive, but it was a nice surprise that your music has movements/dynamics and takes time to breathe and grow.

I LOVE the harmonies and Thomas did a fabulous job by panning them nice and wide & fat. I wish Steven Wilson would do that more with his work(remixing existing recordings), but alas, a "remixer" is always terribly worried about altering the "original feel".

Plan9's mix is fabulous and spreads all the guitars & vocals & leads that I think surround technology mandates. Too many artists still think "stereo" when mixing for surround(just my $.02).

Fantastic arrangement, vocal performance, lead playing. Lots of great stuff here to praise & enjoy.

Now(in the context of getting this song to compete with today's very high sonic standards) here's what I would address in this particular recording.

The drums: They need to be better recorded, they are kinda muddy, and me personally, I don't like Steven Wilson's obsession(my words) with the center channel. I never want to hear any instrument direct from any speaker. It ruins the quite pleasant "sonic illusiion" of panning between two points of sound emission(speakers). I'm not a fan of "hard panning" at all. Being a little bit off center from whatever speaker is chosen always adds some nice depth.

-edit- Muddy drums are preventing the drum component mixing placement to come through

The narration could be moved to the rears. Like 80% left & 20% right. The way it is conflicts with the vocals, so it seems at first that perhaps the music just has this narration. If it comes from "elsewhere" the listener knows to wait for vocals from the center(ish). ;)

Or the narration could be panned half between the LF & LR to make it seem like the person is speaking to the side of you. Hundreds of options possible for track assignments in space! I just think this mix is too "center-centric". But that is just me. Obviously Steven Wilson is doing just fine by putting vocals and drums(YES - The YES Album) and lots of other instruments in the center.

Ok, that's my $.02. I hope its not too direct. As a musician, I know we like to ask people what they think. The hard part is listening to what they have to say. :yikes

Thank you so much eddisonbaggins & Plan9 for sharing you work & art with me. I thoroughly enjoyed it. :music

Cheers!

DMJ
 
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edisonbaggins

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Dennis, thank you for the feedback!

Regarding drums: much, much greater granularity for the drum recordings exists, than was used for this test (there are like 2 - 3 dozen different tracks, but only 8 were selected) - for many songs, this one included.
So, if Thomas needs more flexibility and control over drum tones, there are options there.

I too agree that surround mixes should not just be stereo with fun surround stuff bolted on - I will always argue and push for unique and interesting use of the surround field to the extent that it is tasteful and doesn't overly distract or detract from the music.

Regarding honest feedback, give it. Obviously too many chefs spoil a soup, but good, insightful, constructive feedback should make this project more successful than if it were concocted in a vacuum.
I do have an ego, but I try to temper it for the sake of the art. So, as the performer, even if criticism were "a certain part needs to be resung" or something, hey, it could happen.
 

keenly

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Hi Good young Sir Baggins!

I downloaded and played the flac for: M.O.T.H. - Disturbing the Universe 5.1 mix. First... I'd like to thank you for giving me incentive to fix my home theater to play 5.1 FLACs. (y)

My perspective is that of a long time guitarist/keyboardist/songwriter who chose to work in electronics/IT to make actual $$$. I have played guitar in a RUSH cover band and I have done some recording a long time ago in the analog world. I even was lucky enough to have had an impromptu duet with Keith Emerson on an old banged up piano far a couple of hours! So my dream has always been to produce music that rivals what is sold commercially. This is where I am coming from.

OK. I really enjoyed the eight minute plus track. It was easy to listen to a second time to get a better grip on it.

Had you done three minute pop stuff I still would have been supportive, but it was a nice surprise that your music has movements/dynamics and takes time to breathe and grow.

I LOVE the harmonies and Thomas did a fabulous job by panning them nice and wide & fat. I wish Steven Wilson would do that more with his work(remixing existing recordings), but alas, a "remixer" is always terribly worried about altering the "original feel".

Plan9's mix is fabulous and spreads all the guitars & vocals & leads that I think surround technology mandates. Too many artists still think "stereo" when mixing for surround(just my $.02).

Fantastic arrangement, vocal performance, lead playing. Lots of great stuff here to praise & enjoy.

Now(in the context of getting this song to compete with today's very high sonic standards) here's what I would address in this particular recording.

