HMHS 210 - Stop Your Engines (3/4/2011)

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Re: HMHS 210 - Stop Your Engines (3/4/2011)

Post by criddlerus » Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:27 pm

Grandma Melonhead wrote:DAVE. Before I went out and bought a bunch of heavy blankets I did a test where I recorded a vocal completely underneath a heavy comforter (that is, I crawled under a blanket with a mic) and found that even that didn’t really work. The room still made the vocal sound thin and you could hear the reverberation. So I didn’t bother getting all the blankets and hooks.
Thanks for the confirmation. I actually tried that experiment last fall. I bought some thick moving blankets and hung them up in my basement. I found they had almost zero effect. The solid backing behind your sound insulation is key, me thinks. My blankets were just flapping in the wind with nothing behind them.

I too was amazed that the Vox-O-Matic. Maybe I WILL order one after all! I wouldn't have thought that blocking off behind the mic would have that dramatic effect. I really want to experiment now.


Random Musical Ideas: Yeah, I record bits and pieces but almost never do anything with them later. Anymore, I find that unless the song comes to me quickly in one session it is hardly worth the pain of extricating a song from a jumbled mess of lyrics and random musical pieces. It is so much better when the whole song just comes.

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Re: HMHS 210 - Stop Your Engines (3/4/2011)

Post by lucas » Wed Mar 09, 2011 10:52 pm

Always cool to be mentioned during the show! :)

More structure helps Dave
I normally write 3 or 4 verses, then drop the weakest verse(s), combine or merge one verse with another or turn one of verses into the bridge.
occasionally, a song seems to work with a verse after the bridge (or 'peak' as tony so ably described) or the song doesn't feel right without out and it takes a lot time and focus for me to figure out why I want to keep it.
In the case of the song tony mentioned, I reviewed the song again realized I was hanging on to the 3rd verse for two reasons:

1) I liked the lyric a lot, but I was 'in love' with the phrasing of the 3rd line.
once I realized that I tried it in the 1st verse position again, but eventually opted for the original 1st verse.
I had a small funeral for the 3rd verse with family and a few close friends and laid it to rest.

2) I really liked the transition from the bridge to the verse music-wise and my initial attempts to change this met with unsatisfying results.

I have since dropped the 3rd verse and have managed to find a satisfying transition to the last chorus.

This song started out as a simple descending minor chord progression on acoustic guitar towards the end of 2009.
it came pretty far in 2 weeks, but then I hit a block.
I came back to it 6 months later, but made little progress on it.
about a month ago I re-recorded the entire song and re-wrote the bass line and drum track, altered the structure and added the intro and lead guitar parts.
I also used a different mic for vocals, which seems to help the them sit in the mix better without much EQing.

sometimes, I just need throw a recording out and to start over. :D

This weeks tunes.

Back To The Beginning - Ronnie Marler
little long but nice. good recording

Peoria - Frank Canonica
very well done, like that opening

Windwalkers - Richie Floyd
ooooo.. so dark. diggin' it

Wave - The Experiments
let's go moshing now, everybody's learning how

Thanks for the show!

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Re: HMHS 210 - Stop Your Engines (3/4/2011)

Post by tonyoci » Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:14 pm

and one day the world might hear this song :)

I want to be clear that I don't think a song has to peak in the bridge, it can have 3 verses then peak or whatever. I just think that once it has reached it's highest high it's hard to bring it back down for another go around.

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Re: HMHS 210 - Stop Your Engines (3/4/2011)

Post by Chris C » Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:07 am

Another fine show.

Speaking of charity gigs, years ago (late 80s) I played in a jazz band (more like real book band). Our first gig was a charity walk-a-thon thing. We had business cards made up. Had to arrive early in the morning at this park. The parking lot was far from where we had to set up so we had to haul the gear down a hill. We set out our business cards and started playing, only to be constantly interrupted because some organizer or another had to make an announcement. They finally asked us to stop playing until after the walk-a-thon started. Which of course meant everyone walked away just as we started playing. Pretty depressing, really. Then they told us they were short of their goal and asked if we'd donate our agreed upon price. We did, it was pretty modest. Maybe three people took a card. However, a couple of months later, one of them called and booked us for what turned out to be the highest paying gig of our groups short life. So I guess it's important to play your best even if you think no one listening.

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Re: HMHS 210 - Stop Your Engines (3/4/2011)

Post by lucas » Thu Mar 10, 2011 1:41 am

tonyoci wrote:and one day the world might hear this song :)
well.. maybe not the world, but definitely more than the 4 people who've heard it so far. :)

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Re: HMHS 210 - Stop Your Engines (3/4/2011)

Post by fabkebab » Fri Mar 11, 2011 8:59 am

Home made hit show -

The first song hit the spot - it was just as I was setting off for work, with glorious spring sunshine shining in through the window - it took me to a similar place to "More than a feeling" by Boston.