The drums: They need to be better recorded, they are kinda muddy, and me personally, I don't like Steven Wilson's obsession(my words) with the center channel. I never want to hear any instrument direct from any speaker. It ruins the quite pleasant "sonic illusiion" of panning between two points of sound emission(speakers). I'm not a fan of "hard panning" at all. Being a little bit off center from whatever speaker is chosen always adds some nice depth.

I'd spread the drums out all along the full range of the LF & RF, pan the snare like 70% left & 30% right. Some tom toms that go to the rears would be nice as well. The snare drum and lead vocals occupying the same space kinda makes the mix a bit muddy.

The narration could be moved to the rears. Like 80% left & 20% right. The way it is conflicts with the vocals, so it seems at first that perhaps the music just has this narration. If it comes from "elsewhere" the listener knows to wait for vocals from the center(ish). ;)

Or the narration could be panned half between the LF & LR to make it seem like the person is speaking to the side of you. Hundreds of options possible for track assignments in space! I just think this mix is too "center-centric". But that is just me. Obviously Steven Wilson is doing just fine by putting vocals and drums(YES - The YES Album) and lots of other instruments in the center.

Ok, that's my $.02. I hope its not too direct. As a musician, I know we like to ask people what they think. The hard part is listening to what they have to say. :yikes

Thank you so much eddisonbaggins & Plan9 for sharing you work & art with me. I thoroughly enjoyed it. :music

Cheers!

DMJ
I disagree, never have anything off center. Lead vocal should be in center IMO, or move to each individual speaker. Are you saying have vocals learning towards one speaker instead of in the middle? I have worked on getting my stereo imaging right for years. What I think you are suggesting is crazy, please correct me if I am wrong.

I am listening to surround track now, will comment on mix soon. Cheers for that.
 

keenly

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Ok, so after a couple months of kicking it around, I've decided to do this.

This is a project to produce a DVD-A of original material, both solo songs and some from bands/projects I've been in.
If selected, songs could date back to around 1998, when I first started writing complete songs. I'm also working to finish some brand-new stuff.

Potential project name is Magnets & Miracles - A Collection

Plan9 will be doing mixing and mastering. Perhaps another member here will be doing authoring, but that hasn't been worked out.
Other things to consider are: artwork, disc manufacture, web design, how to get material reviewed, among issues I haven't thought of yet.

For various reasons, the plan is to mix songs one at a time, probably around the rate of one per month.

A little background on me:

I've been a part of lots of local bands that went nowhere. I've taken part in the online collaboration The Boogeymen, produced a solo album called Out the Window in 2009 and most recently recorded two albums with American prog-hard rock band MotH (M.O.T.H.). I'm pretty sure the MotH albums are on iTunes and some leftover discs of Out the Window are up on Amerzon.
I'll post links to free versions.

As an independent artist, I'd say I've experienced modest success. My album Out the Window recovered all costs, the proceeds going to charities with connections to some of the songs.

Here is a playlist of some candidate songs:
https://soundcloud.com/mike-vieira/sets/magnets-miracles

I would really love some feedback, from those who have time and inclination to listen, as to what songs QQ members would most like to hear in surround.
I don't think we'll be able to do the whole list. Ideally, I'd like to pare things down to a normal album length and concentrate on the "best" songs.

For Plan9's test mix of one of the songs, see this post:
https://www.quadraphonicquad.com/forums/showthread.php?21018-Mixing-Help&p=266735&viewfull=1#post266735

Out the Window CD is available here:
http://www.amazon.com/Out-Window-Mike-Vieira/dp/B014VL1T58/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1445534672&sr=8-2&keywords=mike+vieira

This is not my best work... I like about 1/2 of it still, but it was a great learning experience (how NOT to make an album) and there is some compelling stuff on there.

All right, I think that's enough for now. I look forward to any feedback. Thanks especially for listening.
First impressions are very good, I like the music. I will listen to all the tracks on the 2 albums when I can and give feedback on favs. I like the track mixed in surround.
 

keenly

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Dennis, thank you for the feedback!

Regarding drums: much, much greater granularity for the drum recordings exists, than was used for this test (there are like 2 - 3 dozen different tracks, but only 8 were selected) - for many songs, this one included.
So, if Thomas needs more flexibility and control over drum tones, there are options there.