Charity CDs - I must admit guiltily that I dont like charity CDs, except rarely when they are done by people very famous (like Band-Aid back in the day). When I have friends who post about making charity CDs on facebook etc, I cant help but think these CD's are a little self serving (to the musicians) rather than the charity - at least I do when it is the musicians themselves who are promoting the CD. When I have friends who have made a charity CD, I will typically donate the money to the person selling the CD and tell them to keep money and dont bother with the CD. I feel horrible for admitting this, but it is the truth. The CD has prompted me to donate the money; I just dont need to actually take the CD home with me since I probably won't listen to it. Playing live for charity is totally different, as most situations are better with a bit of live music!

As for pop music - The key to pop music (in my humble opinion) is that the vocalist is so good that they completely lead the song with the sound and the vocal gymnastics (which includes layering and vocal harmonies). A producer can then dial down all the other instruments and trim away un-needed pieces. The last thing they do is patiently add lots of "ear candy" - changes in effects, echoes, production novelties etc - So basically for us home made types, we dont have the vocal skills to deliver a pop song, and we dont have the patience/production skills to sprinkle the whole thing with producer magic. Anyway - dont let my miserable posts put you off trying (perhaps put them on a charity cd!)

sound booth - If it improves the sound, do it - but dont put any studio pictures on the back of the CD cover !

Next song - nice production! If you make a long intro, there is sort of an expectation that song has to really deliver - but no worries - this song does fine!

I agree with the jingle - I DO like the home made hit show better than the radio

Windwalkers - nice! Really got the tribal feel.

Long discussion about songwriting - I dont have much to add except I like Tonys "Dressed in Black" song a lot - I think this is my favourite Tony song - I havent heard the Criddle FAWM - I will hunt a link out

I do agree with recording demos instead of "final tracks"

Last song - "Wave" - captures the spirit of punk well. Liked how you recorded it in different places

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Re: HMHS 210 - Stop Your Engines (3/4/2011)

Post by tonyoci » Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:20 am

I hadn't really thought clearly about it but the charity CD idea I had is totally self serving for the musicians, BUT, hopefully it could be a small win-win. Truth is you kind of wonder if anyone would buy one these days :(

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Re: HMHS 210 - Stop Your Engines (3/4/2011)

Post by lucas » Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:58 pm

Portable Sound Booth (aka: Vox-O-Matic)
Thinking I will try this, so I have some questions:
1) what are the dimensions of that plastic tub?
2) what kind of foam are you using & how did you attach it?
3) is the carpet necessary and how did you attach it?
4) does the mic stand go through the box or is the mic mounted to the box itself?
5) does the box protect against tachyon radiation particles? (just kidding :) )

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Re: HMHS 210 - Stop Your Engines (3/4/2011)

Post by Polly » Mon Mar 14, 2011 5:59 pm

lucas wrote:Portable Sound Booth (aka: Vox-O-Matic)
Thinking I will try this, so I have some questions:
1) what are the dimensions of that plastic tub?
2) what kind of foam are you using & how did you attach it?
3) is the carpet necessary and how did you attach it?
4) does the mic stand go through the box or is the mic mounted to the box itself?
5) does the box protect against tachyon radiation particles? (just kidding :) )
OK.

1) It's just a typical plastic storage box, about 26 inches by 14 as I recollect, I didn't measure it properly I just grabbed something that looked about the right size (check the photos is best). I got lucky as the space got a bit tight as I put the two layers of carpet and then the foam in. I seemed to hae got it just right.
2) I used acoustic foam, this was a bit pricey, I shopped around for the cheapest, got a pack of 24 tiles off ebay from a UK firm. Cost about £35-40 I think. Only used about 4 tiles so bear that in mind. Used a can of spray on carpet tile glue (B&Q, if you're UK, £3.50 ish)
3) I think the carpet is necessary as the foam isn't that thick and sound could pass through it and start echoing round the little box which would become an echo chamber. Same glue spray as above, do the glueing outside as the fumes are a bit dangerous. I coated all the insides of the box with a double coat of carpet.
4) Tricky bit. I used cheap Stagg speaker brackets http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Speaker-Stand-Top ... 5642c1fd26 £2.99. I screwed it onto the plastic box with self tapping screws. Problem here, the mic stand is too thin and knob that you tighten to fix the speaker position doesn't work too well. I just wrapped the mic stand in gaffer tape till it was thick enough and the box now sits on that. It's still height adjustable as the mic stand height adjuster is below this bit. Make sense? The mic stand does go through the box, it has too as the mic is attached to the stand and not the box. You need a second hole in the box for the mic cable to poke through. On my condensor mic that's just in front of the hole for the mic stand as the mic sits in front on its cage support.
5) and high velocity rifle rounds. ;)

Good luck. PM me if you need further pointers.
Song writing is its own reward

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Re: HMHS 210 - Stop Your Engines (3/4/2011)

Post by lucas » Sat Mar 26, 2011 2:10 am

so here's my version of the vox box. It's a noticeable difference from the untreated space.
-------------------
Image .. .. .. Image

close-up:
---------
Image

I used a fake storage crate from Staples to help create the inside square foam layer.
I then inserted that into a large cardboard box stuffed with the extra foam I had.
I used a Groove Pak music stand that has holes in it.
I installed a desktop mic flange into one of the holes in the music stand and used a 3-4" extension tube to get the threads up past the sound foam.