I too agree that surround mixes should not just be stereo with fun surround stuff bolted on - I will always argue and push for unique and interesting use of the surround field to the extent that it is tasteful and doesn't overly distract or detract from the music.

Regarding honest feedback, give it. Obviously too many chefs spoil a soup, but good, insightful, constructive feedback should make this project more successful than if it were concocted in a vacuum.
I do have an ego, but I try to temper it for the sake of the art. So, as the performer, even if criticism were "a certain part needs to be resung" or something, hey, it could happen.
I totally agree with this.
 

Plan9

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The snare drum and lead vocals occupying the same space kinda makes the mix a bit muddy.

DMJ
Thanks Dennis for your comments.
I heard them all and just wanted to address the point I quoted: the snare drum is actually more like 30% in the phantom center while the main vocals are indeed 95% in the center channel. It should be somewhat apparent on a 5.1 system with a great imaging but it is a hard thing to get. My 5.1 placement might be a little too near-field. I may have to compensate more for that at mixing in the future.

Also, the drums are actually occupying the whole FL-FR gamut, but like on a real set, the toms are slightly more inwards than the cymbals. Might have to compensate for that as well.
Again, thank you for the feedback.
 

Plan9

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Regarding drums: much, much greater granularity for the drum recordings exists, than was used for this test (there are like 2 - 3 dozen different tracks, but only 8 were selected
I actually used 15 tracks for the drums alone (some stereo), but I don't think the number of individual tracks is the problem. When heard mixed in isolation, the drums sound very real and 'there', it's all the other stuff added afterwards (I usually mix drums and bass first) that tends to muddy the mix, notably the guitars. I didn't retouch them enough because I wanted to keep the 'weight' and punch they have to them, but I guess it's too much of a good thing.
 

edisonbaggins

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I will listen to all the tracks on the 2 albums when I can and give feedback on favs.
Thank you for listening and your feedback is highly valued! I would like to clarify about candidate tracks:

Any song in the soundcloud playlist called Magnets & Miracles is a candidate. Any song from Out the Window could be a candidate if I hear that enough people like it (I will upload within a day, I hope). A few more tracks from the MotH records could be candidates, but several tracks are off the table, due to a band member's request:

East of Eden
Dividing Line
Whispers in the Dark
Human Chain
and
A World Apart.

And to further an earlier point: if you love a song, but hate the arrangement, say something. If you love a song, but the vox need to be redone, say something. Same for if you wish there were a different part of some kind (particularly if you or someone you know can perform the part). I don't want to get in to a whole lot of revisionism, but, as tracks are selected for mixing I may have some opportunity to achieve reasonable improvements. But if something ain't broke, I don't want to fix it.
 

DennisMoore Jr.

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Thanks Dennis for your comments.
I heard them all and just wanted to address the point I quoted: the snare drum is actually more like 30% in the phantom center while the main vocals are indeed 95% in the center channel. It should be somewhat apparent on a 5.1 system with a great imaging but it is a hard thing to get. My 5.1 placement might be a little too near-field. I may have to compensate more for that at mixing in the future.

Also, the drums are actually occupying the whole FL-FR gamut, but like on a real set, the toms are slightly more inwards than the cymbals. Might have to compensate for that as well.
Again, thank you for the feedback.
Hi Thomas,

Ok, I just played it again. Yes, now I see your panning assignments, but the drums are just too muddy overall, they don't allow the "positional cues" to really come through. When one listens casually the drums are too much of a blur and your work placing drum components doesn't shine through.

We got to clear up/sharpen/brighten the drums and then it will be perfect.

For comparison, directly after, I played PT - The Sound Of Muzak(5.1 DVD-A). What Paul Northfield did with Gavin's drums is "what I need to know before I die". Sonic perfection. I've never heard drums compliment music so perfectly. I've seen PT in concert(twice) and the clarity of the drums blew me away. It really takes the music to a whole new level of sonic enjoyment.

Your individual drum assignments are fine and very similar to The Sound Of Muzak, but the drums are so muddy, your placements don't come across to the mind's eye.

Thanks for writing back to me, because it made me go back and listen again,the "sonics" of an instrument can really influence
placement perception & clarity.

We gotta fix the drums. Perhaps it was in the way they were recorded??? Last thing I want to do is start something between you(the mixer) and recording engineer. But I think that is it. Its the way the drums sound. Not sharp or clear enough.

Upon listening again, more things come to me about your surround mix! It is fantastic!



@Good Sir Keenly: I think we're talking about different things. For what I'm saying, I'd give an example of JT - Skating Away.... compare the quad mix(the vocals are in the room with you!) and then Steven's mix - the vocals are more localized from the center. I prefer the great "illusion" of the voice being in the room with me.

As for panning. Take any signal and pan it hard left or right. It sounds kinda dead. Then just pan it outward slightly. It comes alive even though it still sounds to the ear that it is has the direction from which it was sent from.
 

0tto

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I actually used 15 tracks for the drums alone (some stereo), but I don't think the number of individual tracks is the problem. When heard mixed in isolation, the drums sound very real and 'there', it's all the other stuff added afterwards (I usually mix drums and bass first) that tends to muddy the mix, notably the guitars. I didn't retouch them enough because I wanted to keep the 'weight' and punch they have to them, but I guess it's too much of a good thing.
i agree with Dennis in regard of drums sound. for this kind of music it's been quite lost and definitely has needs in more prominent role in the mix.
lil'bit upfront with sharper attack for snares and added juice to kick drum.
 

0tto

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@edisonbaggins
hey Mike, i'm wondering why do you decide to make compilation instead of reissuing of respective albums, remixed into surround?
albeit "Mars On The Horizon" in my opinion pretty generic sounding with reminiscences of rock wave of 80s
but it's personal antipathy to this timespan in rock music.
the second album is more mature with plenty of unique, distinguishable elements in approach to sound and musical arrangement.
in fact i like it very much and think it absolutely fit for surround mix.
in regard of sound quality - no offence but both are have terrible sound fidelity and dynamic.
 

Plan9

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in regard of sound quality - no offence but both are have terrible sound fidelity and dynamic.
That's partly because of the original mastering, partly because of the mix (and a bit because of the recording), and that's why we ware planning on remastering the original mixes besides remixing.
 

edisonbaggins

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@edisonbaggins
hey Mike, i'm wondering why do you decide to make compilation instead of reissuing of respective albums, remixed into surround?
albeit "Mars On The Horizon" in my opinion pretty generic sounding with reminiscences of rock wave of 80s
but it's personal antipathy to this timespan in rock music.
the second album is more mature with plenty of unique, distinguishable elements in approach to sound and musical arrangement.
in fact i like it very much and think it absolutely fit for surround mix.
in regard of sound quality - no offence but both are have terrible sound fidelity and dynamic.
No offense taken at all. We did the best we could with what we had. Now, the idea is to sonically treat the music better - to do the best we can with what we have.

The point of the project is to remix music I have been involved in over the years, plus a few new tracks. I do not have rights (or permission) to all the MotH songs. Of all my musical collaborators and bandmates over the years, I am the only one who is passionate about hi-res and/or surround. There is only one of know of who even owns any hi-res or surround. So, he is an enthusiast, but not nearly passionate enough to endure the pain of attempting a project like this.

I always find it interesting to hear opinions and perspectives on the MotH records, my own tracks and other projects I've sung or played on. But, one thing I've learned, is there's no accounting for taste! One person's absolute favorite song will be another person's least-liked (or most-hated) one. There are fans of the 1st MotH record out there who don't like the 2nd as much. There are those who love Out the Window and think the MotH stuff is just ok or not their cup o' tea. And I have my preferences too! I'm not particularly interested in reworking all the tracks I've ever done. There I ones that have stood the test of time, for me, and those that were a good experiment, but don't do it for me any more.
 
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0tto

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That's partly because of the original mastering, partly because of the mix (and a bit because of the recording), and that's why we ware planning on remastering the original mixes besides remixing.
well, if during the mix process the fidelity had been screwed up by mixing together incompatible elements of the sound,
then i'm afraid nothing can be improved by remastering of existent mix. the new remix from original multis would be more
easier way to fix the problem in such case.
 

0tto

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But, one thing I've learned, is there's no accounting for taste!
of course. that's why i stated " it's personal antipathy to this timespan in rock music".
albeit 80s was the time of my entrance into world of music, i never really liked most of the rock bands from this era.
but i'm pretty sure there are many people who loves rock of 80's, new wave and punk.
and thank you for "Out Of The Window". right now listening it and will tell you my impression from music.
 
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