Image

it's ugly, but it does work.
I did some tests, but I'm looking to extend using the PVC frame & blankets to reduce the reflections coming into the front of the box, as well as to cut the sound of me singing down enough that I can do vocals in the early A.M. if I want to. :)
will post MP3s of the tests when done.

It's pretty close to the same sound as I was getting from my hallway setup. I immediately turned back into just a hallway. :)

Image Image

all in all, it was definitely a worthwhile project, although I will eventually just build some sort of 'proper' soundbooth in the future.

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Re: HMHS 210 - Stop Your Engines (3/4/2011)

Post by Polly » Sat Mar 26, 2011 2:20 am

lucas wrote: It's a noticeable difference from the untreated space.
-----------
I used a Groove Pak music stand that has holes in it.
Even just looking at it it seems a reasonable assumption that it's way better than un treated space. The music stand idea is genius, it would have got round all the problems I had fixing the box to the mic stand.

One of the issues is making it from materials you have to hand, mic stands and music stands can be pricey, but if you have one that that's just gathering dust then it's as good as 'free gear'.
Song writing is its own reward

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Re: HMHS 210 - Stop Your Engines (3/4/2011)

Post by lucas » Sat Mar 26, 2011 9:49 am

Polly wrote:One of the issues is making it from materials you have to hand, mic stands and music stands can be pricey, but if you have one that that's just gathering dust then it's as good as 'free gear'.
absolutely! I just wish it would have made up for the cost of the foam.
I probably could have gotten the foam cheaper elsewhere other than Guitar Center, but I didn't want to wait.
the other parts I had to buy were relatively cheap, but little costs quickly add up and the total was somewhere between $80-$90 by the time I finished.
I originally purchased the music stand to be my recording station/desk.
it was perfect for holding my MRS-8 and Art TubeMP & routing cables through the holes to keep them sort of tidy.
It's been sitting folded up in the corner for probably 2 years and just about to sell it.
glad I kept it now. ;)

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Re: HMHS 210 - Stop Your Engines (3/4/2011)

Post by tonyoci » Sat Mar 26, 2011 1:29 pm

Great Pics.

I love the fact that these look like monsters with big teeth that are about to bite your head off.

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Re: HMHS 210 - Stop Your Engines (3/4/2011)

Post by lucas » Mon Apr 18, 2011 11:55 am

I did some mic tests yesterday, with and without the sound blanket hanging behind and then adding another sound blanket over the top of me.
The blanket behind did make a noticeable improvement, but the best results were with a blanket behind and a blanket over the top.
When I first got them, I found that folding the blankets in half makes noticeable difference, so that is how I've used them here.
If Dave had folded his in half, he may have gotten better results, but that depends on the blankets. I got mine from http://www.Marketek.com for $20.00
http://www.markertek.com/Acoustic-Mater ... LACK.xhtml
I bought some blankets from a moving box store, but they weren't nearly as effective. The Markertek blankets were larger and of a much higher quality.
I'll probably get one more blanket so the sides of the makeshift booth are covered at least half way.
This is more about cutting down the volume escaping than mic isolation. I live in an apartment and need the booth so I don't disturb my neighbors if I 'need' to cut tracks at100:PM or 2:00AM. :)
I'll posts pictures once the makeshift vocal booth is finished.

I also went to Samash and bought a couple of mics to to try out.
- Studio Projects B1
- Audio-Technica AT2020

I had planned to buy an MXL V67g, but the sales person let me do some quick tests at the store and it got eliminated there.
It sounded good, I just preferred the other 2 since the V67g sounded too similar to my MXL 1006.

I did some basic testing at home yesterday with the two new ones as well as the 1006 and the problematic AKG Perception 100.
Right now, the Studio Projects B1 is the favorite, not by a landslide, just prefer the slight difference it has, plus the extra features and the included shock mount.
The AT2020, sounded good and I'd probably be happy with it if it was the only mic I had, but side-by-side with the B1, the B1's quality seems a bit better.

The surprising thing though, was that the AKG sounded so much better with vox booth set up than it had previously, even better than in the 'hallway booth' (TM).
I had been getting these huge spikes in volume plaguing some notes in my vocals recordings and making it difficult to get a good take.
The vox booth set up seems to have eliminated or tamed them way down. I very surprised by this, but it makes sense if you think about it.
It was the reason I switched I finally switched back to the MXL. The Perception 100 is a good mic for the money, but I prefer the others at this point.

I also bought some Auralex MoPads. While they did make a difference, I think most of it may be due to the fact that the monitors are now angled downward and weren't before.
I will say that they did cut down the vibration I could feel on my desk when I touched it.

I bought one of the Auralex room kits yesterday. I will update when I get that in place.

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